Advancement Project, National Bar Association Call On Law Enforcement To Stay Away From Polling Sites
A civil rights organization is calling on law enforcement to limit their presence at polling locations during the presidential election. This comes after a police officer was seen wearing a pro-Trump face mask inside a polling location in Miami.
While the Miami officer faces disciplinary actions the Advancement Project National Office and the National Bar Association want to ensure that such acts don’t happen again. Retired Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams who chairs the Police Reform Section with NBA thinks officers should keep away from polling locations.
"Their best position is probably outside of the buffer zones that are created. And their order of maintenance activities should be limited and great discretion should be exercised in and around polling places," said Williams.
The memorandum asks that law enforcement be used as a last resort when there is a serious and immediate threat to voter safety. As well as a restriction on police activity for low-level infractions near polling sites. The Advancement Projects Jorge Vasquez says the sight of police can be intimidating to certain communities and could discourage them from voting.
“Even having that one police cruiser in an over-policed area can have an intimidating factor. Especially if you’re in a community that is overpoliced,” said Vasquez.
The Advancement Project and National Bar Association are asking that the Florida Police Chief’s Association agree to limit law enforcement interaction with voters by stationing officers as far as possible from entrances, lines and ballot drop boxes.
So far the groups have contacted both the Florida Police Chief’s Association and other local law enforcement groups to have the memorandum addressed.