“STOP KILLING US!”
SKU Universal Demands for Law Enforcement
First, the historical context and basis for our Stop Killing Us (SKU) Universal Standards for Law Enforcement within the United States of America, can largely be found in the U.S. Constitution, beginning with its Preamble. Our SKU Universal Demands are also deliberate in seeking to equally protect liberty, lives, houses, and property as guaranteed in constitutional Amendments such as IV, V, and XIV.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Amendment IV (4)
No unreasonable searches…no warrants without probable cause…outline of specifics to be searched
The rights of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be searched.
Amendment V (5)
Cannot deprive a person of life, liberty, property without due process
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Amendment XIV (14)
Equal protection of civil and human rights by all states
Section 1. …No State shall make law which shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
SKU Universal Demands
1. We demand the universal abolishment of no-knock searches within the United States of America. In addition to the questions regarding the constitutionality of no-knock searches (i.e., IV, V, and XIV Amendments), even if previously thought to be lawful, such searches must be universally eliminated; no-knock searches are not worth the high risks in loss of life from either the home occupants, visitors, or the invading officer; no-knock searches are proven to carry the added risks of erroneously invading the wrong home; no-knock searches not only pose the risk of violating a suspect’s right to “due process” and “equal protection of the laws,” there are repeated and senseless instances where children, mothers, and the elderly have been put in harms way, seriously injured, or wrongfully killed by police as a direct result of a no-knock search.
2. We demand the universal elimination of “the blue wall of silence,” or “blue code” or “blue shield,” or any other written or unwritten rule or “fraternal” act of loyalty within a law enforcement agency in the United States that might prohibit police officers and other law enforcement agents to report on a colleague’s errors, misconducts, crimes, brutality, or criminal involvement in an act of murder or manslaughter. Any law enforcement officer refusing to report the wrongdoing of a colleague should receive disciplinary action, termination, or prosecution in proportion to the nature of the crimes or cover up.
3. We demand universal “zero tolerance” in the United States for law enforcement infiltration of white supremacists, white nationalists, Nazi or confederacy sympathizers, and any others associated with racial violence or hatred toward African Americans and other people of color. Law enforcement agencies must thoroughly vet and screen all applicants or candidates and those currently serving as law enforcement officers to ensure “zero tolerance” in terms of their affiliation, participation, or shown sympathy toward any individuals or groups who try to advance white supremacy or white nationalism in the United States. Those found to be associated in any way with hate groups or philosophies which support white supremacy and/or white nationalism must be denied employment as a law enforcement officer, terminated if already serving, and prosecuted where applicable.
4. We demand a universal level of transparency relative to law enforcement handling of video-recorded encounters with the public within the United States. This includes the right for persons to freely gain immediate access to recorded footage regardless of whether that data was recorded by a device belonging to a local witness or those purchased by taxpayers such as a dash cam, body cam, or other instruments being used by law enforcement. Every state, county, city, town, or local municipality within the United States must be universally prohibited from passing laws or ordinances which would violate or abridge one’s right to have access to recorded footage of law enforcement’s interaction and encounters with civilians within their communities. We also demand all dash cams and body cams in the possession of law enforcement officers be turned on each time there is a need for an officer to respond to a call or in any way be involved in an arrest or interaction with a citizen, undocumented individual, or suspect. An advancement in camera technology or multiple camera usage must be developed to eliminate blind spots to ensure the widest possible uninterrupted range of interaction and activity by law enforcement will be recorded. Any tampering, editing, altering, or cutting off of video cameras relative to such footage should be prohibited and result in termination and prosecution due to an obstruction of justice.
5. We universally demand all local municipalities be required to establish an independent citizens review board as part of its local law enforcement budget and plan for a safe community. Review boards must universally be provided the guidelines, teeth, resources, or funding needed to ensure their independent reviews are effectively fact-driven, nonpolitical, and not politically undermined by powerful entities within the law enforcement agency, city, town, municipality, or district where they are expected to operate within the United States.
6. We universally demand any police officer or law enforcement officer within the United States found to have used excessive force of any kind be immediately removed from the agency or department and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Any such law enforcement officer who has been disciplined, reprimanded, terminated, or prosecuted for using brutality or excessive force must be banned from working in the area of law enforcement or denied employment which uses weaponry in any other agency, state, city, municipality, division, or district within the United States.
7. We universally demand that all police departments and all other law enforcement agencies be required to maintain records involving traffic stops, searches, home invasions, arrests, use of tasers, use of heavy tactical batons or billy clubs, use of physical force, the drawing of a weapon, the firing of a weapon, the shooting of a person, the actual killing of a person by law enforcement, and record any other action beyond a verbal or written warning from a police or law enforcement agent. Such records should be categorized by race, sexual identity, and nationality to continuously monitor the racial impact or patterns of racial imbalance seen at work by police or law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
8. We universally demand that all police officers and law enforcement agents be given random drug tests and regular mental health and psychological fitness testing – “regular” – meaning prior to being hired and at least twice per year after being hired. Mental health and psychological fitness should include receiving exams which could detect illnesses such as post traumatic stress disorder, paranoia, and racial biases. Law enforcement candidates, applicants, or officers who fail such tests should be denied employment as a law enforcement officer.
9. We universally demand the abolishment of military/armored vehicles, drones, robot-driven explosives, gas or chemicals, and other similar militarized devices or military tactics used toward civilians or persons or communities by law enforcement within the United States. A military approach or “war” mentality will ensure casualties and increase the likelihood of grouping perceived “enemies” and those who are considered targetable rather than respecting homes, communities, and each person’s individual right to due process in a court of law as guaranteed in constitutional Amendments such as IV, V, and XIV.
10. We universally demand any police or law enforce officer who hits or in any way punishes an arrestee while in handcuffs be immediately terminated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Each person’s individual right to due process in a court of law must be protected prior to punishment in accordance to constitutional Amendments such as IV, V, and XIV.
11. We universally demand police and law enforcement officials be prohibited from using any method of choking, covering a person’s head, nose, or mouth, cutting off ventilation, or in any other way making it difficult for a person to breath during an encounter or arrest. Doing so should result in termination and prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. A person who poses no deadly threat can not be lawfully deprived of “life, liberty, property without due process.”
12 We universally demand that all police departments and law enforcement agencies within the United States use hiring and recruitment practices that reflect the racial demographics and cultural diversity of the community, jurisdiction, and country. Similarly training standards must emphasize the diverse forms of culture, humanism, and how there will be zero tolerance for racial stereotyping and racism.
13 We universally demand all police departments and law enforcement agencies within the United States require officers to live within the jurisdiction of the city limits and/or county where they will be policing. We believe model “Neighborhood policing” occurs as a result of police living in, understanding, and respectfully engaging in the work toward collectively building up the “neighbors” within the officer’s jurisdiction rather than commuting to pick up a paycheck, cling to prejudices, and/or militarily seeing the assigned vicinity as a “war” zone or as enemy territory.
14 Due to the historic, systemic, and institutional biases embedded within the entities which make up the criminal justice system, we universally demand that special courts, special prosecutors, special judges, special venues, special training (i.e. specific criteria is applied to ensure an officer who claims “I feared for my life” is not using this excuse too broadly as a means of justifying racial bias and the criminal use of deadly force), special juries who reflect the racial and cultural make up of the jurisdiction where the alleged excessive force and/or suspected wrongful death occurred be established for the purpose of balancing the scales of justice and objectively handling all cases involving law enforcement officials. Societally, law enforcement officers will have the advantage of appearing more innocent, heroic, and in other ways viewed more favorably than those they are attempting to arrest or approach.
15 We universally demand that witnesses, surviving victims, and those closely associated with the witnesses or victims involved with an alleged act of criminal misconduct by law enforcement officers be protected from harassment under statutes similar to whistleblower and victims of crime statutes. This should be done to prevent any possible corrupt forms of witness intimidation and retaliatory action which could violate one’s rights and unfairly impact the outcome of such cases.
16 Due to the deadly historic usage of policing toward African descendants as “slave patrols;” policing the enforcement of Jim Crow Laws; policing in collaboration with white supremacist groups; the enforcement of the FBI’s racially aggressive Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO); today’s blatant disparity in unarmed shootings of African American men, women, and children – we universally demand a part of mandatory training for law enforcement officers who work within the jurisdiction of the United States include an in depth history curriculum regarding civil rights and the African American experience.
17 We universally demand that all law enforcement agencies within the United States have a clear operating policy regarding deescalation which requires agents and officers to imperatively learn, practice, and be held accountable to proven deescalation techniques prior to becoming certified.
18 If we were to use the year 2015 as a guide (although as of 2017 we are trending upward in killings by police since 2015) police in the United States fatally shot more people in the first 24 days of the year than police did in England and Wales, combined, over the past 24 years. We therefore universally demand that law enforcement officers within the United States be trained and held accountable toward a standard that is equally civilized when compared to other developed nations. We universally demand the usage of minimal deadly force. We demand the total abolishment of the inhumane and uncivilized practice of shooting to kill persons who have no firearm and/or those running in the opposite direction. We further believe this universal standard of minimal deadly force would criminally prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any law enforcement officer within the United States who clearly shoots an unarmed individual multiple times or with the intent to kill.
COMPOSED BY THE STOP KILLING US (SKU) SOLUTIONS CAMPAIGN
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Curtis E. Gatewood, Minister & Founder JUSTICE Ministration & SKU