FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:  Ken Reed, 313 989 2946

COALITION RELEASES STATEMENT REGARDING POLICE SHOOTING OF KEVIN MATTHEWS

12/28/15–The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality released this statement today in light of facts reported in the fatal Dearborn police shooting of 35-year-old Detroiter Kevin Matthews:

Regardless of the results of the police investigation into the death of Kevin Matthews, the Coalition believes there are underlying issues that must be addressed as these shootings, killings, and abuses continue to plague citizens. Those issues include:

The continuing pattern in which police accused of abusing or killing citizens are either not charged at all, or prosecutors fail to achieve convictions in cases where police are charged. We are concerned about the involvement of the Detroit Police Department in the investigation due to two reasons: 1) the fact that Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad was a former Detroit Police Lieutenant; and 2) the statements that Detroit Police Chief James Craig made that effectively criminalized shooting victim Kevin Matthews, possibly biasing the investigation and any other subsequent actions by the justice system. We believe that the Michigan State Police should be the sole investigator in this case to ensure unbiased, accurate findings and analysis.

The demonstrated inability of law enforcement to effectively interact with citizens with a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness. From the fatal shooting of Eric “Mr. Magoo” Williams several years ago by a Michigan State police officer to this current tragedy, it is clear that training in handling mentally ill citizens needs to be updated and/or revamped to prevent these kinds of incidents.

Finally, we call on the Dearborn Police Department to release the name of the officer involved in the shooting. If the name of the victim can be released, we believe it is only appropriate that the name of the alleged shooter be released as well. Officers who engage in alleged criminal behavior are not above the law.

We believe that independent investigations of alleged police abuses, and more effective training for police regarding how to interact with mentally ill citizens, are part and parcel of a comprehensive solution to curbing police abuses and creating a better law enforcement culture, and policing that is indeed geared toward the historic police mandate to “protect and serve.”

Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality

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