Michael Brown, August 9, 2014, 18 years old, to start college in two days, unarmed. Instead: stopped by police while walking on a Ferguson, MO street, suburb of St. Louis, he was shot and killed. Rioting, burning, and looting followed: “…like a war zone.”
The police version differs greatly from community eye witnesses, suggesting blinded justice, promising but unable to see how to deliver a police investigation with truth and transparency. Will the FBI and Department of Justice have the same problem?
Community of Ferguson eyewitness accounts vs. police account
• Michael Brown attempted to cooperate when stopped vs. assaulted officer
• First shot from car while Brown 35 feet away vs. in car struggle for the weapon
• Social media pictures of bruises and injuries vs. denial of them. Parallels between Minneapolis, Ferguson and other cities
• Ferguson, August 9: Michael Brown shot dead (White on Black)
• Minneapolis: August 9: nine citizens of color gunned down in a nightclub (Black on Black; all expected to survive)
• Ferguson: 67 percent African American, six percent of 53-member police department are Black.
• Minneapolis: 5.2 percent African American, nine percent of 770 members of MPD are Black
• Tension between police and USA African American communities continues as young Black males become an endangered species due to incarceration.
• Lots of false concern from Ferguson’s White mayor, White police chief, four of the five White city council members.
• Media focuses on violence while ignoring causes of violence.
• Sense of hopelessness heightens sense that no one cares, leading to more Fergusons — think Watts in Los Angeles 49 years ago, five days of rioting, martial law, 34 deaths, and over 1,500 injured and wounded.
• Needed but missing: Martin Luther King, Jr. level of moral leadership in governments, churches, businesses, and communities.
• Promote “community development” not “community containment”
• Change default response of police away from “reasonable fear” and “self-defense.”
• Change default response of Black gangs from “territory” and “retaliation” to Chamber of Commerce types of enterprises.
• Will the rioting scenario take place of no grand jury indictment, automatic exoneration of shooter, report of no FBI evidence of civil rights violations?
• Hope is seen in those of Ferguson attempting to follow a nonviolent model:
• White and Black citizens marching side by side in collective protest
• White and Black citizens attempting together to initiate significant changes in attitudes, policies and actions
• What’s at stake: globalization of citizen responses, with Ferguson- and Watts-style violence.
• Arab Spring of late 2010 precursor to today’s violence in Ukraine-Crimea-Russia; Gaza-Israel; Africa.
• American urban gangs and U.S./Mexican border violence hinders adoption of democracy and liberty concepts.
• Fifty years ago: working to end “unequivocally immoral laws aimed at America’s Black population.”
• Today: need to reawaken “the moral” in governments, churches and private do-gooder groups so they serve their communities, not their bureaucracies, as seen in this pathetic quote about Ferguson and race: “…has wrestled with the issue for decades.”
Avoid Fergusons by standing against injustice and for equal opportunity.
Why are so many citizens and office holders comfortable with violence? There is no “safety” in not respecting all life, regardless of color, a pre-requisite for a civilized society. Most disappointing: Black president urging us to remember Michael Brown “through reflection and understanding” rather than through education, jobs, economic development, and rethinking police actions.
We pray again for a Black family whose child has been gunned down by police. Our prayers continue for the opening of eyes of Black and White leadership worldwide to see and work toward peace and prosperity for all. End violence and establish stability in what should be the safest nation on the face of the earth.