Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Missouri: Racial Turmoil in Ferguson Suggests That Many Citizens DON'T Accept Rule of Law

According to Yahoo News, one of Michael Brown’s friends thinks the United States witnessed a travesty of justice Monday night (November 24).

“It’s hurtful to think that someone can be murdered and their killer will walk away free,” Dorian Johnson said in an interview with ABC News.

Johnson was with Brown just before he was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department (FPD).

COMMENT: There are a number of factors that contributed to the widespread violence, looting and mayhem that was witnessed on Monday night:

1. The release of the verdict after dark did serve the citizens of Ferguson well. Strategically speaking, from the outset, release of the grand jury's decision so late in the day contributed to the widespread violence that occurred. The city fathers should have scheduled the release of the grand jury's decision at 0900 on Tuesday morning so that law enforcement could manage the resulting mayhem more effectively during daylight hours;

2. It seems very clear by the violent reaction and rage that Ferguson, a municipality of only 21,000 citizens, was directly influenced by "outsiders" who viewed the shooting death of a large, tall black man by a white Ferguson police officer as two precious to "pass up";

3. Another factor that seems readily apparent is that many US citizens do not trust juries, despite the fact that empaneled juries are the only ones that have an opportunity to see all of the evidence presented in order to make a conclusion based upon the facts. It is for this reason that continuing to teach government at all levels remains an integral component of high school curricula; 

4. Having worked countless state-level and federal emergencies during the course of my 22-year career as a federal agent, it appears that a small town such as Ferguson was under-policed at a time when external forces took advantage of a crisis "too precious to waste"; and

5. The city fathers of  Ferguson, among its many other tasks, should address why more minority members of the community are not sworn police officers, as the only to achieve diversity is to permit all members of the community to participate in the role of law enforcement.

Although any loss of life of a citizen of any nation is a tragedy, it is my profound impression, although I represent an older generation, is that increasingly, a greater number of citizens fail to acknowledge the legal authority of sworn police officers to order citizens to comply. Failure to do so, puts any police officer in a no-win situation. 

Had Michael Brown complied with Officer Wilson's orders, he might well be alive today.

Some protestors broke windows, vandalized cars and set buildings on fire, spurring officers to use tear gas. Dozens were arrested.
Johnson made clear that he does not condone violence or looting, but understands the source of their anger--he feels it himself.

The jury of nine whites and three blacks met on 25 different days over a three-month period to hear more than 70 hours of testimony, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS reports.

Their decision exacerbated the already fractured relationship between the African-American community and law enforcement in the St. Louis area.

Johnson expressed gratitude for all of the protestors and hopes everyone who spoke out will continue to fight for justice and work to restore peace to the community. “The fight doesn’t stop here,” he said. “We’re going to continue.”

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