City of South Fulton mayor and city council approved two resolutions at their May 25 council meeting to hopefully implement changes in police reform.
Council member Dr. Mark Baker introduced two resolutions he hopes will lead to lasting changes in police reform in South Fulton and beyond. One of those measures voices the city’s request that state legislators adopt the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
The May 25 council meeting marked one year since the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old Minneapolis man killed during a police arrest after a store clerk suspected him of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.
“We want to see a stop put to racial profiling,” Baker said. “It is my goal that with this resolution we will get the attention of the Georgia General Assembly to help the act gain the support of state senate leaders so that the bill can become law.”
The act, which Congress approved earlier this year, enhances existing enforcement mechanisms to remedy violations by law enforcement and creates the National Police Misconduct Registry to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It also requires officers to complete training on racial profiling, implicit bias and the duty to intervene when another officer uses excessive force.
Inspired by the exonerated Central Park Five, Baker also presented a second resolution focused on youth interrogation policies.
In 1989 a jogger was assaulted in New York’s Central Park. Five young people were subsequently charged with the crime. The quintet, labeled the Central Park Five, maintained its innocence and spent years fighting the convictions, until the actual assailant admitted to committing the crime.
The group’s story was highlighted in the television miniseries “When They See Us.” Two of the young men currently reside in the metro Atlanta area.
Baker connected with Dr. Yusef Salam – one of the Central Park Five – who influenced legislation in New York City requiring that juvenile interrogation be recorded. The council member based his resolution on that law. Baker honored Salam with a proclamation for his contributions to Baker’s lecture Common Unity Series, which is dedicated to enhancing the mind, body, and soul. Collectively they plan to create positive policies that directly impact Black and Brown communities.
“I think that these reforms are only small concessions, given the egregious history of hatred of Blacks from slave patrols to present day in this country,” Baker said. “This year alone, Congress rushed to put out a brushfire of hatred towards the Asian community and we support it. However, our people require our fire that has been burning for centuries to be extinguished as well.”