Civil Review Boards As A Response To Law Enforcement Related Deaths

 
This article makes the argument for civil review boards as a solution to the issue of unnecessary force and law enforcement related deaths.

Civil Review Boards As A Response To Law Enforcement Related Deaths
By Vadim Ivanov

A civil review board should be implemented in every city in order to negate corruption within law enforcement, avoid unnecessary deaths among citizens by law enforcement as well as force law enforcement officials to be accountable for their actions. The tension between law enforcement and citizens is high due to the perception that law enforcement cannot be trusted and that law enforcement officials are above the law. There are on average at least 1,500 lives that are taken due to law enforcement related deaths. It is even more troubling how in recent history, the accused law enforcement officials have sentenced to minimal punishments for using excessive force which has caused an outbreak of citizens calling for accountability among law enforcement officials.
In the Oscar Grant case of 2009, where Oscar Grant was shot and killed by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle when Mehserle allegedly mistook the gun in his holster for a taser and shot Grant, Mehserle was sentenced to merely to two years in jail. This led to riots throughout the United States, and specifically Oakland, due to perceived bias and inequality in the ruling for Johannes Mehserle. The same issue occurred in Ferguson after the Michael Brown shooting and proceeding sentencing of Darren Wilson, who was indicted of any charges by the St. Louis grand jury. In addition, the recent case of Andy Lopez also ended in the verdict that Erick Gelhaus was faced no charges due to consensus in the FBI that Gelhaus did not violate Lopez’ civil rights in the case. A civil review board would lower the chance of such outbreaks/riots from occurring because citizens would have a proper outlet/resource to deal with issues of unfair treatment by law enforcement officials. In the system set in place today without a civil review board, police officers are being evaluated by higher ranking law enforcement officials, which can inhibit corruption and bias throughout a law enforcement agency.

e-mail:: ivanov@seawolf.sonoma.edu

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