Sweeping statements like “there is no accountability” are not only factually inaccurate, but dangerous to make. So many of these responses assume that more officers should be convicted that weren’t, but just because someone in the public looks at the facts of a story as presented in the media and sees it as illegal or unlawful behavior doesn’t mean it is. Not to mention that the media does not cover everything that happens, it’s not possible. Just because something doesn’t look good, doesn’t mean it was illegal or against policy. There are nuances to police work that the general public don’t understand. The same can be true in any industry being looked at from the outside in.
There is accountability happening every single day in police agencies. Lately, officers are being charged with crimes to satisfy the public when they acted within the confines of the the law regarding use of force.
The DOJ investigations are almost a formality being used to pacify the public. They do not have enough staff to investigate every single use of force situation that the uninformed public doesn’t like, and it seems even when an investigation is done the results are challenged. Additionally, these are lawyers who — for the most part — have zero experience in what it is like to be in a life or death situation on patrol. Any oversight of policing needs to be done by people who understand what it’s actually like to do the job. I would like to see some specialized training for anyone in that position … or at least some sort of task force or committee that included former officers or people with that training.
Officers caught breaking the law ARE being punished, fired and put in jail. Too often, the public sees a few seconds of a video or some other information and they seem to feel justified in making a decision about what happened in that scenario. They want “justice” for something that was legal. Use of force procedure, as outlined in cases like Graham v. Connor and Tennessee v. Garner, was developed over years of trial and error. There are reasons things are done the way they are, and while there is always room for improvement, I do not believe systematic reform is what is needed.