25 Nov 2014

Ferguson braced after decision on Michael Brown shooting

The decision not to press charges against the white policeman Darren Wilson, who shot and killed 18-year-old unarmed teenager Michael Brown, is guaranteed to bring a reaction. Everything is aligned for that to happen.

But preparations are in place to step up action on the streets. The president, Michael Brown’s parents, local leaders have called for the reaction to be peaceful.

There were warnings this would be the verdict. Supporters of Darren Wilson have never doubted that he had no choice but to shoot and kill Michael Brown. One of his supporters told me over the summer, if he shot six times, it was because the fifth shot hadn’t done the job. Their view?  That Brown had lunged for Darren Wilson’s gun – that from that point on, Michael Brown was a threat to Darren Wilson’s life.

The legal apparatus favours the actions of police in cases like these. Which is why it is so rare that any police are prosecuted in cases like these. So rare, despite the fact that according to the latest figures, on average a white policeman shoots and kills a black person twice a week in the USA.

Community leaders, and friends and family of Michael Brown hoped that the jury would recognise their truth. That according to eyewitnesses, Michael Brown had his hands held high, he’d surrendered when he was shot and killed. That he posed no threat. That he died needlessly. That his death revealed the gaping inequity which pervades life in small towns like Ferguson where, if you are black, you’re more likely to be stopped and searched, arrested, fined.

The jury may have spoken – but they will not have the last word.

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One reader comment

  1. Alan says:

    The veneer of equality has seldom extended to 2nd class citizens. The words of Fredrick Douglass, Ida B Wells, Paul Robeson, etc,etc.etc are as pertinent today as when written.

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