The City Council Chambers were dark this Tuesday because there was no city council meeting. Meanwhile Inglewood residents and business owners, who were not subjected to rioting, looting and mayhem, watched with interest as the City of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and dozens of cities across the nation experienced the full range of demonstrations against police brutality and demands for justice for George Floyd, the Black man who was killed, apparently at the hands and knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Savoy Nightclub in the City of Inglewood was one of a number of businesses who boarded up their site and spray painted signs indicating that they were supportive of BLM, Black Lives Matter, with hopes that if demonstrations occurred in Inglewood that advanced to the point of looting, their business would be spared. The City was braced for demonstrations and I am certain the Inglewood Police Department was on high alert even though rioting never came to the city, while nationwide protests in the wake of Floyd’s death show no sign of slowing down.
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts who formerly lead three municipal police departments, sat down with veteran newsman Jim Hill to detail the problem with law and order in our society; what likely lead and contributed to Floyd’s assault; a police culture that exists among a few police officers where peer group leaders are not confronted for bad behavior; and what is needed to solve the problem.
During the ten minute interview that aired on KCBSTV, Mayor Butts detailed what is needed to solve the problem. He said that police recruits should be strained rigorously, trained zealously, monitored completely, disciplined strongly and separated from service when they are dangerous to the citizens that they are sworn to serve and protect.
He further indicated that this was one of the few instances of police force where the officer was unable to say that it was a split second decision or that the subject was resisting arrest, to justify the amount of force that was involved. Mayor Butts explained that when the eight-minute-plus video aired of Floyd being deprived of oxygen, contributing to his ultimate demise, citizens across the nation decided that enough is enough and that lawlessness on the part of errant police officers spread into the communities. For the last nine days the demonstrations nationwide are sending a message to elected officials who select the police chiefs who are ultimately responsible for selecting the men and women who lead our municipal police departments.
The death of George Floyd will have an impact on how police officers conduct themselves in the future in the City of Inglewood and indeed across the nation. It is about time!