500 signatures reached
To: Raleigh City Council
Accountability in Raleigh Policing
Dear Mayor McFarlane and City Council,
We ask that you hold public hearings on the ways the Raleigh Police Department can be more transparent, combat biased policing, and hold officers accountable when they violate their pledge to protect and serve.
Raleigh residents most impacted by biased policing deserve an opportunity to address:
- Adopting police body camera policies that prevent abuse
- Requiring written consent forms before subjecting people to searches and pat downs
- Strengthening anti-bias police training and techniques
- Creating a Community Oversight Board to promote transparency and civilian oversight
- Depriortizing marijuana enforcement in order to focus law enforcement resources on offenses more important to public health & safety
- Improving the department's anti-bias policing policy
- Other ideas for making Raleigh a safer city for all
Why is this important?
On February 29th, a Raleigh police officer shot and killed Akiel Denkins, a 24-year-old man. His death highlights the urgent need for change in Raleigh policing but it was by no means an isolated incident. It's a culmination of a pattern of biased policing that targets black and brown communities and feeds a complex and profitable prison system.
On a daily basis, the rights of people in the community where I grew up are constantly violated: tickets for jaywalking, getting stopped for walking down the street in your own neighborhood and getting asked where you’re going, the so-called smell of marijuana being used as an excuse to search your car. Just the other day someone shared with me that he was stopped for driving too slow, at first. Then the officer changed his story and interrogated him about drinking when this man doesn’t even drink. A young man who comes to my barber shop told me he got pulled over for speeding. He was then subjected to an undue search because the officer claimed to smell marijuana. The search yielded nothing. I was questioned and searched leaving my cousin’s house one night as part of an “on-going” investigation.
Does that sound like policing in your neighborhood? It is the daily reality for many young people and people of color in Raleigh.
• National studies show that black and white populations use marijuana at about the same rates; yet in Wake County where RPD is the largest law-enforcement agency, black people represent 67% of low-level marijuana arrests but only 21% of the population.
• From 2010-2015, black drivers were 2.7 times more likely to be searched by police following a traffic stop but 10% less likely to have contraband.
• From 2002-2013, black men under age of 30 were searched at a rate of about 7%, whereas white men were searched at a rate of 4%. As men of color age, the likelihood of being searched significantly decreases.
We need common sense policy changes to stop tragedies like the use of force that took Akiel’s life but also the every day human rights violations common in our community.
How it will be delivered
On Tuesday, April 5th at 6pm at 222 W. Hargett St, we'll host a rally and press conference to present this petition and our coalition's policy recommendations before walking into the City Council chambers to speak during time allotted to Raleigh residents who have requested time to address their elected officials. All signatories are invited to attend! We must continue to be visible in our support of concrete changes to increase accountability, equity, and transparency in Raleigh policing.