October 21, 2018
On September 24, 2018, the Duluth City Council tabled the vote on Resolution 18-0674R, the Duluth Police Department’s (DPD) request to purchase riot gear. Immediately following that meeting, the Citizen Review Board (CRB) passed a motion requesting the City Council allow time for three public forums to occur before the resolution is brought back to the Council for a vote. With limited community involvement and input, the City hosted three forums on October 9, 10, and 11. The CRB collected comments from the public and made that information publicly available at their October 17 meeting.
Considering the amount of public input and the limited time the CRB has had to properly review and compile the data, the NAACP Duluth Branch is requesting:
- The Duluth City Council keep the resolution to purchase riot gear tabled until a full report from the CRB can be issued, and
- The Mayor create a task force to support the volunteer CRB members in the development of the formal report.
According to researchers at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD), a proper analysis of the qualitative data collected by the CRB would take at minimum around 40 hours. Considering the CRB is a volunteer group, one week is not sufficient time for a full report. Assuming volunteer availability, we believe the CRB will need a minimum of two weeks to fully report on their findings. Additionally, we believe a task force is necessary to support the CRB’s work and coordinate efforts of the city, the council, the CRB, and the public. For example, the city has implemented similar task forces like the Earned Sick and Safe Time and the Convention to End Discrimination Against Women and we feel the city and community would greatly benefit from a similar process. For these reasons, we would like to express support for the community petition requesting the Mayor support keeping the vote tabled.
It is imperative that any actions relating to a potential increase in police power happen only after thorough discussion with communities of people of color, American Indians, homeless people, LGBTQ, and others that suffer disproportionate levels of police violence. We believe in a healthy community that works together and we are committed to continuing authentic dialogue that leads to accountable relationships between community and law enforcement that benefit all involved.