To the editor:
I write today with the murder of George Floyd and the resulting civil unrest on my mind. ACT for Alexandria recently held a virtual town hall, “Facing Racism. Demanding Change.” Alexandria’s chief of police, Michael Brown, was one of the speakers.
Brown mentioned how not just the police, but all Alexandrians must work together to fight racism and make changes.
During the June 2 protest outside the police headquarters, Brown said, “Even as good as we think we are, we know we can always improve and there are some things we learn from this through listening,” according to ALXnow. I agree that all of us have work to do. In particular, I would like to call on journalists in the city to work to proactively cover accounts of police misconduct.
Publications, of course, already have a crime “beat,” but here I am imagining making a point of inviting all Alexandrians to come forward to share their experiences of police interaction past and present. There are many brief, fraught encounters with police that do not necessary merit a whole news article.
Taken cumulatively, however, these encounters erode public confidence. Oversight via the press is vital in either giving the city police a clean bill of health or in diagnosing illness. The work cannot and should not be entirely entrusted to the police.
-Brian Kelley, Alexandria