The senseless death of Eric Garner also exposes the fallacy, futility, and incompetency of how too many incidents of police misconduct are mishandled in this nation. First, I send my condolences and prayers to the family. The horrific scene of a human being dying in the street based on a senseless ordinance does irreparable damages to our psyches and expectations for creating the framework and foundation for a just society. However, it does not abdicate any of us from our collective responsibilities to prevent these kind of incidents.
To be very clear, New York City failed Eric Garner, just like it failed Amadou Diallo 20 years ago. The list of African Americans killed in New York City and all across America is to long to list here and would not serve a constructive purpose in this article. The list provides tremendous insights into why these incidents are still occurring. These are local incidents that require local solutions. The idea that 18 USC 242 and its antiquated statutes, will address these kind of incidents, ignores the fact that intentionally and willful intent are classrooms discussions, that are seldom helpful or useful in real life incidents.
I have addressed police misconduct and brutality for over 20 years in the City of Austin. I have worked in environments where almost no communication existed between local governments and Civil Rights organizations, to the current environment where communication is almost daily and constant. I have worked with 5 police chiefs, 5 union presidents, countless elected officials and 3 district attorneys. There is a common standard that everyone in local government must support and demand. That “Minimum Force Necessary “ is not just a cliche. That response to resistance, is not just a policy, but a protective oath. Every community facing these challenges, can learned and adopt best practices, however every community must invest the time to understand it’s on social, political and cultural dynamics. I have had the opportunity to work with great law enforcement people in the City of Austin and as a result, the entire city is much better. Yes, we have had our own horrific incidents and the goal has to always aim for zero tolerance. Every governmental institution failed Eric Garner and we should all be ashamed of that sad reality. - NAACP President Nelson Linder
Read more about the incident here.
On this day in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, preventing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.
The act essentially ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination. It also led to other landmark civil rights bills like the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlaws voter discrimination, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act, outlawing housing discrimination.
On its 55th birthday, here's how we got this landmark law, which continues to be relevant today.
For frequent updates, visit the Facebook page of Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder!