There is a national pattern of police using excessive, and sometimes fatal, force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Frequently, the police officers, and the departments they work for, are not held accountable for their actions.
Police in precincts across the U.S. often engage in the aggressive and selective enforcement of nonviolent infractions disproportionately and unfairly in communities of color. This needs to stop immediately.
The ACLU has created an online center full of Know Your Rights information and resources for protestors, including t-shirt stencils, printable rally signs and more. Download information here.
ACLU Comment on Ferguson Grand Jury Decision
The grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., has declined to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on charges in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown. The following is reaction from Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri:
The grand jury’s decision does not negate the fact that Michael Brown’s tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement.
The ACLU will continue to fight for racial justice. We must end the prevailing policing paradigm where police departments are more like occupying forces, imposing their will to control communities. This ‘us vs. them’ policing antagonizes communities by casting a blanket of suspicion over entire neighborhoods, often under the guise of preventing crime.
To build trust, we need a democratic system of policing where our communities have an equal say in the way their neighborhoods are policed. Collaboration, transparency, and communication between police and communities around the shared goals of equality, fairness, and public safety is the path forward.