05-22-2018  5:12 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 killed in Vancouver vehicle crash identified

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County Medical's Examiner's Office has identified three men killed in a vehicle crash in Vancouver.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 24-year-old Tabo Naveta, 27-year-old Akiki Kintin and 27-year-old Kenson Cheipot, all from Vancouver, died from injuries...

Springfield settles lawsuit with fired dispatcher for K

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The city of Springfield has agreed to pay ,000 to settle a 2014 lawsuit by a dispatcher who said she was wrongly fired after accusing officers of inappropriate conduct.The Register-Guard reported Sunday that a joint statement from the city and the former dispatcher,...

3 killed in Vancouver vehicle crash identified

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County Medical's Examiner's Office has identified three men killed in a vehicle crash in Vancouver.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 24-year-old Tabo Naveta, 27-year-old Akiki Kintin and 27-year-old Kenson Cheipot, all from Vancouver, died from injuries...

Seattle, family reach M settlement for deadly crash

SEATTLE (AP) — The family of a couple killed in 2013 by a drunk driver has settled with the city of Seattle for million.KOMO-TV reported Monday that the family of Dennis and Judy Schulte settled with the city last month.Prosecutors say Mark Mullan was drunk when his pickup hit the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black man ordered to pay [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 for racist campus graffiti

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A former Eastern Michigan University student who admitted to painting racist graffiti on campus has been ordered to pay more than [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 in restitution.The Ann Arbor News reports 29-year-old Eddie Curlin learned his punishment Monday after earlier pleading guilty to...

China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for separatism

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese judge sentenced a Tibetan shopkeeper to five years in prison on Tuesday for inciting separatism, based on his comments in a New York Times documentary in which the man talked about the erosion of his culture and language in the tightly secured region.Tashi Wangchuk's...

Voters choose nominees in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas

ATLANTA (AP) — Four states will cast ballots Tuesday as the 2018 midterm elections take shape. Voters in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky hold primaries, while Texans settle several primary runoffs after their first round of voting in March. Some noteworthy story lines:IN THIS #METOO MIDTERM,...

ENTERTAINMENT

Sony buys most of EMI Music, to spend B on image sensors

TOKYO (AP) — Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to spend [scripts/homepage/home.php].3 billion acquiring an additional 60 percent stake in EMI Music Publishing, home to the Motown catalog and contemporary artists like Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams.Sony already owns...

At Cannes, a #MeToo upheaval up and down the Croisette

CANNES, France (AP) — Fifty years after filmmakers shut down the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza was again shook by upheaval.From the start to the finish, the 71st Cannes was dominated by protest and petition for gender equality, culminating in the...

Despite Spotify change, R. Kelly's streams still intact

NEW YORK (AP) — Streaming numbers for R. Kelly have remained intact a week after Spotify announced it had removed the R&B singer's music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct.Spotify made the bold declaration on May 10, but R. Kelly's streaming...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

All tied up: LeBron's 44 helps Cavs even series with Celtics

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James knows the path to the NBA Finals better than anyone in today's game.And...

Experts disclose new details about 300-year-old shipwreck

BOSTON (AP) — A Spanish galleon laden with gold that sank to the bottom of the Caribbean off the coast of...

Palestinians ask ICC for 'immediate' probe against Israel

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Calling it a "historic step" toward justice, the Palestinian foreign minister...

Syrian army, police celebrate recapturing all of Damascus

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces raised their flag over the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus on...

EU lawmakers to press Zuckerberg over data privacy

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers plan to press Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday about data...

US bishop at royal wedding thought invitation was a prank

LONDON (AP) — The American bishop whose sermon caused a stir at the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan...

Lekan Oguntoyinbo
Lekan Oguntoyinbo NNPA Columnist

In Manchester, one of Great Britain's largest cities, only 209 of the 6,700 police officers carry guns. These officers are bound by tight restrictions, Sir Peter Fahy, chief of the Greater Manchester Police, told the Washington Post recently. Shooting at moving vehicles, at suspects fleeing a scene or at those brandishing knives is forbidden except under very limited circumstances.

In much of Britain, police officers have to walk the beat unarmed for years before they can apply to carry firearms. Most get rejected. The screening process for firearms possession is rigorous and almost daunting. There are fitness tests, psychological evaluations and endless drills on even the most seemingly routine scenarios.

"They rehearse those situations like a SEAL team trying to get into Osama Bin Laden's compound," Lawrence Sherman, a Cambridge University criminologist told the Post.

On average, cops in England and Wales open fire an average of five times a year. In the United States, cops open fire that many times a day – at least.

I know what you're thinking: it's insane to compare to the United States with the United Kingdom. After all, the U.S. is a violent nation with some of the loosest gun laws on the planet. The homicide rate in Detroit, a city of fewer than 700,000 people, is nearly equal that of Canada, a country of 30 million people. Flint, Mich., another troubled urban center with approximately 100,000 residents, had 52 homicides in 2013. New Zealand, a nation of about 4 million people, had fewer than 50.

No one is suggesting that we reduce the number of police officers authorized to carry firearms in the United States. But there are several similarities between the two countries. Like the United States, Britain is a diverse nation where law enforcement personnel frequently battle urban unrest, gang violence, religious extremism, racial extremists and terrorism. In 2011, riots broke out in London after a Black man was fatally shot. For many years, it was impossible to find a trashcan on the London underground for fear that a terrorist might plant a pipe bomb. In the 1980s, then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by agents of the Irish Republican Army.

Still, there are some policing lessons we could import from the U.K. They include:

  • Gun control – Getting a permit to own a gun in the U.K. is extremely difficult and it is next to impossible to legally own an assault weapon. Consequently, police officers there are not as jumpy or frightened about getting shot as their brothers in blue across the pond. They are also considerably less aggressive. The hyper aggressiveness of American cops is often bad news for civilians, particularly the most vulnerable, particularly people of color. It is quite likely, for example, that Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old child who was shot to death in a park last year by a jumpy Cleveland police officer while playing with a toy gun, would be alive today if he lived in the United Kingdom. (Note to gun rights advocates: stricter gun laws will not make the United States less democratic).
  • A refined mindset – In the United Kingdom there is a huge emphasis among law enforcement officers on human rights. They believe in what one retired police chief there described as "policing by consent," which is to say they see themselves as working with the public or for the public rather than as agents of a faceless state or municipal agency. British officers are also terrified of getting it wrong. That mindset of social responsibility and teaming up with the community to solve problems, particularly in predominantly minority communities, hasn't quite sunk in here – in spite of the prevalence of phone cameras and social media. That may explain why David Eric Casebolt, the McKinney, Texas police officer who savagely slammed a Black teenage girl to the ground, thought nothing of pointing his gun at a group of unarmed Black teens who gathered nearby to monitor him.
  • Uniform standards – Great Britain has considerably more uniformity among its police departments. They each have a minimum of 100 police officers. There are oversight boards that monitor the activities of local law enforcement agencies and there is considerable transparency in cases in which civilians are killed or even shot. Such a system breeds community and lowers the levels of distrust.

In recent years there's been a great deal of talk about the increased militarization of our law enforcement agencies and the blatant lawlessness of our lawmen. Unless – and until – we make concerted efforts at law reform, we will continue to bury more children playing with toy guns.
And our cities will continue to burn.

Lekan Oguntoyinbo is an independent journalist. Contact him at oguntoyinbo@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @oguntoyinbo.

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