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The Murder of Rayshard Brooks by Atlanta Police Emphasizes Need for Change

Atlanta Lawyer: “What is it going to take? How many more examples are we going to take?”

Chapman: “Community Control of Police is the only thing that can change anything!”

Frank Chapman, Executive Director of the newly formed National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, today called for immediate passage of legislation establishing democratic community control of the police in every city and town across the nation. “This is really the only way the people will have the power to make the changes that everyone is demanding in the wake of countless murders by police. This is the only way to stop the killings, torture, and brutality – a virtual war against Black and Brown communities.”

“What is it going to take? How many more examples are we going to take?” These were the words of Attorney Chris Stewart, lawyer of the Brooks’ family after Rayshard Brooks, 27, was murdered by Atlanta, GA Police Saturday. 

Brooks had visited his mother’s grave earlier that day and was on his way to take his daughter skating for her 8th birthday party. Brooks had allegedly fallen asleep in his car at a local Wendy’s when police were called. Brooks spoke with them for 30 minutes before they put him in handcuffs, at which point he broke from them and ran, carrying what may have been a taser that one of the cops had unholstered. Video shows the police shooting Brooks three times in the back as he ran away.

Brooks’ murder came only days after Atlanta police smashed the windows of a car and tased its occupants who had stopped to record another instance of police violence. Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgram, students at Spelman College, were stopped and were recording an incident when they were told “Go, or go to jail” by one of the officers involved. When they got back in their car and attempted to leave the police smashed their car windows, pulled them out, and beat and tased them.

The Chief of the Atlanta Police, Erika Shields, resigned and all the officers involved in both incidents have been either fired or put on administrative duties. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has issued arrest warrants for Lonnie Hood, Roland Claud, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones, Willie Sauls and Ivory Streeter, who were involved in the attack on the students.

The Atlanta chapter of the NAACP called for the resignation of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “The Atlanta Police Department continues to terrorize protesters and murder unarmed Black bodies,” the NAACP said in a statement. “It’s time for new leadership and a change of policing culture. Stand with us and call for [Bottoms’] immediate resignation.”

“Resignations and even arrests of police officials and officers are clearly not enough,” Chapman said. He held up the ordinance in Chicago creating an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) as an example that should be enacted everywhere. “We’ve had ‘civilian oversight’ and federal court consent decrees now for decades, and nothing has changed,” Chapman said. “If anything, the police have been even more violent than ever, smashing peaceful protests with rubber bullets, teargas, flash bang bombs and armored vehicles.

“They have been emboldened by virtual impunity granted them by the Trump White House and local authorities following that lead.

“We’re done with this. That’s what’s on the lips of millions today in our streets in almost a thousand cities and towns across the country and around the world. It’s time to pass community control of the police, the only way the police will ever be made accountable for their crimes against the people.”

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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