Police Reform

121 petitions

Update posted 6 hours ago

Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Governors, President of the United States, CNN, Wall Street Journal

Police Reform via Political Reform

HONORABLE SENATORS, GOVERNORS, CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES AND MR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I am writing this letter as a call to action to pass legislation that requires a new level of standardization and transparency for all police departments within the United States of America. The 14th Amendment adopted on July 9, 1868, guarantees all citizens ‘equal protection under the law’. In the 152 years since the adoption of that amendment we have witnessed increasingly flagrant violations of these basic rights, fomenting an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that has spanned generations. We must address the systemic racism and inequalities that are inherent in our legal and criminal justice systems and recognize the disproportionate effect this disparity has on people of color and the communities where they live. This issue has been mislabeled for too long as a problem within our black communities or as a matter solely pertaining to people of color. This is a humanitarian crisis - it must be addressed. We must not allow ourselves to lapse into apathetic behavior either because of inertia, lack of empathy or education, or simply because we don’t know what to do.  At minimum we know that all people deserve equal protection and treatment under the law and we must work together to fix it.  The Standards for Compliance and Openness of Police Engagement Act of 2020 (hereinafter referred to as the “S.C.O.P.E Act”) should be written as a living piece of legislation that will evolve over time and establish standards for conduct, transparency, engagement and protection of individual civil rights. Below is a framework of proposed reforms that should be considered as a starting point for the S.C.O.P.E Act or any resulting legislation.  Principles of ConductCreate a national whistleblower hotline to ensure officers can report infractions free of repercussions. Whistleblower complaints should be monitored and investigated at state and/or federal levels to ensure independence and proper enforcement of violations. Police departments nationwide should be required to adopt and publish guidelines on the use of force.  Consider utilizing the Camden NJ Police Department Guidelines listed below: (Link to Camden NJ Use of Force Principles). CORE PRINCIPLE 1: Officers may use force only to accomplish specific law enforcement objectives. CORE PRINCIPLE 2: Whenever feasible, officers should attempt to de-escalate confrontations with the goal of resolving encounters without force. Officers may only use force that is objectively reasonable, necessary, and as a last resort. CORE PRINCIPLE 3: Officers must use only the amount of force that is proportionate to the circumstances. CORE PRINCIPLE 4: Deadly force is only authorized as a last resort and only in strict accordance with this directive. CORE PRINCIPLE 5: Officers must promptly provide or request medical aid. CORE PRINCIPLE 6: Employees have a duty to stop and report uses of force that violate any applicable law and/or this directive.                                             TransparencyExpand the Freedom of Information Act at the state/federal levels; mandating that all police departments record all civilian interactions via dashboard cameras and on person recording devices. All officer complaint data including disciplinary actions should be published to the department website and made available on demand to the public. All police departments nationwide must submit data to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, and the data should be available for analysis at the state/city levels. As data collection and dissemination standards are established each state should set a target date to make the raw data available to the public. The data should be used to formulate a letter grade for each department with annual recertification by the state. Community EngagementRetrain police officers to adopt a guardian mindset wherein they prioritize working with the public to mitigate crime, as opposed to a warrior mindset where officers view themselves as aggressors fighting crime. The latter mentality puts officers in a position of immediate conflict with the people in the communities they serve, and teaches officers to view citizens as suspects that must be persecuted rather than people they need to help and protect. Precincts should offer mandated town halls (monthly or quarterly), with schedules posted at the precinct and online, to facilitate community engagement. Citizens should know the officers sworn to protect and serve their communities, and officers should familiarize themselves with people in the community and listen to issues that affect them.  Officers should do regular foot patrols within their districts to encourage positive interaction via direct engagement. Require training in racial sensitivity and effective communication for all department officers with annual recertification by the city and state. Civil Rights Violations                                                                                            Any police enforcement act deemed to violate the 14th amendment should be reviewed at the state and federal levels to determine if disciplinary action is warranted. Officers found in violation of 14th amendment rights and/or disciplined within a department or terminated for cause should be listed in a statewide and/or nationwide database. Depending on the circumstances of the disciplinary action or termination, officers should only be certified for rehire after extensive retraining. Police union reform to limit involvement only to matters on compensation and benefits. Support the Amash-Pressley legislation to end qualified immunity and the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, if not in entirety, at minimum in instances of clear civil rights violations.o   Amash-Pressley Bill websiteo   Ending Qualified Immunity Acto   Justice of Policing Act websiteo   Justice of Policing Act of 2020 This letter is a vehicle to add my voice of support to the reform effort that is so desperately needed to eliminate pervasive and systemic inequality.  However, we need this important matter to be taken up as a bipartisan issue and not the rallying cry of a single party. This is a humanitarian crisis that affects us all, which requires far-reaching and inclusive dialogue with representation from government at all levels, the police and our citizens. We have an opportunity to channel the anger, frustration and outrage accumulated over decades by taking positive steps to create a higher level of engagement and cooperation across all lines. The S.C.O.P.E Act is intended to increase positive interaction, accountability and ensure the formation of a partnership between police departments and the communities they serve. I invite you to take the first step by working together to create a comprehensive piece of legislation in the way that the forefathers of this country wrote the Constitution, so that as more effective ideas are introduced they can be incorporated into the law.  There are many obstacles to police reform, but we cannot allow indolence to prevent us from solving this humanitarian crisis that has plagued our country for decades, and has thus far been neglected due to apathy and inaction.  This crisis is unacceptable, and the recent deaths of George Floyd and countless others have been a wakeup call to the nation. This is an indictment on everyone in this country; we have failed as a society, and we should be tireless in our effort to get this right, by striving to realize the vision that was laid out in our Constitution. SINCERELY,  JOFFRE C. WELLS

Joffre Wells
2,989 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Ralph S. Northam, Kelly Thomasson Secretary of the Commonwealth, Virginia parole board chairwoman Tonya Chapman

Pardon a Child. Remove the knee that has been on his neck since he was 15 years of age!

Like George Floyd I cried for mama when they ripped me from her arms and replaced them with handcuffs. I am now 36 and still crying for mama, Delegates, Senators, Innocence Projects, celebs, Governor Northam and anyone who will help me breathe. I matter!Experts say the natural part of growth and development is experience. And naturally mistakes are a part of life. Not one human being is exempt. So...why was I along with another young man accused of Breaking & Entering a home that we 'chilled' at everyday? Why were we accused of raping a female teen? Why did I willfully go downtown to the Danville Police Department with my mother present in the interrogation room and give a signed/sworn statement of NEVER forcing entry into the home and NEVER forcing sex upon the accuser? Why did I state that we had consensual sex between the two of us and there was NEVER any physical/sexual contact between the accuser and the other young man? Why did I state all of this? Mama told me in that room, in front of the officers that "the truth will set you free". My story has NEVER changed. So...why did the officers ask if I knew the accuser's age AFTER I signed the statement? Only to learn that she was not 14, but 12? Why was I prosecuted as an adult? Why was the 'underage' element NEVER an issue during the investigation? Why did the accuser and her adult cousin, who wasn't there, swear on the Bible then spit venomous lies about me? Why is my public defender not defending me? Can you imagine being a child and sitting in a court room full of people with condemning eyes; quietly stoning you to death without a trial? I remember feeling like no one was with me, not even my mother. Fast forward 3-4 months later...someone tell me why the investigation reveals a story foundated on fabrication, a made up story? Now you are wondering why? For 21 long years I have wondered the same thing. This lie stems from two adults, the accusers female cousin and husband. Sadly they forced her to perform sexual acts with men for money. This investigation reveals a motive-to lie-to hide their own criminal activity by placing the blame on another young man and myself. This investigation reveals that we had NO knowledge nor participation in this evil. This investigation revealed a full confession by the accuser who is a also a victim. Understandably they are the reason why she lied to the authorities, in the police report, in her statement, and on the stand in a courtroom. Unbeknownst to her the same lies that certified me as an adult. The same lies that tramautized, stigmatized, and disenfranchised a child before he had a chance to come of age. Someone HELP...I can't breathe. A lie that formed a distrust in police, lawyers, and the judicial system. A lie that has enslaved me in shackles and chains. A lie that skewed my perception of what I learned in elementary school, the "Pledge of Allegience", where the last three words state, "Justice For All". So what happened... Unfortunately, before this event took place, she did what most young people do when they are trying to fit in with a new crowd, (Ironically I had just moved from Martinsville ,Va to Danville, Va and she was also new to Da-ville )...she lied about her age. How many of you have done something as a youth and made a decision for the right now? Both of my hands are up! Now if you are wondering...yes the B&E and rape charges were dismissed as a result of the accusers courage to tell the truth. The other young man went home. The two adults were convicted of pandering. I, on the other hand was deemed guilty according to Virginia law, for having consensual sex with a female who was under 13. Virginia law states that she cannot consent even if she does. In this case she stated consent and admitted to enhancing her age to more than 12. Furthermore two witness testimonies and statements corroborate that she had told them she was older as well. At 15 I still did not get it. Why am I guilty if I NEVER knew? You say I am guilty of rape because of her age yet evidence reflects that I NEVER knew, and she admitted to lying about her age. I argued with my public defender over and over and he only pressed me with one option. Plead guilty because your signed statement proves guilt. He says" Virginia law states that." Answer this...why is this statute so vague? Where is a statute or bill or amendment that includes language of ...." "unless a defendant has no prior knowledge of the age, being unable to consent, victim admits to enhancing age that would take her out of the realm of not able to consent and evidence points to this fact, then guilt should not persist..." Furthermore, can anyone explain why this case was not remanded or sent back to the Juvenile Court? At the age of 15 I was certified or to be tried as an adult based on testimony of B&E and rape. Criminal behavior based on the nature of violence and force. Accusations that were proven to NEVER have occurred. I was not prosecuted or certified as an adult for evidence of my signed statements--the 'underage' element. What is the point? No one explained to a child that a sex offense conviction in the adult circuit court requires registry. And if you don't you will be locked up again. Would this injustice have been allowed to continue if I wasn't an impoverished, and an ignorant of the law black boy without effective legal representation? Where is the Equal Protections of the Law? Right to a Fair Trial? and (Fed./State )Right to Due Process of Law? Again, I can't breathe! Reluctantly I pled guilty to a crime I never knew I had committed until an echo of lies caused an avalanche. A blind man can look at the record and see a proponderance of evidence that reflects no predatory, pedophilia, deviant, and/or criminal intent. Nor does the record reflect that I operated with the mindset as if I 'knowingly disregarded' the law. Naturally I operated as an irresponsible, curious, risk-taking teen. Everyday, teens lie about some of the darndest things. They lie about their ages, where they are going, who they are with and so forth. So if you are a parent, guardian, older sibling, older loved one, friend or someone of influence, educate your prepubescent teen and teenagers about my story. Make them aware about your States statute/laws concerning the legal age of consent. No, I am not condoning teen sex or sex before marriage but kids are going to be kids. Our innate duty is to guide the generations after us to do better than we did. Besides, if they are in the know they have a better chance of NOT making a poor decision. And this applies with everything. So I appeal to the people...given what you have read, the extraordinary circumstances and the rarity of all of this happening, do I deserve to serve 10 years? Do I deserve an unjust conviction in an adult court? Do I deserve to be on a registry? Do I deserve more suffering from a 21 year old case that stems from a made up story of lies? And forgive me if there's an inkling of concern that I am disclaiming responsibility...NO! I empathize with the accuser/victim. I empathize with countless victims of sexual abuse and deviance. I have a mother who I loved first in this world and love more than I did when I was a child. I have two younger sisters who were placed under my wing before I was big enough to retrieve items from the cupboard without having to climb on the countertops. I have 4 nieces who address me as 'sir', 'king', and 'Uncle Jamar'. I have a 16 year old brother and a 13 year old nephew who have never experienced anything with me besides prison visits and phone calls, but heed every word I say to them. I have female friends, females I work with everyday and I GUARANTEE they will say, "I don't see that on him". By habit and nature I am a respector and protector. Mama raised me like that. So God forbid if something like this or similar happens to them. Plus, as a juvenile all treatment and education was afforded me to understand the severity of sexual misconduct. Records from multiple DJJ counselors (in court records also) state that I am not a sexual predator, deviant, pedophile, or someone that needs to be on the registry. Instead I am also a victim of 'extraordinary circumstances'. Quick story....when I was at Beaumont on my second stint (DJJ) in 2001-03 for violating probation, I was in treatment and one of the requirements is 'ACCEPTANCE'. So during group everyone take turns revealing some hard truths of what they did to get there. And when I say hard, WHOA...In my immaturity I judged. Maybe because there acts were unthinkable when it came to my mind. And there sentences were much lesser. You had anywhere from sodomy with children/babies, forcible rape, beastiality, molestation of family members and all types of acts committed that you hear on '20/20', 'Dateline', or Oprah. PRAYERS TO ALL AFFECTED! I remember my first group like it was yesterday. Believe it or not my story has remained the same. The counselors scolded me about being truthful and acceptance. Of course I did not budge. So afterwards she and I are in her office conversing the subject matter and I prompt her to call my case manager/P.O. who was with the case every step of the way. She called my bluff and after their convo, she began crying, then apologized. That was me in 1999. Like a typical teen I was trying to discover me and this world. I gravitated towards the same type of people and places that got me into trouble several times over. Maybe it was due to the lack of guidance, never knowing my father, or not having. Regardless I played a major part in my mistakes. I accept that and work hard everyday to be a better man and human being. I have paid my debt and more to society. I just wanna live. Justice!!! In conclusion, if I do not receive relief via Pardon-Clemency from the Governor of Virginia, that means the mistake I made as a child is deserving of a 10 year sentence and all that comes with it. It means it is okay to lie and still receive punishment when the fact finders know the truth. It means I have no rights as a human being under the U.S. Constitution. It means Black Lives 'Do Not' Matter. I Matter! We Matter! Countless men and women inside these walls matter! And in the words of Ava Duvernay...(not verbatim ) "...we are seeing many unjustly killed in the streets. Please do not forget about us who are being killed by the courts..."Justice For All!!! Bio Facts: *26 year sentence---(4 years )Dist. crack cocaine-1st time drug offense...19 years old---(12years) shoot in occup. vehicle, attempt. mal. wounding, use of firearm in comm., and poss. of firearm as conv. juve. felon...19years old-- (Thank God NO one was shot)[THESE SENTENCES ARE COMPLETE] SENTENCE REMAINING---(10years) suspended sentence imposed due to new convictions...violation of probation...stems from juvenile-adult conviction... 15 years old ..*34 months served in Dept. of Juvenile Justice for *Current Release Date: 10-3-23*Pending Conditional Pardon--filed Jan.-Feb 2017*Pending Early Release Appeal(COVID-19) 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia--Filed April and June 2020*Exemplary Record of Rehabilitation--HS Diploma/GED--Multiple Trades and Educational Certifications--Completed All Treatment Programs Available--New Hope Therapeutic Community Program Graduate(2016)--Infraction Free-9 + years--Commissary Worker-3+ years--Viable Home Plan--Excellent Support System--Entrepreneurial Plans*COVID-19 Concerns--Due to incarceration it is impossible to follow the guidelines prescribed by CDC. The infection likelihood is much greater in confinement.*Acting Executive Director of NonProfit...Saving Our Seeds for Change, Inc. or Saving Our Seeds( S.O.S.) CONTACT: Andrea N. Hairston, President(276)-806-6174Website: saving our seeds ueniweb.comemail: andrea68@vt.eduFacebook/saving our seeds nonprofit395 W. John Redd Blvd.Collinsville, VA 24078 Feel free to contact me @ Jamar D. Hairston-BeyActing Executive Director1607 Planters RoadLawrenceville, VA 23868or sign up for free @ cost  

Jamar Hairston-Bey
258 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Gavin Newsom

Officer Husband Murders Pregnant Indigenous Wife And Gets Sentence Commuted By CA Governor

This story is real.  Debra Marie BlackCrow was a 39 year old Oglala Lakota Sioux woman on month 7 of her pregnancy.  After years of abuse from her Parole Officer husband, Rodney Patrick McNeal, she decides to take control of her life and leave the man who was supposed to protect her.  Sadly, she would never make it out alive.  On March 10, 1997, Debra was viciously beaten, stabbed, strangled, dragged, drowned and doused with chemicals. I am the second eldest of Debra's four surviving children.  All of us witnessed Patrick's domestic violence and had to be witnesses in the trial.  The People vs Rodney McNeal began 3 years after my mother's murder and the lawyer on our side is the previous District Attorney of San Bernardino, Michael Ramos.   After hearing all testimony and recognizing that the motive was for a $100k insurance policy, a jury of his peers handed down a sentence of two terms of 15 to Life.  One term for my mother and one term for my unborn sister to be served consecutively.   This is where the story should end and the healing begins.  Unfortunately, this would not be the case.  For the past 23 years, Debra's children have been fighting tirelessly against Patrick's constant attempts to change the person who killed my mother, appeal the sentence, convince the California Innocence Project to back him, request to be granted clemency (which was rejected by previous Governor Jerry Brown Jr.) and now having the sentence commuted to 22 to Life by the recently elected Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. Patrick has been in jail for 23 years.  This means that even through this CoVid-19 pandemic he will be up for a parole hearing this year.  What made this story even worse is the fact that Debra's children found out about the commuted sentence mere hours before the news article was released.   You may be asking why the California Innocence Project backed his case.  That was my question too.  In 2015, I was side swiped by searching online and finding out that the CIP had started representing Patrick.  I called them and set up a meeting with my sister and I in Las Vegas, NV.  I wanted to know why they never reached out to the victim's family or any of the witnesses to find out about Patrick's character.  They did come to Vegas and at the end of the meeting they stated "Even if Patrick is guilty he probably won't be getting out but we invested so much in his story already so we are going to have to just run with it." I am just a person.  I single human being amongst billions and I do not have the power of the media behind me like the California Innocence Project.  I do however have my word and the power of my story.  California is a Death Penalty State yet when I was asked as a 16 year old girl if we should shoot for Death, I chose Life.  I granted Patrick mercy.  The mercy that he never granted my mother.   I really hope that you read this and are able to help me say loudly that the California Innocence Project needs major reform on how they choose the people they represent.  They need to stop representing Patrick and Governor Gavin Newsom needs to revoke his commuted sentence.  Help me keep justice in my mother's name and the countless victims of domestic violence. 

Shantel Haynes
1,970 supporters