Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin calls for all 50 state attorneys general to review police training policies

Sep 22, 2016, 1:48 PM | Updated: 2:50 pm
Doug Baldwin: "You've heard the message, and now I think it's time for us to hold each other accoun...
Doug Baldwin: "You've heard the message, and now I think it's time for us to hold each other accountable." (AP)

Much like Richard Sherman did a day before, Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin wanted to address the two latest police shootings of black men in America when he stepped to the podium for his weekly press conference at the team’s headquarters on Thursday.

After a brief statement about the Seahawks’ game Sunday against San Francisco, Baldwin quickly turned his attention to the national conversation, and he “demanded” that the attorneys general for all 50 states call for a review of police training policies.

Baldwin said he is speaking up now because the situation has become “intolerable.”

“The conversation has gotten to the point where, yes, the situation that’s upon us right now, what’s going on in our country, it’s devastating,” Baldwin said. “… We cannot tolerate this. Lives are being lost and there are questions that need to be answered and people deserve an answer and I think that’s where we’re at right now.”

At the same time many NFL players have been using the national anthem to protest injustices to the black community, Baldwin and the Seahawks opened the season with a show of unity during the anthem on Sept. 11. Baldwin said that the team is now focused on following through on that.

“You’ve heard the message, you’ve seen the protest and now we’re working on the follow through. Again, we’re only a small group, a small portion of the population and there are people out there that have greater power than we do. Our voice is still going to continuously be heard but at the same time we need those that have the power to makes the changes and act.”

When asked why he individually felt compelled to speak up, he referenced the video of the shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Okla.

“Why wouldn’t you? You’re a human being. You watch that video of that man who has his hands raised up, and he’s walking back to his car. Now I don’t know all the context, but I know that man has a family, and I can’t help but put myself in that situation. The man had his hands up. My father’s a police officer, and he’s told me numerous times about his training and how they’ve gone through what they call verbal judo, which is essentially them trying to deescalate the situation. From what I understand and from what he’s told me and his experience in homeland security is that that method of training is not consistent throughout the entirety of the United States. And that’s an issue. … There should not be an inherent risk when you have an encounter with law enforcement. There should not be a concern or worry that the law enforcement is not there to protect you. And I think that we’re raising a culture or society right now that is questioning that very sentiment. And so as a human being, I can’t help but sit up here and tell you how I feel and let you know that it’s not OK.”

Here is an excerpt of Baldwin’s message that opened his availability:

Obviously we know the national attention is on what’s going on in our communities and our society right now, specifically pertaining to black people, minorities, and how they’re being treated by some members of our law enforcement across the country. You’ve seen the protests, you’ve heard the message, and now I think it’s time for us to hold each other accountable. And when I say “hold each other accountable,” I mean to the preamble of the United States’ constitution, which states, and I quote, “In order to form a more perfect union, we must establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility.”

In 2014, Tamir Rice was shot and killed. This prompted a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, which discovered, and I quote, that ‘officers did not effectively deescalate situations either because they did not know how or did not have adequate understanding of the importance of deescalation of encounters before resorting to force.’ This prompted the Ohio state attorney general to eventually call for review of police training policies.

This is not an isolated incident. This is not an isolated conversation. This is not isolated just to some specific parts of our country. We see that now, and the advancement of technology has proven that, from video of Rodney King in 1991 to numerous incidents that we now have visual evidence of today.

Now, this is not an indictment of our law enforcement agencies, I just want that to be clear. We know that there’s a select few, a very minute few, of law enforcement who are not abiding by those laws and policies. However, we also know that there are laws and policies that are in place that are not correcting the issue that we have in our society right now.

So, as an American black male in this country, I’m suggesting, calling, I’m demanding that all 50 state attorney generals call for a review of their policies and training policies for police and law enforcement to eliminate militaristic cultures while putting a higher emphasis on deescalation tactics and crisis management measures. With that being said, I believe that the greatest power we have is in our people, and with great power comes great responsibility. And I’ve said this before, and as Martin Luther King famously said, we must not become a culture or society that is more concerned with order than justice. I believe that if we become more concerned with order than justice, we lose both.

That’s where I stand. That’s my statement.

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Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin calls for all 50 state attorneys general to review police training policies