The incident of fatal shooting of 18-year-old unarmed black boy Michael Brown by white police officer Daniel Wilson has triggered months of unrest in not only Ferguson, Missouri but across the country.
Last week, a grand jury of three blacks and nine whites has decided to drop criminal charges against the white cop and denied to indict him. The decision has reignited the racial tensions in the United States, especially between the African-Americans and the police department.
With the fallout from Ferguson, President Barack Obama on Monday announced a new action plan aimed at encouraging the accountability of the law enforcement at local level as well as improving the policing policies, mainly in the minority communities.
Following are the four top pieces of the plan:
1. 50,000 Police Body Cameras: According to the White House, the President will be asking Congress for USD 75 million for over three years in order to subsidize the purchase of up to 50,000 body-worn cameras for the local police.
Both local police union officials and civil rights advocates have hailed the proposal for the lapel-mounted devices that would record activities of the police officers on job. They believe this will provide better documentation of the conduct of police and also with those they interact with. The White House officials also believe that the cameras would further help in building trust between police forces and communities.
This program is one of the pieces of a USD 263 million budget request that includes money for the training of law enforcement officials as well as adding extra resources for the reformation of police departments, administration officials said.
2. Task Force on Police Practices: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and George Mason University professor and former Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson has been appointed to chair a task force based on modern police practices. The task force team will submit a report by late February next year recommending on how to “promote effective crime reduction while building public trust.”
3. White House Report on Militarization of Police: President Obama had in August this year commissioned a review of federal programs that offer surplus military-style equipment to the local law enforcement agencies.
4. Executive Order on Military-Style Equipment Acquisition:Obama will sign an executive order asking the federal agencies to develop a uniform cross-government policy for the acquisition of local law enforcement equipment. A set of guidelines is likely to come out about what the federal property is or is not permissible for sale or transfer to the local police. It will also require the approval from local civilian for any purchase or mandate that the local police departments get training for the equipment use.