A proposal to enhance public credibility
In the aftermath of controversial police shootings going back decades, a divided public continues to struggle with how to respond. To those supporting police officers, the lack of criminal charges may mean nothing more than Wisconsin police officers have exercised appropriate discretion in each controversial shooting and no charges against any officers were warranted. To others, the lack of any charges in these cases supports a contention that the system was rigged in favor of law enforcement officers, particularly when a minority is the person who was shot or killed.
A change to state law would help bridge the gap between these two groups, as well as add credibility to the district attorney review of police shootings. Wisconsin should enact a civil rights law that changes the inquiry on fatal police shootings from whether the officer committed a homicide to whether the officer willfully used excessive force in violation of the U.S. Constitution.