The name of a recurring race for charity hosted by the GPD was changed on Thursday after outrage quickly spread online.
Initially the race, which is posted online, was titled “Run From the Cops” and set to take place on October 16. According to the website, the race is meant to help the police department raise money for the Special Olympics and is set to take place at Bur-Mil Park in Greensboro.
The community outrage stemming from the race’s tone-deaf naming comes at a time when nationwide conversations about police brutality and its effect on communities, particularly communities of color, are at an all-time high in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020. Locally, victims of police violence including Marcus Deon Smith and Joseph Lopez in Greensboro, John Neville in Winston-Salem and Fred Cox Jr. in High Point have garnered attention from local activists in recent years.
On Thursday, Josie Cambareri, the GPD’s new public information officer, told Triad City Beat that the race was formerly named “Run from the Cops” for past events and that the former event organizer failed to change the name when renewing the event listing online. After seeing that the name was the same, the department quickly changed it to “Run with the Cops.”
Cambareri cited the incident as a misunderstanding and that the department was never made aware of the name of the race before the post went live. She said the department changed it because the name was problematic.
In the last several years, law enforcement agencies have come under fire for killing numerous unarmed Black and brown people, particularly in the back as they run away.
According to reporting by TCB, law enforcement agencies in the Triad killed 25 people between the years of 2010-20. The 25 instances logged and analyzed by TCB found that both men and people of color, particularly African Americans, were overrepresented as victims of law enforcement violence. TCB’s data parallels national data which shows that Black people are killed at a significantly higher rate than whites. According to a report by the Washington Post, Black people are killed by law enforcement at more than twice the rate of white Americans.
In the 25 cases analyzed by TCB, the situations in which officers were called to the scene ranged from domestic disturbance calls, mental health crises, traffic stops and crime calls.
While the race notes that the money from registrations will help fund the Special Olympics, data shows that those who are differently abled also have disproportionate interactions with the police.
A report by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a disability organization found that “almost half of the people who die at the hands of police have some kind of disability.” These include individuals having a mental health crisis as well as those with conditions such as Down syndrome.
“When we leave disability out of the conversation or only consider it as an individual medical problem, we miss the ways in which disability intersects with other factors that often lead to police violence,” the report states.
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