The group seeks accountability for acts of abuse, misconduct and even unjustified killings and invites public support to pressure the city officials for rapid action
Border Network for Human Rights, along with 14 local organizations, are launching a community petition calling for El Paso City Council to give a vote of no confidence to Police Chief Greg Allen, asking for his resignation, demanding accountability and immediate changes to the El Paso Police Department (EPPD). The EPPD has a long and troubled history of abuse and misconduct. The 2015 killing of Erik Salas-Sanchez at the hands of a police officer has still gone unpunished.
“El Paso communities have had enough. We are joining in the spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement by calling for police accountability in our own city. For the past ten years, all under Chief Greg Allen’s direction, EPPD officers have gotten away with brutal, unnecessary attacks, abuse of power, and misconduct practices. We refuse to overlook their double standard of punishing the community and the poor, but not the agents who are killing and harassing El Pasoans. We will no longer accept the culture of impunity that has created a systemic problem within the EPPD. It’s time for an overhaul. The City of El Paso must make Police Chief Allen accountable and give him a vote of no confidence, ask him to resign, and implement needed reforms to the department now,” said Fernando García, Executive Director of the BNHR. “
The coalition is spelling out the needed reforms in a set of demands that are part of a new Justicia for El Paso: Police Change Now campaign. The campaign’s main demands are:
- The City of El Paso needs to stop defending police officers who have killed El Pasoans, and instead focus its resources and efforts to bring justice to the families of those who have suffered death and abuse by the EPPD.
- The City of El Paso needs to create an independent review commission with investigative and subpoena powers to help regulate the EPP.
- The police department (EPPD) and the City of El Paso, needs to adopt a community-centered policing model and end the “us against them” police model.
- Police Chief Greg Allen must go. The City of El Paso must give a vote of no confidence to Police Chief Greg Allen and ask for his resignation. The time for change has arrived!
“We lost Erik more than five years ago to police violence. He was unarmed and in our own home when he was shot in the back by El Paso police. When he was shot, he was not committing any crime – he was in his own house. My parents have tried to seek justice in the courts and are continuing that fight to make sure this does not happen to other families. We appreciate the broader community’s interest in what happened to our family and effort to prevent other families suffering the way we have suffered”, expressed Nora Salas-Sanchez, Erik’s twin sister, on behalf of their family.
BNHR and the allied organizations will seek public support for these reforms, by collecting thousands signatures from community members and other entities who have witnessed EPPD’s abuses and deadly interactions with residents, particularly communities of color and immigrants. The petition is available here.
“El Paso is a special city, but we are not immune to the problems perpetrated by a system rooted in racism and white supremacy; we have to acknowledge this and we have to call on our city’s leaders to do better. The change we want to see across the country starts with seeing it right here at home. We’re proud to stand with the Border Network for Human Rights and all of these organizations in this fight”, expressed J.J. Martínez, President of El Paso Young Democrats.
Today’s protest is the first of a series of demonstrations that BNHR and the supporting community members and organizations will continue to hold every Tuesday. Martes de Justicia, or Tuesdays of Justice, is the opportunity in which groups will gather to voice these demands in front of the City Hall and the El Paso Police Department. Protests will continue indefinitely, until the campaign’s demands are met.
This post was originally published on BORDER NETWORK FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.