While criminal justice reform has been a hot topic over the past year, legislators are beginning to act, and Texans are speaking out about how important it is.
One of those individuals who is speaking out is Steven Guass, a concerned citizen.
“I think these reforms are necessary, and well past time to be implemented,” Guass said.
But he thinks that there should be more done.
“Holding poorly performing officers accountable, and beyond what is proposed. They should be the first ones held liable if their misconduct results in litigation, before the taxpayers are asked to pay,” he said.
A University of Houston poll conducted in 2021 reveals that many Texans across the political spectrum support changes to the criminal justice system, like providing a duty to intervene when police officers witness excessive force and adding more training on the use of force – it revealed that for both of these topics, 91% of respondents are in favor.
Guass related this story about his family’s interactions with the law enforcement community.
“I used to look askance at police reform, put it down as ‘hug a thug’ until the first day of school in 2016. My mother walks out of work to get lunch, walks past this scummy looking guy who says ‘You wanna fix, momma?’ She gets scared, and yes does jaywalk, and goes into the 7/11,” he said. “Two of Dallas’ finest appear: ‘We got a call you were wandering in the street. Do you have ID? Do you know your name? Do you know where you are?’”
Guass said his mother told the police officers about the drug dealer – less than 50 feet from two Dallas ISD schools, Sam Tasby Middle and Jack Lowe Elementary School and not too far from Conrad High School.
He said the corporal said they “weren’t interested” as they drove off.
Guass also noted that in 2018, he reported that his car window was shot out in Little Forest Hills, and it took Dallas Police nearly three hours to respond.
“When they did, they had the attitude of ‘why are you bothering us?’ Was this because they could not mistreat someone, write a ticket (collect extra revenue)?” he said.
Legislators in Texas are taking up a collection of bills commonly called “The George Floyd Act.” These bills focus on requiring police to aid a suspect of a crime who may be in medical distress (Senate Bill 2212); getting officers to intervene and speak up when they witness use of excessive force (SB 68); standardize discipline for police officers in the state (House Bill 829); corroboration of witness testimony (House Bill 834); and limiting police authority to arrest individuals for Class C misdemeanors that are only punishable by a fine (House Bill 830).