By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
WILLINGBORO – Local NAACP branches should be proactive and get to know prosecutors, law enforcement leaders and others before an incident involving racial injustice or hate crimes occur, the Willingboro and Vicinity NAACP branch highlighted in its latest Willingboro and Vicinity NAACP podcast “Stay in the Fight” that originated on June 23.
“Stay In the Fight” is hosted by branch Vice President William Weston and President Samantha Whitfield. Weston and Whitfield stressed points made by national NAACP president Derrick Johnson saying that local branches largely have the ability to address such issues, especially during the time of travel restriction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Local branches should get to know the prosecutors in their jurisdictions, the police departments in their jurisdictions and in certain cases, where applicable, create civil review boards before an incident occurs,” Weston said.
The comments are made in light of protests sparked around the country after the death of George Floyd while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department, which was captured on smartphone video.
The incident showing a police officer with his knee on Floyd’s throat for more than eight minutes by he pleaded “I can’t breathe” has sparked a biracial coalition that have staged marches and protests for more than a month around the country.
Weston said such police brutality has happened for years, but only now through technology like smartphone cameras and social media, its gain credible nationwide attention.
“Before when these things happened, somebody had a story and it would have to be word of month and not only that, people who would want to rebuttal the story could just say you were resisting arrest,” Weston said.
Whitfield, who is also a Willingboro councilwoman, said that communities must “elevate their own voices” because of the lack of media attention. She pointed to the Ahmaud Aubery case in Georgia where it took the release of video documenting his death before prosecutors moved on the case.
“Ahmaud Aubery (suspects) would not have been prosecuted or handled the way it was if there was not national support for the call of the arrest of those individuals …,” Whitfield said. “There had not been any action (on the case) for months. That situation happened in February and it took until May for something to be done.”
You can listen to the entire “Stay in the Fight” podcast here.
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