Four members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green all put their hands up on the House of Representatives’ floor to honor the life of Michael Brown, the unarmed teen who was shot and killed at the hands of Darren Wilson. The hands up gesture, referred to as “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” has become the symbol of outrage for Brown supporters. According to many eye witnesses, Brown’s hands were up in surrender when Wilson delivered many of the fatal shots.
“‘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 case you missed it, five of the St. Louis Rams also joined in support of Brown by raising their hands up on the field during Sunday’s game. Jeffries continued, “So tonight, the CBC will stand on the floor of the House of Representatives and for the next 60 seconds, speak on the topic–Black In America. What does Ferguson say about where we are and where we need to go. People are fed up all across America because of the injustice involved in continuing to see young, unarmed African-American men killed as a result of a gun shot fired by a law enforcement officer. People in America are fed up with a broken criminal justice system that continues to fail, to deliver accountability when law enforcement officers engage in the excessive use of police force. People are fed up with prosecutors who don’t take seriously their obligation to deliver justice on behalf of the victims of police violence.”
Just as there were countless critics for the St. Louis Rams team members who joined in on the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” movement, Jeffries, Clarke, Lee, Green and many more members of the CBC were all criticized for putting their hands up on the House floor. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough called it a disgrace. “It’s a lie!” Scarborough said on “Morning Joe.” “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. 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?”
SMH. Now prosecutor Robert McCulloch has everyone thinking that the witnesses to Brown’s death are all lying about what they saw. And let’s not even get started on these representatives being verbally chastised for supporting a cause they believe in.
“We are legislators, we cannot legislate without the partnership of Republicans. I stand as a Democrat and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus–that has always been cited as the conscious of America to say that we need to walk in step on the conspicuous Achilles heel of America–that is the criminal justice system,” Rep. Sheila Jackson passionately expressed. “We should recognize young people like the ones in Houston, Texas–that does not in any way denigrate or disrespect our law enforcement officers.”
Jeffries said it best, “This is a problem that Congress can’t run from. The CBC stands here today to make sure that Congress runs toward the problem–that we come up with constructive solutions to breaking this cycle, this epidemic, this surge or police violence all across America.”
Do you think the reps were inappropriate in holding their hands up on the House floor? Sound off in the comments below.