The discussion isn’t guns vs. Tasers. It’s about police resorting to violence.

The institution of policing needs reform in the U.S. Headline after headline about police officers’ brutal killings of Black people shows this starkly. In the past year alone, 986 people have been shot and killed by the police. That’s 986 too many.

Knowing this, a logical solution would be to take away guns from police, but changing weapons is not enough. We need far more in-depth change to the entire policing system to stop police brutality, and this change needs to extend to Syracuse, too.

The police officer who shot Daunte Wright in Minnesota claimed the killing was an accident. She said that she meant to reach for her Taser but instead pulled her gun. But why would a police officer use a Taser on a resident after pulling him over for a small traffic violation? Police should be de-escalating situations, not escalating them.

Police have proved over and over that they are capable of killing Black people with or without guns. In May, only 20 minutes away from the location of Wright’s killing, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, suffocating him until he died.

Syracuse University students and Syracuse residents must ask what policing and police reform should look like in our community, and we should hold elected officials accountable to ensure our vision is met.

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