Tensions between police and the citizens of Chicago are continuing to rise after CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in November. Even calls for the mayor’s resignation have begun echoing across the United States. Now, a top Chicago lawyer has stepped down after being accused of hiding evidence in another fatal police shooting from 2011.
Last year alone 984 people were fatally shot by police across the country, and indictments of those officers has tripled compared with previous years. As we continue to watch these scenes play out on our televisions, and in our communities, we are beginning to ask what is driving this seeming epidemic in police brutality. Does the data show that police are becoming more aggressive, jumping to lethal force before attempting less than lethal solutions? Could it be the result of better armed criminals, whose intent it is to harm innocent citizens? Or, could it be a problem rooted in the culture of policing itself?
Police militarization expert and University of Tampa professor, Abby Hall, laid out some of the circumstances surrounding these statistics in a recent Learn Liberty video. Discussing the tensions we saw in Baltimore this past year, Professor Hall shows the correlation between the militarization of local police forces, and the increased violence we see on our city streets. Do you think her analysis is correct?