In the wake of civil unrest surrounding the police killings of several unarmed black males across the country, civil rights advocacy groups are also speaking out regarding the recent deaths of unarmed Latinos.
“In recent months, video footage, and several reports, have brought to light a number of incidents of police killings of unarmed Latino Americans, in addition to the killings of countless African American men and women at the hands of police,” a press release from groups such as the Advancement Project, Center for Community Change, and the Florida Immigrant Coalition stated. “Among the individuals were 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez of Denver CO; Antonio Zambrano-Monte, 35, of Pasco, WA; and 31-year-old Ruben García Villalpando of Grapevine, TX.”
As a result, civil rights and racial justice groups, including the Center for Popular Democracy, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, issued the following joint statement:
“As organizations that engage in anti-racist community building across all races and ethnicities, we collectively mourn the lives of Latino/a immigrants killed by police in recent months. We stand in solidarity against police brutality, officer misconduct, and other matters of injustice that plague America’s communities. We stand together to say: no more.
“The lack of trust between communities of color and police departments will continue to expand as long as unarmed people are targeted with fatal force due to racially-biased policing. Just as people have stood up around the nation to demand accountability for the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tony Robinson and Walter Scott, we too now stand to call for systemic change to protect the rights and safety of our first- and second-generation immigrant brothers and sisters, and in the memory of Jessica, Antonio, Ruben and the many others whose names we may never learn. We call on those who believe in racial justice to join us in speaking out against a policing system that continuously devalues and debases black and brown lives with impunity. Now is time to forbid the excessive use of force, sometimes tragically lethal, targeted at people of color, especially when unarmed. Now is time to end the criminalization of communities of color. We all must unite in this call.”
“Every police department must take steps to change, and every American must look inward to confront implicit bias. We, as members of the civil rights community, call for an immediate end to the targeted police killings of people of color, and offer the following demands as a means to this end:
- The immediate demilitarization of the police;
- Increased police accountability, and transparency through community oversight, federal tracking of police stops, searches, and excessive uses of force by police including deaths of unarmed individuals;
- Implementation of continuous trainings on racial bias, and systemic oppression, for every law enforcement officer in America;
- Appointment of a special prosecutor in criminal cases related to incidents of exceptional or lethal police abuse;
- People across all communities of color in this nation deserve to live in a safe, and just, democracy, where the lives of all are valued, respected and protected. We cannot wait.
The statement was released, in full, by the Advancement Project, Center for Community Change, Center for Popular Democracy, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, One America, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Rights for All People, Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, and Washington Community Action Network.