On the same day as the Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, stood on the floor of the House yesterday and called the St. Louis grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown a “slap in our face,” four of her African-American colleagues raised their hands in the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” gesture on the House floor to show solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Mo.
Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.) and Al Green (D-Tex.) all made the symbolic gesture.
“ ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ is a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence in … communities all across America,” Jeffries said.
In addition, Reps. Lee and Green offered praise for the five St. Louis Rams who gave the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” signal on the field during a game Sunday night, drawing censure from the St. Louis Police Officers Association, which called on the NFL to apologize and discipline the players. But the Rams said yesterday the players would not be punished.
“Mr. Speaker, we are running out of patience,” Fudge said on the House floor. “Last week, the nation waited and hoped that justice would finally be served in the case of Michael Brown. We waited to hear our country say loud and clear: There are consequences for taking the lives of others.”
“We waited to hear some reassurance that black and brown boys’ lives do matter. But, again, we were terribly disappointed and discouraged.”
“The Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict former Officer Darren Wilson was yet another slap in our face,” Fudge said. “It was a painful reminder that, just like with Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, and so many others, law enforcement officers kill our black and brown men and boys without repercussions.”
“The fact that our country, the greatest country in the world, remains mired in race relations issues in the year 2014 is an embarrassment,” the congresswoman continued. “We really should consider taking a long look in the mirror before we go to other countries lecturing to them about the need for democracy and tolerance when, here at home, we are unable to fully address our own issues.”
“As Members of Congress, it is our responsibility to clearly communicate this message to our voters, our constituents, and our neighbors,” she said, concluding with, “Mr. Speaker, enough is enough.”
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called the hands up gesture by the Congressional members a disgrace.
“It’s a lie,” Scarborough said Tuesday on “Morning Joe,” referring to the fact that some witnesses said Brown’s hands weren’t in the air when he was killed by Wilson.
“What is wrong with this country? What is wrong with these people? What’s wrong with these elected officials, they know it’s a lie,” Scarborough said. “They know the cops didn’t shoot him with his hands in the air. They know it’s a lie and they’re doing this on that Capitol floor?”