NCBL’s Statement on the Ferguson Grand Jury Decision
The decision by a St. Louis County grand jury to not return an indictment against police
officer Darren Wilson in the homicide of Michael Brown is a continuous indictment on a
criminal system that devalues Black life. That such a result, a return of no indictment to all of
the charges, should come to many as no surprise speaks volumes of a criminal system that
protects police officers who kill without fear of serious consequences. Listening to the
prosecutor’s statements on why there existed no probable cause to indict Officer Wilson, one
could reasonably conclude that it was indeed Officer Wilson who is the victim and Michael
Brown the shooter. It is time to bring the events of that night back into focus. Who had police
training, backed by other police officers, all with loaded guns? And who was unarmed? The
persistent tactic of the police, and most of the media, is to vilify black persons who are shot and
killed, thereby rendering their lives as being of no value; menaces to society for whom no
sympathy is warranted.
Witnesses’ testimony as to how they observed the events unfolded was discredited if it
tended to incriminate officer Wilson. It appears only testimony and exhibits that support officer
Wilson’s version was deemed reliable and credible.
The degree of police violence against black and brown males, has reached a level that
can without embellishment, be characterized as epidemic. For the sale of cigarettes, Eric Garner
died literally at the hands of New York Police Officers who placed him in a chokehold until he
could no longer breathe. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by Cleveland, Ohio Police within
less than 2 seconds after they arrived on the scene.
There continues to be cries for police sensitivity trainings, community policing and
other “reforms.” Those bandages will only cover the deep wounds of the systemic racism that
has so infected the criminal system. This is a system that by its lack of administration of equal
justice condones these frequent acts of police violence. Why? — simply because police stop,
harass, intimidate and create volatile situations, and when there is justifiable resistance, they
shoot to kill. Then they retreat to their safe haven — the criminal system that almost always
finds their actions justified.
A strategic approach must be part of the next step. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir
Rice, and countless other victims killed or brutalized by the police state cannot end in peaceful
protests. The criminal system must be placed on full display and we must demand concrete,
We, the NCBL, support the protestors in Ferguson, and across the world, in our
continued demand for true justice and equality here in America and the world over. Dr. Martin
L. king, Jr. in one of his speeches warned that people are prone to adjust to injustice. He and
others died so we do not have to.