Issues in failure to indict Officer Wilson in the shooting case of Michael Brown
By Stephany Harrington, Staff Writer
Although I wrote an article earlier this semester about Ferguson, with the decision of the grand jury soon approaching it would be wrong to write about something else. Some might think that the situation in Ferguson has calmed down since the shooting of Michael Brown in August this year.
The situation has changed, but remained an intense issue despite the passing months. Protests have occurred throughout, and the people of Ferguson suffered the violent militarization of their police force. The day after Michael Brown was shot by Darren Wilson, members of the community erected a memorial for him. The memorial was defiled when police vehicles crushed it, upsetting the community.
The actions of the police in the aftermath of the shooting provoked the people into a state of unrest. Because a young black man was shot by a white police officer, they felt that their rights were being denied. This story is all too familiar for blacks in America. This was instantly a civil rights case when the police offered little to no information about Officer Wilson’s involvement in the shooting. They did not immediately discuss what happened, and that silence implied they were purposefully concealing information from the public.
It was also devastating to members of peaceful protests that they were met with violent police resistance. Policemen were fully armed with riot shields; they launched tear gas at protestors and journalists, as well as fired rubber bullets into the crowd. The police tried to prevent reporters and journalists from recording information. Without question, those actions were a violation of the people’s constitutional rights.
And now, only a few months later, the nation is waiting to see what the grand jury will decide. Will they indict Darren Wilson or not? The people of Missouri are anxiously awaiting and demonstrating to raise awareness about the shooting of Michael Brown and all shootings of young black males. The organizers are planning to boycott many retailers if the grand jury returns with a no-indictment decision.
In anticipation of violence, the Governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to serve as backup for the police forces. The government believes that the situation could quickly turn violent in the wake of such a decision.
It would seem that when the police force was militarized in August, that kind of military equipment and power gave them license to use it however they chose. Armored vehicles on residential streets and pursuing protesters by firing rubber bullets after they’ve already dispersed suggests that the police, not the protesters are the ones to be feared.
Declaring a state of emergency is complete acknowledgment that the system is broken. The people are upset that yet another unnamed black man was shot and killed, but they are treated as if they are the public enemy rather than the ones that need to be protected.
Although the militarization of these police forces looks like a war in our own country, the truth for many people in this country is that they are always living in a war zone. For them, the police, no matter what they are wearing, are a danger to them.
And the numerous shootings and killings of black at the hands of the police prove that. It is obvious that police protection does not include blacks in America and that is the real emergency.