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Opinion: Ferguson decision has ‘everything to do with race’

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People take to the Oval Nov. 25 in reaction to the events in Ferguson, Mo. Credit: Elizabeth Tzagournis / Lantern repoter

People take to the Oval Nov. 25 in reaction to the events in Ferguson, Mo.
Credit: Elizabeth Tzagournis / Lantern repoter

The decision of the grand jury in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown has sparked a clear outrage throughout America.

Brown, who was unarmed at the time, was shot during the day Aug. 9 on the streets of Ferguson, Mo. Three autopsies later confirmed he had nine wounds caused by seven or eight bullets. Twelve shots were fired.

The results of the grand jury: the shooter, police officer Darren Wilson, will not face criminal charges.

This is a slap in the face not only to Brown and his family, but to all of America.

We as a nation need to wake up and realize the underlying issue that sparked the controversy from the moment Brown was shot: race.

From the moment Wilson targeted Brown, one can see that there is something deeply wrong about the entire situation.

As an American, I take pride in the fact that our police officers take on a duty to protect us as civilians and to keep our communities safe. But upholding this expectation does not permit an excessive and aggressive use of force.

In the case of Brown, who did not have a weapon at the time of the altercation, was it truly permissible for Wilson as an officer to shoot him multiple times in broad daylight? The decision to shoot Brown was not based on nothing more than Wilson assuming Brown was a threat.

Wilson pretty much took the law beyond what is expected and superseded the power that was given to him as an officer.

Wilson told jurors that Brown was walking down a street with a friend when Wilson told them to move to the sidewalk. Brown responded with an expletive.

Wilson said he noticed Brown had a handful of cigars and had heard a radio report minutes earlier that a nearby convenience store had been robbed. He thought in the moment the two were connected, he testified.

Wilson maneuvered his vehicle in front of Brown and his friend but Brown slammed Wilson’s door shut when Wilson attempted to get out.

After a physical struggle, Brown started to flee the scene and Wilson eventually fired at an unarmed Brown. Brown’s body was found 153 feet from Wilson’s vehicle.

Aside from what Brown was doing before the confrontation and shooting, we must look at the actual time Brown was shot and see if that was justified.

We must question whether there was an immediate threat that justified Wilson shooting Brown multiple times.

Shortly after releasing the decision of the grand jury, CNN released photos taken of Wilson after the shooting of Brown. His face had a bruise on his cheek, but the rest of the supposed injuries he faced weren’t visible from the photos that were taken.

So I ask everyone this: Where is our common sense?

There doesn’t need to be periods of waiting time in order for evidence to be released to know that the situation is so obviously unjust.

The power and the duty to protect civilians does not give an officer the right to profile a person and to use excessive force.

In the case of Brown, not indicting Wilson only means there is a deep issue rooted within our justice system.

The entire situation points to a clear and obvious racial bias within our justice system, which leaves those who are colored or even a minority neglected by a system that claims to be fair to all.

This issue will only allow people who have the mindset of Wilson to plague our nation and further flame the social injustices that so many minorities of all skin types face on a daily basis.

So let’s take a step back from all the mainstream news and realize that what is happening is a cry of injustice that so many have died fighting against.

This is not about a shooting, but rather a systematic corruption that have allowed so many like Wilson to get away with murder.

Crimes committed by white police officers against blacks have once again shown that there needs to be a change within our justice system.

This change must start with those who are given the power to protect us as civilians.

So amidst all of this he-said she-said dialogue, let’s all realize a key part to this whole issue, which is the situation in itself is completely one-sided. At the end of the day, we will only be able to hear the voice of the one who was doing the shooting, not the one who was shot.

21 comments

  1. I DO NOTLike your remarks mr brown was a
    Criminal who refused too obey a police
    Officer ,he was a thief &thought he was
    above the law, we’ll now he is below the
    law where he belongs. That policeman
    saved my life!

  2. Clearly, the author of this opinion is unaware that this is a nation of laws. The grand jury decision was based on a lengthy and detailed examination of the facts – not opinion or raw emotion. The perpetrator assaulted the police officer not once, but twice. The assailant was much larger than the officer and the officer had the right to use lethal force to stop the attack. Demands to change the system based on this case are unwarranted.

  3. The only way this whole situation is about race is if you WANT it to be about race. If you take skin color out of the equation for both Brown and Wilson, the end result would be the same. To say otherwise is either lying or intentional denying the forensic facts. Facts conveniently left out by this writer is that Brown was NOT shot in the back, as implied. Brown had marijuana in his system. Brown was a very large man (not the “gentle giant” so affectionately labeled by his friends), nearly 300 lbs. Brown was earlier shown to be very aggressive when strong-arming the store clerk while stealing cigars.

    Now, I want the writer of this article to put himself in Wilson’s position, based on forensic facts. You are considerably smaller than Brown. You are doing your job, which is to patrol the area and try to keep the peace, which includes apprehending the bad guys. You see a very large suspect who matches the description of the strong-arm thief walking down the middle of the street, with cigars in his hands, wearing the red baseball cap. You call him over and he struggles for your gun (that, in itself, is grounds for Wilson to shoot Brown dead). A fight ensues inside your squad car and the gun goes off multiple times. Outside the car, the suspect begins to flee. You tell him to stop and instead, he turns and runs at you full speed.

    OK, so no race was stated or implied in the above scenario. Are you going to try to reason with the person who is charging you? How about asking him out for a cup of coffee while he pummels you senseless? Talk to him about his personal life while he takes your pistol and shoots you multiple times in the face?

    If you have even half a brain, you will shoot this guy running towards you who wants to kill you. I know I would.

    It’s not about race, unless you want it to be about race. To say otherwise is either lying or intentionally denying the forensic facts. Either way, you are a disgrace to the journalism program at this fine university. This latter statement comes from a now-retired member of the faculty. I am ashamed of you.

  4. Violence, looting, destruction of personal property in the aftermath of the decision. What would Martin Luther King Jr. say?

  5. In my opinion, whether the grand jury decision is right or wrong is not the issue here, for we will never truly know. What is the issue is the reaction. Many innocent people, their business’s, their property are being damaged, as well as innocent law enforcement and National Guardsmen being put in harms way. The actions of that police officer were terrible, but that does not justify the actions of the rioters.

  6. John;

    What, pray tell, was so terrible about the officer’s actions? Put yourself in his position, as I outlined above. What would you have done? I’m simply shaking my head in wonderment at your apparent political correctness rather than your reasoned judgement.

  7. Okay, Ms Saghiri. You claim that the cop shot him because he was black. You think the cop decided that because he was black he was unable to subdue him with anything other than a gun? You think that the cop decided that gave him the right to be judge, jury and executioner? How about that thug assaulted a policeman. A policeman who initially was trying to keep him safe by telling him to walk on the sideway instead of the middle of the street. An officer who initially tried to stop him verbally. And officer who had his gun nearly stolen from him. In that case that officer has enough reason to use whatever force is necissary to subdue the criminal. He was in fear for his life when that criminal scum tried to take his gun. He responded by trying to apprehend him. He tried to perdue the kid that discharged his gun in the car so he could get him in cuffs, not a coffin. He didn’t get out of his car and open fire. He got out and gave chase. He put his fear beside him to apprehend a criminal scum and protect the community. And then brown turned on the officer and charged. When a person who nearly got your gun the first time charges at you of course you’re gonna assume the worst. That criminal scum wanted to shoot that cop. Of course the cop is gonna fire on him in that situation.

    It is a a shame that the officer had to use his weapon in this situation. It is a shame that someone died, no matter how much of a criminal they are. But what isn’t a shame is that everyone wants his head. Everyone wants the head of a cop who was working to keep the community safe, who risked his life to stop a criminal.

    And frankly, it is complete bullshit that out of the 131 homicides in the St Louis area this year, this is the only one that anyone gives a shit about. Maybe protestors would be more respected if they cared about the other 130 homicides. The 130 others cops are working to stop.

  8. @BobR “You are considerably smaller than Brown.”

    He was only an inch shorter and maybe 70 pounds lighter. Brown was big, but Wilson was not “considerably smaller.”

  9. The arrogance of this article, and many like it, is astounding. Being unarmed does not preclude someone from being a threat. The officer should have just let Brown pummel him, take his gun and kill him? He had every right to defend his life. We may never know if officer Wilton’s version of events matches what really happened but forensic evidence backs it up. And a jury looked over the evidence for months and found the evidence insufficient to indict him. We weren’t there and it’s pretty arrogant to act like we somehow know better than the men and women who took months from their lives to review and deliberate on the facts of the case.

  10. Anonymous;

    Have you ever gone one-on-one against someone 70 pounds heavier than you? I doubt it. Otherwise, you would not even bring this up. Just look at what happens with linemen during a football game. The big guy, who outweighs the little guy by perhaps “only” 20 pounds, nearly always wins. In the case of Ferguson, the 70 pound difference most likely would have meant the difference between life and death of officer Wilson.

  11. “The decision to shoot Brown was not based on nothing more than Wilson assuming Brown was a threat.”

    If he fights over your gun, runs away, and then turns to sprint directly at you, I don’t think you’re “assuming” he’s a threat anymore. At that point, he’s a legitimate threat.

  12. “was it truly permissible for Wilson as an officer to shoot him multiple times in broad daylight?”

    Uh, yeah? After thieving at a convenience store, confronting and punching a police offer, and attempting to charge and further attack the police officer, I’d say Mike Brown was 100% to blame for his own death.

  13. “it’s not about race” says the white person who literally knows nothing about race

  14. In boxing, 70 LBS is the difference between a Super Heavyweight and a Lightweight. Not exactly an even match-up.

  15. 1. There is no duty for police to protect individuals. (Gonzalez v. Castle Rock, among others)
    2. Brown committed a violent crime.
    3. Brown was in the process of being investigated for his participation in the violent crime.
    4. Brown attacked a police officer investigating the violent crime brown committed.
    5. Brown was shot while violently attacking the police officer who was investigating the crime he committed.

    What is the reason for for people being angry again?

  16. Where is the common sense?? Lets see since I was born and raised in St. Louis (child a buckeye grad) NOW I see why my mother (a nurse) demanded we get a college education to stop the cycle of ignorance. I watched my brother get beat up in high school constantly (left laying on a street with a broke arm) because straight As were his high not robbing/bullying innocent store clerks in St. Louis/E. St. Louis!!! My bro is a Mizzou grad now. I’ve encountered police in Columbus and in my hometown and NEVER did I think to attack or resist them through my anger BUT then I didn’t have the guilty conscience of robbing a store???? I served on a jury so corrupt (hated police favored drug dealer) even the judge joked in open court “I heard you had a rough time (I never served for years and I think he exempted me for taking a stand and hanging jury for retrial)!!! OMG they mentally beat me down to give in (Zimmerman would be in jail if I were on that jury)! All Mike Brown had to do was OBEY the officer go to jail, get probation etc. He didn’t want thug mommy/daddy/grandma to learn of his deeds so he resisted with same bullying anger in store. I applaud all my St. Louis brothers/sisters who told police/FBI the truth because I know they would be DEAD if names were released (sadly we can be ignorant animals!!!!). In my opinion those who lack common sense are those who haven’t personally lived this nightmare as a BLACK person but continue to write as if they have…………………Congrats Officer Wilson!!!

  17. This is asinine.

  18. People on Brown’s side ignore the facts and just repeatedly say the system is broken and white people are ignorant and don’t understand racism. This article makes me embarrassed to go to Ohio State.

  19. Thank you for taking a stand and writing this piece. I am grateful that there are fellow Buckeyes who see the systematic racism and oppression that is rampant throughout this country. I believe that Michelle Alexander, an esteemed OSU Law Professor and the author of the brilliant book The New Jim Crow, would agree with your words. The ignorant, oppressive, and racist comments left by my fellow Americans (but hopefully not fellow Buckeyes) will simply fuel my conviction to dismantle the current systems that are causing so much death and injustice. The Ohio State University instilled in me the knowledge of a social justice education and the drive to make the world a better place. In a world of so much anonymous hate, I want you to know I am thankful for your words.

    Class of 2014

  20. Claiming racism where it does not exist does a disservice to anyone who has been a victim of true racism.
    I have a good read to recommend; “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

  21. engineering student

    Frankly speaking, when you go to your apartment after midnight from SEL, do you want to walk with Mike Brown, the gentle giant, or Officer Wilson along 17th Avenue?

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