FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2017
As a faith-based organization and cooperative effort of 37 member communions, Church World Service looks to our tradition and sacred texts that remind us that we are all created in the image of God with inherent dignity. Today, we express our sympathy and solidarity for our community members in St. Louis, Missouri. We stand with our brothers and sisters who are reeling from the acquittal of St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley for the killing of Anthony Lamar Smith. It is evermore clear that racial profiling and racial bias are serious problems within our criminal justice system that must be addressed before true justice can be achieved.
“This acquittal is the latest in an alarming national trend of police impunity for lethally targeting young men for no other cause than being black,” said CWS President and CEO the Rev. John L. McCullough. “As a humanitarian organization dedicated to the dignity and humanity of each and every person, we understand that trust and accountability between service providers and local communities are vital to public safety. This mandate is even more critical with law enforcement. The erosion of trust in law enforcement — especially by communities of color — is in dire need of repair.”
CWS seconds the call of community organizations across the country demanding that law enforcement agencies and officers be held to the legal standards we have established as a country and the moral standards that are needed for us to heal and realize justice. CWS urges national, state and local governments to adopt reforms that restore community trust and end police violence by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions and ensuring accountability. To this end, we are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to reaffirm its commitment to review all police-related shootings and to establish a civilian review board with subpoena power. And we call on Congress to enact the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act (H.R. 2875 and S. 2168), introduced last session by Representative Conyers, D-Mich., and Senator Cardin, D-Md..
To learn more about how to end police violence in America, please visit: https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision.
Since 1946, Church World Service has supported refugees, immigrants and other displaced individuals, in addition to providing sustainable relief and development solutions to communities that wrestle with hunger and poverty. Learn more about our work at cwsglobal.org.