Community police accountability group looking for more ideas | www.WDIO.com

Community police accountability group looking for more ideas

Baihly Warfield
Updated: May 18, 2021 09:18 AM
Created: May 17, 2021 06:10 PM

When Derek Chauvin was convicted for murdering George Floyd, many leaders and activists were quick to remind that the work of justice was just beginning. Locally, the Duluth Community Safety Initiative is staying focused on that work. 

The group got together Monday afternoon to ask more people to get involved and offer their thoughts. 

"We need your voice. We need your understanding," Treasure Jenkins said. 

They've also started to meet with Mayor Emily Larson and Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken. They want a racial bias audit of the DPD, a new Office of Violence Prevention, and a freeze on future budget increases for the department. 

"Now is the time for profound positive change," Blair Powless with DCSI said. "Generations of suffering and sacrifice have brought us to this moment. The biggest mistake we could make is to let this opportunity be distorted by political and cultural disagreement."

The City of Duluth is already planning for an independent audit of the Duluth Police Department, which the DCSI supports as long as it is truly independent. 

"We want to work with the police department. We want to work with the city," Powless said. "We recognize the need for a department of public safety, and we recognize the need for that body to be comprised of healthy, decent, respectful individuals."

Duluth's Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman said the city had a productive conversation with the Duluth Community Safety Initiative. 

"We are interested in learning more about DCSI's proposals, we look forward to additional dialogue, and we are thankful for their engagement on these important issues," Schuchman said in an emailed statement. 

Other groups like Honor the Earth and Loaves and Fishes have signed on in support of DCSI's proposals. 

"Our actions follow our values. And then institutions follow those actions," Ricky Defoe with DCSI said. "One of those institutions is law enforcement."

There wasn't a timeline given for when they want their ideas implemented, but Powless said it is "urgent."

If you are interested in getting involved in the conversation, you can email dcsi.duluth@gmail.com or go to leanduluth.org for more information. 

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Baihly Warfield

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