The following is the statement of Eleanor Smeal, founder and president of the Feminist Majority Foundation:
The Feminist Majority Foundation is outraged at the decision not to indict Darren Wilson.
This should have been a public trial. Wilson should have been charged immediately after the shooting of Michael Brown, who was shot at least six times and left unattended to in the streets of Ferguson for at least four hours.
If Brown, who was an unarmed Black teenager, can’t get justice when the entire world is watching, how can any other Black person expect to receive justice if shot by a white police officer?
If this was an isolated case it would still be an atrocity, but it is not. There is a pattern and practice of police brutality against people of color in the United States, especially against Black women and men. Let us not forget the 13 Black women who were raped and sexually assaulted by an on-duty Oklahoma City police officer. In just the last two weeks, two more Black women, Tanesha Anderson and Aura Rosser, were gunned down by officers in Ohio and Michigan, respectively.
Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor in the Brown case has never indicted any police officer involved in any shooting and chose to slow-walk this case. He used a secretive grand jury, instead of charging the officer and allowing this to be a public trial.
This is a grave injustice. The failure to hold a public trial disrespects the African-American majority in Ferguson that peacefully demanded transparency. The Black community’s legitimate grievances have been disrespected. Instead, Ferguson and Missouri have acted with a militarized response from Day One.
Now more than ever, the Department of Justice Civil Rights investigation and action is needed as soon as possible.
Ferguson has put the nation on edge because this is not simply about Ferguson, but it is about a broader U.S. experience of a culture of impunity surrounding members of law enforcement in dealing with African Americans and Latinos. There is now testimony from a large coalition of American citizens representing Black constituencies from not only Ferguson, but also Chicago, Miami, Ohio and other areas with the United Nations Committee Against Torture to classify this pattern of excessive police force as a form of torture in the United States, not only on the street, but also in prisons.