By Sherry Sherrill
Hello, Community! This is a status update from the Mothers 4 Justice [M4J] Organization.
Reaction To The Breonna Taylor Verdict and Breonna’s Law
Despite widespread support for charges to be filed in the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in March, Louisville (KY) Metro cops escaped nearly unscathed, as the attorney general announced that only one of them would face any charges. Moreover, those charges are for “wanton endangerment,” and not for murder or manslaughter. Taylor was shot to death inside her apartment during the serving of a so-called No-Knock Search Warrant. Recently, the Louisville Metro Council voted to unanimously end No-Knock Warrants. However, this arrives too late to save the life of Ms. Taylor. Mothers 4 Justice’s position is that the officer whose gun fired the bullet that killed Taylor should have been indicted for her murder, and that ALL of the officers involved in the botched raid should have (also) been charged with “wanton endangerment”. Moreover, M4J supports Breonna’s Law, which will officially bring an end to No-Knock Search Warrants in Kentucky, becoming adopted nationally.
Position Concerning The Daniel Prude Matter
Also during the month of March, but closer to home in Rochester (NY), Mr. Daniel Prude was killed by police when cops covered his head with a ‘spit sock’ and held him down in a prone position on the snow covered ground (until he ceased to protest or move). It seems Mr. Prude had just been released by a hospital, for a psychiatric emergency that included his having taken the illegal drug Phencyclidine or PCP. Mothers 4 Justice believes that the policy of releasing affected persons whom have had a pscyhiatric emergency from the hospital once their symptoms subside, is necessary to be upheld. That stated, however, we believe that persons who have a psychiatric incident requiring police interaction, should be encountered by police personnel fortified by mental health professionals at the time and location of said police encounter. Here, in Buffalo, this would mean an entity such as Crisis Services deploying staff to accompany police on calls involving mental health. M4J believes that the emphasis in such mental health-connected police calls should be upon: (a) Assisting police to de-escalate the encounter, (b) Attempting to calm the detainee individual, and (c) Regarding the detainee individual primarily as a patient (versus solely being approached as a suspect).
Cariol’s Law and The Cariol Horne Matter
We at Mothers 4 Justice are supportive of former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol Holloman Horne and the passage of Cariol’s Law. Recently, the legislation passed in the Buffalo Common Council with only one council member not supporting it. This means that, should the mayor veto Cariol’s Law, the Common Council has enough internal support to override the veto. M4J encourages the state legislature to act on and vote on and pass this crucial piece of legislation that would make it a duty for police officers to respond to incidents of police brutality, and would make it illegal for such intervention to be met with discipline (punishment). Furthermore, Mothers 4 Justice encourages lawmakers at the city, county, and state levels to do what they can to ensure that Ms. Horne is granted her full pension, and to ensure Ms. Horne is made whole for any and all lost wages.
It seems as if every month since George Floyd’s murder, the public has been confronted by a similar act of shocking abuse against a detainee by law enforcement. According to the Washington Post’s “Fatal Force Tracker,” an online database of police killings, police in the United States have shot and killed 999 individuals in just the past year, alone. Altogether, police have slain over 5,000 (men, women, and children) since Year 2015! Incredibly, even the global outpouring of support over George Floyd’s death did little to stop the incidence of police brutality. It is clear that the situation is not improving, and we at Mothers 4 Justice suspect that the exoneration of police in the Breonna Taylor Matter will only serve to embolden rogue cops, and that these (desensitized) men and women will continue to escalate potential use-of-force scenarios.
Let’s Energize the Biden-Harris Campaign
A perhaps ironic outcome of the Black Lives Matter Movement’s historic progress, has been its potential eclipsing of the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election. While defeating Trump is on the front-burner of many a good Democrat and other voters, the (arguably) lackluster Biden-Harris Campaign does not bode well for a high turnout of voters in opposition to Donald Trump. Mothers 4 Justice calls upon the Erie County Democrat Committee [ECDC] to establish high-profile neighborhoods-level campaign outposts for Biden-Harris, so that residents will encounter such proximate indicator of the importance of defeating Trump come November 3rd on a daily basis. To this end, M4J will be participating in ‘Get Out The Vote’ motorcades, including the “Early Voting Unity Parade” on Saturday October 24th: the first day of Early Voting in New York State. The motorcade will start at MLK Park, proceed to Johnnie B. Wiley Stadium, and end at JFK Community Center and Park. Contact Betty Jean Grant for the start time of the motorcade, at: (716) 602-5877. Let’s increase the momentum of the Biden-Harris Ticket!