Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, said late Monday that the decision not to indict a police officer who shot and killed a black teenager shows that people can kill black men in America without any fear of going to jail.
"This decision seems to underscore an unwritten rule that black lives hold no value; that you may kill black men in this country without consequences or repercussions," she said. "This is a frightening narrative for every parent and guardian of black and brown children, and another setback for race relations in America."
Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) said the grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Missouri, shows there is no price to pay for killing black men.
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Fudge called the decision a "miscarriage of justice," and said it's a "slap in the face" to people who want to believe that "justice will prevail."
Fudge was just one of several black members of Congress who were "shocked" and "disappointed" in the decision. Late Monday night, a grand jury released a summary of the testimony it heard in the investigation of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson over the summer.
That summary said Brown was stopped by Wilson, a white police officer, and that Brown punched Wilson in the face and tried to get control of Wilson's gun. Brown fled, but then turned around and charged Wilson — Wilson fired several shots, killing Brown, but told investigators he fired to defend himself.
Despite that finding, many Democrats were outraged and called it a failure of the justice system. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), another member of the Black Caucus, said Brown was a "murder" victim, even though it appears Wilson will not go on trial for murder at this point.
"Like everyone in our community, I am devastated by the senseless murder of yet another young black man," she said. She also argued that black men are routinely victims of a racist justice system around the country.
"We must come together like never before to tackle the systemic, structural and rampant racial bias endemic in our institutions and criminal justice system," she said. "We must demand change and work to realize it."
CBC member Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said the decision "continues a trend of injustice that has rightfully created an environment of anger and concern in Ferguson, Missouri and across the United States."
"From the onset, Ferguson law officials have been negligent in their handling of this tragic death," she said. "Ferguson officials botched this case from the beginning when they left Michael Brown’s body on the street for over four hours after he was killed."
"They were mean-spirited when they leaked information to the media to assassinate Michael Brown’s character," she said, adding that the grand jury "attacked justice" by failing to indict Wilson.
Bass and another CBC member, Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), said they hope Attorney General Eric Holder can find a way to expose any civil rights violations that Wilson committed — Holder will continue his investigation at the federal level.
Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) said the decision was "extremely disappointing, but not unexpected," and said Holder assured him that his investigation will be "extensive, vigorous, and will follow the facts, wherever they lead."
The grand jury's decision led to another night of protesting and violence, and CBC member Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) said residents have "a right to protest what we see as an injustice," although he also cautioned people to "remain peaceful."