Tags: Law Enforcement | police unions | critics | need to go

3 Reasons Police Unions Need to Go

By    |   Monday, 29 Jun 2015 06:43 PM

Police officers have been under scrutiny recently as cop shootings in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities heighten tension in race relations. In many of these cases, police unions are criticized for encouraging police brutality and making the United States less safe.

"I'll be the first one to say that they put their life on the line every day, but they're killing innocent people and kids,” Christal Kennerson, aunt of Daniel Tillison, unarmed black man who was shot by Albequerque police in 2012, told USA Today.

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Here are three common complaints of critics who say police unions need to go.

1. Unions Protect Abusive Officers
Police unions make firing cops who use unnecessary violence difficult. In March 2012, Phillip Reynolds, a Washington police officer, was fired after the department uncovered a series of policy violations in which Reynolds needlessly used his taser on unarmed civilians who had committed minor offenses. Teamsters Union Local 252 later represented Reynolds, and he was reinstated as an officer. The case resulted in more than $80,000 in legal fees for the state, The Chronicle reported.

In situations like Reynolds’ where police engage in misconduct, unions have the ability to extend the time an officer has to give a statement, raise funds, and give cops what some deem an unfair advantage in the legal system.

2. Unions Worsen Race Relations
Police unions have been accused of promoting, rather than preventing, racism in the criminal justice system. One such instance occurred when Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 President Gene Ryan compared protests following the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore with a “lynch mob,” The Baltimore Sun reported.

"The images seen on television look and sound much like a lynch mob in that they are calling for the immediate imprisonment of these officers without them ever receiving the due process that is the Constitutional right of every citizen, including law enforcement officers," Ryan said in a statement.

The comment was deemed insensitive and further provoked Baltimore rioters.

3. Unions Do Not Make People Safer
Police unions have been known to speak out against policies that promote community safety. In 2015, Denver police changed their shooting guidelines for police in moving vehicles so that officers can no longer shoot at a moving vehicle unless shot at first. While the American Civil Liberties Union and the state supported Denver police’s policy change, the Denver Police Union opposed the change, PoliceOne.com reported.

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Police officers have been under scrutiny recently as cop shootings in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities heighten tension in race relations. In many of these cases, police unions are criticized for encouraging police brutality and making the United States less safe.
police unions, critics, need to go
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2015-43-29
Monday, 29 Jun 2015 06:43 PM
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