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SPLC Mourns Killing of Roger Fortson, Urges End to Horrific Cycle of Police Violence Against Black People

FLORIDA — Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calls for a full investigation into the killing of Roger Fortson, a Black airman in the United States Air Force, by sheriff’s deputies in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. We urge police departments across America to address the scourge of anti-Blackness in policing once and for all. 

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of a service member at the hands of police,” said Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Mr. Fortson honorably served this country, and his life was unjustly taken in his own home. Our hearts are with his family and fellow service members as they grieve this unconscionable loss.” 

“Our voices here at the SPLC have repeatedly joined the chorus of millions across the United States — and the world — calling for an end to police brutality against Black people. Today, we simply ask: Why? Why won’t law enforcement, why won’t our nation, do more to end this horrific cycle of violent, needless death?” continued Huang.  

“Police departments across America must confront the cultures of violence and anti-Blackness that allow for these tragedies to continue. But we also know that won’t be enough. As a nation, we must at last reckon with our past, and with the painful legacy of racism that persists today, to end the bias and hate that stains so many of our institutions. We cannot back down from this fight until the safety, humanity and dignity of Black people is honored each and every day,” concluded Huang