Today the Organization Issued the Following Statement from President and CEO Nakisha M. Lewis:
On June 27, 2022, a young Black man named Jayland Walker was murdered by police officers in Akron, OH. Walker, who was unarmed, was shot at over 90 times, with at least 60 bullets striking his body, ultimately causing him to die at the scene. To add insult to an already tragic case of excessive force, Walker was handcuffed when brought in for examination, according to the autopsy report.
Another tragedy quickly followed just a week later. On July 4, a mass shooting occurred during an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, IL. Over 30 people were shot, and seven have been declared dead as of the writing of this statement. The shooter, a 22-year-old white man (we will not give his name notoriety) that police previously confronted for making violent threats against his own family, also attempted to flee from a traffic stop. Like many white male mass shooters before him and what I can sadly assume will be others after him, the cops took him into custody without incident.
As we mourn the devastation these two tragedies have left behind, we are even more clear on the reality of our country. Police officers know how to exercise restraint and they know how to deescalate a situation. The truth is our criminal justice system was built on the pillars of white supremacy and continues to uphold racism throughout every branch. We can’t count on the police to keep us safe because if you are part of the Black community you are still potentially just one traffic stop, one no-knock warrant, one toy gun away from a death sentence.