New York, NY, July 8, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the opening of an investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into the shooting death of Alton Sterling by a police officer in Baton Rouge, LA. The League urged the DOJ to open a similar civil rights investigation into the death of Philando Castile, who was shot by a police officer earlier this week outside St. Paul, Minnesota.
DOJ has said that it is monitoring an investigation of Mr. Castile’s death by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
“Our hearts go out to the families, friends and communities of Mr. Castile and Mr. Sterling, and we hope that they find some comfort in knowing that so many of us share their grief,” said Liz Price, ADL Civil Rights Chair. “The impacts of their deaths reverberate far past their families, their friends, and their local communities and amplify the pain we have seen in other instances of police killings of black people. Too many times we have seen the unprovoked killing of a person of color by a police officer, and each instance, erodes communities' trust in the very people who took an oath to protect them.”
Ms. Price added, “It also ignites anger at the injustice both of the deaths and, too often, the absence of accountability.”
“We are calling on the DOJ to open an investigation into the death of Mr. Castile,” said Seth Marnin, ADL Vice President of Civil Rights. “In these and other cases, we need federal investigations by the Department of Justice, as the government has already promised in the Alton Sterling case, and the appointment of independent prosecutors. We need increased training for law enforcement, including implicit bias training that was announced by the DOJ recently.
“We need to build police departments with racial and ethnic makeups that mirror the communities they serve,” Mr. Marnin added. “We need official statistics on police killings, tracking what happens and what has gone wrong each time. We pledge that we will work tirelessly on these and other systemic reforms so that when we proclaim ‘not one more,’ it is not just a hope but a promise.”