At 11 a.m. on December 5, 2014, a coalition of people will present a letter to U.S. Attorney John Walsh to communicate our demands for an indictment against the killers of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and others. The text of the letter follows below. You may also send your own letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
December 5, 2014
Hon. John F. Walsh
United States Attorney for District of Colorado
1225 17th Street
Denver, CO 80202
Dear Mr. Walsh:
We are writing to urge you, our local legal representative of the United States Department of Justice, to carry forward to U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, our strong urging to bring federal indictments against the killers of Michael Brown of Missouri, John Crawford of Ohio, and Eric Garner of New York for violation of the civil rights of these men. We recognize that policing is first a local matter, but because we believe that the rights of these fellow Americans have been so grossly violated as to create injustice for all Americans, we call for swift action.
Additionally, we urge the Department of Justice to make affirmative strides to protect the civil rights of all Americans who face law enforcement interactions by doing the following:
- Assignment of a special federal prosecutor to investigate the cases of the individuals named above as well as the cases of any police killings of unarmed individuals, with particular focus on unarmed Black Americans, as well as the foundation of a special task force in each US Attorney district to receive public complaints of judicial/prosecutorial misconduct for consideration of action by the US Attorney’s Office.
- Creation of a requirement for law enforcement agencies to demonstrate effective implementation of Quality Policing Initiatives as spelled out by the Organization of Black Struggle of Missouri, as a pre-condition of any funding or grant awards from the Department of Justice. The Quality Policing Initiative is hinged on the following:
- (1) Recruitment: who is on the force;
- (2) Training: what non-violent skillsets do officers possess;
- (3) Deployment: how officers interact with the communities whose rights they protect;
- (4) Accountability: what happens to an officer who abuses their power or makes a mistake in the course of their duties and;
- (5) Advancement: how an officer is rewarded for protecting rights and not advanced for failing to do so.
- Use of the full authority of the Department of Justice to stop the unjust application among working class communities of color of policing policies such as stop-and-frisk, Broken Windows, use of lethal force and chokeholds or similar techniques, as well as the use of ticketing quotas, fees and fines to fund the operation of municipal governments. We urge the Department of Justice to launch a fully transparent, publicly-searchable database of the rates of stops, frisks, searches, summonses and arrests by race, age, and gender and to actively facilitate the fulfillment of any pending open records searches initiated by the public of such data.
- The immediate termination of the Excess Property Program (DoD 1033), which supplies military hardware to local law enforcement agencies, as well as the destruction of all such materiel so that it can no longer be used against human beings.
We, the undersigned citizens of the state of Colorado, urge you to carry forth our wishes to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for immediate action on these points. We look forward to working with the Department of Justice toward an America that is safe and equitable for all, regardless of race, gender identity, immigration status or socioeconomic status.
Attachment: “Enough is Enough: We Demand Quality Policing Now” from the Organization of Black Struggle. Original document available here.
Today American justice has failed yet again. Our legal system has denied justice to the family of Eric Garner less than forty-eight hours after President Barack Obama met with African-American activists calling for an end to police brutality and murder. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Movement we are still in pursuit of justice. We are still confronting what Dr. King called, the triple evils of militarism, racism and capitalism.
Instead of using his presidential powers to transform a culture of injustice into one of real justice, President Obama has offered us a measly $263 million dollars worth of timid, half-hearted, half-measures.
The President promises us 50,000 body cameras as if dozens of police executions have not played out live on video all across the nation. We have witnessed a police culture so steeped in racism that video footage alone is not enough to deter it. Eric Garner died on camera, and even with this evidence, he was denied justice.
The President promises us community policing, as if he cannot grasp the reality that police are recruited, trained, deployed and advanced within a racist police culture that would rather kill citizens, than serve them. This militarized police culture values property more than human lives. It does not build community or protect citizens. Instead it treats us as threats to be policed and targets to be eliminated.
The President promises us that the Department of Justice will be more stringent in their oversight of programs like the 1033 Program that grant billions of dollars to defense contractors and aim military weapons at civilians. It is as if President Obama does not understand that he should be eliminating such weapons from American streets. These deadly weapons do not belong in our communities. They are the point where militarism, capitalism and racism all come together. These programs militarize our police, who then turn around and repress black and brown communities, and anyone else who expresses their First Amendment Rights.
We call on the President to embrace our Quality Policing Initiative, which will transform police culture in this country so that the First and Fourth Amendment rights of citizens are protected. Do not waste our tax dollars on weak reforms that support a racist, militarized police culture, which would rather protect property than serve people.
The Quality Policing Initiative demands reciprocal, professional, accountable and cooperative policing in five areas of policing:
(1) Recruitment: who is on the force;
(2) Training: what non-violent skillsets do officers possess;
(3) Deployment: how officers interact with the communities whose rights they protect;
(4) Accountability: what happens to an officer who abuses their power or makes a mistake in the course of their duties and;
(5) Advancement: how an officer is rewarded for protecting rights and not advanced for failing to do so.
The broad outlines of the Quality Policing Initiative include:
- Residency Requirements and rigorously enforced Affirmative Action hiring protocols to create racial and gender parity so that the police reflect the population they are policing.
- Conflict Resolution and Threat Progression Training: So that police officers know how to deescalate a situation instead of having to use violent or deadly force.
- Demilitarizing All Police Forces: Withdraw from the DOD 1033 program and end the use of the Forfeiture/Seizure Program to buy military grade gear.
- Stopping the Use of Police as Collection Agents: Remove ticket quotas and fees and fines as primary mechanisms to fund municipal governments.
- Implementation of field contact cards: Track every interaction, every officer has with every citizen, and record the reason for the interaction, the race of both parties, the location and results, so that we will have a pattern of practice for every police department in the country.
- An Early Warning System Database on Police Behavior: A system that identifies officers who are overly aggressive and/or suspect in the use of their authority before they become a threat to the community.
- Media Accountability System: Body and Dash cameras, with recorded data controlled by a Citizen’s Review Board and shared with the community and police simultaneously.
- A Citizen’s Review Board: A local entity with subpoena, investigatory and prosecutorial powers. The Board should also have a role in developing police policies and setting standards that impact all five areas of policing power.
We call on the President to use the power of the Department of Justice to partner with the National Bar Association and other civil rights and policing reform entities to investigate the patterns and practices of police forces and where needed monitor, disband, and reconstitute them as outlined in our Quality Policing Initiative.
We call on the President to use the power of the Department of Justice to compel every police municipality to comply with the National Bar Association—the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges—which has filed open records requests for any and all information about the following:
1. The number of individuals who have been killed.
2. The number of individuals who have been racially profiled.
3. The number of individuals who have been wrongfully arrested.
4. The number of individuals who have been injured while pursued or in police custody.
5. Any and all background information on officers involved in the incidents.
6. Comprehensive data from crime scenes, including “video and photographic evidence related to any alleged and/or proven misconduct by current or former employees.”
This moment demands that we continue to resist until justice is done! We call on the President to act NOW, tomorrow is too late!
– See more at: http://obs-onthemove.org/featured/enough-is-enough-we-demand-quality-policing-now/#more-4092