STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement following the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting

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Pax Christi USA is deeply disappointed and saddened by the grand jury decision not to indict Office Darren Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. An indictment would have moved the process of justice forward, allowing Officer Wilson to be tried by a jury of his peers and the events that led to the death of Michael Brown fully considered. It is our opinion that the failure to indict is another failure of the justice system in protecting the rights of people of color in our nation.

Pax Christi USA stands with the people of Ferguson and Michael Brown’s family in the hope for a nonviolent resolution to a volatile situation.  The people of Ferguson, as well as communities of color all across our country, are rightfully angry, and they have a right to peacefully demonstrate and to demand further action.  Protestors have a right to engage without militarized intimidation from law enforcement. Police have a duty to nonviolently help to defuse tension where necessary, without recourse to overtly militant and provocative actions, including the use of tear gas and pepper spray. All citizens have the right to expect that their homes, churches and businesses will be safe from raids, destruction and looting.

Pax Christi USA joins the throng of voices, led by the organization ColorOfChange, asking President Obama, Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice to take action so that justice may be served for Michael Brown and his family. We encourage our members and all people of good will to take part in actions to increase public pressure to see that justice is done.

We call for the demilitarization of our civilian police forces. We call for the creation and empowerment of citizen review boards which can engage in police investigations in a robust manner and hold police accountable for the safety of all communities. As our brothers and sisters at ColorOfChange have pointed out, law enforcement in the United States kills Black Americans at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow-era lynchings (see http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/25/mike-brown-shooting-jim-crow-lynchings-in-common). The casual disregard for the lives of the poor, especially young black men, should be an affront to all of us who believe that human beings are created in the image and likeness of God.

Most of all, we mourn, as our chapter in St. Louis so eloquently has stated, “the lack of clear accountability for the taking of a young man’s life.”  We join with Pax Christi St. Louis and others in calling every citizen in our nation to take thoughtful and prayerful action to end systemic racism and structural oppression, locally and nationally. Such actions would be an apt legacy for Michael Brown and all those who have been systemically marginalized in our communities and paid for that marginalization with their lives.

11 responses to “STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement following the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting

  1. Jane F. Morrissey

    I stand with you, with the victims, and look for a world where no one is victimized by violence including those who inflict it on others

  2. Maybe the time has come when we take a lesson from the “Bobbies” of England and Disarm our Police Forces. It seems they don’t know when and how to use their weapons!!

  3. Kathie Gourlay

    My heart cries out for the family and friends of Michael Brown, but I believe strongly punishing individual police officers is not, in general, the solution to this kind of violence. Nothing now can be done to bring back Michael Brown. Hurting Officer Darren Wilson and his family will not help stem the violence by police, unless he is the unusual, very bad cop. We need to focus on the future, prevention of these, all to common, maimings and killings by police. Yes, demonstrations and protests are needed, but to force change in the way the police operate.

  4. Thank you for this statement. I totally concur with the statement as well as the backstories of issues that heighten the injustice that is so prevalent. However, my concern with the police is the number of those who had been in the military and were present in Iraq and Afghanistan or other dangerour postings and have developed “instincts” that cause them to shoot first and ask questions later. Not to mention the possibility of PTSD. How can we as Pax Christi address this issue. It is a very very large part of the picture and we would serve our police departments well if we could assist them in acquiring new “instincts” more in keeping with Peace Officers than retreaded military personnel. .

  5. All my family and close friends are so very grateful to Pax Christi for standing up for what is right. I do not have the statistics to hand, but I know that less white Americans, young and old, are shot by the police. If you are a person of colour, any colour, you risk to be shot – executed perhaps we should say – just because you are standing there. Thank you Pax Christi for making such a complete and articulate statement about the situation in America today. Strange that Obama has not spoken out more about the dreadful problem. We must speak more and with a calm but loud voice. Thank you.

  6. Appears to me that the day in court was had. A jury of 12 reviewed the evidence over a 3 month period. The facts of the evidence is available for all to see. Really…shouldn’t you consider all the facts before voicing your opinion? Or…is it OK to crucify the Officer, that was doing his job and protecting himself and the public, to satisfy your opinion? The legal system includes the grand jury as well as a jury trial. The rule of law was upheld. My prayers are for Mr Brown and his family and the Officer. Bad deal for all! Let’s please consider the facts that should help us form or consience. Your opinions on other important issues just lost credibility. Ignoring the facts to promote your agenda is a bad practice.

  7. I totally agree with Mark Nabors. The Officer did not commit a crime. Mr. Brown robbed a market did he not? His crime began the entire process of Mr. Brown not obeying the law in any way, shape or form. It was not a race issue as you and the media continue to say. It was crime.

  8. Yes, Michael Brown probably committed a crime, shoplifting. Does this misdemeaner warrant “blowing away” this young man? It’s the good ol’ case about when “you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”. If Officer Wilson felt his safety was in danger, he could have called for back-up. If he did make such a call, I haven’t heard about it. A tragedy occurred in Ferguson for sure. There were no “winners” on that fateful day in August. Everybody lost something that day, including all of us, even though we do not feel the deep pain Michael’s family does.

    • Wow…the pain just continues because some choose to ignore most of the facts to fit their narrative. Please look at all the facts, not just the parts that fit your opinion. Otherwise the truth is never found. The truth is there were multiple crimes committed by Mr. Brown on that faithful day in August. Mr. Brown did commit a misdemeanor crime of shoplifting that day. Then he committed another crime of battery, which could have been a felony, when he attacked the store owner making his escape from the shoplifting. Video footage verifies these facts. Then when Office Wilson tried to question Mr. Brown he attacked the officer with intent to do bodily harm which is a felony. So…Mr. Brown committed several crimes that day and was unfortunately killed in the process. That’s not just my opinion. The 3 months of testimony before a jury of his peers (9 white and 3 black) are clear public records. In those records are all the facts including the forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony that lead to the conclusion that Office Wilson did his job.
      My point is very simple. It’s not right to ignore the facts and crucify Office Wilson. Mr. Brown and his family and Office Wilson and his family need our prayers, not half-truths about what happened. Parroting all the half-truths about what happen on that faithful day in August just causes the injustice to continue.
      Please be responsible, read the facts and stop listening to the Racists (like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc.) that makes money by exploiting tragic events like this one.

      • Bill Mackinson

        On what do you base your knowledge of “the facts”, Mr. Nabors? Darren Wilson’s account? Dorian Johnson’s account? Others’ accounts? Each of these accounts require cross examination open to the public, and only then might we all arrive at a clearer sense of “fact”. A trial would’ve provided this.

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