Today’s News & Commentary — September 4, 2016

After some tension surrounding President Obama’s arrival on the tarmac, the 11th G-20 summit began in Hangzhou, China. The theme of this year is “Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected, and Inclusive World Economy” with the agenda for the two-day summit including topics such as the global economic slowdown, raising protectionism, structural reforms to expand global trade, innovation, and climate finance. According to The New York Times, President Xi opened the meeting by calling for innovation to spur economic growth and reforms to global financial and economic management. The Summit takes place as World Trade Organization has recently forecasted this year’s global trade growth at an anemic 2.8 percent — its fifth straight year below 3 percent.

The New York Times Editorial Board called for elected officials to push back against the power of police unions and “demand contracts that actually reflect the public interest.” Given public outrage over recent police shootings, including over the Chicago Police Department’s cover-up in the shooting of seventeen-year-old Laquan McDonald, the Editorial Board called for elected officials to radically revise police contracts which they argue currently make it almost impossible to bring officers to justice. The piece uses the scandal stemming from the shooting in Chicago to show how municipal contracts with police stations often shield officers from punishment for brutal behavior, discourage citizens from lodging complaints, and limit the power of investigators. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has stated that “[t]he collective bargaining agreements between the police unions and the city have essentially turned the code of silence into official policy.” The Editorial Board strongly called for elected officials to work with police unions to revise contracts and create a system of effective oversight.

The police officers’ union that provides security at San Francisco 49ers home games says its members may boycott policing the stadium if the 49ers don’t discipline Colin Kaepernick for refusing to stand during the national anthem and for his statements about law enforcement. The warning was issued in a letter to 49ers CEO Jed York sent Friday by the union that represents members of the Santa Clara Police Department. Kaepernick has refused to stand for the anthem at the team’s preseason games, taking a knee instead, and citing racial injustice and police brutality as among the many reasons for his silent protest. The union called for the 49ers to treat Kaepernick like an employee who is creating a hostile work environment for officers at the stadium. The 49ers have reiterated that the franchise respects the quarterback’s right not to participate in celebrating the national anthem.