Moments ago, I was tuned into the breaking news on MSNBC. Already five minutes into prosecutor Robert P. McCulloh’s speech, I had already figured the inevitable: Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting of Michael Brown. Wilson, who heard on the radio that there was theft at the Ferguson market, was driving down the street when he saw Brown, who fit the description. When Wilson asked Brown and his friend to move to the sidewalk they refused. What followed after consisted of back and forth arguments and a struggle between Brown and Wilson when the first shots were fired. McCulloh stated that Wilson not being charged was due to the “inconsistencies” with people’s testimonies and the physical evidence. Some people said Brown’s back was turned, while others said he had his hands up when he was shot. No matter the inconsistencies or the variables that might have prompted Officer Wilson, it saddens me that the same cycle is still continuing.
As a young black woman, cases such as this one resonate with me. I cannot help but notice that every few years there seems to be a major case between an unarmed young black man and a police officer. On November 5, 2006, Sean Bell was shot fifty times outside of a Queens club the night of his wedding day. On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Now, on August 9, 2014, Officer Darren Wilson shot eighteen-year-old Michael Brown. The one constant remains: these men are unarmed. Before any true action can be done to stop this racial injustice, both the American society and the justice system need to acknowledge that there is still an assumption that a black man carries a weapon at all times. Whether Brown was stealing the swisher cigars or actually did punch Officer Wilson, policemen are taught how to use a weapon to kill and to stabilize. If Brown was stealing and not complying with the officer’s demands, he should be arrested, not shot on site.
Brown’s case is just another indicator that black men are not held up to the same equal standard as their white counterparts. Police officers are not going to assume that a young white man is armed unless there is probable cause. No white parent has ever had to think to teach their son to not act too suspiciously when in a certain neighborhoods, or how to comply with police officers when being questioned.
Once this society has truly acknowledged this continuing racial problem, we must work to approach situations in a different way. This includes not only better relations between neighborhoods and police but no longer approaching the victim as the suspect. All night long, I heard the prosecutor speaking about the case’s inconsistencies and why they were unable to indict Wilson. However, as the daughter of two parents in the legal field, I realize that the prosecutor’s challenge never lies in the power to indict, but the power to prove whether the charges are true or not. Prosecutor McCulloh did the job of the defense attorney. Furthermore, the Prosecutor was still continuing to tell of Brown’s less than innocent image stealing and punching Officer Wilson. The fact still remains that no matter how Michael Brown is painted, he is dead and was unarmed.