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Friday, December 5, 2014

Yale Law Students Lead Peaceful Die-In Demonstration on Race and Police Legitimacy

A peaceful coalition of Yale Law students, faculty, and members of the New Haven community joined together on Friday, December 5, 2014 for a die-in demonstration as a show of solidarity with similar demonstrations around the country focused on race and police legitimacy.

More than 500 people joined hands and stretched four city blocks, lying silently on the streets together for 4.5 minutes — which signified the time in hours that the body of Michael Brown, Jr., was left lying in the street after he was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Dean Robert C. Post ’77 participated in the demonstration along with many other faculty members and administrators from Yale Law School. Dean Post also published an op-ed in the Boston Globe with Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow ’79 titled "Trust in the Legal System Must Be Regained."

The group of demonstrators recited the names of several men and women of color who have been killed by police in the past year and called for reforms to the justice system to prevent these types of tragedies from occurring.

“We must say no more, we demand justice for Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and all those who are killed as a result of police brutality,” said Jordan Bryant ’16, who spoke before the crowd. “We demand that officers who use excessive force be prosecuted, we demand that federal and state law change to prevent racialized policing.”

The demonstration comes in the wake of two separate grand juries in Missouri and New York opting not to file charges against the police officers in the Brown and Garner cases— decisions that have sparked outcry across the country.

The Yale Law School chapter of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) also recently issued a statement in response to the Missouri grand jury’s recent decision not to indict the police officer responsible for shooting and killing Brown in August 2014.

The BLSA statement expressed the "sadness, outrage, and indignation at [the] announcement that police officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted in the murder of Michael Brown,” and noted that the refusal to indict "was an example of the manner in which the criminal justice system continually refuses to provide relief to Black people in America."

Students from many organizations at Yale Law School have lent their support to these efforts to spotlight reform and calls for justice, including BLSA; the Native American Law Students Association; Yale Law Women; Yale Latino/a Law Students Association; Yale OutLaws; the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association; the First Generation Professionals; the Women of Color Collective at Yale Law School; The Yale Graduate and Professional Student Senate; the Yale Civil Rights Project; the South Asian Law Students Association Board; the Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association; the Jewish Law Students Association; the Yale Law School Democrats' on Racial Justice; the Catholic Law Students Association Board for 2014-2015; the Yale Law Christian Fellowship; the Yale Muslim Law Students Association; the Yale Civil Rights Project; the Initiative for Public Interest Law; the Board of Yale Health Law and Policy Society; Yale Law Students for Reproductive Justice; the Yale Law School Defense Bar; Directors of the Rebellious Lawyering Conference; the Project for Law and Education at Yale; the Yale Law School Clinical Student Board; the Yale Society of International Law Board; the Yale Law and Business Society; the Yale Food Law Society; the Yale Environmental Law Association; and members of the Yale Law School Chapters of the American Constitution Society and the Federalist Society.