Excessive Use of Force on Unarmed Black Men


Las Vegas | APRIL 14, 2021 - The NAACPLV is outraged by the blatant use of excessive force against Daunte Wright, a Black man, and Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino man. As most of America watches the trial of George Floyd in hopes that justice is served, we are smacked in the face with the continual misuse of police power. The NAACP across the country has pushed for police reform and worked with law enforcement to change policies that will protect our communities. But, as we have seen from these recent events, training does little to change the minds of officers that continue to see Black people as threats.

 

There have been a lot of lives taken because of the refusal to use de-escalation tactics and the blanket police umbrella of "fearing for life and safety." When will it end? We pushed for body cameras and most departments use them. Nevertheless, departments see this as a training tool for their officers and not to hold their officers accountable. For years Black people have been asked to show grace and be patient as the departments try to make changes. Yet, we continue to watch Black people unjustifiably killed by these same departments.  Enough is Enough!

 

Kim Potter, the 26-year veteran officer that killed Daunte Wright, has stated that the shooting was an accident. Yet, the video shows that she had her gun out and pointed in front of her for a substantial amount of time. This was clearly not a taser. The press conference from the department used her words of saying "I'll tase you" to show it was accidental. Yet, another justification on their part. We have seen this before. We have watched Police departments circle the wagons to do damage control to again protect one of their own and we as a black community are asked by law enforcement to remain patient and understanding until all the facts come out. 

 

The officers in the killing of George Floyd claimed to be in fear for their safety while officer Derek Chauvin casually kneeled on Mr. Floyds neck, with his hands in his pockets, killing him. There is a pattern and we do not believe words, we believe actions. We will not allow the killing of Daunte Wright to be another incident that goes unpunished. This was murder. It is time to use the body camera and all recorded filming in the way that makes this community safe. Kim Potter's actions took a life. Her racial bias caused her to use excessive force. We will not extend grace.

 

Army Lieutenant Caron Nazario was pepper sprayed multiple times while sitting in uniform, inside his vehicle. This too was on officer body camera. He was pulled over for what officers say was the failure to display a rear license plate. However, we have since found out that his temporary tag was taped to the back window and visible.  They were in a lighted gas station, yet the officers approached the vehicle with their weapons already drawn. In the video we saw the Lieutenant do what Black America has been asked to do: show your hands and use your words. The Lieutenant asked questions and made a remark about the hostility saying that he is serving this country. The officer response was that "I'm a veteran, too, and I learned how to obey." When Lieutenant Nazario again asks why he is being so aggressively treated, an officer responds: "What's going on is you're fixing to ride the lightning, son." Shortly after he is pepper sprayed. Even while struggling to breathe, Lieutenant Nazario never stopped holding his hands straight out as requested by officers. He understood the lowering of his hands could be used by the officers as a justifiable shooting.

 

We are now at a critical point where the words of law enforcement are no longer enough. We will accept nothing short of swift action. We have had the talks and given the suggestions. We have heard about the training that still causes a 26-year veteran to use a gun claiming her belief that it was a Taser. We have watched the hateful words of officers being spoken to Black people all while being told that we misunderstand what we are watching. We have watched law enforcement use excessive force and kill us because of their racial bias and unjustified fear that is imminent upon seeing the color of our skin. We will not remain silent. Firing of these officers is not enough. We demand nothing less than the filing of sufficient charges against these officers and we expect it immediately.

 

The time for change and progress is NOW, the time to break the blue line of silence to hold officers, supervisors, and administrators accountable for killing black men.  The time has come to stand and change this culture of force has come.  You have asked for patience and understanding, and we have done that but this is a blatant example of the culture that exists in policing that minimizes and marginalizes black lives. 

 

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ABOUT THE NAACP LAS VEGAS: The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination. Roxann McCoy serves as the Las Vegas Chapter President of the NAACP Branch #1111 | Las Vegas.   For more information, please visit their website at http://naacplv.org.  If you are interested in securing a Membership, please contact Joseph C. Abraham at (702) 306-2394

Opinion-Editorial