There is a national debate about police actions and violent protests in cities. A case in Phoenix shows how a routine call can go wrong and the consequences.
The Phoenix City Council last week agreed to a payout of $475,000 after a confrontation last year with a family whose 4-year-old took a doll from a dollar store. That is a large amount, but the initial claim was for $10 million. Fortunately, although there was some roughing up by police of the father and guns were drawn, no one was shot.
The police chief fired one of the officers after a review board had recommended a suspension. A committee was formed to gather input from the community, and officers now must write a report when a gun is drawn.
This outcome seems desirable, certainly more so than those in other cities where citizens, especially minorities, are sometimes abused by officers. Unfortunately such incidents, especially since they have been recorded with devices, have led to the questioning of legitimate use of force. It is clear that officers in some cities have too much protection from removal and yes, there is a relatively small number of bad officers.
Phoenix seems to be doing a better job than some. Also, the Dispatch has sometimes reported about cases where law enforcement officers in Pinal County have shown discretion and avoided bad consequences. This should be the norm everywhere.
Nationally, the other side of the coin is that some cities have overreacted in tying the hands of police, not arresting criminals and actually letting parts of those cities be burned and destroyed over a period of weeks and months. That is hard to comprehend here in Pinal County.
This is all playing out amid the 2020 presidential campaign. President Trump has had plenty to say about the matter, and Joe Biden weighed in the week after his nominating convention after ignoring the issue completely at first.
Serious enforcement of the law by good police officers is what all cities need. While that can be challenging, it is not impossible.