There is a lot that is wrong with the system that needs to be seriously addressed. Until the police treat everybody with civility, respect, and as equals under the law, people are going to resent and fear the police.
I think the biggest issues that need to be addressed are:
- Racism: So long as the police are more likely to search/pull over/etc... somebody who belongs to an ethnic minority, the police are behaving unjustly.
- Classism: So long as the police are more likely to go after poor and working class people rather than the middle and upper class folks, there is a clear injustice. How often do you see a bunch of middle class white men on the side of the highway up against the car at gunpoint while their car is gone over with a fine-toothed comb for potential weapons or drugs allegedly because their left brake light was cracked?
- Civility: Often the police are quite nice, but often they are abusive. The one time I was arrested for burning a garbage can as a teenager (I was convicted of disorderly conduct and did 40 hours of community service) I was pushed around, chained to a chair and then made to drag it from room to room to go sign paperwork while the police laughed at me. They told me that they had been awful charitable by allowing bail because "you know what they do to little boys like you in jail". I didn't resist, I didn't curse, raise my voice, or do anything to merit that sort of treatment.
I rarely if ever break the law these days, but I still look like an unsavory character, or enough so that the police take it upon themselves to throw me up against the wall about once a year to run my pockets, or pull me out of my apartment because they think I'm breaking into the place (nobody that looks like that could possibly afford to live in this neighborhood). I fear the police, and for good reason, yet I obey the law. That is not how things should be. They've even told me to dress less conspicuously if I want to avoid police attention.
Not to get off on too much of a rant here, but I guess I felt the need to say that there is a lot of room for improvement, and until the police improve, it is our right (and duty) as citizens to complain and make as much noise as we can about it.