With the Mistrial in Trial of Officer Porter, Activists call on Baltimore Leaders and Residents to Enact

Posted December 16, 2015 /

Contact:

Maria Jose Sandoval msandoval@wearecasa.org (301)717-4492

 

With Mistrial in Trial of Officer Porter, Activists call on Baltimore Leaders and Residents to Enact

Baltimore, MD – With today’s mistrial in the criminal trial of Baltimore City

Police Officer William Porter, members of the Campaign for Justice, Safety, and

Jobs – a diverse coalition of faith, community, youth, labor, and civil rights group

numbering over 50 organizations – urge the entire Baltimore Community to

continue to work for real, systemic police reform and continue productive

dialogue with police, community members, and elected officials. Toward that

end, we also ask Baltimore City government, police, and schools to provide a

space for peaceful protest in the coming days.  We are disappointed that the jury

was not able to reach a verdict, and urge Baltimore residents and leaders to

continue the hard work to achieve systemic police reform.

“Justice for our community won’t come from just a verdict, but from changing the

policies and practices that allowed his wrongful death to happen in the first

place,” said Ray Kelly, organizer with the West Baltimore organization No

Boundaries coalition. “I hope that the demonstrations keep their focus on

legislation and policy makers. Our elected officials and city leaders are the people

that need to better understand our plight and need to be called on to change the

systematic oppression, disinvestment and disregard for our community.”

Coalition members also denounce messages sent by Baltimore City Schools and

Police through communications and tactics that seek to inhibit constitutionally

guaranteed free speech and further criminalize Baltimore’s youth.

“As students, and citizens of Baltimore, we have the right to peacefully express

our views,” said Makayla Gilliam-Price of City Bloc, a student activist group at

City College high school. By equating student walkouts with “vandalism, civil

disorder, and [other] forms of violence,” the BCPSS has characterized students’

voices as inherently violent and destructive to the city that we all are tasked with

protecting.

Systemic Reforms

Officer Porter’s trial is just the first of six officer trials, and as they proceed

through the winter and spring months, coalition members are committed to

engaging youth, residents, and leadership in Baltimore and across the state to

advocate for systemic reforms to policing in Baltimore. Earlier this fall, the group

released a 6 point plan for police reforms that could be enacted at the city level,

and have been meeting with elected officials and candidates for elected office in

Baltimore to urge action. Coalition members have been actively engaging the

community in teach-ins, know your rights workshops, leadership trainings, voter

registration drives, and forums with elected officials and police leadership.

The group will gather tomorrow at 9 am at Pennsylvania Avenue Triangle Park is

at the Intersection of Pennsylvania and Presstman, to provide further comment

and release details about steps begin taken immediately and in the weeks and

months to come to promote community safety through civic engagement,

community education, peaceful protest, and resource sharing

WHAT: Press Conference to provide further comment and release details about

steps begin taken immediately and in the weeks and months to come to promote

community safety through civic engagement, community education, peaceful

protest, and resource sharing

WHERE: Pennsylvania Avenue Triangle Park is at the Intersection of

Pennsylvania and Presstman

WHEN: Thursday, December 17th 2015 / 9 AM

 

 

The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs is a diverse group of over 25

community, faith, civil rights, and community leaders in Baltimore City who

have come together to advocate for meaningful police reforms to promote

transparency, accountability, and safety in our communities.  The affiliated

groups include: 1199 SEIU, ACLU of Maryland,  Baltimore Algebra Project,

Beats, Rhymes, and Relief, Bmore United for Change, CASA, Citibloc,

Communities United, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Equity Matters,

Empowerment Temple, Freddie Gray Project, Fusion Partnership, Inc, Jews

United for Justice, Justice League, Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Maryland

State Conference NAACP, No Boundaries Coalition, Peace by Piece, Pleasant

Hope Baptist Church, Power Inside, SEIU 32BJ, Southern Education

Foundation, Ujima People’s Progress, and Universal Zulu Nation.

###

 

The Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs is a diverse group of community, faith,

civil rights, and community leaders who have come together today to raise our

voices together in a call for Justice, Safety, and Jobs. The group convened in

April of 2015 in the wake of Freddie Gray’s murder at the hands of Baltimore

Police officers to address the systemic issues that were unearthed in Freddie

Gray’s death and the subsequent uprising throughout the city. To date, the

campaign includes over 30 powerful organizations representing thousands of

Marylanders from Baltimore, including a diverse combination of local grassroots

youth organizations, policy advocates, faith instructions, and labor unions.

The Campaign came together to acknowledge that our communities are in crisis,

and to search for policy and economic justice solutions that we can only win

together. Far too many mothers are still mourning children who have died as a

result of abusive policing. We seek justice for these families. Far too many

children are growing up in fear of the very officers who are sworn to protect and

serve them. We seek safety for these communities. And we recognize that when

our young men and women have access to jobs that pay a decent wage, they are

far less likely to end up incarcerated or dead. We seek jobs for these youth.

After forming in April, the group has developed a platform of statewide reforms

and is working in tandem with the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Equality to

achieve those statewide reforms. In developing a platform of city-wide reforms,

the Campaign for Justice, Safety, and Jobs convened its youth members in a

weeklong leadership summit, in recognition that Black and Brown youth in

Baltimore are the most deeply and directly affected by the current crisis and

should have the most voice in developing solutions.

CJSJ members include:

1199 SEIU, ACLU of Maryland, Baltimore Algebra Project, Beats, Rhymes, and Relief,

Bmore United, CASA, Citibloc, Communities United, Council on American-Islamic

Relations, Equity Matters, Empowerment Temple, Freddie Gray Project, Fusion

Partnership, Inc, Jews United for Justice, Justice League, Leaders of a Beautiful

Struggle, Maryland State Conference NAACP, No Boundaries Coalition, Peace by Piece,

Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Power Inside, SEIU 32BJ, Southern Education

Foundation, Ujima People’s Progress, and Universal Zulu Nation.