End Police Brutality: Racial Justice Groups Carry Message To Police Chiefs' Conference

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Michael Brown: the teenager was killed execution style and body left in street for hours

[National]

Several organizations on the frontlines of the racial justice movement gathered at the 121st Annual Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to demand accountability and a fundamental shift in the way police relate to communities of color.

In a year punctuated with enraging acts of young Black and Brown lives being devalued and destroyed – including the fatal police shootings of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and 22-year-old John Crawford in Dayton, Ohio, and the killing of Eric Garner in New York-  the group urged the IACP to utilize its influential role in impacting local, state, and national policing policy to end criminalization and excessive use of force against people of color.

The group also urged members of IACP, constituting over 20,000 police executives, to take immediate steps to do the same in their departments.

“We are here today calling on police chiefs across this country to move immediately to change their practices,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne-Dianis. “Lives are being lost and there is a lack of trust between communities of color and police departments due to racially biased policing that leads to criminalization and excessive use of force that is often lethal and against unarmed people. Every police department must take steps to change.”

The demands include:

[] Demilitarization of the police by endorsing the repeal of the 1033 program and breaking ties with corporations producing military equipment.

[] Increasing police accountability and transparency by establishing community review boards and creating a national database of all police stops, searches, and uses of force.

[] Implementation of continuous trainings on racial bias, systemic oppression and unnecessary/excessive use of force for every law enforcement officer in America.

[] Endorsement of the repeal of laws and end of practices that criminalize young people of color and contribute to disproportionate rates of incarceration, including the criminalization of marijuana and school-based arrests for misdemeanors.

“We are young people from across America, from Missouri, Ohio, and Florida and we have come together to directly address the chiefs of police and demand accountability for the actions of their police departments,” said T. Dubb-o, St. Louis based rapper activist with the advocacy group Justice Core. “Every 28 hours in America, a police officer kills one of us – often times with no remorse, no accountability, and no justice. We can no longer accept this statistic as the status quo.” 

“Instead of protecting and serving the community after the death of Mike Brown, an unarmed teenager killed in Ferguson, Missouri last August, the Ferguson Police Department met our peaceful protest with tanks and tear gas,” Jelani Brown with the Organization for Black Struggle. “We are human beings and the police have a responsibility to protect us too. We are here because the police chiefs have it in their power to lobby against the militarization of police forces around the country.  Police chiefs must also change their practices to end excessive use of force that results in the deaths of too many young people, even those with the hands up in surrender.”

“Unless the IACP engages with our community, law enforcement will not gain back our trust,” said Kevin McNair with the Ohio Student Association (OSA). “In Ohio, we’ve been seeking justice for John Crawford, a 22-year old Black father who was gunned down in a Walmart while holding a toy gun. A Grand Jury failed to indict the officers involved in the shooting and the Beavercreek Police Chief and refused to meet our demands, including changing the lethal force trainings that these officers received. We are here to continue our search for justice for John Crawford and to call for an end to the ceaseless cycle of criminalization and violence against our community.”

“Here in Florida, we are still waiting for justice for 17-year old Israel Hernandez, who was tased to death by Miami-Dade Police Officer Jorge Mercado last summer,” said Phillip Agnew, Executive Director of Dream Defenders. “The officer has yet to be charged and has since returned to the force. Shooting after shooting, from Ferguson to Miami, we see Black and Brown bodies being use for target practice. These departments are aiding and abetting career criminals and murderers in their ranks.”

“It’s time for the IACP, police chiefs, and all policymakers around the country who have ignored the cries of Black and Brown youth to hear us,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne-Dianis.“ We are all Mike Brown. We are all John Crawford. We are all Eric Garner. We are all Shantel Davis. We are here to say to the Police Chiefs, no more. We will not rest until police officers recognize the humanity, dignity and rights of our people and our intolerance with them as occupying forces in our communities.  Business will not continue ‘as usual’ until we are satisfied.”

 

To find out more about these organizations, including dates and locations of other actions, contact Jumoke Balogun at 816-517-0354 or jbalogun@advancementproject.org

 

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