Michael Brown, Ferguson, Missouri Police Shooting Victim

(NEW YORK, NY) –The fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager by police in Ferguson, Missouri, is the latest tragic incident in a summer marked by several police-involved homicides. In this case, the conflicting accounts about why Mr. Brown was killed demand a thorough and impartial investigation by federal authorities.

“These incidents erode the public’s confidence in the justice system,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President & Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. “Every moment’s delay in response to these killings — just like every minute of the four hours that Mr. Brown’s body lay in the street after he was shot to death by the police — increases the community’s frustration and anger.”

The unrest that has taken place in wake of Mr. Brown’s death at the hands of police is the unfortunate result of the understandable pain and frustration felt by that community. That pain and frustration are mirrored in communities across this country where unarmed black teens and adults have been killed by police and civilians. These feelings must be met with proactive efforts to address to what is clearly a deeply flawed system of police and civilian responses to perceived black criminality.

Ifill added: “This is about more than one community. Similar incidents have been documented all over the country. We are gratified that the FBI has stepped in to take over the Michael Brown investigation, and we call on the Justice Department to take action and engage in a comprehensive review of these and other incidents of police-involved killings of unarmed blacks.”

LDF has called for charges to be filed against police officers in the killing of Eric Garner, a black man who was choked to death by a New York City Police Officer three weeks ago. A videotape shows the use of an illegal chokehold to subdue Mr. Garner, and an independent report by the New York City Medical Examiner indicates that Mr. Garner’s death was caused by the compression of his neck and chest by police officers.

Click here to read Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement on the shooting of Michael Brown.