NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — With public unrest not seen since the civil rights movement gripping our country, those advocating for change say they want this to be a transformative moment that rises above simple political platitudes.
The Connecticut branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is calling for a legislative special session. Meanwhile, local clergy are hoping the energy seen on the streets carries into voting in November.
Demonstrations in Connecticut have largely been peaceful, with widespread displays of solidarity between police and protesters and officers taking a knee alongside those marching.
Tuesday, New Haven clergy gathered to encourage calm, while pushing for change.
“One of the biggest things we are preparing for is to go vote in November,” said Revered Dr. Boise Kimber.
Kimber has spent a large part of 2020 working with Connecticut State Police, pushing for internal policy and training changes and recruitment of more African-American and minority troopers.
Appearing with the governor on Monday, Public Safety Commissioner James Rovella acknowledged diversity remains a challenge.
“That is high on every police chief’s list,” he said of recruitment.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut is calling for a legislative special session.
“There is the political will on the ground to hold police accountable and it’s on our elected officials, who are now saying they support those youth to implement these policy solutions,” said ACLU CT Public Policy and Advocacy Director Melvin Medina.
Clergy and advocates are both pushing for more oversight of police union contracts and revision of police use of force laws.
“They’ve got to change the laws in reference to the use of force,” said Kimber.
“What I worry about is that we don’t get to the crux of the issue to hold police accountable, and instead, we have speeches,” said Medina. “We have beautiful sounding platitudes about who we want to be as a society, and we actually don’t implement any policies that make us the society that we seek to be.”
Advocates are also calling all cities and municipalities to act now to implement the use of body cameras—several large departments are still without them.