This is being submitted as a public comment to the Macomb City Council tonight.
Nov 2, 2020
Three weeks ago, Democratic Women of McDonough County President Heather McMeekan submitted a complaint to Chief Barker about a Macomb police detective’s online behavior making derogatory and incendiary comments about Black Lives Matter protestors on his tactical/concealed carry business’s Facebook wall.
Last week was the meeting for this complaint. You were all sent an email with the link to the audio file and transcript. We hope to hear in your reports an acknowledgement you received it.
The complaint process DWMC President Heather McMeekan was subjected to was inappropriate, unprofessional, and unacceptable.
For more than a year, we’ve been asking the Mayor and this city council to address the multiple concerns we have brought to you about the process.
She was bringing serious concerns from our organization to your departmental leadership’s attention on OUR BEHALF. That she received such maltreatment says much about this city’s police and city hall leadership. You all owe her – and us – an apology.
Photo ops and signing statements from MPD and city leadership trying to portray a police culture of professionalism and respect are still just performative feel-good actions without substance. NO community members can safely make a complaint about the police to our police.
Allowing a department to police itself is failure of oversight. A police leadership permitted to treat community members bringing complaints to them with such outdated, traumatizing, & inappropriate tactics sends a chilling message.
The Macomb Police Department must be investigated, Chief Barker must go, and the department must be de-militarized AND re-structured.
A transparent complaint system OUTSIDE of Macomb Police Leadership must be established and be independent of the police and city leadership’s disruption. Trauma-informed interview practices should always be employed. Psychologically traumatizing interview techniques should have been banned from this process decades ago.
Despite all your assurances, signing statements, photo ops, this process is NO BETTER for our community. This is only allowed by your complicity. We hope you remember this as you repeatedly ignore our leaders while demanding our “respect” for your part in upholding this unacceptable status quo.
Repeated attempts to get you, our elected representatives, to hold your Mayor accountable and fix these issues have yielded no progress. The list of job duties claimed as racial justice hasn’t addressed this problem. Produce actual progress on fixing these basic tools and structures of good government. Hold a public town hall on the record for us to discuss our police department.
Verna Parkins, 1st Vice-President
Becky Danner, 2nd Vice-President
Regina Matthews, Racial Justice Coalition Leadership Team
Robin Johnson, Secretary
Democratic Women of McDonough County