Dear Senator

I am a wealthy white male. I own three homes in Pittsburgh. In my spare time I write books and novels which can be found on Amazon and I’m currently building a personal data organizer application and hope to build an application development business, most likely in Pittsburgh in the coming few years.

I am also a police brutality survivor who has been struggling with the trauma from that event for half my lifetime. 20 years ago I watched a police officer frame a pale white man for resisting arrest, then beat his face into the pavement while he begged for his life, until he lay motionless in a pool of his own blood. Meanwhile a different officer choked me, spat in my face and threatened to do the same to me.

I apologize for the graphic details but I wanted you to get a glimpse of what we police brutality survivors have gone through. I have been hearing that man’s screams in the back of my head for two decades now.

This is not my only story. I have had a number of different, very negative, occasionally horrifying experiences with the police over my lifetime.

I would like to tell you that everyone, whether black or white, male or female, is impacted by the corruption and fundamental problems in our police departments. I can tell you with absolute certainty that your white constituents will also benefit from police reform.

I would like to ask you — or beg may be a better term — to support the Black Lives Matter protesters, but more importantly, I want to beg you to support a true change to how crime prevention is approached in our neighborhoods. We need to pull funding away from the police and invest in education, housing, youth-diversion programs, counseling or whatever else can be shown scientifically to actually reduce crime in the long term. Addressing racism is a key aspect of that, but it is far from the only thing that needs to be dealt with.

I understand this is a tall order, but I can tell you that I personally will not be satisfied until we have a new way of looking at law and order. It’s not just about banning choke-holds or prosecuting a few bad cops. I want a system based on real mental health science. I want one that recognizes that showing criminals compassion and allowing them basic human dignity is going to push them to a more productive life much more effectively than threatening them. I want a system that puts counselors and interventionists first and guns and prisons second. This will reduce crime, increase respect for police officers, increase respect for the law and government, save taxpayer money and create a happier and safer community. It’s a win for literally everyone.

Yes, this is asking a lot, but the time for this has come. Our social problems will only get worse until this is addressed. You have the opportunity to earn the respect of me and everyone else who has suffered at the hands of police, and to be on the right side of history. Please do the right thing and make a push for a real, substantial change. Do this, and people like me will come out of the woodwork to support you. There are far, far more of us than you realize.

If I have caught your attention, I’d like to invite you to read some of my articles about my experiences with police and my thoughts on criminal justice reform: https://medium.com/@kalinflash/kalins-criminal-justice-writings-2540ec317003?source=friends_link&sk=4397863b079a5fc4d12af4d8220b8c9d

thank you so much for your time
-Kalin Ringkvist

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