Letter: Staunton Branch of NAACP calls U.S. Senate, Staunton leaders to action
The Staunton Branch of the NAACP acknowledges our hopefulness after the guilty verdict assigned to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who pinned Mr. George Floyd to the pavement for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, causing his death.
While this verdict does not bring “justice,” it does demand accountability, which is the first step towards racial equity. This case is decisive because typically, police officers who kill Black people – often due in large part to negative racial bias – are not held accountable. We await the trials of the other officers who participated in Floyd’s death and hope that they will also be brought to justice. We encourage our local citizens to follow the example set by these jurors and pursue accountability, as required for racial equity. We count the Chauvin verdict a victory while acknowledging the work that remains.
As the trial of Derek Chauvin churned on, officer Eric Stillman shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago. Soon after, former police officer Kim Potter shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minn., just 10 miles from where Mr. Floyd was killed. We are daily inundated with the presence of police terror that results in the death of Black people across our nation. Almost more daunting than the imminence of our death is the impunity that often follows. The racial bias in each case is evident by both the encounter with police and the inaction of elected and court appointed officials.
The NAACP is committed to ensuring that accountability is required of all who orchestrate, participate in, or otherwise render themselves complicit in allowing racism. We hope to continue to organize and equip our communities with information necessary to effect positive change in our nation and local community. It is our sincere hope that we will be able to work collaboratively with city officials and community service boards to achieve this end.
Immediately, we implore the United States Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280).
- This bill increases police accountability concerning police conduct.
- It limits qualified immunity as a defense, limits the unnecessary use of force and restricts the use of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and carotid holds that have contributed to immeasurable loss of life.
- The passage of this bill would also create the National Police Misconduct Registry that would keep record of complaints and officer misconduct.
Locally, we implore local decision makers to use data driven strategies for police reform to include effective measures to prevent recidivism. As the question of Middle River Jail expansion looms, we support protection of the human rights of all detainees which requires appropriate mental health services in lock step with all considerations of renovation.
This letter was signed by:
Mr. Clarence Durrette, President
Dr. Amy Tillerson-Brown, Vice President
Rev. Jazmine Brooks, 2nd Vice President
Ms. Rebecca “Cookie” Johnson, Secretary
Mrs. Dale Simmons, Treasurer
Mrs. Agatha Coleman, Chair, Committee on Education
Rev. Dr. Michael Turner, Vice President of 5th Region, Virginia NAACP