ISNA Condemns Excessive Force Used By Ferguson Police on Protestors & Media
Police Actions Resemble Methods Used By Authoritarian Regimes Overseas
(Plainfield, IN 8/14/14) Today the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) condemns the excessive use of force used by the Ferguson Police Department last night on largely unarmed peaceful protestors and two reporters.
According to media reports, heavily armed police officers fired tear gas and rubber bullets to force hundreds of protesters out of the center of Ferguson on Wednesday night.
A contingent of police officers advanced with armored trucks on the crowd after two glass bottles were thrown at their lines from a largely peaceful protest against the fatal shooting of Michael Brown who was shot by a Ferguson Police officer.
Police snipers aimed their weapons at demonstrators as they protested unarmed and with their hands up, as a gesture of peaceful protest. When events escalated, protesters described being subjected to military-style tactics as they fled through gas-filled streets.
Another incident involved two reporters who were arrested by Ferguson Police at a nearby McDonald’s. The reporters were using the restaurant as a staging area for media while covering the Michael Brown case and the protests. Wesley Lowery from the Washington Post, and the other Ryan Reilly from the Huffington Post were given harsh treatment, one being slammed into a soda machine before they were arrested. About 30 minutes after arriving at the holding cell, they were told that all media members could leave without any charges being filed. Officers refused to give badge numbers when requested by Lowery but later told him he will receive a case number in two weeks.
In a statement, ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid said:
“The excessive and heavy-handed tactics used by the Ferguson Police Department on protesters and reporters covering the event are unjustified and resemble methods used by authoritarian regimes overseas. Such actions are unbefitting of our society which values freedom of speech, freedom to peacefully assemble and freedom of the press. We call on federal authorities to investigate the excessive force and brutality of the police on the protesters and insure that the civil rights of the people involved are protected.”
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is the largest and oldest Islamic umbrella organization in North America. Its mission is to foster the development of the Muslim community, interfaith relations, civic engagement, and better understanding of Islam.