Stop Police Violence Against Native Americans

Target: Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona

Goal: Demand immediate changes in the police departments to root out practices of racial profiling against Native Americans.

Native Americans are the only group that saw a rise in deaths due to police shootings from 2015 to 2016. Arizona, a state with large indigenous population, is where the majority of the killings of Native Americans took place in the past year. Deaths by encounters with the police are nonetheless part of a bigger problem: systemic racism and violence toward Native people. Therefore, a strong campaign should start right now to not only prevent more deaths but also improve the lives of such a vulnerable segment of American society.

In 2015, Native American deaths by the hands of law enforcement officers were measured as 5.49 per one million people, while blacks killed by police were 7.69 per million. In 2016, the number of deaths of blacks declined to 6.66 per one million, while the number of deaths of Native Americans rose to 10.13 per million. In 2016, 24 Native Americans died as a result of police shootings, and 6 of these deaths happened just in southwest Arizona. There, testimonials of police mishandling and excessive violence are unfortunately recurrent. The practice of racial profiling by the police can be visualized through some statistics regarding two cities in the state. In Winslow, Native Americans account for 25 percent of the population, but from 2012 to 2015, they averaged nearly 64 percent of arrests. In nearby Flagstaff, Native Americans accounted for an average of 47 percent of arrests in the same period, even though they account for only 11.7 percent of the city’s population.

While the Black Lives Matter movement caught the attention from the country and the world and successfully raised the killings of black people to the national conversation, Native Americans still rest invisible when it comes to police violence. They are also relatively invisible in their astronomic rates of poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. It is time to break the silence. Native Americans make up 5.2 million or 1.7 percent of the country’s population, and Arizona is one the states with the largest indigenous populations. It should be the first place to put in place an agenda for addressing the problems of Native populations with the law enforcement officers. Therefore, demand that the state immediately promotes profound changes in its police departments – from educational programs, community policing to the thorough investigation of practices of racial profiling and punishment of officers responsible for killings.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Doucey,

I am alarmed by the high rates at which Native Americans are dying in your state due to encounters with law enforcement officers. Native Americans are the only group that saw a rise in deaths by police shootings from 2015 to 2016, and Arizona is the state where the majority of those deaths happened.

There is a systemic problem of racism and violence toward Native people across the state and, therefore, I urge you to immediately promote changes in all police departments – from educational programs, community policing to the thorough investigation of practices of racial profiling and punishment of officers responsible for killings. Native Americans should be decimated no more.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

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3 Comments

  1. Kathryn Irby says:

    Demand that cops leave Native American Indians alone–NOW!!!

  2. Racism against natives in America and Canada is built into our society and has been for hundreds of years. Cops are some of the instruments used to enforce this racism, this ideation – or delusion – that we are “superior” and they are “inferior”.
    It’s tragic that police brutality and police murders of these oppressed people are increasing. These issues must be addressed.

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