Pressure candidates on criminal justice reform



The National Urban League’s annual conference begins this week here in Fort Lauderdale. One would expect our presidential hopefuls to be in attendance.

This is an opportunity for them to show leadership on the broad issues affecting our nation, one of which is criminal justice reform, including police tactics, body cams, arrest decisions, jail/incarceration procedures, mental health sensitivity and our monetary bail requirements that allow similarly situated citizens to remain incarcerated based simply on wealth.

Bland’s death tragic
The arrest and death of Sandra Bland sent chills through many communities.

Her actions on July 10 while driving on the streets of Texas were completely innocent, and her arrest was appalling. Watching the video of her arrest sent chills through my body and brought tears to my eyes as I realized her actions could easily have been the actions of my mother, daughter, aunt or many of my colleagues.

Everyone that I’ve spoken with has agreed that her arrest, detention and death were sadly avoidable and unnecessary. They are relieved that we have the video.

We know that most of our law enforcement officers are there to protect and serve, but the few cast major aspersions on them all. This case highlights the multiplicity of problems and cracks throughout our justice system.

Presidential leadership cannot change the appalling outcomes that occur when good officers, minority and majority, simply stand and watch in silence as their colleagues send chills through our community. Evil prevails when good men and women do nothing.

Perry E. Thurston, Jr. is a Fort Lauderdale attorney and a candidate for Florida Senate District 31.



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