Somerville Mayor Declares Systemic Racism A Local State Of Emergency

by Catherine Ann Buckler

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many cities have responded with protests and vigils, not only in honor of Floyd, but other people of color who have been victims of police brutality and racism recently. Those include Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone is set to declare a local state of emergency "officially deeming systemic racism a threat to public health and safety."

According to the City of Somerville website, this is the beginning of a 10-point program developed by elected officials of color in Massachusetts, including Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. Some of the program's policies were developed by the organization Campaign Zero, a group dedicated to "research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America."

"First I was outraged and sad, like so many Americans, by the killing of George Floyd by police," Mayor Curtatone told WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker. "There is a long list of Black Americans killed by police...Black Americans are three-times more likely to be killed than White Americans, that in-and-of itself is a public crisis and health emergency."

The Mayor went on to say that he is proud of the Somerville Police Department, and that for more than 15 years the city has "reformed" the department in diversity. Curtatone said the department has worked "to build trust and credibility with the community."

"But it is a long-term, vigilant effort on our part. We have still been hampered by the history of bureaucracy and laws and regulations that maintain the status quo," Curtatone said.

WBZ NewsRadio's Ben Parker (@radiobenparker) reports

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(Getty Images)

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