Syracuse NAACP Responds To Racist Police Mistreatment Of 8-Year-Old Boy

video of the interaction between members of the Syracuse Police Department and an 8 year-old little boy
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Photos: Video Screenshots

As The NAACP of Syracuse and Onondaga County continues to monitor the situation, the words of children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman ring out “If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.” The video of the interaction between members of the Syracuse Police Department and an 8 year-old little boy has ignited several intense emotions – sadness, fear, pain, worry, anger, outrage, disbelief, and some that words cannot sufficiently explain.

As we heard the cries of this child, it is inconceivable to think of the terror he has experienced.

The NAACP stands in opposition of this kind of interaction with children. Our position is to protect, care for, and advocate on behalf of children and families in crisis. We continue to seek help and healing for the family and call on our community to unite together to ensure that this kind of incident does not happen again.

We have been calling for a more thoughtful approach to community policing for many years in Syracuse. This incident further supports the need for cultural competency training and accountability within our police department. We must remain vigiliant in our attempts to develop a more authentic relationship between the police and the community. While we recognize that the challenges police encounter are difficult, we also know that better outcomes can and must be achieved.

With this in mind, we will be asking our local membership to join us during our virtual General Membership meeting via Zoom on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. to facilitate a discussion on what more thoughtful approaches to community policing could look like. It will be an opportunity for our members to share their thoughts surrounding this very sensitive issue. Those interested in attending should register here.

Writer and activist, James Baldwin once said that “neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”

We cannot become indifferent to the needs within our community. We cannot normalize this encounter. We cannot turn a blind eye. We cannot think that this will go away. We cannot rationalize this pain.

We cannot close our ears to the cries of our children.

We must and can do better. And we will.

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