Civil rights leader from Riverhead on Ferguson decision

RACHEL YOUNG PHOTO | Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorofChange.org, speaks at Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast.
RACHEL YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorofChange.org, speaks at last year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast.

Riverhead native Rashad Robinson is becoming one of the leading voices for civil rights in the United States as the executive director of ColorofChange.org, an online organization that advocates on behalf of African-Americans.

He offered this statement in response to Monday’s decision:

The ColorOfChange community sends our deepest condolences to Mike Brown’s parents and loved ones. Our hearts and minds are with them as they move through this unimaginably difficult time, and their courage and perseverance remain a driving force for millions across the country who move forward with them on their journey to secure justice for their son and an end to systemic, discriminatory police violence targeting Black youth and adults nationwide.

Their courage has inspired a powerful movement for racial justice and police accountability that remains strong despite today’s no indictment.

We all lose when the justice system fails the way Missouri Governor Nixon and Prosecutor Robert McCulloch have failed Mike Brown’s family. This non indictment charge stems not from a lack of evidence but from a coordinated effort to stack the deck, to keep justice for Mike Brown out of reach.

Now, justice for Mike Brown lays in the hands of President Obama and US Attorney General Holder who have the responsibility and power to ensure Officer Wilson is prosecuted to the fullest extent of federal law.

What we see here today is a breakdown in Missouri’s justice system. With Governor Nixon’s shameless endorsement, Prosecutor Robert McCulloch did everything in his power to avoid securing justice for Mike Brown’s death.

The grand jury was set up to fail.

Due to Governor Nixon’s failed leadership and deep corruption in law enforcement, a dangerous police officer who brutally killed an unarmed teenager will remain on the Ferguson payroll–unless our national leaders act. This type of two tiered justice system that treats police as above the law is morally outrageous, deeply inhumane, and puts Black Missourians in danger of further police violence and human rights abuse.

We are in a historic time and what Pres. Obama and his administration do in this moment will have a major impact on the future of racial profiling and policing in America. The status quo, business as usual, cannot continue. Ferguson is everywhere. According to FBI statistics, law enforcement kill Black Americans at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow era lynchings.

The American people have lost faith in the justice system and law enforcement’s ability to operate fairly.

This is President Obama’s opportunity to restore that faith by implementing concrete structural reforms to Missouri police and law enforcement policy at the federal level that will allow police departments to do their job while prioritizing the civil and human rights of all communities.