We, the residents of New Bedford, demand change to the system of policing impacting our community. The Citizens For Juvenile Justice (CFJJ) report, “We are the Prey: Racial Profiling and Policing of Youth in New Bedford”, which was conducted using the New Bedford Police Department’s (NBPD) own data, clearly outlined the racial disparities in policing within our city. When the entire country is finally starting to reckon with the fact that policing has harmed Black and brown people in large numbers, Mayor Mitchell, members of New Bedford City Council, and NBPD are engaging in an all-out denial campaign regarding the problematic system of policing that the CFJJ report points to. We will not stand for this attempt to take attention away from police treatment of Black people by trying to get folks stuck in the minutia of an academic and transparent statistical analysis of the NPBD’s own data.
As residents of New Bedford, we are disappointed in Councilors Brian Gomes, Naomi Carney, Brad Markey, and Joe Lopes and their motion to denounce the CFJJ report and we are demanding that they withdraw the motion. We as members of the New Bedford community, including people of color and youth serving professionals, find the report is an accurate presentation of our experiences in this city and demand that our municipal government and police department take meaningful action to address the policies and procedures that disproportionately target and criminalize our communities of color. We, New Bedford community members, fully endorse CFJJ’s “We are the Prey” report as methodologically sound and valid. In closing, we are calling on our elected officials and law enforcement to address the racial disparities in New Bedford policing and make the necessary changes.