Mike Brickner, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, released a statement June 25 on Gov. John Carney’s recent executive order on police practices and on the chokehold bill passed by the General Assembly.
“Today’s action by Gov. Carney, combined with the chokehold bill legislation passed by the General Assembly, is important and long overdue,” said Brickner in the statement. “These initial reforms will instill greater transparency and accountability for law enforcement officers, but much more needs to be done. As a next step, the rest of the reforms put forward by the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus and Attorney General [Kathy] Jennings should be fully considered by the legislature now — but even that is insufficient in remedying the continued risk that Black and Brown communities face during interactions with law enforcement.”
“Beyond those basic reforms, the community is yearning for a fundamental shift in how we approach policing,” continued Brickner. “It is the duty of elected officials to take positive action for Black and Brown communities. Our lawmakers must ensure community leaders and community members are centered in any discussion of reform. We continue to push for a reinvestment in those communities that have historically been victimized by racial violence and systemic racism, particularly into programs that increase access to healthcare, education, housing and job opportunities.”
“But healing can only be achieved if we first begin to dismantle the machinery of mass incarceration that has ruined so many lives,” continued Brickner. “We call on the members of the 150th General Assembly — individually and collectively — to lead changes in the laws, policies, practices and culture that have done so much damage in Black and Brown communities. “Officials can begin to take those steps by:
— Limiting the use of law enforcement for low-level violations and technical violations of probation, many of which should be handled outside the justice system.
— Ending the use of programs like Operation Safe Streets and the Governor’s Council that fuel mass incarceration and undermine the community’s trust in police.
— Increasing the number of counselors and advocates in schools, while also eliminating routine police presence.
— Collecting and making available to the public data on all aspects of the justice system, including the racial impact of programs.”
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