The mission of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality is to mobilize a powerful, visible local, national and international protest against brutality and institutional violence. We aim to unite and support those most directly affected by police brutality and to involve other sectors of society in this fight. We will strengthen our communities’ capacity for resistance in a variety of ways, including the documentation of cases of police brutality and murder, educational forums, cultural projects, legal support, demonstrations and media outreach. We will support other organizations and individuals committed to the same goals.
Founded on October 22, 1996 The Coalition Against Police Brutality is a non profit organization that seeks solutions to the problems of community violence and police brutality. For a full history, click on “From the Frontlines.”
DEMANDS OF THE DETROIT COALITION AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY
The Coalition has documented evidence that the citizens of Detroit have suffered a long history of police abuse caused by the following practices within the department: irresponsibility, lack of accountability, heavy/ unnecessary use of force (a.k.a. deadly force), brutal and criminal conduct, lack of officer training; use of intimidation, and fear – all of which we deem to be unconstitutional and a violation of the citizens’ human and civil rights. Based on knowledge gleaned from our ongoing work as a community organization, local and national research, and personal testimonies The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality demands the following Detroit City Government interventions:
- We demand an end to police patrol car chases, which kill and/or threaten the lives of suspects, innocent bystanders, and drivers.
- We demand that the City of Detroit monitor and provide corrective instruction to violent police officers, and remove them from the force if they are found to be incapable of appropriate professional police conduct. This would require that police officers who are predisposed to violent behavior or who have previously violated citizens’ rights complete the following steps: a written reprimand, corrective instruction, tracked closely by superiors, and removed from the force if they are found to be incapable of appropriate professional police conduct.
- We demand that the City of Detroit require that the Detroit Police Department reinstate rules of residency, require educational upgrades for promotions in the Department, and follow affirmative action guidelines EEOC policies and procedures. Detroit needs a police force that reflects the following characteristics: racial diversity, residents of the City, available to assist the citizens on a twenty-four (24) hour basis, well educated, sensitive to basic protocols of respectful human-social behavior and all federal rules and regulations. It is especially important that police officers learn ways to approach, question and communicate with persons who are mentally or physically disabled, as well as persons who speak a different primary language.
- We demand that the City of Detroit require the Detroit Police Department to file an annual report of citizens’ complaints against the Department, and that reports of all citizen complaints be available to the public. This report should be comprehensive and include the following: a) complaints filed by intermediaries or witnesses to police brutality, b) fatalities at the hands of police officers, and c) the disposition of all cases of citizen complaints – summarized and compiled in a single document that is available to the public. Citizens who file a complaint should be kept informed of the progress in their investigation. The outcome of all investigations should immediately be made public. The monthly tabulation of crime in the city should be made available to the citizens of Detroit through the libraries and the Department’s web-site.
- We demand that the City of Detroit require accountability from the Detroit Police Department in the application for, receipt of, and allocation of funds from the State and Federal governments, and that such funds not be used in discriminatory ways, and that no funded programs violate human and Constitutional rights of Detroit citizens. The full disclosure of all funds received should include the intent of how these funds are to be used, that such funds be used in ways that are non-discriminatory, and that no programs implemented by these funds violate human and Constitutional rights of Detroit citizens.
- We demand that the City of Detroit facilitate community-based conflict resolution and mediation initiatives. The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality is developing a “Peace Zones for Life Program” that will address this cause. Our plan will include methods that will allow the citizens’ options to submit their grievances for resolution by their neighbors or persons whom they trust; thereby, remaining outside the police/criminal justice system and eliminating conflict within our communities.
- We demand an end to surveillance, intimidation, and harassment of community activists by the Detroit Police Department. This policy will protect community activists who work consistently in our communities to protect and ensure our civil and human rights and enable them to continue their much needed services without the reinstitution of the notorious “Red Squad” files.
- We demand that the City of Detroit protect Detroit citizens from state or federal efforts that would use military forces in conjunction with Detroit police to repress, intimidate or violate citizens’ Constitutional and human rights.
- We demand that the Police Chief and members of the Police Commission be elected by the citizens of Detroit. These demands emerge from the obvious failure of the current police review structures to hold police accountable. This is evidenced by the formidable expense to Detroit citizens brought by police abuse case settlements. We must have a police chief and Police Commission who are directly accountable to the citizens of the community that they serve. These changes require an amendment to the City Charter, which we demand that City Council begin to prepare immediately for presentation to the citizens as a ballot question.
- We demand that the City of Detroit strengthen and reform the Board of Police Commission making this important entity truly independent with powers to investigate and review complaints, subpoena witnesses, and issue public reports. These powers would allow the Board of Police Commission to function independently, obtain the necessary information required to investigate on behalf of the citizens of Detroit, and keep the citizens of Detroit abreast of the status of police actions.
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Helped to organize the Detroit Tow Truck Drivers Association, which sought to challenge the inequity and police harassment against independent towers in the City of Detroit.
Created the “Peace Zones for Life” concept amid a spike in crime and police brutality leveled against the citizenry. During 2004 we built a statewide coalition to halt the attempt by the state legislature to impose the death penalty in Michigan.
Successfully advocated to release Daron Caldwell, who was arrested and falsely charged in a multiple shooting in downtown Detroit. This attempted railroad of Caldwell was in response to a public anti-crime campaign by the city administration designed to create public confidence in Detroit leading up to several high profile tourist attractions which include the 2005 All-Star Game and Super Bowl XL in January 2006.
Played a major role in bringing about the release of two other detainees from Wayne County Jail who had been held for six months on false charges that could have resulted in twenty year sentences for both.
Helped initiate a 30-month Justice Department investigation that led to two Federal Consent Judgments against the City of Detroit and the appointment of a Federal Monitor to oversee mandated reforms in the use of lethal force and the holding and treatment of detainees.
Successfully advocated to halt the adoption of tasers by the Detroit Police Department as a so-called “non-lethal” weapon.