"Grant Me Justice...."
"Hands Up-Don't Shoot!" read the signs. But the police officer did shoot in fear for his life. Michael Brown was called Hulk Hogan and a Demon. Michael was an unarmed Hulk and Demon. A witness 50-100 yards away said Michael Brown was charging him. Others said Michael Brown had his hands up and was not charging. Conflicting testimony.
The District Attorney called a Grand Jury to decide if there was "probable cause" for a trial. But the DA abused his authority. He manipulated the Grand Jury and set them up to do his bidding. He turned the Grand Jury into a Trial Jury to decide the officer's guilt or innocence. "Probable cause" was off the table. There was no cross examination of witnesses. The result: officer Wilson walked free. What followed were riots and demonstrations nation wide. MLK, Jr. said: "A riot is the language of the unheard." People demanded to be heard! People sensed a miscarriage of justice.
A Black leader said a Black youth is 21 more times ready to be shot or called to account by police than a White person. Meanwhile, a 12 year old Cleveland, Ohio boy playing in a park is shot dead by police for brandishing a pellet gun! Remember Trayvon Martin? Yes, in the Twin Cities, the majority of gun crime and gun violence is caused by African Americans. Yes, policing is a dangerous job. But so is being a Black man or youth.
Police officers are given TOO MUCH leeway, TOO MUCH benefit of the doubt on when to shoot. TOO MUCH! In Minneapolis, nearly 500 police/citizen shooting/confrontation incidents have occurred over a span of time and there has been ZERO police convictions. Hmmm. I think there is a justice disconnect between what is justifiable homicide and alternative nonviolent responses to incidents. Why do police most likely go for a "kill shot" rather than a disabling shot to the legs or arms? Why is it that police believe lethal shots are justified simply because they "felt threatened" for their life? This is too existential, too relative, too subjective, too Libertarian.
In 1985, the United States Supreme Court decided that "a police officer cannot use lethal force against a fleeing suspect unless the officer has reason to believe the suspect is armed and an immediate threat to public order." Michael Brown was unarmed and no threat to public order other than perhaps having a handful of "cigarillos."
Is it any wonder there is a consistent cry for justice? A son is dead, parents grieve, and portions of our nation weep and get angry, crying out for justice. The racial divide is exposed!
There is no place for a blood lust. There is a place for conversation, action, and justice. Action should include additional training of police officers, teaching officers the practical meaning of the 1985 Supreme Court decision. Action should be the wearing of video cams to document all incidents and arrests. Action should be training officers to NOT shoot unarmed suspects, and if shooting is deemed necessary, training to NOT go for a "kill shot." Why not the legs or the arms? Police should be required to carry Mace, a baton, and a Taser gun. Police should be taught to be more aware of the context of the incidents. If you are called to a toy store, the chances are that if you are confronted with a person carrying a toy gun, think that the gun actually is a toy gun! Recognize it for what it is!
As for now, the Federal Government Department of Justice should bring Darell Wilson to trial on Federal charges. There is clear evidence for "probable cause." Mr and Mrs. Brown call for justice, as do millions of citizens. Let this situation spark a renewal in police ethics and training. This tragedy has awakened deeply felt dissension, and torn the scab off the suppurating wounds of racism. Someone said (paraphrase): "Don't let a tragedy go to waste." Tragedy can unite. Tragedy can lead to healing. Let it be so. "I want justice!" the widow cries. As does America.
"For he is our peace; in his flesh, he has made both groups
into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is,
the hostility between us."