(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/7/16) The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called for hearings by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to address public outrage over two police shootings of African-American men in Louisiana and Minnesota in just the past two days and to propose legislation to help prevent such deadly incidents from occurring in the future.
On Wednesday, a Minnesota officer shot and killed 32-year-old Philando Castile while he was in a car with his girlfriend and her child. The aftermath of the shooting was livestreamed on Facebook.
On Tuesday, 37-year-old Alton Sterling was shot and killed during a confrontation with police officers outside a Baton Rouge, La. Video of the shooting was posted online by a community activist. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) said it will take the lead in the investigation of that shooting.
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In a statement, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:
"We grieve for the loss of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in yet two more police shootings. Institutionalized racism and a consistent lack of accountability are why we continue to see these killings.
"We welcome the U.S. Department of Justice intervention in the Louisiana shooting case and urge similar action to provide for robust and transparent investigations of the Minnesota incident and other recent police shootings of African-American men.
"We call on Congress, in particular the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, to hold hearings designed to address this ongoing issue and to propose legislation to help prevent these tragic incidents from occurring in the future."
CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein said: "We call on federal officials to investigate the shooting of Philando Castile and for a thorough review of police policies, hiring and training in the wake of this tragedy."
CAIR sought action following previous police-involved killings of African-American men and boys.
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The Washington-based civil rights organization publishes a booklet outlining basic information about Islamic beliefs that are relevant to law enforcement agencies.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
To request legal assistance from CAIR's Civil Rights Department, fill out the intake form at: https://www.cair.com/civil-rights/report-an-incident/view/form.html
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