House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday night that three recent high-profile killings by police officers form a “clear pattern.”
“Tonight, in communities across the country, Americans are grieving the tragic deaths of unarmed citizens. Neither Eric Garner, nor Tamir Rice, nor Michael Brown deserved to be killed,” she said.
Pelosi was one of many lawmakers to respond with outrage to the decision by a New York grand jury not to indict the white police officer who killed Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who police say was resisting arrest when he was killed.
“Any one of these deaths would be a tragedy, but three such incidents appear to be a clear pattern,” she said.
“All lives matter. We must work to ensure that law enforcement has the resources, training, and commitment to community needed to uphold our laws and keep our families safe,” Pelosi added.
She also praised the efforts of the Justice Department to address community concerns about police forces around the country and President Obama’s efforts to increase trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Wednesday’s grand jury decision in New York comes on the heels of a similar case in Ferguson, Mo., where Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer over the summer. Last week, a grand jury cleared Ferguson officer Darren Wilson in that fatal shooting.
Since last week, people around the country have been protesting the grand jury’s decision in Brown’s case.
But Wednesday night’s announcement that the officer who killed Garner would not be charged has raised the volume of a national conversation over racial bias in policing and the criminal justice system.