Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Protests Flare After Ferguson Police Officer Is Not Indicted

The Ferguson protests that began with the shooting death of Michael Brown that began in August grew in anger and intensity as the grand jury released their verdict. The grand jury made of nine whites and three blacks announced that no charges were to be brought against Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot and killed the unarmed Brown. After it was spread that Wilson would not be charged, demonstrators "chanted and threw signs and other objects toward [police officers in riot gear]." Protesters threw bottles and rocks at police, and damage was done to several businesses and police cars. 29 people were also arrested. Understandably, Michael Brown's family was disappointed by the verdict, but they have issued a statement asking people to "'channel [their] frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.'"

The grand jury's decision to not charge Wilson in the death of Michael Brown is appalling and reminiscent of the Jim Crow era where trials with black defendants had all-white juries. The year is 2014, decades after the civil rights era, yet here we have a case where a white police officer who shot an unarmed black teen walks away free and gets money for what he did. Great job, America.

Some links to look at regarding the Ferguson decision:
Documents Released in the Ferguson Case (NY Times)

KKK Raising Money for Police Officer Who Shot African-American Teen (published 08/13)

All 4 Eyewitness Accounts of the Shooting of Michael Brown (in chronological order)

Strained relations undercut St. Louis County prosecutor (08/18)

Unorthodox police procedures emerge in grand jury documents (11/25)

Questions to consider:
Besides requiring the police to wear body cameras, what can people do to prevent police brutality?

Why has there been an increase in police brutality cases?


Rene Chen said...

As I am sure most of our fellow senior class is out on the road already, and are wary of well, police officers. Police officers have an authority over us only if we break the law, other than that, they too are civilized citizens and should respect you as much as you respect them. However, in the Rodney King case of 1991, there was clear evidence of police brutality, showing no respect for the Rodney King, which I think is similar to the current Ferguson case. Police brutality is indeed a horrible thing, and can not really be prevented. I do not think there can really be an effective way to stop police brutality, other what is happening right now. The Ferguson case will provide an example to America as a whole, informing the public on police brutality. I think because of this case, many police officers will now be aware of their actions and be more careful on what they are doing, which will ultimately lower police brutality as for now.

Vivian Shen said...

I agree with Rene that now, since police brutality awareness has increased, police will now be forced to watch their actions. However, I believe that we can help this cause by not forgetting Ferguson. We can't let Mike Brown and what he went through go to waste, and we can't let Ferguson and the injustices faced by black citizens everywhere be forgotten.

One way to help is to join riots. Look how much rioting has helped in the past --- due to rioting, the civil rights movement, women rights movement, and LGBTQ+ rights movement have all received so many more rights that they started out with. This can't be a fight for only African Americans, we all need to show our support and show police that we stand with these people.

Additionally, there are many petitions going on to continue this Ferguson case, including this White House petition that hopes to charge Darren Wilson for first-degree murder on a federal level. This Ferguson case will be held as an example/precedent for all future cases of police brutality, so we must make sure the murderer does NOT walk free.

As for the reason there has been in increase in police brutality cases, I would argue that there has always been this level of police brutality: this has just been the first time that there was so much awareness and rioting. From 1991 to today, police brutality has been an ongoing issue. However, rather than lamenting the past and the corruption of the law enforcers, now is our chance to actually change something. With all the media attention on Ferguson and all the cities that are rioting for Mike Brown, we can finally make a difference! Just do not let America forget what happened at Ferguson.