CCN Press Statement of Petition Submission
On Wednesday December 2nd, 2020, the Community Control Now coalition will be submitting our petition signatures for a ballot initiative to win independent civilian oversight of the CPD for the March 2021 city elections. This fight is rooted in the struggle to end white supremacy and police brutality in our city. Freedom fighters of the Black Radical Tradition in Chattanooga have been demanding independent oversight of the CPD for decades, and this campaign is a testament to their legacy, as well as the fierceness and vigilance of our people that we experienced in the uprisings this past summer.
In January of 2019, community members gathered together for the Unity Group’s Annual MLK week celebration, and Community Control Now invited members of Community Oversight Now- Nashville to share how we can win independent civilian oversight of the Chattanooga Police Department (CPD). For almost two years the Community Control Now coalition has developed into a fighting force that is community-led and driven by grassroots organizations, local unions, faith-based groups and community members united in a mission to win independent oversight of the CPD, and reimagining safety beyond policing.
In May of 2019 the City Council seemingly reacted to the Community Control Now
campaign, as well as community members that were rising up and demanding an end to Chattanooga Police brutality, with a slightly revised version of the tired old Administrative review committee. Instead of taking the community’s lead the Chattanooga City Council pushed through a half-baked policy reform, known as the Police Advisory Review Committee (PARC). This review committee essentially allows the police to continue policing themselves.
December 2nd is a significant day for the Community Control petition deadline to have been set by the Election Commission. On December 2nd, thirty-seven years ago, Wadie Suttles was murdered in the old Chattanooga Jail which has since become the City Council chambers. Although Mr. Suttles’ death was reported on December 6th, he is believed to have died several days prior. Maxine Cousin, daughter of Wadie Suttles and co-founder of CCJ recalls in her book, Murder in a Chattanooga Jail, that it was December 2nd, 1983 when her father’s life was
Join Community Control Now in-person, or virtually from home, as we gather to
commemorate Wadie Suttles and the many lives lost in Chattanooga to police violence. We will meet outside of the Chattanooga City Council building on 1000 Lindsey St. at 6pm for a candlelight vigil.
Community Control Now