The Execution-Style Killing Of Michael Brown In Ferguson: An Emmett Till Moment?

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Michael Brown

[Commentary]

Was the officer who killed Michael Brown a racist hot-head out to provoke an incident?

Was the firing of his weapon sparked by rage because the boys, Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson, had actually dared to speak back to him? They had told him that they were near their destination when he ordered them off the street as they walked home, according to Johnson.

Was that an Emmett Till moment? In that horrible Mississippi murder  14 -year old Till's only "guilt" was, allegedly, saying a few words to a White woman.

The St. Louis Police, which is handling the local investigation, in conjunction with the FBI, has refused to release the officer's name, claiming safety.

An unarmed innocent young man has been killed apparently without justification. The officer's "safety" does not trump the life of a young man, a Black male, even if the St. Louis Police chief thinks otherwise.

The officer's name must be revealed. The St. Louis Police chief should be able to take care of his security needs. The public also is entitled to know this officer's background and his record.

The killing of Michael Brown did appear to be "execution"-style, if the account provided by the friend who was with him, Dorian Johnson is accurate.

Johnson's account, provided to several media outlets, has been consistent.

It is chilling.

According to Johnson, last Saturday he and Brown were walking on an empty street at around 1.40 PM or about 2PM when a police car pulled up near them and an officer said "get the fuck" off the street.

Johnson said they told the officer that they were a few minutes from their destination. He said the officer was so close to them that when he tried to open his car door it bounced off their bodies and back at the officer.

He claims at that point the officer then grabbed Brown through the window of the car and that the 18 year old resisted being pulled into the car. He says the officer continued to hold Brown with one hand and pulled out his weapon with his other hand. He then threatened twice to shoot Brown and a second later the gun went off and a bullet struck his friend.

The officer released Brown after he was shot and "that's how we was able to run" Johnson said, adding that he found cover behind a vehicle.

He said he was able to observe the officer as he pursued Brown. The officer continued to fire and shot Brown in the back.  Brown then turned around and raised his hands and told the officer he was unarmed, Johnson said in the interview.

"Before he could get his second sentence out the officer fired several more shots into his head and chest area," Johnson said. "It was just horrible to watch," he added, describing Brown's last seconds of life, "I could see the pain in his eyes.""It was like being shot like an animal," Johnson also said.

Aspects of Johnson's description of the encounter are supported by that of Piaget Crenshaw who said she witnessed the killing from her apartment. She described the seconds when she saw Brown running, stopping, then turning to face the police with his hands up before he was shot several times.

The St. Louis Police Department, which was asked to take over the investigation by Ferguson Police, claims that Brown had "assaulted" the officer and "struggled" for the officer's gun, which Johnson, the dead teenager's friend, says never happened.

Even if the St. Louis Police Department's claim was true, how would that account for the officer pursuing Brown, shooting him in the back, and then mowing him down when he had raised his arms?

According to media reports Brown was at a distance of about 35 feet away from where the officer fired the multiple final shots that killed him.

So how could he have presented a threat to the officer at that distance, unarmed, and running away from him?

The St. Louis Police have not been able to rebut the witnesses' description of the final shots which do appear to have been execution-style killing.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, President of the National Action Network was in St. Louis yesterday to meet with Brown's family. He has also urged calm even as protests continued through a third day now.Sharpton also wants the federal government to take over the investigation instead of running a parallel one with the local authorities.

Judging by the actions of the St. Louis Police Department so far, he is on point.

"He was a peaceful person," Johnson said of his friend Brown, whose parents were to have driven him to college this week, "and he lived his life peaceful."

Brown and Ferguson deserve justice for his very violent death.

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