Criminal Justice Reform: Police Brutality

Innocent Appeal. Bryant McCombs started this petition to Mayor of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and 3 others

We are long overdue for a dramatic shift in how our laws are enforced, particularly in marginalized communities. The countless stories of non-violent offenders being treated like animals, in many cases resulting in loss of life must come to a screeching halt. Suggestions for change include but are not limited to:

  • Improved Psychological Evaluations for All Officers 
  • Mandatory Racial Bias Training
    • Provide Racial Bias Training
      The fact of the matter is that black and Latino people face discrimination at all levels of the criminal justice system. Police officers should be required to explore how their implicit biases, unconscious prejudices, and stereotypes may cause them use violence against people of color disproportionately.

      There’s no way that racial bias training alone can get rid of racial discrimination in policing, but the only way to work against implicit bias is to raise awareness about it. And police chiefs should lead the way on this by offering racial bias training to their officers.

  • Civilian Complaint Review Boards
    • Community oversight of police is crucial to establishing greater accountability, and this is especially true in communities of color.

      In Newark, New Jersey, a scathing Department of Justice report found that local police often used excessive force and violated the constitutional rights of Newark residents. In response, Mayor Ras Baraka issued an executive order to create a civilian complaint review board with the power to investigate and subpoena police officers. Civilian oversight boards are a great way to empower members of the community to seek their own evidence in cases of police violence — and ultimately create a more transparent process.

  • Demilitarization
    • In uprisings from Baltimore to Ferguson, a major point of contention was the highly militarized response by the police, who greeted nonviolent protesters with military-grade weapons and vehicles.

      But shooting tear gas from the top of armored trucks doesn’t exactly suggest that the local police are there to serve and protect. Those tactics, noted President Obama, “can sometimes give people a feeling like there’s an occupying force as opposed to a force that’s part of the community that’s protecting them and serving them.”

      Many of these weapons are surplus equipment granted to local departments by the federal government. In the wake of the Ferguson and Baltimore uprisings, President Obama announced a limited ban on transferring some types of military equipment to local police departments. That ban should be expanded to include heavy-duty MRAV trucks and armored vehicles like Humvees, as well as M-16 rifles, drones, flash bangs, and other non-lethal explosives and teargas.

  • Harsher Penalization & Consequences (for officers who abuse their power physically or mentally) 

My fear is that if dramatic actions are not taken soon we will continue to see similar cases (George Floyd) play out for years to come. This is not only important for our physical safety but for the mental health of people from marginalized communities everywhere. Take the first step in affirming that the people come first and that our lives are valued.

Thank you for your consideration and for taking the time to promise a better tomorrow.

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