By Tyronda James
“It is past time for the Black Community, and all who support us (as authentic allies) to finally (once and for all) take decisive action to put an end to all forms of brutality that racist agents of the Rochester Police Department has heaped upon our people, including, and especially our children,” said Minister Clifford Florence, President, Faith Community Alliance.
Florence, Faith Community Alliance and members of Take It Down Planning Committee and Allies
Are calling for the brutalization of Black people and especially Black children at the hands of police.
“We will not continue to tolerate such inhumane, illegal treatment by those who are sworn to serve and protect us. It ends today,” Florence said.
The coalitions are also calling for the immediate termination of RPD officers involved in the pepper-spraying of a nine-year-old black child on Jan. 29 as well as the immediate firing of Rochester Police Union President Mike Mazzeo.
The recent events are eerily reminiscent of the killing of Daniel Prude a few months prior, coalition members echoed and has They said “this brutality reintroduced and reinforced continued trauma heaped upon Rochester’s entire Black community.”
The coalition calls to move toward anti-racist education for all RPD personnel within weeks and demands to be involved in the development, implementation, overseeing and evaluation of the process.
Though the coalition feels that no terminations will likely happen and say politicians who possess the power will be reluctant to act.
“We’re sick-and-tired of being sick-and-tired of their rhetoric and lies,” they said.
Part of their plan to stop the brutalizing and terrorizing of Black people and children is to help elect new politicians. They add, “we’re going to help elect politicians who are not reluctant to fire racist brutes.”
They plan to be active in the election of strong, righteous political leaders and to make sure policing in the black community is done so with integrity, humility, and compassion. As well as securing much-needed and deserved services for black children and families.
We must get organized. No more lip-service, selfish, narrow-minded, so-called organization, instead, real, deadly serious, widespread, principled unity,” said Howard J. Eagle, anti-racist advocate and educator.
The coalition planned a meeting, inviting the community to join them, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. at Central Church of Christ, 101 S. Plymouth Avenue, to discuss the types of mental health services, and other much-needed, related services, are available for black people.
The coalition invited Dr. Deborah Stamps and Reverend Wade Norwood to be a part of the discussion and is asking for support from local activists and politicians – everybody, including and especially all members of local clergy.
“We are going to build a deadly-serious, ongoing movement for change and improvement, and we’re asking the entire community to join with us in doing so.”
They said this is the solution. “It’s the only solution. No one is coming to save us. No one can save us, but us.”
As of Feb. 1, Mayor Lovely Warren has ordered the suspension of the officers involved in the Harris St. incident. In response, the Rochester Police Department immediately removed the three involved officers from patrol duties. One officer has been suspended and two officers were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation.