April 25, 2016 Racial Justice Coalition, Bellingham, WA
For Immediate Release
Bellingham, WA – On April 26th, the community activists, who were attacked two months ago by a white couple in the streets of downtown Bellingham, will deliver their community crime and incident reports to the police. The community activists, witnesses of the incident, and supporters are coming together in solidarity to the Bellingham Police Department (BPD) because their reporting and complaint processes is overly burdensome, oppressive and chilling.
WHAT: Delivery of community crime and incident reports to BPD
WHO: Community members attacked by white couple during peaceful march
WHEN: Tuesday April 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm
WHERE: Bellingham Police Department (505 Grand Ave. Bellingham, WA)
Last September, Alfredo “Lelo” Juarez was required to leave school in Skagit County and hand deliver his complaint to the very police that racially profiled him and collaborated with immigration officials, who nearly deported Lelo. Again community members are forced to face a police department that does not care to protect people of color, as equally as they do others.
Back in February one of the community members filed a police report, but the police questioned him and dismissed his concerns, instead of investigating the assailants.
Several videos of the attack with numerous witnesses were taken. Community members, themselves, made the video public via a press statement and social media. However, police refused to investigate the report of this crime first done in February, alleging that the person reporting the crime did not have witnesses or other evidence.
The community members feel they are left with little alternatives for receiving just treatment from our police, and so they are submitting their own crime and incident reports to the Bellingham Police Department. The community members hope the police will accept these forms and begin an earnest investigation into the attack on February 26th and also use the public statements, pictures and video already made available.
The community members also believe the police cannot and should not police themselves. They have an inherent conflict of interest when investigations of police are done by the police or any investigation in which they have biases. The police should protect all community members and protesters, in exercising their First Amendment rights, and fully investigate crimes which threaten their constitutional rights to Freedom of Speech and Assembly.