Let preface my comments with this: I support the police. They are necessary to help keep the peace, to protect the public and to serve the community at large. They are there to enforce the laws and to arrest those involved in crime. I have friends in law enforcement. I want them to remain safe. I want them to come home at night, safe and sound.
I know there are folks who feel that Michael Brown’s death was justified, or warranted, or even coming to him, due to his actions. This may be true.
But THIS IS IMPORTANT. The autopsy showed CLEARLY that there were no powder burns on him. He was shot from a distance. He was clearly unarmed. I don’t care what his crime was — and at that point, by the admission of the police — the officer was not aware that Brown was involved in the robbery at the time.
The officer certainly had a responsibility to detain Brown for questioning. If they would not cooperate, he should have called for backup. Had Brown “bum-rushed” him, as some witnesses/friends have said, lethal force may have been necessary. BUT NOT FROM 35 FEET AWAY.
The lack of respect for the people in the Ferguson community on the part of the authorities is specific and obvious. This is America. This is NOT a police state.
Now, to talk about the rioters/looters. Listen carefully: BLACK AMERICA IS NOT A MONOLITH.
Black America is NOT a monolith. Those who are rioting, those who are looting, those who are causing trouble are not the people who live in that community. They are opportunistic anarchists who are seizing the chance to do two things: pillage the community and to cause overall mayhem.
Those responsible for the mayhem and destruction should be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They should be charged with sedition and the proverbial book should be thrown at them.
The people who simply want their community to be safe and to not be harassed by an overly militaristic police force should be allowed to speak their minds. They should be allowed to express their Constitutional right to speak out and to assemble.
Is this combination an easy one for those in power? No. But it is no different than the same situation in Nevada earlier this year. You had people whose ideologies and views differed from government and they, likewise, had the right to be heard.
Back to Michael Brown. The truth will, indeed, eventually come out. And if the facts support the actions of the officer, fine. And if the facts support the community, that’s also fine. But the authorities need to be as open, upfront and transparent as possible in order to ensure that everyone sees that justice is, indeed, colorblind.
Finally, the treatment of the press has been abhorrent. Information has been manipulated by law enforcement, by the governor, and even by some in the streets.
The journalists — those with the mainstream media AND those with the alternative press — are the eyes and the ears of the world. They should not be manipulated by either side to craft an endgame to these events favorable to one side or the other. That would make our society no better than the “second” or “third world” states that we claim to be better than.
I hope and pray this comes out with a positive outcome and a better understanding and relationship for both sides.