Local activists renew call for police reforms in Carlsbad

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CARLSBAD, Calif. – Local activists are demanding more transparency from the Carlsbad Police Department following the release of a video last month showing officers using Tasers on a local Black man during an arrest in June.

North County Civil Liberties Coalition founding member Yusef Miller on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

At a news conference Thursday, North County Civil Liberties Coalition founding member Yusef Miller said activists recently met with Assistant Chief Mickey Williams to discuss the department’s use-of-force tactics.

“I feel encouraged by the interaction (with Williams),” Miller said, adding, “But I like to be cautious with my optimism.”

Activists continue to apply pressure on the department for reforms after police video showed a contentious June 11 arrest of San Diego resident Marcel Cox-Harshaw, who can be heard in the video shouting, “I’m not doin’ nothing!” Cox-Harshaw was not in attendance during Thursday’s news conference.

On the night of the incident, officers arrived and found medics talking with him on the sidewalk.

Video released by the department shows Cox-Harshaw later being arrested, during which officers attempted to stun him and used so-called “brute force” to bring him down. He was taken to the hospital for treatment and cited for public drunkenness.

Miller argues that officers made the incident worse in the way they approached Cox-Harshaw.

“They approached from the rear — it’s at night and he’s already agitated,” Miller said. “We believe this escalated the issue. Within a minute, there’s a struggle and there’s Tasing.”

Robert Jenkins of the North San Diego County NAACP said the department needs to show more transparency with stops, arrests and training.

“Assistant Police Chief Williams stated they have training every two years,” Jenkins said. “Racial-bias training should be more frequent. More important, who’s conducting the training?”

This year, the department touted its implementation of all eight policies of the 8 Can’t Wait program such as putting into place new de-escalation tactics and banning chokeholds — the latter a tactic many other area departments have dropped following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd in police custody on Memorial Day.

In a statement Thursday, the department said it will “work to ensure Carlsbad is a safe place for all and we will strive to ensure our policies support our mission to protect and serve the community with integrity and professionalism.”

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