Press Release: Local Groups Rally, March Demanding Systemic Changes to Address DC’s Policing Crisis

For Immediate Release

April 11, 2018

CONTACT: Drew Ambrogi | | (603) 944-3098

Local Groups Rally, March Demanding Systemic Changes to Address DC’s Policing Crisis

As Officer Who Killed Terrence Sterling Appeals “Punishment,” Black Lives Matter DC, BYP 100, Stop Police Terror Project, No Justice No Pride, and SURJ DC March Against Rampant Police Violence, Racism, and Government Inaction

WASHINGTON - On Wednesday evening a coalition of DC-Based grassroots organizations came together to rally and march to demand action to address DC’s policing crisis. Organizations including Black Lives Matter DC, BYP 100, Stop Police Terror Project DC, No Justice No Pride, and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) DC joined together at the site where Officer Brian Trainer brutally killed Terrence Sterling less than two years ago.

MPD’s internal review board found that Brian Trainer violated MPD policy by pursuing Terrence, using the cruiser to blockade him, firing a weapon at him, failing to turn on a body-worn camera, and talking with a union representative before paramedics arrived. Despite all of this, the US Attorney declined to pursue an indictment of Trainer. The review board recommended dismissal, but MPD policy allows Trainer to appeal, after being on paid leave for more than a year. Trainer’s disciplinary appeal hearing began earlier today April 11, at 801 Shepherd St. NW. A decision about his termination is expected in 3-4 weeks.

“To this day, MPD has not been held accountable for their actions. DC’s budget and taxpayer dollars have consistently been used towards an over inflated police budget, including the salary of Brian Trainer,” said Dornethia Taylor a Core Organizer with Black Lives Matter DC. “MPD fails to protect Black communities and continues to break the law by not following the data and reporting standards within the NEAR Act. We demand a refund in the form of community reparations. We demand authentic reinvestments into our communities that include but are not limited to, financial restitution, access to fair education, jobs, housing, transportation, healthy food, and clean water.”

The groups timed their action with Trainer’s disciplinary appeal, but emphasized that their message speaks to much larger issues.

“Firing Brian Trainer is absolutely necessary. But it will not bring about the justice we seek, nor will it address the policing crisis facing our city and our country,” Taylor added. “We need transformative changes that allow us to divest from policing, and invest in Black communities. And we need elected officials who are willing to fight for these changes.”

“The NEAR Act was passed not just to reduce police violence but also violence in our communities,” said Eugene Puryear, co-founder and core organizer with the Stop Police Terror Project DC. “Full implementation of the law, which emphasizes a public-health approach to violence by addressing its root causes, must include a staffed Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement and Office of Violence Prevention and Health Equity, detailed plans for community engagement and input and clear cooperation between the offices and other areas of D.C. government. And it must include comprehensive data collection by the MPD, not just on use of force but on all stops and searches by D.C. police, including the reason for the stop. These approaches have been proven to reduce violence by up to 70% in similar programs throughout the country. When they are fully and faithfully implemented here in DC, our city can be a model for a better way to invest in communities and divest from the failed status quo of policing and incarceration.”

In addition to pushing for a full implementation of and compliance with the NEAR act, the groups participating in today’s actions are also reiterating calls for Councilmember Charles Allen to call a City Council hearing on racism and violence within the Metro Police Department.

“From Sacramento to DC-from the assassination of Stephon Clark in his own backyard, to the killing of Terrence Sterling-police are murdering Black people and getting away with it, and this state sanctioned violence has to and will come to an end,” said Kinjo Kiema, Organizing Co-Chair for BYP100 DC. “As organizers with BYP100, we are committed to the struggle for liberation of all black people, including Black trans women who have been abandoned by the state, and we will continue to push for divestment from policing and investment in the future of Black communities. This is why we are working to decriminalize sex work in D.C. We need to rely less on systems of policing and imprisonment. Black people deserve to survive."