Target: Blytheville Chief of Police Ross A. Thompson
Goal: Hold police officers accountable for alleged use of excessive force against another man of color.
Police officers allegedly used unnecessary force against a man who was not resisting arrest or being at all threatening. According to reports, Patrick Newbern was outside of a Lucky’s convenience store with loud music emanating from his car. Blytheville Police responded to the complaints and approached Mr. Newbern and his vehicle.
The police took Mr. Newbern’s license and told him to wait in the vehicle while they prepared a citation. Mr. Newbern’s vehicle the reportedly began to move while the police were working on his citation, but stopped before it left the parking lot. Blytheville police at the scene rushed over to Mr. Newbern’s car.
The officers violently pulled Mr. Newbern from the vehicle through his latched seat belt and threw him to the ground. They planted a Taser in his back, pepper sprayed him, and held his face against the cement, all while Mr. Newbern told officers he was not resisting. The entire incident was captured on police body cameras.
Relations between police and young men of color have been a regular source of controversy in recent years, prompting civil rights groups and social movements to hold police officers accountable for incidents of brutality and excessive force utilized against people of color. Men and women of color are far more likely to be victims of police misconduct. Every incident should be handled with the utmost scrutiny and dedication.
We need to let the Blytheville Police Department know that police brutality is a very serious issue. Sign our petition to demand that the officers involved in the incident with Mr. Newbern be held to account for use of excessive force.
Dear Chief Thompson,
The incident involving several Blytheville Police officers and Patrick Newbern became more violent than it should have been. There was no reason for officers to pull him from the vehicle as they did, stick a Taser in his back, and pepper spray him.
Blytheville Police officers at the scene overreacted and should be held accountable for that overreaction. We ask that you hold your officers to the same level of personal accountability that you would hold any individual you arrest. We ask that the law be applied fairly and not in a manner that may strain community relations with the Blytheville police.
For a police department to be an effective policing institution, public trust is of paramount importance, for it’s public trust that helps investigations go more smoothly and avoids the severe communal backlash seen in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. As the Chief of Police, you have the authority to make sure Blytheville does not devolve into that same state of civil unrest and it starts with holding police officers to the same level of accountability as the police hold members of the community.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: liftarn