5,000 signatures reached
To: Buffalo, NY police officers, police leadership, and elected officials
The head of Buffalo’s police union is threatening the city & defending police violence—he has to go.
John Evans, president of Buffalo’s police union, is trying to hold the city hostage: he’s just declared that police will stop doing their jobs, unless the mayor stops criticizing their behavior. This comes after his knee-jerk defense of officers caught on film assaulting a 75-year-old protester — leaving him on the ground, bleeding from his ears. Once the officers were suspended, Evans secretly organized a mass resignation in protest. Evans is clearly out of control and dangerous — and this is just the latest from him.
With John Evans leading Buffalo’s police union (PBA), it will be impossible to achieve any semblance of police accountability or reform in the city. We’re calling on you to publicly denounce Evans, and call for him to be removed as president of the Buffalo PBA.
Why is this important?
John Evans recently announced that police are no longer proactively doing their jobs because they don’t have “any support from the administration,” and that it’s the reason for a recent spike in shootings in Buffalo. He’s effectively trying to hold the city hostage.
It’s outrageous, and it’s a classic tactic of out-of-control police unions, reminiscent of organized crime: stop holding us accountable, or we might not protect you.
This is just the latest from John Evans — he and his supporters in the police department are already under major scrutiny. Many of us have seen the video from June of riot police in Buffalo pushing down a 75-year-old man and leaving him bleeding on the ground. The police department’s initial statement — before the video surfaced — said he “was injured when he tripped & fell.” After the video came to light and the officers who pushed him were suspended, 57 officers from the same riot response team resigned from that unit — not to protest the violence, but to actually SUPPORT the officers who committed it, and to protest their suspension. It turns out they weren’t acting on their own — it was John Evans who pressured them all to resign, and he threatened to stop supporting them if they refused.
Just a few weeks later, Evans is now coming to the defense of Lieutenant Mike DeLong, a Buffalo officer who was just suspended for harassing a woman on camera, calling her a “little f***ing c***,” and threatening to come to her workplace. After the incident, officers followed the woman and pulled her car over — a clear intimidation tactic. Evans says DeLong was “caught in a weak moment,” that he knows DeLong well, and “I don’t think you’ll see Lieutenant DeLong involved in anything like that again.” But in reality DeLong has a long history of misconduct, including 36 complaints made against him (with 13 related to use of force), he’s been suspended four times (including in 2018 for an “off-duty domestic” incident), and likely avoided discipline on many other occasions with the help of the police union John Evans leads.
Defending police misconduct is nothing new for Evans. In 2016, he wrote a blog post blaming the victims of police brutality: “Comply with our orders and you won't get yourself killed. Enough!!!” The post went on to excuse several high profile police killings of Black men: “The Alton Sterling incident was a necessary, justified, use of force. That and the Michael Brown and Eric Garner incidents were clearly avoidable, had they complied with the Police Officers.” Black Lives Matter protesters confronted Evans and demanded that he take the post down; he refused.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said “The Buffalo police union is on the wrong side of history … They have been a barrier to further police reform in the city of Buffalo, and that barrier that the police union presents needs to be addressed.” He’s right — if we want to transform policing, it’s time to confront police unions everywhere. Join us in demanding that Buffalo’s political leaders, police leadership, and rank and file police officers denounce Buffalo Police Benevolent Association president John Evans and publicly call for his removal as president of the Buffalo PBA.