Wilmington leaders and advocates mourn Tyre Nichols, push for LEOBOR reform

Leaders in Wilmington gathered in the city council chambers Tuesday morning to discuss the recent police brutality in Memphis that led to the death of 29-year-old Tire Nichols.

Some lawmakers and community organizers, like Coby Owens, say Delaware has seen similar cases — Jeremy McDole was killed by police in 2015, Lymond Moses in 2021 and Rodney Robinson in 2022.

And Bishop George Gibson, president of the Interdenominational Ministers Action Council, says people across the country are grappling with police brutality.

“No matter what metropolitan area you’re in or what city you’re in, we’re dealing with police brutality, we’re dealing with our kids, with some of these other things like black-on-black crime,” says Gibson . “And those things don’t really make a difference because at the end of the day someone needs to be put to rest who really didn’t deserve that kind of brutality.”

Gibson says he wants laws to bring about change — such as changing the Delaware Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights.

City Council President Trippi Congo says changing LEOBOR is the right place to start.

“We can call press conferences, we might not be able to vote on the budget, to maybe draw some attention to it,” says Congo. “But real change, people keep saying it’s hard, but it’s not hard. You have to be brave, but it’s not a difficult lift at all. It takes bold, brave lawmakers in Dover who are willing to take action against the FOP, that really matters because they are extremely influential in this state.”


Rachel Sawicki


Delaware Public Media

Kendra Johnson, Chair of the Black Caucus, said: “We will continue to push for systematic improvements across our justice system and not rest on our past achievements. Because we all know that there is still so much to do.”

Congo argues that police departments are often allowed to investigate themselves when it comes to citizen complaints and records of police misconduct are not public, so he says LEOBOR reforms must include transparency.

State Assemblyman Kendra Johnson (D-New Castle), Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, says she’s not sure how lawmakers feel about LEOBOR reforms this year, but the Black Caucus agenda is growing each year.

“And every year more things are being put on that agenda in terms of transparency,” Johnson says. “And literally justice for all Delawareans, and we’re just going to do that year after year.”

A LEOBOR bill had not yet been tabled at this session, but previously included plans to create a community police review committee.

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