Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Positive Sign

I haven't written about the Cleveland consent decree (copy here) because I didn't have anything much to say about it.  And if I did say something, well, I don't have a lot of faith in consent decrees like this actually accomplishing anything and I didn't want to come off like a spoil sport.

I mean, an agreement to knock off being violent racist assholes isn't a bad thing.  And the agreement did include provisions for developing training (because just telling cops to stop shooting black people just 'cause won't do when you can spend 18 months developing a class the cops will take that tells them to stop shooting black people just 'cause).  And a monitor for oversight who could investigate police misconduct and recommend that something should be done about it.

The problem is actually enforcing whatever good intentions there might be.  Will there actually be a change in the culture of policing?  Will the recommendations of the overseers actually have any effect?  Will the police department impose real discipline on cops who continue to abuse citizens?  Will the union effectively stymie that effort?

And will the city come up with the money to implement the program they're agreeing to.

As I say, I'm not optimistic.  Then again, nobody's ever accused me of being a glass-half-full kind of guy.

So why now? Because 
Our officers have been trained to survive, to be prepared, to go out in our neighborhoods as if they are in the military. We want our officers to be safe and vigilant and able to protect our community and themselves. But we have changed that philosophy from being a warrior ... to being a guardian.
That's Calvin Williams, Cleveland's Chief of Police.  And if he's serious, and if they let him take even small steps in that direction.  

You know.  From 


And back to
Would be no small thing.

So good for Calvin Williams.  He's talking the talk.  Now, if he'll walk it on the beat.


  1. Watching Williams on 60 Minutes, I thought to myself, he's pretty good at sound bites. But listening to his deft denial of there being anything actually wrong with CDP that needed fixing, I wouldn't hold my breath.

  2. I was going to make a joke offensive to multiple racial groups, but couldn't think of a sufficient number of trigger warnings.

    I'm not falling all over myself with optimism. But I figure I ought to cheer what he says that sounds good.

    The local powers who are running about praising the consent agreement as a wonderful and necessary thing were cheering 10 years ago when they explained that Cleveland had adopted a national model for how to run a police department that was responsive to the community, that wouldn't tolerate brutality, and that wouldn't be racist.

    And now they're gonna do it again.

    But what he said was really good.