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new-logo25Cassandra Anderson


The police shooting death of Michael Brown on August 9th caused rioting, vandalism and a man with a handgun was shot by police.

There have also been peaceful protests.

Here is a list of facts in this case that is stirring up controversy over race, police excessive force and discrimination, the militarization of civilian law enforcement and race baiting. As always, there are at least two points of view in any conflict. Here’s a round-up of the most important aspects of the case:

1. Ferguson, Missouri is a suburb of St. Louis that has 21,000 residents, with a 67% African American population, while Missouri has a Black population of 11% statewide. There have been criticisms of under-representation of Black officers in Ferguson’s police department as there are 50 White officers and only 3 Black officers. In 2013, the attorney general’s office reported that Black drivers in Ferguson were about twice as likely to be arrested after police stops than Whites.
1. Michael Brown was 6’4″ tall and weighed 292 pounds. He was filmed shortly before his death stealing a box of cigars from a convenience store. While Brown was unarmed, he intimidated and shoved the smaller store clerk. There are conflicting reports about whether the police officer who shot Brown was aware of the ‘strongarm’ robbery.

3. The autopsy shows that Michael Brown was shot from the front, with 4 bullets to the arm and 2 shots in the head; one of the bullets entered from the top of the skull, indicating Brown’s head was bowed. The autopsy physician said it is unclear whether Brown’s head was bowed because he was giving up or because he was charging the police officer. Holder’s Justice Department will conduct a second autopsy.

4. There are two witnesses who have publicly claimed that Michael Brown ran away from the police officer, turned around, put his hands in the air and said, “don’t shoot”. These accounts are differ from a recording featuring an unknowing witness who indicates that Brown may have struggled with the officer for the gun and then ran away, turned, and then charged the officer.

5. Over the past week, protesters have hurled Molotov cocktails, shot at police, burned a building, looted stores and committed vandalism. When protesters violated the mandatory curfew, the Missouri Highway Patrol who were put in charge, shot a man who was armed with a handgun.

Before the Missouri State Highway Patrol came on the scene, police shot rubber bullets into crowds, trained high-powered weapons on innocent peaceful protesters, used tear gas on protesters and journalists, arrested journalists and rolled out military weapons to deal with civilians. The police over-reacted in a number of instances and were criticized for the use of military equipment and attitude.

6. Minister Johnathan Gentry accused Al Sharpton of race-baiting in Ferguson and said that the NAACP only gets involved in cases with Caucasians and police in order to spread hate. Gentry says that when Blacks kill Blacks, like the 60 people who were shot with 16 of them dying over the 4th of July weekend in Chicago, Black leaders like Sharpton are silent.

7. The current lootings and vandalism appear to be “pre-planned” per Police Chief Johnson. St. Lois County police report that at least 2 people have been shot in Ferguson, but not by police. The Governor has now ordered the National Guard into Ferguson. Some people are suggesting that there has been a provocation of violence so that the government can implement martial law.

What do you think is a good solution? Please leave a comment below.