Being a part of the media, there is a certain responsibility not to fan the flames of a disastrous event, but to report the facts and to help interpret the situation. In the instance of the shooting of Michael Brown by police Officer Darren Wilson, the grand jury made a determination that the officer acted appropriately.
Michael Brown’s family and legal team as well as a host of African Americans don’t accept the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer for the slaying of an unarmed teenager. Many people believe that the system failed to render justice to at least put the case to a trial so that all of the evidence could be cross examined.
There are two viewpoints that need to be compared side by side.
Police Officer Darren Wilson
The police officer saw Michael Brown, a 6’4″ 295 lb. young man in the street jaywalking and asked him to get out of the roadway. Michael Brown failed to heed the officer’s command.
According to the officer and evidence, there was physical contact between the officer and Michael Brown as the teen apparently attacked the officer.
So far, there are two counts:
- Assaulting a police officer
Next, the police officer received bruises apparently from Michael Brown striking the officer.
What happens next is based on evidence that is circumstantial, lab, and eyewitness accounts. If brought to trial the evidence could be tested and cross examined.
The officer alleges that Michael Brown reached for his gun. With that, the officer concluded that Brown was trying to kill him. The officer used the gun to stop Brown’s charging him and ended up firing six shots with at least one being lethal.
Additional evidence is that Michael Brown had stolen cigars at a carryout and intimidated the owner before fleeing. Video evidence proves this, and Michael Brown’s description was released. It is not known if Darren Wilson received the description before stopping Brown for jaywalking.
Michael Brown’s defense is that he was obeying the police officer’s orders and that he was trying to surrender with his hands up. Witnesses providing conflicting accounts.
Based on that, we know that he did something to warrant “surrendering”. We know that this is not an innocent teen. Considering the event at the carryout before the altercation with a police officer, he was a petty thief and a bully.
The protests by the community against the system of justice in Ferguson, Missouri is under investigation by the Department of Justice to determine if there are patterns of racial discrimination. Other than that, there is nothing indicating that the police officer was not justified in the use of lethal force to protect himself.
There is no evidence that the officer picked on a black teen without cause.