To: Janet Mills, Maine State Attorney General
Justice for Chance David Baker Now
It is has been one year since the murder of Chance David Baker, a caring 22-year-old Black man.
The police were called to the scene after Chance was seen walking around with a BB gun, purchased at a pawn shop in Union Plaza. In Maine is an open-carry state in which a permit is not required in the purchase of a non-lethal BB gun. The officers were warned on the call, before even arriving to the scene, that Chance held a BB gun.
Sgt. Nicholas Goodman fired the single fatal shot within 2 minutes and 35 seconds of being on site. This is an officer with 15 years of experience and de-escalation training, and who was cleared in 2008 for using deadly force.
The State of Maine has released no reports, and there have been no convictions against Sgt. Goodman. It has been one year: justice delayed is justice denied.
If you ask his mother and grandmother, they will tell you, “Chance should be alive.” No mother should lose her child this way. The family couldn't afford to bring Chance's body home to Iowa, and had to cremate him. As the family continues to grieve the loss of Chance, they ask for an answer and to find justice.
Attorney General Janet Mills is responsible for the police report and it is likely she will continue the state's legacy of injustice—if we remain silent.
Sign this petition to tell AG Mills, we demand justice for Chance.
The murder of Chance David Baker is not isolated, it is a pattern perpetuated by failed scrutiny of the Attorney General, and the militarized tactics of the Portland Police. Since 1990 there have been 101 cases of police shootings and the Attorney General has always found the officer justified. ( 2012 Portland Press Herald report)
Furthermore in a Portland Press Herald article, released on 1-year anniversary of Chance's murder, AG Mills spoke on forming a task force to study deadly force by police due to the increase in police-involved shootings. While this shows Mills is listening to public pressure, we consider any and all task forces to be stall tactics to obtaining justice.
Mills must be held responsible to bring Sgt. Nicholas Goodman to justice, and prove unnecessary use of deadly force. We demand that AG Mills release a report, not a task force. For true action against the rise in police shootings, Mills must dismantle the ongoing pattern of injustice and charge Goodman with manslaughter.
Why is this important?
Being mentally ill and Black in public is not a crime, nor is it a justification for murder. A life-and-death decision was carried out by Sgt. Goodman within 155 seconds, this points to the undoubtable prejudice against Blackness and mental illness.
This is the very prejudice that causes a non-violent Black 22-year-old with a BB gun to be murdered whereas a White 19-year-old who killed 17 people be taken alive by police. Nikolas Cruz was characterized by his lawyer and media as a “broken child,” that “lacks impulse control.” In this country white terrorists are offered the fullest humanity and reprieve because white supremacy has institutionalized their superiority and protection. White Police Officers like Goodman benefit from white supremacy as well.
How is a decorated officer trained in de-escalation, who murdered two people allowed to remain on active duty? His only consequence to date was administrative leave.
Officer Goodman has served for 15 years and is trained in de-escalation. It is within reason to believe a trained officer would take appropriate measures to connect Chance with Portland Police mental health liaisons.
This is not an isolated injustice. It speaks to the on-going realities of police brutality and criminalization of Black bodies in this country.
In fact, Sgt. Goodman's actions reflect the violent training of officers:
“There is no such thing as ‘we’re going to shoot the gun out of their hand or shoot them in the thigh,’” said Portland Police Chief Sauschuck. “I’m not training them to, nor do our policies and procedures state that they should wound somebody. They are trying to hit this individual in a lethal location,” Sauschuck. (BDN, Feb. 22, 2017)
The police continue to mistreat, terrorize, and murder people of color and are able to walk away free. We need to talk about Chance, share pictures of his sweet smile, and remind each other what we continue to lose when we uphold a system that won’t punish people who kill Black children and adults.
We affirm that all Black lives matter. We affirm that Chance David Baker’s life matters. We stand in solidarity with Chance’s family and community.
And as his concerned community, we demand Attorney General Mills release a report and find Sgt. Goodman guilty for the reckless murder of Chance David Baker.
We will not settle for task forces or body cameras, we want justice and we need it NOW.