CJ Griffin, Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, was quoted in an article on NJ.com, “Making Black Lives Matter.” The article interviewed people with different backgrounds from New Jersey on how to end systematic racism in policing.
“Protecting Black lives requires new ways of thinking. Instead of focusing on procedural police reforms, such as training and policies, which have never meaningfully changed outcomes, we must instead change the role police play in our society.”
“First, we must acknowledge that the history of American policing is rooted in racism and oppression. In “The End of Policing,” Alex S. Vitale explains how early police forces were used to enforce slavery in the South and to control the “underclass” elsewhere – immigrants, free Blacks, Native Americans and the poor. After slavery ended, police enforced Jim Crow laws to keep newly freed Blacks subservient.
“History is important. The fact that police arrest, incarcerate, and use force against people of color at disproportionately higher rates today is not accidental; it is the result of the system’s original design. To fix this, the system must be redesigned into something different than what it has been for centuries.
“Among other things, this means shrinking police departments and investing in community services. It means changing the laws that police enforce, either because they were enacted to oppress people of color or are used by police to justify pretextual stops.
“Another important step is ending the culture of police secrecy. In New Jersey, police investigate themselves when a person files an allegation of misconduct, and the public has no access to police disciplinary records. Only through public access to these records can we expose misconduct and corruption and change police culture.”
Please click here for an online version of the article.