No Confidence Petition to Remove Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood
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We, the undersigned, members of the Springfield community, including Pioneer Valley Project, the Greater Springfield NAACP, ARISE for Social Justice and Springfield No One Leaves, call on Mayor Domenic Sarno to remove Cheryl Clapprood from her position as Police Commissioner. We do not have confidence that Commissioner Clapprood can effectively carry out her duties as leader of the Springfield Police Department.
Some of the reasons for our petition include:
· The Commissioner’s decision to bring back five officers in April who have been criminally charged with perjury, related to the attempted cover up of the violent assault of four African American men in 2015 at Nathan Bill’s Restaurant
· The Commissioner’s attempts to distract from wide-spread community demands for police accountability in recent communications where her statements have reinforced false narratives about “black-on-black crime” and the denial that police brutality is a systemic problem within the Springfield Police Department
· The Commissioner’s statement of false equivalencies between the community’s call for justice and systemic racism within the police department, claiming that racism is a problem on both sides
· The Commissioner’s stoking of division by casting aspersions on community leaders and blaming them for exacerbated police-community relations
· The Commissioner’s decision to propose almost a million dollars in tax payer money in next year’s Springfield city budget to be used for a new firing range at a time when police violence perpetrated against African Americans has caused national and local civil unrest
· The Commissioner’s lack of transparency and accountability around police training and use of best practices in modern policing (i.e. anti-racism, peer intervention, de-escalation, community policing, mental health, etc.)
· The Commissioner’s inequitable disciplinary process which has a disparate impact on officers of color, including, but not limited to Detective Florissa Fuentes (i.e. Commissioner’s statement of reason why Det. Fuentes was terminated)
· The fact that Commissioner Clapprood was convicted of filing a false police report in 1989 and deemed a Brady Cop (refers to a police officer who has been proven to have lied), and as such prosecutors are reluctant to allow her testimony as it is likely to be questioned in a court of law
Commissioner Clapprood has shown that her leadership is tone deaf, combative, reinforces white supremacy culture in the police department, fuels division in our city and compromises the police department from its primary duty which is to protect and serve all residents of Springfield equally. In addition, the Commissioner’s sole reliance on mayoral approval of her decisions underscores the need for a civilian Police Commission. Commissioner Clapprood has further demonstrated by her public comments that she is too great of a distraction to lead this city’s police department effectively.
In light of these conditions, we call upon you, Mayor Sarno to remove Commissioner Clapprood from her position immediately.
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