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NASW Response to Grand Jury Decision in Ferguson, Missouri
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November 26, 2014



Social Work's Response

to the Decision in Ferguson, Missouri

to Not Indict Officer Darren Wilson


National NASW posted a statement on the grand jury decision to not issue an indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The leadership of the NYC Chapter subsequently requested that we send that statement to all of the NYC members. It is copied below and the link to the statement on the National NASW blog is included as well.


It is worth noting that several social workers were critical of the NASW statement, accusing NASW of not respecting the legal process and the findings of the grand jury. Nevertheless, in the time since the announcement of the decision on Monday night, November 24, important questions have been raised about the secrecy of the unusual three month proceedings and the presentation of evidence without the benefit of cross examination, which is the hallmark of going to trial.


For colleagues who have questions as to why there is such an overwhelming reaction to the findings in Ferguson and around the country, this could be an excellent time to look at the recent posting by the New York Times columnists Nicholas Kristof, titled "Thoughts on Race in America as a Backdrop to Ferguson:


It could also be an excellent time to read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander for an in-depth analysis of the issues at hand. 



NASW Statement on Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

With the issuance of the St. Louis County grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, the National Association of Social Workers urges reforms that would help end the excessive use of police force.

The association also hopes this tragic incident will put increased public attention on the larger issues of ending police racial profiling and improving the way police interact with people living with disabilities and mental illnesses.

NASW supports reforms that could prevent unnecessary police shootings from occurring. These include:

  • National standards on the use of lethal police force.

  • National standards on how police handle persons living with mental illnesses or disabilities.

  • Training to help end police bias and racial profiling when dealing with people of color.

  • Making body cameras standard police equipment.


In the aftermath of the grand jury decision NASW urges the public to use peaceful means to improve relations between communities and the police who serve them.

NASW supports the U.S. Justice Department's continuing efforts to bring about police reforms and improve community policing. The association encourages the Justice Department to review the Ferguson incident to determine whether civil rights violations charges should be filed.

NASW also encourages its members and the wider social work community to become involved in activities and organizations that are active in bringing about policing reforms. 
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