By BVN Staff
During a Monday afternoon press conference, the San Bernardino Branch of the National Association of Colored People (NAACP), is seeking answers to the recent increase of officer-involved shootings amongst minorities within the San Bernardino community.
“We’re a city of over 200,000,” states NAACP Chair Walter Hawkins “and it’s a city that’s basically a non-White city so the incidences we’re talking about or concerns if you have a city that’s over 70% non-White and you a have a police department that’s primarily White and you’re interacting with those citizens, that has created a problem.” The recent shooting and death of Anthony Paul Gilmore, Jr. (23) of Rialto, during a traffic stop on February 29, 2012 is only one case cited by the NAACP.
According to a police statement released after the shooting, Gilmore grabbed a weapon during a struggle with an officer. Other police shootings and misconduct and abuse of authority cases were 19-year-old Jerriel Da’Shawn Allen, killed by a San Bernardino police officer on April 14, 2007; 16-year-old Jonneshia Reese, excessive force on January 8, 2006; and Terrell Markham shot by a police officer who is now blind.
The NAACP alleges that the City of San Bernardino has twenty-three open legal cases against the city with the majority of those cases involving the police department.
NAACP Branch President, Patricia Smalls states, “The NAACP is not making a blanket statement that all police are guilty of these deadly shootings or using excessive force in the treatment of our Black and Latinos citizens. Nor or we saying that some of these incidents might not be justified as they perform their duty. However, most of these shootings involve Blacks and Latinos subjects with the same old line; I thought he was reaching for or had a gun so I shot him in self-defense.”
“If it was one shooting then it would go unchallenged as many of these have in the past. However, when you look at them as a group, as we have done; we think we have a problem in our police department in racial attitudes and a lack of police training protocols in the performance of their duties,” she continued.
The SB NAACP is seeking answers from elected officials whom they state might be “enablers” of the problem.
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