Statement on the Black Lives Matter Protests

Statement on the Black Lives Matter Protests

Freedom, justice, and equality are the values upon which our country was founded. But the recent killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of law enforcement officers are the latest reminder that the struggle to achieve these ideals has not been won. We, the Faulkner County Democratic Party, stand in solidarity with the protestors and community leaders working to redress the inequalities that persist in our judicial system and law enforcement practices.

Here in central Arkansas, the history of slavery and segregation is embodied in the very geography of our cities and roadways, in the lines both visible and invisible between neighborhoods and school districts. The violent struggle to achieve school integration haunts the living memories of many. The Little Rock Nine stand as a vivid reminder that the men and women tasked to protect and serve have historically been ordered to carry out their task inequitably. It is incumbent upon us, as a community, to continually re-evaluate the systems and laws that govern our state to ensure equity among our citizens.

We support the NAACP in their call to ban the use of knee holds and choke holds, to instate a six-level escalation of force protocol for our law enforcement agencies, to make available to the public officer misconduct and disciplinary histories, and to create an independent Citizen’s Review Board, complementary to the existing Civil Service Commission, for the review of complaints. We support Mr. Jimmy Warren’s letter to Conway mayor Bart Castleberry, Police Chief Spradlin, and members of the Conway City Council requesting a policy for the release of officer body camera video and the hiring of a Diversity Compliance Officer. We request alterations to the structure of the extant review process to allow for anonymity for complainants who fear retaliation for initiating a review.

This post was written by
Meleah is the Communications and Technology Chair for the Faulkner County Democratic Party.

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