Execution-Style Killing Of Michael Brown Mirrors America’s Fear Of Black Men

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Prosecutor Bob McCulloch refuses to step down even after more than 70,000 petition signatures demanding he do so

[Speaking Truth To Power]

Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri amid escalating rage, protests and anxiety over the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown as the nation—and world—watched overly militarized police use strong-armed tactics against, mostly, peaceful protesters.

Given, America’s brutal history with dealing with Black people, do those—now moaning about peace, while justice remains elusive—really believe they can continue to beg young Black people to remain peaceful and non-violent when confronted with a racist “law and order” system that continues to brutalize—and kill them?

On Thursday, Mr. Holder said “few things” troubled him like his trip to Ferguson where the outrage over the killing of Brown has sparked explosive rage in Black people long victimized by police brutality and racial politics. Holder also said it was obvious the shooting “brought to the surface underlying tensions that have existed for many years.”

Besides overseeing the Justice Department probe into the killing, Mr. Holder is meeting with law enforcement officials and community leaders. The St Louis Post-Dispatch published a message from Mr. Holder to the people of Ferguson explaining the ongoing investigation by the Justice Department. The Justice Department has also conducted a third autopsy on the body of Michael Brown, besides one done by local Ferguson officials—and a private one done by legendary forensic pathologist  Dr. Michael Baden.

“This is my pledge to the people of Ferguson: Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent,” Mr. Holder said.” And beyond the investigation itself, we will work with the police, civil rights leaders, and members of the public to ensure that this tragedy can give rise to new understanding—and robust action—aimed at bridging persistent gaps between law enforcement officials and the communities we serve.”

Last Sunday, New York forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden released his autopsy findings in the homicide death of Michael Brown, saying the teen was shot six times. According to Dr. Baden, Brown was shot four times in the right arm and two times in the head—likely the last two shots fired. One of the head shots, went through Brown’s head above his right eye, and, another went through the top of his head, which was likely the kill shot.

“All of these gunshot wounds were survivable except the one to the top of the head,” Dr. Baden said.  Given the fact that Brown stood at 6-4, the downward trajectory of these two shots seem to confirm the accounts of eyewitnesses—who maintain Officer Wilson shot the teenager even as he was descending to a kneeling position.

Dr. Baden made a most important observation when he stated that basic information, like how many times Michael Brown was shot, could have been given to the community of Ferguson from “day one.”

Indeed, but from day one the Ferguson Police have concealed pertinent information. Why?

Ferguson Police claim Officer Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown. If that is the case, why can’t Officer Wilson tell us the story himself? Hasn’t he defeated his own claim of innocence by running away and hiding like a guilty coward?

Officer Wilson needs to tell us why he was shooting at a teenager who was running away from him? Where was the imminent danger? Why did he engage in such a dangerous action—that jeopardized the lives of everyone in the immediate area?

How could he be justified in shooting this kid—who stands at 6-4—in the head?

It seems apparent that the Ferguson Police has, clearly, troublingly, withheld essential information from the public regarding the conduct of this officer.

And their actions inspire zero confidence in believing anything they tell us about what happened on August 9. If that wasn’t bad enough, the St. Louis and Ferguson authorities—before they were removed from their duties by Governor Jay Nixon—engaged in attacking peaceful protesters and arresting journalists. Their apparent attempts at covering up the relevant information in this case should be thoroughly investigated by Mr. Holder and the Justice Department.

Many troubling things have reared their ugly head during the protests brought on by Mr. Brown’s killing, including the growing militarization of police. Seeing police manning armored vehicles rolling down civilian streets should shock us all. However, far too many in White America have no problem at all with this—once it takes place in Black communities.

After decades of protesting peacefully during recurring incidents of police brutality and murder, should America be surprised that Blacks are fed-up with accepting continuing, daily, levels of harassment and violence by those charged with “protecting and serving?”

The world has witnessed the explosive anger sparked by the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, by Officer Darren Wilson which led to days of peaceful protesting, sporadic rioting, and incidents of mayhem. We also saw an example of America’s rising militarized police forces—with officers using tear gas on people, in most incidents, for nothing. We even saw officers pointing sniper-rifles on peaceful protesters.

Didn’t those images make it clear that there is a war being waged against Black America?

This is why the movement of the Black community must be toward community policing—where the people policing the community live there.

Ironically, many White police officers who police Black communities live in segregated White areas where Blacks are viewed as bestial criminals. So, why should we allow people like this—who would never spend money in Black communities— to get jobs, where they can get away with killing with impunity those they despise?

Police in Black communities should be required to live there. Many of these White cops know that at the end of the day, regardless of what happens they will be going home to live in the isolated bubble of their White world. So, why should they care if they kill those whom some of them believe represent the criminal class anyway?

They know that there will be no adverse consequences or punishment for their unlawful actions.

We all saw the tremendous positive difference the approach of Missouri Highway Patrolman Capt. Ron Johnson made, especially, in the first night when he took over policing duties—before his work was undermined by the character assassination attempt that Ferguson Police made by releasing tapes of Michael Brown supposedly shoplifting from a convenience store.

Capt. Johnson lives in Ferguson. Wouldn’t it be better if officers like Capt. Johnson were responsible for policing Black communities full-time—instead of White cops some of whom are hateful and fearful of our people?

This cold-blooded killing, in broad daylight, illustrates the disregard many White officers have for the lives of Black people. After Officer Wilson murdered Brown, the Ferguson Police didn’t remove his body from the ground, where he was killed, for nearly five hours.

How much longer will we allow racist, White men—who make it abundantly clear they hate us—to come into Black communities to police us?

Those in all-White neighborhoods would never ever allow a police force full of Black people to police their communities. Nor would they tolerate people from outside their communities to craft police policy to govern the neighborhoods where they live. Why should we?

We also can’t trust that we will get justice from the local St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Many are demanding that the governor remove him.

Local prosecutors can hardly ever be trusted to prosecute those they work with daily. These kinds of cases should always involve using special prosecutors who have no ties to local officials—that is why the Justice Department should be also seriously investigating the actions of the Ferguson Police.

 

 

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