WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 13, 2014) — The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) calls for a thorough investigation of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri.
“It is critical that all facts are fully and accurately understood as quickly as possible and all witnesses are interviewed to ensure that application of the rule of law will yield a just and fair result for Michael Brown and his family,” said Lawyers’ Committee President and Executive Director Barbara Arnwine. “The Lawyers’ Committee applauds the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for its involvement in seeking fairness and justice.”
The Lawyers’ Committee has a longstanding tradition of monitoring police departments for misconduct. Disproportionate policing, racial stereotyping and bias, and excessive use of force against youth and people of color remain a national epidemic. “It is incumbent upon the DOJ, the FBI and police departments across the country to address the killing of unarmed Black and Hispanic youth and adults by police and civilians alike that may have had underlying racial motivations,” added Ms. Arnwine.
“We appreciate the current involvement of DOJ’s Community Relations Service,” added Lawyers’ Committee Public Policy Director Tanya Clay House. “And we support their continued engagement with the community and law enforcement in order to create effective structures that will address the reported distrust of law enforcement by community residents.”
The Lawyers’ Committee commends members of the African American community and leaders of organizations such as the NAACP, the National Action Network, the National Bar Association and others who are in Missouri directly calling for peaceful protests and monitoring escalating tension in the community. We are very concerned about the large police presence in Ferguson and many questionable actions such as police firing tear gas at orderly protesters and people standing in their own yards.
We urge every American citizen to speak up and demand that justice be served in this case and other similar incidents across the nation. We echo the sentiments made in the statement by President Obama and extend our thoughts and prayers to the family of Michael Brown. This nation is far from a post-racial society and we must honestly confront the disease of racism where it may have infected decisions and judgments of law enforcement.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. We celebrated our 50thanniversary in 2013 and continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.”
The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and community development; employment; voting; education; criminal justice and environmental justice. For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.