What: Rally for Suffolk Civilian Review Board
When: Friday, August 13 at 6 p.m.
Where: Suffolk City Hall (442 West Washington St., Suffolk, VA 23434)
Suffolk, Va. — Community members will come together on Friday, August 13 at 6 p.m. outside Suffolk City Hall to call on their city council to install a permanent police chief and implement a civilian review board. This comes after numerous meetings with city council members and speaking at city council meetings.
On July 16, leaders in the community spoke at City Council about the importance of Suffolk hiring a permanent police chief and establishing a civilian review board. Since this meeting, they have spoken with council members Shelley Butler Barlow, Lue Ward, and Roger Fawcett, and Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett. They thanked these elected officials for meeting with them and now are calling on Mayor Michael Duman and council members Donald Goldberg, Timothy Johnson, and LeOtis Williams to follow in their path. They want to see City Council take this issue up as an agenda item in their meeting and implement a civilian review board.
“Mayor Duman, council member Goldberg, and council member Johnson, your constituents are looking for your support in helping establishing a civilian review board,” said Tiffany Watts, a member of the Suffolk Chapter. “Virginia Organizing recognizes each of you city council members are doing good work all over Suffolk. We thank you for all that you do. We are asking that you make establishing a civilian review board a priority. The General Assembly enacted the most needed police reform. Now it’s on City Council to implement the new legislation.”
Tion Ashby, another leader of the chapter, said the outcome of having a civilian review board will be to enforce accountability for Suffolk police, restore faith and trust between the community and police department, and encourage civilians to file necessary complaints with confidence.
“We all saw the police stop in Windsor. Those officers wouldn’t have conducted themselves in that manner if the county had a civilian review board. Those officers acted in that manner because they knew there are no repercussions,” Ashby said.
Chapter member Vonita Williams agreed.
“To gain public trust, City Council has to establish a civilian review board. What’s it going to take? More innocent African Americans are dying at the hands of bad policing. We also need the city manager to hire a permanent police chief. We had an interim police chief since early 2020. I’m surprised that Mayor Duman has not met with us. I’m looking forward to speaking with city council members Goldberg, Johnson, and Williams.”
To interview a spokesperson about this work, contact Tony Jones at 757-660-6080 or firstname.lastname@example.org.