The leading candidates for the Green Party’s presidential ticket Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker are calling for “radical changes” to policing, including decriminalization of all drugs. The plan also includes community control of police and using federal funds in police budgets specifically to “pay for the services and economic development that working-class communities of color need.”
The candidates point out that in the U.S., “drug law offenses account for 16 percent of all arrests and are the single biggest category of arrests.”
“Drug offenses account for about 1 in 5 people in jail or prison, including 46 percent of federal prisoners. Drug abuse is a health problem, not a criminal problem. Instead of a criminal offense, we must make drug use and possession a violation that refers drug users to medical and social services.” – Hawkins and Walker, “Reimagining Public Safety: Community Control, Social Investment, and Decriminalizing Drugs”
The community control plan proposes police commissions are “publicly-elected or randomly-selected like juries” with the power to hire and fire the police chief, independently investigate and discipline police misconduct, formulate and review police budgets and practices, and negotiate police union contracts.
Hawkins and Walker appear to support the reforms proposed by Congressional Democrats’ Justice in Policing Act, which includes revising qualified immunity, which shields officers from liability for excessive use of force, a ban on no-knock raids and chokeholds, mandating racial bias training, making lynching a federal crime, and ending the transfer of military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies, among other reforms.
Senate Republicans also have pending police reform legislation which includes incentives for police departments to ban chokeholds – but not an outright ban – more disclosure requirements about the use of force and no-knock warrants, and penalties for false reports. The measure also includes emergency grant programs for body cameras, makes lynching a federal hate crime, and would create a commission to study the conditions facing black men and boys.
The Green Party proposal includes additional provisions, including mandating de-escalation tactics, requiring a warning before discharging a firearm, require officers to intervene when another officer is using excessive force, a ban on shooting at moving vehicles, and residency requirements for police.