Mayor Lovely Warren released the following public statement on Facebook Nov. 24, after a St. Louis grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of 18 year-old African-American teenager Michael Brown.
The post drew over 400 comments on the matter; sparking a community-wide debate around whether the decision had been appropriate.
Warren’s post read as follows:
I know that many members of our community are upset about the decision today in Ferguson. I am too. As I was thinking about how to respond, I went back to how the situation started: With a young, unarmed black man and an authority figure who had little regard for this young man’s life.
I pray that today the authorities in Ferguson have learned from the mistakes they made – even after this tragic incident. But I know that is not enough, and many of us in Rochester may feel the need to speak out. Like we did in the Trayvon Martin case, we will support a community event where we can come together peacefully and in solidarity for the life lost, and for what’s right. Community members will gather at the Liberty Pole this Sunday at 1 p.m., and march to the Federal Building. I will post more details soon.
President Barack Obama said on Sunday that the way back, the way to keep future incidents from occurring, is for our law enforcement to be “sensitive to the concerns of minority communities, then over time trust can be built.” I wholeheartedly agree, and this is why we have taken steps to change the way we do business here in Rochester. We’ve made strides, but still have a ways to go.
In Rochester, you have a Mayor that cares. We have a police chief who cares. Above all, we have a community who cares.
We still have great inequalities in our City. I’m calling on our residents to use the decision in Ferguson as a chance for dialogue, a chance to talk about why this shook all of us, and as a chance to talk about solutions.
This is how we move forward, not through violence, but by acknowledging and reconciling our differences.