May 5, 2017 (New York, NY) – Amidst multiple ongoing investigations into the shooting death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards at the hands of a Texas police officer, Heather McGhee, President of the New York-based public policy think tank Demos, issued the following statement:
“Jordan Edwards was a 15-year-old freshman at Mesquite High School, in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. He was loved by his parents, his siblings, and his friends, who will now have to miss him every day for the rest of their lives.
“He was also the 105th unarmed black American to be shot and killed by police in 2017.
“Jordan’s death is not only a travesty for the black community, but also for all parents who understand what it means to fear for the safety of your children from those sworn to protect them. And it is a travesty for all Americans, who have once again witnessed the violation of the sacred trust between the law and the people.
“As a country – as human beings – we all have an obligation to say that this, the loss of yet another black person’s life, cannot be tolerated in a democracy that promises equal treatment and equal opportunity. It will not be allowed in a nation that is built on the principle of equal justice under law. Systemic racism is not an American value.
“While we appreciate that the Dallas County Sheriff’s department and District Attorney’s office are currently investigating this shooting, justice for Jordan Edwards, for his family and friends, and for the town of Balch Springs, must not stop there. Police-related deaths, particularly of African American victims, rarely see any kind of justice; the decision earlier this week to decline charges against the officers who killed Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is only the latest example of that reality. But if Attorney General Sessions respects the integrity of his office, the lives of our citizens and the future of our country, now is the moment for him to put aside his own record on civil rights and allow the Justice Department to continue the progress begun under the prior administration to take action against police misconduct.
“Until then, we will not stop saying Jordan Edwards’ name, or the names of the other 105 innocent lives extinguished by police violence. We will not forget them. And we will not forget the law enforcement officials, whether dressed in a uniform or a suit, who failed them so utterly.”