WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2014) — South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is disappointed by yesterday’s grand jury decision to not issue an indictment in the wake of police brutality and the use of disproportionate force against Eric Garner in New York City. We stand in solidarity with Eric Garner’s family and allies who have highlighted the repeated lack of recourse for police violence and brutality.
SAALT also applauds Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement of a Department of Justice (DOJ) civil rights investigation into Eric Garner’s death, and hope this will allow for a thorough investigation into the circumstances of this tragic incident. We also continue to call upon the Department of Justice to revise its Guidance on racial and religious profiling to protect all of our communities.
South Asian communities continue to face racial profiling and police surveillance, and we join our allies in resisting these dangerous and damaging practices. We remember that, in this country, a Black person is killed every 28 hours by a police officer, security guard, or self-appointed individual. We have also seen the impact of these troubling law enforcement practices in our communities manifested via diminished trust in law enforcement, even as our communities continue to be the targets of consistent and disturbing levels of hate violence and rhetoric. SAALT remains convinced of the need to build trust and improve community-police relationships in deep and longstanding ways. We stand in support and solidarity with communities of color nationwide, as police violence directly impacts us all.
The recent spate of troubling grand jury decisions, including in Ferguson, MO, underlines the need for structural reform of policing practices in the United States.These decisions continue to erode trust between communities and the law enforcement officers who are the very individuals tasked with keeping us safe. We must advance intentional efforts to include police-community relationships, such as Boston’s establishment of a community policing initiative. We can, and must, do better for our communities, and as a nation.