TD Jakes 'deeply troubled' by the 'constant erosion' of young black men in America
As emotions continue to run high in Ferguson, Missouri, following the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer, megachurch pastor TD Jakes says it's time for racial profiling to stop.
The Potter's House pastor admitted that he fears for the welfare of his own sons in an article for the Huffington Post in which he suggested life was hard enough for young black men in America without the "added burden" of racial profiling by the police.
Jakes called the practice "odious" and expressed alarm that the killing of unarmed black men like Brown was "seemingly willful".
"As a father of three African American sons and a pastor to more than 15,000 black men not to mention the other 23 nationalities that make up The Potter's House of Dallas, I'm deeply troubled by the constant erosion of the black males whose battle to survive poverty, drugs, violence, dropout rates and other community maladies only to come to such a forlorn and hideous end!" he wrote.
"We certainly don't need the added burden of racial profiling or any form of injustice levelled against our already perplexing ills."
Jakes questioned why African American men continue to be stop-searched and arrested by the police more frequently than white men, despite evidence that the latter are more likely to be found with contraband on them.
"In short, whites were stopped for actual suspicious behaviour, whereas black were routinely stopped for racially motivated reasons," he said.
There are signs that peace may be slowly returning to Ferguson after the media reported a relatively calm night on Wednesday, with fewer protesters out on the streets.
Governor Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard to start withdrawing from the city on Thursday, although he acknowledged that there was a lot of work to do ensure lasting peace, with the police focusing now on "increasing communication within the community, restoring trust, and protecting the people and property of Ferguson".
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The Missouri National Guard had been deployed in the city on Monday to restore order after days of protests, including several violent clashes with police, in the wake of Brown's shooting on April 9.
Attorney General Eric H Holder Jr, who has visited the city and met Brown's family, has ordered a federal investigation into the shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old by a white police officer.
According to a transcript released by the Department of Justice, Mr Holder said in one meeting in the town: "I am the attorney general of the United States, but I am also a black man. I've confronted this myself."
Jakes said that if the actions of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, were found to be criminal, the response should "go beyond the customary 'slap on the wrist'".
"My prayer for all involved is that indisputable truth resolves the matter without any further reckless abandonment!," he continued.
"We are a far cry from the post-racial, peace and love society envisioned by '60s idealists or the melting pot that our forefathers portended.
"We in desperate need of the kind of cultural sensitivity among our officers that comes with living in the communities that they serve to understand the cultural nuances, share the values of its citizenry and to begin to rebuild trust."