That doesn’t mean that many of black America’s concerns about these kinds of incidents aren’t genuine. It doesn’t mean that police departments like the one in Ferguson aren’t a major problem. It only means that this incident should be judged on the evidence, not the politics or the past or what goes on elsewhere.
No person should be shot by authorities for stealing some cigarillos. Too often, cops in this country use excessive force rather than prudently avoid violence. Just the other day, a 12-year-old boy playing with a BB gun was shot dead in Cleveland. We have a need for criminal justice reform and law enforcement reform. After reading through the grand jury testimony in the Wilson case, it’s obvious there are far more egregious cases that deserve the attention.
There is plenty of room for reasonable doubt as to whether Wilson broke the law when he shot and killed Brown, and there is considerable evidence that he did—surely enough to supply probable cause, the standard for charging someone with a crime. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch managed to obscure the latter point by staging what amounted to a trial behind closed doors—a trial without a judge or an adversarial process. Assuming the jurors were acting in good faith (and there is no reason to think they weren’t), the only explanation for their decision is that they lost sight of the task at hand and considered the evidence as if they were being asked to convict Wilson rather than approve charges that would have led to a real trial.
It is not hard to see how the grand jurors could have made that mistake. McCulloch said he would present all of the evidence collected so far—everything a trial jury would see and hear. The jurors convened on 23 days, hearing testimony that takes up nearly 5,000 pages of transcript, not including the various recorded interviews played for them. Instead of making the case for an indictment, as they ordinarily would do, the prosecutors running the show often seemed to be reinforcing Wilson’s defense…
Officer Wilson began to run through his options, and ruled out his chemical spray because Brown’s hands were in front of his face (rendering the spray unlikely to hit his eyes and work), and the vehicle confines would likely result in Wilson getting the spray into his eyes as well. Wilson’s ASP baton was behind his right hip and trapped against the SUV’s seat, and even if he could deploy it, there wasn’t room to deploy and swing it with any force. He couldn’t use the flashlight on the passenger seat as an impact weapon either, for the same reason. There simply wasn’t enough room to swing it (p. 213-214).
Wilson decides that his only viable option is his gun…
I thought what we were told was that Brown was the one who managed to pull out the gun. But it was Wilson- who was still in the car, and had already called back-up.
Wilson finally decides that he has to go for his handgun, the Sig P229 in .40 Smith & Wesson.
In the search for culpability for the tragedy in Ferguson, I mostly blame politicians. Michael Brown’s death and the suffocation of Eric Garner in New York for selling untaxed cigarettes indicate something is wrong with criminal justice in America. The War on Drugs has created a culture of violence and put police in a nearly impossible situation.
In Ferguson, the precipitating crime was not drugs, but theft. But the War on Drugs has created a tension in some communities that too often results in tragedy. One need only witness the baby in Georgia, who had a concussive grenade explode in her face during a late-night, no-knock drug raid (in which no drugs were found) to understand the feelings of many minorities — the feeling that they are being unfairly targeted.
Three out of four people in jail for drugs are people of color. In the African American community, folks rightly ask why are our sons disproportionately incarcerated, killed, and maimed?
While referring to a separate incident from Brown’s, he refers to another shooting in which a black man charged two cops and was shot as a result.
“Why would you think it’s a good idea to run up on two cops when they tell you to stop [and] put down whatever you got? I’m gonna keep coming at them, then they gonna shoot me. Now as black people, we supposed to be mad and Ohmygod, Ohmygod, we need to go out there and march! No we don’t. No we don’t. No we don’t. Stop doin’ crime.”
Fredrick Wilson II, while acknowledging that the “justice system isn’t fair” and “they come down harder on us,” also adds that “just because they gave you more time than they might have gave the white person, if you hadn’t have done the crime in the first place, you wouldn’t have got any time, so stop using it as a d*** excuse.”
“If you already know they gonna come down harder on you, that should be more of an incentive to stop doing crime,” he added.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/1638051/fredrick-wilson-ii-facebook-sensation-tells-black-people-take-some-personal-responsi-d-bility/#tsMchY987EB57fYe.99
Whether Brown’s hands were up or not, whether he was culpable or not, doesn’t matter to a lot of protestors. For some that’s because the truth itself is irrelevant, but to others it’s because *this* truth is a bigger truth with more consequences for more people, and Brown is just a catalyst or a metaphor:
To some, it doesn’t matters whether Brown’s hands literally were raised, because his death has come to symbolize a much bigger movement.
“He wasn’t shot because of the placement of his hands; he was shot because he was a big, black, scary man,” said James Cox, 28, a food server who protested this week in Oakland, California.
While it is true that black on black violence is also a problem, and blacks are more likely to be the victims of homicides committed by other blacks, that doesn’t means there’s no point in paying attention to the fact that they are also more likely to be killed by cops who will not answer for it:
And this speaks to the core of why so many Ferguson protestors are justifiably upset. It reasonably appears that in the midst of unarmed black men—or any unarmed suspects for that matter—being shot and killed by those entrusted with their protection, law enforcement officials are rarely held accountable. Not only that, but elected officials don’t seem to believe there is even a problem. This naturally leads many to conclude those in power do not believe them or worse—even care about them.
As Ronnie Natch a peaceful Ferguson protestor put it: “This was a chance to vent about the national treatment of black men across the country… We want to show up at the front door every day and say, through words, that this shooting is not going to be swept under the rug …There have just been too many deaths.”
All lives matter. Until we can genuinely attempt to understand the experiences of others—rather than label those with whom we disagree as complainers, Marxists, or racists—we cannot move forward.
It’s not just cops, it’s an issue with government in general. This story about the ATF running undercover operations where they trash their rentals and don’t pay their bills is just mind-boggling.
Meanwhile, people on all sides of the issue are people, fellow human beings.
There are beautiful stories coming out of the mess as well- like this one, where armed black men from the neighborhood gathered around a white-owned business to protect it from looters.