Update July 8, 2016: Please also read the ACLU of Texas' statement in the aftermath of the killings in Dallas.
In the wake of two separate police killings – Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota – the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) issues the following statement:
"It is impossible to watch the videos of the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile without experiencing anger. Though details surrounding both killings are still unfolding, they reinforce the perception that we have a criminal justice system that is designed to protect the constitutional rights of only some, suppress the rights of others, and allow police violence against communities of color to go relatively unchecked and unbridled, all while devaluing Black life.
"The police killings of people of color in this country represent a grave injustice, as does the collective trauma inflicted upon communities by the viral spectacle of Black deaths at the hands of the police. The ACLU-NJ is committed to fighting for racial and economic justice. However, these killings are not just an issue of racial justice; they are a matter of human rights.
"Our criminal justice system needs more than piecemeal reforms – it needs a total reimagining. It is time to create a criminal justice system that treats all people with dignity and respect."