RILA Joins Chorus Calling for Criminal Justice Reform
The nation's retailers, longstanding supporters of law enforcement, have joined the growing chorus of voices encouraging criminal justice reform and recommending specific actions.
On Thursday, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) — a group that has more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers as members — urged the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan criminal justice reforms. The move comes amid ongoing, angry and often violent protests nationwide sparked by the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
While cries of "defund the police" have been heard from extremists, RILA offered practical ideas to address issues that have led to recent police related deaths while recognizing a police force is essential.
“As retailers reflect upon the prevalence of racial injustice and inequity, it is clear that in addition to looking inward at business practices and policies to increase representation and opportunities for people of color, there is a critical need to look outward at the policies that contribute to injustice and for retailers to engage where appropriate to bring about reforms,” said RILA President Brian Dodge. “The first area of focus must be criminal justice reform.”
According to the RLA, reform should include such measures as federal data collection regarding police misconduct; mandated use of body cameras and other technology; making lynching a federal crime; more education on de-escalation techniques; and more accountability for police misconduct.
“The killing of George Floyd was a wakeup call, compelling us all to confront the harsh reality and long, painful history of racial injustice in America,” Dodge said. “Leading retailers have spent the last several weeks listening to employees and customers and exploring ways they can contribute to positive and meaningful change.”