In the wake of the recent tragedies involving police and the debate over race relations in America, NAACP CEO Cornell Williams Brooks discussed how reform could improve the lives of police as well as citizens in communities.
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“At a moment of crisis, at a moment when there is a chasm of race and distrust in this country, it calls for seriousness and hopefulness… It’s not enough to talk about law and order and raw generalities but rather we need to speak to the concerns of both police officers on the beat, and protesters on the street. Both of whom, in many instances, are calling for the same thing…Policing that promises to deliver safe streets but also streets in which people are able to recreate, able to work able to carry on their lives as citizens of this republic and not be fearful of those in blue,” he told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
Brooks said he discussed the matter with President Obama and also called on all of the presidential candidates to sign a pledge to deliver certain reforms, in terms of policing, within the first 100 days of taking office.
The reforms included collecting data, ensuring that the Justice Department has sufficient prosecutorial tools, and show that there are ramifications.
“Police officers bring down crime by holding people accountable. We ensure integrity in policing when we hold police officers accountable,” he said.
He also weighed in on the decision to drop the charges for the remaining officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray.
“A prosecutorial decision based on the probability of the conviction does not speak to the possibilities of reform and law enforcement… It’s tough to bring a police officer to heal in terms of a conviction if there is an unlawful shooting. What we can do is do what has been done to a large degree in Dallas and in Cincinnati and other cities-- turn around police departments, hold them accountable and bring about reform. It’s being done in this country and we can do more of it,” he said.
He also discussed how Michael Jordan is speaking out.
“Michael Jordan understands what many citizens of this country understand both emotionally and empirically. When a young black man is seven times more likely to lose his life at the hands of the police, we’ve got a real problem and we can do something about it,” he said.