A new petition just launched at http://bit.ly/cvillepeace
The count of signers, all from the Charlottesville area, is publicly visible.
The petition is addressed to the Charlottesville City Council and reads:
We urge you to ban from Charlottesville:
(1) military-style or “warrior” training of police by the U.S. military, any foreign military or police, or any private company,
(2) acquisition by police of any weaponry from the U.S. military;
and to require enhanced training and stronger policies for conflict de-escalation, and limited use of force for law enforcement.
The petition is supported by: Former Mayor Dave Norris; and local activists: David Swanson, Adele Roof, Tony Russell, Bill Lankford, as well as World BEYOND War, RootsAction.org, Amnesty International – Charlottesville, and Richard Lord and Activists’ Guide, . . . [endorsers welcome and being added].
The Charlottesville police received military weaponry from the U.S. government, including rifles and semi-automatic weapons, as recently as 2008, and reportedly returned it in 2016. The Charlottesville police claim not to possess a mine-resistant vehicle, but it is unknown what became of the one they did have. It is unknown what military or “warrior” training the Charlottesville police have received. It is unknown what training in de-escalating conflicts they have received.
The purpose of banning horrible policies is not to assert the existence of anything, but to prevent the use of those policies in the future.
This moment of national, and even global, media awareness of police abuses is an ideal opportunity to lock in place better standards so that they will be adhered to down the road. It may even be an opportunity to shift priorities toward wiser public policy in a major way. According to a report on a recent phone call, top Charlottesville police officials believe that budget cuts by governments to social services and mental health support have misguidedly dumped those problems on the police. Indeed, police across the United States are being routinely used for functions ill-suited to police.
Charlottesville ought to be taking a lead in moving resources from armed policing to public services. Changes made in this regard in Charlottesville since its unfortunate 2017 moment in national news have been far smaller than steps already taken in recent days by the Minneapolis City Council. As cities across the country and world remove racist war monuments, and those in Charlottesville stay standing, there are many ways that Charlottesville could catch up to positive trends.