Saturday, 20th December 2014

Minorities in US anger over police violence


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Protestors march along Florissant Road in downtown Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. The group marched along the closed street, rallying in front of the town's police headquarters to protest the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officers on Saturday night. (AP/Sid Hastings)Minorities and civil rights leaders in Los Angeles have voiced their concern over the shooting death of two African Americans in Missouri and Los Angeles since August 9.

Karin Wang, Vice President of Asian Americans Advancing Justice -- Los Angeles, the largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in the US, told Xinhua Friday that minorities in the US should make their voices heard to stop police racial profiling and violence as what happened in Missouri and Los Angeles.

Demonstrators protest the killing of teenager Michael Brown outside Greater St. Marks Family Church while Browns family along with civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and a capacity crowd of guests met inside to discuss the killing on August 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday in the nearby suburb of Ferguson. Ferguson has experienced two days of violent protests since the killing but, tonight the town remained mostly peaceful.   (AFP/Scott Olson/Getty Images)Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teen was shot down by police in Ferguson, Missouri on Saturday, August 9, and on August 11, Ezell Ford, another young African American, was shot to death by police, just two days after Brown's.

According to narration from Ford's mother, the young man was lying on the ground and complying with officers when he was shot three times.

Ford is the 16th person to have been shot at by Los Angeles police this year, although in two cases shots were fired but did not injure anyone, according to Liliana Preciado, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

Also recently, Eric Garner, an unarmed man selling loose cigarettes, died of a prolonged chokehold by police in New York. People in Florida would remember 17-year-old Travon Martin, also an African American, who was shot to death by a reserve officer.

The death of Brown has roused racial tension and ignited riots, rallies, looting, protests, marches, public mourning and general unrest in Ferguson and protests as well in many other cities in the US
According to Wang, Los Angeles is more diversified and the police have learned a lesson from the 1992 riots. Since then, police in different cities have reach-out programs to local communities to ease tension and seek mutual understanding between the law enforcement and the ethnic groups.

Although progress have been made, problems still remain. She mentioned that occasionally minorities still become targets of police violence and racial profiling because they do not speak good English, in many cases that will cause some misunderstandings.

"We like other ethnic groups are concerned about the police violence and misconduct. As a civil rights organization, we are worried that such things happen," said Wang.

A makeshift memorial sits in the middle of the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. The FBI has opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager on Saturday whose death stirred unrest in a St. Louis suburb. (AP/Jeff Roberson)She mentioned that Ford had mental illness and in the past years there have been several cases when African Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos were killed by police because they had mental illness or they did not speak good English to understand the police instructions.

Wang said African Americans are more vulnerable than other ethnic groups to be racially profiled by police, even African Americans like Ford and Brown were unarmed, police would think they were more dangerous and would be more likely to use force against them.

Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Los Angeles Police Department's Newton Division on Friday afternoon to demand answers in the fatal shooting of Ezell Ford.

Some protesters shouted "Hands up, don't shoot" while others were holding signs which read "Stop Killer Cops."
Press reports said the family of Ezell Ford will file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the LAPD.

More protests are expected in many US cities in the coming days. LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 (Xinhua)


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