Statement on the Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

November 25, 2014

"I am deeply troubled by the Ferguson Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. But I am not surprised, indeed I doubt that few Americans are — and that is a tragedy almost as worrying, almost as painful as this death of yet another African American male at the hands of law enforcement in the United States.

“The fact that America expected — and braced itself for — this outcome means that we have accepted the practice and pattern of inflicting violent death on young black men under color of authority and without legal consequence as a normal, at times inevitable, reality. It tells us whose lives are too often little valued and whose fears are too often overwrought in this nation.

“We will now never know all the relevant facts about this killing, nor will Michael’s family ever know the comfort of closure. But most of all, it means that we as a nation cannot learn how to do better or become better through the workings of justice, through the transparent deliberations and re-creation of context which trial by jury was instituted to ensure. 

"Americans must, sadly, learn to trust one another, to be fair to one another through some other mechanism than America’s justice system. And that is a shameful step backward for us all. 

“Despite the strange rationale which brings this bitter news to our communities in late evening, I join the calls of the family and of President Obama for peace in the midst of this pain."