Allentown Activist Weighs In On Police Reform

Written by on June 18, 2020

 Allentown Activist Weighs In On Police Reform

By K.C. Lopez

June 18, 2020

Photo | K.C. Lopez / WLVR

From the White House to Pennsylvania’s state capital, government officials are facing mounting pressure to address police brutality. As President Trump moves to create a federal database of police officers with a history of using excessive force, one community leader is among many in the Lehigh Valley saying the time has come to address the issues locally. 

Hasshan Batts of Promise Neighborhoods in Allentown says the criminal justice system is the human rights issue of our time.

“It’s about time that people are frustrated and doing something about it from a place of peace but for reform of radical change and safety for everyone across our communities.”

Batts says leaders need to invest in alternatives to policing to address pressing needs and challenges in communities of color. In the meantime, he says requiring officers to live in the city they serve is a great first step for reform in Allentown. 

“At this moment, that is the system that we need to look at. We have one in three black males incarcerated, a recidivism rate that is 75-85 percent. We need to look at it, it’s not working and we need something different. So it’s really looking at how we invest in restorative practices?”

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