BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Nearly three weeks after Bakersfield residents took to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd the demonstrations against police brutality continue in Bakersfield.
Mo Ali, the founder of Thee next steps Bakersfield, has been behind most of the demonstrations held in Downtown Bakersfield since George Floyd’s passing.
“We saw that there was a need for change and reform, so we gathered together as a community to ensure that voices are heard and change comes about,” said Ali.
A few months ago Mo Ali founded “Thee next steps Bakersfield” an organization that advocates for change in local government.
“It’s very conservative here,” said Ali. “There is a lack of culture here. There is a lot of segregation, there’s a lot of rubbing elbows in my perception. I think we just need to unite as one.”
Ali and Thee next step Bakersfield were the organizers behind eight days of protests in Bakersfield that happened after George Floyd’s in-custody death in Minneapolis on May 25th.
“It was a need and a cause that needed to be spoken for.”
It has now been almost three weeks since the group started protesting for police reform and they say they don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“It has been shown in history that as soon as we are silent, law enforcement continues to repeat the same cycle and minorities or African-Americans continue to be murdered.”
They demand change. Ali says the 8 can’t wait campaign is a good place to start
“Change needs to happen,” said Ali.
8 can’t wait is a campaign launched by a group of activists with the goal of getting police departments across the U.S. to ban 8 use of force policies.
The eight policies include:
Banning chokeholds and strangleholds, requiring de-escalation procedure, requiring a warning before shooting, exhausting all alternatives before shooting, requiring officers to stop another officer from using excessive force, banning shooting at moving vehicles, limiting the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance and requiring that all use of force be reported.
Since the campaign gained popularity on social media the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff’s Department have suspended all carotid holds.
“I don’t think it’s a step forward,” said Ali. “I think it’s a way to silence the people. A suspension means it can come back.”
Ali wants the departments to not only suspend but ban all use of force practices named in the campaign.
“It’s not a suggestion, it’s a demand,” said Ali. Change needs to happen.”