Mothers should never have to fear that our children could come to harm at the hands of those charged with protecting them. And yet, today’s refusal by a St. Louis County grand jury to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Mike Brown is an apparent miscarriage of justice. It reinforces the all too familiar narrative of lives cut down by those entrusted with protecting and serving - a story of racial profiling and police brutality.
The numbers do not lie: Black people are three times more likely than White people to be killed when they encounter the police in the US, and Black teenagers are far likelier to be killed by police than White teenagers.
Across the country, we need a higher standards of policing, with strengthened accountability mechanisms, and critical reforms that end biased racial profiling, police brutality, and militarized policing targeting African American and Latino youth, families, and communities.
*Join us -- and ColorOfChange -- in calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to take action by signing on our open letter. Just fill out the form to add your name. You can also add a personal comment using the box provided.
Here's the open letter we'll send to the Obama administration and US Department of Justice.
Dear President Barack Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder,
I urge you to do everything in your power to secure justice for Mike Brown and an end to the nationwide crisis of discriminatory police violence. A St. Louis Grand Jury has refused to indict Officer Darren Wilson who targeted and killed 18-year-old Black teenager, Mike Brown, more than 3 months ago.
Numerous eye-witnesses say Mike Brown was brutally murdered — fatally shot more than 6 times as the 18-year-old teenager stood with his hands in the air. His family called it an execution. Now, Missouri Governor Nixon, County Attorney Robert McCulloch, and Missouri law enforcement have failed our country.
I call on you to arrest and prosecute Officer Darren Wilson to the fullest extent of federal law, and to defend protesters 1st amendment right to free speech. Unless you take action, Officer Wilson will remain free and law enforcement across the country will be vindicated in their discriminatory and violent targeting of Black Americans.
No parent should ever experience the agony of losing a child to discriminatory police violence — only to be denied justice for their devastating loss. But according to FBI statistics, law enforcement kill Black Americans at nearly the same rate of Jim Crow Era lynching. This devastating crisis cannot continue.
We are in a historic time; Mike Brown's death has inspired a powerful, youth led movement to end the nationwide crisis of police brutality and what you do in this moment will have a major impact on the future of racial profiling and police brutality in America. As President and US Attorney General, you have both the power and responsibility to secure justice for Mike Brown and systemic reforms to law enforcement. I urge you to take definitive action to indict Officer Darren Wilson and to overhaul the policies and practices that led to Mike Brown's death, as well as those that perpetuate the nationwide crisis of discriminatory policing.