The Problem is Overpolicing

“Some will say that it was wholly appropriate for police to respond to a call about an armed man or make a traffic stop for a vehicular infraction, but that in these cases the officers misreacted or overreacted to a perceived threat, using excessive and deadly force. At first glance, this may seem like an issue of poor use-of-force training and policy, accompanied by racial bias. South Carolina Law School professor Seth Stoughton rightfully points out that part of the problem with US policing is the dominance of a warrior mindset among police that is instilled through training and police culture. Too often police seem to be looking for a justification to shoot rather than a strategy to avoid shooting, especially when it comes to young men of color. But that warrior mindset is driven by the fact that we have asked the police to be at war with the public, especially those they perceive as implicated in a war on drugs, a war on crime, a war on terror, and a war on disorder — most of whom are not white. When we ask police to be at war, excessive use of force is inevitable. Changes to training and even the prosecution of a few officers is not going to meaningfully change this dynamic.”

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