It was a murder that made the whole world cry out in anger. It was a tragedy that unveiled to the international crowd the brutal, antiquated, often hypocritical outlook many American people and the American police forces still had on race and equality.
It was the killing of Michael Brown.
Many of us are familiar with this misfortune. It’s been over half a year since, and yet it is still a much discussed topic, as it should be. Michael Brown was a teenager looking forward to attending college in the fall of 2014, when he, unarmed, was told to approach a police vehicle by an officer named Darren Wilson under the pretenses of “jaywalking.” He was killed by the white police officer in the city of Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. Witnesses had varying stories about how the situation played out, but nonetheless, this event of police brutality stirred the entire city of Ferguson. The debate was whether to fight back against the police force, or side with Wilson. The situation spread like wildfire, and places like New York City, New York, and Oakland, California, rallied protesters to fight against the terrible injustice.
When the time for the trial came around, the slightly dimming spark was flamed again, brighter than ever, at both the words Wilson had to say about the situation, and the decision made by the grand jury to not indict Wilson.
Claiming that he had a “clean conscience because I know I did my job right,” Wilson further added onto his comment that if he had the opportunity to relive that moment, he “would not do anything different that day.”
And although many people who were once impassioned by Brown’s unjustified death have filed his tragedy as an event of the past, there are still many people who come to pay their respects at Brown’s makeshift memorial in Ferguson every day, who tend to it whenever a disrespectful, cowardly person comes in the dead of the night to ruin it. There are still many people who are trying to do the one last thing they can do for the deceased teenager, and that is to bring him at least some form of justice he fully deserves.
The Justice Department has been conducting investigations on the Ferguson police force, only to find out that the police department had a pattern of mainly persecuting the minorities of the city, especially African Americans. Unfortunately, because the Grand Jury claimed that Wilson was innocent, they are unable to rescind this judging. But to prevent situations like the incident of Brown from happening again, the Justice Department has issued a warning to the Ferguson police force to fix their predictable judgements. Failure to do so could result in “consent decree,” according to Jeffrey Toobin, a CNN senior legal analyst, which would mean that the police force will negotiate “a settlement in which Ferguson will announce that they will make changes in their police department by improving training, perhaps change hiring, perhaps change leadership…” It will be responsible for heavy impacts on part of the police chief of Ferguson, some of the police officers, perhaps on the mayor himself, and definitely on the Ferguson police department as a whole.
And although Wilson still will live with a “clean conscience” and free of indictment, movements like these will hopefully lessen the amount of racially-influenced targeting that is happening not only in Ferguson, but also in so many other cities today. Hopefully, there will gradually be a reduce in situations like the murder of Mike Brown, and the age old practice of racial discrimination will, once and for all, come to a close.
Rest in power, Michael Brown.
– Faith Choi (’16)
Header: Jamelle Bouie