Ferguson Decision: Fire and Anger

File Photo: Wilipedia/loavesofbread
File Photo: Wilipedia/loavesofbread

The reaction to a grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown has gone all the way up the White House. There is a lot of anger and overwhelming sense of frustration of what many perceive to be as justice being denied a person of color yet once again. Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown has been the rallying cry around this topic. Protests are gathering steam everywhere, and we have already seen pockets of unrest with demonstrations in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Oakland and Seattle.

Advance Project

“Today, the people of Ferguson and caring Americans throughout our country are devastated by the grand jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Mike Brown,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “The legal system has failed again to hold someone accountable for the loss of life of an unarmed young Black man. In places throughout the United States, innocent lives are being lost at the hands of those who are supposed to serve and protect us. Mike Brown, Eric Garner and John Crawford are just a small portion of those killed by the police, while countless others have been harassed, injured and criminalized unnecessarily. Efforts for sweeping change will not stop until there is relief for communities of color.”

“The family of Michael Brown deserves an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation into this shooting,” said Connie Rice, Founding Co-Director of Advancement Project. “This incident should be investigated by the federal government for possible civil rights violations. We also welcome federal action to ensure that civil rights of youth of color and of those protesting Michael Brown’s death are protected in the community of Ferguson.”

NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Senior Counsel Vince Southerland

“African Americans continue to be killed and brutalized by law enforcement at alarming rates. This summer, Eric Garner was choked to death by New York City Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo while pleading for his life. Jonathan Crawford was shot dead in an Ohio Wal-Mart for holding a toy gun that was for sale. Marlene Pinnock was brutally beaten by a California Highway Patrol officer during a stop on the side of a California freeway. Countless others have been unjustifiably beaten, tasered, shot, verbally abused, and traumatized by the police in their communities. 

It is time to bring the cycle of police violence against African Americans to an end. LDF has asked the United States Department of Justice to deploy its full authority to stop this tragic cycle by reviewing police-involved killings and beatings of African Americans nationwide, incentivizing training on racial bias and the police use of force, prosecuting police officers and departments that violate civil rights laws, and encouraging greater oversight of police officers. 

National Education Association (NEA)

“For the sake of our children and the future generations to come we must not let today’s decision be an end but the beginning of a larger conversation on social justice and fighting intolerance and racial disparities in our society,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association.

Faith-based PICO National Network

“Today’s decision is deeply disappointing, but it comes as no surprise. It is another unconscionable blow to the St. Louis community and communities of color across America who have suffered through painful patterns of police abuses, discrimination and aggressive policing tactics at the expense of human life. Our children, our brothers and sisters, our loved ones have died at the hands of unrepentant law enforcement right in front of our eyes and enough is enough.

“Not indicting Officer Darren Wilson highlights a clear pattern of injustice and sends this community a message: the Ferguson Police Department and St. Louis County officials do not value Black lives. Michael Brown’s body was riddled with bullets and left lying in the street for more than four hours. The police response to a grieving and traumatized community was shocking and shameful: tear-gassing peaceful protesters, selective arrests, violations of the constitutional right to free speech and assembly, pointing military-grade weapons at unarmed young people, running police cars over Brown’s memorial, using dogs to intimidate community members, even urinating on the site of the shooting. In America, this should be a disgrace and does not look like the will of God.

“The unwillingness to hold a public trial of Darren Wilson is rightfully seen as a moral failure and a reflection of a biased judicial system that dehumanizes and devalues the lives of Black youth. St. Louis County Prosecutor McCulloch took a standard process designed to protect the public by determining whether there was probable cause in a murder case, and turned it into a charade to protect Darren Wilson from public accountability.  In the face of this denial of justice, we say, Black lives do matter and as people of faith who stand on God’s word to love each other, we will not stand for the dehumanization of any of God’s children.”

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