I’ve been pretty quiet about this topic, but now I feel the need to speak my piece. (As I say in all my posts, please keep in mind, that this is MY opinion and my opinion alone. I don’t go out and conduct polls, but I may ask a friend every now and again some questions or how they feel about a specific subject and I conduct research on the topic, but that’s where it stops. If you don’t like what I say, when you feel offended, stop reading. Now that we have that settled lets get on with it.)
On Saturday morning, August 9, 2014, at approximately 11:51 a.m. in St. Louis County, Ferguson, Missouri, Mr. Michael Brown, 18, was suspected of taking a $48 box of cigars from a convenience store without paying for them. According to the video, you can see an object in his hand, but it’s hard to tell if he actually committed theft and it’s hard to judge due to no sound. At least that’s from my point of view. I haven’t seen the video in its entirety. Additionally the clerk could clearly be seen attempting to stop Mr. Brown and the additional suspect from exiting the store.
Between 11:53 – 11:57 a call was made to 911 in regards to the theft of the $48 box of cigars. The 911 dispatcher stated that the suspect was wearing a red Cardinals hat, a white T-shirt, yellow socks, khaki shorts and was accompanied by another black male. Around 12:00 p.m. Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, 28, radioed to ask other officers searching for the suspected thieves, if they needed him to assist and was told by dispatch that the suspects had disappeared.
At 12:01 p.m. Officer Wilson approached Mr. Michael Brown and the suspect accompanying Mr. Brown, (2nd suspects name: Mr. Dorian Johnson) with his police vehicle while they were walking in the middle of Canfield Drive and told them to move out of the street and onto the sidewalk. Mr. Dorian Johnson then stated that “they had almost made it to their destination and would move out of the street momentarily.” Officer Wilson continued driving past the two young men, but then backed up and stopped close to them after realizing that Mr. Brown fit the description of the individual that was suspected of stealing a box of cigars.
At 12:02, Officer Wilson called for back up because a struggle had ensued. During the struggle, Officer Wilson’s weapon was discharged twice, with one bullet hitting Mr. Brown in the arm while it was inside the vehicle struggling with Officer Wilson, as reported by Officer Wilson. Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson then fled. Mr. Johnson hid behind the police vehicle while Mr. Brown was pursued by Officer Wilson. At some point during this incident Officer Wilson fired his weapon 6 more times fatally wounding Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown was unarmed. At 12:03 Mr. Brown succumbs to his wounds and dies while lying in the street.
I’m sure you’re wondering why would I bring this up when the verdict for Officer Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department could come back any day now? What’s my agenda? I have no agenda, I honestly feel it’s needed. I feel I’m a neutral party and I have the ability to be impartial to the situation. Here are the undisputed facts: video surveillance of Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson leaving the convenience store with items in their hands. You see Mr. Brown use a bit of force to get himself and Mr. Johnson out the store. Once they leave the store we now have to rely on the 911 dispatcher, Officer Wilson, Mr. Johnson and the other officers involved.
My feelings on the situation based on the video and the facts that I gathered, he, Mr. Brown, did appear to take something from the store, but I can’t honestly say I know without a reasonable doubt that he took the $48 box of cigars without paying. Now, with me being a neutral party looking from the outside, all I can do is try to piece together the information I found. Don’t think because I’m taking a neutral stance that I condone or agree with the behavior of either party, I’m just giving you my thoughts, because I feel I’m giving you a different view.
If Mr. Brown did steal a box of $48 cigars was it worth his life? I don’t think so. No amount of money is worth taking a life. How do I feel about Officer Wilson and the way he handled the situation? He could have approached the situation in a different manner. Instead of using deadly force, use your baton, pepper spray or your taser to subdue the suspect or wait until back up arrives so you and another Officer are able to subdue both suspects. I’m not going to even speculate about how the Officers weapon was discharged inside vehicle, but the facts are 2 shots were fired from inside the vehicle. After that and a chase ensues, 6 more shots were fired and Mr. Brown is fatally wounded and succumbs to his wounds.
What I disagree with from some individuals in the Ferguson Community is how they decided to honor Mr. Brown and his family. The candlelight vigil was no problem, but the violence that ensued days after the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. What does that prove? Nothing. You’re left with a mother that is mourning the loss of her son, attempting to find answers and a city that is trying to figure out how to deal with one of their own law enforcers killing a eighteen year old black male. The first thing that the majority thinks is it was racially motivated, but we can’t prove that because Mr. Brown can’t tell his side of the story and who knows, maybe Officer Wilson is only willing to give us a version that isn’t true, there’s no room to speculate, but I’ve digressed.
We as a human beings will use skin color/race/ethnicity against each other to gain an advantage over one another. Sometimes we treat individuals of the same skin color/race/ethnicity in a negative way as well. Why is that? An excuse to riot, destroy a business to acquire free merchandise or burn down an establishment, because the person that owns the business doesn’t share the same skin color/race/ethnicity or views as you? I refuse to let this become a race issue, because I believe that’s not where the problem lies. I honestly feel it’s a police department that on more than one occasion, abused its power of policing to gain the upper hand because they feel it falls within the limits of their power and they feel no one governs what or how they do things. In addition to the previous issue, I also feel the Ferguson Community doesn’t have any faith, confidence and don’t trust the Ferguson Law Enforcement Department.
Instead of letting this issue tear us apart, lets try using it as a teaching tool in order to bring us together. If you feel that the policing is subpar, band together and peacefully protest, you will get the right persons attention eventually. One person screaming in a crowd of people is a waste of time, but when that crowd is screaming in unison, they will be heard, whether the individuals listening want to hear it or not. It’s going to take the Ferguson Community quite some time to heal and put their trust back in the hands of the Ferguson Law Enforcement Department due to what has happened. It takes time to heal from an incident of this magnitude.
I would like to make one more point then I will leave it alone. There are young people killed by law enforcement all over the United States, everyday, but their answer isn’t to riot or burn businesses within that community. There are certain individuals that want to turn issues such as this this into a race matter, but I honestly feel it has nothing to do with race, it has to do with the policing from the Ferguson law enforcement individuals. If you are a law enforcement individual and you are charged with the responsibility to serve & to protect, but the people don’t trust you at any level of law enforcement, then they are going to take matters in their own hands and police the only way they know how. Is that the right way to do things? No, but it happens, but it’s easily overlooked due to the media reporting what they want also being biased plays a huge factor as well.
We HAVE to do better as a human beings. I strongly feel a lot of individuals in this world act like crabs in a barrel, meaning they’re willing to step on one another other to gain the advantage over someone else, no matter skin color/race/ethnicity. As human beings we will never move forward if we keep treating each other this way. As far as Mr. Brown & for the sake of his family, if you want to make a difference, find something positive out of this negative situation and honor him that way. Don’t assume destroying an entire community will make it all better. We HAVE to do better. We CAN do better. It won’t happen overnight. A little progress is a step in the right direction.
For those that live in the Ferguson Community, I ask that for the sake of Mr. Michael Brown and his family, if the verdict doesn’t come back the way you expect and you feel the need to protest, please do it peacefully. Please remember Violence only begets Violence. Let’s start that move in the right direction in a positive way.