The National Bar Association will hold a “Day of Action” today from 6 to 9 p.m. in L.L. White Hall at Holman United Methodist Church, 3320 W. Adams Blvd.
The event is being held in light of recent incidents involving police officers’ use of deadly force which caused the deaths of Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego (Los Angeles), Michael Brown (Ferguson, Mo.), Rodney Mitchell (Sarasota, Fla.), Eric Garner (Staten Island, N.Y.), John Crawford (Beavercreek, Ohio), Marquis Jones (San Antonio, Texas), and a number of other unnamed, and unarmed, individuals.
The NBA, along with its affiliate the John M. Langston Bar Association of Los Angeles, will also host a “Know Your Rights, Because It Could Save Your Life Town Hall” meeting and will call for justice in the killings of Ford, Abrego, Dante Parker, Alesia Thomas and Ronald Weekly.
“During the Town Hall, attendees will learn how the Fourth Amendment (Search and Seizure) of the United States Constitution applies to them, whether it is legal to record the police activity and how citizens should behave/respond if, and when, they interface with police officers. In addition, panelists will address issues of inequality and racial bias in policing, the justice system, and violence against members of minority communities,” stated Pamela J. Meanes, president of the National Bar Association.
Shortly after the 2013 manhunt of Chris Dorner, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck proclaimed that he was committed to weeding out corruption and racism, increasing transparency and, most ambitiously, admitting when his police force made mistakes.
“While Chief Beck said all the right words at the right time, it’s his actions that the National Bar Association and the community must, and should, judge. Because it is action, not words, that matter,” said Meanes. “The lack of accountability and criminal prosecution in police abuse cases, such as, Allen Harris (November 2009), Steven Eugene Washington (March 2010), Aibuidefe Oghogho (October 2010), Reggie Doucet Jr. (January 2011), Alesia Thomas (July 2012), Ronald Weekley Jr. (August 2012) and Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego (August 2014) leads the National Bar Association to conclude that during his first term, Chief Beck’s vision failed to translate into reality,” added Meanes.
Consequently, the legal association is headed to Los Angeles, to call for a full and independent federal investigation into the Ford and Abrego cases. “These families deserve more than empty words and promises. They deserve a full and fair investigation, and we plan to stand behind them until a proper investigation is conducted,” Meanes vowed.
In conjunction with this event, the National Bar Association renews its call for the United States Department of Justice to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into deaths involving police in Staten Island, N.Y.; Dallas, Texas; San Antonio, Texas; and Beavercreek, Ohio.
The Los Angeles town hall is the latest of such events that the NBA is holding around the nation. It also follows an action by the organization of making open records requests in 25 cities that have been identified as having an alleged history of police misconduct and brutality cases.
The group also filed a lawsuit in August against the City of Ferguson, Mo., and the Ferguson Police Department seeking any and all incident reports, investigative reports, notes and memorandums prepared by Ferguson Police officers, as well as in-dash camera video, photographs, cell phone video and recordings in connection with the shooting death of Michael Brown.