TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tallahassee civil rights attorney Ben Crump and personal injury attorney Antonio Romanucci, who are both representing the family of George Floyd, announced a platform of reforms to create lasting police reform in America on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020.
The series of federal recommendations aim to increase the level of trust between police and citizens, especially Black citizens.
The attorneys say the urgent need for these national standards in policing was made profoundly clear in 2020 with a series of tragic and unjustified police misconduct cases caught on video, which sparked community outrage and set off a modern civil rights movement calling for change.
In the platform, titled "A Model Approach to Comprehensive Police Reform," Attorneys Crump and Romanucci detail specific steps to increase professionalism in policing, create greater accountability and transparency, and establish specifications for hiring and training practices to create national standards for law enforcement.
“We need to change how police see and treat Black citizens. Too many officers look at a Black person and assume they are criminal or dangerous. They use excessive force on Black people even when they are restrained, pose no threat, and say they can’t breathe. This is a moment when lasting change is possible between police and people of color. We must act now,” said Crump.
“Together our country has lived through a very painful year, but it has been a valuable watershed, bringing to the surface longstanding abuses of power by some police officers. The collective outrage and call for change need to be heard and respected by those in a position to create progress. Our platform calls on federal lawmakers to finally step into this critical issue and create national standards and accountability to increase trust in our communities,” said Romanucci.
Police experts contributed to the reform recommendations including Geoff Alpert, an expert in police training and culture and Scott DeFoe, an expert in the use of force by police.
Crump and Romanucci said calls to defund the police have been misconstrued and twisted into an attack on Black Lives Matter, when their true aim was to draw attention to the need to define a proper role for police and to fund appropriate training and reforms, leading to improved accountability.
The two attorneys further outlined that building trust between communities and police will require comprehensive change and a set of federal standards common to all law enforcement.
The proposals are a blueprint for reforms that will yield greater transparency and accountability to improve the level of trust between citizens and the officers who are sworn to serve and protect them.