The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls for an immediate end to police violence, the taking of Black lives and the terrorizing of Black communities.
We are inspired by the determination and courage of the people of Ferguson, Black people across the United States, and solidarity protests. Their actions express the outrage so many people feel at the systematic use of police violence against Black and Brown, queer and transgender, immigrant and poor communities across the United States. In the face of such incredible injustice, we openly support this people’s rebellion.
Whether providing legal support for organized protests or spontaneous uprisings, mass transit shutdowns or highway blockades, the NLG works to protect peoples’ right to be brave and bold in their organizing for justice. We are committed to defending and protecting the rights of protesters in direct actions and demonstrations, and of all people involved in the long-term struggle against police violence. We denounce attempts by the police, US government and corporate media to shame the families of those murdered by the police and to criminalize the protestors.
Black and Brown people have endured hundreds of years of racism and oppression in the U.S. Military and police violence are not new – they are at the very foundation of this country, from the use of the military and militias to drive indigenous people from their land to the capturing of escaped slaves. Today, the U.S. is home to a system of mass incarceration that targets Black and Brown people, and a judicial system that does not treat everyone equally under the law. Police are key enforcers of structural racism. They protect privilege, wealth, and private property, and now the true nature of their role is being exposed.
The system is not just broken; it is faulty by design. The murder of a Black person every 28 hours by someone employed or protected by the US government is not an isolated event.1
An immediate repeal of the Police Bill of Rights, open access to police disciplinary files and other data casting light on police spending and practices, and the reversal of Copley Press v. Superior Court - which prevents the disclosure of police misconduct records to the public.
A redistribution of resources away from police and prisons and toward the basic needs of communities: affordable housing, education, healthcare and access to employment and community-driven, transformative justice approaches to harm. This is far more likely to lead to true safety and security than any police action.
That prosecutors drop charges against people taking a stand for police accountability and resisting police violence.
Creation of independent panels empowered to investigate and hold accountable police officers in cases of unlawful violence. Independent panels must not be restricted by current secrecy laws that shield dangerous & violent cops from public scrutiny.
The SFBA NLG seeks organizations and individuals to sign onto the above list of demands, insisting that without justice there can be no peace.