Why has the shooting of eighteen year old Michael Brown affected my community? Some say it was a race issue others say it was police brutality. Racism being a very sensitive matter in the community that I live in, all though I do not live in Ferguson City, it is only a twenty minute drive from my front door. It has effected where I live as it brings up civil rights, police use of unlawful and deadly force, and racism issues. The shooting of this young man has rocked our communities, and it is more than likely to get worse before getting better. How can we stop events like this from happening in our communities?
The civil rights of several us citizens had been violated in the following ways. We as a people have the right to peaceful protest, freedom of speech, not be profiled, and not be unlawfully detained or restrained. One afternoon in Ferguson Missouri all of these rights got broken and started a horrible civil rights protest. Several Ferguson by police officers and other local law officials have been accused in recent lawsuits by citizen about civil rights violations. Some of these allegations include killing a mentally ill man with a Taser, hitting a child with a pistol. Choking and hog tying a child. Beating a man and charging him with property damage because his blood splatter on the officer’s clothes. A Mother (Tracey White) and her son was arrested for practicing her rights to freedom of speech while waiting for a ride home after peacefully protesting.
When is it alright for an officer to use deadly force? Use of deadly force is acceptable if the suspect is a threat to the officer or the general public safety. The Ferguson police reported that Mr. Brown got fired on during a struggle with the officer. Dorian Johnson, the friend that was with Michael. Stated that the officer opened fire when the young men refused to move from the middle of the street. Police and protestors both agree that Mr. Brown was unarmed.
Now with both parties agreeing that the young Mr. Brown had no weapon there was no threat that requires the use of deadly force. “In the quest to understand the racial dynamics of police brutality, we are well overdue for a new visual beyond Rodney King getting,” (Shedd, Jan). Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson (officer that fired the shots that killed Michael Brown) told authorities Brown reached for the gun during a struggle. Officer Wilson’s account of the instance did not explain why he shot at Michael multiple times after emerging from his vehicle.
Which now brings me to the racism side of the situation. If this was not race oriented. Then why this unarmed young black male was shot six times two of which were in the head. His body was allowed to lie in the center of Canfield Drive for over four hours. These have caused many different events to expire, and there has been looting of business like the market, tire and rim shop, and the salon. Businesses to be burned to the ground like the quick-trip after it got looted. The peaceful protest went on for the first week ended with a standoff between protesters and police. The police formed a line and engaged the protestors with tear gas. After long nights of back and forth daybreak would arrive, and things would mellow out slightly.
First days of school in Ferguson had been postponed due to the facility did not feel it was safe to have children in the schools the first couple day. “Racism is manifested or reflected in a multiplicity of ways, including: the teaching of basically Eurocentric curriculum; the paucity of research and courses on racism; the absence of an anti-racist pedagogy; incident of racial harassment and overt racism; the lack of resources allocated to implement effectively and anti-racism policies and practices; the power relations between white majority and minority faculty and staff; the polarization between white students and students of color, and the resistance to social change processes designed to eliminate racism. Despite the fact that racism is a pervasive and systemic force” (Frances & Tator, 1999).
Two and a half months have gone by since Michael Brown was gunned down in the streets of Ferguson Missouri by police officer Darren Wilson. The social and political movements that were started by young Michael browns death are still raging on. People from Ferguson and from across the nation came together for a “weekend of resistance”. Those who attended took part in marches, rallies, and demonstration for several days.
All leading up to a massive rally on Saturday October, 12 2014. There were reports of over Three thousand people in attendance for the march on Saturday being called “justice for all.” It was a diverse crowd of supporters in the streets of St. Louis Missouri. Protestors are demanding justice for Brown and other black men who have been slain by police officers. A lot of the protests have intensified because of the way that the police have responded.
The events that have occurred could have been avoided. We as citizens need to understand that these kinds of issues happen everywhere. Issues of this sort do not just appear out of thin air. If we were more involved in our communities and the voting of our government officials, we would be heard sooner. Members of our society need to stand up for our rights, communities elect strong leaders ones that listen not just hear our options and make changes in our towns and cities. Together as one we can be heard and put a stop to all the violence and police brutalities. Participation will help us all as United States citizens win our civil rights back.
Frances, H., & Tator, C. (1999). Racism and the university. _Canadian Ethnic Studies, 26.3_(74), 1.
Shedd, C. (January 2010). Race and Police Brutality: Roots of an Urban Dilemma. _Contemporary sociology, 43_(39.1), 1.