Activists continue to call for changes in Colombian police even after the detained artist has left

A group of activists called for reforms on Tuesday as part of an ongoing effort to hold the Columbia Police Department accountable for detaining innocent artists.

Colombia’s National Action Network held an event outside departmental headquarters to request changes to the police protocol after the network said the artists were racially profiled and detained.

The network was critical of the department Since the detention of black artist John Sims By a police officer in his apartment at the 701 Center for Contemporary Arts in May. The Sims was a residence artist. The Sims left Colombia on Monday after nearly two months of stay at the Art Center.

Chief Skip Holbrook defended the officers, saying they followed the department’s policies in their key actions.

Tiffany James, president of the local National Action Network branch, said the group would continue to push for changes to the police protocol even if Sims were gone.

“If they follow this same practice, no one will live,” James said. “There is a great opportunity to change the protocol.”

The network requires departments to:

▪ ▪ “Reassess and remove policies that allow CPD officers to terrorize people based on race.”

▪ ▪ “We publicly apologize for racially profiling Mr. Sims and terrorizing him in his place of residence.”

▪ ▪ “We are committed to supporting and enacting (federal) George Floyd justice policies and procedures in the police bill.”

▪ ▪ “Hold a series of community meetings throughout the city to hear from residents about the community’s interaction with the police and what they can do to prevent what happened to John Sims from happening again.”

▪ ▪ Develop “Policies for Providing Mental Health Treatment and Services to People Traumatized by Police Action”.

“There are people in the black and brown communities roaming with anxiety and chronic stress due to (police) protocol mistakes,” James said.

The network said the city of Columbia should “secure a company with the expertise and record of success to carry out racial prejudice audits” at the police station.

Mayor Steve Benjamin will be followed by a call Apologize to The Sims..

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