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Brian L. Pauling

The time is now for America’s legislative body at the state and local levels to bring a full stop to the endless harassment and killing of Black children at the hands of the men and women in law enforcement sworn to protect and serve them.

Of those that made the news, Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old from a Dallas, Texas, suburb was the latest victim of law enforcement. Edwards’ death follows an unrelenting pattern of Black children who are subjected to undue harassment and excessive force, or death, by police officers. Many of these reported killings have taken place in settings where children are simply doing what young people do in the course of their daily life. In school, at social events, in playgrounds and on their streets Black children are harassed, tormented or killed by police officers.

For victims, their families and the greater community, the trauma of these acts against children is too much to bear. These acts also shed light on our state and local legislative bodies as institutions that have not acted in the better interest of keeping our children safe.

After waiting months, we have learned the U.S. Department of Justice will not file charges against the two Baton Rouge, La., police officers, Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake, for the death of Alton Sterling, last summer, in a convenience store parking lot. Now, it is up to the Louisiana state attorney general to decide whether to pursue criminal charges against these two police officers. Will the state attorney general fail its citizens, too?

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