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SMC discusses Ferguson in Justice Fridays Series

| Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Saint Mary’s students and the College’s Justice Department gathered Oct. 17, to reflect on the events in Ferguson, Missouri. The discussion was introduced and facilitated by associate professor of religious studies Stacy Davis as part of the Justice Fridays series held in the Saint Mary’s Student Center.

Davis said responses regarding Ferguson can be divided into four sources: residents of the cities of Ferguson and St. Louis, the police shift between Ferguson and St. Louis County, the Department of Justice and social justice groups.

Davis said the circumstances in Ferguson raise the question: “What does it mean when police act like military?”

Ferguson began to pique to public’s interest when the police “left the uncovered body” of Michael Brown in the streets and began to “cover their nametags with black tape” to conceal their identities, Davis said.

She said the public was surprised and appalled by “nonviolent protesters getting gassed in this country.”

Davis said the Pentagon should reconsider the consequences before it distributes extra military equipment to police officers.

“They are not soldiers,” she said.

Davis discussed the significance of the Ferguson and St. Louis County police representations in the media.

“The police response to the shootings, in many ways, has been bigger than the shootings itself,” she said.

Davis said the issues highlighted during the protests should not wane the same way passing trends do.

“We want to keep this in the forefront,” Davis said. “We don’t want people to forget. Last month, colleges across the country have had panels and peaceful protests. [Saint Mary’s] did the same. On our first day of classes, Aug. 25th, there was a nationally renown #handsupwalkout campaign to raise awareness of police brutality and cruelty.”

Davis said supporters of the peaceful protest gathered in Ferguson and St. Louis between October 9 and 13 to raise awareness about police brutality.

“What happened there affects all of us no matter where our political interests stand,” Davis said.

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