Racial Justice Groups March on Annual Conference of Police Chiefs to Demand Fair Policing Practices

Groups Call International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and its Members to End Police Violence and Mass Criminalization in Communities of Color

CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)–October 3, 2015.  A coalition of organizations on the frontlines of the racial justice movement will gather at the 122nd Annual Conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) this Saturday, to demand a fundamental shift in the way police engage with communities of color. Young people, organizers and activists participating in the , which started Thursday, Oct. 22, are demanding that the IACP support police accountability measures and community reinvestment, that they work to end the “War on Drugs” and the  criminalization of people of color in communities across the country.

This past year proved that Ferguson was more than an isolated incident, rather it was a  glaring example of the kind of  continuous state-sanctioned violence and discriminatory policing demonstrated nationwide in cities  like Cleveland, Oakland, Baltimore and Chicago. The IACP, a group of more than 20,000 police chiefs, is a part of the problem. “The International Association of Chiefs of Police represents a piece of a larger system that intentionally targets poor, underserved and black communities,” said Byron Hobbs, Executive Director of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation.

“Our basic human rights are being violated every day by the police. Black men and women are being harassed, assaulted and even murdered by police. And as the heads of police departments I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the IACP,” said Sade Richmond, leader for Workers Center for Racial Justice.

Coalition leaders and participants in the “I Shocked the Sheriff” Counter-Conference have developed the following demands for the IACP:

We demand that the IACP change its position to support policies that decriminalize the possession of drugs.

We demand that the IACP advocate for the creation of a special prosecutor’s office in every police jurisdiction under their control.

We demand that IACP members commit to negotiating new police union contracts that continue to protect police officers as workers, but prevent officers with track records of misconduct and even murder from keeping their jobs.

We demand that the IACP support and advocate for the creation of an authority in every police jurisdiction that is made up of and controlled by members of the community, have proportional representation in terms of race, ethnicity and gender, and can investigate, subpoena, and file charges against police officers for misconduct. These authorities should also have control over budget and resource allocations for police departments.

We demand that all members of the IACP cease the collection of military weapons through the Department of Defense Excess Property Program 1033.

Reallocate funds from law-enforcement systems to fund community programs that will end the prison pipeline and keep our communities safe, such as restorative justice programs, quality public school education, mental health services and job creation.

“The IACP is on the wrong side of just about every issue as it relates to criminalization. They support continuing the War on Drugs and further militarizing local police. It’s time for us to hold them accountable for the harm they’ve inflicted on our communities,” said DeAngelo Bester, Executive Director of Workers Center for Racial Justice.