Friday, August 15, 2014

American due process and justice for Mike Brown: Video of alleged robbery by the big black man

This morning, the Ferguson, Missouri, police department released the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown to death. The officer has been identified as Officer Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the police force. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson also released an incident report and a video showing a large black man allegedly committing a "strong-arm" robbery of cigarillos from a convenience store. The department alleges the man in the video to be Brown.

Already some people are angry about the video saying that either it's not Brown or it's not Brown on the day of the shooting, while others (and you can guess their sociopolitical leanings by their opinions) think the video exonerates Officer Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department.

The former doesn't matter in terms of the protest or the shooting, and the latter is plainly not true. In America, the police don't get to shoot unarmed people regardless of race.

As I said on Facebook and Twitter:

"Whether you believe that's ‪#‎MichaelBrown‬ in ‪#‎Ferguson‬ video or not, whoever it is is UNARMED. So, if the police want to stand by that video, what they've really shown us is Mike Brown did NOT have a gun. Do not be distracted! ‪#‎NMOS14‬"

And a person tweeted back: "@nordette_verite And last I checked, the punishment for theft of a Swisher isn't execution without trial!"

Don't we all know this?

Let's just consider that video a failed attempt at a Jedi Mind Trick. The Ferguson police want us to believe that they are not the drones we're looking for. But after their militaristic response--aiming weapons at civilians, approaching Ferguson like it's Falluja--Ferguson police have lost all credibility. They've shown that under stress, they view and treat members of the Black community like enemy combatants. If that's the culture of that department, then is it any wonder that Officer Darren Wilson shot an unarmed Mike Brown multiple times even as the man held his hands up and said that he didn't have a gun?

Captain Ron Johnson (and other people who believe in justice and due process) understands that the alleged robbery and the actual shooting are two different issues. Addressing the press and community this morning, he said to a reporter that the robbery and the shooting are separate: "People in our country commit crimes every day. I don’t want to mix the two, I’m not going to say that one justifies the other, and I think if we’re going to give answers, we need to not give hints. We need to say it.”

He also said that he will be talking with Ferguson's police chief about how to cooperate and communicate.

Related:  National Moment of Silence in New Orleans, August 14

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