OBS Launches Quality Policing Initiative

In December 2014, Organization for Black Struggle launched their Quality Policing Initiative:

The killings of Mike Brown, Kajieme Powell, Vonderrit Myers and others are not the result of abnormal incidents resulting in accidents, nor do these killings reflect “one bad apple” police officer. It is a manifestation of a system of policing that is unaccountable, out of control and acts from its worst impulses of racism and aggression. It sees black and brown citizens as individual targets and whole communities as collective threats. The existing situation means that too frequently there will be random and unlawful executions of individual targets, and police forces will have negative and even predatory relationships with the communities that they are supposed to be serving and protecting, instead of killing and harassing.

As a result of the current system of policing we have been stripped of our citizenship and robbed of our Constitutional and Human Rights by the very people we pay and empower to protect these rights. This is intolerable, but there is a solution that maintains our best values and creates the proper relationship between policing authorities and the people who vote them into office and pay for their protection. That solution is the Quality Policing Initiative.

We want a Quality Policing Initiative that is based on the concept that police are hired to defend the personal safety and the Civil, Constitutional and Human Rights of every person they serve and protect first and foremost.

Our Quality Policing Initiative makes all five phases of policing authority—(1) recruitment, (2) training, (3) deployment, (4) accountability and (5) advancement—responsive to the communities that they are policing and to the elected officials who regulate and deploy them.

Our Quality Policing Initiative can be reached many ways. Any one piece of it is a step in the proper direction but only by adding significant community-driven involvement, as spelled out in the Initiative, can we truly put policing into a proper relationship with the community it is empowered to protect and serve.

We are asking that St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the St. Louis County Police Department and the 42 individual police departments voluntarily sign on to our Quality Policing Initiative and to work with the community to put the model in place.

We are advocating legislation at the state, county and local levels to make our Quality Policing Initiative law and will be holding elected officials accountable for the present levels of oppression, violence and impunity that defines most police relationships. Every death and/or injury going forward is and continues to be the fault of the elected officials who have allowed this predatory system to continue to grow.

We will be working with human rights and other organizations to compel the Department Of Justice to do its job and hold every policing body in St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis accountable for their demonstrated lack of accountability. We will be advocating for the investigation, monitoring, control and even dissolution of any policing body opposed to our Quality Policing Initiative.

We will be working to dismantle the current structure that undergirds the Human and Civil Rights violating relationship between the community and the policing authorities. We will change the culture one politician, police officer and law at a time.

Below are the components of the Quality Policing Initiative:

Recruitment:

  1. Residency Requirements: Police Officers must live within the jurisdiction that they police.
  2. Affirmative Action: hiring for racial and gender parity is a minimum requirement so that the police reflect the population they are policing.

Training:

  1. Enhanced Personal Unarmed Combat Training: Police should have to qualify in unarmed combat to give them more confidence and less dependence on their weapons in street encounters.
  2. Conflict Resolution Training: An officer should be taught to and rewarded for deploying de-escalation/conflict resolution training.
  3. Threat Progression Training: Police should be taught that there are different levels of response to the public so that they only use force as a last resort, and then only against violent individuals.
  4. Anti-Racism Training: An officer must be trained in cultural core competencies.

Deployment:

  1. Demilitarize All Police Forces: Withdraw from the Department Of Defense 1033  (DOD 1033) Program and withdraw from the Forfeiture/Seizure Program to buy military grade gear.
  2. Stop Using the Police as Collection Agents: Remove ticket quotas and fees and fines as primary mechanisms to fund municipal government.
  3. Implementation of field contact cards or reports for traffic stops and investigative stops based on suspicion of criminal activity containing race and gender of persons stopped: The cards should be retained for 24 months and, in addition to the age, race and gender of the person stopped should include (a) the officer’s name, race, and badge number; (b) approximate time and location; (c) whether the stop involved a frisk or pat-down search; (d) any weapons, evidence or contraband found during the search; (e) whether the individual involved was arrested or cited, and if so, the charges.
  4. SWAT/Lethal Force Parameters: Designed in conjunction with the Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project.
  5.  First Response Escalation Model: Police responses will not begin at lethal force but will scale up to it and the guidelines will be designed in conjunction with the Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project.

Accountability:

  1. Creation of an effective and automated Early Warning System: In order to produce an effective disciplinary/rewards system we recommend that there be an automated Early Warning System that consists of a database that takes into account the following:  (a) numbers and patterns of disciplinary complaints against each officer by citizens and police personnel; (b) allegations of racial bias and domestic violence, civil actions against the officer; (c) use of force as documented in the “use of force” reports; (d), illegal entries and searches as documented in the “search and seizure” reports; (e) other reliable indicia of “at risk” officers and which recommends increased monitoring, supervision, and/or counseling of the officer when the threshold for triggering action by the Early Warning System is reached.
  2. Media Accountability System: Body and Dash cameras where the data is controlled by a Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project entity and shared with the community and police together.
  3. A Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project: The Board must have subpoena, investigatory and prosecution powers. The Board should also have a role in developing police policies and setting standards that impact all five areas of policing (recruitment, training, deployment, accountability and advancement).
  4. Civilian complainants must be treated equally with the accused officer: We propose and recommend that civilian complainants be treated equally with the officer in question. Both the civilian and the officer must be questioned in the same detail about the alleged conduct, the officer’s word must not automatically be accepted over that of the civilian, and reasons must be given for sustaining or not sustaining all cases.
  5. Consideration of substance and patterns of civilian complaints of officer misconduct by the Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project (CAP) and Internal Affairs Division (IAD) investigators and supervisors: We propose and recommend that the substance and patterns of all civilian complaints of police misconduct against an officer be considered by police disciplinary investigators, supervisors, and internal auditors, and that disciplinary complaints of misconduct be included in the periodic evaluations of officers, considered in promotion decisions and that nothing in the Police Union contract shall be interpreted to interfere with this.
  6. We propose a Four Step disciplinary process: Investigation, findings and disciplinary recommendation of CAP and IAD investigators should be made available to the public wherein Civil litigation or Civil Rights may have been violated and to the County Prosecutor’s Office. (a) Review and concurrence or non-concurrence by CAP or IAD supervisors and administrative heads of the agencies; (b) Review of findings and recommendations by the Chief of Police; (c) Review of cases by the County Prosecutor’s Office & the CAP where discipline of more than five days is recommended or if criminal charges are going to be pursued. Officers will still have the right to challenge any disciplinary action that does not result in a criminal charge, in court; (d) The Police Department will make available statistics on how many punishments are reversed or reduced through the grievance procedure thereby making evaluation of the frequency and severity of punishment in the disciplinary process possible and transparent.
  7. Immediate supervisors have responsibility for discussing all disciplinary complaints with their subordinates and recommending additional monitoring, counseling, and/or training when appropriate.
  8. Creation and implementation of “use of force” and “search and seizure” reports: We propose and recommend that all officers develop and require all officers to complete written: (a) “use of force” reports to be filled out by any officer using type of force greater than escort and compliant cuffing; (b) “search and seizure” reports to be filled out when any officer (1) performs a warrantless search (excluding searches incident to arrests, frisks, and pat-downs (2) performs a body cavity or strip search, or (3) conducts any warrantless seizure of property (excluding towing vehicles) and that these reports as well as all disciplinary complaints be routinely monitored by the CAP to determine abuses and patterns of abuses.
  9. Police officers who provide information about other officers’ wrongdoing be protected from reprisals: Police officers who provide information about other officers wrongdoing should be given protection from reprisals and where necessary rewards for providing testimony concerning other officers wrongdoing by allowing transfers to other units and in some cases promotions. Investigators should be permitted to reward officers who risk personal harassment by disclosing other police officer’s misconduct. The promise of rewards is a necessary and effective tool in discovering and eliminating misconduct within any close association of people.
  10. CAP and IAD accept anonymous complaints: We further propose that anonymous complaints of police abuse of citizens be accepted, instead of the current ordinance prohibiting anonymous complaints except where criminal conduct is alleged.
  11. Records of disciplinary complaints against officers and their dispositions should be maintained during and for three years following an officer’s employment: We further propose that records of disciplinary complaints by citizens and dispositions of these complaints be maintained during the employment history of the officer and for three years following in the event he/she may seek to resume employment.
  12. Every police jurisdiction should produce printed annual reports and make monthly statistics sufficiently available to allow public monitoring and reasonable analysis of the disciplinary system and should monitor the field contact cards to determine if and where racial profiling is taking place: These reports must include by unit, district and countywide (a) the number and type of Complaint Registers, (b) who investigated the complaints (CAP, IAD, or the officer’s supervisor), including the disposition by category of the complaints (i.e. sustained, not-sustained, unfounded, and exonerated), the punishment recommended at each phase of the process, and the actual punishment meted out at the end of the arbitration process. [Current reports are particularly lacking in describing what punishments if any are actually meted out in what types of cases and in describing how frequently the CAP investigator’s findings and recommendations for punishment are reversed or reduced in the disciplinary process.
  13. Participatory Budgeting: Control of amount and spending of police funds through a community process.
  14. Enhance FOIA Process.

Advancement:

  1. Consideration of substance and patterns of civilian complaints of officer misconduct by the Citizen’s Review Board/Civilian Accountability Project (CAP) and IAD investigators and supervisors: We further propose and recommend that the substance and patterns of all civilian complaints of police misconduct against an officer be considered by police disciplinary investigators, supervisors, and internal auditors, and that disciplinary complaints of misconduct be included in the periodic evaluations of officers, considered in promotion decisions and that nothing in the Police Union contract shall be interpreted to interfere with this.
  2. Advancement is based on demonstrated expertise and commendations: This is in field use of Quality Policing training competencies and not carrying too many censures from the accountability section of the initiative.
  3. Adherence to Best Practices Connected to Advancement: People who are promoted demonstrate Quality Policing practices and those who don’t are not promoted.

Download OBS_Quality_Policing_Initiative_Update_Jan_2015.pdf

Read about the Initiative on OBS's website.

 

May 21, 2020

NFG Announces New President: Adriana Rocha

For Immediate Release
May 21, 2020

OAKLAND, CA —  Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG), a national affinity group that organizes philanthropy to support grassroots power building so that communities of color and low-income communities thrive, is excited to name Adriana Rocha as its next leader. 

After a nationwide search, Rocha will become the 6th President in NFG’s 40-year history. She is a seasoned, action-oriented leader committed to social justice who brings a wealth of nonprofit and philanthropy experience to the role. Rocha has served as NFG’s Vice President of Programs since May 2017. In this role, she supported NFG in deepening its programming — including the development and launch of the Philanthropy Forward leadership program for CEOs and the Integrated Rural Strategies Group — and led the organization’s 2018 and 2020 National Convenings.

“I am thrilled and honored to be NFG’s next President. Having been directly influenced by NFG programs as a prior member, to being an NFG staff member & leader, to now moving into NFG’s President role, I have the breadth of both perspectives and experience to lead what is needed in this moment for NFG to thrive.” said Rocha.  

Rocha and Sarita Ahuja served as Interim Co-Directors for the past ten months after NFG’s former President, Dennis Quirin, stepped down to become Executive Director at the Raikes Foundation in July 2019. 

During its early years, NFG was one of the few spaces in philanthropy specifically focused on people of color-led, grassroots organizing, and power building as the key to effective social change strategies. Today, NFG continues to be many funders' political home at a time when moving resources to struggles for justice is critically important. 

“We deeply trust Adriana is the bold, skilled, and creative President we all need at NFG to usher in an exciting new era and build on our 40 strong years of success and expertise. She is able to both foster the necessary partnerships and push philanthropy to create a stronger, collective vision of justice. She embodies the values & goals of members, board, and staff, and her joy is magnetic!” said Alison Corwin, Chair of the NFG board.

Rocha asserted that, “With NFG’s current momentum, growth, and clarity, I believe that NFG is poised to continue to be the home for philanthropy and leader on place-based grantmaking and community power building. I am so excited for what’s to come for NFG in community with our talented and dedicated staff, board, members, supporters, and movement leaders.”

Grantmakers can join NFG in congratulating Rocha and get a sense of the organization’s next phase by participating in NFG’s 2020 virtual convening series, which will kick off with plenary sessions on June 30 and July 1 and continue through the rest of the year. 

To request an interview with Adriana Rocha or a member of NFG’s Board of Directors, please contact Courtney Banayad, Director of Development and Communications, at courtney@nfg.org or (510) 444-6063, ext. 14.

###

About Neighborhood Funders Group 

Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG) organizes philanthropy to support grassroots power building so that communities of color and low-income communities thrive. As a leading affinity group, NFG brings together funders to learn, connect, collaborate, and mobilize resources with an intersectional and place-based focus and to explore shifting power and philanthropic resources toward supporting racial, economic, gender, and climate justice movements across the United States. With 120 institutional members and over 1500 individual grantmakers and members in its network, NFG continues to be many funders' political home at a time when moving resources to struggles for justice is critically important. NFG is a space to draw support, deepen relationships, and find co-conspirators as we propel philanthropy to shift power and money towards justice and equity.
 

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May 21, 2020

Strike Watch: From Food to Fashion, Workers are Countering Corporate Talking Points with Organizing for Economic Security and Protection

Updates from the Front Lines & How Funders can Support Growing Movements

As mostly-conservative state governors and the federal government enforce rapid re-opening and block closures in some sectors like meatpacking, workers continue to put their livelihood on the line to protect themselves through strikes and other actions. Employees are coalescing under the banners of established labor (including in the first union election since the pandemic), worker advocacy and organizing non-profits and a new crop of grassroots unions. These endeavors are exposing the hollowness of multinational companies like Walmart’s public relations campaigns thanking workers or making conspicuous donations, while ignoring their own worker demands for basics like paid sick leave. Even marketers are taking notice and asking if, in one industry analysts’ commentary, “employees and these coalitions, specifically, will become just as influential as shareholders on some levels.”

In some manufacturing sectors, the benefits of strong organizing and early strikes are showing. In GM plants, strikes and United Auto Worker pressure have meant a total reorganization of production towards manufacturing protective equipment, and the company has responded to worker and union demands for sanitized, safe, streamlined conditions. But such measures are going to be tested as thousands go back to auto work in the next week (even while the global supply chain stutters due to closures in Mexico and other areas).  

The fight is only growing in a range of other production sectors, including apparel factories from Selma, Alabama to Bangladesh. The clothing manufacturer Everlane saw it’s progressive brand image focused on an ethical supply chain vaporize when it fired 300-plus workers in the midst of the crisis, targeting most who were trying to unionize via the Communication Workers of America.

In the service sector, the SEIU-led Fight for $15 has continued actions that include one-day strikes, protests and lawsuits targeting McDonalds and other fast-food companies – the latest held in 20 cities on Wednesday, May 20th. In dozens of states, workers are falling sick in these restaurants, but neither workers nor communities are being informed. Workers are calling for “$15 x 2” hazard wages, protective gear, and paid 2-week work-site closures when there is illness. Companies are falling back on the same excuses of franchising, while instituting almost-comedic “incentives” like a free meal or, even worse, themed days like “crazy sock days”.

Receiving most media attention has been logistics and grocery workerslike Amazon, Instacart and Whole Foods workers who have staged many recent strikes, including a walkout May 1st. Part of this is in response to the limited nature of reforms instituted – including the planned expiration of hazard pay in early May – that have become even more glaring with Jeff Bezos’ soon-to-be-trillionaire status.

Multiple warehouse work sites in at least four states continue to organize under a new umbrella, Amazonians United. These are linked to both a global Amazon Workers International and the tech-worker led Amazon Employees for Climate Justice. The Amazonians United organization has released an article detailing its approach: they note their work in fact predates COVID-19, when workers organized in Summer 2019 in Chicago for water during the hot summer, and that their strategies include bottom-up worker committees that are the hallmark of a solidarity unionism model.

Meanwhile, when major grocery chains like Kroger (which owns Ralphs, Fred Meyer and QFC) also attempted to roll back their $2-hazard pay on May 17, unionized workers under the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770 in Los Angeles struck across grocery sites in Southern California – including in stores where several workers lost their lives. They were able to get additional $400 bonuses nationally, now labeled “thank you” pay,” with continued organizing planned by the union. UFCW scored another striking win when cereal packing workers for the private-equity created Hearthside Food Solutions in Memphis voted to unionize this week in the first union election since the pandemic, frustrated with issues including the reliance on temp employees and a lack of pay increases (except for management) post-COVID-19.

Newer to the supply-chain strike lines are truck drivers – who have blocked roads and held caravan protests. Among the first industries deregulated in the 1970s, they have challenges including fragmentation and independent status, yet coordinated grassroots protests in at least 8 states are showing signs of new worker-led integration. Such efforts open up the question of how independent workers can be better represented in now-growing labor movements. Some aren’t waiting for the answer: the budding home-based childcare union in California that gained recognition last November has shifted its organizing on a contract to helping the small business owners it represents survive, as its’  caregivers advocate in support of shifting their state-subsidized services to support other essential workers.

Agriculture and meatpacking continue to expose the areas of production that are often invisible from an urban lens. In the rural Yakima Valley of Washington (an area that has seen significant Latinx demographic shifts in the state), new independent farmworker unions like Familias Unidas por la Justicia  - led by mostly by women – have shut down at least six apple picking sites. With the rural area now hardest-hit with COVID-19 in the state, workers are asking for testing, paid sick leave, and protective equipment, and have already secured additional pay after a walkout at one company.

Meatpacking workers are organizing in response to massive outbreaks in US and Canadian factories, facing down sustained lobbying and advertising campaigns by billion-dollar global food conglomerates JBS (and subsidiaries like Pilgrim’s Pride), Smithfield, Cargill and Tyson. Following massive walk-outs, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 in Greeley, Colorado and other sites are pushing the state government to enforce measures, with some success in securing massive cleanings. Organizations like the Rural Community Workers Alliance (RCWA) are turning to legal avenues to sue Smithfield for its continued unsafe conditions, like scheduling breaks at once that cramp workers into one location.  The sporadic closure of other plants has led to speed ups at others, like the Milan, Missouri plant under the RCWA suit, with employees receiving short breaks totaling 60 minutes for 11-hour shifts. Unfortunately, the case was recently thrown out by a federal judge of the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

Packing plant workers are pushing for a re-organization of work, including staggered starts, shifts and breaks, as well as physical investment in partitions and expanded meal and break space. Like many sectors, employees are also calling for full pay for vulnerable and sick workers. Farm work and meatpacking have historically seen vehement anti-union efforts by companies, while relying upon a multi-racial (Latinx, indigenous, Black, and Asian) mostly-migrant workforce. Successive migration laws criminalizing workers and new waves of raids terrorizing work sites have added to a climate of fear and exacerbated existing labor shortages. These realities converge to create a disastrous situation for immigrant and/or Black workers who, via growing women-led multi-racial organizing, are refusing to let their market and policy-created vulnerability be confused for expendability.

Over 200 strikes have occurred since March 2020. Although the increase in strikes is significant and specific to the coronavirus crisis, it’s important to note that it follows a surge trend in strikes since 2018, as reported on by the Economic Policy Institute, showing that even before the public health crisis workers have been escalating their tactics to win improved rights, standards and job quality.

The Coordinating Committee of NFG’s Funders for a Just Economy is calling on its members to proactively respond to the growing demands of workers. We’ve developed a set of responses that you can take to support workers in this moment, including:

  • Support organizing and power building efforts and infrastructure, specifically among Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities and worker-led organizations, as they are hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Support, strategize and collaborate with labor unions and worker centers. To learn more about how, save the date for the FJE co-hosted labor and funder strategy call on June 10th at 10am PT.
  • Move resources to organizations educating and advocating for specific federal policies that will permanently impact and protect workers, like: unemployment insurance for all, permanent paid family and sick leave (not just as an emergency measure), pay guarantees for all, PPE for all workers, and negotiated protections and worker voice through stimulus funds that go to particular industries. FJE will be coordinating with you and other philanthropic affinity groups to share specific strategies to support workers in particular industries.
  • Support workers on strike through direct relief and general operating grants to community and worker-led organizations and/or union collaborations. Check out NFG’s COVID-19 relief resources page for the latest information about how funders can support groups and the JustFund Portal to learn about the resource needs of community groups.

For more information and/or to join NFG’s Funders for a Just Economy network, please email Robert Chlala, Program Manager of Funders for a Just Economy: robert@nfg.org, and follow us on Twitter: @FundJustEconomy

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