Justice Matters Campaign for Prosecutorial Accountability

WeROC began working in the summer of 2020 with our affiliated organization in the Metro area, MOSES, on an ongoing regional “prosecutorial accountability” campaign in Washtenaw County as well as in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties.  We’re calling it the “Justice Matters” campaign and are working together in real time in parallel with the massive racial justice activism nationally and in Michigan.

*****

A milestone on the national level was the April 20 guilty verdict against Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Read the MOSES statement here.

*****

Following the investiture on 1/2/21 of Prosecuting Attorney Eli Savit and Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Victoria Burton-Harris, Washtenaw County has already seen some exciting policy changes, including:

In early March the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners began recruiting for three new positions:

  • Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Sheriff’s Office. This executive-level position is funded in part by the Washtenaw County Public Safety and Mental Health Preservation Millage. WeROC helped pass these funds in 2017 and has since influenced their use for urgent community needs.
  • Program Coordinator in the Sheriff’s Office for the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion / Deflection (LEADD) Initiative.
  • LEADD Prosecutor in the Prosecutor’s Office.

The LEADD program seeks alternatives to arrest or citation for individuals with behavioral health or substance use issues. Read more about these new pro-equity positions here.

*****

In the leadup to the 2020 Prosecuting Attorney elections, the “Justice Matters” campaign organized several significant events:

    • Facebook Live interviews with candidates for County Prosecutor/District Attorney ahead of the August Primary.
    • A joint virtual Townhall to get commitments from candidates. (Watch the video here.)
    • A Teach-In to expand the number of us who have a better sense of the role of prosecutor.
    • A virtual meeting with Prosecutor-elect Eli Savit to go deeper into how he plans to be a part of quickly implementing real, major changes toward racially just policing, prosecution, and judging as he takes office next year. (Watch the video here with passcode G#hcfMi5 .)

Check here for developments and opportunities in the timely and powerful grassroots campaign.

*****

Citizens for Racial Equity in Washtenaw (CREW) has documented shocking racial disparities in the Washtenaw County court system.

Read the CREW report.

Listen to a Stateside radio interview with CREW co-chair Alma Wheeler Smith and Washtenaw County Prosecutor-elect Eli Savit.