25 signatures reached
To: Emeryville Mayor Ruth Atkin, Emeryville City Council Members
Demilitarize Emeryville Police!
Demilitarize Emeryville police! Shepherd and Warren shot Yuvette Henderson with three weapons, one of which was an AR-15 rifle—a military-grade, automatic weapon—the same used by the US military in conflicts abroad. The amount of force used against Yuvette was grossly excessive and unjustified. The police should not be at war with the people they are meant to serve. We demand that Emeryville PD return all its military-grade weapons and accessories.
Why is this important?
The lives of Black women are consistently devalued, criminalized, and abused by police in the United States. In the case of Yuvette Henderson, this abuse extended to murder. She is not alone; Tarika Wilson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Stanley-Jones—just to name a few—have all been killed by police.
In the early afternoon of Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old mother of four children and one grandchild, was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on the Oakland-Emeryville border of California.
Officers shot Yuvette Henderson after responding to a report from Home Depot regarding an alleged theft where the suspect appeared to be armed and had suffered a head injury, requesting an ambulance.(1) Eyewitness accounts of the shooting contradict the statements released by Emeryville police. Witnesses say they saw Yuvette with both hands in the air, waving down a bus when she was shot and did not report seeing her with a gun. Police state that they asked Yuvette Henderson to drop her weapon and, when she refused, shot and killed her. Police have never stated that Yuvette Henderson pointed a gun at them. Yuvette Henderson fired no shots.(2)
Michelle Shepherd and Warren Williams shot Yuvette with three weapons, including an AR-15 rifle—a military-grade weapon.(3) As the human rights violations in Ferguson exposed to the country last summer, police departments across the nation are abusing their access to military equipment and targeting communities of color.
This misuse of power is as present here in the S.F. Bay Area as it is elsewhere, made painfully clear with the killing of Yuvette. Repeated abuse of state power and increased state terror pose a serious threat to the human and civil rights of all people, including the residents of Emeryville and its surrounding area.
The city of Emeryville spans a mere two-square miles and has a population of 10,000 inhabitants. The presence of military weapons in a city this small only serves to deepen the divide between surrounding communities and law enforcement. Why does a police department require the use of military assault weapons when serving its community? We believe that the police should not be at war with the people they are meant to protect.
Enough is enough! State terrorism must end. Emeryville Mayor Ruth Atkin and the city council must ban the use of all military-grade assault weapons from the Emeryville PD and ensure that all such weapons removed from the Emeryville PD.
1. "Black Lives Matter activists shut down Emeryville Home Depot for 5 hours, demand answers in police murder of Yuvette Henderson," San Francisco Bay View 2-23-2015
2. "Anti Police-Terror Project Holds Rally and Vigil for Yuvette Henderson," Anti-Police Terror Project 2-20-2015
3. "#BlackLivesMatter Activists Shut Down Emeryville Home Depot; Demand Surveillance Tapes Of Fatal Police Shooting," CBS 02-21-2015