November 25, 2014
WASHINGTON-Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statements after a grand jury declined to indict the officer involved in the shooting of teenager Michael Brown.
“Last night, the pain of a community erupted onto the streets of Ferguson as America learned that no charges will result from Michael Brown’s death,” Rep. Grijalva said. “As emotions continue to run understandably high, it is crucial to bear in mind a lesson history has taught us time and again: justice is not won through destruction or violence, but through unity and perseverance. Just as violence can tarnish peaceful protestors standing for justice, excessive force by law enforcement can only further divide our nation.
“We must honor Michael through peace, and by fixing the failures in our system, from racial profiling to the militarization of local police. There is much work to be done, but we owe it to the Brown family, the Ferguson community, and to every child hoping to inherit a more fair world than the one we currently have, to live up to this challenge."
“Once the news trucks have left St. Louis and the city of Ferguson is calm, a family will still be without their son,” Rep. Ellison said. “Michael Brown’s family will always mourn the senseless shooting of their child - a shooting that should never have happened. Our country has an indefensible history of racial violence. The same violence that killed Emmett Till and beat Rodney King is alive today as Michael Brown’s family grieves.
“I understand the anger and fear that many in Ferguson and around the country feel, but all must remain peaceful. Protest injustice, but do not meet violence with violence. I urge the federal government to continue its investigation of Michael Brown’s shooting. The fight for equality is not over. We have tremendous work to do, including protecting the right to vote. But right now, my thoughts are with Michael’s parents, whose son will not be coming home.”
CPC Member Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) has introduced the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2014 to reform the Department of Defense’s 1033 program, which provides surplus military equipment to local law enforcement. The CPC endorsed this legislation, which would halt the transfer of weapons and equipment that is inappropriate for local policing. Congress will have the opportunity to enact these reforms in the coming weeks as the House debates the annual defense authorization bill. In addition, the CPC, CBC, CHC, and CAPAC sent a letter to Attorney General Holder asking him to update discriminatory profiling guidelines so that a person’s race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation cannot make them a target for police.
# # #