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Hire a permanent police chief

To the editor:

My name is Imhotep Muhammad. I’m a leader in the Suffolk community and member of Virginia Organizing Suffolk chapter.

I am writing to express concerns and issues that are important to the community. One of those concerns is that Suffolk is in need of a permanent police chief. In the wake of George Floyd and all of the shooting of unarmed African Americans, there’s a need for more police transparency and more police accountability. It seems that some police officers are disregarding human rights at all levels. African Americans have a target on our backs. Some police officers are inflicting bodily harm, which amounts to police brutality on people of color. There is little to no repercussion because of systemic racism. People of color are directly affected by bad policing. This is happening at traffic stops and the communities.

We met with the Interim Police Chief Al Chandler in April to discuss these issues that are important to us. He said he has very little power as interim chief, and City Council needs to hire a permanent police chief. What is taking City Council and the city manager so long to do this?

In summary: We need a permanent police chief. We want the police chief to be in support of a civilian review board. We also want the new chief to implement other new reforms that would de-escalate situations where there is no firearm. Police officers need new training at all levels in reference to traffic stops and engaging with people of color.

Imhotep Muhammad

Suffolk