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.”
— pretty p. (@dopeparisian) August 18, 2014
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.