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Group Starts Anti-Police Brutality Training Sessions

As a live online session got underway, participants were read the names of people whose deaths had brought them: George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tyre Nichols. Walter Scott. All had been killed by police. All were Black. In the cases of Floyd and Scott, it was footage collected by bystanders that had helped make the case against the officers, USA Today reports. “This is something that’s been going on for generations,” said Tansy McNulty, founder and CEO of 1 Million Madly Motivated Moms (1M4), an organization working to eliminate police brutality. “We want to end it.” The session was the first of what anti-hate organization Right to Be plans to make an ongoing monthly series in partnership with 1M4. Called "Bystander Intervention: How to Safely Intervene and Respond in the Face of Anti-Black Police-Sponsored Violence," it aims to prepare participants to respond safely or even intervene in the face of police violence and harassment, especially in cases against Black people. Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be killed by police as white Americans, and, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, 3.73 times likelier than whites to be arrested on marijuana-related charges despite similar rates of usage. “These statistics make me angry but I’m here to do something,” one woman wrote in the group chat.

Jorge Arteaga, vice president of Right to Be, said it was the 2020 police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville that had planted the seed for the training. At the time, anti-Asian hate incidents had been spreading along with the pandemic, and the New York City-based group had developed a program intended to help bystanders respond effectively during or after incidents of hate or harassment. Organizers surmised that the program, structured around what Right to Be calls “the five D’s of bystander intervention” – distract, delegate, document, delay and direct – could be tailored to police mistreatment of Black people. Initial feedback was positive, with a bit of pushback. “They said, ‘this is great – but what if you’re a Black or Brown person in the community watching another Black or Brown person be harassed?’” Arteaga said. “Some of these strategies wouldn’t work." Documenting is especially important, Arteaga said. While the presence of bystanders to George Floyd’s murder didn’t stop the killing, he noted, witnesses' video not only sealed the legal case against Officer Derek Chauvin but swayed public opinion.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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