Ferguson: Another Moment Of Being Young, Afraid & Black In America
Brandon Caldwell | 8/14/2014, 12:28 p.m.
The emotions that crawled over me in regards to the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown went something like this: anger, frustration, depression, hopelessness.
The anger rose in me because Brown's shooting, yet another in a series of systematic executions and public displays of excessive force by the police towards African-Americans did nothing but add to a list of names that stretches decades long now. Eleanor Bumpurs, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Jonathan Ferrell, John Crawford and even Michael Blair here in Houston. Unarmed, a threat to no one and in Blair's case, a man with a history of uncommon mental issues. The account from the police and an actual eyewitness vary. The only common point they have of agreement is the end, one in which Brown laid sprawled on a hot Ferguson, Missouri ground, motionless, his blood running from his body onto the pavement and running through the cracks.
Neither story dispute that an officer discharged his weapon in shooting Brown but the story told Sunday from the police felt more like trumped up fiction of a Hollywood film rather than real life. Brown was walking with his friend Dorin Johnson when they were stopped by an officer in a police truck. The officer attempted to leave his vehicle after talking to the boys. If you believe the narrative given by St. Louis County police officials then you would be believing a story in which one of the boys attempted to push the officer back into his vehicle, fought him, attempted to reach for his pistol before running away.
Johnson's account, which wasn't taken by police considering he was a direct eyewitness among others tells a different story. His account, one that involves the cop ordering the boys on the sidewalk and hitting Brown with his car door mentions the officer telling them, "I'm gonna shoot you." The cop fires a shot at the both of them, prompting them to run before a second shot halts Brown about 35 feet away from the officer's vehicle. Johnson remained hidden. Brown threw his hands up, reminding the officer that he was never armed and posed no threat.
Multiple shots are then fired, many of which striking Brown. An eyewitness account says the officer stood over Brown and unloaded his magazine into the 18-year-old teen. His body lay in the Missouri heat to bake and been seen as a talking point for the community for hours before he was led away for autopsy. The officer was placed on administrative leave, leading to a four day period which we're mired in now - tear gas, police officers dressed more than paramilitary soldiers with weaponry to fight in Iraq more than small town, USA and an angry community, quarantined in their own houses and subdivisions.
The reason for violence in Ferguson, for the unrest and anger is simple: the lack of cooperation by law officials in bringing one of their own to justice. In cases before where an officer may have feared for his life following an incident, their names were promptly released to the public without further incident. Administrative leave for the officer in question is more akin to protection. A scary consideration when a predominantly African-American community and a largely white police force are asked to cooperative with one another -- when there has been less cooperation on Capitol Hill.