Cedar Rapids Police Chief announces change in policy at protest Saturday

Updated: Jun. 6, 2020 at 10:55 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Cedar Rapids Police Chief announced at the protest today a change in policy: that he’s requiring officers to intervene if they witness another officer using force that is unnecessary or unlawful.

But winning over a skeptical public, especially among the black community, will take more than words from a podium. That’s something he acknowledged, as other leaders promised to follow through on the promise of today’s peaceful event

Chief Jerman said, “The fact that he was killed by a police officer, the very person sworn to protect him, is what brings us here today.”

Chief Wayne Jerman used the word “murder” repeatedly when describing what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis. He told the crowd he would listen, and that he’d already started making reforms within the Cedar Rapids police department.

“This change in our policy is just the start and I’m committing to continue to have these conversations to enhance change so we never have another senseless loss of life like the murder of George Floyd," said Chief Jerman

There were many signs in the crowd demanding better policing and more accountability.

One demand of protestors around the country is Citizen Review Boards, to allow community members to review the findings of internal police investigations. Like in the case of Jerime Mitchell who spoke to the crowd. He was paralyzed after a Cedar Rapids officer shot him in 2016 during an altercation that started when the officer pulled him over for a broken license plate light.

Mitchell stated, “Because I fear for my life too or your life every," and added, "So you use that badge as protection and you use those words for protection. Even though you know you’ve messed up”

City and county leaders told the crowd now things are different. This moment isn’t like any other and that unity is possible, even if anguish brought people here.

Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said, “We’re telling people silence is no longer an option for any of us.”

Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker also added, “We can support our black sisters and brothers who have been brutalized by police officers for centuries while also working to reform the system on both sides who are genuinely interested in results.”

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