For Immediate Release – June 17, 2020 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Contact: Lena Bryan-Henderson, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org 412-656-8250
The Pittsburgh Black Attorney Alliance (PBLA) condemns all police brutality. PBLA especially condemns the use of unjustified deadly force against black men and women. We are traumatized when we see the murder of George Floyd–and countless others– because we see ourselves in these victims.
We recognize that but for the grace of God it could be one of us– or our sisters, brothers, fathers or children– being suffocated to death by law enforcement. It is unfathomable how quickly a routine traffic stop or investigation into a petty crime can turn deadly for black citizens.
We can no longer be complicit or silent about the systematic racism within our criminal justice system. Enough is enough. Whether implicit or explicit, we must, as a society, address the biases that contribute to the inequities within our judicial system. We recognize that racism is inherent in our legal system dating back to its inception, but we believe that we can fight together to effectuate change.
Civil rights protests resulted in Supreme Court cases and legislation that ended racial discrimination in many aspects of life including education, employment, housing, public accommodations, voting and marriage. We believe that this is a similar turning point for criminal justice reform. It is imperative that the United States address the racial discrimination in all aspects of our criminal justice system.
Sadly, our country finds itself, as a nation, in painful crisis without an adequate leader. In the absence of real leadership, we must all be leaders and stand up for change. We call on law enforcement and the courts to acknowledge and address racial profiling and biases in decision making.
Additionally, state and Federal legislators must take action by enacting the following policies into law:
1. Mandatory body cams with cloud based backup for every officer on the street;
2. Ending Qualified Immunity for officers; and
3. Rejecting racial profiling policies that unfairly target black people.
Finally, police leadership can do their part by implementing the following practices and policies:
Increasing diversity among the ranks and leadership of their departments.;
Reforming department reasonable force policies; and
Focusing on community-oriented policing.