Detroit Branch NAACP President issued the following press statement regarding the suspension and investigation of a Detroit Police Department officer beating of a mentally ill woman.
DETROIT (August 2, 2018) – Once again, we find ourselves forced to denounce another inappropriate action on the part of a member of our police department. The recent beating of a mentally ill woman while held in custody at Detroit Receiving Hospital is unacceptable, inappropriate, and inexcusable. Part of the oath that a police officer takes includes this section: “I will uphold fundamental human rights and afford equal respect to all people according to law.” Police officers are held to a higher standard and must be accountable for their actions which could lead to injury and death.
This very tragic incident reminds us again of the need for training, accountability, and monitoring of members of law enforcement. Police Chief James Craig was correct in immediately indicating at today’s press conference, a “grave concern and being troubled by the video displaying the incident.” The suspension of the police officer is indeed appropriate. An 18-year veteran should know better and is expected to do better. While we do not excuse and condone disrespect or abuse by citizens on police officers, it is understood that such occasions of possible conflict will occur. It is in these circumstances where training kicks in. In such situations, sound judgement must be demonstrated. Police officers carry tasers, handcuffs, and communication devices. They go through physical and mental training. As the Detroit Police Department must deal with at least 500 calls per month regarding the mentally ill, this was not an unusual situation. Certainly, three or four officers should be able to detain a naked, mentally challenged woman. The officer in question has had mental health and community policing and advocacy training.
Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony issued the following press statement on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
DETROIT (May 16, 2018) – Mother’s Day is usually a time for families to gather together to honor women, matriarchs, and significant individuals who have spent their lives raising their children. It is not a day that any mother would want or perceive as a moment where she might be forced to bury her child.
The shooting death of Derek Leon Roberts, age 34, on Mother’s Day 2018, apparently at the hands of Rami Ali Jaber, a clerk at the Citgo Gas Station, located on the corner of Southfield and W. McNichols, provides an unfortunate tragic example. From all indications, it appears there was an exchange of words between Rami Jaber and Derek Roberts. Mr. Jaber reportedly came from behind the standard glass enclosure and fired a fatal shot to the chest of Mr. Roberts. This is another tragedy that impacts two families. Many of us thought that glass enclosures were designed to protect and secure the proprietor from possible burglary or other inappropriate activity. Therefore, one would think there is no obvious reason, if your life or other individuals is not at risk, to come from behind such an enclosure. Mr. Jaber was arraigned and charged with first degree murder in this incident. The Detroit Police Department and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office indicates there is both video and audio information which may detail what occurred at the station.
Our hearts go out to the family of Derek Roberts in the loss of his life. This should not have occurred. There is no way one can adequately replace a life that has not yet been fully lived. We are not insensitive to the fact that the family of Mr. Jaber is also damaged as a result of his life that will now change forever.
Please see the attached press statement given by Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP on behalf of the Coalition for Justice and Fairness to Reform Law Enforcement during a press conference held on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.
Please see the press statement from Detroit Branch NAACP President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony issuing a call for justice addressing violence in our community in particular the shooting of Renisha McBride and the shooting at Al’s Barbershop.