Mass Incarceration

Tyre Nichols’ death is a reminder that Philly police need more oversight

The killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis is a direct name to motion on police oversight within the metropolis of Philadelphia. The brutality witnessed by the hands of an uncontrolled band of Memphis law enforcement officials is a lethal reminder that civilian oversight of policing isn’t elective if we’re critical about significant reform. It’s a necessary a part of the answer.

And let’s be clear: Police abuse is not only the issue of enormous cities like Philadelphia and Memphis. Earlier this month in Decrease Merion Township, police tased a Black woman during a traffic stop exterior a Wawa.

The newly shaped Citizens Police Oversight Commission in Philadelphia should act instantly to satisfy its mission to carry police accountable. With out accountability, there will be no group belief. Solely with accountability, can there be justice for all.

Solely with the police held accountable can there be justice for all.

Final 12 months in Philadelphia, Metropolis Council permitted laws creating the Residents Police Oversight Fee following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Walter Wallace in 2020.

We, as leaders of Live Free — a marketing campaign to finish gun violence, mass incarceration, and the criminalization of Black and Brown our bodies that tears on the soul of our society — spearheaded efforts to mobilize that vote and have since participated within the choice course of for its candidates.

Since that point, the Citizens Police Oversight Commission has seated its first group of commissioners. Whereas that is noteworthy, we’re involved that the fee has not but employed a everlasting government director. One other important emptiness within the Residents Police Oversight Fee is director of investigations, which has prevented the hiring of the investigators required to do the fee’s work.

The Residents Police Oversight Fee should display a higher sense of urgency, given latest occasions, to forestall future tragedies in our group.

Our hearts exit to the family and friends of Tyre Nichols, the town of Memphis, and all of the individuals who have been as soon as once more traumatized by the homicide of an unarmed Black citizen by the hands of regulation enforcement. As a faith-based organizing motion, we provide prayers from our a number of religion traditions and be part of with others who name for justice for Tyre Nichols.

Moreover, we take this time to emphasize to the members of Philadelphia Metropolis Council the necessity to absolutely fund the Residents Police Oversight Fee within the vital mission of higher police accountability. The present funding stage was set to help with the transition from the Police Advisory Commission. The group was assured that extra funds could be granted to the work of the brand new fee, however that has but to materialize. Based mostly on our conversations with these organizing comparable efforts beneath the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, the funds of the Residents Police Oversight Fee must be shut to five% of the full police division funds.

Lastly, we should not be glad with the termination and charging of the police officers concerned within the loss of life of Tyre Nichols. Justice will solely be served if the previous Memphis officers are handled simply as different individuals in an analogous state of affairs.

Think about for a second the 2017 killing of Dennis Plowden in Philadelphia. Former officer Eric Ruch was investigated, terminated, indicted, and convicted. But, the sentence handed down by the court docket was a slap within the face to the Plowden household and the group. We should see the whole course of play out as it might for anybody else to ensure that the Nichols household to obtain justice. The investigation, termination, indictment, trial, conviction, and sentence of those officers have to be commensurate with their crime.

Solely once we display with our actions that nobody is above the regulation will the damaged belief be repaired.

Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler is a pastor at Mom Bethel AME Church and the director of Live Free and Civic Engagement for POWER Interfaith. Elder Melanie DuBouse is the director of Stay Free for POWER Interfaith. Gayle Lacks and Michael Clemmons are co-chairs of Stay Free for POWER Interfaith.

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