Below is a joint statement from Representatives Kabir Karriem and Zakiya Summers:
We are deeply troubled by recent events that have exposed serious injustices and misguided judgments within our law enforcement system. The irresponsible shooting of 11-year-old Aderrien Murry in Indianola, Mississippi, and the arrest of 10-year-old Quantavious Eason in Senatobia, Mississippi, have highlighted the urgent need for comprehensive reform to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all of our citizens, particularly our youth.
The shooting of Aderrien Murry is a tragic example of the devastating consequences of law enforcement failing to protect and serve our communities, especially our most vulnerable members. It is incomprehensible that a child who called 911 for help found himself in a situation where his life was put in jeopardy. The grand jury’s determination that there was no criminal conduct on behalf of the officer who shot and wounded Aderrien Murry raises serious concerns about the standards by which law enforcement actions are judged. The extent of Aderrien’s injuries, including a collapsed lung, fractured rib, and lacerated liver, underscores the grave impact of this incident on his young life and the profound trauma it has caused for his family and the community as a whole.
Equally distressing is the case of Quantavious Eason, a 10-year-old boy who found himself in the backseat of a police cruiser after attempting to relieve himself discreetly behind his mother’s car door. His arrest and subsequent sentencing to three months probation and a two-page essay on Kobe Bryant by a youth court judge are a stark reminder of the disproportionate and harmful outcomes that can result from the mishandling of minor infractions by law enforcement and the judicial system.
These incidents demand a comprehensive reevaluation of our law enforcement practices, particularly in relation to the treatment of children and the response to non-violent situations. We must prioritize de-escalation, empathy, and community-oriented approaches to policing, ensuring that our officers are equipped to handle sensitive situations with compassion and restraint. Furthermore, the accountability and oversight mechanisms within our law enforcement and judicial systems must be strengthened to ensure that incidents of excessive force and unjust treatment are thoroughly investigated and addressed.
As representatives of the people, we are committed to advocating for meaningful reforms that will safeguard the rights and well-being of all Mississippians, regardless of age, race, or background. We call upon our fellow legislators, law enforcement agencies, and community leaders to join us in this crucial endeavor. Together, we must work towards a future where our children can feel safe and valued, where justice is truly blind, and where the principles of fairness and compassion guide our actions. The time for change is now. Let us come together to create a more just and equitable society for all.”
Representative Kabir Karriem represents House District 41 and Representative Zakiya Summers represents House District 68.