Target: Governor of Missouri Jay Nixon
Goal: Stop police and other security forces from intimidating protesters in Missouri
When police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed an unarmed eighteen-year-old black youth, residents of Ferguson, Missouri took to the streets to protest. Many of the residents are concerned that the police officer will be acquitted of murder charges, as in the Tavyon Martin case, and feel that the police are unlawfully targeting the black population in Missouri. The right to free speech and protesting should not be taken away from these citizens. Tell the governor to order all police forces to stop using intimidation techniques to disperse protesters.
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown was shot and killed on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri by a police officer. The truth involving the youth’s death remains shrouded in controversy, as the police officer and witness accounts paint a different story. Even with the media releasing information regarding how and why Brown was shot, the public is still questioning these facts as they weren’t released immediately. With the governor enlisting the help of state troopers, the situation has become extremely tense, and highlights the racial struggles of Missouri.
While there have been reports of looting and vandalism in the area, the demonstrations have been largely peaceful. There have been roughly twelve cases of damaged property and thirty-two arrests, although it is unknown whether these crimes were committed as part of the protests. Some of these protests and vigils are either scheduled or spontaneous, but police have responded with excessive force. Witnesses have reported seeing police officers point their military assault rifles into groups of protesters, and deploying armored vehicles. Witnesses have also seen rubber bullets being shot, tear gas being used to disperse a crowd, and detaining journalists who are trying to cover the story. One such officer was heard shouting, “Bring it, you fucking animals.”
These are intimidation techniques, ones that are preventing citizens from exercising their freedom of speech rights. The police shouldn’t have the power to take away these rights. Therefore, we need to urge the governor to order the police to stop intimidating the people and allow them to express their rights.
Dear Governor Nixon,
Since the killing of Michael Brown, the people of Missouri have been protesting and holding vigils for the youth that was gunned down by a police officer. The residents are feeling threatened by the police for various reasons. This case is eerily similar to the Tavyon Martin case, where the shooter was acquitted of murder charges. This incident also raises racial tension, as Ferguson is a predominantly black suburb and citizens are worried about racial profiling. The protests and vigils being held are largely peaceful ones, and yet the police are using intimidation tactics to disperse the crowds.
The people have a right to protest and speak how they will. The use of rubber bullets, brandishing weapons, and firing off tear gas are an intimidation techniques, and it is also a show of excessive force. I urge you to order all police officers to stop intimidating the people and allow them to protest peacefully.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Spc. Jillian Munyon via Wikimedia Commons