US politicians, religious leaders call for overhaul of Ferguson leadership

US politicians, religious leaders call for overhaul of Ferguson leadership

HomeUSHuman Rights Mon Mar 9, 2015 2:44AM

US elected officials, religious leaders and citizens have called for overhaul of Ferguson leadership following the release of a new report which highlights the city’s “broken and racially biased” police system.

About twenty-five civic leaders, members of the clergy and residents met outside the Ferguson Police Department Sunday afternoon calling on the US Department of Justice to take actions to bring justice to the city.

“We have not stopped fighting for justice,” said Rev. Darlene Smith, President of the Advanced Manufacturing Education (AME) Alliance.

State Rep. Courtney Curtis, (D) Berkeley said he will introduce legislation “for the full expungement for all individuals that were pulled over with no probable cause.”

St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby, (D) 1st District, said that she would support any change that is necessary to eradicate the unjust system. “Let Ferguson be the example of what’s not acceptable in America”.

The Rev. Spencer Booker, pastor of St. Paul AME Church in St. Louis, said “We implore the Ferguson municipality to eliminate these patterns and practices immediately by firing and finding a new police chief and rehiring all police officers in order that this city may be liberated”.

The Justice Department has released a report detailing the ways in which the Ferguson police created fear and resentment among African American residents in the Missouri town by disproportionately targeting them with fines, tickets and excessive force.

The report is the result of a month-long probe triggered by the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michel Brown by white officer Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, which led to massive Black Lives Matter protests across the country.

Booker called the report “alarming, shameful and disgraceful,” saying the practices employed by police in the city have led to such “a grave disconnect on its citizens” that now there is massive “mistrust against this municipality.”

Meanwhile, Attorney General Erick Holder, the head of the US Department of Justice, said Friday that the Ferguson Police Department will be dismantled if necessary.

Holder has accused the Ferguson police of creating “a highly toxic environment” in the Missouri town.

In addition, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said on Wednesday, “We must all work to address issues of racial disparity in all aspects of society.”

Police brutality as well as the racial profiling of minorities by US law enforcement agencies have become a major concern in the United States.

The police killing of Brown and several other unarmed African American men during the past summer sparked a national debate on race and led to months of street protests across the country over police harassment and mistreatment of minorities.

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