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Police brutality has been seared into the consciousness of many Americans — especially blacks — since the 1960s, when TV showed civil-rights protestors being clubbed and hosed by Jim Crow police departments.
After every nationally publicized incident — the latest being the horrific death of George Floyd — there are calls for change. Experts demand better police training, more civilian oversight, and the hiring of a more diverse force. Many police departments have taken those steps.
But New York mayor Bill de Blasio had to admit on Sunday, “We need faster, speedier discipline when it comes to policing.” Yet it never seems to happen.
Maybe it’s finally time to consider the role that police unions play in perpetuating police brutality. Mayor de Blasio has frequently tangled with his city’s powerful unions, but he’s never challenged their vast political power. And make no mistake, that power is often used to cover up and deflect charges of police misconduct.