AFT Resolution

AGAINST THE USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE AND BRUTALITY BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

WHEREAS, researchers have widely documented minority children of color, explicitly Black children have less funding, fewer educational resources, fewer certified teachers, fewer opportunities, yet receive harsher discipline; and

WHEREAS, the use of excessive force by law enforcement, explicitly in matters involving Black people, has created an environment of heightened sensitivity, anxiety, distrust, and suspicion between law enforcement officials and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve; and

WHEREAS, police brutality and the use of unnecessary, excessive and military force are ongoing human rights and civil liberties violations in the United States and have led to community destabilization, a decrease in public safety, exacerbation of structural inequalities and the current worldwide unrest and protests covering the United States, Ireland, England, France, Canada, Italy, Germany and Syria.

WHEREAS, over 117 years ago, in 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote that the "problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line. As we near the third decade of the 21st century, the color line continues to divide America and define how law enforcement is practiced in our country in ways that are psychologically damaging and, far too often, deadly for people of color”; and

WHEREAS, the recent unjust and inhumane killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Ga.; Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.; and George Floyd in Minneapolis, are forever seared in our minds as symbols of injustice and painful reminders that Black lives seem to not matter in the land of “the free and the home of the brave”; and

WHEREAS, many cities in the United States—including Detroit—and across the world have held a series of protest demonstrations demanding that officers and white supremacist vigilantes involved in these killings be brought to justice. At many of these demonstrations, police have tear-gassed, beaten and arrested protesters:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers calls for the police officers who murdered George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all other victims of racist police violence to be arrested, charged, convicted and jailed for their crimes; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will call for any charges against protesters who participated in demonstrations against police brutality to be dropped or withdrawn; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support the ongoing marches, rallies, and demonstrations against police brutality and will encourage members to attend. The AFT further encourages all participants in these demonstrations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by always wearing a mask in public and especially at these demonstrations; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will call for the following action plan to restore respect, trust and civility in the men and women serving in law enforcement working in our schools and communities:

  • Recommend that schools and communities investigate the practicality of having security, resource and/or police officers working in schools wear body cameras;
  • Requiring regular and continuous cultural sensitivity, emotional intelligence, mental illness, and de-escalation and unconscious bias training for all security, resource and/or law enforcement officers;
  • Requiring psychological evaluation of police officers before hiring and ongoing thereafter;
  • Review the use of force policy and a review of its alignment to best practices;
  • Requiring the collection of statistics on excessive use of force complaints for review by a citizen review board;
  • Evaluations and ratings made public for all resource and/or police officers; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will promote the use and adherence to this plan henceforward; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will post this resolution on the union website and email it to members.

(2021)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.