March Friday in Support of Black Lives

Action of Immediate Witness:
March for Justice in the McDole Case

May 20 March Poster_438w

For the family of Jeremy McDole, last week’s announcement by the Delaware Department of Justice (DOJ) was not merely disappointing—it was evidence of the same injustice in Wilmington that they had seen in other cities across America—of misconduct by police being ignored or excused in what seems like systematic bias in law enforcement and prosecution.

After months of investigation, the DOJ failed to charge any of the four Wilmington officers who shot Jeremy out of his wheelchair on Sept. 23, 2015. The family—and Wilmington—still needs answers. Today, a group of black community leaders—political, clergy, and activist—called for the federal Justice Department to open a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of Jeremy McDole by four Wilmington police officers.

This is a call for First Unitarian members and friends to join in a march and rally on Friday, May 20, to support the McDole family and keep their demand for justice alive. After gathering at 11 a.m. at the basketball courts beneath I-95 (3rd St. between Adams and Jackson), the march will proceed to the offices of the Delaware DOJ.

According to the News-Journal, the DOJ report suggested that Senior Cpl. Joseph Dellose, the officer who fired the first shot at McDole—a blast from a shotgun—had exhibited “extraordinarily poor police work” during the incident. Dellose fired at McDole approximately two seconds after initially ordering him to put his hands up. The News-Journal also wrote: “The [DOJ] report … suggests that Dellose should not be employed by the city police in any role where he would carry a firearm in public. It also said the city’s use of force policy was vague and needed updating, and that officers get little guidance on de-escalating similar situations—especially among people who are physically or mentally disabled.”

Friday’s march is being supported by Black Lives Matter of Wilmington and the Wilmington Peacekeepers. They believe that charges should have been filed against at least some of the officers involved in the McDole shooting. The UUA General Assembly has called on UUs everywhere to act in solidarity with Black Lives Matter; our own board of trustees has called for our congregation to take action.

To participate, meet at First Unitarian Church at 10:15 on Friday. Rev. Richard Speck will be there to organize carpools to the march location and lead our UU contingent. Wear a Standing on the Side of Love Shirt if you have one.

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