Memorial Day 2020: “Remembering Those Who Served and Who Are Serving”

On Memorial Day, May 25th, 2020 we traditionally remember those who served in the
Armed Services and those who gave everything for the freedoms, we enjoy. Some
history accounts attribute the origin of the Memorial Day celebration as starting
with former slaves on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC when they honored 257 dead
Union Soldiers. These Union soldiers were buried in a mass grave in a Confederate
prison camp and accordingly, the former slaves dug up the bodies and worked to give
them a proper burial as gratitude to the soldiers for fighting for their freedom.
It is worthy that we celebrate today and remember the service men and women who
died serving this country and we must not forget to remember those serving us today on
the front-line fighting COVID-19.
As we enjoy the day and this long weekend, remember to pause and give an extra
thank you for those who are making sacrifices to keep us safe; such as, our police
officers, fire fighters, nurses, doctors and all 1st responders. Given these uncertain
times caused by the pandemic, let us honor sheroes and heroes from the past and the
present.
One method of honoring others is to follow recommendations outlined by the CDC and
medical professionals so we can reduce the health risks this pandemic has caused.
Think of others when you go out and wear your mask while practicing social distancing,
Yes, we can! get through this together.


Be Safe and God Bless You,


Karen Hardin, Branch President

History vs. Hope

History vs. Hope

Criminal and Social Justice Maricopa County Branch NAACP Princess Lucas-Wilson, MSW, CPM 3rd Vice President

Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Chair

In addition to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 virus on our communities across the county, within the last 30 days, we have become aware of three incidences in which African Americans have needlessly lost their lives. Ahmed Aubrey while jogging, Breonna Taylor while sleeping in her own home and George Floyd for being suspected of counterfeiting a $20 bill! While these three people lost their lives, it is important to also acknowledge that the systemic criminalization of African Americans contributed to their demise. The recent video of Amy Cooper (a white woman), calling the police on Christian Cooper (an African American Man) in which she fabricated a story of feeling threatened because she was asked to leash her dog, points to the long history in this country of the criminalization of African Americans.

A video of the encounter of four officers with Mr. Floyd shows indifference to his repeated statements of not being able to breath while one officer continued to press his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes resulting in his death. It is important to realize that due to the history of police violence against African Americans that this act is perceived as a “knee on our collective necks”. An additional video appears to show more officers kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s body while he lay face down on the pavement in handcuffs!

We stand with the three Police Chiefs throughout the country who see the incident where Mr. Floyd needlessly lost his life as conduct that is not conducive with standard training or protocol. One former FBI agent who viewed the video perceived the incident as being a “homicide in progress”.

Generally, as the result of the Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling of Graham v. Conner, it is difficult to criminally prosecute police officers for acts of conduct in which lives are lost without cause.

While we are keenly aware of the history of incidences that resulted in unnecessary loss of life (such as George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castille, Freddie Gray, Jordon Davis, Amadou Dialloh and many others) due to reckless police practices or citizens who feel that they have an innate right to stalk, judge, make false claims and even kill African Americans, we must have hope.

In the spirit of this hope, it remains prudent to remember when considering the pattern and practices of law enforcement that not all police officers use excessive force! It is also important to recognize that some recent developments provide such hope, as some police officers and citizens have received consequences for their actions. As the actions taken regarding these recent incidences are developing daily, we can hope that all four officers involved in Mr. Floyd losing his life are arrested and charged.

While the branch understands the grief, frustration and anger expressed, we all need to remain cognizant of the fact that property damage in response to these types of historical and painful injustices have dire consequences in the daily lives of our fellow citizens within our respective communities.

NAACP-Maricopa County Branch Statement Re: Ryan Whitaker – May 29, 2020

The Maricopa County Branch of the NAACP expresses regret in another life having been lost involving a police shooting. The “Branch” regrets the tragic result of an alleged domestic violence call to the house of Ryan Whitaker Thursday, May 21st in Ahwatukee. Our cares and concerns are for the Police Officers acting in the line of duty, as well as justice for the Whitaker Family. Realizing the extra stress and heightened tension imposed on everyone in light of the current pandemic, the “Branch” wishes that all officers go home safely each night, and citizens can be comfortable knowing they will receive help without losing their lives. We all want the same outcomes. In this particular situation, we encourage transparency in the investigation with swift and appropriate action. Most importantly, we advocate for constant safety and justice for all citizens.

Karen Hardin, Branch President

Princess Lucas-Wilson, Criminal Justice Committee Chair

NAACP’S Maricopa County Branch Statement Re: George Floyd – May 29, 2029

History vs. Hope Criminal and Social Justice Maricopa Count

Princess Lucas-Wilson, MSW, CPM 3rd Vice President Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement Chair

In addition to the devastating effects of the COVID-19 virus on our communities across the county, within the last 30 days, we have become aware of three incidences in which African Americans have needlessly lost their lives. Ahmed Aubrey while jogging, Breonna Taylor while sleeping in her own home and George Floyd for being suspected of counterfeiting a $20 bill! While these three people lost their lives, it is important to also acknowledge that the systemic criminalization of African Americans contributed to their demise. The recent video of Amy Cooper (a white woman), calling the police on Christian Cooper (an African American Man) in which she fabricated a story of feeling threatened because she was asked to leash her dog, points to the long history in this country of the criminalization of African Americans.

A video of the encounter of four officers with Mr. Floyd shows indifference to his repeated statements of not being able to breath while one officer continued to press his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes resulting in his death. It is important to realize that due to the history of police violence against African Americans that this act is perceived as a “knee on our collective necks”. An additional video appears to show more officers kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s body while he lay face down on the pavement in handcuffs!

We stand with the three Police Chiefs throughout the country who see the incident where Mr. Floyd needlessly lost his life as conduct that is not conducive with standard training or protocol. One former FBI agent who viewed the video perceived the incident as being a “homicide in progress”.

Generally, as the result of the Supreme Court’s 1989 ruling of Graham v. Conner, it is difficult to criminally prosecute police officers for acts of conduct in which lives are lost without cause. While we are keenly aware of the history of incidences that resulted in unnecessary loss of life (such as George Floyd, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castille, Freddie Gray, Jordon Davis, Amadou Dialloh and many others) due to reckless police practices or citizens who feel that they have an innate right to stalk, judge, make false claims and even kill African Americans, we must have hope.

In the spirit of this hope, it remains prudent to remember when considering the pattern and practices of law enforcement that not all police officers use excessive force! It is also important to recognize that some recent developments provide such hope, as some police officers and citizens have received consequences for their actions. As the actions taken regarding these recent incidences are developing daily, we can hope that all four officers involved in Mr. Floyd losing his life are arrested and charged. While the branch understands the grief, frustration and anger expressed, we all need to remain cognizant of the fact that property damage in response to these types of historical and painful injustices have dire consequences in the daily lives of our fellow citizens within our respective communities.