Black Newspaper Publishers Demand Action After Police Shootings

In response to shootings of African-American men by police officers around the country, the National Newspaper Publishers Association has declared a state of emergency for black America, calling for the federal government to take specific steps to address the problem.

After numerous recent shootings of black men at the hands of police, an association that represents publishers of newspapers that serve the black community says it has seen enough.

Late last month, the National Newspaper Publishers Association declared a state of emergency over police use of force specifically affecting black Americans.

“Millions of our readers across the nation are once again outraged at the latest fatal incidents of police brutality in Tulsa and Charlotte. These are not isolated incidents but a deadly national pattern of police violence and prosecutorial misconduct. A state of emergency now exists in black America,” NNPA leaders said in a joint statement at the National Press Club, according to a Washington Informer report.

Speaking at a press conference, Washington Informer publisher and NNPA chairwoman Denise Rolark Barnes said the incidents, which have led to protests covered widely by media outlets, are too frustratingly common to ignore.

“We’re tired of covering these stories. We have been covering these stories long before mainstream media ever saw them,” Barnes said.

“The situation has escalated, and it is time for us to step up to not only tell the story, but to also make some demands,” she added.

NNPA called on President Barack Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and the Congress to:

  • appoint a special federal prosecutor on police brutality
  • establish a National Police Oversight Commission on Use of Deadly Force, Training, and Cultural Sensitivity
  • create a publicly accessible National Police Brutality and Misconduct database
  • enact tougher penalties for police officers and prosecutors who violate the public’s constitutional rights

“Millions of black American families have been traumatized and hurt by the growing fatalities of blacks at the violent hands of a system of law enforcement gone mad with racial hostility. The NNPA will continue to advocate for effective remedies,” said Benjamin Chavis, the association’s president and CEO, according to the Washington Informer report.

A protester speaks through a megaphone during protests over the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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