|(File photo: Reuters)
Over the past decades the US has repeatedly recorded cases of policemen abusing their power against people of African origin. Racial discrimination protests have occurred across the US again and again. This time the protest has gained traction in many other countries.
The current protest has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected the black community, both economically and in number job loss.
The public is demanding now that the US and other countries finally stop discriminating against people of color, starting with reforming the police force.
Demand for police reforms
Vanita Gupta, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of the US Justice Department Civil Rights Division under the Obama administration, has called for an investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department. She said criminal charges against the officers involved in the May 25th incident are insufficient to resolve the systemic problems that are rooted in American law enforcement.
Report after report over the past 20 years has recommended police reforms to hold policemen responsible for using excessive force, and build public trust in the police, but these recommendations have had little effect.
Over the past 3 years, the Trump administration has reserved police reforms begun by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed an Obama-era rule that banned local police from receiving surplus military equipment. The ban was imposed after the police used armored vehicles to confront protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, after an 18-year-old boy was shot by the police. Sessions resumed a program that allowed the Pentagon to transfer military weapons to law enforcement.
Pressure on the Trump administration
The Trump administration is facing strong criticism, particularly from the Democrats. His supporters point out that President Trump is responsible for a program called the “Opportunity Zone program” designed to help poor people, mostly people of color, and for criminal justice reforms which are having a direct impact on people of color.
Trump signed a bill that restored lapsed funding to black colleges and universities and conducted drug detoxification programs for the colored community. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate in communities of color was lowest in US history.
President Trump has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the four police officers involved in the May 25th incident.