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Toledo Alliance for Social Justice Wants to Stir the Pot

Sojourner’s Truth Staff

Taking issue with the Toledo Police Department and its history with the black community, with the current police leadership and the way the recent shooting was handled and even with the NAACP and how it interacts with the city administration, the Toledo Alliance for Social Justice held a press conference on Thursday, August 2 in front of the Safety Building to announce that they lack trust in what the TPD reports and set out a list of demands.

“We have a social responsibility to do the right thing,” said Sir Maejor Page speaking for the group and making clear that the purpose of the gathering and future actions the group will be taking is “to send a message.”

Page listed the actions taken by the group the night before to gain the attention of the community, the TPD and the mayor’s office. The Alliance held a rally, went to Old Orchard Elementary School and on to Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz’ home.

The group contended that the recent actions were not just a reflection of the recent shooting in north Toledo on Friday, July 27 during which Lamar Richardson was shot to death by Toledo police officers.

“We are not here to take an official position,” said Page. “But we have made some judgment calls based on what was presented. How can the [police] chief launch an investigation when you’ve already cleared the officers?

“The Toledo police have made a claim the Mr. Richardson was a suspect in four robberies; he was allegedly a suspect in four robberies; allegedly he stole a vehicle; then he allegedly was on a bike … it can be a life or death situation when being chased by the police,” Page continued. “The Toledo Police Department has given everyone in this community a reason not to trust them.”

The group then listed its demands as presented by member Rahwae Shuman. Those demands are

·         Mandatory de-escalation of violence

·         Mandatory cultural and sensitivity training

·         Task force on 21st century policing

·         Scrap current police review board and replace with one with teeth and authority

·         Get officers out of police cars and patrol neighborhoods on foot

·         Stop aggressive policing

·         More black police officers

·         Strengthen requirements for joining the force

·         Screening for mental health issues and racist leanings

·         Remove officers who present a liability

·         De-militarize the force

In addition to the set list of demands, Page also asked that police officers be required to live in Toledo. “It is insensitive to have police officers who don’t live here,” he said. “We want true accountability.”

Then the press conference took a turn and Page addressed the group’s antipathy towards the NAACP. Noting what he termed the NAACP’s willingness to communicate with the city’s leaders, Page denounced the association’s unwillingness to be confrontational.

“The NAACP does not represent black people who have been injured. The NAACP cannot be trusted; they do not represent the community; you cannot fight for justice if you have never seen justice,” he said. “We want to stir the pot.”

Ray Wood, president of the Toledo NAACP, took issue with those comments later. “The NAACP is involved and engaged,” he said. “We are not going to get out in front of something before we have all the facts, but we are at the table whether they like it or not. We will never be a knee-jerk reaction group. Credibility and trust are hard to establish.”

The Toledo Alliance for Social Justice ended its press conference noting that “we are willing to have a diplomatic conversation with Mayor Wade [Kapszukiewicz].”


Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:12 -0700.

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