If you watch CNN, FOX News or even MSNBC religiously, chances are you haven’t heard much, if at all, about what’s been going down in Ferguson, Missouri. It all follows yet another police murder of a black person. And the people are highly pissed.
Michael Brown was a high school graduate who was shot down by a police officer on his way – on foot – to visit his grandmother, or at least heading in that direction. As of now, there are no details as to why the officer killed Brown. But one thing is definite. The young man was unarmed.
Immediately following the murder, protesters descended on the scene along with 100 police cars from 15 departments! Apparently, the cops figured they were going to have a riot on their hands.
And they would be correct.
Articles from various news sites state there protests are now becoming violent with reports citing looting in various places, mostly in suburban areas. There are even rumors that the national guard has been called to deal with the situation. Basically, all hell broke loose in this little city. The murder of Michael Brown was apparently the last straw.
According to CBS News, Ferguson police say that the officer, who has yet to be identified, was the one threatened by Brown. Residents are not buying that. Police say that Brown, along with another dude, pushed the officer into his car, struggling to get his gun. One shot was fired when the cop tried to exit his car.
However, Dorian Johnson, who said he was with Brown, had a different story. He said the officer pulled up to the two teens and exchanged a few words. He choked Brown while forcing him to get into his squad car. That’s when the young man panicked and ran. Seconds later, he was shot.
There has been a hostile relationship between the black residents of Ferguson and the police. Racial profiling in this area is clearly shown in this chart. Statistics have shown that way more black residents have been stopped, searched and arrested as opposed to any other ethnicity in that city. Of course, the argument will be the generic, “Well they commit the most crimes in that area” explanation, whatever they will say to excuse police sanctioned racism.
The riots that followed Michael Brown’s murder was not solely because of how he died. A good friend of mine Jason Williams explains how the anger felt by Ferguson’s black citizens is more deep than what the media will allow the public to know:
What some are failing to realize is that the rage from Ferguson is not 100% due to the murder of Mr. Brown. It is connected to centuries of bullying, harassment, and differential treatment from police AND other qualifying agents of state sanctioned social control. The type of rage we’re witnessing is historically based–do not limit its scope! Oh and the response is one of a different generation, this instance of resistance will surely go down in history for a number of reasons!
Michelle Alexander’s passage from her book The New Jim Crow explains why the people are reacting the way they are.
Sadly, some people will not understand the emotions or actions felt by those who were pushed to the edge. I had a few people tell me on Twitter how the rioting and looting was outrageous and would bring no justice, that black-on-black crime was a more important issue and one person just told me to simply shut the fuck up.
I understand the rage the people of Ferguson are expressing. This was another in a growing list of (unarmed) black folks killed by police. And black people, in that area, was not going to take it anymore.
Sure, people will tell us that violence is not the answer, but most of those people don’t know how it feels to be subjected to institutionalized violence that have a tremendous and even mortal effect on your life on a constant basis. That’s why I wasn’t having any bullshit from those who dare tell me that what’s going on in Ferguson would do no justice.
They would say how breaking the law in reaction to a murder would not deliver justice. Here’s the question; How can you expect people to respect the law when the law doesn’t respect people’s lives?