Virginia Organizing celebrated an announcement from the Danville Police Department that it will no longer open the hoods of patrol vehicles after local Virginia Organizing leaders and others voiced concerns that the hoods could block in-car cameras.
Chairperson Ladelle McWhorter responded, “Virginia Organizing appreciates that the Danville police department is willing to make changes to increase transparency and respond to citizens who are concerned about police practices. We will continue to organize around issues that affect Virginians, including police-community relations across the state.”
“The city of Danville took a welcome step forward today by discontinuing the practice of raising hoods on patrol cars after Virginia Organizing leaders and community members took action,” said Virginia Organizing Danville Chapter leader Ebony Guy. “Virginia Organizing looks forward to continuing our work with Danville police on issues like community policing, training programs to combat bias, and increasing diversity on the police force.”
Virginia Organizing leaders moderated a community forum recently with Chief Philip Broadfoot where a local resident raised the concern that open patrol car hoods could obscure in-car cameras. The leaders were disturbed by this practice, noting the open hoods raise questions about transparency in police-community interactions. Virginia Organizing leaders were not satisfied with the response of Chief Broadfoot and planned to take this issue to city council on Tuesday, October 4. One of the organization’s flyers and some photos were sent out on social media and interpreted to mean that police were intentionally blocking dashboard cameras during traffic stops. Virginia Organizing leaders spoke out in local media stories and on social media and clarified the concerns regarding transparency.
In 2015, the Danville Chapter of Virginia Organizing worked with the Danville police department to increase access to and awareness of complaint forms as a part of their #BlackLivesMatter campaign.
“Virginia Organizing has been working to dismantle racism and systemic oppression in Virginia for 21 years,” said McWhorter. “The organization was founded on principles of anti-racism and social justice, which remain our framework for organizing in Virginia today.”