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  sheila-jackson-leeAs a mother I am anguished over the killing of young Michael Brown. I offer my deepest sympathy to his family and believe the Department of Justice investigation should be broadened to review the entire Ferguson, MO police department.” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on the death of teenager Michael Brown of Ferguson, MO:

Lee made it clear that We Must Find Balance Between Law Enforcement and Justice.

“My prayers go out to the family and friends of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. As I have stated earlier, this is a death of yet another African-American at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve the community where he lived is heartbreaking. Michael Brown was preparing to begin college, and now his family is preparing to bury their child – his life cut short in a tragic encounter with the police. As a mother, I grieve for this child and his family. I pray that the wonderful, hardworking, and God-loving people of Ferguson will soon find peace and patience as they wait for the results of what will be numerous and thorough investigations of what happened. I, like so many other Americans, will not be satisfied until we have a complete and transparent understanding of all the facts and circumstances that led to this young man’s death.

The killing of African American young males is becoming an epidemic in America. We have seen this story before with Eric Garner, Oscar Grant and now Michael Brown and these are just some of the names who have fallen victim of excessive policing. All of us are strong supporters of law and order and most of us, such as myself, have strong working relationships with local and federal police agencies. I know good police persons who are professional and follow the law. In the instance of Michael Brown and other cases a failing to follow the law is obvious. Michael Brown was shot down in the street. He was a kid – a boy waiting to go to college. It is important to hear both sides of the story and transparency is imperative. I am calling for the appropriate release of the names of the parties involved and for every police person with knowledge of this incident to be interrogated by the FBI. We will not stop these types of confrontations with the police unless there is a national investigation of police and community relations. The structure in Ferguson, MO should not exist in the 21st century. Law enforcement should be reflected of the community. That is not the case in Ferguson, MO and it was a time bomb waiting to happen. As President Obama has said we must be reflective, we must be transparent, we must respect the law, we must protect the First Amendment of reporters but most of all we must provide that justice that would have allowed Michael Brown to have lived.

I believe it is crucial that the House and Senate Judiciary Committees hold hearings in the fall on the continued incidents of the killing of African American males by law enforcement. Added to that should be continued questions on the overall killing of African American young males such as the cases of Trayvon Martin and Alfred Wright. Of course I continue to push for calm and peaceful protest and the peaceful gathering of the people in Ferguson, MO. I will be reviewing the President’s initiative of My Brother’s Keeper which will lay the framework dealing with omnibus legislation I plan on introducing that will deal with the epidemic of the killing of so many African American males. This must stop now. Mothers and fathers are crying too often.”