Since moving to Raleigh in 2022, Ashley Pierrot has quickly fallen in love with the city and the people here. It was her love of the city that drew her towards becoming more involved with the community and learning more about the decisions being made that impacts its residents. She decided to step out of her comfort zone and speak up for herself and the community and advocates for making Raleigh a wonderful and welcoming city for all.

Ashley Pierrot spoke at the February 7, 2023 City Council meeting.

In 2016, Activist Jane Elliott stood in front of an audience and asked every white person in the room to stand if they would be happy to be treated as this society in general treats our black citizens. No on stood up. If we were asked that question tonight, the response would be the same.

Jane continues by saying that response shows that you know what is happening and you do not want it for yourself.

Under proactive policing, black people are stopped, questioned, cited, arrested, or injured by police at much higher rates than white people.

One common proactive policing tactic is stopping a person in a high crime area even if there is no sign of wrongdoing. There is little evidence to support this tactic actually does what it is intended to do. There is, however, an  abundance of evidence showing the impact this has on the health of heavily targeted black communities. It starts at birth and lasts a lifetime.

Research suggests even non-violent interactions with police can render long-lasting trauma and anxiety. High rates of proactive policing are linked with increased occurrences of premature births. Studies even show that black high school-age students who have encounters with the police are more likely to later engage in acts of juvenile delinquency. It also increases the likelihood of those students dropping out of school and not enrolling in college. It creates a mistrust in all institutions impacting their willingness to seek medical treatment and civically engage.

There are a lot of similarities between Raleigh’s Proactive Patrol and New York’s Stop and Frisk. When New York’s Stop and Frisk policy was challenged a judge found that 90 percent of those stopped were completely innocent and 83% of the stops involved Black and Latino people. When it was ordered to end, crime did not surge. The opposite happened.

Raleigh’s policing tactics should not be similar to one that was proven to be racially discriminatory, unconstitutional, and a failure at stopping crime.

The biggest threat to public safety in this city and cities across the country are mass shootings. You cannot look to the police to solve that. The police cannot pass legislation determining who can buy and carry a weapon. They cannot ban assault weapons. Even if their proactive policing tactics could prevent mass shootings, they wouldn’t since they are targeting the wrong demographic. Most mass shooters are white.

We know Raleigh’s black citizens are being targeted, traumatized, and killed because of Proactive Policing tactics. We know we would not want it for ourselves. So, to ask Jane’s question, why are we so willing to accept it or allow it to happen to others?

Nationwide attempts at Police reform have fallen short. It is up to you to put an end to the policing activities in Raleigh that have nothing to do with preventing crime. You have the power to put funding into programs that can help and not traumatize our neighbors.

Trauma like poverty can lead to crime. So not only does this proactive policing tactic do nothing to prevent crime it can lead to more crime through the trauma and harm it creates.

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