Don't sanitize shootings of black teens, attorney says

Benjamin Crump, the lawyer who represents the families of three black teens killed in police shootings, said on "Face the Nation" Sunday, "We can't have the Department of Justice sanitizing all these shootings of people of color who are unarmed."

Crump represents the families of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Michel Brown, who were all killed during altercations with a police officer. Last week, the Justice Department released a report about the conditions surrounding Brown's death in which they declined to bring civil rights charges against the officer who shot Brown but said the Ferguson, Missouri police department disproportionately subjects black residents to excessive force.

Crump said that proving a shooter was motivated by race is too high a standard for such charges, and that the bar needs to be lowered.

"Instead of having this explicit bias, it should be where we can show implicit bias. When you look at that report and you see all of these scathing facts come out about racism, don't you think that cesspool of racism spills into the individual officers?" Crump said. "We gotta address it. We can't stick our heads in the sand."

He said the killing of unarmed people of color in America is "almost epidemic" and must be addressed head on.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.