Mayor Domenic J. Sarno today announced major action steps to address and better race relations in our City.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “As I continue my inter-department listening meetings with my black Cabinet/Department Heads, as well as prayer vigils, discussions with black community leadership, advocacy groups and residents, along with private discussions – these interactions have been very helpful in shaping my thought process and direction on this issue. Today, I announce these major action steps to address and better race relations in our city. I/We must be more cognizant that these are very sensitive and challenging times for our black community. Much pain and anguish has opened up wounds of the past and just as important, the present.
The most important thing here, is not to allow the incidents currently confronting our America...our Massachusetts...our Springfield to divide us. We must and will better understand and respect each other and “the shoes we walk in, day in and day out.” We need to work together for solutions in order to properly honor Mr. George Floyd’s legacy of hope, and concrete change."
Here are the major action steps I and my Administration will take:
- My apologies. I meant no disrespect or any ill intent to our Black Community on the reinstatement of five officers, who were involved in the Nathan Bill’s incident, because of the shortage in our police ranks due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic – this was a mistake. In turn, I have asked Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood to re-suspend these five officers until their cases are completely adjudicated by Attorney General Maura Healey.
- In reviewing data with my Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris, I acknowledge and declare that Racism is a Public Health Crisis. In turn, I will establish the Office of Racial Equity within the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services. This office will be charged with working with community groups, including our Faith community, community based organizations, and businesses to bring back recommendations based on data to my Administration.
- I will, once again, submit an ordinance to our City Council that codifies and continues to strengthen our civilian Community Police Hearing Board (CPHB) with subpoena powers for their review of police discipline matters and decisions."