An Erie, Pa., police officer who joked about the murder of a 31-year-old Black man last month, should resign, the head of the NAACP said Monday.
A drunken, Erie Patrol Officer James Cousins II was captured on an Internet video in a profanity-riddled rant about Rondale Jennings Sr., who was shot to death on March 28 outside a neighborhood bar. He is seen on the tape laughing as he tells how he found Jennings body beneath a malt liquor sign that read, “Take it to the head.” He also chuckled as he recalled that the victim’s leg twitched as he lay on the ground.
“I was shocked and disturbed,” Jennings' mother, Yvette, told CNN on Sunday. “I was distraught. And it just added a whole lot more pain on top of what I was already feeling.”
NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, who said he was shocked by the video, wants Cousins to quit.
“His job is to inspire trust and to make the people of Erie feel that they will be protected, that their cases will be taken seriously,” Jealous said. “... But there's officers going on stereotypes. And he is being profane not just with his language but in his actions, not just towards the family but toward the entire community.”
Jealous isn’t alone in wanting the patrolman to resign. The Rev. Michael T. Williams, president of Erie's African American Concerned Clergy, also demanded that Cousins step down.
“How can a police officer, who is hired to serve and protect the citizens of this community, out of his same mouth, speak words full of mockery and insultation?” Williams said.