Worcester officials unveil plan to fight racism in the city

An executive order issued by city manager Edward Augustus Jr. acknowledges that structural racism is a public health crisis, and he is sending a package of proposals to City Council for consideration on Tuesday.

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — In an acknowledgement of the legacy of systemic racism in Worcester, the city manager on Friday proposed a series of policy changes intended to promote racial equity and root out bias in the city’s police force, school system and other parts of its government.

The plan laid out by Edward Augustus Jr. would remove resource officers from the city’s schools, ban the use of facial recognition technology by police and other city officials, and create a public database of complaints about the use of force by police, among other changes, according to the Telegram & Gazette.

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“We are a critical point in our history, where we will be judged not just by what we say, but by what we do to address and stop racism,” Augustus said in announcing his plan.

An executive order issued by Augustus acknowledges that structural racism is a public health crisis, and he is sending a package of proposals to City Council for consideration on Tuesday.

His plan calls for the removal of school resource officers by the end of the year, along with the creation of a new comprehensive safety plan for schools. It proposes several changes around policing, including a plan to have social workers join police on calls involving people in mental distress.

It would also create a new investigative unit in City Hall to examine complaints from residents or city employees.

Mayor Joseph Petty said he supports the plan and believes it will have backing from City Council.

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