Atlanta, Georgia, June 16, 2020, the Nigerian American Public Affairs Committee (NAPAC), Georgia Chapter and the Alliance of Nigerian Organizations in Georgia (ANOG) and others in our community abhor the excessive and systemic use of force on people of color. On June 13, 2020 two white police officers from the Atlanta Police Department accosted an unarmed black man, Rayshard Brooks while sleeping in his car. One of the officers eventually murder Mr. Brooks by shooting him in the back as he ran away from the officers. On May 25, 2020 the world witnessed the horrific death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer who is now charged with murder, Derek Chauvin, press his knee into Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Mr. Floyd’s plea of “I can’t breathe” went unheeded by police officer Derek Chavin, who continued to ignore the pleas from witnesses gathered at the scene. We acknowledge the courage of Darnella Frazier, the brave 17-year-old who remained steadfast against all odds and recorded the footage that has now been shown all over the world. On February 23, 2020, Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old Black man, was fatally shot near Brunswick, Georgia, while jogging on Holmes Road in the Satilla Shores neighborhood by two white residents, Travis McMichael and his father Gregory, who were armed and driving a pickup truck. Arbery had been pursued and confronted by these two White men.
In a country devastated by the killings and injuries of hundreds of people of color, many of them unarmed, at the hands of police officers, drastic changes are needed in our approach to public safety. Such excessive force by police is particularly disturbing given its disproportionate impact on people of color. Our community envisions and advocates for an environment where law enforcement treats all communities; Black, White, Latinos, Asians and any other race with dignity, employs restraint on police power, and uses only the degree of force necessary to maintain the community’s safety.
We support and applaud all the peaceful protests taking place in several cities in the United States and all around the globe to highlight police brutality and injustice to people of color in America. Our community does not support and condemn in the strongest language, individuals hiding under the guise of protesting to steal, loot, cause wanton destruction of property, perpetrating act violence and any number of activities which does not promote unity. We as a community will strive to work with the police department, just as we demand immediate reforms and the much need changes to police training, tactics of arrest, community relations and to encourage stronger mechanisms for transparency and accountability.
We look forward to the day when segment of our community is not in constant fear of police and where arrest and use of force by law enforcement are last resorts and not the primary option.
We urge our duly elected authorities’ and lawmakers to quickly address the fact that police officers can do anything to a segment of our society, and in almost all cases, will almost no charges, no indictments, no trials, no convictions. “Over-policing, racial profiling, and use of deadly force are not reducing crime in our communities,” said Sara Mokuria, co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality (MAPB), whose father was killed by Dallas police. “Raising living standards, increasing public health, and providing arts, recreation, and cultural experiences should be prioritized in City budgets – not cut as presently to provide more police.”
Finally, we pray for all of the departed souls, empathize and commiserate with families that have lost their loved one to police brutality.
Above all, OUR community affirm that Black Lives Matter!
Contact: Mr. Bishop Adejube