P R E S S R E L E A S E
For Immediate Release For Additional Information Contact:
Representative Brandon Ellington
MISSOURI LEGISLATIVE BLACK CAUCUS DEMANDS RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PLAN FROM CITY OF FERGUSON
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – We are requesting that the city of Ferguson establishes a restorative justice plan in lieu of municipal fines for the non-violent protesters that have been arrested. Many of the citizens that were arrested were detained in violation of their constitutionally protected rights such as the right to assemble, right of freedom of speech and the right of freedom of the press. We are fully aware that not all of the citizens that were arrested were participating in the nonviolent protest nor, are we requesting that their charges are dropped. However, we are also aware that there were several civil rights violations, as well as procedural violations such as officers removing their name tags and badge numbers, citizens being forced to protest in moving processions that resulted in arrests for those who failed to comply, members of the media arrested for documenting aggressive police behavior, tear gas being shot into crowds of citizens observing and or protesting non-violently.
As legislators we are required to take an oath of office to abide by the constitution and we take these constitutional violations seriously. It is our desire to work with the local officials of Ferguson, the Mayor, the city council, the city manager and the prosecutor to address the civil rights violations as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation regional branch in Missouri in conjunction with the Department Of Justice to ensure that citizens constitutional rights are being protected.
Freedom of speech—evidence of truth in defamation actions—province of jury.
Section 8. That no law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech, no matter by what means communicated: that every person shall be free to say, write or publish, or otherwise communicate whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuses of that liberty; and that in all suits and prosecutions for libel or slander the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and in suits and prosecutions for libel the jury, under the direction of the court, shall determine the law and the facts.
Rights of peaceable assembly and petition.
Section 9. That the people have the right peaceably to assemble for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances by petition or remonstrance.