McDuff Marco Robinson. Maurice Brown. Tasjon Tyreek Osbourne. Isaiah Robinson. Elijah Collins lll. Alex Johnson. Matthew Burroughs. Julius Ervin Tate Jr. Eric Jamar Lupain Stromer. James Clay. Montae D. Shackleford. Lamar Richardson. Abadi Gebregziber. Thomas Yatsko. Amanual Dagebo. Ledarren Mixon. Antonio Levison. Jamarco McShann. Nathaniel Richmond. Kesharn K. Burney. Edward Earl Taylor. Kareem Ali Nadir Jones. Dana D. Dubose. Christopher Wade. Luke O. Stewart. Christopher Carter. Shelly Porter lll. Abdul Razak Ali Artan. Jacquarius Robinson. Philip Hasan. Tyre King. Kelley Brandon Forte. Jawari Porter. Kawme Patrick. Henry Green. Kisha Arrone. Paul Gaston. Mohamed Barry. Marese Vince Collins. Derek Stokes. Carlumandarlo Zaramo. Deaunte Lamar Bell. Kaleb Alexander. James Carney lll. Reginald Marshall. Dontae Martin. Samuel Dubose. Trepierre Hummons. QuanDavier Hicks. Brandon Jones. Theodore Johnson. Terrance Moxley. Jermonte Fletcher. Hashim Hanif Ibn Abdul- Rasheed. Tamir E. Rice. Tanisha N. Anderson. Raphael Thomas. Ronnie D. McNary. Elisha Paul Glass. Qusean Whitten. Kendrick Brown. Daniel Row. John H. Crawford lll. Tyshawn Hancock. Terry Heath. Joseph Givens. Gregory Sanders. Kenneth R. Herring. Jonathan D. Rodgers. Danny Thorton. Jason D. White. Taemarr Walker. William Taylor. Reginald Williams Jr. Al Pickett. Thomas Bean. Kourtney Hahn. Emmanuel Gatewood. Jermaine C. Coleman Jr. Kevin M. Bailey.
All of these black men, women, and children in Ohio have lost their lives due to police brutality from 2013-2019. 37% of people killed by police in Ohio are black men, women, and children, yet only 12.20% of our population is black.
When a group of people are disproportionately losing their lives and they only consist of less than 13% of the population, larger forces are at work. This country was built on racism and genocide, masking white supremacy as “nationalism.” It is our civic duty as U.S. citizens to acknowledge these forces and stand up and fight back against them, especially White citizens who have been complicit bystanders and active participants in this system that bleeds into every facet of our nation.
As a white cis male who holds a position of power, such as governor, it is your duty to take action and demand justice and reform to protect ALL of the citizens that occupy this state.
It is not enough for you to tweet, “I want to make sure that, as Governor of #Ohio, I say to every African American man, woman, and child - you are valued and an essential part of this community.”
Words do not show that you value black men, women, and children in our community. Actions do. What actions are you going to take to protect black lives and show that you value them?
Are you going to continue to tweet words with no action behind them, such as, “Peaceful protest and the exercise of our First Amendment rights are an important part of our civic rights - but when protests turn violent, lives are put at stake,” or are you going to put forth new bills and reform in our legislation and police departments to prevent further violence toward black men, women, and children?
Saying that exercising “our First Amendment rights are an important part of our civic rights, but that when protests turn violent, lives are put at stake” is completely missing the original cause of the fire. Black lives have been at stake since the dawn of this country’s origin. Black lives are at stake every day, even before they step outside of their homes because police officers have killed black men, women, and children in the “safety” of their own homes.
You might want to ask yourself, “Why are protests turning violent when, for long periods of time, they are peaceful? Is it because people feel threatened by police officers who show up to peaceful protests in ‘riot gear’? Is it because the very presence of police officers triggers a flight or fight response in people, specifically black men, women, and children, due to the extensive trauma police officers have caused? Is it because they are using escalation tactics, such as firing pepper balls, using tear gas, and even shooting and killing people who came to peacefully protest their first amendment rights?”
George Floyd’s horrific death is an echo of the past. An echo of all of the black men, women, and children our state has lost. An echo of all of the black men, women, and children our country has lost.
We must take action now, instead of saying words without substance. Here are a few things you can do:
1. Create regulations that prevent police officers from using chokeholds or strangleholds
2. Create regulations that require all forms of intervention be utilized before shooting
3. Create regulations that require all use of force be reported and require that use of force be authorized by supervisors before being carried out
4. Create regulations that require other officers to intervene if use of excessive force is used
5. Create use of force continuums
6. Restrict shooting at moving vehicles
7. Restrict using force of any kind on people not carrying weapons and acting non-violently
8. Require warnings before using force or shooting
9. Extend police academy training to be more extensive, thorough, and require that ALL police departments include extensive education for racial biases and the history of police brutality on black and brown lives and measure the success rates of these programs; make changes and adjustments to increase success rates. Continue these programs throughout police officers' careers and make it a yearly requirement. Education on these important issues should never be once. (Why is police academy training 6 months long when it means carrying a deadly weapon, but cosmetology school is a little over a year and it means carrying scissors to cut a person’s hair?)
10. Make it harder to become a police officer—Extensively screen and interview police officers more than they are currently assessed, focusing on important issues, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia. When officers are carrying deadly weapons and deadly belief systems around, those who are marginalized are most at risk.
11. Create de-escalation programs for ALL police departments to demonstrate and educate how to deescalate situations in non-violent ways (this does not include firing pepper balls, using tear gas, pushing, or shooting people; these are violent acts)—teach them this should always be the first step of action. If de-escalation protocols are not followed, officers should be demoted and stripped of rights to serve as a police officer.
12. Create laws that do not allow police officers to get lesser sentencing and charges than civilians for brute force and retaliation—they are not above the law.
13. When a police officer of a department uses excessive force and/or kills a civilian, the police department’s education, academy, environment, and hiring process should be thoroughly investigated and changes should be made to address the major gaps that were missed in the department to prevent the excessive use of force being used and the department should be continuously evaluated to ensure changes have been made.
You have ample amounts of action you can take. Now, start acting and stop tweeting.
Prove that you value these black men, women, and children. Stand up and fight back.
Sincerely and urgently,