The following was originally published to nlg.org on June 16, 2020.
The Mass Defense Committee (MDC) Steering Committee and NLG National Office have been concerned about an increasing number of reports of police targeting Legal Observers (LOs) in a variety of ways, either with chemical or projectile weapons, physical force and brutality, or arrest and/or questioning. We strongly condemn these actions against any LO and against any participant in the movement for Black lives. The NLG recognizes the brunt of police violence is aimed at Black, Brown, Trans, gender non-conforming people, and that police killing people is a public health pandemic.
We also want to take this moment to let all MDC members and LO volunteers know that we stand in solidarity with you and are here to help and support whenever the police target you in any way. We know that donning our neon green and being clearly marked with “Legal Observer” is both a crucial way of supporting movements in the streets and an easy way to be targeted by the forces that seek to maintain the status quo. This support might look like working with your local chapters to help you figure out your options for dealing with legal, physical health, or mental health needs after surviving police harassment or brutality. It might look like the MDC issuing more public statements decrying police violence and the targeting of LOs. It might look like adapting our mass defense resources to better support LOs in this constantly evolving political moment. It might look like things we have never done before that this political moment calls for.
We want to be in continual communication with all our members and volunteers so we can best help every NLG effort be an effective part of supporting movements for liberation. Please reach out to Tyler Crawford, Director of Mass Defense, at email@example.com if you need any support. Chapter leaders and LO coordinators should also reach out as needed, as no one needs to be alone in responding to police violence.
We also wanted to highlight a few of the many resources we have found helpful for addressing the trauma that the police inflict on those who dare to take the streets and struggle for liberation (see resources at link above).
MDC Steering Committee and NLG National Office