YEO Network National Black Caucus Reaffirms Demands for Action on Police Violence
For Immediate Release
For more information, contact:
Young Elected Officials Network
YEO Network National Black Caucus Reaffirms Demands for
Action on Police Violence
Young Elected Officials around the Country Affirm “Freedom Isn’t Free” for Black
Communities Impacted by Unchecked Misconduct on Anniversary of Emancipation
WASHINGTON, DC (June 19, 2018) – On June 19th, the National Black Caucus of the Young Elected Officials Network called on elected officials from across the country to stand up against police violence against black communities in commemoration of the Juneteenth day of action:
June 19th, or “Juneteenth”, commemorates the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved people in the United States in 1865. While this day is customarily celebratory and a milestone on the long road of progress throughout our national history, we, the National Black Caucus of the Young Elected Officials Network (YEO Network), recognize that Black Americans are still fighting for their freedom. The crisis of disproportionate and unchecked police brutality against Black Americans continues to plague our communities across the United States to this day. In the first months of this year alone, 89 African American were shot and killed by police. While African Americans make up nearly 13.3% of the US total population, they constitute 19% of the total fatal police shootings.
“Honoring and celebrating Juneteenth must also encompass the liberation of Black people in the context of police violence and its strong hold on the Black community and our ability to truly be free!” said Dorcey Applyrs, Albany Common Council Member.
Earlier this year the National Black Caucus of the YEO Network launched a nationwide joint letter, signed by more than a hundred state and local elected officials, calling on President Donald J. Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take immediate action to end police and state-supported violence against Black people and to hold bad actors accountable for their actions.
“As an elected prosecutor I have learned that few occurrences have more capacity to hamper community advancement and destroy trust in government than police violence,” said Portsmouth, Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales. “In my city we were impacted by the loss of a son, brother and community member but with police accountability in this case our community found peace. When elected officials fail to take action, our communities suffer and a standard of trust and accountability becomes unlikely.”
Today, the National Black Caucus of the YEO Network calls on all elected officials from across the nation to join our fight by signing our letter to end police violence against Black communities.
“Police violence has impacted all of our communities in one way or another,” said Charlottesville, Virginia Council Member Wes Bellamy. “We can look at our city or to Richmond, Virginia and the recent killing of Marcus Peters to see that we have a lot of work to do. It is imperative that elected officials use our voice to speak up and speak out about these issues.”
Today, members of the National Black Caucus of the YEO Network reiterated their demands for:
Federal, state, and local prosecutors to prosecute police misconduct. We expect prosecutors to achieve justice and use their power to monitor police abuse.
Local prosecutors to create a local civil rights unit dedicated to investigating and prosecuting police misconduct fairly, transparently, and independently.
State attorneys general to provide recommendations and guidelines for local prosecutors and investigators of misconduct to ensure police accountability.
DOJ as well as state and local prosecutors to launch systemic investigations when agencies are suspected of engaging in “pattern of practice” violations and discrimination.
Local mayors and city councils to create civilian oversight structures, select police chiefs who prioritize building trust with communities, conduct de-escalation and life preserving trainings, develop protocols to ensure these trainings are observed, and support alternative mental health interventions.
Every police department to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve and reject misguided practices such as “broken windows“ and “stop & frisk.”
Explore regulations on police use of firearms.
Together, elected officials from across the country must stand united to sustain Black lives and end police violence and all gun violence. Electeds must say “enough” to a problem that has taken far too many mothers, fathers, sons and daughters from our communities. Now is the time to push for transformational change and to acknowledge and repair the grave harm that has been done.