Tuesday, November 25, 2014

NOBODY Won Last NIght

I have a question for all of those who were trumpeting yesterday's grand jury decision not to press charges against Ferguson, Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson as a "Victory for justice": How do you know?  Did you hear all 80-hours of testimony in the case?  Did you see all of the pieces of physical and forensic evidence?  Were you briefed on what rises to the level of probable cause in deciding whether or not to indict a suspect (remember, this was just to decide if there was enough evidence to try Wilson--this was not to determine if he was guilty or not)?  Then what makes you so sure that the right decision was reached in this case?

Unless you answered "yes" to all of the questions above--and only the members of the grand jury can say that--then you are basing your definition of justice on the preconceived notions you brought to the case in the first place.  You likely believe that Officer Wilson was just riding along, asked politely to talk to Michael Brown about a shoplifting incident earlier that day at a convenience store and that Brown turned on him and was going to kill him in order not to be arrested for stealing cigars and that Officer Wilson was justified to shoot him as many times as necessary to keep that from happening. 

Well, if you believe that is the "truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" then you are just as wrong as the people who took to the streets last night to destroy Ferguson--and who believe that Michael Brown was just walking along minding his own business when racist Officer Wilson stopped him--only because he is a young, black man--harassed him and then opened fire on him even after Brown begged for him to stop.

Many people took to social media platforms last night to deride the protesters and the rioters for the "legal expertise".  But those in the street knew just as much about the facts of the case as those sitting in their recliners hundreds or thousands of miles away from Ferguson.  And they have no more right to "celebrate" the grand jury's decision than the mobs have to destroy the property of people who had nothing to do with the incident.

Maybe a starting point for "the discussion we need to have" should be the widely-held belief that justice is only attained when the person of your color wins the decision.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps I'm naïve about generally trusting the police. It probably comes from growing up watching Dragnet and Adam-12. I do trust the grand jury in Ferguson. They were under tremendous pressure to find a guilty verdict in this case. From people in the community to civil rights activists all the way to Eric Holder and Obama, the grand jury was under pressure to find the police officer guilty to avoid the rioting and protests that would follow a not guilty decision. That the police officer was found not guilty despite this pressure is enough proof to me that there was no evidence of wrong-doing on his part. I 'celebrate' only that a police officer was not punished for doing his job, perhaps the toughest job in the country. I do not 'celebrate' because a "person of your color wins the decision."