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Youth Advocates Release Statement Opposing the President's Comments Encouraging Use of Force Against Community Members

As organizations dedicated to child and youth well-being, including advocates for young people, families, community safety and justice, we strongly condemn President Trump's comments to law enforcement officers on Friday, July 28, 2017 encouraging the use of force against members of our community.

The President's comments were related to keeping the public safe from threats, yet they are absolutely contrary with his intended message. It is not safe for police to engage in brutality against citizens, a fact acknowledged by law enforcement leaders around the country. It is not safe for communities or law enforcement if police-community relations are characterized by distrust. It is not safe for people to be afraid of police, or for police to view the citizens they are charged with protecting as "thugs" or disposable people for whom the rule of law, due process and basic dignity do not apply.

Rather, public safety is best achieved when communities trust the police, when police treat communities and their members with dignity and when residents have safe places to recreate.

We believe the President's comments not only insult the profession of policing but also don't reflect the opinions of most police officers. We call on all law enforcement and public safety officials to recommit to supporting the guidelines of 21st century policing, that support communities and law enforcement to strengthen collaboration and trust while enforcing the law.

We know this is a better way to reduce crime and violence in our communities. We know the best way for law enforcement officers to be safe themselves and to promote public safety, is to engage in community policing strategies, where police and residents are partners in building healthy and sustainable communities; where law enforcement is not the only "social service" provider in the community, but has the resources and relationships necessary to divert calls to appropriate partner agencies and organizations as a more collaborative and effective approach to public safety.

We support the members of the law enforcement community who have committed to rigorous training and clear protocols that prohibit use of force against members of our community, particularly in communities of color who have long borne the brunt of police brutality and over-enforcement measures.

We support the many members of the police who join the force as civil servants, to "serve and protect" not to "rough up" community members and are buoyed by the statements of police departments and professional membership associations across the country condemning the President's comments, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, who issued a statement that included the following excerpt "Law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect. This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy."

We encourage all law enforcement and public safety officials to join us, IACP and others around the country, who are speaking out against the President's encouragement of police brutality.

Signed by these members of the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Coalition,

Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth

Campaign for Youth Justice

Coalition for Juvenile Justice

Center for Children's Law & Policy

Futures without Violence

Justice 4 Families

Justice Policy Institute

Legal Action Center

National Juvenile Justice Network

R Street Institute

The Sentencing Project

Youth Advocates Program

Youth First Initiative

For more information on use of force and public safety, please contact JPI Executive Director Marc Schindler at (202) 215-7070 or JPI Communications Specialist Olivia Martinez at (714) 600-4463.

Posted in Criminal Justice News

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