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NAACP Opposes Continuing Violence in African American Communities; Urges State and Local Units to Continue to Work Towards Solutions

WHEREAS, from the days of slavery and lynching through the years of segregation, the Blue Codes, Jim Crow laws, and even today African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities have always been subject to racial bias, racially disparate treatment, and harsher treatment by the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, due to the increased use of personal video equipment including the use of smart phones, more of these problematic, even deadly, encounters are becoming better publicized and have made more Americans aware of the racial bias policy and disparate treatment; and

WHEREAS, it is difficult for our faith in the American judicial system not to be challenged when we cannot walk down the street, drive down an interstate, go through an airport, or even enter into our own homes without being stopped merely because of the color of our skin, who we are perceived to be, or what we chose to wear; and

WHEREAS, faced with this violence, we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged, and unfortunately this fear can be used as a basis for political vitriol or fodder; and

WHEREAS, the majority of law enforcement officers are hard working, courageous men and women, whose concern for the safety of those they are charged with protecting and serving is paramount, even when their own safety is on the line. However, if and when even one of their fellow officers engages in profiling, or behaves with bias whether it be conscious or subconscious, the trust of and perception of integrity by the entire community can be, and will be, lost; and

WHEREAS, prosecutors have tremendous power when determining the legal fate of an individual, including an officer of the law; unfortunately in too many cases the prosecutorial system at the local, state, and federal level often fails to secure justice in instances of alleged police misconduct and abuse due to political or personal relationships, personal biases, or basic ineptitude; and

WHEREAS, NAACP units across the nation are committed to continuing their non-violent, proactive advocacy through peaceful demonstrations, community-relations building between law enforcement and the people they serve and protect; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we reaffirm violence prevention and safe, sensible policing resolutions passed in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1996, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP reiterates its strong support for legislation to ameliorate the role of racial, ethnic and religious biases in policing including the End Racial Profiling Act, which clearly defines the discriminatory practice of profiling by law enforcement at all levels; creates a federal prohibition against profiling; mandates data collection so we can fully assess the true extent of the problem; provides funding for the retraining of law enforcement officials on how to discontinue and prevent the use of profiling; and holds law enforcement agencies that continue to use profiling accountable; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP also reaffirm its support for the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, which provides incentives for local police organizations to adopt performance-based standards to minimize incidents of misconduct through appropriate management, training and oversight protocols, and requires proper, thorough investigations when incidents do occur; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges all units to continue to promote non-violence and to work to build community awareness and relations between neighborhoods and the law enforcement officers who are charged with their protection and to review and utilize the "Pathways to Police Reform Community Modernization Toolkit"; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP calls for a complete overhaul of the special prosecutor system to remove personal or political biases and obstructions of justice; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP strongly supports the findings and recommendations of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing to make communities safer and to build trust between police and communities. The recommendations call for data collection, body worn cameras and other law enforcement monitoring equipment and practices. They also call for the creation of effective civilian oversight and review mechanisms, as well as the review of the policy that led to the militarization of police forces throughout the country.

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