Local clergy call for police reform, to ‘dismantle’ systemic racism

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SAN DIEGO — More than 20 local faith leaders from around San Diego County gathered Thursday to denounce white supremacy, call for policing reform and urge “white clergy and people of faith” to take a more active role in combating systemic racism.

The event was hosted by the San Diego Organizing Project, an activist group of nearly 30 faith leaders from around the county, and led by Bishop Robert McElroy.

Rather than focusing on the racist actions of individuals, the group argued that the policies and organizations that govern day-to-day life in San Diego — from police departments to business practices to church governing boards — need to be changed in order to black residents and treat people of color more equitably.

The leaders urged followers to help “dismantle and reimagine the systems and institutions that allow police to commit racist violence against the black community,” adding that “police must be held accountable by the communities they serve.”

The clergy members promoted a reform platform “to transform local law enforcement and eradicate white supremacism and racism in our faith community.”

The platform includes new policies on when officers can stop and search people, creating new, community-led police oversight boards, adopting new de-escalation polices, and systematically changing the way department hire, equip, train and hold accountable their officers.

The organization has more details on its platform on the SDOP website.

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