NASW on Aug. 25 joined more than 1,300 other organizations to call for reforms to end police violence in the aftermath of a Ferguson, Mo., police officer shooting and killing Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager.
The letter was published in the Washington Post. Others who have signed the letter include social worker and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Social Work Caucus; Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Ben Cohen, co-founder of the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream chain; and actress Cynthia Nixon. “In cities across America, local law enforcement units too often treat low-income neighborhoods populated by African-Americans and Latinos as if they are military combat zones instead of communities where people strive to live, learn, work, play and pray in peace and harmony,” the letter reads.
The letter, which was addressed to the Obama Administration, calls for police training to end racial bias, the end of militarization of police forces, and creation of an agency within the Justice Department to set national standards for investigating alleged police wrongdoings.
NASW had already called for police reforms, including a suggestion that police officers be equipped with video cameras that would prompt them to be more cautious when dealing with the public and provide evidence in case of misconduct.
The nation has seen several tragic incidents where deadly police force has been brought against people of color. These include the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, an incident that sparked days of protests in the St. Louis suburb and around the nation.
Read the full letter on the Washington Post site.