Bethlehem Social Justice for Inclusive Public Safety

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Bethlehem for Social Justice started this petition to Bethlehem Town Board

Our privilege in Bethlehem prevents us from facing the ugly reality of police violence seen in major cities and towns across the country including our own Capital District. The evident racial biases of law enforcement, the trauma and violence inflicted by police officers on people of color, and the memories of oppression and mourning are things most of us in Bethlehem cannot begin to understand. But we can stand behind those fighting for justice. Bethlehem remains shielded by its privilege but the decisions we make affect those who are not.

If the end of the Civil War ushered in the era of "Jim Crow" -  defined by racial segregation through various local and state statutes - then rise of the police state following the "War on Drugs" began a new Jim Crow through broken window policing and mass incarceration. The silence of America's white middle class is the most important ally to the systemic racism associated with the prison industrial complex and biases among law enforcement that result in racist terror targeting people of color.

If our Town Board believes black lives matter, then it should be represented in their policy making by meeting these demands:

1) Automatic firing for all racist text, emails, letters, social media posts, phone calls, and so-called private conversations by police officers.

2) Abolition of all for-profit police programs.

3) Arrest and jail time for all "living while black hate crimes" for private citizens who commit these crimes and the police who attempt to enforce them.

4) Body cameras for the BPD and automatic firing for all disengaged or damaged body cams. 

5) Abolition of no-knock warrants.

6) Abolition of all stop and frisk rules in all its forms.

7) Automatic firing, arrest, and jail time for all false reports, fake evidence, and false testimony. 

8) End of all ticket writing incentive programs, speed trap schemes, and traffic stops for petty violations.

9) End all non recorded sobriety tests.

10) Abolition of all modern-day forms of the fugitive slave act including bounty hunters, citizen arrest, armed private police, etc. 

11) Additionally, the Bethlehem PD should refuse to participate in riot control or curfew enforcement with the Albany Police Department.

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