Letters to the Editor

Letter: Criminal justice reform

On Feb. 10, the Anchorage Daily News published a story and video of the arrest of a 25-year-old woman by Wasilla Police Department officers inside a Walmart store. As the article stated, the video shows the use of controversial restraints banned by police departments across the country. The woman, who scratched an officer on the cheek and drew blood, was forcefully restrained face-down. Officers bound her wrists to her feet behind her back in a hold known as hobbling or hog-tying. Thus immobilized, she was carried outside and placed face-down on snow-packed ground before being slid into the back of a squad car. None of this was illegal, because there are no law enforcement restraint holds that are banned statewide in Alaska. The Alaska Black Caucus believes this is wrong and cries out to be remedied.

There are currently several bills being considered in committee in the Alaska Senate that address the use-of-force standards for law enforcement. The Alaska Black Caucus supports this legislation, and urges other community members to contact their representative in Juneau in support.

The Alaska Black Caucus supports criminal justice reform and the following bills under consideration by the Alaska Legislature:

• Senate bills 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7, which deal with police procedures, use of force and transparency for department policies.

• Senate Bill 46: An Act relating to the Alaska Police Standards Council; relating to municipal correctional officers and municipal correctional employees; making municipal police officers subject to police standards; establishing a statewide use-of-force database in the Department of Public Safety; requiring a municipality that employs a person as a municipal police officer or in a municipal correctional facility, the Department of Corrections, or the Department of Public Safety to report for inclusion in the database incidents of use of force by state and municipal police, probation, parole, and correctional officers and municipal correctional facility employees; and providing for an effective date.

For additional information on this pending legislation, contact the Alaska Black Caucus or the office of Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson.

— Celeste Hodge Growden

President/CEO, Alaska Black Caucus

Anchorage

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