With the issuance of the St. Louis County grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the National Association of Social Workers urges reforms that would help end the excessive use of police force.
The association also hopes this tragic incident will put increased public attention on the larger issues of ending police racial profiling and improving the way police interact with people living with disabilities and mental illnesses.
NASW supports reforms that could prevent unnecessary police shootings from occurring. These include:
- National standards on the use of lethal police force.
- National standards on how police handle persons living with mental illnesses or disabilities.
- Training to help end police bias and racial profiling when dealing with people of color.
- Making body cameras standard police equipment.
In the aftermath of the grand jury decision NASW urges the public to use peaceful means to improve relations between communities and the police who serve them.
NASW supports the U.S. Justice Department’s continuing efforts to bring about police reforms and improve community policing. The association encourages the Justice Department to review the Ferguson incident to determine whether civil rights violations charges should be filed.
NASW also encourages its members and the wider social work community to become involved in activities and organizations that are active in bringing about policing reforms.