At last night’s Arlington Young Dems criminal justice reform forum, the last question of the evening was about whether the legislators would be willing to be vocal in Richmond about harmful police culture. There was a short, awkward silence from the legislators.
And then State Senator Jennifer McClellan (who’s also running for governor) told a story (see video clip, below; also see the complete video of the forum, at the end of this post).
Her Dad was visiting her and watering her lawn. Her neighbor didn’t know who he was, and called the cops. The first her dad realized of this was feeling a gun pressed into his back. No “excuse me sir, do you live here” or any other more appropriate way to approach someone.
A gun to his back.
This is far too often cop culture. That the default way a cop responds to a call about a Black man on someone’s property with a watering can in his hand is to pull a gun on him. Had her dad suddenly reacted to feeling a gun pressed to his back, he might’ve been killed by that cop.
This is what has to change. It’s not going to be fixed with a couple of laws banning neck holds and requiring more training in one special session. It’s more systemic than that.
I hope you’re all here for the marathon.