The following statement is attributable to Kyle Bragg, President of 32BJ SEIU, the largest property service workers union in the country, representing a majority Black and immigrant workforce:
“We express our outrage over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, yet another chapter in the unrelenting horror story that is our broken policing and criminal justice system. Despite a national outcry and months of non-stop protest, brutal police shootings of Black people are still happening every week in this country. This shows just how deep and systemic this racism is in our nation’s police departments. Even while under the microscope of a nation that is still grieving George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others lives lost, the Kenosha officers brutally shot an unarmed Black man in front of his children.
We will not give up our struggle to dismantle systemic racism and achieve—once and for all—accountability on behalf of people killed or brutalized the police. We are appalled by the continued violence against Black people. That Jacob Blake was shot in front of his children after breaking up a fight shows that the status quo of police brutality and cruelty knows no bottom.
We demand the termination of the officers involved. We pray for Jacob Blake and his family. Jacob deserves to be more than another hashtag. He deserves to be with his family watching his children grown up in a society that does not subject them to this kind of racism and violence. The union’s commitment to police reform remains strong and we will not stop fighting until we win justice for Jacob and the thousands of other Black people slain by the police every year.”
32BJ SEIU Police Reform Platform:
Transparency in policing – Mandate collection and public reporting (including demographics) of police activity including stops, summonses and arrests. We cannot fully know what reforms are necessary without a clear understanding of the current practices and how they impact different communities, particularly Black and Latino communities.
Police Discipline and Oversight – we will support measures that add civilian oversight in police investigations and discipline. Some examples of police oversight include civilian complaint review boards, special prosecutors, and inspectors general that investigate and if necessary prosecute police misconduct. We also support measures that transfer the final authority for police discipline away from the police departments and allow for additional checks on police power.
Demilitarize Police – Across our cities, police departments have become increasingly more militarized – adding tactics and equipment that turn our cities into occupied territory. Police departments have engaged in extreme surveillance of communities, and have acquired riot gear and military style weapons that make cities look like war zones. Police departments also enjoy consistent full funding at a time when other government-provided social services are being cut. We support audits of the police department budgets to assess how funds are spent and whether funds are being used to further militarize the force.
Training and Protocols – We support reform proposals that add mandatory, yearly racial justice, anti-discrimination and peaceful de-escalation trainings to police department agendas. . We also support strict guidelines on, and reporting requirements for, the use of force by police. We support the criminalization of police tactics like chokeholds and knee-to-neck moves that resulted in the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd.
With over 175,000 members in eleven states and Washington, D.C., 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.