In the battle to stamp out extremism from the ranks of the police, lawmakers from California to Minnesota have proposed solutions they thought were straightforward.
Some laws would empower the police to do more robust background checks of recruits, letting them vet social media to make sure new officers were not members of hate groups. Other laws would make it easier for departments to fire officers with ties to extremists.
But legislators working to get these measures passed in recent months have found themselves confronting a thicket of obstacles and somewhat unexpected opposition, ranging from straight Republican vs. Democrat clashes to profound questions about protecting constitutional rights.
Last month, a police officer in Fresno, Calif., was fired after videos surfaced that showed him supporting the Proud Boys at a protest. “Such ideology, behavior and affiliations have no place in law enforcement and will not be tolerated within the ranks of the Fresno Police Department,” the police chief said.
Yet when lawmakers in the state recently proposed legislation to give police departments more power to weed out officers with extremist ties, they met resistance. [Continue reading…]