Michael Brown was an 18 year old black man who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri 08/9/2014. Michael had intensions to go to college with no previous criminal record. The death of Brown sparked subsequent events in Ferguson and became a national controversy touching on much larger national issues of race, justice, and police violence. This event grew even more national attention when police reacted to protesters, even those acting peacefully, with military-grade equipment such as armored vehicles, tear gas, rubber bullets, and sound cannons. Ties between local residents and their government arose again when heard the investigation into the shooting, inherently secretive grand jury proceedings and subsequent reactions which controlled by mostly whit politicians despite Ferguson’s majority black population. One of the main reasons this shooting grew national attention was the fear commonly held by many parents is that black lives matter less, particularly in the face of increasingly heavily armed police who carry tremendous legal freedom.
Allegedly, Wilson claimed that Brown was charging at him and he fired 6 gunshots at the unarmed man. Brown died 150 ft. from the car, despite earlier statements that Brown died just 35 ft. from the vehicle. Two of the six shots were fired at the head of the unarmed man. Eyewitnesses who went public said Brown and Wilson had a confrontation at the officer’s SUV. Brown ran and Wilson chased after Brown and shot the teenager to death as he attempted to surrender. Constitutionally, police officers are allowed to shoot to protect their life or the life of another innocent party, and/or to prevent a suspect from escaping but only if the officer has probable cause to think the suspect’s committed a serious violent felony. Officers must demonstrate that their actions were objectively reasonable given the circumstances and compared to what other police officers might do (According to David Klinger, University of Missouri-St. Louis Professor).
Wilson needed to demonstrate that he feared for his life not just when Brown was by the car, but even after he started shooting, he needed to establish that Brown continued to pose a threat to him until the last fired shot. Brown’s family urged a Michael Brown law following Grand Jury’s Decision not to indict Officer Wilson. NAACP, National Action Network, and others have been working with the family to create a law where it requires that every police officer in every American city is required to have video body cameras that record every move they make.
The benefits of officers wearing body-worn video technology include evidence that both officers and civilians acted in a more positive manner when they were aware that a camera was present, new opportunities for effective training of law enforcement officers presented by the use of cameras, and useful evidence of interactions was often captured on video (as reported on the white house petitions gov page). This would be a Consequentialism solution where the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Hopefully, this Law will clear up the major hurdles the black community continue to face in the United States 21st Century.