José Ignacio Castañeda Perez Delaware News Journal
A few dozen people marched through Wilmington’s streets Sunday to call upon elected officials to partner with them in addressing the issues afflicting the city’s communities.
The march, which was organized by Delaware Pacem In Terris, was capped off with a rally at Rodney Square where speakers called for police accountability and reform, alongside calls to mitigate the rising gun violence in the city.
The march began near the Todd World War Memorial on Baynard Boulevard as a light drizzle set in.
Sarah Green, executive director of Delaware Pacem In Terris, recently penned a letter to Mayor Purzycki asking for his help in addressing the issues facing some of the city’s most marginalized communities.
“I want to see a commitment from the city to really actually care about improving those communities,” Green said. “The best way for them to do that is by working with the communities – not just doing something to or for those communities.”
The family of Lymond Moses – who was shot and killed by New Castle County Police in January – called on local lawmakers for increased accountability of police and for the passage of SB 149, a bill that would amend the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights and increase transparency.
The bill would open internal affairs records to the public and allow state and local governments to create civilian review boards. Democratic lawmakers are amending the bill after pushback from police and any vote on it will have to wait until the next legislative session in 2022.
The calls for police accountability and reform also come in the weeks after a video surfaced showing a Wilmington officer repeatedly slamming a man’s head into plexiglass during an arrest in a Southbridge convenience store.
Community leaders and advocates have called for the officer’s termination and arrest.
Additionally, members of the Delaware NAACP have called for the termination of Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracy and a federal investigation of the Wilmington Police Department.
The officer has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of an investigation by the city’s Police Department. The Delaware Department of Justice is also reviewing the incident.
Green hoped the march encouraged elected officials to work with community members and enlist their help in considering alternative forms of policing and addressing violence in Wilmington’s neighborhoods.
“What we’re asking is for the city government to acknowledge that there’s another way to go about fighting violence in the city and that we are the experts because we’re living it,” Green said. “We have a lot to learn together about how to use nonviolent techniques to really heal our communities.”
Sunday’s march was preceded by a mass shooting near Dover that left one person dead and four others injured. The shooting occurred early Sunday, hours before speakers called upon officials to address the rising gun violence in Wilmington and across the state.
So far this year, 28 people have been killed by gunfire in Wilmington – two short of the number of all of the people killed by gunfire last year in the city.
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