From a Ferguson youth activist to our President: Publicly call on Governor Nixon for the immediate de-escalation and de-militarization of law enforcement in Ferguson and St. Louis County
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Dear President Obama,
Since August 9, we’ve peacefully protested the brutal slaying of 18 year-old Mike Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Many of us witnessed first-hand the public display of Mike Brown’s bullet-riddled body as it lay in the street for four hours - a sight that continues to stay in my heart and fuel my work to tear down this system in which Black lives are not valued equally. Our peaceful non-violent demonstrations against police abuse have been met shocking levels of aggression and violence by Ferguson and St. Louis County police, who have selectively arrested protest leaders; pointed military weapons at unarmed youth; kicked, hit and hogtied protestors; and used all forms of tear gas and pepper spray on us.
Every young activist that I know has been mentally and physically wounded, and our constitutional rights to peacefully protest have been repeatedly trampled.
At any moment, the grand jury announcement is expected in the case against Officer Wilson.
Mr. President, I am writing to ask that you do everything in your power to keep us safe as we exercise our constitutional right to peacefully protest. I am asking you to show America that Black lives do matter.
We implore you to publicly call on Governor Nixon for the immediate de-escalation and de-militarization of law enforcement in Ferguson and St. Louis County, ensuring the safety of all peaceful protestors whom they are sworn to serve and protect.
Given the track record of the St. Louis County police over the past three months, I fear that this time the over-militarized police tactics could result in more bloodshed, and more lives lost. Taking the words from your book “Dreams of My Father”, we are all locked in a world not of our own making, yet we still have responsibilities. The question remains: Are you really your brother’s keeper?
Youth leader and activist in Ferguson, Missouri
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