Stop harassing Manoj and address institutional racism in the Somerville Police Department
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This petition is in support of the letter (goo.gl/ffSsD3) addressed to Somerville city Mayor Curtatone demanding to hold Somerville Police Department (SPD) accountable for harassing Manoj, a local resident of color, over the past few months. The tactics used to harass him, intimidating him at his home, and targeting him in the community are typical policing tactics used by police departments across the nation to criminalize people of color and Black Americans. Because there is currently no transparent systematic institutional way to hold police officers accountable we, the public, demand it.
The Somerville Police have, on three different occasions, harassed Manoj and falsely accused him of stealing bikes. On each occasion, Manoj had denied any wrongdoing and sought to prove that his bike wasn’t stolen. Nonetheless, the police have continued to use allegations he is stealing bikes as a pretense to keep harassing him.
In one incident of extensive harassment in June 2017, seven SPD officers came to Manoj’s home and harassed him, his partner, and their friends over the course of 2-3 hours. They preemptively detained him on false accusations of a stolen bike, made racist and misogynistic remarks, including an attempt to sexually solicit friends who had come to support. The police officers also searched their property without a warrant. While hovering over his partner, the lead detective, Ariel Collazzo claimed that she was “making him feel unsafe.” Detective Collazzo, has a known history of assaulting a Black man, calling him a N***** and fracturing his jaw. On August 18, 2017 Manoj’s bike was confiscated by a different officer for not carrying proof of purchase.
In addition to filing a formal and publicly available complaint against the officers, including Detective Collazzo and Sgt. Salvatore Fusco, we demand the following:
1) That the Somerville Police immediately stop harassing Manoj and return the bicycle confiscated on 18 August, 2017;
2) That the Somerville Police close the prolonged investigation concerning Manoj and make the police incident report from June 22, 2017 available;
3) The City of Somerville conduct an investigation into the police process on June 22, 2017 with a focus on racial targeting and intimidation and take disciplinary action against police officer involved who acted inappropriately.
In addition, to address the root causes of these incidents we further demand that mechanisms and processes for democratic community control of Somerville law enforcement be established in order to ensure that communities most harmed by “destructive policing have the power to hire and fire officers, determine disciplinary action, control budgets and policies, and subpoena relevant agency information.” (https://policy.m4bl.org/community-control/
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