cornell hands on head H courant
Rev. Cornell Lewis, Arrested for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience. Photo Courtesy Hartford Courant

Police have brutalized black and brown people as a means of consolidating and advancing white supremacy.

Every 28 hours a black person is killed by someone employed or protected by the U.S. government.

Television, the internet and social media are amplifying police abuse.  These practices are direct descendants of slaveholding, lynching, and the Jim and Jane Crow system. Policing historically enforces racist laws, policies and norms.  A massive prison industrial complex built on the warehousing and hyper-incarceration of black and brown people has evolved in Connecticut and the nation.  The prison industrial complex, like slavery, is an unjust system of concentrating profit and wealth in racist institutions by imprisoning black and brown people.

Lethal brutality cannot be a tool of democracy. And it should not be a weapon for Connecticut government or for the police.  

  • We call upon the people of Hartford, and each officer in the force to hold the Hartford Police Department accountable for overreach and excessive force. Connecticut Police Departments must be transparent about their arsenal.
  • We call upon the justice system to prosecute and jail officers who abuse their power.  Police and municipal executives must take full responsibility for brutality and swiftly bring perpetrators to justice.
  • We call on enforcers and jurists to purge racism and oppression from every level of the justice system.  Re-train the police in non-violent communication, anti-oppression, trauma-informed practices and meeting the needs of those with physical and behavioral challenges as well as community policing.

In Connecticut, one manifestation of unjust police practices is racial profiling.  A recent Central Connecticut State University study on racial disparities in traffic stops confirms that “it’s not about one officer.”

  • Data show that Connecticut police officers are more likely to pull over black drivers than white ones. 
  • Officers search black motorists in Connecticut at much higher rates than whites, but are much less likely to find contraband. 
  • Minor involvement with police, such as traffic stops, have more severe consequences for people of color.