Yesterday, I was scratching my bald head [OUCH] as I read this story about how the Ann Arbor Democratic Club is calling for police professional development, body cameras to be worn by police officers, and other policies to help reduce police brutality.
I like the idea of training police to use nonlethal force to resolve conflicts when necessary. However, do body cameras on officers matter to increasing police accountability? Police are not held accountable for their actions in our society the same way that the rest of us are held to account.
For example, if a typical citizen were to shoot someone to death and there were witnesses, s/he wouldn't have been merely placed on paid administrative leave from his or her job. S/he would be sitting in jail awaiting her or his day in court while the case is investigated by prosecutors and police officers. But, as numerous cases have shown, killing someone on the job is viewed as a professional offense and paid administrative leave is what our society prescribes when the killer happens to be a police officer. Sadly, Ann Arbor is no exception and unfortunately follows this two-tiered legal system which is clearly common to all localities in the the United States. Body cameras will not change this unbalanced application of the law.
That's why the posturing, documented in the article linked-to above, by liberals and law and order apologists in this town is so blatant and obtuse. Case in point, we have a council member, Stephen Kunselman, from Ward 3 who says, "And while there's concern out there among the public, and I understand that concern, I as an elected official will not kowtow to those kind of demands that treat our police officers as if they did something wrong first."
This is the same council member, Stephen Kunselman, who is so bent on "upholding the law" that he is calling for the use of police resources to remove anyone caught illegally camping within the city. [He claims he is the only one to have the "courage" to stand up against illegal camping. Oh, huh-HOH!].
But, is Stephen Kunselman calling for justice and the rule of law in the case of the shooting of Aura Rosser?
NO and yes. [yes, only because our legal system favors elites and the people tasked with protecting them. But you knew that]
He won't "kowtow to those kind of demands" He only kowtows to people who "... shouldn't have to tolerate homeless people living in their backyard." And by backyard, he means a California company-owned abandoned lot that was intended for affordable housing which he doesn't think should be built because of noise and pollution.
I am still scratching my head. Something doesn't add up here.
I am not saying that Officer David Ried is to be found guilty by an elected official or the public through our direct actions. A free and fair society cannot be ruled by mobs. But, the children and family of Ms. Rosser deserve to see her alleged killer have his day in court. David Reid allegedly killed another human being and there were witnesses to this killing. According to the Ann Arbor News, David Ried "shot and killed" Aura Rosser. Killing people is an offense under the law and requires a trial to asses guilt and administer punishment, last time I checked.
Any day now, the Michigan State Police will submit the results of their investigation to prosecutor Brian Mackie who will decide whether to indict [which means "accuse"] David Ried for the killing of Aura Rosser. Regardless of the way the decision goes, the day after we will be gathering at 301 E Huron St. in downtown Ann Arbor at 4:30pm.
Oh, and by the way I think it is kind of redundant for the Ann Arbor Democratic Club to call for the very same things that City Council already voted on in the wake of the incident. Does the Ann Arbor Democratic Club lack critical skills? Or does it unthinkingly follow the example and decisions of the City Council? It smacks of nothing more than preliminary crowd control for the decision that is about to be made. Choose wisely. See you in the streets.
And if you haven't read these analyses of the situation, you should definitely check out Y'all Ain't Hearing Me: : White Liberalism and the Killing of Aura Rosser by Third Coast Conspiracy and Beauty and Police by Peter Linebaugh