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NAACP recommends review process

WARREN — The president of the Trumbull County NAACP said fires and rioting won’t help achieve change.

“When there’s a violent situation, other violence isn’t going to make a resolution,” said Annette McCoy, reflecting upon ongoing unrest in Minneapolis, Columbus and many other U.S. communities, following the death of George Floyd, 46.

Floyd died in police custody after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, knelt on his neck to restrain him Floyd had been arrested Monday after being accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store; Chauvin now is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

McCoy noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has added to the current national unrest. “It is a stressful time,” she said.

But change still needs to happen, and she shared some points on how to achieve it.

To improve community relations, an open-door policy should be established with public officials and law enforcement, McCoy said.

“When doors are closed and we are not invited to the table, but the issues are about the community, it’s letting our community know that no matter what happens — they will determine the outcomes,” she said.

Looking at Minnesota, McCoy said that publicly, nothing was done with the officer in terms of past incidents on his record.

There needs to be some type of review for officers, she noted.

McCoy said the NAACP is looking at reviewing disciplinary procedure, along with banning the use of knee holds as a use of force.

She, as other Mahoning Valley black leaders have done in the wake of the Floyd’s death, raised the case of Matthew Burroughs. Burroughs died after being shot by officers in a car outside of his Royal Mall apartment in Niles in January 2019. Niles police said it appeared Burroughs intended to strike an officer with the vehicle.

Following Burroughs case, McCoy said the NAACP asked for officers to have a psychological evaluation. “Have the evaluations each year or every two years,” she said.

McCoy said meetings with the police department and mayor were requested — but they refused to meet.

There has been a recommendation, she said, for forming a council that would review a situation so that the conclusions in a case involving police conduct coincide with the decisions of the prosecutor’s office.

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