The killing of George Floyd by the police is an event that would forever elicit anger and cries for justice all over the world.
Shortly after this travesty, people protested outside the La Mesa Police department in California. Among them was Leslie Furcon. While she and the people were out there demanding justice for the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd, she was shot in the head with a bean bag by Detective Eric Knudson.
The shot fractured her skull, caused her internal bleeding, and in the aftermath, she suffered neurological symptoms, permanent facial scarring, and the loss of vision in one of her eyes.
Why did detective Knudson shoot her?
He said he did so because he thought she wanted to throw a rock at the police.
It turns out that she wasn’t holding a rock or anything remotely resembling a rock. Rather, she was holding a soda can, while peacefully protesting. What did this get her?
A shot in the head.
In saner climes, one would expect that a police officer shooting a peaceful protester in the head would be up for disciplinary action and dismissal from the police department.
What do we get instead? The police department said that Detective Furcon acted in self-defense because he thought he was in danger, and as such, shooting a peaceful protester in the head doesn’t violate their policy.
As a result, Detective Knudson would get to remain as a police officer at the La Mesa police department, and could possibly do something much more sinister in the future.
Does this Police Policy make Sense?
The violence committed against Ms. Fucron by the police shows yet another example of how the police force deploys unnecessarily aggressive tactics against non-violent protesters.
Detective Eric Knudson was able to escape any form of punishment due to him not violating any form of department policies, which means the police force supports such acts against unarmed protesters.
The victim's lawyer alleged that he had " seen dozens of videos and spoken with scores of people present at the protest and saw no evidence that Furcron was violent or did anything to justify being shot".
Fucron was with her cellphone streaming the protest when the officer opened fire. Nearby protestors were also peaceful and got no warning from the law enforcement officers before bullets and tear gas were rained on them.
Things ought to change because the police should not shoot indiscriminately into a crowd and not know who they are shooting.
Why are delinquent cops still retained?
Detective Eric Knudson who shot Leslie Furcon was put on administrative leave while the investigation, as regards his case, was going.
Derek Chauvin, the cop who murdered George Floyd, was implicated in at least 18 police misconduct cases. He had been involved in police shootings and what would be referred to as police brutality. What's important to note here is that this is a pattern.
Officers who killed Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh in 2018 and Tamir Rice in Cleveland in 2014 and —both Black teenagers—were dismissed as police officers from former jobs.
When an officer is dismissed, the Fraternal Order of Police usually assists them to resign in a quiet manner instead of being fired. This gives bad cops the means to serve in another department.
This has to change.
When an issue in the police department comes up, it is often reported to Internal Affairs. When the complaint reaches the command level, it usually ends up in the hands of three officers in the trial board who are saddled with the responsibility of investigating the infraction and punishing the erring officer.
In essence, this trial board is both the prosecution, judge, and jury. Also note that the members of this trial board are also police officers, people who have a clearly biased interest in the case. An officer has to have committed an exceptionally serious crime to be fired.
They also have an arsenal of frivolous reprimands that amount to a glorified slap on the wrists. Officers may be assigned desk-duty, administrative leave, paid or unpaid, or penalized with pay at a scaled rate according to future paychecks.
It is also quite sad that even within police ranks, this “fraternal protection” of members is done along racists lines. There are reports that this internal disciplinary process passes harsher disciplinary measures on police officers of color.
The end result of this fraternal police order is ensuring that bad cops are recycled within the police force. This is why Derek Chauvin and other killer policemen get to commit more heinous crimes even after there have been previous complaints against them.
We won’t be surprised if in the next few years, Detective Eric Knurdson commits a more heinous crime than shooting an unarmed protester in the head with a bean bag round.
Why this policy needs to change
The police policy on applying force on unarmed protesters is leading to distrust between citizens and the police officers. The police officers who are meant to serve and protect the citizens are the ones who are causing the citizens harm.
How can this policy be reformed? Police officers have to be held more accountable for their aggressive actions against citizens. The lack of accountability is reflected in the statistics. The National Police Misconduct Reporting Project analyzed 3,238 criminal cases against police officers from April 2009 through December 2010.
They found that only 33 percent were convicted, and 36 percent of officers who were convicted ended up serving prison sentences. Both of those are about half the rate at which members of the public are convicted or incarcerated.
This is partly due to legislation and courts which prevent the police from being held responsible for the excessive use of force. All these legal roadblocks to justice have to be dismantled. This way, police officers would bear much more responsibility when they harm civilians.
We have to also do a lot when it comes to public perception. A lot of juries usually lean towards being lenient on police officers due to the nature of their job. There needs to be more representation for people of color on juries, and the people need to understand that inflicting grievous harm on people is despicable, whether it is committed by criminals or the police force.
In the present case, Knudson was not charged with any crime and was still retained in the police force. Officers who have a history of police brutality should not be allowed to remain within the police system.
They should be dismissed from their current roles and prevented from acting as police officers in other departments.
This ensures that we don't have a police system that recycles abusive cops who metamorphose into killer cops that commit atrocities against citizens.
Everyone Deserves Justice
The fight for justice for every member of the society regardless of their skin color, orientation or creed is something we should not relent on. At Singleton, Schreiber, we make it our mission to ensure that our clients get their fair share of justice.
If you have been a victim of police brutality or any other systemic injustice, feel free to reach out to us at 619-771-3473. Or email us at email@example.com