Take a look at this video of a Pennsylvania police officer joking about a just-murdered man… and mocking the man’s grieving mother. “We’re looking at it like, ‘One less drug dealer to deal with,'” the Erie, PA, police officer says. “Cool.” The murder victim, described as a loving father, had no history of drug violations, according to news reports.
Would you trust this policeman to protect you and your community? I wouldn’t.
Too many police officers still have attitudes like this toward the communities they are patrolling, highlighting the problems we still need to address: ending racial profiling, the high rate of unsolved murders in African American communities, police brutality and other forms of unequal justice for African Americans and Latinos.
Working with the NAACP, you can help change this situation:
First, e-mail Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott and ask him to order an immediate independent investigation into the practices and policies of the Erie police department and to establish an independent civilian review board to investigate citizen complaints.
Second, ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor legislation to provide long-needed regulation of harsh and careless police actions throughout the United States, the End Racial Profiling Act and the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act.
These bills are designed to curb outrages like the New Year’s Day shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant by transit police in Oakland; the police shooting of Robert Tolan on his front lawn in Bellaire, Texas; and the questionable death of high school football player Billie Joe Johnson, killed in what was described as a “routine traffic stop” in Lucedale, Mississippi. NAACP branches are grappling with each of these cases.
The Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act also includes provisions to assist local law enforcement agencies in doing more effective screening of candidates for law enforcement jobs before they are given the power to use deadly force and then during in-service reviews. It also supports the creation of local police accountability and review boards with subpoena power, independent investigatory power, and staffing and other resources needed to provide local community oversight of their law enforcement officers.
While most police officers are courageous public servants, continued police abuses are harming our communities and eroding the trust needed to both prevent and solve crimes. Take action now and help us do something about it.