The NAACP, along with other members of the community, have some questions and concerns that need to be answered in reference to the police raids in the black neighborhoods. The problems black communities had with policing for years are still the problems we face today. These problems are that people’s basic human rights are being violated, particularly in reference to crime and due process.
The NAACP along with the black community greatly appreciate concern for safety or the right of a society to be protected from crime and violent criminals, but we are equally concerned about the practices, procedures or tactics used to accomplish your mission. Neither the NAACP nor the community can have peace until we can get some assurance from the Mayor, Councilmembers, and the police department, that any racial profiling and police brutality or any other form of abuse will not be allowed or found to exist within your operations.
NAACP would like to see the police department become more thorough in their investigative work before implementing a plan. Without proper planning and supervision, crackdowns hold the potential for abuse of police authority. If officials are excessively pressured to make arrests and seize contraband, some of these individuals might be tempted to take shortcuts that can compromise due process. Overzealous and poorly managed crackdowns can also violate citizens’ rights.
NAACP also has other concerns of potential discrimination in that only the black neighborhoods are being raided as though crime and violence only exist in black neighborhoods. If the police department is going to focus on black neighborhoods only, then the NAACP and members of those neighborhoods would like for those in charge of these operations to at least take into consideration the opinions and support of black individuals. In order to have a serious impact on crackdowns, police need to have evaluated specific problems in the community (such as gun-related crimes, burglary, drug-related crimes, etc.,) in order to measure the effectiveness of the strategies they are employing or planning to employ. We believe the bigger problems the communities face are not just how many drug dealers and gun carriers are found on the streets or even how many arrests are made, but rather , who are the smugglers of these drugs and guns into our communities.
The NAACP and community leaders would like to know the police department’s definition of crackdown. In order to offer support in resolving neighborhood problems, it helps to better understand the goals and objectives of these SWAT teams. To just show up and give people in black neighborhoods a hard time as political stunts only results in negative publicity or unreasonable criticism for all parties involved. Because of the lack of community support and poor planning on the part of the city and police department, many community members believe the current tactics to be ineffective and therefore unacceptable.
The NAACP would like to set up an appointment with all agencies involved in the planning, approval, and implementation of these raids to hear how these activities fit into your comprehensive plan for improving safety in all local communities. Hopefully we can offer some advice that might be helpful in targeting specific problems and potential strategies. The NAACP is looking forward to working with you. We will be contacting you soon to schedule an appointment.