FERGUSON (Sputnik) — On August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot dead unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson. The incident set off mass protests across the United States and launched a national debate about racial inequality and police violence in African American communities throughout the United States.
"Across the United States it hasn’t gotten any better. As a matter of fact, we have had more high profile incidents that have gone into worldwide attention since Mike Brown’s shooting. So how can we say it’s getting better? No, it’s getting worse," John said on Sunday on the sidelines of the memorial event.
- A protester is taken into custody in Ferguson, Mo.© AP Photo / Jeff Roberson
- This August 13, 2014, photo by St. Louis Post Dispatch photographer Robert Cohen shows Edward Crawford returning a tear gas canister fired by police who were trying to disperse protesters in Ferguson, Missouri© AP Photo / St. Louis Post Dispatch
- Police officers take a protester into custody Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.© AP Photo / Charlie Riedel
- In this Aug. 11, 2014, file photo, police wearing riot gear walk toward a man with his hands raised Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson© AP Photo / Jeff Roberson
- Police in Missouri will restrict their use of teargas and other chemical agents, as part of the settlement of a federal lawsuit with six Ferguson protesters.© AP Photo / Charlie Riedel
In recent months, the US Department of Justice has launched numerous probes into incidents of police brutality mostly against African-Americans in Baltimore, Ferguson and most recently, Charleston.
Over the past year, Obama has launched several policy initiatives in the wake of renewed calls for increased education to counter racial bias. The initiatives include investing in police body-worn cameras for US law enforcement agencies around the country and a plan for addressing segregation in US neighborhoods.
Johnson believed that some major changes need to take place happen within the institution of policing, as well as with how the laws are enforced once the policing job is done.
For example, there is no special federal prosecuting division, not a person, a division, that whenever there is an incident involving a shooting of an unarmed citizen by law enforcement officer it should go to that division, and then if it is found unjustified it would become a federal offense," he said.
The activist also pointed out the need for oversight committees in every city across the United States.
"They [oversight committees] should have insight in the following areas recruiting, diversity training and constant retraining. They have to have visibility into those areas within, so we don’t have to worry about how you become a police officer again."
Additionally, Johnson stressed that the public needs to be better educated on how to interact with the law.
The United States has seen multiple protests prompted by high-profile cases of police brutality over the past year. Most recently, Baltimore was swept by days of protest riots after after 25-year-old African-American Freddie Gray died of a spinal cord injury while in police custody in April. Six police officers were charged in connection with Gray’s death, all have pleaded not guilty.