The Daily Beast

America Has Been Waiting 50 Years for Police Accountability. It’s Time.

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Choosing to live in a crime-stressed neighborhood in Newark, the city New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker once led as mayor, gives him a perspective that America sorely needs at this time. As rioters and looters turned peaceful protests into nights of chaos and violence, Booker tweeted, “My team right now is drafting legislation to achieve better transparency and accountability into police misconduct in this country. We know what we need to do—now we need to manifest a collective will to get it done.” 

It was 5:57 a.m. Sunday morning, a weekend from hell, and the congenitally energetic Booker would soon be on CNN talking about the need for a national registry of cops who have been terminated for misconduct, or had complaints brought against them, so problem officers can’t easily get hired in another jurisdiction.  

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis cop charged in the death of George Floyd, had 18 conduct complaints brought against him in his 19-year career. Booker’s registry wouldn’t address the systemic toleration that allowed an officer so compromised to remain on street duty. But another proposed reform would get at what drives the anger behind the protests—that a police officer who committed such a heinous act of murder in broad daylight with everyone watching would be charged only with third-degree murder. 

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