By all accounts George Floyd of Minneapolis was not afforded the dignity that a human being deserves during a policing situation. His killing by a police officer was unjust and reprehensible.
To make matters worse, the young people who demonstrated through acts of destruction brought the wrong attention to their cause of ending police brutality to people of color. If the pillaging of neighborhoods and city centers is justified, then be prepared for what comes next…
– communities that lack food and housing security,
– mom and pop businesses that will struggle to rebuild,
– City resources limited by insufficient funds,
– further break down in trust.
If the problem is about police brutality to people of color, then why is destruction of community the answer? It is not! Without an identified leader to communicate a cohesive and principled message of action on the issue by using peaceful means and clarity of purpose then this destruction does not end, and unfortunately anger through fear remains the only message.
There are two sides…The police department is one side, and they are represented by the local city government and their union. But who is it that comprises the other side? This other side should not be known as a “leftist fringe” group because that is not who they really are. This other side must be comprised of concerned citizens who have respect from the community members to act on behalf of their best interests.
Let me suggest a six point plan to de-escalate the present condition and create a move toward progress:
1) Select 65 Minneapolis citizens comprised of five members from each of the thirteen wards…These citizens would not be from the active leadership of government. These citizens along with a respected and trained facilitator would convene a community meeting with the Mayor and City Councilors to address police brutality concerns.
2) The agenda for this meeting would be to identify 3 measurable goals toward solving police brutality concerns and to select a committee of no more than 13 volunteers from the original 65 citizens (one person from each ward).
3) This citizen committee should identify their mission and put forward a vision.
4) A trained facilitator would work with the committee and the City Council to identify the measures of the three goals which the city would then be charged to implement.
5) Progress is assessed quarterly, and new goals are identified annually.
6) The model is repeated in every U.S. community that wants to see changes made to policing (or any other city activity) in good faith.
I guarantee that trust would be strengthened in all aspects of community life. This is a similar model that I have used within my community. It has the added benefits of teaching improved communication skills and training new community members for future leadership roles.