After months of deliberation by the grand jury we finally learned on November 24th, the much anticipated decision on the officer who fatally killed Michael Brown. After days of preparation from the state of Missouri who called a state of emergency and ordered for the National Guard; the country waited down to the final hours on Monday evening, to hear the announced decision that there would be no-indictment against Darren Wilson.
Many anticipated justice would be denied but still held on to a small flare of hope that maybe this time it would be different. The grand jury’s job was to simply decide was there enough evidence to indict and go to trial, not to determine Darren Wilson’s guilt or innocence. However, the way the St. Louis County Prosecutor, Robert McCulloch was explaining the grand jury’s decision and the evidence he presented, it sounded more like he was a defense attorney and not a prosecutor trying to get an indictment. Concerns were raised very early about Prosecutor Robert McCulloch close family and professional ties to the police department. The National President of the NAACP, President Cornell Brooks urged with many others that a special prosecutor be used in Michael Brown’s case instead of Prosecutor McCulloch, to ensure the process was done fair. However, he refused to recuse himself and the end result was what we expected, no justice from the prosecutor because of his failure to be objective.
Many share the disappointment and pain of the Brown family. In the end they just wanted justice for their son. Despite the miscarriage of justice we cannot be discouraged and we definitely cannot stop the fight against police misconduct and police brutality. Michael Brown, John Crawford III, Eric Garner and many others who have died senselessly, will not have died in vain. This is why it is important that we are organized and united not just in protest but in actionable tasks to create and urge the passing of laws that can bring forth the justice we want to see. Currently the Brown family is urging for a law that body cameras be on all law enforcement agents across the country and it is called the Michael Brown Law.
In Ohio, State Representative Alicia Reece, is working to get support on a bill called the John Crawford Law that will require special markings or bright colors on fake guns. This was proposed after the senseless killing of John Crawford III who was gunned down by police in a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio while holding a BB gun sold in the store. Just recently Tamir Rice a 12 year old Cleveland native was shot and killed by police at a recreation center playground after being mistaken of possessing semi-automatic weapon which was later discovered to be a fake gun.
Both these efforts we should support by calling, and emailing our congress person and state legislators. If it is brought to a vote by the people we have to be consistent in getting out to vote. Despite the outcome of many of these cases involving police killing unarmed black men and children, black life does matter!
We cannot be deterred by the broken judicial system that tells us that these shootings were justified. Justified means acceptable, warranted, validated, or necessary; Both Michael Brown’s and John Crawford III’s death was not acceptable, warranted, validated and certainly was not necessary. They were both shot under the assumption there was a threat when there was none, and because there was no initial threat, the police should have been held accountable for their actions. This is why I believe a law should be pushed nationwide that police cannot use deadly force unless the threat is absolute.
Police are given a great deal of latitude when it comes to the use of deadly force. They simply have to reasonably believe they are endanger or perceive a threat and rather they were right in their assumptions or wrong they are not held accountable. This is the problem.
We not only expect our law enforcement to serve and protect but also be tactical in situations of uncertainty. Police are supposed to be trained to de-escalate situations. This skill seem to be used less and less or perhaps selectively because there have been more violent scenarios like James Holmes who shot and killed many in a movie theater but in that case the perpetrator is not dead.
We know police have the ability to use better judgment because majority of them do, but the ones who fail to utilize the training they are given to survey their surroundings, and attempt to de-escalate a situation should not be protected by the law.
Change doesn’t happen on its own. In order to ensure that these young men’s life was not in vain we have to fight for these laws to bring forth accountability and to prevent senseless acts like these from happening again.