-—FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—-
(NEW YORK, NY, August 19, 2014) – The Islamic Circle of North America calls for State and Federal investigation of the slaying of Micheal Brown in Missouri. Among a list of demands, ICNA also calls for cessation of all violence and the arming of the police by the military.
The senseless, tragic fatal shooting of 18-year old African American Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson on Saturday, August 9, 2014 has once again elevated the public discourse around the issue of police brutality against African Americans, primarily males, and others from communities of color in the United States. Within the last month, at least five African American males have been slain under questionable circumstances by local police officers.
- Eric Garner, a 43-year old asthmatic father of six from Staten Island, NY was choked to death by police officers, in broad daylight on a busy street after he was confronted about selling untaxed cigarettes. The New York medical examiner ruled the killing a “homicide.”
- John Crawford, a 22-year old African American male from Beavercreek, Ohio was shot and killed by two local police officers responding to a call that a man was waving a gun inside the local Walmart. The “gun” turned out to be a BB rifle that Crawford had taken from the shelf inside the store.
- Ezell Ford, a 25-year old African American male was killed by Los Angeles Police Officers after being detained for an “investigative stop.” Ford’s mother, along with other witnesses, stated that he was shot in the back as he lay on the sidewalk on his face, complying with the officer’s demands.
- Dante Parker, a 36-year old pressman at the Daily Press in Victorville, California, was repeatedly tasered by local policemen responding to a call that a bicycle had been stolen. Unfortunately for Parker, he was riding his bicycle that day. He died from an apparent heart attack after being tasered so many times.
Police departments in African American communities throughout the country are routinely viewed as occupation forces because of their heavy-handed treatment, often resulting in fatalities, of non-criminal citizens. Use of extreme force and excessive presence in communities of color are not substitutes for municipalities and states investing in institutions and infrastructures that facilitate social, economic, religious, and racial justice for all residents of the country.
As evidenced in the aftermath of the Michael Brown slaying, local police departments have become militarized to the point that the mere presence and use by police departments of armored personnel carriers, mine-resistant trucks, stun bombs, tear gas, snipers, and sharpshooters exacerbate relatively minor domestic disturbances into major confrontations between law enforcement and local residents.
The Islamic Circle of North America calls for:
- Governor Nixon of Missouri to establish an independent state-run investigation of the slaying of Michael Brown and apply appropriate measures to stop police brutality, if the investigation ascertains that to have been the case.
- President Obama and Attorney General Holder immediately start an investigation to determine if Michael Brown’s civil rights were violated. If so, prosecute Officer Darren Wilson and the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department to the full extent of the law.
- President Obama issue an Executive Order demanding the cessation of local and state police departments receiving “surplus” supplies from the US military.
- Local municipalities, especially in areas where multiple incidents of police brutality have occurred, establish Civilian Police Review Boards, with sufficient resources and investigative authority to review complaints of police misconduct and make recommendations to appropriate government bodies.
- Violence by residents, outside protestors, and law enforcement agencies cease.
- Ferguson Police Department not engages in a cover up or manipulation of evidence leading up to the events of Michael Brown’s slaying.