No Justice Brown Killing Means No End to Racial Tensions in America

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Three months after the murder of black teenager Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, the white police officer that shot his gun at him six times, walks free.

Can we call this justice?

The shooting of Michael Brown happened less than a month after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man who stood accused of shooting dead Trayvon Martin. The world was stunned, shocked and silenced by the verdict of the trial.

Michael Brown was an 18 year old black man who was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. Brown was shot after he raised his hands in the international sign of surrendering. Surely it’s common sense to charge Darren Wilson? Not according to today’s Grand Jury verdict, that Wilson that he would walk free.

Brown’s death famously sparked protests and unrest in Ferguson, a community already riddled with racial tensions between its majority-black community, and its majority-white police force. The police fired tear gas and rubber bullets after a minority of peaceful protestors became more violent, by setting off large fires, looting and breaking glass windows of stores. Ferguson has seen a repeat of such awful scenes today, with Obama urging for calm, and the police violently responding.

Michael Brown’s death has sparked a fury amongst the black community not only in the US, but in the UK. Members of society speaking out against signs of inherent and uncontrollable racism, both institutional and societal. One image that caught my eye on twitter was a banner that stated “Justice for ______! I left it blank because I’ll probably need this next year.”

There is an everyday ideological struggle that black Americans are going through, which is obvious through the viral hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. The black community has lost faith in its justice system, and has become alienated with civil society as a whole. Why wouldn’t you if all you get thrown back in your face is images of white police officers roaming free after ‘serving and protecting’ by killing young black males.

How many more black teenagers need to die before black people are treated as equals? How many more black teenagers need to die before justice is served?

I honestly wished I had gone to bed last night feeling confident that a fair verdict would arise at 2am, but I wasn’t. I was not confident that justice would be served. I was not enthusiastic that today would be a new day for black Americans. And so today, I was not surprised.I was not surprised at the verdict. I was not surprised at the backlash. I was just not surprised. And not being surprised right now is a sign that I have too lost faith in the American justice system.

Michael Brown’s death will not be forgotten, nor will the deaths of many other innocent black people, including Mark Duggan, the 29-year old Tottenham resident, killed by British police in 2011. Until the elite, the powerful, the bureaucracy understands that black lives matter, there will be no end to racial violence.

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Discussion1 Comment

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    Perhaps the author would like to take the opportunity to describe at which point exactly the shooting of either men is demonstrative of racism? From the article all I understood was that there is a perception among the black community in both of the affected areas that the police and judicial system is racist, but the author does not present any evidence to support this view other than that a black man was killed by a white man.

    Does the author maintain that Mike Brown was approached by the officer simply because of the colour of his skin rather than the fact that he was walking down the middle of the road causing cars to swerve around him at the time, or the fact that he had committed a violent robbery at a local convenience store moments before? Why did the author intentionally neglect to report this?

    Perhaps the racism instead occurred when he was shot. Does the author maintain that the officer shot him simply because of the colour of his skin and is this why they omit to mention that moments earlier eye-witness and expert testimony supports Wilson’s account that Brown reached into the officer’s car and struggled with him for control of his firearm? Likewise, why does the author present the surrender as unequivocal when there is eye-witness testimony and physical evidence to not only refute this but to support Wilson’s claim that Brown was charging him at the time?

    Similarly with regards to Mark Duggan, at what point was the shooting racially motivated? When the police investigated a gang member and drug dealer with previous arrests for theft, firearms possession, attempted murder and murder, who was believed to have just participated in a firearms sale and was at the time believed to be in possession of said firearm?

    At best the author can suggest that these are evidence of an over-emphasis on black males in police investigations which may in turn highlight a form of institutionalised racism. While I believe that such institutionalised racism and societal racism in general certainly still exist in both the US and the UK, I also consider it to be a shame that the author and other media use the examples of criminals to support this otherwise genuine claim. Why not use cases which demonstrate this instead of ignoring the facts to incorrectly dress up criminals like Brown and Duggan as saints simply because of the colour of their skin? After all, people should “not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”.

    At best these cases represent an institutional police-friendly bias within the US and UK judicial systems. An investigative article on this would have been a genuinely interesting read. Instead, we are given another simplistic, biased and inflammatory piece that intentionally ignores the facts in both cases to create a one-sided narrative that suits the author’s ironically quite racist agenda.

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