Michael Brown was walking down the middle of the street in Ferguson’s Canfield Green apartment complex around noon on Saturday with his friend Dorin Johnson when the two were approached by a police officer in a police truck. The officer exchanged words with the boys. The officer attempted to get out of his car. At this point, two narratives split.
According to the still-unnamed officer, one of the two boys shoved him back into the vehicle and then wrestled for his sidearm, discharging one shot into the cabin. The two ran, and the police officer once again stepped from his vehicle and shot at the fleeing teenagers multiple times, killing Brown.
In the late 1980s, Public Enemy’s Chuck D famously declared that “Rap is CNN for black people.” To the extent that that’s true nearly three decades later, rappers across the country have been tweeting in reaction to the police violence that’s been unleashed on the black residents in Ferguson in the aftermath of Mike Brown’s killing. Some, like Bambu and Jasiri X, are actively involved in community organizing. Others, like Jean Grae, have reached back into their personal histories to talk about the legacies of state-sanctioned violence. And then there’s Questlove, who’s not a rapper, but as influential as any musician in America right now. No matter the message, thousands of fans are tuned in.
The story then goes on to list the names, ages, and specific charges of each of those. And that’s fine! They have been charged with a crime, that information is public record.
The problem, of course, is that the officer who murdered Michael Brown remains incognito, protected by a police force that has clearly closed ranks around its resident killer.
Now, some may argue, the murderer cop hasn’t been charged with anything yet! And of course, that’s even more of a problem. The eyewitness accounts are pretty clear about what happened. And the autopsy report? Well, police are trying to keep it secret for the next month…
According to a police report, the guard said he used the spray because Wilford balled his fists and “took an aggressive step towards him.” […]
“I thought he (the guard) was the helper, that’s why I approached him. But he thought I was the threat,” Wilford said Monday. […]
Afterward, the heckler walked away and a YouTube video shows that the guard held and eventually handcuffed Wilford, about the time police showed up. A Seattle police officer shouted at a few of the onlookers to stay back as the guard escorted Wilford into Westlake Mall. Demonstrators shouted, “You pepper-sprayed the wrong guy” and similar comments.
A day after Williams’ passing, the radio host asked one of his audiences, “What is the left’s world view in general? If you had to attach, not a philosophy, but an attitude to a leftist world view. It’s one of pessimism, and darkness, sadness. They’re never happy, are they? They’re animated in large part by the false promises of America because the promises of America are not for everyone.”
Limbaugh then went on to cite a Fox News story that said Williams committed suicide because he was embarrassed to take TV roles and parts in movie sequels, but that he had to do it because he had money troubles.
“He had it all but he had nothing; made everybody else laugh but was miserable inside. I mean, it fits a certain picture or a certain image that the left has. Talk about low expectations and general unhappiness and so forth,” Limbaugh said.
Tiffany Mitchell told KMOV News 4 that she saw an officer inside a police vehicle wrestling with Brown through the car’s window before a shot rang out. That’s when she says that Brown began running away. Mitchell says the officer fired again and Brown raised his hands in the air before being fired upon until he was killed.
“The cop just continues walk up on him and shoot him until he goes all the way down,” she recalls. Mitchell also has new video, taken from her cell phone.
In many North County municipalities, it seems police run contests to see how many young black men you can pull over, flaunting the officers’ power and the motorists’ powerlessness. Our young men especially are regularly inconvenienced and humiliated while simply trying to get where they are going. The Missouri Attorney General annually releases a report, which no black person needs to read, that documents appalling disparities in how often black drivers are pulled over and searched, compared to white people, all over the state and the region.
But Michael Brown was not pulled over while driving. He was told to get out of the street while walking. For offering what was initially, according to an eyewitness, the mildest of resistance to a rude and unnecessary police order, this unarmed teen was shot in the middle of the day, and his bullet-riddled body left by police to lay in the street for hours, as if to provide a grisly example.
Robin’s sobriety was intact and he was brave as he struggled with his own battles of depression, anxiety as well as early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, which he was not yet ready to share publicly.
It is our hope in the wake of Robin’s tragic passing, that others will find the strength to seek the care and support they need to treat whatever battles they are facing so they may feel less afraid.”
If society fails to identify and process Ferguson as a major lesson then it will be guilty once again of the very action that caused the riot and the rage in the first place. The continued execution of unarmed, young African American men is a crime that nobody should support, whether directly or indirectly. It should be condemned as a crime against state-agents and prosecuted accordingly. However, studies continue to show that when it comes to perceptions of justice, law enforcement, and dangerousness, whites, in particular, continue to believe that Blacks are dangerous and criminal, and therefore deserving of harsher treatment. It is these attitudes that prevent change from occurring. So long as the majority believes in the legitimacy of differential law enforcement, ostensibly based on myths of Black criminality, police will continue to be justified in responding disparately to African Americans, which to many African Americans includes the outright execution of unarmed, innocent, Black males.