In the wake of the latest killings of black men by police in New York and California, young, black elected officials issued an agenda to combat police brutality.
“We have all come together to say ‘enough’ to losing black lives in our communities,” said Wisconsin state Rep. David Bowen, a Democrat from Milwaukee. He’s a member of the National Black Caucus of the Young Elected Officials Network, which is a program of the liberal People for the American Way Foundation.
Sixty-six elected officials — representing more than 2 million people — released the open letter April 5 calling for action to address police brutality and gun violence. Among them were Bowen, Kenosha County Supervisor Dayvin M.A. Hallmon, Milwaukee Ald. Chantia Lewis, and Milwaukee County Supervisors Marcelia Nicholson and Sequanna Taylor.
“We as members of the National Black Caucus of the Young Elected Officials Network stand together to call for immediate actions that lead our nation to ending police violence and state-supported violence on black people,” the officials wrote.
YEON demands include:
- A nationwide push at all levels of government to prosecute police misconduct.
- A nationwide push for systemic investigations when agencies are suspected of practicing discrimination.
- An end to “broken windows” policing and “stop and frisk” policies that endanger the lives of young men of color.
The agenda also includes these recommendations:
- Local prosecutors should create civil rights units to investigate and prosecute police misconduct fairly, transparently and independently.
- State attorneys general should provide guidelines for local prosecutors and investigators of misconduct to ensure police accountability.
- Mayors should appoint police chiefs who prioritize building trust with communities, de-escalation and alternative mental-health intervention.
“This violence won’t stop unless we make it stop by demanding more accountability and change in the way we police,” said Svante Myrick, the mayor in Ithaca, New York, and head of YEON. “Today, young black elected officials are coming together to say ‘never again’ to police brutality, just as last week we said ‘never again’ to gun violence.”