Empower Missouri has been working for some time, but especially during the past two years, in coalition with other organizations to promote dialogue between law enforcement agencies and community organizations and to secure passage of the Fair and Impartial Policing Act. On July 8, during a week that included several heart-breaking deaths – some of community members and some of police officers – we joined with several of these organizations to issue the following statement.
In the wake of last night’s killings of five police officers by a sniper during a protest in Dallas, TX, that followed this week’s shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA, and Philando Castile in St. Paul, MN, local groups supporting the Movement for Black Lives, issued the following statement:
Senseless killing is senseless killing. The shooting of officers and civilians in Dallas does nothing to advance the cause of justice regarding extrajudicial killing by police, and there is no reason to believe the Dallas shooters were in any way connected to the peaceful protesters outraged by this week’s deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police.
When tensions are high, and the nation is at a point of extreme frustration at our inability to stop the taking of black lives by government authorities, it is deeply disappointing, but hardly surprising, that horribly misguided individuals would lash out. We are confident that our criminal justice system will hold them accountable.
We have not seen law enforcement held to the same level of accountability in the endless killing of people of color without justification and under color of law. Until we do, the disparate treatment, and the justified anger that black lives still do not matter in this country, will unfortunately cause the situation to spin further out of control. It is well past the time that the government needs to make clear that it will not condone the taking of innocent lives by those wearing uniforms as well as by those who do not.
Our sincere condolences go out to all victims of violence, and we will continue to work toward the day when the families of black people across this country, as well as the families of police officers, are no longer forced to mourn their loved ones gunned down in our streets.
Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression
Don’t Shoot Coalition
Organization for Black Struggle
Metropolitan Congregations United Police Reform Task Force
Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment
Peace Economy Project
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