Shahid Buttar on Shifting the Landscape in the Criminal Justice Arena

Shahid Buttar discusses the Criminal Justice Arena and the changes that could be made to improve people's lives.

What can we do about Police violence?

*Firstly*, says Shahid, we could finally enact the End Racial Profiling Act, and start collecting data. Presently we have to turn to a British newspaper to get statistics about how many Americans get killed by police each year!! ERPA would give citizens a right of private action. They would no longer have to prove Discriminatory Intent of the government agent. This requirement is the hole into which most civil rights claims sink. Disparate Impact (the statistical proof of discrimination which the law would require the State to collect and make available) would be enough to state a claim in court.

*Secondly* create a national registry of killer cops. Once fired from a police department you should not be hired by another.

*Thirdly*, we need to the legalize cannabis at the federal level, Shahid tells us. This is a crucial leg to take out of the stool of the prison industrial complex. It would diminish civil asset forfeitures which are often justified on the basis of the drug war. If you legalize some of those underlying offences, then the law enforcement abuses that rely on those criminalizations as a foundation, start to get addressed too.

Do you realize how many jobs and how much revenue would be lost if you took away the criminalization of pot across the United States, asks John? Only in law enforcement, Shahid replies. Think about how many green jobs would be created across the cannabis industry supply chain.

And I would add that we need an Independent Review (of the Police departments) John comments. Shahid agrees and adds that Civilian Review Boards often don’t have adequate resources and in those cases they become ruses. So what is necessary is an *independent authority with investigating powers*! Shahid is excited at the thought of an opportunity to participate in oversight hearings as an interlocutor, to be able to ask the Attorney General questions under oath.

No. 1-2
Katie Dunne
Katie Dunne

It is good to hear concrete proposals from Shahid Buttar about what could be done to improve the situation in the United States, and I do think wonderwall 15, "shoot first and ask questions later" is a terrible idea, and it ought not to be that way.


I am more inspired to have our entire police force retrained so bad. That vid from the Van/truck incident in Canada where the perpetrator wasn't harmed at all but apprehended peacefully is something everyone can learn from.