The Union Foils the Blue Line

Headlines – Friday, June 12th, 2020

The Union Foils the Blue Line

Police Unions, Police Reform, Thin Blue Line, George Floyd, Kim Gardner,

Excerpt from
How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts

While rates of union membership have dropped by half nationally since the early 1980s, to 10 percent, higher membership rates among police unions give them resources they can spend on campaigns and litigation to block reform. A single New York City police union has spent more than $1 million on state and local races since 2014.

The police officer charged with murder in the killing of George Floyd is expected to make a first appearance in court Monday.
In St. Louis, when Kim Gardner was elected the top prosecutor four years ago, she set out to rein in the city’s high rate of police violence. But after she proposed a unit within the prosecutor’s office that would independently investigate misconduct, she ran into the powerful local police union.

The union pressured lawmakers to set aside the proposal, which many supported but then never brought to a vote. Around the same time, a lawyer for the union waged a legal fight to limit the ability of the prosecutor’s office to investigate police misconduct. The following year, a leader of the union said Ms. Gardner should be removed “by force or by choice.”

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