On August 9, just a couple of weeks ago, Michael Brown was shot in the street by a Ferguson police officer. Because Brown was an 18-year-old black male, naturally, and unarmed, he has become the newest cause in the vein of Trayvon Martin.
We didn’t even have all of the facts, and by the end of the day – the day he was killed – he was being immortalized as a “gentle giant” who had been shot by a racist white cop. By the next day, protests had turned into riots. The riots are continuing today, with everyone from the rioters to the governor of Missouri to the President calling for the officer, Darren Wilson, to be immediately and vigorously prosecuted.
Who gives a damn what the facts are, right? Michael Brown was a little angel who was innocently walking home and a cop randomly executed him because of his skin color. Darren Wilson, if you’re buying the media’s story and that of the rioters, was a racist who committed cold-blooded murder and that’s all they need to know.
As is always the case, facts have come out since then that have shed a lot of light on what happened, but to see what’s still going on you’d never know it. Last night two white protesters trying to defend the officer from the mob were violently chased until police put them in cruisers and physically drove them far from the scene. Fully 57 rioters were arrested, yet only four of them were even from Ferguson – and of the 53 who were from out-of-town, another 16 were from other states.
Here’s what we have so far between the police and witnesses.
At 1201 local time, officer Darren Wilson was headed to a nearby convenience store that had been robbed when he spotted Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson walking down the middle of the street. While still in his cruiser, he asked them to move to the sidewalk and out of the street; Brown and Johnson mocked the officer and refused to comply. Wilson stopped, exited his cruiser, and again asked the pair to move out of the street. Brown shoved Wilson back into his cruiser and began assaulting him, punching him with his fists and then struggling to take his gun from him. At some point during the struggle, the gun went off, and Brown began to flee. Wilson got out and leveled his weapon at Brown, commanding him to “freeze!” Brown turned and said, “what are you gonna do, shoot me?” Brown then rushed Wilson and Wilson fired several more shots until Brown finally fell dead in the street.
Some of this information has been disputed. The original story was that Brown had his hands up and was surrendering, and the officer – out of spite or hatred – just decided to keep shooting. A video was released, however, proving that to be false – a video of several witnesses in the neighborhood watching the crime scene and talking about what happened. Then there’s the position of Brown’s body. He was in the street, his head toward the cruiser, facedown. Add that to the bullet trajectories, and the evidence shows that Brown was probably running when he was shot. If he wasn’t running away from Wilson, that means Wilson is likely telling the truth.
Wilson was also badly injured. We don’t know all of the details, but we know that he was taken to the hospital with severe facial bruising and swelling and it was discovered that he had an orbital socket blowout – meaning that the bone surrounding his eye had been shattered. That takes a great deal of force to produce and normally requires surgery to repair.
Then there’s statistics. Those don’t lie. According to the FBI, between 2003-2012 a total of 25 officers were killed with their own service pistols. That means that the perps in these cases struggled with the officers, took their guns from them, and killed them. That sort of situation is at the forefront of every officer’s mind. If a man is willing to physically attack a uniformed and armed police officer, that officer is trained to assume that the perp has that very intention – now their life is in danger and they have no other option. Since he had already struggled with Wilson once, I think we can assume that’s exactly what Brown had in mind.
But what about the robbery video, Mel? If Wilson didn’t know about the robbery yet, why would they have released that video? Well, let’s talk about that. First of all, we don’t know if Wilson knew about the robbery; it is believed from several reports that he had heard about it and was heading toward the store that had been robbed, but we don’t know for sure. Whether he knew about it or not, that video is evidence of something very important here, something I shouldn’t have to explain to anybody.
Do you think an 18-year-old boy is going to believe that a police officer asking him questions isn’t interested in him because of the crime he had literally just committed minutes before? I promise that’s exactly what he thought. Since he thought he was being contacted because of the robbery, I guarantee he felt like he had nothing to lose.
Being unarmed does not mean he was innocent, nor does it mean that he posed no threat. The fact that he was 18 doesn’t mean he was a boy; he was 6’5″ and weighed 250 lbs. The fact that the officer might not have known about the robbery doesn’t mean that he didn’t have a reason to ask Brown and Johnson to move out of the street. Brown’s parents should have taught him more effectively to respect the authorities in his life.
All of these people who are out in mobs rioting and demanding justice against an officer who is likely innocent are not making things better. Rather than being violent and insisting on the outcome they want, they should be insisting that the truth come out – and be willing to live with whatever the search for truth comes up with. If and when officer Wilson is vindicated, nobody currently screaming for his head is going to settle for that truth. Governor Nixon won’t step forward to apologize. Al Sharpton certainly won’t apologize. Nobody is going to learn from this. This incident isn’t about finding the truth…it’s about getting what they want, and what they want is to continue in their belief that the black community bears no responsibility for their current condition. They want to believe that everything going on is someone else’s fault. Until that mindset is challenged from their own leadership, nothing will change.
Oh, and about Dorian Johnson…he currently has a warrant out for his arrest in St. Louis for giving a false report to a police officer. Don’t make him out to be innocent.
As for officer Wilson, his life is over. He will never be allowed to live in peace again, and that is a travesty that cannot be put to words. I am sorry that the Brown family lost their son. It appalls me, however, that they are so willing to allow that officer and his family to have everything they know and love taken from them by the rabble.