Target: Ferguson Mayor James Knowles
Goal: Praise the mayor’s decision to accept the Justice Department’s decision to reform the Ferguson Police Department.
A notoriously racist city police department will be reformed thanks to an agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) and the city of Ferguson, Missouri. The proposal was made by the USDOJ in the hope that they could fix the racial bias that was obviously prevalent within the Ferguson department and create a situation wherein the the citizens could actually trust their police in the future. Mayor James Knowles and the Ferguson city council initially rejected the proposal in February, but have now decided to agree to the USDOJ’s terms, and this decision must be praised.
The statistics that the USDOJ reported showed how black people were far more likely to get arrested for petty offensives and that the police were far more likely to use force when dealing with them. These statistics were very alarming, which is why when Mayor Knowles and the city council initially rejected the reform, there was a tremendous amount of backlash, such as ForceChange’s petition Demand Reform Of Broken Justice System.
The amount of protest that surrounded this issue clearly had an impact, and ultimately led to a successful agreement. Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown Jr. who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, attended the city council meeting. He said “It’s beautiful. It’s a good feeling. It let me know that, at the end of the day, you still have to make choices, and hopefully they’re the good choices.”
The city’s law enforcement will now receive bias awareness education and officers will be taught to try and deescalate situations as opposed to automatically resorting to force. The agreement also established a civilian board that will oversee complaints against the police department. Applaud these changes, which will hopefully lead to a more humane and peaceful situation.
Dear Mayor Knowles,
I want to congratulate you and your city council for agreeing to the USDOJ’s proposal to reform the Ferguson Police Department. It is disappointing that some places in the United States need something as drastic as a complete overhaul of a police department in order to fight racism. However, in the case of Ferguson, it was clearly necessary.
Having a police department that has violated its citizens’ human rights is detrimental for a city because it creates an environment of hostility and distrust. With this reform, you will immediately begin to see positive results. I think an indicator of this positive change was the fact that Michael Brown Sr., who lost his 18 year old son in a conflict with the police, called this agreement “beautiful.”
Thank you for accepting this reform of your police department. It will lead to an increased trust between the police and the citizens and ultimately result in less unwarranted violence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue