Ferguson Mandate: Time to Change Police Policies and Practices

The Ferguson grand jury has announced its decision in the killing of Michael Brown.

The Alliance for a Just Society joins with millions of people who are outraged and incredulous that no indictment was made of officer Darren Wilson for killing the unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014.

An indictment is not a verdict, it is simply the acknowledgement that a life was wrongly taken and that a trial is necessary to review the evidence and to determine whether the officer is guilty of murder, manslaughter, or is innocent.

No indictment means no pursuit of the truth, and little chance of justice.

“The tragedy that happened in Ferguson is a mandate to change the policy and practice of policing around the country,” said LeeAnn Hall, executive director of the Alliance for a Just Society.  “Let’s end a system that allows police to take the lives of young black men, any  person of color, or anyone’s child, without facing the consequences.”

There have been far too many distortions, reversals and changed stories from the Ferguson Police Department about the incident. The public still doesn’t know everything that happened that day, nor do we know Darren Wilson’s version of events.

We are also disturbed by the preparation for violent conflict and confrontation by the local police in Ferguson and the State of Missouri.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a State of Emergency last week in advance of the Grand Jury decision and ahead of predicted “violent protest.” The fact is that protests in Ferguson, the surrounding area, and around the country have been largely peaceful. The governor’s decision and stockpiling of riot gear and materials sets a dangerous tone for police.

Tension rose in Ferguson in the wake of Michael Brown’s killing in large part due to police violence and excessive response towards protesters. Journalists, local clergy, bystanders and protesters were locked up, tear-gassed, beaten, harassed and arrested over the past three months.

In this moment of miscarried justice we must all take action.

  • We call on the police and other authorities to respond responsibly and peacefully to the legal and rightful protest of the Grand Jury decision. We have a right to march, protest and to call attention to the prevalence of police violence and brutality in communities of color in this country.
  • We call for demilitarizing the police and a stop to federal programs that provide subsidized or free military equipment to local authorities.

We cannot let Michael Brown’s death be in vain.