Police and Criminal Justice Reform
For nine years I proudly served as a communications consultant within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with a large part of my job working alongside local and state law enforcement officers from across the country such as Stockton, Calif.; New York City; and Birmingham, Ala.
But long before that, I spent time on the other side of law enforcement. 23 years ago as a teenager, I committed serious enough crimes to have warrants out for my arrest and served four months in a Florida county jail.
While incarcerated I was treated nicely, assigned a responsive public defender, and was quickly offered a plea deal to remove the felony I was facing without even having to ask for it. As a white kid from middle-class suburbs, I thought that was normal.
However, I also saw many fellow inmates incarcerated for far less severe crimes than I, be assigned public defenders who rarely met with them, frequently had their paperwork lost, and were harshly charged with maximum sentences.
The overwhelming majority of these inmates were Black or other people of color.
That was the start of my awakening to the need for major criminal justice reform and being libertarian. I became an advocate for reversing minimum sentencing laws, abolishing cash bail, ending Qualified Immunity, providing better mental health crisis support, and undoing our clearly racist drug laws.
Reforming our police department and criminal legal system is about removing police from non-violent incidents so they can prioritize and focus on the issues that really matter: assaults, robberies, reckless driving, and other acts of violence. We can build community law enforcement for the modern era. If we’re good enough at it, we can even step up to be role models for the rest of the nation on how police can protect the public’s safety and its civil liberties.