APA Leaders, Groups Condemn Grand Jury’s Decision

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Asian Pacific American leaders and organizations have issued statements decrying a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision on Monday not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, earlier this year.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice: “As civil rights organizations, we fight daily for racial justice for all communities of color. And as Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders whose community members have also experienced police brutality and discrimination Asian Americans Advancing Justice condemns the grand jury’s failure to bring charges against Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

“We are saddened and angry that yet again, there will be no accountability for the fatal shooting of an African American by law enforcement. Michael Brown’s death is just one of many fatal shootings of African Americans by police officers around the nation. These deaths show us that the racial profiling and violence that African Americans experience runs deep and happens because of systemic failures.

“We urge the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate racial profiling, excessive force and officer-involved shooting policies and practices in the Ferguson Police Department. We need answers and justice for Michael Brown’s death.

“We will work with African Americans and other impacted communities to hold our leaders accountable and to ensure the motto of ‘to serve and protect’ rings true for all of our communities.”

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles was part of the Asian American-Native Hawaiian-Pacific Islander contingent in a “Justice for Michael Brown” rally on Tuesday afternoon in the Crenshaw district and will participate in a rally at the Downtown Federal Building, 312 N. Spring St., on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The contingent will meet on Judge John Aiso Street between Temple and First streets, across from East West Players, in Little Tokyo.

Gregory Cendana, chair of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans: “Members of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans are saddened and outraged by the failure of the grand jury in Missouri to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. We stand with the family of Michael Brown and the peaceful protesters in Ferguson.

“What has happened in Ferguson is not an isolated incident. Racial suspicion of black and brown people, especially by law enforcement, has become an epidemic in many parts of our country. Every 28 hours, an African American is killed by law enforcement. African Americans are arrested at higher rates than any other group by police departments around the United States. Latino and Asian Americans also routinely face racial profiling by law enforcement from stop-and-frisks to surveillance.

“The movement in Ferguson and around the country in response to the killing of Michael Brown has sparked calls for police accountability and policies that will prohibit the militarization of police and racial profiling. We urgently call upon the White House, the Department of Justice and congressional leaders to review and address the ongoing pattern and practice of racial violence and systemic discriminatory treatment by law enforcement of our communities of color.”

“We stand by Ferguson. We stand hand-in-hand with our partner organizations fighting for equality, justice, and civil rights. We pledge ourselves to re-commit to the struggle for racial justice because black lives matter.”

Miriam Yeung, OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates national vice president of public affairs: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the decision regarding Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting and death of Michael Brown. As President Obama mentioned in his speech last night, we are a country built on the rule of law, and our police forces are not above the law. Officer Wilson should have been held responsible for his actions. The excessive use of police force, racial and religious profiling, and lack of accountability for officers involved in these cases continue to plague our legal and justice system. They create wedges between our communities and those who are tasked to uphold our laws and protect our people.”

Ken Lee, OCA national acting CEO: “Today, we stand in solidarity with not only the Brown family but with the African American community and all victims of police violence. We share the expressed sentiments of Michael Brown’s father and call for peaceful protests and intentional advocacy to create the necessary changes that will hold officers accountable for their actions and prevent such tragedies from occurring again.

“As advocates, we can and must continue to push for reforms that address the root causes that continue to allow the excessive use of police force and profiling of African, Latino, Asian, and Pacific Islander American communities. OCA and our national partners will continue to seek ways to ensure that all our communities can express their full civil rights and are treated fairly under the law. It is our hope the Department of Justice will bring swift justice denied by the grand jury so that our communities can heal and rebuild the trust that has been severed by this incident.”

Emma Chen, president of American Citizens for Justice/Asian American Center for Justice: “More than three decades after Vincent Chin’s death, the decision not to indict Darren Wilson reminds us that our justice system is still broken. When there is no accountability for excessive force and police brutality, we guarantee there will be another tragedy.”

Vincent Chin was bludgeoned to death in Detroit in 1982. A judge sentenced his two assailants to probation and fines, and neither did any jail time.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus: “My thoughts are with Michael Brown’s family as they seek peace and closure in this incredibly difficult time. And I join with Michael’s father who called to honor his memory through change, not violence.

“And clearly, change is still needed. Racial profiling and prejudice still plague many communities in our country. We must work with civic, political, and community leaders to ensure that our governments, institutions, and policies address the concerns of our communities.

“At the same time, we must recognize that building trust between communities and law enforcement means an end to the use of excessive force and the militarization of our police.”

Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose), CAPAC chair emeritus: “Given the eyewitness accounts and the reporting that we have heard from Ferguson, Mo., over the last few months, I’m disappointed by the grand jury’s decision in the shooting of Michael Brown, who was unarmed when he was killed.

“I agree with President Obama that everyone, both those who are upset by this decision and law enforcement who may be meeting protestors in the street, should remain calm and show restraint. I hope that the protestors will heed the words of the veterans of the civil rights movement, like the office of Congressman John Lewis and Congressman John Conyers Jr., who are asking for peaceful protest. You do not need to resort to violence to be heard.

“I also agree with the president that ‘In too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color.’ As members of Congress, we need to address this serious division that still exists and take steps to remedy it. Only then can we start the healing process.

“My heart is with the people of Ferguson, and the family of Michael Brown.”

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside): “To those in Ferguson, heed the words of my friend Congressman John Lewis: ‘I know this is hard. I know this is difficult. Do not succumb to the temptations of violence. There is a more powerful way.’

“To the police officers in Ferguson: Remember, you are there to serve and protect those in the community. Be patient. Be calm. Avoid escalation.”

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