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ACLU Interactive Map Shows Alleged Police Violence Incidents

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts on Wednesday launched an interactive digital map that tracks alleged data related to cases of police violence and misconduct across that state.

by Jackson Cote, MassLive.com / September 24, 2020
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(TNS) — The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts on Wednesday launched an interactive digital map that tracks alleged cases of police violence and misconduct across the state.

The newly released map currently shows at least 115 reported cases of police brutality in 34 Massachusetts cities and towns over the last 10 years. It also reports dozens of examples of documented misconduct, the ACLU of Massachusetts said in a statement.

The online tool is a key part of the organization’s Police Violence Happens Here campaign, which aims to highlight reported cases of misconduct at the hands of law enforcement in the state and underscore the need for police reform, according to the statement.

The ACLU launched the campaign Wednesday at an event where supporters of the organization’s efforts demonstrated in communities that have seen cases of police violence in recent years, including Boston, Worcester, Springfield and others, the ACLU said.

One such community on the map was Framingham, where 68-year-old Eurie Stamps was killed by a police officer nine years ago. He was lying on the ground in compliance with officers' commands, unarmed and in his own home when he was fatally shot.

A tweet from the ACLU of Massachusetts on Wednesday showed a person holding up a sign in Framingham that read, “#policeviolencehappenshere." In Cambridge, where Stamps grew up, multiple demonstrators were holding up signs with the same message as well as a banner dedicated to the 68-year-old man.

“Contrary to the claims by police unions and other opponents of meaningful reform, Massachusetts is not immune to harmful or racially-disparate policing,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Police violence and misconduct happen here, in every corner of the state. From Boston to Springfield to Pittsfield, people experience policing differently depending on who they are and to what community they belong.”

The map was developed by the ACLU of Massachusetts' Data for Justice Project and aims to serve as a resource for the press, activists and the public. The tool draws from media reports to mark reported incidents of brutality and misconduct.

However, the organization noted, many incidents of police wrongdoing are never reported, so the public will be able to offer comments and suggestions to the ACLU to further populate the map with cases of violence and misconduct.

“What appears on this map likely just scratches the surface of the problem,” the organization said.

Amid nationwide calls for racial justice and an end to police brutality that erupted after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black who died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer in May, both branches of the Massachusetts State Legislature put forward police reform proposals.

Efforts to shore up a final piece of legislation have been ongoing since late July, when a six-member conference committee was tasked with finalizing the compromise policing reform and accountability bill.

Among the reforms the ACLU is calling for are an end to immunity for officers who violate the law and harm civilians, the creation of an independent police licensing system, a ban on law enforcement’s use of face surveillance technology, a prohibition on the most violent police tactics and investing in over-policed communities.

“Bay Staters deserve equal justice and demand meaningful police reform. Massachusetts lawmakers must act now to address past violence and prevent future harms," Rose said.

©2020 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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