Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators Releases Statement on Grand Jury Decision in Ferguson, Missouri on the Officer Shooting of Teenager Michael Brown

In response to the decision by a St. Louis County Grand Jury to not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of 17 year-old Michael Brown, NBCSL President Representative Joe Armstrong (TN) released the following statement:

“The National Black Caucus of State Legislators is deeply disappointed and troubled by the grand jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael’s family, loved ones, and the entire Ferguson community. NBCSL stands with the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus and the St. Louis-area legislative delegation to provide whatever support and assistance necessary. We also call upon the U.S. Department of Justice to proceed with their independent investigation into the shooting and other civil rights considerations.

Michael Brown’s death is yet another tragic example of Black life ended unnecessarily at the hands of law enforcement. Police-involved fatalities of unarmed Black youth like these are far too common, and justice is too seldom realized. As community leaders, we share the frustration felt by many following the grand jury decision. NBCSL supports peaceful, constructive demonstrations, as well as restraint from law enforcement toward demonstrators to avoid escalating conflict. NBCSL stands ready to work together to advocate for the safety and security of our communities.

Michael Brown’s death, as well as the subsequent investigation and legal proceedings, shine a light on the need for reforms at every level of the system. NBCSL has long advocated for policing and legal reforms to increase transparency, accountability, and public trust. NBCSL has passed resolutions to establish independent reviews of evidence and medical examinations, prohibit racial profiling, and establish systems for private criminal complaints. In fact, the Opening Plenary Session at NBCSL’s upcoming 38th Annual Legislative Conference in Dallas, TX is focused on law enforcement reforms and best practices to reduce this and other forms of violence. NBCSL members are committed to crafting a national framework that ensures justice for all Americans, not just a privileged few.”

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