The U.S. Justice Department has barred Ferguson Police from wearing bracelets engraved with the phrase “I am Darren Wilson”.
According to the Associated Press, the Justice Department says Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson agreed that all officers asked to patrol Ferguson will be banned from wearing the bracelets which have recently been sported by officers who stand in solidarity with Darren Wilson –the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9th.
The Department was alerted about the bracelets after residents who felt offended by the accessory expressed their concerns at a local town hall meeting.
In a letter released Friday by the Civil Rights Division of the Department, Christy E. Lopez, deputy chief of special litigation said the bracelets are troublesome because they “upset and agitated people.”
The letter goes on to say, “We are keenly aware of the importance of individual expression of opinions…We also acknowledge that the message that many officers intend to convey by wearing these bracelets may be different than the message received by many of those who see these bracelets.”
However “… the expressive accessory itself is exacerbating an already tense atmosphere between law enforcement and residents in Ferguson. These bracelets reinforce the very ‘us versus them’ mentality that many residents of Ferguson believe exists.”
To date, the deadline for the grand jury to reach a decision in the Darren Wilson case has been extended to January 2015.