While media coverage has focused on the growing discontent over race/police relations in this country, the decisions also shed an important light on the prejudice inherent in this country's grand jury proceedings. I'm speaking from a procedural perspective.
Why have we come to a time where the police are often seen as intimidating, authoritative figures separate from the communities where they serve and live? Rather than a division of people against police, in which both police and the citizens are on guard, can we rebuild trust? Aggression begets aggression.
Historically, the African American population of the United States has been the greatest victim of vigilante violence. In addition, because of the media, police, and political responses to the killings, it is more likely the murder of these officers will make the policing situation in minority communities more oppressive, not less.
De Blasio has been exceptionally evenhanded in his respect for police while trying to help us grasp the perspectives of people of color. He has tried to be a true friend to the NYPD, in the sense of a friend who believes in you enough to be critical when you can be better.
And so we grieve over another national tragedy.Two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot -- assassinated -- as they sat in their patrol car this past weekend. Let the needlessness of their deaths rip our hearts open. Let the humanity come first.
If soldiers in the trenches -- who were fighting the biggest war at that time -- were able to take at least a few hours to see beyond their conflict, to see the bigger picture and stop trying to kill each other, then why couldn't we?
College campuses have always been grounds for debate and free thought. This is well known: the idea of the college campus as a home for activism is woven into the history of many of America's most important movements for social justice.
The communities that have been harmed by aggressive policing will not be satisfied, and trust in the police will not be restored, until the processes to hold police accountable within the criminal justice system are reformed.
The wrongful convictions data coming from the Innocence Project provide all the proof we need that all things are not equal in the application of American justice. Justice is color coded, and truly a matter of black and white. Now is the time to change that.
Overall research about domestic violence during holidays shows that the holidays do not cause domestic violence but also that domestic violence does not take a holiday either.
Each year, I wish for the same things -- an end to war, poverty, hunger, violence and disease -- and each year, I find the world relatively unchanged. Millions continue to die every year, casualties of a world that places greater value on war machines and profit margins than human life.
Community policing needs to be restored to its pre-9/11 commitments. Counterterrorism influences on policing must be scaled back dramatically, especially the corrupting influence of military and counterterrorism training with its absurd technical firepower, and shoot to kill orders.
While we certainly don't have all the answers, it's time to start talking about and funding constructive ways to reform policing to quell anger by improving legitimacy and community relations.
These marches are not only about recent cases. Some of us have been all too conscious of police abuse our entire lives, and it has been underway for generations. It's just that we have, as a country, come to a different place.
Thirty years ago today the inviolate right to self-defense and the battle over firearm civil liberties were joined in one of the unlikeliest of battle zones -- New York City.
I pray for unity in the city, as pain runs deep in many communities. But, we will no longer tolerate those, like Pat Lynch, who want to create more pain by attempting to divide the people and those who have taken an oath to protect and serve them.