An Associated Press poll conducted last month found that the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, which led to protests in Ferguson, New York City, and around the country, ranked as the "top news story of 2014." Nevertheless, the issue of police brutality is not new and, despite the new interest from mainstream media, wasn't much of an issue in the 2014 elections, even locally.
Some of that was a function of one-party politics and incumbency. The St. Louis county prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, a Democrat first elected in 1991, was re-elected with no opposition. His conduct in the grand jury surrounding the death of Michael Brown shouldn't have been a surprise. In one of his first cases as county prosecutor, McCulloch defended cops who shot at two unarmed men 21 times because the victims were alleged drug dealers. Optimistically, it's not just police brutality that isn't a new issue but police and criminal justice reforms too. If the sometimes confused but widespread focus on the former can translate to enough interest in the latter, it could make 2015 the year of reform. Here are a few ideas that would help cops chill out, according to Ed Krayewski.