BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -Mayor Randall Woodfin’s announcement Tuesday of an outright ban on chokeholds and adding language allowing every officer to know they have a duty to intervene if they witness a form of abuse - are good first steps in making the Birmingham Police Department more accountable, according to Cara McClure, the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement in Birmingham.
“It’s encouraging and I’m hoping for boldness that we take courageous steps all across the country,” McClure said.
McClure is also a member of a newly announced public safety task force that’s made up of community activists, retired police, city leaders, and others who will take 90 days to look at even more changes within BPD.
McClure is hoping the department can do a better job of dealing with those with mental health issues and homeless and possibly seeing money redirected to non-profits that can help.
“I’ve seen several studies that shows that when you invest in the non-profit community organizations, crime goes down and so I’m hoping we can move in that direction,” McClure said.
At the end of the 90-day review, Mayor Woodfin will use an executive order addressing any gaps between what officers are doing now and best practices. Community leaders and activists say they want to see real change that helps solve the problems not just the symptoms.