I hope that people realize that there can never be a winning outcome for the family of Trayvon Martin. The not guilty verdict only added to their deep and unending pain. When there is a march on Saturday, I would also hope that they include the memories of all of those numerous unarmed Trayvon Martins (by other names) that have been murdered by police officers in Chattanooga.
When the family and friends of Leslie Vaughn Prater marched almost 10 years ago, we had no participation or support from the Chattanooga chapter of the NAACP. The organization was silent. In fact, the NAACP local president, at that time, attempted to silence us. Her focus appeared to be more on hosting banquets, fashion shows, and organizing essay contests, which is why the membership probably declined.
There was no accountability for those officers in our case. They were rewarded with a week off with pay (an extra vacation for them) and returned to their jobs, even months before the internal affairs investigation was reported to be completed.
I am glad to see that there is new local NAACP leadership in place that is sounding a call to action on social justice issues. I suggest that the group joins the Concerned Citizens for Justice on dealing with these matters. I would also hope that Mayor Berke and Chief Dodd will publicly stand together and commit to a zero tolerance policy of police brutality in Chattanooga, and that the policy would include consequences of dismissal for violators.
Dr. Loretta P. Prater
Mother of unarmed homicide victim Leslie Vaughn Prater