On August 9th, Michael Brown was shot six times, twice in the head by a Ferguson, Mo police officer. While it has been a couple of weeks since this happened, many heavy emotions continue to rush through me about this incident. I am stunned, afraid, ashamed, and I have a deep anger burning inside of me that I cannot begin to describe in writing. I have sat watching the news, at times in complete shock that these events are taking place in my own country. As a nation, we have a tendency to pass judgment on other nations for the atrocities that occur between their foreign borders. What occurred in Ferguson, and continues to occur across our pious nation, is something we should all be ashamed of.
While the media seems to be doing an effective job of covering how peaceful protestors are being gassed and beaten by police officers, they are also making sure to focus on how they believed Michael had been using drugs and had robbed a store. (Note: there has been no definitive evidence that there was a crime committed, and Michael Brown had no prior criminal record.) Having been a victim of a violent crime (my son being murdered), I am the first person to stand in line to watch criminals be prosecuted. That said, this officer had no clue that a crime had occurred. He saw an unarmed black man, and decided to kill him in cold blood. Even if we were to accept that Michael had done something wrong before he was murdered (which I don’t really believe he did), since when do robbers get sentenced to a firing squad before their trial? If we are going to start doing things like this as a country, I would kindly ask that we start with murderers and rapists – not a young adult who decided to make the poor choice of stealing a pack of cigarettes.
I would also like to address the fact that the kid had pot in his system. (And yes, I still think 18 year-olds are kids.) From reading some of these articles, it would appear as though the media were trying to make references as though the kid was hopped up on crack and acting aggressive. I have never done any drugs, but from what I know about weed it doesn’t seem as though the kid would have been acting particularly aggressive from having some of it in his system. Having weed in his system should also not be seen as an excuse to why the kid should have been gunned down.
Another disappointing, shocking, and appalling issue that has come up during this tragedy is how many criminals take advantage of bad situations and make them worse. Store owners in Ferguson didn’t have anything to do with the police officer murdering Michael Brown. Seeing people rioting in the streets, and ruining businesses in their neighborhood infuriates me. This sort of behavior is not justified, and will end up hurting the very people that are most impacted by this level of police brutality.
Those of you who have followed me from the beginning of my blog know that I have experienced first hand what it’s like to be mistreated by police officers. Just weeks after I fled an abusive and dangerous man, the police arrested me for removing something I owned from a house that I had been paying for. After paying thousands of dollars to an attorney to clear my name, I forced a police investigation. While the Police Captain admitted that his officers had not handled the situation appropriately, or even within their own policies, he refused to hold his officers accountable in any way that would stop the same atrocity from occurring in the future. I firmly believe that the Prince William County police have a problem with corruption. I am hopeful that the police officers who allowed my ex (who is now in jail awaiting trial for the murder of my son, and the murder of his ex-girlfriend) to remain a free man, by turning a blind eye to his crimes, will some day be exposed for their unethical behavior.
While some people have chosen to have sympathy for the police officer who shot Michael Brown, I am not one of them. I believe that the police should be treated as common citizens when they commit crimes. It is injustice at its worst to see police officers behaving poorly, while obtaining the shield of safety merely because of their badge. If someone without a badge had murdered Michael Brown, in cold blood, he would be in jail awaiting his trial.
Despite what has happened to me and my family, as a result of police activity, I am not one to believe that all police officers are bad people. There are many officers who take their oath seriously – people who accept the job to serve and protect. Criminal police who abuse their power bring shame to the profession. They also bring shame to our entire justice system. Police officers are people too, and when they show themselves as criminals – they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Racism remains a problem in America. Stories like the murder of Treyvon Martin, and now Michael Brown, prove that we still have a long way to go as a country before we can say that we don’t have a race problem. I am disturbed that in 2014 our police officers are still gunning down unarmed black men in the streets, and trying to justify their actions afterward.
When I saw Michael Brown’s parents on television, my heart ached for them as I looked into their eyes. I saw the same look that I had in the days after my son was brutally murdered. I saw sadness, despair, hopelessness, and anger. I have not taken to the streets in Ferguson, however, I am thankful for the people who have peacefully done so. I know first hand about how, even when the murderer is held accountable, it doesn’t take away the pain of never being able to hold your son again.
I waited three months before my ex was finally arrested for the murder of my son. Those three months were arguably the worst three months of my entire life. Every single day that my son’s killer walked free, I felt as though another piece of me died. The flame of justice that had burned inside of me was extinguished. I pray that the Brown’s will get to see the justice that they deserve. I stand with the thousands of peaceful protestors who are demanding justice – and demanding our system to practice the core of what it is that we as a country preach.