April 22, 2009

NAACP to Erie Police: 'Slap on the Wrist is not Enough'

Villagers will note that we reported on the disgusting video of Erie police officer James Cousins last week. Our interest was piqued by his reference to taser abuse. However, the inhumane way in which he talks about the mother of a slain Black man in his town brought on the wrath of the NAACP.

NAACP president Ben Jealous shared the following update with us:

Dear Wayne,

I have an update on the Erie police scandal that I wrote to you about yesterday.

James Cousins II, the officer caught on the YouTube video making fun of a homicide victim and his grief-stricken mother, has been suspended for 10 days without pay. And he's been ordered to complete alcohol counseling.

It's a slap on the wrist. And it's not enough.

To add insult to injury, the Erie police department issued a badly written, typo-filled letter of apology to the victim's mother. And there has not yet been an apology from the mayor or police chief.

But, the good news is that the pressure that you, the NAACP, and thousands of other NAACP supporters put on the mayor of Erie, Pennsylvania is working. The officer's punishment for his inappropriate and shocking behavior has been increased. And we won't let up until the mayor orders an independent investigation into the practices and policies of the Erie police department -- a department with a history of racial bias and discrimination.

We've also requested that Attorney General Holder ask the Department of Justice to conduct a thorough investigation into the pattern and practices of the Erie Police Department.

I know that like me, you are committed to seeing justice done in this case. But more than this single case, together we must work towards highlighting the unfair and biased policing in our communities.

The NAACP is committed to ending racial profiling and curbing police brutality and other forms of unequal justice for African Americans and Latinos.

Thank you for standing with us,

Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
What say u?

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