Establish Oversight Boards for Fayetteville (NC) Police!!
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BLUF: WE DEMAND ESTABLISHMENT OF INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT BOARDS FOR BOTH THE FAYETTEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT AND CUMBERLAND COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE.
Police misconduct & abuse of power--- Most of us are tired of seeing police violence snuff out life. Tired of the repeated failure of our local governments to prosecute uniformed wrongdoers. Disgusted by an unequal application of the law that fills for-profit jails and prisons disproportionately with black and brown bodies. Many of us are aware that Injustice is both entrenched and systemic.
Past Local Government Failures:
In 2012, following extensive evaluation of the FPD’s discriminatory practices and based on specific recommendations of the 2012 National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the City Council backed plans to improve transparency and oversight by installing a Citizen Review Board. Influenced by Police Benevolent Association intimidation, the process was halted in April of 2014. Our local government failed to complete this critical reform, choosing to keep internal review functions in place in the FPD and CCSO. Currently feelings of community disenfranchisement and lack of transparency are fueled by lack of an independent oversight body and a belief that both organizations cover-up allegations of misconduct. Examples can be seen in the mishandling of allegations regarding Kevin Grissett, Genesis Whitted, Reshod Everett, Timothy Smith Jr., Joshua Oxendine and Treva Smutherman. The community does not expect the Police to police themselves.
In September of 2019, underscoring a continued climate of police misconduct and lack of transparency, Fayetteville PACT pleaded with Mayor Colvin and the City council to implement an oversight board board. Accompanied by Reshod Everett, the community repeated this call during a council session in December 2019. Essentially, since 2012 our local government has failed to act on common sense calls for oversight and policy reform.
What can we Do about it?
How do we break this insane cycle of only caring when there is a national headline… after another life is gone? By now we are beginning to understand that posting, complaining, protesting & marching … will have little impact without Direct and specific demands for POLICY CHANGES. If the problem is systemic in nature... the inner workings of this system have to be examined and reformed until our Peace Officers serve in exactly that capacity.
Civilian Oversight of the Police is Basic, Common Sense Police Reform…
Don’t let anyone fool you into believing that your public servants are able to Police themselves. This is absolutely ridiculous... and a status quo mindset that has to be abandoned wholesale. According to NACOLE:
"Citizen oversight of Law Enforcement is a critical facet of any well-founded effort to strengthen the relationship between police and communities and public trust, all while promoting effective policing. and it is one of the only mechanisms proven to ensure sustainable reforms. - Guidebook_for_the_Implementation_of_New_or_Revitalized_Police_Oversight_2016
In more than 200 cities across the US, Independent Oversight bodies already serve to examine police policies and procedures. These bodies address allegations of police misconduct externally (without interference or bias). The most effective boards act on behalf of Citizens and take a comprehensive approach to things like:
- hiring practices & pay
- Use of demeaning or disrespectful language
- Adherence to bodycam policy
- Use of excessive force
- Independent investigation of misconduct allegations
We demand that the Fayetteville City Council move to implement a Police Civilian Review Board for the Fayetteville Police Department and that the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office immediately take aggressive steps to establish a separate Independent oversight board for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. To be clear, we absolutely respect and honor the women and men of the FPD and appreciate the work that Chief Gina Hawkins and Sheriff Ennis Wright put in everyday. We know without a doubt that it is possible to respect their work while also respecting a process that gives citizens oversight and involvement.
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both."
- Frederick Douglass (1857)
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