Dear Editor: As Asians for Black Lives, we say to Police Chief Mike Koval: You kept your promise.
Two months ago, the Young, Gifted, and Black Coalition described your police department as an "occupying force" in communities of color. They demanded that their communities be given the opportunity to have "no interaction" with police — an opportunity that many non-black Madisonians consider normal.
You, Chief Koval, responded that you would increase contact. You did your job just as you promised — you increased contact, and Tony Robinson is dead. This is what police interaction means for black people in Madison and around the nation. Madison has always been Ferguson: Police occupation and violence is the “Madison Method” in action. This was your commitment, and you are responsible for the result.
Now, in a time of crisis, you ask “what ‘justice’ will look like or mean to people.” Young, Gifted and Black has been answering that question since December. Are you listening?
As Asians for Black Lives, we urge the Madison Police Department to: Pay for the funeral expenses of Tony Robinson and the mental health needs of his family. Reduce the number of police officers in communities of color. Increase community control of the police. Take actual, meaningful steps to address the racial disparities in Madison's incarceration rates. Free the 350 black people currently locked up for crimes of poverty.
You need to listen to what the black community is asking, or black people will continue to die at your hands. And you will be directly responsible.
Sasha W., Jackie Yang, Cristina Lor, Kabzuag Vaj, Zon Moua, Claire Tran
Asians for Black Lives (Madison)
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