Mayors Linda Tyer and Tom Bernard, State Senator Adam Hinds, Others to Speak Against Police Violence Against People of Color *
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire County Branch of the NAACP has organized a standout protesting police violence against people of color this Saturday, May 5th from 12 noon to 2pm at Park Square in downtown Pittsfield. Entitled, “Speaking Truth to Power,” the event will include remarks by State Senator Adam Hinds, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard, NAACP Berkshire County branch president Dennis Powell, local youth and others.
The standout is co-sponsored by the Berkshire Democratic Brigades, Berkshire Democratic Brigades, First Baptist Church of Pittsfield, MA, the Four Freedoms Coalition, Greylock Together, INDIVISIBLE PITTSFIELD, Multicultural Bridge – Not In Our County, the Pittsfield Human Rights Commission, Price Memorial AME Zion Church, Second Congregational Church Pittsfield and the Unitarian Universalists Meeting of South Berkshire.
NAACP branch president Dennis Powell noted, “This is not about all those in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve their community. We have the utmost respect for all police officers who live by the oath they swore: ‘To Protect and to Serve’ ALL citizens.”
He continued, “This standout is about those officers who have implicit and explicit bias against people of color resulting in racist acts. Too many officers have demonstrated on numerous occasions that they have the skills to eliminate a threat without killing suspects… those suspects, however, are white! Officers have had white suspects point a weapon directly at them in broad daylight (the officer did not have to think it was a gun; he knew it was) and yet the suspects lived.”
“Young black men & women have been killed for having a cell phone, a shower head, or nothing at all. This is clearly racism, and it is time to speak the truth and call it out for what it is.”
Powell observed that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotamayor wrote in her dissent to Utah vs. Stieff: “For generations, black and brown parents have given their children “the talk”—instructing them never to run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react to them.”
* This article was created, in whole or in part, using submitted officially released information.
The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, economic, social and educational equality of rights for all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. For more information on the Berkshire County branch of the NAACP, visit www.naacpberkshires.org.
From the NAACP Fact Sheet on Race and Policing:
From a Propublica investigation of the use of deadly force
From 2010-2012, Black males aged 15 to 19 were 21 times more likely to be killed by police than white males in that age group.
From the Washington Post’s database of all fatal police shootings for 2015
Unarmed black men were seven times more likely to be killed by police than unarmed white men.
From a Washington Post & Bowling Green State University analysis of cases from 2005-2015 in which officers were charged for fatal shootings (http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2015/04/11/thousands-dead-few-prosecuted/).
“Among the officers charged since 2005 for fatal shootings, more than three-quarters were white. Two-thirds of their victims were minorities, all but two of them black.”