by AMY LASSITER Section Editor
Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, on August 9, 2014.
According to authorities, Brown was suspected of robbing a nearby bank earlier that day, which prompted Wilson to track and follow the teen. After further investigation, however, it was confirmed that Wilson stopped Brown because he was jaywalking, not because he was believed to be a robbery suspect.
Wilson also claimed that Brown physically assaulted him and other officers before the shooting occurred, yet more than six eyewitness accounts state that Brown kept his hands up in surrender during the confrontation.
Protesters gathered in the streets of Ferguson not long after the death of Brown, causing police forces to rush to the scene in order to shut down what they thought were violent protesters. While some looting did occur during the early protests, they quickly transitioned into peaceful marches against the injustice of Brown’s death.
While many argue that the death of Brown has nothing to do with race, others are comparing the Ferguson protests to those of the Civil Rights movement, and accuse Wilson of racially profiling Brown.
“Imagine if Mike Brown was white. There would be absolutely no conflict. In our society, the police often use racial profiling. And it’s disgusting. We experience this discrimination every day, just watch who gets pulled over by the police,” said an anonymous student.
The Ferguson Police reacted violently to the protests, using rubber bullets, mace, and even tear gas to fight off innocent protesters and journalists gathered in the streets. This sparked an uproar on social media with hashtags such as #Ferguson and #JusticeForMike trending in mere hours.
“I don’t read the news often, but having the Ferguson issue circulate social media like twitter and tumblr helped keep me up to date. I suddenly became more interested in it after seeing it as I go through different newsfeeds. It’s always there and people are always coming together to try and comprehend. I wouldn’t know as much if it wasn’t trending,” says an anonymous student
The tragedy of Brown’s death caused people all over the country to hold their own #JusticeForMike protests, the most powerful of those being in Times Square. The city streets were actually shut down for almost an entire day due to the amount of people who congregated to protest.
Wilson has been on the police force for six years, and despite all the controversy, has no disciplinary action on his record.
“I don’t even know where to begin. What Wilson did was just so sickening. Brown wasn’t even a threat. He had his hands up and everything. It was outright murder and Wilson is still a free man,” says junior Amy Williamson.
Recently, the Grand Jury, whose job is to decide whether criminals are indicted, have been studying Wilson’s case. However, he still remains on a paid administrative leave until further notice.
“Justice is moving now, in the right direction,” comments Brown’s mother.
While justice for Mike Brown may come soon, police brutality toward protesters in Ferguson still continues. Just recently on September 10, a fully armed SWAT team accompanied by armored vehicles arrived at the scene of another peaceful protest. Two civilians were arrested that day, adding to the ever growing total of 155 arrests since the death of Brown.
Media coverage of Ferguson, Missouri is slowly dying out, but that does not mean these events should leave our thoughts or memories. For more information, please check out the links below: