Riot police clear demonstrators from a street in Ferguson

Leid Stories – 05.18.15

Police Reform? What Police Reform?

President Obama today announces an executive order banning the purchase or transfer of some military gear and equipment to local police departments across the country. It’s a turnaround of sorts for the president; just last December the White House was defending $18 billion in spending by five federal agencies on programs that provided police departments with military-grade gear and equipment.

Leid Stories in a commentary contends that Obama’s move is largely cosmetric; it doesn’t deal with the central issue that has been raised time and again—real, systemic reforms of police and policing.

In Missouri, which was a national and international touchstone on the subject–with the shooting death in Ferguson last August of Michael Brown by ex-cop Darren Wilson–the state Legislature closed its session without passing a single measure related to police reform. Some 60 pieces of reform-minded legislation were up for passage.

Leid Stories in a commentary explains that politicians have no intention of taking on the matter of police reform. It remains a “people’s struggle.”


Leid Stories – 05.06.15

Struggling Detroiters Repel New Taxes
The High Cost of Police ‘Reforms’
Struggling Detroiters Repel New Taxes
The High Cost of Police ‘Reforms’

Still under the yoke of bankruptcy, Detroiters yesterday voted down a measure by the city to offset corporate tax breaks with new taxes for residents. Proposal 1 went down in flames, but the city continues to bank empty lots and foreclosed homes for future sale to real estate interests, and 25,000 homeowners face water shutoffs this month.
Abayomi Azikiwe, our correspondent in Detroit, reports.

It’s routine now, especially in the aftermath of particularly egregious conduct by police officers, for public officials and advocates alike to call for “reforms.” But the evidence is showing little, if any, movement on what is widely acknowledged as a national crisis.
Meanwhile, the toll climbs, and African American and Latino communities inordinately bear the brunt of the lethal consequences of police misconduct and excessive use of force.
Leid Stories says these targeted communities not only must press their demands, they should play a leading role in defining and deciding what “reform” means.