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08/29/2014 | Combating Discriminatory Policing

Standing with Ferguson

"Justice for Michael Brown" Anti-Police Brutality Rally in DC on August 14, 2014 (photo credit: Elvert Barnes/Flickr).

CPD's Director of Civic Engagement & Politics Katrina Gamble traveled to Ferguson, MO last week to stand in solidarity with Michael Brown's family and community against police brutality. The following includes her thoughts on the tragic murder, biased-based policing, and police impunity.

While the traditional media begins to leave Ferguson and shift their attention to the next blip in the news cycle, young leaders, community members, and social justice organizations within Ferguson and around the country are preparing for a protracted fight. The killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, even as he lifted his hands up in a plea for his life, falls into a long history state violence against black and brown people in the United States. Just in the past few months we call the names of Eric Garner, John Crawford, III and Ezell Ford whose lives were taken through excessive use of force by law enforcement.

This is not a fight that is going away. The mostly young black people that took to the streets in resistance night after night in Ferguson understand clearly what is at stake. The second night I went out in Ferguson as we walked up to W. Florissant, where the protests were concentrated, the first thing I saw through dissipating clouds of tear gas was a young black man with his t-shirt tied around his face holding up a sign that read, “Stop Killing Us.” As I turned to the right, I saw this young man and many others facing off against police in military fatigues, armored trucks, and a tank. That moment, in my mind, clearly reflects the fight ahead of us.

It is about standing against the devaluation of black and brown lives. It is about refusing to be silenced even in the face of militarized police state in an American city. The spirit of resistance demonstrated by the young people is so powerful. It sits in stark contrast to the continued escalation of violence by the police in Ferguson. In communities across the country the lack of transparency, accountability, and community input along with the surge of federally supplied military equipment have createdpolice cultures of impunity, violence and abuse. At the Center for Popular Democracy we understand, this is a systematic problem that predates the unrest in Ferguson and unless we combat it will endure.

We stand in solidarity with the people, particularly young people of color in Ferguson, Los Angeles, Dayton, New York and cities nationwide in demanding accountability and justice. We support groups across the country, including our partners in Missouri, Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, and New York, Communities United for Police Reform, calling for an end to police brutality and broken windows policing practices.

We are in a moment of building a national movement against police impunity, excessive use of force by law enforcement and bias-based policing practices as well as even more transformative change around policing in black and brown communities. National demands that CPD, Freedom Side, Dream Defenders and others have developed with local leaders in Ferguson can be found here.

We are committed to supporting the local fight for Justice for Mike Brown. You can see how you can support local groups here. CPD along with others are thinking about this as a national moment and how we can drive this movement beyond Ferguson. To find out more about how to connect with actions across the country and national strategy discussions you can contact Katrina Gamble or join next week's call.

Despite the overwhelming use of force in an attempt to crush the voice of protestors and community members in Ferguson, the young people in Ferguson who are unshakeable in their commitment to stand for justice strengthen us in this fight and we stand with them.