CAMBRIDGE, MA – In news that should shock nobody, The Harvard Law School last week held a forum where the topic was the abolishment of American police forces. Seriously.
Brooklyn College professor Alex Vitale spoke to students who attend the left-leaning law school about the potential benefits of eliminating police departments in America.
Our guess is that perhaps Vitale had at some time received a parking ticket that sent him over the edge. But we digress.
However one check of Vitale’s Twitter page is eye opening. This guy is a one trick, anti-cop, left-wing pony.
Vitale is the coordinator of the Policing and Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College and also serves on the New York State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on civil rights. Classic virtue signaling, social justice warrior resume right there. Oh, and he also advises various international human rights organizations and police departments.
— Alex S. Vitale (@avitale) March 2, 2020
The seminar was sponsored by Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left, and spoke about various challenges that are inherent in current police reform efforts.
Of course, Vitale was promoting his book “The End of Policing,” in which he talked about what he believes are the dangers of modern police tactics and where he suggested alternatives to the current police system.
He led off the talk by relating the story of Deborah Danner, a mentally ill woman who was fatally shot by a New York City police sergeant in 2016. Based on this one case, he questions the effectiveness of police training on mental health.
“The reality is that between a quarter and a half of all people killed by police in the United States are having a mental health crisis,” he said. “It’s the number one indicator of likelihood of ending up killed by police.”
Vitale produced no context to his numbers, nor any sources for his statistics. Clearly, the number one indicator of potentially getting killed by the police is being a criminal who is breaking the law and is probably armed.
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Vitale also repeats the oft-spoken talking points of the left, claiming that police haven’t had any success in curbing drug addiction in the U.S.
He did not address the fact that in many cases, courts do not prosecute drug cases or mandate any type of treatment, just cutting drug offenders loose on the streets. The police can only do so much. Without the cooperation of all elements of the criminal justice system, their hands are tied.
Vitale said that the creation of harsh drug policies was done without any type of political accountability, and said that improved training, increasing gun control and “hiring a few black police chiefs” are not effective.
“In too many of our big cities, politicians who claim to be our friends—who come out on the picket line with us when someone is killed by the police—go back to City Hall and vote to hire more police instead of expanding community-based mental health service, instead of creating drug treatment on demand,” he continued.
A student who attended the event, Leighton Watson said that in order to seriously consider the proposal to abolish policing nationwide, it would first of all be necessary to require a clear, agreed-upon definition of what police abolition would look like.
“Defining what the scope of abolition actually is where are there are gaps,” the Law School student said. “For example, when one person means abolition—is that a complete end of what we call policing, or is there still some function in society, someone that responds to you with a gun?”
In his discussion, Vitale did acknowledge that it would be impossible to eradicate all police services at once. However, he maintained that there is a great need for systemic change.
“No one is talking about, ‘tomorrow we flip the switch and there are no police,’” he said. “The reality is we have a massive infrastructure of policing and criminalization, and we need strategies to get out of this mess, and those strategies do not include implicit bias training, community policing, body cameras, et cetera.”
Sharon I. Brett is a senior staff attorney at the Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Program, said in an interview that trying to understand deep-rooted problems in the nation’s policing system is key in creating a better version of it.
“It’s important to think about this framework when we’re doing criminal justice reform work and, particularly, to think about the historical context of the institutions that we’re attempting to reform in order to understand whether or not they can be reformed.”
Lest we think that this is just one person advocating for abolition of police, there are others.
George Ciccarielo-Maher is a visiting scholar at the College of William and Mary in Virginia and the author of a book called “A World Without Police,” which is being published next year.
His idea of eliminating the police follows what he calls the three D’s: disempower, disarm and disband. He advocates watching, recording and disrupting the police.
Ciccarielo-Maher acknowledges that abolishing police will be an uphill battle that will not happen overnight, but he believes that advocates of prison abolition have made some inroads.
He specifically cites the election of Soros stooges Larry Krasner in Philadelphia and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco as district attorneys, who have basically decided that only the most serious crimes are worthy of prosecution and imprisonment…maybe. He opines that advocates of police abolition need to follow the same road prison abolitionists have done.
In an amazing display of ignorance, he says that alternatives to police exist…that we can rely on family, friends and neighbors instead of calling the police. Seriously, he said that. Especially in states where the government is trying to eliminate the right or people to bear arms to defend themselves. Get your family and friends together, sing a little “Kumbaya” and all will work out. The criminals will just turn around and leave. How dumb is that?
However this “scholar” says that “reinvesting in communities, building local grassroots power and strengthening other forms of conflict resolution” would make policing obsolete.
It is mind boggling that there are actually “educated” individuals out there who believe that a country can exist without police. Then again, Bernie Sanders is leading the Democrat presidential sweepstakes so there are apparently a lot of ignorant loons out there.
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