Genesee County Democratic Party
Thursday, July 9th, 2020
Resolution: No Justice, No Peace: Black Lives Matter
A resolution recognizing the historic and systemic impact of chattel slavery, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and in support of the reforming policing as we know it.
WHEREAS the United States of America has never truly reconciled with the history and systemic impact of chattel slavery, which originates as far back as 1619, before our country was founded, when the first enslaved Africans were brought to the Virginia Colony. The institution of chattel slavery was enshrined in our founding documents through the Three-Fifths compromise, which legally recognized enslaved peoples as less than human.
WHEREAS policing, as a concept, was created to recover fugitive enslaved people, and its historic origin is deeply rooted in systemic racism and white supremacy.
WHEREAS it took nearly 100 years and a Civil War that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans for enslaved peoples to be emancipated and legally recognized as human beings, continuing with generations of subjugation and legal segregation. Former enslaved peoples were never given just compensation for their time and labor following their experience in forced slavery. Combined with the 1896 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, marked the beginning of an era of de jure segregation and systemic denial of justice that would last for generations. In the 1930s and 1940s, Southern Democrats – who would later change parties to form the modern Republican Party – opposed “New Deal” and “Fair Deal” legislation, such as Social Security and the G.I. Bill of Rights, unless said policies contained occupational exclusions for jobs that were predominantly held by people of color, and other mechanisms to systemically deny financial benefits to people of color; thus establishing a proportional wealth gap between White and Black Americans that remains to this day. Lastly, for multiple generations following the American Civil War, white supremacists have waged a war of terrorism on black and other people of color in the form of thousands of lynchings, murders, and the destruction of property of the like in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921. Thus, police brutality represents a single narrative in a long legacy of white supremacy in the United States of America.
WHEREAS the murders of Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead by George Zimmerman for walking through their neighborhood at night; Michael Brown, who was shot dead by Officer Darren Stafford while his hands were raised; Eric Garner, who repeated the words “I can’t breathe” 11 times while lying face down on the sidewalk while being choked to death by Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who left him unconscious on the ground for 7 minutes until his death was announced on arrival at an area hospital; Philondo Castile, who was shot five times by Officer Jeronimo Yanez, while his partner Diamond Reynolds and their four year old daughter watched in horror; Breonna Taylor, who was asleep in her home when police issued a no-knock warrant on the wrong home, and brutally shot her to death; George Floyd, whose neck Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on for 8 minutes until his death, despite his cries that he couldn’t breathe; Ahmaud Arbery, was shot and killed by two white men near Brunswick, Georgia while jogging; Dion Johnson, who was shot and killed by a white Police Officer in Phoenix, Arizona who attempted to arrest Johnson for drunk driving; and the countless other people of color murdered in similar fashion; represent a continuation of that same white supremacy and terrorism that has persisted since the first formerly enslaved peoples escaped their owners.
WHEREAS the institution of policing requires fundamental reform, that has been unattainable until recent nationwide demonstrations.
WHEREAS America will never heal as a nation until we reconcile with the past injustice of chattel slavery, legal/systemic segregation, and the legacy of white supremacy.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Genesee County Democratic Party:
-Stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
-Believes that all lives cannot matter, until black lives matter.
-Supports new policies that:
- enable Police Departments to be held liable to victims of police brutality or infringement of civil rights and liberties.
- create a process that roots out white supremacy and corruption within the ranks of police.
- create strict criminal sanctions for those who are convicted of police brutality and discrimination, thus holding officers accountable for excessive force.
- expand and increase funding for social services that address many of the issues police are dispatched to address; such as mental health crises, housing instability, domestic violence, food instability, and other critical social needs.
- de-militarize police departments, as these tools of war have no place in the policing of communities and these funding resources could be better utilized in other areas conducive to the public’s well-being.
- ban the use of tear gas, and other chemical respiratory irritants, as means of crowd control, as tear gas is banned in war by Geneva Convention standards and has no place in American policing.
- require yearly independent psychological evaluations for all law enforcement officers.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:
The Genesee County Democratic Party calls for the following reforms in policing proposed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, on June 29th, 2020:
- Require independent investigations of all shootings and use of force that resulted in the death of unarmed civilians at the hands of law enforcement.
- Ban chokeholds/windpipe blockage.
- Further limit the use of no-knock warrants.
- Require “duty to intervene” policies, which require other officers to intervene to prevent an observed use of excessive force by another officer.
- Classify false, racially-motivated 911 calls as a hate crime.
- Require in-service training for all licensed law enforcement officers to maintain licensure.
- Authorize the Michigan Coalition of Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES) to do the following:
- Audit law enforcement agencies to ensure they are accurately reporting violations of law or improper use of force.
- Establish penalties for agencies who don’t comply with reporting.
- Direct the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Diversion Council to make recommendations on best practices and training for police departments when responding to situations involving persons with mental illnesses.
- Provide incentive programs for law enforcement agencies to hire/retain officers who live where they work.
- Require retention of disciplinary records resulting from violations of law or improper use of force.
- Invest in programming in communities around the state that connect local police and community leaders to build relationships.
- Invest in expanding existing community relationship programs to break down barriers between police and communities around the state.