Statement on the Montgomery County NAACP on the Shooting of Finan Berhe

The Montgomery County Branch of the NAACP is deeply saddened  by the May 7, 2020 police-involved shooting of Mr. Finan Berhe.

We commend the Montgomery County Police Department for the immediate release of the body camera footage of this tragic incident.

The body camera video of the incident depicts Officer Cohen discharging his weapon within seconds of arriving on the scene.  Although the officer issued several warnings to Mr. Berhe, the video clearly shows that Mr. Berhe is in an agitated state and possibly suffering from a mental health crisis. Instead of employing de-escalation techniques, Officer Cohen continued to loudly yell commands to drop a knife.

In the failure of the officer to employ de-escalation techniques, this incident is reminiscent of the 2018 shooting death of Robert White.  

It is disheartening that after two years, many discussions, and county legislation geared toward improving community-police interactions, we are must once again witness a police-involved killing of a Black male.

The Montgomery County NAACP calls upon the Montgomery County Police, the County Executive and the County Council to 1) immediately increase de-escalation training; 2) release the recording of the 911 call that lead to this incident; 3) issue all reports required by the LETT Act, and 4) appoint civilians to the Policing Advisory Commission.

While no action can bring back Mr. Berhe, the political leadership of this county must act to prevent future tragic incidents.

Ten Rules of Survival if Stopped by the Police

Ten Rules of Survival if Stopped by the Police:

1. Be polite and respectful when stopped by the police. Keep your mouth closed.

2. Remember that your goal is to get home safely. If you feel that your rights have been violated, you and your parents have the right to file a formal complaint with your local police jurisdiction.

3. Don’t, under any circumstance, get into an argument with the police.

4. Always remember that anything you say or do can be used against you in court.

5. Keep your hands in plain sight and make sure the police can see your hands at all times.

6. Avoid physical contact with the police. No sudden movements, and keep hands out of your pockets.

7. Do not run, even if you are afraid of the police.

8. Even if you believe that you are innocent, do not resist arrest.

9. Don’t make any statements about the incident until you are able to meet with a lawyer or public defender.

10. Stay calm and remain in control. Watch your words, body language and emotions.

This information and the accompanying article are available on https://www.pbs.org/black-culture/connect/talk-back/10_rules_of_survival_if_stopped_by_police/. The video featured in the article was created in partnership by several organizations following the Michael Brown Murder and can be accessed here: https://youtu.be/wqJ-psD9vJw

Black Operation Vote

Presented to you by the NAACP of Montgomery County, MD

Montgomery County Racial Equity and Social Justice Act Hearing Notice

You are invited to the Black and Brown Forum for Educational Equity and Excellence. Your participation is vital in this important conversation with community members, county leaders, and education advocates, seeking to close the achievement and opportunity gaps for MCPS Black and Latino students. 
Dinner will start at 6 pm and the event will start promptly at 7 pm. We need allies to show up in droves on October 15th, so please share with your networks.  Register/Registro/Registre Here!