WASHINGTON, October 10 (RIA Novosti) - US police officers should be required to carry their own professional liability insurance so that they have personal consequences for their actions, believes Michelle Gross, President of Communities United Against Police Brutality.
"Our organization is working to require police officers to carry their own professional liability insurance, so that officers who engage in brutality and misconduct will have personal consequences for their actions, and so that "repeat offenders" become uninsurable and are forced out of the profession," Gross told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
He explained that the shooting of Mike Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, and subsequent uprising in Ferguson had focused renewed attention on the issue of policing, with the community proposing many new solutions.
The issue of policing in the United States is up again after Wednesday's cop-involved shooting in St. Louis, Missouri. African-American teenager Vonderrick Myers was killed by an off-duty white police officer, who also works for a security company. The incident occurred when the officer tried to make a pedestrian check. Myers reportedly ran away, shooting at the officer three times. According to the police, the officer returned the fire fearing for his life.
"This latest fatal shooting by St. Louis police continues a pattern of reckless disregard for the lives of young Black men, and provides yet another example of why police agencies cannot investigate themselves," Gross asserted, noting that an off-duty police officer unleashed a volley of 17 rounds on a young man, although witnesses claim that Myers was carrying only a sandwich.
"Yet, police administration immediately declared the killing justified," Gross pointed out.
"The continued targeting of black youth by police in St. Louis and across the country is an epidemic," Gross stressed. "The US Department of Justice must step in to stem the tide of police-on-black violence as well as police violence against other people of color, the poor and homeless, and mentally disabled."
The officer who shot and killed Myers has been placed on administrative leave, and the investigation is underway.
The killing immediately sparked the protests. One arrest was made, and three police cars were damaged during the unrest.
The death of Myers is the second such incident in St. Louis County since August, when police officer Darren Wilson, also white, shot dead Michael Brown, another 18-year-old African American.