Activists in Ferguson have collected 200,000 signatures backing their demand that federal agencies address the national trend of police brutality with major reforms.
The activists are calling for the collection and release of comprehensive data on how many Americans are killed by law enforcement officers annually.
In the aftermath of [Mike] Brown’s Aug. 9 death following what police say was an altercation with an officer in Ferguson, Missouri, rights groups and researchers have complained of a startling lack of official national figures on police killings.
A coalition of activists said they were set to deliver the signatures and demands to the White House, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice on Wednesday — which they have declared a “national day of action” against police brutality and alleged racial discrimination in law enforcement.
Protesters in cities across the United States planned to use the day to call for justice for victims of police violence, said Matt Nelson, organizing director for Color of Change, a group that says it works to strengthen black America’s political voice.
“Police targeting of primarily black and brown youth and adults has been elevated to the level of a national crisis, a civil and human rights crisis,” Nelson said. “Color of Change believes that the government needs to step in and take the necessary leadership to make sure peoples’ rights and lives are protected in encounters with police.”
Activists and Researchers contend that the way the FBI collects data under its Uniform Crime Reporting Program makes it impossible to know exactly how man Americans are killed by law enforcement officials each year.
Local and state police departments only report that information on a voluntary basis.
Activists are calling on federal agencies to create a national public database of police shootings, use of excessive force, misconduct complaints, arrests and more. So far, the FBI only categorizes what it terms an “officer-involved homicide” differently from other homicides if a cop killed a felon in the line of duty, in that case the murder is classified as a “justifiable homicide.”
Other demands brought forth include a fully resourced investigation by the Department of Justice into discriminatory policing and excessive force, an executive order to form an enforceable prohibition on police brutality and discriminatory practices and an end to federal grants that encourage militarization.
Black lives matter.
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