The Democratic Socialists of America stands in solidarity with the Organizers of Akron, including Akron DSA, and endorses their 12 Points of Action in response to the tragic murder of 25-year-old Jayland Walker at the hands of Akron’s police force on June 27. Jayland was murdered during a traffic stop when eight killer cops fired nearly 90 rounds at the young man and continued to fire when he was on the ground. He was unarmed, a detail that does not matter to killer cops like these, nor to the politicians who are supposed to oversee the police force but instead allow de facto immunity as police forces continue to approach our Black communities with murderous intent.
We stand with Jayland Walker’s family, his friends, his neighborhood and his community in uplifting the following demands from organizers on the ground in Akron:
- The establishment of an independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate Jayland Walker’s murder and others killed by the Akron Police Department.
- This commission will be composed of independent investigators, residents of Akron, and other individuals agreed upon by the community.
- Release the names of all officers involved in the murder of Jayland Walker.
- Cut their administrative leave.
- Fire them.
- Prosecute them immediately.
- Abolish the deployment of tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets in City Code Section 35.17.
- Disarm any police or security forces deployed to meet protests or assemblies.
- Release all memorandums of understanding and current, in-place contracts between the City of Akron and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 and Regional Branch of the Fraternal Order of Police.
- Legislate that future contract negotiations of FOP Lodge 7 will be public.
- Release a financial breakdown of all expenditures of dollars and contracts executed to meet protesters and assemblies over the last week.
- Legislate the abolition of curfews.
- Legislate the abolition of police chases.
- Eliminate traffic stops for all traffic violations.
- Legislate the immediate release of officer-involved incidents.
- Stop arresting peaceful protesters.
- Immediately release all protesters from all jails and holding institutions.
- Expunge the records and clear the bail and fines of all those arrested for protesting over the last week.
- Create a Citizens Review Board for the police, with power to subpoena and members selected strictly by local organizations.
- Create a citizen-led commission to study and strategize the defunding and abolition of the Akron Police Department, municipal holding centers, and jails, with the consideration of the following:
- Strategize creating a participatory budget within the City of Akron’s Operating and Capital Budget processes. These budgets should directly reinvest funds into reparations, housing, public transportation, food security, physical and mental health care, and community-controlled public safety alternatives.
- Members must be selected strictly by local grassroots organizations, including those listed below.
- The funds appropriated from the Akron Police Department should be democratically controlled by the people of Akron through said participatory budget.
As committed socialists and abolitionists, dismantling white supremacy is a bedrock value for DSA. Justice for all will only be achieved by the complete destruction of the racial capitalist forces that rule our communities with ongoing violence and terror. It is not cruelty or coercion that keeps communities safe, it is resources. We cannot call ourselves a free country where justice itself is only accessible by a privileged few; liberation must be total or it is not liberation.