Police Accountability in Danbury Needs Less Talk and More Action
The month of May marks two years since the senseless killing of George Floyd, which sparked outrage across the country and placed the topic of police accountability and racial inequality at the forefront of conversations.
The month of May marks two years since the senseless killing of George Floyd, which sparked outrage across the country and placed the topic of police accountability and racial inequality at the forefront of conversations. In the weeks after the tragedy, numerous rallies and demonstrations for racial justice occurred in communities throughout Greater Danbury; people bore witness to speakers expressing their grievances and demanding communities take a stance against systemic racism.
Among the numerous speeches that transpired at the rallies, the most unforgettable words came from Danbury resident Michelle Ross, whose passionate call for activism captivated those in attendance: "To our white allies, will you stand with us later? It cannot stop right here; we cannot go home and let things be status quo." Two years have passed since Ross' call to action, and the sense of optimism felt during the demonstrations has been replaced with the "let things be status quo" attitude that she feared.
In Danbury, while local Democrats listened to police accountability pleas, their candidate for mayor and his supporters foolishly campaigned on a pledge to increase the city's police. At the time of the proposal, the city was dealing with the backlash from a viral video that involved Danbury police officers using troubling language during an encounter with an individual at the library. The incident was another black eye for a police department that was still grappling with the termination and court-ordered re-hire of two officers facing multiple allegations of police misconduct.
The proposal was not only a sign of tone-deafness but was also an insult to the multitude of people who spoke of problematic experiences they had with area police. It's believed that the public rightfully responded to the local Democrats' obtuseness by delivering the political party one of the most devastating and embarrassing losses in recent memory.
As the city is still in the midst of new management, with the first newly elected mayor in two decades, it's incumbent upon people who desire real change in policing to continue to pressure elected officials on both sides of the political aisle for a change in the status quo. A review of the policy that resulted in the re-hiring of troubling police officers should take the highest priority, along with a review of hiring practices, making the recruitment of more minority police and promotions paramount.
It's one thing for politicians to proclaim, "Black Lives Matter." It’s another thing for them to replace rhetoric with action and actual results.