Lambda Legal Condemns Police Shootings, Demands Accountability

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July 7, 2016
Lambda Legal

In the past two days, we have seen the deaths of two more Black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, at the hands of police.

We are heartbroken and outraged that again – twice in two days – police have shot and killed Black men. We don’t know all the facts in either case, but driving with a broken tail light or selling CDs in front of a store are not punishable by death.
LGBT people, especially LGBT people of color, know too well that police can discriminate, harass, and profile us when they should be protecting us. As a parent, watching Alton Sterling’s 15-year-old son sob as he comprehends that he will never see his father again broke my heart.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and we mourn for every victim of police violence by continuing to work for police accountability. We also look forward to a swift and thorough investigation by the Justice Department.

In too many cities around the U.S., the police act as judge, jury, and executioner.  This is not new, but today technology allows us all to see these killings. Clearly, witnessing the violence is not enough. These issues must be addressed in a systemic way.

In an ominous dissent last month, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said:

We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.

As we have done throughout our long history, Lambda Legal will continue to stand up against misconduct by police and other government officials. We will work with our sister LGBT and other civil rights organizations to demand that police are properly protecting and serving all the public, including LGBT people and people living with HIV.

Read the press release.