We formally condemn the police actions that led to the deaths of Mr. George Floyd, Ms. Breonna Taylor, and countless others who died at the hands of law enforcement. Additionally, we are very concerned and alarmed by a society and justice system that seems to devalue the lives of people of color like Ahmaud Arbery. We offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to each of these families. The police officers who have been charged with the death of Mr. Floyd must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
These senseless deaths demand that Justice Must Be Fair, Justice Must Be Transparent, and Justice Must Be Equal!
It is critical that we address the systemic deficiencies that plague law enforcement and disproportionately impact people of color in the judicial system. “NOBLE believes there is work to do and we need to start on that work today,” said NOBLE National President Cerelyn J. Davis. “The changes the protesters are demanding of the police are well within our reach. Humane treatment of all people is well within our reach. A duty to intervene is well within our reach. Removing officers who fail to perform their duties in alignment with policies and the values of the community is well within our reach.”
Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph.D., National President of The Links, Incorporated, believes that like-minded citizens must work together. “Our more than 16,000 members are outraged at the continual targeting of black lives. We believe that working with law enforcement officers who share our values and also want change is an important first step toward reforming a broken system,” said Jeffries Leonard.
NOBLE and The Links, Incorporated believe that a comprehensive approach is required in addressing the issues of police accountability. There must be trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.
We are fully aware that race-related issues in America are complex. Issues within the law enforcement spectrum are a small part of a larger picture which includes an unequal distribution of resources — America will never realize her true potential until all of her citizens are equally valued and protected under the law.
Law enforcement precedent that must be addressed is as follows:
- Police Qualified Immunity: Presently, under federal law, state and local police officers can only be sued in civil court when the officer’s discretionary actions infringed on the civilian’s constitutional rights. The qualified-immunity doctrine shields the officer from any suits unless the officer’s actions violated “clearly established law” to which there is no specific law established.
- National Use-of-Force Policy: The use-of-force policy must include the following:
- Mandatory de-escalation training AND policy requirements for all sworn officers.
- Prohibition of all physical restraint maneuvers on or above the neck.
- Mandatory requirement that officers render immediate medical aid to all people.
- Mandatory requirement that officers intervene when another officer is using physical force inappropriately or excessively.
- Comprehensive Legislation: National mandates should also address:
- Mandatory National Law Enforcement Accreditation.
- Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department enforcement against pattern and practice discrimination described in section 210401 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (42 U.S.C.A.).
- Continued appropriations for the Department of Justice Community Relations Service directed towards programs to improve community and police relations.
- Federal data collection of use-of-force, traffic stops, pedestrian stops, and detentions.
What can you do? Call and write your congressional representative to express your outrage. Let him or her know that legislation enacting police reforms we have outlined above as well as the funding to make them a reality must happen now.
Use the following templates as you call and write. Click here for a list of those who represent you. We must continue to act until there are changes in our cities, our states, and our nation.
NOBLE and The Links, Incorporated demand that Congress act swiftly in passing comprehensive police reform legislation for the benefit of our nation and its legacy.