A person would have to be living in a dark cave to not realize that something is deeply wrong with policing in this country. (Even accepting that the great majority of encounters are not violent.) The mindless but "catchy" phrases like "defund the police" do nothing to help but a lot to hinder good people from seeing the reality of the problems which often do not start with the police but too often end there.

Why are the police called for a "noise complaint?" Why are the police called when a person is having a mental health incident, which often never involves any weapon? Or for a person taking out their garbage?

Without listing the litany of recent incidents — this one shocking example of a New Orleans officer killing a clearly harmless puppy dog — just highlights that we have a big problem. This was a small dog, on private property and the officer was investigating a noise complaint!

Something like this should never, ever happen. But it does and the solution starts with how we think about the police and their function in society.

MARK M. GONZALEZ

attorney

New Orleans