Thursday, August 13, 2009

DCAPB Challenges Neighborhood Police Sweeps


CONTACT: Ron Scott

Coalition Challenges Neighborhood Sweeps

Calls for Community-Initiated Action Against Violence

8/13/09--Ron Scott, spokesperson for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, issued this statement today:

The current round of neighborhood "sweeps" which have been initiated under "Project Crusader" calls into question the validity of using multijurisdictional task force officers from numerous agencies who do not fall under the citizen oversight provisions of the Detroit City Charter. The Coalition has always opposed both interpersonal and police-initiated violence; we also want to stop the bleeding in Detroit. But "Project Crusader" is not the most effective way to do that.

Thus far, the sweeps have had negligible benefit to justify the law enforcement dollars spent. What we have here is the nationalization of our police force, and we oppose that.

The Coalition believes that public safety can only happen through a continuing, dedicated, on-the-street effort of citizens who will work together to diminish violence and build peace. Our group, and others within the community, should work to initiate activities that will identify "hot spots," and resolve them with economic resources and conflict resolution activities instead of guns.

We are not adversarial to police efforts; in fact, we welcome any effort to coordinate community-initiated activities with law enforcement activities. But we certainly do not wish to have citizens' rights compromised in circumstances where there is questionable benefit for such a far-reaching, saturated activity.

The Coalition has found in its ongoing work that any of the acts of violence which occur happen between families, friends and acquaintances and will be addressed much more effectively via interpersonal conflict resolution as opposed to coercive police action.

In the next few weeks, the Coalition will initiate an evaluation of Detroit Police Department efforts under "Project Crusader" and will release a statement once the evaluation is complete. We are also working with various legal organizations to assess and determine possible civil/human rights violations in conjunction with police efforts.

The Coalition is glad the Detroit Police Department wants to take a proactive role; it is just important that those actions be taken in the context of community leadership. As the department remains under two Federal Consent Decrees around "Use of Force" and "Issues of Confinement," such leadership is especially important if we really want to be effective.

The Coalition stands ready to work with anyone who is willing to work to promote public safety along with protecting citizens' rights.

No comments: