‘Increasingly Rightwing’ Police Unions Have Made Policing More Dangerous in America

Good roundup of links from Jason Kottke, culminating in this eye-opening thread from Minneapolis City Councilman Steve Fletcher, pointing out that police unions aren’t like other labor unions, and operate like protection rackets:

Why hasn’t it been fixed? Because the crisis we’re in this week has been an implied threat hanging over the city during union negotiations, discipline proceedings, and budget hearings for years.

Politicians who cross the MPD find slowdowns in their wards. After the first time I cut money from the proposed police budget, I had an uptick in calls taking forever to get a response, and MPD officers telling business owners to call their councilman about why it took so long.

We pay dearly for public safety: $195 million a year plus extensive, expensive legal settlements. That should buy us more than a protection racket that’ll take it out on our constituents if we try to create accountability.

Federal laws that define and mandate nationwide police accountability could do for police reform what the Voting Rights Act did for election reform. But we’ve fallen so far under right-wing political dominance in the U.S. that even the Voting Rights Act needs to be un-gutted. Our work is cut out for us.

Also worth pointing out: Police unions are a bastion of rightwing political clout in otherwise left-leaning liberal cities. It doesn’t make sense, really. Protection racket extremism might be the only way they can hold onto that clout. Ultimately, breaking their stranglehold on accountability is the entire purpose of these nationwide protests.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020