U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Announces Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Ferguson, Missouri Events

Aug 18, 2014, 13:06 ET from U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concern about the recent events and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri related to the police shooting of Michael Brown. The Commission expressed concern also about reports of tear gas attacks, mass arrests and assaults on journalists.

In the letter, the Commission strongly supports an investigation by the Attorney General and the Department of Justice into the circumstances of Brown's death and commends DOJ for its efforts in Ferguson thus far.  Additionally, the Commission calls on DOJ to help ensure that the ongoing investigation into Brown's death by the Ferguson Police Department is conducted in a transparent manner and urges DOJ to help ensure that the civil rights of residents and civil liberties of the press in Ferguson are respected. The Commission also draws attention to the apparently stark differences in the racial composition of Ferguson's population and that of its police force and city council, calling for further examination of these issues by DOJ.

Chairman Martin R. Castro stated, "The death of young men of color at the hands of police under questionable circumstances disturbs our national conscience and requires a strong and transparent response.  While most law enforcement officials do their duty admirably, those that fail to do so must not escape justice.  Our communal outrage at the killing of Michael Brown must be addressed using the tools of justice provided by the law, and our protests must ever be peaceful, for as Dr. King's words remind us today, 'Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.'"

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights matters and issuing a federal civil rights enforcement report. For information about Commission's reports and meetings, visit http://www.usccr.gov.

Media contact: Marlene Sallo
Staff Director
(202) 376-7700

SOURCE U.S. Commission on Civil Rights