May 27, 2020
Mothers Against Police Brutality
The killings of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Breonna Taylor by police in Louisville, the killings by police in Indiana of Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, McHale Rose, and Ashlynn Lisby, and the killing of Ahmaud Arbery by vigilantes in Georgia remind us in the worst way that deadly police brutality and white racism have not taken a break during the pandemic.
These unconscionable killings are among more than 375 homicides by U.S. law enforcement so far this year. “America is well on its way to a sixth straight year of a thousand people shot to death by police,” said Collette Flanagan, founder of MAPB, whose unarmed son, Clinton Allen, was killed by Dallas police in 2013. “And countless others are beaten, kicked, choked, slapped, and otherwise abused by police officers. Our hearts go out to the families of George Floyd and the other families grieving today. We will not forget you. We must end this annual wave of official killings – and we will.”
Although it plays out in diverse local contexts, police homicide is a national crisis that demands a national response. “We need national standards for the use of deadly force, with specifics in federal legislation indicating when deadly force is not allowed,” said John Fullinwider, co-founder of MAPB. “For example, when a subject is unarmed, fleeing, or not using deadly force against officers. We also need national standards for training in the use of deadly force, with trainers vetted by civil rights experts within DOJ.”
MAPB supports federal prosecutors in every fatal officer-involved-shooting (OIS) or other deadly use of force, (e.g., choke holds and other suffocation methods). The police report released in the death of Mr. Floyd was not accurate, leaving out the proximate cause of death – that is, the officer placing his knee on this unarmed man’s neck till he lost consciousness. This is not uncommon in police reports of OISs, which often, for example, omit when a suspect is shot in the back. Police departments and local prosecutors generally do not deliver accountability in OISs. Of a thousand killings by officers per year, less than 7 on average result in indictments, with even fewer convictions. The fact remains that in America, a police officer can do anything to you, even kill you, and 99 per cent of the time, nothing will happen – no charges, no indictments, no trials, no convictions.
At the same time, MAPB advocates changing policing itself, to reduce encounters between residents and officers. For example, mental health crises should be addressed first by mental health counselors, clinicians, and social workers – not by police. “Over-policing, racial profiling, and use of deadly force are not reducing crime in our communities,” said Sara Mokuria, co-founder of MAPB, whose father was killed by Dallas police. “Raising living standards, increasing public health, and providing arts, recreation, and cultural experiences should be prioritized in city budgets – not cut as presently to provide more police.”
About Mothers Against Police Brutality
Mothers Against Police Brutality (MAPB)
Mothers Against Police Brutality (MAPB) is a Dallas-based multi-generational, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic coalition uniting people nationally, from all walks of life, to hold law enforcement agencies more accountable. Collette Flanagan founded MAPB in 2013 after her son, Clinton Allen, an unarmed young man in custody, was shot to death by a Dallas police officer. MAPB works for an immediate end to the use of deadly force against unarmed persons; for changes in the overall use of excessive and deadly force to stop unnecessary injury and death; for changes in the treatment of mentally ill persons by police; for assistance to the families of the victims of police violence; for transparency and objectivity in the investigations of police misconduct; and for other changes in police policies and procedures to protect the lives of civilians, with a particular focus on protecting the lives of African American and Latino youth. Transforming grief into determination, Flanagan and MAPB are leading the charge to change deadly force policy in Dallas and throughout the U.S., lifting up families who have lost loved ones to police violence, and to help restore trust between the police and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.