The murder of George Floyd by law enforcement has sent the nation reeling. People around the country are raising their voices and rallying for change.
While the injustice done to George Floyd happened far from Albany County, many people in this community are outraged by yet another instance of police violence and want to take action.
ACoPP shares their horror and their rage. Racial profiling, racially disparate killings, excessive force and other misconduct by law enforcement is not a unique or infrequent occurrence in our nation, our state, or even Albany County.
We need not look far for our own household names. In the past year and a half in Wyoming, we have seen our own residents die at the hands of police:
- April 1, 2020: A Platte County Sheriff’s Deputy shot and killed David Matthew Cain in his home.
- September 21, 2019: A Riverton Police Officer shot and killed Anderson Antelope.
- November 4, 2018: An Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy shot and killed Robbie Ramirez.
In each one of these cases, law enforcement agencies have failed to provide the bare minimum of transparency, and they have declined to press charges or take administrative action such as termination and decertification despite public demands.
The officers who killed these civilians continue to patrol our communities without repercussion, and the agencies they work for have refused to implement changes to prevent further violence. This is unacceptable.
Each year, roughly 1,000 people in the United States are killed at the hands of law enforcement. Wyoming is disproportionately represented in those numbers.
There’s little we can do to bring about reforms in places like Minneapolis or other places where high-profile, highly publicized police killings have taken place. But we as a community can take action right here in Albany County and Wyoming to ensure we do not lose another Robbie Ramirez.
It’s here, in our hometown, where we can make our voices heard and bring about real reforms by demanding them from our local government officials. The best way we can be part of this nationwide movement against police violence is by stopping it in our community.
As Antonio Serrano, advocacy manager for the ACLU of Wyoming, said: “In order to move from a place of outrage to a place of healing, there must be a fundamental shift in our state’s priorities and it needs to start with law enforcement and elected officials acknowledging the lives lost and people hurt by police in Wyoming. Pretending our state does not have these problems is turning a blind eye to an entire community and their pain.”
Since Robbie’s murder, ACoPP has continued to demand the immediate termination and decertification of Corporal Colling so our community can begin to heal and form pathways to more proper policing. We have engaged with and implored county officials to take action and address this threat to our community’s safety. We continue to collect signatures to support Colling’s termination and decertification.
ACoPP also continues to push for policy changes that would help address the systemic issues we face. Currently, Wyoming laws do not allow for public access to police misconduct records, nor do they require proper training to ensure officers have the necessary tools to de-escalate difficult situations. Above all else, we continue to demand transparency and accountability through the use of meaningful civilian oversight of law enforcement.
We hope that you will join us in our efforts for demanding better from law enforcement in Wyoming. You can do so by signing up to volunteer at acopp.org/volunteer/.
- There are also outlets to help those in Minneapolis and around the country as they seek justice. You can donate to George Floyd’s family’s fundraising efforts, bail relief funds, legal funds, those providing healthcare, and a plethora of additional worthy outlets can be found in Paper Magazine here.
- If you choose to protest locally or elsewhere, knowing your rights can help protect you and other protestors. You can brush up on your protest rights here.
Meaningful change results from focusing your energy on shifting the dynamic in your community. Please, join us in this struggle for justice here at home and nationally. We are in it for the long haul, and we hope you are, too.
You can donate to ACoPP here.
Albany County for Proper Policing