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Police Violence in Portland has Taken 40 Lives Since 2003

Police brutality has been a consistent part of American history for many years.

In a society where law enforcement often holds the upper hand amongst civilians, many officers have resorted to using extreme acts of violence that have claimed the lives of many citizens, disproportionately impacting Black people, other minorities and those who suffer with varying forms of mental illnesses.

In the city of Portland, since the 2003 slaying by cop of 21-year old Kendra James, the hasty and violent actions of law enforcement have been heavily criticized.

Subsequent to James’ tragic death, the Portland Police Bureau claims to seek ways in which use of deadly force against members of the public could be reduced. Nevertheless, during the subsequent 17 years, preventable deaths due to cops have continued within the city of Portland.

Despite the continued loss of innocent life at the hands of law enforcement, the officers involved in these shootings have not faced criminal prosecution or employment consequences.

Whenever disciplinary actions have been attempted against rogue officers, the officers have negated their punishment through arbitration.

As a result of the court-created doctrine of “qualified immunity” many families victimized by police violence have not received compensation.

Nor have effective steps been taken to give officers sufficient training in order to handle suspected offenders who struggle with severe mental illnesses or those who act erratically.

Because of the ineffectual way the police bureau and prosecutors have handled cases of police brutality, many clamor for necessary reforms. A movement to “de-fund the police” has emerged, out of frustration with the status quo.

Defenders of justice maintain that law enforcement should take accountability for the deaths of those who were slain by the police. Families who have lost their loved ones due to the impulsive actions of police officers are outraged and are speaking out.

There can be no question that actions need to be taken within and outside the walls of law enforcement. Too many tragic fatalities that could have been prevented with better training and supervision of violent police officers continue to take place every year, in Portland and elsewhere.

Police reform is an objective that citizens across the country are striving for every day, hoping for change within the communities that are most heavily affected by such events.

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