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Citizen wants review board

To the editor:

My name is Tion Ashby. I went to City Council on June 16. I spoke and said I’m a leader in the Suffolk community and a member of Virginia Organizing Suffolk chapter. I spoke about concerns and issues that are important to the community. One of those concerns is that City Council needs to hire a permanent police chief.

I said we all saw the incident with the Army lieutenant that got pepper-sprayed in a traffic stop by Windsor police. That’s not far from us. The army lieutenant was in uniform and was still dehumanized by Windsor police. I look like the Army lieutenant. We both are people of color. Every person of color, male or female, is directly affected by the practices of law enforcement. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else of color. That’s why we need a permanent police chief, and we need an effective civilian review board.

Virginia Organizing has worked on other issues, and City Council has gotten on top of them. I want to thank Mayor Mike Duman, Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett and City Council members for fixing an environmental injustice on Wilson Street and improving Suffolk Transit. I know the mayor and vice mayor and City Council want to get in front of criminal and police reform by making policing better in Suffolk.

I have heard several law enforcement officers saying these shootings of unarmed African Americans would not happen in their city or county, but these same law enforcement are not taking any actions or measures to eradicate police brutality. The community is demanding for a Civilian Review Board. This board can bring about public trust. The community wants police transparency and police accountability. We don’t want to jump in front of it when it happens. We want things in place so if something transpires, the city of Suffolk has the necessary elements in place.

 

Tion Ashby

Suffolk