Target: Murfreesboro Police Department Chief James Durr
Goal: Discipline officers who allegedly unjustly arrested several children for not getting involved in a fight.
When a fight broke out in a community in suburban Murfreesboro, Tennessee, many of the community’s children decided not to get involved. Because of that decision, they were arrested several days later at the elementary school they attended. They were cuffed and accosted from the school, in front of their peers, and according to accounts, many of their parents were not notified of the arrests of their children.
The community is rightfully outraged by these actions committed by the Murfreesboro Police Department. Parents have called the incident “nonsense in the fullest definition.” Local church leaders have called the incident “absolutely unacceptable” and “scary.” However, the Murfreesboro Police Department refuses to discuss the incident in any meaningful detail, including how many children were actually arrested and what crimes the children, who have since been released from juvenile hall, are being charged with.
According to parents who have been in contact with both local and national media, the children are being charged with “criminal responsibility for conduct of another,” a statute designated for people who are accomplices to or enabled the commission of crimes. If this is indeed the statute under which the children arrested in Murfreesboro are being charged, then it is apparently against the law to stay out of conflicts and confrontations of which one is not a party.
These arrests are horrifying and set a dangerous precedent for how police can handle disputes among minors. Sign the petition and tell the new Murfreesboro chief of police, James Durr, that these arrests were unlawful and the children arrested are deserving of justice for the rash actions of police officers under his watch.
Dear Chief Durr,
It is distressing to know that several children have been placed into the criminal justice system for not breaking up an altercation that did not concern them. This is not justice being served nor a community being protected. Instead, this is a miscarriage of justice, for placing several children, some as young as 6 years old, into the criminal justice system for deciding not to get involved in someone else’s squabbles stands in stark defiance to what these children are taught by virtue of a zero-tolerance policy toward violence and shakes their faith in the criminal justice system. It also undermines the very spirit of law and order.
It is with this in mind that we urge you to do all that you can to make sure these children are not further penalized for doing the right thing. We also urge you to take steps to strengthen relations with the community whose children were arrested for no good reason. Considering the public perception of police officers in today’s sociopolitical climate, incidents such as these will have only a negative effect on the relationship between the community and the badges who are supposed to maintain order.
[Your Name Here]
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