More than 50 activists gathered outside the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday to deliver a letter to Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr., calling for the arrest and prosecution of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
“We’d like to see real leadership from the Department of Justice,” said Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, lead organizer of the protest and founder of the No Fear Coalition, a nonprofit group that fights discrimination. “We don’t think that just a visit to Ferguson is adequate. It doesn’t meet the standard of what the people in that city deserve.”
Several legal experts and community organizers spoke at the rally, calling for greater accountability.
“At this point, police officers are getting sentences that amount to little pats on the hand for killing unarmed black men and boys, and we think that’s one of the problems,” Coleman-Adebayo said. “There’s no accountability at this point.”
Organizers said the rally was designed to keep public pressure strong as news coverage of Ferguson declines and protesters return home.
“Things will only change if people remain in the streets,” Coleman-Adebayo said. “We have to be in the streets. We have to be active. … Unless we do that, quite frankly, the political machine will move on and find other issues to concern itself with.”
Coleman-Adebayo describes Brown’s death as the “tipping point” for broader frustration with police brutality and militarization. As an African-American, she said, the issue is also personal.
“I’m the mother of a 28-year-old young man who has been stopped by the police over 30 times,” she said. “This is not class-based. This is race-based.
"None of my white friends have a clue of what our lives are like waiting up when our son isn’t home by 12. … What happened to Michael Brown could easily happen to any of us.”