3 Demands: Body Cameras, De-escalation, and Civilian Oversight for Police
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In the US, we have witnessed Law Enforcement murder George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breanna Taylor. In Canada, we have witnessed the murders of Regis Korchinski-Paquet and D'Andre Campbell. This cannot continue. We need accountability. We need justice. We need action.
We in Canada are not immune to discrimination and racism, and are just as prone to it as in the US. The police have shown that they will accost and murder BIPOC individuals disproportionally more than White people. Thus, they need to be held more accountable so they represent the desires of our people at large, and are not just a group with a monopoly on violence who have separate wishes than the rest of us.
This petition and movement calls for three concrete, immediate actions to be taken in our region of Niagara, where many of us work, live, and study.
1: Mandatory Body Cameras for all police officers.
We no longer live in an era where we have to accept one person's word over another, especially when that one person could be murdered by the other and unable to defend themselves. We only know about the true events that took place because it was recorded by bystanders. Thus, we must require our officers to wear body cameras that are constantly recording. Otherwise, the truth will be lost and more murders will continue.
2. Mandatory Evidence-based De-escalation Training for all police officers.
The police's job is to serve and protect, not murder us. Many situations that have resulted in violence on the officer's part could have and should have been resolved peacefully without the use of force. De-escalation must be the standard, and should be taught and consistently retaught to our officers if our region is to be made a safer place. We should not fear that the police will shoot us when a situation arises. Niagara Police have negotiators, but every officer must receive training beyond mental health crises.
3. An Independent, Civilian-run body that oversees the police.
The police are an insular group with a monopoly on power. They are not held accountable to the people, only the courts and other officers. That needs to change. Even when officers do speak out, they are often harassed, punished, or fired. An elected body of civilians with no ties to law enforcement, politics, the legal system, or any other conflict of interest must be instated in order to curtail any corruption or further cases of abuse. Members should not be appointed, as that only causes conflicts of interest.
By signing this petition, you indicate that you support all three measures. But just signing this is not enough. This is a call to action. If you are passionate. Email all the councilors and mayors of Niagara and tell them you want these measures passed. Finally, call them directly. Let them hear the voices of the people and show that we want more. We want better.
Here is a Google Doc with a template so you can email and call the councillors: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ioqvEtkbMjRatOGct9kSXD173eRYeIhcyjk4UtvdAYM/edit?usp=sharing
Here is the page where you can find out the names, phone numbers, and emails of all our councillors: https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/council/profiles/default.aspx
Finally, though they did not ask for credit, I could not do this without the help of Black individuals and other People of Colour. Without their contributions and insight this movement would be nothing. Thank you.
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