(New York, NY)—Just 24 hours after the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law jointly issued a statement criticizing the curfew in Ferguson, Missouri as unconstitutional and calling for a de-escalation of the militarized response to civil unrest, Gov. Jay Nixon has suspended the city’s curfew.
By suspending the curfew, Gov. Nixon has acknowledged that curtailment on the constitutional freedom to protest will not promote peace in Ferguson,” said Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “In fact,” she noted, “police altercations with protesters broke out last night hours before the beginning of the curfew.”
“We will continue to press federal, state, and local officials to be accountable to the people who elected them,” Ifill continued. “The eyes of the nation — and indeed the world — are upon us as we demand justice for the killing of an unarmed teenager in broad daylight. First and foremost, we hope that tonight will be peaceful in Ferguson, and that the response of law enforcement authorities to any isolated incidents of violence will be measured and responsible.”
“What the community needs now is for elected officials and other leaders in and around Ferguson to respond to the legitimate concerns of their constituents,” Ifill concluded. “The protests began, and have been fed as a result of the poor handling of the investigation and strained community relations in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager. Ferguson now needs leaders to step up and clearly articulate their commitment to ensuring that justice is done in this case. Ending the curfew is an important first step in respecting the rights of the residents of Ferguson.”
In the joint statement issued on Sunday, the groups said that the suspension of constitutional rights in Ferguson, “does much more than suppress speech. It subjects an entire community to imprisonment in their homes—a lockdown on the residents of Ferguson who have done no wrong and seek nothing more than justice. This unprecedented action cannot be divorced from the history of law enforcement officials treating communities of color as the problem rather than an indispensable part of the solution.”
Read the joint statement on the Ferguson curfew calling for de-escalation on the ground.