the department of justice (doj) on friday ordered police officers in ferguson, missouri to stop wearing bracelets in solidarity with darren wilson, the white cop who last month shot and killed michael brown, an unarmed black male. the bracelets say, i am darren wilson.
christy lopez, deputy chief of the special litigation section of the justice department's civil rights division, wrote a letter on friday to ferguson police chief thomas jackson. lopez writes, "these bracelets reinforce the very 'us versus them' mentality that many residents of ferguson believe exists."
lopez admits in the two-page letter she's unclear if ferguson officers specifically are now or have been wearing the bracelets. additionally, she understands jackson agreed to prohibit officers from wearing the bracelets while in uniform and on duty, and to ensure other officers from local agencies will observe the prohibition.
the letter comes after residents told a doj official about the bracelets this week at a community meeting. they complained officers wore the bracelets tuesday while patrolling folks' protests over the tragic death of 18 year-old brown august 9. protesters demand wilson's arrest. the doj has been investigating the shooting, while a grand jury is deliberating about whether to charge wilson.
residents said officers patrolled the community without name tags, or with their names covered by black tape. lopez, in the letter, asked the embattled police chief to ensure officers will follow department policy and wear their name tags.
"allowing officers to remain anonymous when they interact with the public contributes to mistrust and undermines accountability," says lopez, in a separate letter to jackson, written on tuesday. that letter was released on friday. lopez further writes, "the failure to wear name plates conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity."
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.