Delaware Legislative Black Caucus unveils Justice for All Agenda
DOVER, Del. – The Delaware Legislative Black Caucus introduced the Justice for All Agenda on Wednesday. Members say some of the goals range from protecting Delawareans from discrimination to creating accountability for police departments.
“The problem is when there’s no justice for all of us, none of us are at peace,” says U.S. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.
The proposals are in direct response to recent police brutality cases but lawmakers say this new agenda goes far beyond that. “If we are going to do this right we must address systemic issues by creating pathways out of poverty,” says Sen. Darius Brown, a Democrat representing Delaware’s 2nd District.
Senate Bill 191 is among the priorities. It will amend article one of the Delaware constitution relating to equal rights adding race, color and national origin. “With the passage of the equal rights amendment to justice for all agenda would not only address discrimination but help us prioritize policies impacting communities of color,” says Sen. Brown.
Officials say they’re also pushing to change things within the law enforcement system. “We have to change the use of force statute in the state. We need a state wide policy on use of force that shows the best practices to every police officer in the state so they know the rules,” says Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings.
“Number one there are things like body cams that people would like to see people instituted throughout the state,” says Blunt Rochester.
A task force will be created to look at disparities in the African American community, in partnership with Delaware State University, such as housing, health and community violence. “It will be the goal of the task force to come up with specific recommendations for legislation as well as creating agendas for community action and community implementation plans to support legislation.”
In addition lawmakers are proposing changes to the release of juvenile mugshots, requiring all interrogations of juvenile suspects to be recorded and amending the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. “This is the beginning and there is hope.”
The Justice for All Agenda will also create a law enforcement accountability task force to examine topics like use of force, civil rights protections, transparency and community policing.
The ACLU of Delaware responded to the reforms proposed on Wednesday urging officials to go even further by suggesting things like diverting funding from police to invest in schools, housing, access to health care and community programs.