Yesterday the grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., declined to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on charges in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown.

In reaction to the decision, ACLU of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman said: 

“The grand jury’s decision does not negate the fact that Michael Brown’s tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color, often during routine encounters. Yet in most cases, the officers and police departments are not held accountable. While many officers carry out their jobs with respect for the communities they serve, we must confront the profound disconnect and disrespect that many communities of color experience with their local law enforcement” - Jeffrey Mittman, ACLU of Missouri

Here is the ACLU’s full statement on the grand jury’s decision.

The tragic events in Ferguson have caused a massive surge in national dialogue about policing in our communities, militarization of the police and citizens’ rights both during and in observing police encounters. In particular it has also touched off a national conversation about the relationship of police to communities of color, a conversation that extends far beyond just Ferguson MO. Just last week, USA Today released a report showing staggering disparities in arrest rates in states all across the country, including Maine. All the Maine police departments included in the analysis showed significant race gaps in arrest: in South Portland, black people are 3.5 times as likely as non-black people to be arrested; in Bangor, 3.2 times; in Lewiston 2.8 times; and in Portland 2.6 times.  Here is our response to the report.

Unfortunately, the tragic events in Ferguson are not an anomaly; rather they are indicative of a much broader systemic issue that is present nationwide. The status quo is unacceptable. It is imperative that we establish a more democratic system of policing that rebuilds the trust between law enforcement and all the communities they are sworn to protect.