Rev. Jesse Jackson comments on the grand jury decisions that cleared police in deaths of unarmed African American men in Missouri and New York. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Rev. Jesse Jackson said on Thursday (December 4) that justice was the only way to bring peace to the country following the recent grand jury decisions that cleared white police officers in the deaths of unarmed African American men in Missouri and New York. At a news conference in Washington, D.C., with national and area clergy, Jackson cited President Lyndon Johnson's signing of the Voting Rights Act as a critical event in history necessary for progress and said that now is the time for action in solving what he called "an American judicial system in crisis." "This is both a crisis and an opportune moment to address these fallacies and injustices that bring our people in this country," Jackson told reporters. "Only justice brings about peace. We want justice, an even playing field, and an even peace." The grand jury's decision on Wednesday came nine days after the news that a white officer in Missouri who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager would also not face criminal charges. The New York officer, Daniel Pantaleo, could face disciplinary action from an internal probe, his lawyer said, adding that he expects that process to move quickly. A departmental investigation will likely focus on whether he employed a chokehold, banned by New York Police Department regulations, contributing to the death of 43-year-old Eric Garner as officers arrested him in July. The New York and Missouri cases have sparked sometimes violent protests around the country by demonstrators who say U.S. law enforcement and the criminal justice system are stacked against African Americans and other minorities.