For Immediate Release
June 2, 2020
Contact: Rev. Dr. Rodney E. Williams, President
“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” James Baldwin
The Kansas City Missouri Branch of the NAACP has issued this press release in response to the killing of George Floyd and the aftermath across this country and especially in Kansas City Missouri.
The urgency of the moment is yet another direct attack on the humanity of people in the African American community. The impact of oppression, particularly in the form of modern-day lynching supported by the (in)justice system has festered in this country for far too long. Multifaceted and repeated experiences of racism, bigotry, violence, and subjugation against black people has trigger the boiling point expressed in peaceful demonstration. Frustration and hopelessness causes unacceptable behaviors by a minority of protesters. Cowardice exploitation of the response to George Floyd’s death by outsiders contributes to the violence and destruction.
The murder of George Floyd and others, too numerous to mention, coupled with the lack of accountability by police departments has set in motion what can be described as a moment of reckoning for our nation’s conscience. At the local level, it is especially a moment of reckoning for the Kansas City Missouri Police department. It is crystal clear to the residents of Kansas City, Missouri that we bring to an end to the criminalization of Black skin.
We will hold our police department accountable for their role in terrorizing our community for years. We must have a total and complete reset of policies so that no Black person will ever again experience unequal protection under the law in Kansas City. To ensure our survival as free Black people, we must have fair and equal treatment like all other citizens of this city.
All across American communities have mourned the death of Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, Sandra Bland and Michael Brown to name a few. Right here in Kansas City, we are still mourning Ryan Stokes, Terrence Bridges, Cameron Lamb and Donnie Sanders among others. The urgency of the moment is both a civil rights issue and a human rights issues that America must be willing to admit and solve.
The Kansas City, Missouri Branch of the NAACP stands and advocates for protection under the law.
The Kansas City, Missouri stands against state control of the Kansas City Police Department.
The Kansas City Missouri Branch of the NAACP stands with the community for local control of the Kansas City Police Department.
The Kansas City Missouri Branch of the NAACP demands a zero-tolerance approach in penalizing and /or prosecuting police officers who kill unarmed, non-violent, and non-resisting individuals during an arrest.
We must have legislation that includes the following principles.
• A ban on the use of deadly force, especially knee holds and choke holds as acceptable practice for police officers.
• The Kansas City Police Department must enforce an open records policy that will ensure misconduct information and disciplinary histories of all employees are not shielded from the public.
• Recertification credentials for police officers will be denied when it is determined that their use of deadly force was unwarranted by federal guidelines.
• Implementation of a Citizens Review Board to hold departments accountable and to build public confidence.
• Body cameras for all officers that must be turned on at all times.
• Restructure the Office of Community Complaints to make it independent of the Police Department.
Reasonable people in all communities are angry, sad, and in pain. We must be strategic and measured in our response as we work to realize solutions in the battle against injustices in Kansas City. We will work our work in the pursuit of justice for all people.