Orlando, FL – Activists in Florida took to the streets earlier today to draw attention to current police practices and the need for change. Several organizations–The Dream Defenders, Ohio Student Association, Justice Core, Organization for Black Struggle, Power U, and Advancement Project–gathered at the 121st Annual Conference of the International Association of Police Chiefs (IACP) to urge accountability and demand a fundamental shift in the way police relate to communities of color.
Advance Project Co-Director Judith Browne-Dianis said, “Lives are being lost and there is a lack of trust between communities of color and police departments due to racially biased policing that leads to criminalization and excessive use of force that is often lethal and against unarmed people. Every police department must take steps to change.”
After the recent deaths of minority youths–including the deaths of Michael Brown, John Crawford, and Eric Garner–activists urged the IACP to end the criminalization and excessive use of force against people of color.
In a year punctuated with enraging acts of young Black and Brown lives devalued and destroyed – including the fatal police shootings of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and 22-year-old John Crawford in Dayton, Ohio, and the killing of Eric Garner in New York, the groups will urge the IACP to utilize its influential role in impacting local, state, and national policing policy to end criminalization and excessive use of force against people of color. The groups will also urge members of IACP, constituting over 20,000 police executives to take immediate steps to do the same in their departments.
“It’s time for the IACP, police chiefs and all policymakers around the country who have ignored the cries of Black and Brown youth to hear us,” said Browne-Dianis. “We are all Mike Brown. We are all John Crawford. We are all Eric Garner. We are all Shantel Davis. We are here to say to the police chiefs, no more. We will not rest until police officers recognize the humanity, dignity and rights of our people and our intolerance with them as occupying forces in our communities. Business will not continue ‘as usual’ until we are satisfied.”