Sean Barney

Candidate for District 8

Responses to Wilmington Police Reform Survey

Will you vote to make all police disciplinary records public, and push for changes in state law necessary to make that possible?


Will you vote for an ordinance prohibiting Wilmington police from engaging in civil asset forfeiture?


Will you vote for Wilmington police to collect and publish data, including by race, on all pedestrian and traffic stops they conduct, including the reason for the stop?


Will you vote in favor of periodic psychological evaluations of Wilmington police officers? Will you vote for funds to mental health support for officers?

Yes, as a Marine Corps veteran who battled PTSD after I returned from overseas combat and after I nearly lost my life in combat to a bullet through the neck, I internalized the importance of what we in the Marine Corps call buddy checks – checking on the well-being of those you serve with and those who may have, in the course of their service, been exposed to things that few of us have been called upon to process and none of us should. I also learned the importance of ensuring that those who experience job-related stress and trauma, as Marines do and as police do, are supported and know that they always have access to whatever supportive resources they might need to maintain their personal well-being.

Will you vote for issuing all Wilmington Police officers body cameras?


Since police officers are public servants, do you believe footage from arrest and police misconduct should be made public record?


If elected would you create and/or vote yes on an ordinance to end “no knock warrants”?


Will you vote in favor of ending Operation Safe Streets, which utilizes aggressive policing tactics to harass Wilmington families and community members?

Yes, I would vote to either end the initiative or to make the changes necessary to ensure that Wilmington families and community members who are not involved in the gang-related activity and related shootings that are taking the lives of so many of our young people are not harassed. Moreover, I would work to ensure that, when it comes to the young people who are currently involved in gang activity and at risk of becoming involved in gang-related violence are being offered positive alternatives to gang activity, including educational and vocational support, as a part of our overall anti-gang and anti-violence efforts.

Will you vote in favor of a community review board that has the power to investigate incidents and complaints, audit policy compliance, has hiring and firing authority, and make records and hearings public to the greatest extent possible?


Will you require and fund Wilmington Police to operate a pre-arrest diversion program for people with substance abuse issues (a model similar to New Castle County’s Hero Help)?


Communities of color in Wilmington have borne the brunt of aggressive policing and war on crime policies for decades. Those communities also bear the scars of decades of discrimination in housing, education, and access to economic opportunity. What will you do as a Council member, Mayor, or treasurer to repair that harm?

As a public defender, I see the consequences every day of a criminal justice system that over the years has criminalized more and more social problems, such as addiction, homelessness and mental illnesses, that are better addressed through diversionary initiatives. I believe that Mayor Purzycki made an excellent choice in bringing Chief Tracy to Wilmington and we have seen real progress in reducing crime, from shootings to car break-ins, under his leadership. I believe Chief Tracy would be the first to say that his officers should not be the first go-to to address every social ill in our city. 

As a Marine Corps veteran, I am sympathetic to the challenges that police face when they are called upon to make split-second decisions in circumstances in which their lives or the lives of citizens are threatened. At the same time, as a Marine, I knew that one of the cardinal principles of our military, applicable to me and all I served with, was civilian accountability. The same should be true of anyone who is clothed with the public authority of a uniform and entrusted to deploy instruments of deadly force in our neighborhoods. 

Like many cities across the country, we have a history of racial disparities, division and discrimination. One of the primary reasons I am running for City Council is to help move our city forward together as a just and inclusive community. That means investing in our people, particularly our youth and young adults. That means prioritizing jobs for city residents when it comes to our economic development strategy. In the short term, it means acting quickly to create an impactful eviction diversion initiative to head off a looming wave of COVID-related evictions and in the long term it means investing in quality, affordable housing for all of our residents.