What to Know
- Resolution calling for police reform lists 10 people who died.
- Union says some of those victims did not die at hands of police.
- Grosso said he wanted to start a dialog between the community and police across the country about ways to reduce police-involved killings.
The chairman of D.C.’s police union says his officers will work to unseat 10 council members, who signed a resolution calling for police reform.
The resolution written by Council member David Grosso (I-At Large) lists the names of 10 people he and other council members say were killed by police.
“Basically spatting in our face telling us how violent, how police officers are just criminals,” D.C. Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Matt Mahl said.
Mahl says in some of those cases, the officers were found to not have committed any crime.
“A lot of these incidents are still being investigated or some sort of judicial process,” Mahl said.
Grosso said he wanted to start a dialog between the community and police across the country about ways to improve policing and reduce the number of police-involved killings.
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Mahl went to the Wilson Building Thursday to let council members know how upset he and many of his fellow officers are at the resolution introduced Tuesday, the same day suspects shot at police in two incidents.
“My members realize that they have no support coming out of the Wilson Building,” he said.
“It’s a ceremonial resolution that is just saying that the council of the District of Columbia really cares, is paying attention to the issues around police brutality and the country, and in fact, what happens here as well, and that there’s something needs to be done about it,” Grosso said.
The victims named include Sandra Bland, who was jailed after a white Texas state trooper pulled her over a year ago for a minor traffic violation and their exchange turned combative. She was found hanging from a cell partition three days later.
Mahl pointed out her death was a suicide, not at the hands of police officers.
“These are things my members are enraged about,” he said.
“I’m sorry if it upset the police officers independently on this issue, but it’s time to have this tough conversation and really understand what is the bias we understand,” Gross said. “Why are more black residents of our city, more black residents of our country being impacted by violent acts?”
Trayvon Martin’s name really angered police, since Martin was killed by an armed citizen.
“It's just another demonstration of where a black man has been killed at the hands of violent acts,” Grosso said. “It’s part of the frustration in our country. It’s not all about the police. I made that point clear in my resolution. It’s about the whole society not embracing change.”
Mahl also pointed out none of the names on the list was from an incident in D.C.
He’s so upset he plans to take this issue to the voters.
“During this next election cycle, I’m going to call upon the fire union, the teachers union, nurses, all of our public service unions to go out and find candidates that are viable candidates for this city council that are going to support our public service workers, and we’re going to fight to get them in office and remove the ones who don’t have faith in the police department,” he said.
“Of course it sounds like I’m going after one or two incidences,” Gross said. “What I’m really saying is, from the broader picture, the bigger picture, we have to address this bias and we have to do something about it.”