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Activists in North Alabama react to President Trump's order on policing

While activists say it is a step in the right direction, they want more reform when it comes to policing.

Posted: Jun 16, 2020 10:44 PM
Updated: Jun 16, 2020 10:46 PM

As protesters across the country and here in North Alabama call for action against police brutality, President Donald Trump moved on the issue Tuesday. 

He signed an executive order aimed at encouraging police departments across the country to adopt stricter standards on the use of force. Some say that is not enough.

"When you have cities burning to the ground and police precincts burning to the ground the bare minimum will no longer suffice," Activist Aaron Horton said. 

On May 30, Horton helped organize a march in Huntsville against police brutality. Weeks later, he is now reading about President Trump's order addressing the issue. However, he is not convinced it is enough.

"I just don't think that policing the police and having a national database for complaints is going to do anything," Horton said. "I mean it gives you a reference to go look at, but what is going to be done?"

The order would establish a database that tracks a police officer with excessive use of force complaints in their records. It also bans the use of a choke-hold, unless the officers life is at-risk. 

Horton said it is a small start, and change cannot stop with this order. 

"You have to make an immediate radical change that's not only going to get your point across, but its going to show that police brutality will no longer be tolerated in this country," Horton said. 

Other activists in our area see the president's order as a sign of hope.

"We feel that for authentic reform to take place, that the community has got to be involved and he spoke to that in his comments," Angela Curry said. 

Just two weeks ago, Angela Curry and a small group of people in Huntsville established the citizens coalition for criminal justice reform. 

It is a group of now nearly 1,600 people in Madison County. Curry said while national reform is vital, she is dedicated to making change here at home.

"If the community is actively involved then the product that is going to be produced will be palpable to the community as well as law enforcement," Curry said. 

That is why her group has come up with 10 reform initiatives for Madison County and the City of Huntsville to adopt. 

While Curry and Horton may be focusing on changing things locally, they have their eyes on what happens in Washington. 

"Our hope is that our President is aware of the fact that this is the beginning and not the solution," Curry said. 

Horton adds it is important to change the entire system he believes is oppressive to the black community.

"We will not stop until there is true change, true reform," Horton said.

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