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Black Lives Matter wants 3 Burlington officers fired over altercations

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington is calling for three Burlington police officers to be terminated for "displaying a pattern of violence without provocation or just cause."

The group joined an "Emergency Community Meeting" on police use of force Thursday, organized by several local organizations, including Justice For All Vermont and the Community Council of Accountability with Law Enforcement Officials.

Seperate altercations in the past year involving officers Cory Campbell, Jason Bellavance and Joseph Corrow have come under scrutiny, resulting in investigations by the department and Vermont State Police.

In a statment, Black Lives Matter said the officers continued employment "still threaten the safety of our community today.

"It is obvious to anyone watching the videos that body slamming, shoving and forcing people to the ground is not morally acceptable," the group said.

Body cam footage of altercations involving Corrow and Bellavance was released last week. Two of the men involved have filed lawsuits against the Burlington Police Department.

In one video, Bellavance appears to shove Jeremie Meli, who says in a lawsuit that he was left unconscious from the blow.

Campbell is currently under investigation by Vermont State Police for his actions during an altercation with Douglas Kilburn, who died days after the incident. Vermont's chief medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

Black Lives Matter is also demanding that the three officers be prohibited from being hired by another state or local department or agency in Chittenden County.

"Their abuse of power demonstrates that they are unsafe and should not be in any position of governmental authority in the county," the BLM statement reads.

The group is also calling for all police in Chittenden County to use body cameras and make access to the footage free to the public.

Late last month, Chief Brandon del Pozo said he was open to updating his department's written use of force policy.

"I think our training and our expectations of our officers have outpaced some of the things we have in writing," del Pozo said. "It's important for some congruence and I think we benefit by opening up the process to input from the commission and the people from the city."

Chief del Pozo was unavailable for comment on Thursday evening.


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