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Targeting bad cops: Lessen union power

People like Derek Chauvin need to be kept out of law enforcement. When they manage to elude safeguards, they need to be identified and booted out of the profession.

And when law enforcement brutality does occur, it must be punished swiftly and severely.

Chauvin, of course, is the ex-Minneapolis officer who has been charged with murdering George Floyd. Chauvin’s callous, almost casual viciousness, seen on a widely circulated video, has united Americans to an extent rarely seen. Shock, outrage, burning anger and a demand that something be done about people like Chauvin are common reactions to the video.

Now what? This is not the first time there have been calls for law enforcement reforms. And though there have been some attempts, they have not been adequate.

Some city councils already have taken action such as banning use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers. Legislators in many states have discussed more sweeping reforms.

An essential ingredient in a solution involves police unions, which seem to stand behind officers no matter what. Why is that? One would think all police personnel would benefit from seeing the bad apples tossed out. Officers such as Chauvin, with many prior complaints against him, sow chaos in their wake — perhaps because they believe they can. Someone always “has their back,” after all. The way to reform police unions is to attack the larger problem of public employee unions. By changing the law to limit their power.

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