On July 26, 2018, the Sacramento police department instituted a new policy regarding foot pursuit of suspects. Apparently, in their opinion, the terrible situation that caused the shooting death of Sacramento resident Stephon Clark was merely a result of two cops pursuing him incorrectly. Under the new policy, foot pursuit in risky circumstances like the one that ended Clark’s life may be discouraged.
Instead, officers will be asked to weigh their own safety, the safety of the public and the importance of apprehending the person before and during a pursuit. I must admit, this didn’t shock me at all. The mere fact that this shooting happened in March and here we are in August and no one has been brought to justice tells us all we need to know about the criminal justice system.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg supported the new policy stating: “I think it‘s a bold move and a necessary move, Police chief Hahn and the city promised real tangible change in the wake of the Stephon Clark shooting, and while this is not the end of the necessary changes, it‘s a crucial step forward”
Really? A step forward? It‘s funny how when a black citizen commits a crime against someone who looks like them, it’s an open and shut case. However, when the culprit is a police officer or any other member of the dominant white society, real punishment never seems to be one of the options. Instead, they get retrained or even transferred to a different department.
Every so often, they take the George Zimmerman route, profiting off a white supremacist ideology that he shared with millions of Americans. The fact that the gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin was auctioned off for close to $250k is proof of that. Modifying the way a police officer pursues a suspect is doing nothing but putting a band-aid on a much larger problem. Until America is ready to have an open and honest dialogue about race in this country, things will never change.