SALT ROBERT M. COVER WORKSHOP
FOCUS ON FERGUSON: Racism, Policing and Communities of Color
Professor Paul Butler, Georgetown University Law Center
Professor Justin Hansford, St. Louis University School of Law
Leslie Proll, Esq., Director of Washington DC Office, NAACP LDF
SALT STATEMENT ON FERGUSON, MISSOURI
November 21, 2014
The Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) calls for the upholding of the rule of law in relation to the death of Michael Brown. Michael Brown’s death and the subsequent protests in Ferguson remind us of the consequences when the community loses faith and trust in America’s policing and judicial systems. SALT is concerned that violence by the police against unarmed Black people is becoming increasingly common. The actions of the police in Ferguson and the community reaction are a microcosm of the inequalities and profound mistrust that pervade many communities around the country that must be addressed.
SALT and its members are committed to ensuring that the system of justice in the United States operates effectively in a manner that affirms the principles of equality and justice. In keeping with our mission, and as a community of engaged law professors, we would like to offer the support and expertise of our members to help address systemic inequities that erode faith in our justice system and to facilitate discussion, dialogue, and concerted action to address the issues that Michael Brown and the Ferguson protests have raised at the local and national level. We must ensure that our system of justice gives historically subordinated populations assurance that the laws are being executed fairly. By acting in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, we seek to promote adherence to and the sanctity of civil and human rights principles in the United States.
In the wake of the events in Ferguson, we call for:
(1) upholding the principles of equality before the law;
(2) implementation of a system of police accountability, oversight and integrity regardless of race, class or social standing;
(3) safeguarding the right to speak freely and peacefully protest and acting to quell excessive police force that inhibits the exercise of these fundamental rights; and
(4) working to eliminate divisive policing and justice policies and practices that demean people of color and view them as objects of threat and fear.