Ah, feels good to devote some time to the Ferguson issue again. It hit at just the right time prior to my spring semester of college, so I was able to devote a lot of time to it, but that obviously dropped off once school started. Alas, let me do the quickest summation feasible of what happened in Ferguson for late-comers:
Michael Brown was walking down the street with his friend Dorian Johnson when Officer Darren Wilson stopped them. Somehow a scuffle occurred at Wilson’s police window where shots were fired. Brown fled. Accounts differ over what happens next. Wilson says Brown charged him, therefore he killed him. Others say Brown put his hands up and was surrendering when Wilson executed him. There’s a lot more to go into, but that’s the crux of. Now we await a Grand Jury decision to determine Wilson’s fate.
There’s a lot of other things to go into like the autopsy, drugs, “thuggery,” the convenience store issue, the eyewitnesses or the actions of the police and Wilson, but I don’t want to spend too much time rehashing.
I’d also highly recommend Radley Balko’s articles on this matter, as the unrest in Ferguson goes much deeper than the death of Michael Brown. Start here. There’s also a great roundup of work from the LA Times for fuller understanding of Ferguson here.
To that, Grand Jury decision, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has now declared a State of Emergency, calling in the National Guard, ahead of that Grand Jury decision. Add in the reports of 1,000-some police getting ready and the media constantly talking about what will happen when the decision comes out, they seem to be stoking the flames of chaos. It’s as if they want an emergency to happen.
Wesley Lowery of the Post makes a fair point that Nixon was lampooned for a slow response and additionally, that we knew all along the National Guard would be called in post-Grand Jury decision. He makes the comparison to how coastal governors will call for a State of Emergency ahead of the “hurricane hitting.”
But isn’t that the whole point? We don’t know that there is going to be a hurricane, but it seems the police, the media and the politicians are driving up the tensions to that level. I get that the police need to take some reasonable measures because it would be silly not to expect something in the aftermath of the Grand Jury decision, but if it’s just a repeat of what we saw in the days after Brown’s death, that doesn’t bode well for Ferguson.