To the Editor:
Rep. Jared Golden is dead wrong to use his military experience as an excuse to oppose limited immunity for police and banning chokeholds. Police are not soldiers and community members are not enemy combatants. Even military leaders say it’s better to build alliances than make enemies and better to outwit adversaries than outgun them. Even the military code bans practices which amount to torture.
The militarization of our police is a problem. In war there is no assumption of innocence. Calling police law enforcers misrepresents their role as peacekeepers and their need to use diplomatic skills. Relatively few calls involve active shooters and most call for deescalating conflict rather than using overwhelming force.
‘Defund the police’ is a tragically wrongheaded slogan. To end police brutality, we need to refocus their mission while providing better training and appropriate backup. Serving in the civilian government, Rep. Golden should be able to see and support this.