Now Let’s Bridge The Divide

Markeshia Ricks Photo(Opinion) I would like to commend the Board of Alders, under the leadership of President Tyisha Walker-Myers, for its tireless dedication, compassion, and resolve. Board members have displayed these qualities by establishing a Civilian Review Board in a unanimous vote taken Monday night. In doing so, they have achieved something very rare in today’s politics which is to bring people together for a common cause.

As has become readily apparent, the relationship between law enforcement and the community has been fraught with tension and misunderstanding. As a father of two young boys, I have become increasingly concerned about this dynamic. I want all children living in New Haven and beyond to grow up in a city where they can trust police officers to treat them fairly and in which police officers have community support and respect.

While we acknowledge crime is decreasing across the United States, we have experienced events in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Maryland, and New York, N.Y., where lives were lost way too soon due to officer related shootings. We must acknowledge that we are not immune to experiencing such tragedies.

It is important to note that the Civilian Review Board will not prevent these horrific events from occurring, nor will not absolve in any way the tension or lack of trust between Law Enforcement and community. The aim is to bring forth transparency and accountability to the New Haven Police Department and the community at large.

The real work is still ahead of us. To ensure the sustainability and efficiency of the Civilian Review Board, we need the continued support of the New Haven Police Department, the New Haven Police Department Union, the community, and the Board of Alders.

I strongly believe the Civilian Review Board will help bridge the divide between the community and the police officers who are sworn to protect and serve this great city of New Haven.

Again, I would like to thank the Board of Alders, Police Chief Anthony Campbell, the community, and especially Ms. Emma Jones. Thank you for your assiduous fight to ensure that no parent will have to experience what you went through. 

Thomas Breen PhotoThe Rev. Steven Cousin is the pastor of Bethel AME Church on Goffe Street.

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posted by: robn on January 8, 2019  1:52pm

The NHI could have avoided publishing this promotional hyperbole.

NOTHING relative to police/community relations has happened in New Haven comparable to what happened in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Maryland, and New York, N.Y.

Whats fraught with tension and misunderstanding is NOT the relationship between law enforcement and the (whole) community. Fraught are average citizens watching our BOA waste time and now money cow towing to radical activists.

posted by: Bill Saunders on January 8, 2019  1:55pm

Rev. Cousins,

Just remember, these Politicians did not create a CRB out of the goodness of their hearts, it was something that was voted on by the ‘citizenry’ as part of Charter Reform.

That it has taken this long for anything to happen tells the true story….

posted by: Bill Saunders on January 8, 2019  1:59pm

Reverend Cousins,

Speaking of ‘Political Will’ -  what is up with THE ESCAPE Center for teens that your Church signed a lease with Jason Bartlett to ‘produce’.

Your ‘pep talk’ here clearly has some ‘insider’ motivations…..

posted by: alex on January 8, 2019  2:23pm

Rev. Cousin is a member of the New Haven Retirement Board, Police & Fire Fund.

posted by: Xavier on January 8, 2019  2:59pm

Where is 3/5 when we need to hear his perpetual warning?

Watch out for those pleaser leader posers judas goats.

The church was not much of a help in Ferguson but the black youth and young adult, LGBT community were and are. Fed up being told to show to listen to “preachers.” Then those same “preachers” get into those back rooms where deals are made, and nothing changes.

“In the streets of Ferguson and Baltimore, the new movement for black lives was radicalized by legions of poor and working-class youth who forced the nation to grapple with black rage. They fearlessly confronted a militarized police force, tear gas, snipers and tanks designed for warfare while Americans watched on their television screens. These young people, including countless women and LGBTQ people who have organized many of the movement’s most powerful acts of resistance, have changed the predominant image of black activism in America.”

“The front lines of the fight for civil rights are no longer “manned” by the traditional leaders of the black community: well-dressed, respectable clergymen….....the church was the control center in black America’s struggle for civil rights for generations. Its authority infused the civil rights movement with traditional values — hierarchical leadership, respectability politics and the guiding principles of reconciliation and nonviolence.

“Today’s movement has dismissed these criteria, operating without centralized leadership and accepting as many straight women and LGBTQ people on the front lines as straight men. Last winter, young activists rejected the leadership of the Rev. Al Sharpton when they stormed the stage of his “Justice for All” march in Washington and demanded an equal voice. Instead, the movement chants a phrase coined by three women, two of them queer: “Black lives matter.” ”

posted by: robn on January 8, 2019  3:24pm

There is one distinct parallel between NHV and Ferguson but its more fundamental and causal. That is property tax apartheid. Both Missouri’s and CT’s Constitutions allow the balkanization of towns resulting in under-funded over-burdened city cores.

posted by: 1644 on January 8, 2019  4:34pm

One need not go out of state to find police killing folks who pose little threat to them. 
From Ansonia:
From Branford:
From Easton:
Nor is the issue solely race.  In the twin cities area, we have had a white officer killing black Philando Castile, and a black officer killing white Justine Diamond.

posted by: Patricia Kane on January 8, 2019  4:41pm

@Robn: Norman Clement and Nate Blair both have claims against the NHPD for their violent and unjustified acts after the Route 34 protest.
  How about the man who was tased repeatedly as he was a customer in a store?
  Or how about Barbara Fair and her cousin arrested on the NH Green while having a conversation?
  Or how about Holly Tucker, dragged thru a car window by a cop later charged with theft who quit the force?
  Or what about the routine intimidation of people who even question a police order?
  We’ve had a number of police charged with criminal acts against their own family members. Did you miss all this?
  We all support the best of police work and hold the others accountable. If the Chief, IA and Board of Police Commissioners did their jobs, you wouldn’t need a CRB.

posted by: robn on January 8, 2019  5:59pm


Your one-sided descriptions of NHV events don’t nearly rise to the level of the events in Ferguson or Baltimore or Chicago.

NHPD does a lot of good work every day and while periodic bad behavior needs to be addressed, there’s already a mechanism for that…its called the Police Commission.

posted by: challenge on January 8, 2019  7:35pm

From what I read the most that the board can do is “make a recommendation” to the chief ; a chief who has proven to be ineffective in holding officers accountable for their behavior. I hope this is not the ultimate outcome of years of activism relative to reestablishing a CRB. As PK stated one does not need to look outside this city to see that police are out of control and the department lacks courageous, progressive leadership. We need only look at recent arrests of officers abusing their wives and girlfriends. If they abuse their loved ones that speaks volumes about how they will behave toward non related civilians. How many have lost their jobs? Internal Affairs and Police Commission have been useless in bringing order to the department. Lawsuits are filed and settlements paid of no consequence to the offending officers. Hopefully this board will not be just another layer of fluff in this city.  Residents deserve so much more and the pastor who sits on all these ineffective boards appears just a bit self serving. @Robyn: Please note Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, NY, LA all occurred after decades of turning a blind eye to police corruption.

posted by: Xavier on January 9, 2019  6:24pm

Kimber is gone
Cousin in the house
Same tired old game
3/5’s where you at?