The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR Louisville Chapter) wishes to extend our deepest sympathy to the families of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and all those who have lost loved ones because the injustice of racism is so embedded in our country.
We call for Metro Louisville to:
- End the use of excessive force on unarmed suspects
- Require that everyone employed by Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) take sensitivity training and receive education concerning the culture of the African American community
- Require that LMPD hire more African American police officers
We support the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 recently passed by the U.S. House of representatives. This bill bands chokeholds and no-knock warrants. The bill also eliminates qualified immunity for law enforcement.
In addition, we support the following demands advocated by Tamika Palmer and Breonna Taylor’s family:
- Fire and prosecute the other two officers, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, that were involved in the Breonna Taylor killing. Brett Hankison has already been terminated.
- Ensure the newly requested special prosecutor, State AG Daniel Cameron, seeks full transparency and accountability.
- Provide all necessary information to a local, independent civilian community police accountability council #CPAC.
- Create policy for a transparent investigation process into cases of alleged law enforcement misconduct
We applaud the recent outlawing of no-knock warrants by the Louisville Metro Council and Mayor Greg Fischer.
Louisvillians need to hear a clear mission statement from the Louisville Metro Police Department saying that their purpose is to protect the safety and well-being of the Metro Louisville community—people of color equally with white people.
We call for prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office to vigorously prosecute police officers who use excessive force. (Currently they are reluctant to prosecute, because of their close working relationship with the police.) Otherwise, an unbiased special prosecutor should be appointed.
We insist that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) no longer be allowed to prevent officers from being disciplined or fired for the use of excessive force.
We call for a Citizen’s Police Accountability Council (CPAC) with subpoena power to investigate police misconduct, including racism and racial profiling. We also demand that the CPAC be given the authority to assign a special prosecutor if the prosecutor from the D.A.’s office refuses to prosecute officers who have been accused of using excessive force.
Additionally, we call on the Louisville Metro Council to reinstate the Living Room Program. This excellent program, originally introduced to the council in 2018 by Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together (CLOUT), offers an alternative to police action for people experiencing a mental health crisis. The Living Room Program was successfully used in 2019 but was defunded in 2020. It needs to come back.
We also call for the new police chief to continue to study and enforce the policies of LMPD regarding de-escalation as was announced by former Chief Conrad at a news conference in 2019. Those policies are good, but LMPD officers have not been trained or required to use them. Over-reactive, ill-prepared, uneducated responses to citizens of Metro Louisville at times of crisis create chaos and lead to violent responses.
Violence is not restricted to acts of physical offence. Injustice is violence.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation is an interfaith organization committed to active nonviolence as a means of radical social change through education and coalition building. We engage social justice issues through nonviolent action locally, nationally, and globally.
Let us all work together, speak out together, and insist together that people must stop dying and suffering because of racism. As Reverend Jesse Jackson reminded us during his visit to Louisville, quoting Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Now is the time to abolish systemic racism.