To: readers across the Aisle

Subject: Change is coming

Date: June 22, 2020

via Giphy

This is Congress!

Finally, politicians have stopped performative acts like wearing the kente cloth and renaming streets. Both sides of the Aisle have woken up to what America really wants- LEGISLATION. Draft bills, pass laws, make real change. Yes hold on to your wigs- this is in fact in the job description of a politician. Don't you hate it when the actual job is nothing like the job description?

 

Now entering the studio are today's contestants:

  • House Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi wearing kente cloth (I'll take what is appropriation for 500 points)

  • Senate republicans led by Tim Scott (I'll take what is tokenism for 200 points) 

Now that I have your attention, this is a serious opportunity for both sides of the Aisle to collaborate on one of the biggest issues of our time. Communities of color have been crying out for decades about a lack of trust and abuse from local law enforcement.

 

Now, America is listening. Rasmusen, a right leaning pollster, found that 62% of likely voters approve of the black lives matter movement and the ideas it represents. The country is demanding change and politicians are working to pass a bipartisan bill that will limit excessive force and keep law enforcement accountable.

Let's take a walk down the Aisle...

Congress "cannot settle for anything less than transformative structural change" -Nancy Pelosi 

Key highlights from the House Democrats' bill:

  • make chokeholds illegal 

  • end no knock warrants (which resulted in the death of Breonna Taylor)

  • make it easier for victims to sue officers that have violated their constitutional rights by changing qualified immunity, which currently protects police officers from being sued

 

In a combined effort with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Democrats' bill is designed to regulate law enforcement at a federal level. In their view, transformative, structural change is created by creating a national standard for use of force.

 

Democrats are also tougher on police officers, making it easier for victims to seek damages

 

Senator Kamala Harris says that the Republican bill does not create the accountability necessary. She says it is weakened by its stances on no knock warrants and presumably qualified immunity.

 

Furthermore, Republicans want to gather information on police brutality after the fact, through databases and yearly reporting, but she believes their bill does not do enough to stop police brutality from happening in the first place.

More on the Republican bill below.

via The Aisle

Some on the left have been calling for defunding the police, or scooping part of the budget from the police department and reinvesting it into other sectors of the community. The argument for this is that communities with high levels of crime are results of systemic inequality in education, healthcare, and affordable housing. By improving the economic and social conditions of these communities, there will be less crime.

 

This approach fights the causes of crime proactively, which liberals argue is more effective than reactive law enforcement dealing with the effects.

Additionally, liberals point that lack of training leaves police officers unprepared to handle mental health crises. In North Carolina: ​

  • Police officers have 620 hours of required training

  • Barbers have 1,528 hours of required training

Hair is important but the barber shears are not going to put you in a chokehold! 1 in 10 police calls are about mental health crises. According to the LAPD's internal review in 2015, 37% of police shootings involved suspects with documented signs of mental illness.

Liberals are proposing that more trained community professionals respond to these calls, such as mental health workers, social workers, etc.

 

On the other hand, ex-police officer, Brandon Tatum, argues that these workers cannot protect the most vulnerable in emergency situations where lives are at risk. If we defund the police department, who will respond to domestic terrorism threats or protect single mothers when their houses are broken into?

 

He agrees that we need more training to improve policing, but more training and resources is only possible with more funding, not less.

Case study time (don't worry no cold-calling): Camden, New Jersey disbanded it's police department 7 years ago and started a new one from scratch, with a mental health task force and increased crisis intervention training. Since then, crime has dropped by almost half

So how do Americans feel about it? While a large majority of the country supports black lives matter, a minority of around 31% (avg of 4 polls) Americans support defunding the police. Even far-left Bernie said (is that Bernie and Breitbart on the same side?) that he did not agree with defunding or abolishing the police.

TL;DR:  It's a no from me dawg. -America (which is why neither the Democrat or Republican bill mentions defunding the police)

 Carlson/ Cuomo Crossover

Both sides analyze the most recent case of police misconduct

27-year-old Rayshard Brooks died after being shot by former Atlanta police officer, Garrett Rolfe. The following summarizes Chris Cuomo's and Tucker Carlson's reports on the events that followed.

What Happened

Wendy's workers called 911 for a man sleeping in a car blocking the drive through. Officer Brosnan answered the call and determined that Mr. Brooks was impaired. Officers questioned Mr. Brooks for 40 minutes, during which Mr. Brooks was friendly and cooperative.

 

Without any announcement of arrest,  Officer Rolfe attempted to handcuff Mr. Brooks for DUI, which Brooks resisted. Mr. Brooks took Officer Brosnan's taser, tased Brosnan, punched Rolfe, and ran away. 

 

Officer Rolfe fired three shots at Mr. Brooks' back when he was 18 ft away from officers.

Officers did not provide immediate medical attention for 2 min. Then, Officer Rolfe performed CPR and begged Mr. Brooks to stay alive as EMS arrived. Mr. Brooks died in the hospital from blood loss due to 2 gunshot wounds in the back.

Objections

Why didn't Officer Brosnan let Mr. Brooks walk home or drive him home himself?

 

Mr. Brooks showed an Ohio driver's license and was driving a rental car. He claimed his hotel was just over the bridge (even though there was no bridge nearby), so Officer Brosnan didn't think Mr. Brooks could make it home by himself/ didn't know where Mr. Brooks was staying.

Why did officers use excessive force?

 

When Mr. Brooks took Officer Brosnan's weapon, presumably officers feared for their own safety. Mr. Brooks had already punched Officer Rolfe and tased Officer Brosnan, knocking him down and giving him a concussion. Officer Rolfe may have feared for his life as Brosnan fell.

 

However, Brooks was running away from Rolfe and not towards him.

Why did Officer Brosnan stand on Mr. Brooks' shoulder as he was dying?

 

Not knowing who was firing after suffering a concussion, Brosnan took cover under a police car. Allegedly confused, he then stood on Brooks' shoulder (for 10 seconds) to prevent him from using the weapon again. ​

The Charges

Although he never shot Mr. Brooks, Officer Brosnan faces charges for aggravated assault, including a sentence of up to 20 years. Officer Rolfe faces the death sentence. According to Brosnan's lawyers, Brosnan feels grief and had no idea that the friendly interaction would end like this.

 

It is possible that he did not approve of Rolfe's negligence and may testify against him if necessary.

According to Cuomo, the decision to resist arrest changed the peaceful interaction entirely. Carlson says that no matter how you look at it, it's a tragedy. The father of 3 girls is dead.

 

Both ask themselves: does it warrant the death sentence?

The Game

 

The DA is under a lot of pressure to prosecute as Howard is facing a runoff election and charges for sexual harassment. 

It's clear to anyone that the aggressive charges are politically motivated. Basically, the officers are probably being used as a sacrifice to appease voters. This tragedy is being used for political gain.

Rayshard Brooks should never have been shot in the back, especially since he was running away from officers. We are not excusing the police officers actions or saying they shouldn't be prosecuted for misconduct.

However, a jury will find it extremely difficult to lawfully convict for such intense charges based on the evidence. 

 

So it's a lose-lose situation, meaning this isn't justice for Rayshard Brooks- it's a political game for show.

 

Furthermore, the charges have alienated the police community. Since then, Atlanta police officers, who were already dealing with being spit on, attacked, and yelled at everyday, have protested the charges by calling in sick.

The Atlanta police department, which is 58% black, doesn't want to play these games anymore.

via The Aisle

"You can be both pro-law enforcement and pro-communities of color..." -Tim Scott (R-S.C.)

On the other side of the Aisle, here are the key highlights from the Republican bill:

  • doesn't make chokeholds illegal but does prevent police departments that don't ban chokeholds from receiving federal grants

  • no knock warrants must be reported to attorney general at federal level (failure to report results in less funding for that department)

  • creates a misconduct database where police misconduct is reported on a local and state level to the FBI, which will make record public (remember several police officers recently accused of police brutality already had a history of complaints/ reports)

Basically, the Republican bill is about creating more accountability through the database and aligning economic incentives so police departments regulate themselves more strictly. It's in line with conservative values of less federal regulation is better. The bill also advocates for more deescalation and bystander training as an effective method for reducing excessive force.

Tim Scott, the sponsor of the bill and the lone* black Republican senator, recently stated that, "[he] can be pro-law enforcement and pro-communities of color. You can be both." This view shows in his bill, named the Justice Act, where he incorporates his own experiences with racial profiling, while simultaneously prioritizing police officers' rights.

The one issue where Scott will not budge is ending qualified immunity, which Scott believes is a "poison pill" for Republicans.

Qualified immunity is controversial and may prevent both sides from reaching an agreement. Conservatives believe it creates the right incentives for states to recruit officers who can perform their job without fear of liability.

*Side note: to address the issue that senate Republicans are using Tim Scott as the token black guy, there's only 2 black Democrat senators: Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. So give me a break there's an issue of diversity on both sides.

Other controversies

via Twitter

CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone) or CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest)

  • What: an area of Seattle that protestors have claimed as a no police zone

  • Right: pure anarchy + hypocritical (has armed guards + a border wall)

  • Left: peaceful zone where activists gather and give away free stuff (is this #communism)

Trump ads removed by Facebook

  • What: FB removed Trump ad branding Antifa with upside down triangle Nazis used for political prisoners

  • Right: Continuing trend of big tech censoring conservatives

  • Left: Trump should not be using hate groups' images 

Supreme Court Rulings

  • What: 1) protected rights of LGBTQ workers 2) protected Dreamer Act for 700,000 young immigrants

  • Right: Supreme Court is attacking conservative values 

  • Left: I would like to thank the Academy...I mean Justice Roberts

Coronavirus

  • What: cases are at an all time low in New York but increasing in southern states

  • Right: individual choice (no one enforced social distancing at protests)

  • Left: Republican controlled states are not taking the virus seriously enough

Confederate Statues

  • What: rioters have been taking down statues all over the country and companies are changing logos

  • Right: we cannot erase history

  • Left: confederate statues are participation trophies and glorifying American traitors

Closing Points

  • Both bills make lynching illegal, create databases for police misconduct, and more training/ bodycams.

  • We need a bipartisan bill to pass to create real change. Both sides of the Aisle have to come together to agree on qualified immunity, chokeholds, and no knock warrants.

  • We need justice for Rayshard Brooks and his family, but prosecutors should not use the case for their own political gain. 

  • Change is not going to come if protestors alienate and demonize all police officers.

  • Police officers and communities must work together to change the system.

  • Likewise, legislators should protect the interests of both civilians and police officers.

via Deseret News

Spread some good

  • Protestors for Blue Rally and Black Lives Matter come together to find common ground in Utah

  • Support Rayshard Brooks' family, including his three young daughters

  • Egard watch company releases ad in support of police

  • Nashville neighbor paints bunny black to stand up for racial injustice

  • Anonymous teen dresses up as Batman to anonymously deliver food to homeless in San Jose 

  • Vidor, Texas, with notorious past, hosts peaceful black lives matter demonstration

  • Blue H.E.L.P. raises awareness for mental health issues in the police community

Quote of the Week

via NY Times

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."

-Harriet Tubman, a former slave herself, risked her life on over 13 missions to rescue 70 slaves through the Underground Railroad. She also was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the Civil War, where she freed 700 slaves. Towards the end of her life, she was involved in the women's suffrage movement.

On Juneteenth, we celebrated the emancipation of enslaved Americans. To the patriots who sacrificed everything to make this country free for all, we honor you and continue your legacy.

Thank you, share, subscribe? What else do people say at the end of these things?

Thank you for walking across the Aisle with us this week. Now that you have both sides of the story, it’s up to you to decide where you stand. 

 

Regardless of where you end up, we’re thankful that you read ideas that challenged your position, and we hope you’ll leave with a better understanding of the other side.

 

See you next week!

 

Share this with someone you disagree with.

 

This article cites 16 liberal news sources in blue and 15 conservative news sources in red. 11 sources were considered neutral in gray. 

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