The Louisiana chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s volunteer networks, today released the following statement as new reporting from NBC News detailed the police shooting of Tre’mall McGee, a 14-year-old Black child shot by police in March:
“Tre’mall McGee, his family, and the rest of our community deserve a thorough, transparent investigation – an investigation which to this point, our sheriff’s office has failed to provide,” said Angelle Bradford, a volunteer with the Louisiana chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Only then can the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office start to rebuild trust and work toward meaningful change.”
NBC’s report indicated that Tre’mall was shot while lying on his stomach after lifting his arm to comply with instructions from officers to put his hands on his head.
According to the report, “at least 12 men and boys have died during an arrest or pursuit by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office since 2015… All were Black or Latino. Three were under the age of 18.” The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office “has steadfastly refused to adopt body-worn cameras, now routine in the New Orleans Police Department,” though the Louisiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution urging the parish to use them.
A growing collection of research largely demonstrates that body-worn cameras are effective in strengthening community perceptions of the police and reducing use-of-force incidents and complaints — especially if there is clear policy stating when cameras must be turned on. The use of cameras is broadly supported by the reform community, can make officers refrain from abusive conduct, and can be critical for accountability after officers shoot civilians. Departments should have clear policies on when body worn cameras must be on, and should collect data to assess their impacts on outcomes such as use of force incidents and complaints by victim demographics, as well as assaults on officers.
Police shootings are a stark reality for Black Americans, who are more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts. Police shootings also hurt community relations, impeding law enforcement efforts and decreasing public safety.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings, while having no negative impact on crime. By encouraging de-escalation and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.
As a whole, gun violence takes a disproportionate toll on Black and brown communities. Black Americans represent the majority of homicide and nonfatal shooting victims in the US and are far more likely than white Americans to be victimized by and exposed to assaultive gun violence.