Racial profiling, abuse of power by police unacceptable in Georgia, Delaware or any state

On April 20, Georgia sheriff’s deputies stopped a bus carrying the women’s lacrosse team from Delaware State University, a historically black university, and without probable cause brought in drug-sniffing dogs and hand-searched the women’s belongings. The officers were white and nearly all of the female athletes and staff were black.

Read a student’s account of what happened here (includes video).

Keshia Morris Desir, Head of the Common Cause Census and Mass Incarceration Project

Nearly two years after people from all walks of life called for police reform following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, our lawmakers still haven’t done enough to increase law enforcement transparency and accountability. order. The actions of Liberty County Georgia deputies are just one example in a very long tradition of law enforcement abusing their power. Common Cause joins police reform advocates and experts calling for changes in state laws and police procedures.

Common Cause Statement Georgia Executive Director Aunna Dennis

Almost exactly a month ago, the Georgian legislature chose to create a new law enforcement bureaucracy and spend nearly $580,000 a year to chase rumors about our electoral system.

What a difference it might have made if that money had instead been spent on training our law enforcement agencies on implicit bias.

Over-surveillance is not the answer to any issues that really concern Georgians. It doesn’t fix our state’s economy or create jobs. This does not solve our health care system or our public school system.

But it creates headline-grabbing situations — and it could have ended horribly. The Delaware lacrosse team should have felt welcome in our state. They should have been able to feel safe in our state. They shouldn’t have had to take responsibility for trying to de-escalate the situation – a situation that was created and made worse by law enforcement.

How our legislature spends our tax dollars tells us a lot about the leaders’ priorities — and they’re clearly not the same priorities as the rest of us.

Make sure students from other states are not afraid to come to Georgia should be a priority. Ensure our local law enforcement has implicit bias training should be a priority. Make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. should be a priority.

We hope these national headlines will help legislative leaders rethink their priorities.

Common Cause Statement Delaware Executive Director Claire Snyder-Hall

All across Delaware, people are outraged at the way some of our top student-athletes have been treated by Georgia law enforcement. However, it must be said that Delaware has its own police misconduct issues; Yet right now our “Law Enforcement Bill of Rights” renders all investigations of police misconduct completely secret, making Delaware one of the worst states in the nation for accountability. the police.

In the first state, police disciplinary records are hidden from criminal defense attorneys, the media and the public. This lack of oversight or transparency is why there has been no justice for Leroy Blanding, Jeremy McDole or Lymond Moses – all of whom were tragically killed by Delaware police who have yet to be held. responsible, despite repeated pleas from the families of the victims.

A bill to reform the law died in the state senate earlier this year.

We hope this out-of-state incident inspires our legislative leaders to take a fresh view of the need for police reform. These were from Delaware students, placed in a dangerous situation by the police of another State. We are relieved that the situation ended without tragedy – it could have gone the other way, too easily.

That too, too easily, could have happened here in Delaware. We need our General Assembly to start viewing police accountability and transparency as the crisis that it is.