Police misconduct and brutality are grim encounters where the law oversteps its authority, but the problem might go deeper. Efforts to reduce these encounters or reform police culture represent a constant battle between communities and their law enforcement.
According to ABC7 NY, a potentially class-wide suit accuses officials and law enforcement of a deliberate indifference towards a culture of police brutality.
Protecting property — policing people
The plaintiffs of the lawsuit believe a recent reform plan lacks substance and ignores past proposals from the Police Accountability Board. Their lawsuit claims that a clear pattern exists over the last 40 years of aiding in the discrimination of Black and brown people.
An attorney representing the plaintiffs attributed some of the problem to the makeup of the authorities patrolling Rochester. She claims a disconnect arises from policing a predominantly Black and brown population with a white police force from outside of town.
The civil rights lawsuit is on behalf of potentially hundreds, if not thousands of people claiming that authorities victimized them over the last three years. A city council candidate and organizer claims this is their way to demand a seat at the table to force real, material change within the city and the RPD.
Requests to the court include prohibiting officers from using excessive force or suppressing peaceful protests, while also asking the city to appoint an independent monitor to reform policing policies.
Reforming for tomorrow — getting justice today
It is uncertain how far this lawsuit may go or how much it might impact Rochester’s law enforcement. Adjusting decades-rooted systems take time, votes and dedicated action. While that process continues, victims of excessive force and other civil rights violations, no matter where they are, still need a defense.