FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Howie Hawkins, [email protected]
Howie Hawkins Renews Calls for Federal Prosecution of Police Brutality and Community Control of the Police After George Floyd Killing
(May 27, 2020, Syracuse, NY) – Howie Hawkins, who is leading the Green Party presidential primaries, said today that the Minneapolis officials were right to fire the four police officers responsible for killing George Floyd and right to call the FBI in to investigate.
Hawkins renewed his longstanding call for a Jonny Gammage Law that would require federal prosecutors whenever local law enforcement allegedly violates the civil rights of a person, including bodily injury and death.
Jonny Gammage, who was from Hawkins’ home city of Syracuse, New York, was suffocated to death by suburban Pittsburgh police officers in a routine traffic stop. Gammage was visiting his cousin, Ray Seals, a defensive tackle with the Pittsburgh Steelers who was also from Syracuse.
“After Jonny Gammage, we saw videos of Eric Garner and now George Floyd killed by suffocation by police officers, all unarmed black men stopped for nonviolent offenses. We have seen many videos of cold-blooded murders of unarmed black men by police officers, including Oscar Grant, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, and Philando Castille. Street crime has been declining for 30 years but police killings continue a steady pace of 1,000 a year. We must change the culture of policing with federal prosecution of police brutality and community control of the police,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said federal investigations and prosecutions are required because District Attorneys and state Attorneys General are too close to local police to do independent investigations because they work with local law enforcement daily.
Hawkins also called for community control of the police where elected police commissions, not police chiefs and review boards appointed by politicians, are responsible for police department policies, investigations of misconduct, and discipline.
“We need community control of the police so we don’t need to use a Jonny Gammage Law federal investigation so often. We want police that serve and protect our communities instead of abusing them, which happens disproportionately to communities of color. Community control is how we make sure the police work for and are accountable to the communities they police, rather than to politicians who are often afraid of the police politically and in some places physically,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins’ policy paper making the case for community control of the police explains what the federal Department of Justice can do to promote it in local jurisdictions.