FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 25, 2014
Lindsay Kee, ACLU-TN communications director, 615-320-7142
NASHVILLE – The grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., has declined to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on charges in the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
The Brown shooting is indicative of a larger pattern of racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.
A recent USA TODAY analysis of FBI arrest records underscores racial disparities in arrest rates across the country. Nearly 1600 police departments across the U.S. arrest black people at rates even more disproportionate than the arrest rates in Ferguson, including two dozen jurisdictions in Tennessee.
The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee:
“ACLU-TN understands the profound anger and frustration over the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to issue an indictment against Officer Wilson in the tragic killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. However, the outcome of the grand jury investigation should not distract us from the broader issue: that Michael Brown’s death is part of a national pattern of police using excessive, and sometimes fatal, force against people of color, often during routine encounters.
Many law enforcement officers carry out their jobs admirably and with great respect for the communities they serve. However, Ferguson is symbolic of communities of color across the nation that have a profound disconnect with local law enforcement because their communities experience racial profiling, excessive force, and misconduct by some, though not all, police officials. There are numerous communities across Tennessee where the racial disparity in arrest rates for black residents is even more pronounced than it is in Ferguson.
ACLU is committed to helping build community-police partnerships with the shared goals of equality, fairness, dignity and public safety, to prevent future tragedies like the one in Ferguson from happening again.”
Information about the ACLU of Tennessee is available at: www.aclu-tn.org.