Mississippi Senate Minority Leader wants police violence toward blacks addressed

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus announced it will work toward ending police violence against black men and women, while the Mississippi Senate Minority Leader announced he wants the violence to be addressed.

District 12 Sen. Derrick T. Simmons released the following statement:

As our nation grapples with days on end of protests – violent and non-violent – and sees our society being pushed to the tipping point because of the careless and casual law enforcement killings of unarmed black men and women, I am compelled to offer myself to being a part of the solution that effects change to stop abusive officers from claiming innocent black lives.

On February 23, unarmed Ahmaud Marquez Arbery, 25, was heinously shot and killed on camera near Brunswick in Glynn County, Georgia while jogging by former white law enforcement official Gregory McMichael and his son Travis, who chased him down and accused him of suspicious activity and gunned him down while another person filmed it, but took no action to stop it.

Breonna Taylor, 26, died in the early hours of March 13 after law enforcement shot her while raiding the home she shared with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker in Louisville, Kentucky.

On May 25, our nation was rocked by the televised suffocation to death of George Floyd, 46, by a white Minneapolis police officer as others looked on after was successfully handcuffed and detained on accusations of attempting to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20.

These are the latest. But the list goes on.

Almost weekly somewhere in the United States we hear of black people being killed by police like it’s a sport to see who can kill the latest.

I am pleased that people of all ethnicities have united around this country to show their displeasure with senseless black killings at the hands of law enforcement. I applaud the police officers and political officials who have joined in unity with the peaceful protesters to say enough is enough and the killings must stop and justice must be served on behalf of victims of police violence.

But more needs to be done, especially here in Mississippi so this trend of killing black people for minor offenses does not take root, as it seems to have become an unspoken rite of passage for some white officers.

I for one am ready to be a part of the solution in seeing that clear guidelines are established for all Mississippi law enforcement officials so we do not become the next Minneapolis where some officers feel entitled to “kill it if it’s black.”

I am the father of two black boys. I will lay down my life to save theirs and to ensure they do not live in fear of police.

Let’s start the dialogue. I am ready to get solutions to this problem so no black person in Mississippi who has not experienced the pain of having a loved one killed senselessly by police, will ever have to feel it.

Derrick T. Simmons, Mississippi Senate Minority Leader

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement:

As violent and non-violent protests continue throughout the United States and other countries, the
Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus stands in solidarity against the senseless killing of George Floyd and others like him. The attitudes and laws that allow law enforcement officers to kill and brutalize unarmed black men and women without consequence must be addressed.

Three days after George Floyd’s death Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced the
imminent dismissal of the 2015 manslaughter charge against former Columbus Police Officer Canyon Boykin. Canyon Boykin, a white police officer, allegedly shot Ricky Ball while Ball was running away from Boykin on foot. This incident involves yet another shooting of a black victim by a white officer amid suspicious circumstances.

Senseless killings without punishment or mild to no rebuke are creating chaos. Each time one of
these incidents occurs, the confidence of ordinary citizens in the criminal justice system is further
eroded.

The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus will continue to push for legislation that protects its constituents. Policies and procedures addressing body-worn cameras, standardized treatment of law enforcement related deaths and other issues that will restore confidence in the criminal justice system have been and will continue to be matters of importance to the Caucus. Real life examples have proven more oversight is needed in these areas of the law.

Given the grave importance of relations between law enforcement officers and our communities, the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus will seek to engage the heads of the various law enforcement agencies and state government to discuss law enforcement training, qualified immunity and best practices going forward.

District 16 Mississippi Senator Angela Turner-Ford, Chairman, Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus

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