It’s been a little over a week since a grand jury in St. Louis failed to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Mike Brown and now a jury in Staten Island has failed to indict another officer, in the choking death of Eric Garner. Once again, a black man is killed, and yet somehow, no crime has been committed. The pattern is maddening and familiar. It’s clear that it is not enough to change hearts and minds but also public policies and politicians.
The only way to interrupt this pattern of injustice is to challenge it every step of the way.We must join the national demonstrations and support local organizations that are doing the work to demand police reform. The Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform has outlined a list of demands for the City of Portland to curve police violence. Among them is the demand to seek independent prosecutors for Police use of force cases.
If the prosecutors were independent from the jurisdictions where both Mike Brown and Eric Garner were killed, the chance of an indictment would have been greater. Currently, the District Attorney depends on the police to gather evidence for their cases and for their endorsement during election season. There is a clear conflict of interest in cases that deal with police violence that prevent the District Attorney’s office from acting impartially when prosecuting police officers.Independent prosecution is one example of systemic and policy change that would restore faith in the system which is obviously skewed.
However, these demands will not be met without community pressure. Please sign the petition today and demand justice for Eric Garner and an end to police violence against our communities in Portland and across the country.