Brown’s Death Should Be
As The Town Of Ferguson, Mo., Comes To Grips With The Shooting That Resulted In The Death Of A Soon-To-Be College Student, The Nation Once Again Grapples With The Issue Of Law Enforcement Aggression
By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine
Aug. 15, 2014 —Millions of Americans are victims of racial profiling by law enforcement on a regular basis.
I can’t relate.
Millions of Americans are afraid to walk home in public spaces because of unchecked aggression by law enforcement officers.
I can’t relate.
And millions of Americans are routinely denied their Constitutional rights to preserve the façade of public safety.
I can’t relate.
And that’s the problem. Too many members of the population ignore uncheck police aggression because they’re not victimized by it on a regular basis. But, that’s no excuse. As a human being, this should concern you.
A young unarmed black man was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo. The officer claims Michael Brown assaulted him in his police car, tried to grab his gun and ran off. Recent reports state that Brown was a suspect in the robbery of a $48.99 box of cigars.
Even if there is any truth in the officer’s story, the fact that he killed Brown is still an undeniable crime. Why was it necessary to shoot Brown multiple times in the chest and face when the officer’s life was not in danger? Even by the officer’s account, Brown was no longer struggling for the weapon when he took those fatal shots.
Brown could have been guilty of the theft the police are accusing him of: I don’t know what happened. But the penalty for theft in this country is not death. Or, it shouldn’t be.
Witness accounts say otherwise. They say the officer aggressively approached Brown and a friend to tell them to stop walking in an empty street.
They say the officer pulled Brown into the car and discharged his weapon. They say Brown tried to escape, was shot in the back and then killed when he tried to surrender.
By all accounts, this murder was racially motivated. As a young white man, I’ve never been asked to stop walking in the street — even when I have been doing so illegally. I’ve never heard any news stories about white men being assaulted for jaywalking.
The fact that Brown was murdered for ‘walking while black’ only makes the situation more disgusting because he shouldn’t have been stopped in the first place.
What is the justification for the use of deadly force in this situation?
There is none.
There is no justification for shooting an unarmed man multiple times after already shooting him in the back.
By all accounts, this murder was racially motivated. But, the outrage shouldn’t be. Every person, regardless of skin color, should be angry, upset, fed up.
Because it’s only getting worse. Rather than acknowledge that one officer made a horrible decision that ended a man’s life and will torment a family forever, the police department and government chose to react by outlawing outrage.
It refused to release the name of the officer for several days, and then attacked protesters because others chose to riot and loot. Rather than treating those two groups separately, the police profiled again and lumped them all into the same category.
In response to protesters, the government sent out rubber bullets and smoke grenades.
In response to journalists reporting the situation, the government made baseless arrests.
Isn’t our country supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave?
I hear a lot of rhetoric about being proud to be an American every day. But, if we’re so proud, then why are most of us sitting idly by when an American teenager is senselessly killed and people who care about that are assaulted by the same entity that took his life.
The situation is only going to get worse. As more facts about the case come out, law enforcement will undoubtedly try to tarnish Brown’s reputation. The same thing happened in the Trayvon Martin case. They will do anything they can to justify the shooting by creating a criminal named Michael Brown.
But, Brown as a victim is problematic for the entrenched power structure. By all accounts, he was a normal kid. He just graduated high school and was spending the summer with his grandmother before entering college. He should be in college now.
And that’s a travesty. He should be learning, growing right now. But instead, he’s gone. If this doesn’t piss you off, consider how you would react if an 18-year-old you know, maybe a family member or friend, was shot down for walking in the street days before their first day of college.
How would society react if six years ago I, a white man, was shot down for jaywalking just before classes began?
Unchecked police aggression is a problem for all of us whether you’re a victim of it or not. The situation in Ferguson is setting an ugly precedent. Regardless of skin color, this should concern you because another human being was murdered for no good reason and the people responsible are using rubber bullets and gestapo tactics to get away with it.
We live in a country that roundly condemns abuses of power by foreign governments. But that same government is sitting idly by while local power brokers arrest journalists, attack citizens and murder innocents.
What does that say about this country if we continue to stay silent? At best we’re hypocrites and at worst accessories to the crime.
The crime was racially motivated, but the outrage shouldn’t be. Another human being was murdered for no reason and you shouldn’t stand for it.
Don’t ignore this history of violence any longer. Make your voice heard and let anyone who listen know that you won’t stand for another one of our young men – a human being – getting gunned down in the street.
Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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