Protests spark police-NAACP ‘conversation’
WILTON — Police Chief John Lynch took to Facebook Thursday evening to announce the beginning of an anti-racism “conversation” among the police chiefs of Wilton, Weston, Westport, Darien, New Canaan and Norwalk and representatives of the state’s Attorney Office and the Norwalk NAACP Branch Taskforce for Peace. Each signed a statement that was dated June 10.
“We are working together for change,” Lynch said as he announced the chiefs and NAACP representatives are planning a “town hall” style meeting at the end of June.
The statement was signed by Darien Chief Donald Anderson, Weston Capt. Matthew Brodacki, Westport Chief Foti Koskinas, New Canaan Chief Leon Krolikowski, Norwalk Chief Thomas Kulhawik, and Wilton Chief John Lynch.
Also signing it were Richard Colangelo, Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney; Paul Ferencek, Connecticut State’s Attorney for the District; Brenda Penn-Williams, and Norwalk NAACP branch president.
Representing the Norwalk NAACP Taskforce for Peace were the Rev. Jeffrey Ingraham, Greg Burnett, Darlene Young, Mark McElveen and Eric Fischman.
Following is the statement:
On Thursday, June 4th, the Norwalk NAACP Branch Taskforce for Peace met with the State’s Attorney Office and Local Police Chiefs from Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Westport, Weston and Wilton to affirm our relationship and to assess community needs as peaceful protests ensue in the wake of past and present racially motivated bias and murder. Collectively, we outlined a common perspective and reviewed best practices in order to support the communities’ right to express outrage, fear and the need for change while maintaining a safe environment for expression. Like so many other communities across the nation, we have been deeply saddened and outraged by the senseless killing of George Floyd and other black lives at the hands of police officers, those of whom society expects to uphold the law and safety of all.
Mr. Floyd’s death has led to protests worldwide as the pain and anguish of systemic racism and social injustice has reared its ugly head once again. For far too long, these heinous acts perpetrated on people of color undermine both the hard work of good officers and the positive relationships many have cultivated in our communities. During these difficult times, it is imperative that the Norwalk NAACP Branch, State’s Attorney Office and Local Police departments remain resolute in their commitment in pursuing the goals of fair and equitable treatment of all people. Fostering trust among our communities through a steadfast dedication to public service continues to be our top priority.
We, the Norwalk NAACP Branch, State’s Attorney Office and Local Police Chiefs believe that taking no action to bring about meaningful change, and remaining silent in the face of injustice and maintaining the status quo, is not an option. Collectively, we understand that policies are not enough; they are only foundational steps. Therefore, we are committed to collaborating on an ongoing basis to develop positive police interactions and enhance our relationships with people of color.
Together, we must move from the seat of indifference and silence to stand up and speak out against systemic racism and social injustice wherever it lives because, BLACK LIVES MATTER.