Abolition May Be Necessary To End Police Violence In US - DC Reform Commission Member


Abolition May Be Necessary to End Police Violence in US - DC Reform Commission Member

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 25th May, 2021) Abolition may be the only way to stop law enforcement officers in America from killing, injuring and maiming Black people, Washington, DC Police Reform Commission member Ronald Hampton told Sputnik.

Hampton's comments come exactly one year after George Floyd was killed at the hands of a white officer in Minneapolis, and just days after AP released video showing the 2019 police-involved killing of 49-year old Black Man Ronald Greene in Louisiana. These are just two among a long line of police killings the US has seen in recent years.

"I'm in support of abolition because insanity is doing things the same way over and over and expecting a different result," Hampton said when asked about what reforms are needed to stop police violence. "What do we replace police with? If we abolish it, individuals can do other things. There needs to be a concentrated effort to serve people as best we can."

Hampton, a US Air Force and Vietnam veteran, said funding is needed for housing, schools, mental health, and hospitals to address problems in order to replace police.

In Greene's case, authorities for years refused to release footage showing police beating, tazing and dragging him by his legs after a high-speed chase in Monroe, Louisiana. Louisiana state police initially told Greene's family he had died on impact after his SUV crashed into a tree. Later, they released a one-page statement saying Greene struggled with troopers and died on his way to the hospital.

Hampton called the police-involved murder of Greene "business as usual." He was not surprised by what happened in Louisiana or North Carolina, where police officers shot and killed Anthony Brown, Jr. while serving a search warrant.

"I'm not surprised because law enforcement agencies continue to condone this behavior and superiors lie to protect officers," Hampton said. "It took two years for the tape to be released and instead of commenting on how Greene was murdered, they focused on how the tape got out."

Hampton said cases like those of Brown, Floyd, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Terrence Crutcher, Philando Castile, Daunte Wright, Mah'Khia Bryant and Alton Sterling - captured by cell phones or police body and dash cams - illustrate the impact and continuing importance of cameras.

"It's an 'I told you so,' moment. For 50 years, we've been saying that things like this was going on but we didn't have the visual proof," Hampton said. "Cameras have been more effective in revealing police misconduct and criminal behavior. We know it's happening and they are covering it up, making false reports, lying and refusing to release videos."

Hampton, who was a police officer with Washington DC's Metropolitan Police Department for 24 years, said in communities across the United States, politicians, policymakers, activists and advocates have been involved with effecting or talking about reform.

He said those seeking police accountability have been highlighting problems and demanding changes to policing for more than 50 years.

"Since the 1994 Crime Bill, they gave police a lot of money. You can't pay people to be right. I haven't seen any changes nor have police officers become more respectful to our people," Hampton said.

Surprisingly, he added, people say they want more police on the streets and think the need for additional training is the issue.

"I'm willing to say that during enslavement and other oppressive situations, there were people who thought it was alright. They adjusted to it," Hampton said. "I believe that we need to invest in education because some people just don't know. We have endured bad treatment by the police and other institutions. This is not how I am made. It's unacceptable to me. I don't need to be treated like shit and beaten all the time."

Hampton, however, also said he is encouraged by the level of engagement and activity by a significant swathe of people who want to bring change in the wake of Floyd's murder.

In January, DC Police Union Chairman Gregg Pemberton said while the organization supports reforms, defunding departments is not the answer because policing is paramount to providing security and safety to society.