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RILA’s Dodge: Leading Retailers Want to Help Lead Change

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Brian Dodge: “Leading retailers urge Congress to take bipartisan action on meaningful reforms that get at the roots of these incidents and begin to rebuild trust in law enforcement.”

Leading retailers have spent the last several weeks listening to employees and customers and exploring ways they can contribute to positive and meaningful change in regard to racial injustice, said Brian Dodge, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), in a recent statement that urges Congress to pass bipartisan criminal justice reforms.

“The killing of George Floyd was a wake-up call, compelling us all to confront the harsh reality and long, painful history of racial injustice in America,” said Dodge, whose association represents more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers.

Dodge noted that as retailers reflect upon the prevalence of racial injustice and inequity, it’s clear that in addition to looking inward at business practices and policies to increase representation and opportunities for people of color, there’s a critical need to look outward at the policies that contribute to injustice and for retailers to engage where appropriate to bring about reforms.

“The first area of focus must be criminal justice reform,” he added. “For our system of justice to function properly, we must have faith that all law enforcement officers will exercise their exceptional authority responsibly and without prejudice. The convergence of discrimination and overuse of force, particularly in minority communities, has dealt a blow to many Americans’ faith in law enforcement.”

Dodge said the policies of policing must be studied and their shortcomings must be addressed.

“Until we can assure every American family that their sons and daughters will be treated equally and with dignity, we cannot hope to rebuild the trust that must exist between law enforcement and our communities,” he added. “Leading retailers urge Congress to take bipartisan action on meaningful reforms that get at the roots of these incidents and begin to rebuild trust in law enforcement. Retailers support reforms that properly address law enforcement’s use of force, including chokeholds and no-knock warrants.”

Dodge said reforms should also:

• improve federal data collection on incidents of police misconduct;

• require use of body cameras and other technology to modernize policing;

• make lynching a federal hate crime;

• direct resources for de-escalation training and other best practices; and

• ensure accountability for incidents of police misconduct.

“Addressing racial injustice is the first step toward healing our communities and rebuilding trust in law enforcement,” Dodge added. “Leading retailers stand ready to support change and to work with lawmakers to achieve it.”

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