How to reduce use of force by police

Rep. Tony Cornish is getting plenty of attention and, judging by the comments on the Star Tribune website, applause for his letter to the editor in the paper today.

Cornish, a former cop, said it’s not complicated to avoid having force used against you by a police officer. Don’t be a “thug,” he said. Don’t sell drugs. Don’t stay out after 2 a.m.


“I just got sick of cops being used as a scapegoat when something goes wrong, and the cops are called to a situation they don’t really want to be in. And something goes wrong because they’re there, and right away, it’s the cop’s fault,” he told Fox9, while rejecting online criticism that his letter was racist.

“I’ve got relatives that are black,” he said. “I’ve gone to five different mission trips in the jungle. I spent big money helping women adopt black kids from Africa. I don’t fit the racist mold. So they should give that a rest.”

What other advice might help avoid violence?

Don’t have a mental health crisis and be scared when five cops and a police dog break down your door because you once gave them the wrong name. By the way, in his capacity as a committee chair, Rep. Cornish refused to allow a hearing on a bill that would mandate 4 hours of police training on dealing with the mentally ill.

Don’t drive with a broken tail light.

Don’t be afraid you’re going to be shot by out-of-control police.

Don’t be driving a car with a license plate that was a mistake on a warrant.


Don’t walk on Harriet Ave. S.

Don’t leave your car running while you run into the store to exchange Christmas presents. Don’t get upset when a cop says, “I don’t have to be nice to you.”

Don’t go swimming.

Related: Long Taught to Use Force, Police Warily Learn to De-escalate (NY Times)