Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ferguson, Michael Brown Jr. shooting

Four and a half minute National Moment of Silence on Sunday, August 9th at 11:55AM CST

Would you like to join with me in Ashland center at 12:55pm on Sunday 8/9/15 It would be meaningful to mourn together these senseless deaths (see below). Let me know if you will join me. -DG

This idea came from an email that I got from FergusonAction on 7/27/15: see this post

Here is one account of what happened a year ago:
(excerpt chosen from Wikipedia by DG)

The shooting of Michael Brown occurred on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer. The disputed circumstances of the shooting and the resultant protests and civil unrest received considerable attention in the U.S. and abroad, and sparked a vigorous debate about law enforcement's relationship with African Americans, and police use of force doctrine in Missouri and nationwide. read more

Updates from FergusonAction.com 

An Open Letter From Ferguson Protestors and Allies
from FergusonAction.com (excerpt from full letter by DG):

We are not concerned if this inconveniences you.
Dead children are more than an inconvenience.

We are not concerned if this disturbs your comfort.
Freedom outweighs that privilege.

We are not concerned if this upsets order.
Your calm is built on our terror.

We are not concerned if this disrupts normalcy.
We will disrupt life until we can live.

This is an American Horror Story.
Together, we are writing the final chapter.

This is from 
Timeline for a Body: 4 Hours in the Middle of a Ferguson Street in The New York Times  
There is a video worth watching on this page too.

Just after noon on Saturday, Aug. 9, Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer on Canfield Drive. For about four hours, in the unrelenting summer sun, his body remained where he fell.

Mr. Brown probably could not have been revived, and the time that his body lay in the street may ultimately have no bearing on the investigations into whether the shooting was justified. But local officials say that the image of Mr. Brown’s corpse in the open set the scene for what would become a combustible worldwide story of police tactics and race in America, and left some of the officials asking why.

Mr. Brown’s body was checked into the morgue at 4:37 p.m., more than four and a half hours after he was shot.

“The delay helped fuel the outrage,” said Patricia Bynes, a committeewoman in Ferguson. “It was very disrespectful to the community and the people who live there. It also sent the message from law enforcement that ‘we can do this to you any day, any time, in broad daylight, and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ ”

The police say it took so long due to the need to protect the crime scene. I doubt they would have treated a white businessman the same way. -DG

Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson Not Indicted In Michael Brown Shooting from the huffingtonpost.com

McCulloch said members of the jury met for 25 days and heard over 70 hours of testimony from over 60 witnesses before reaching their decision. He confirmed Wilson had fired 12 shots at Brown, who was unarmed.

It is well established that Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking in the middle of a quiet residential street near the home of Brown's grandmother when Wilson confronted them shortly after noon on Saturday, Aug. 9. The witnesses who spoke publicly said there was an initial confrontation between Brown and Wilson through the window of his police SUV -- some said they thought Wilson was trying to pull Brown in, while Wilson has reportedly said that Brown reached for his weapon.

Wilson reportedly fired one shot out the window, and witnesses claim that Brown took off running. Wilson emerged from the vehicle, and Brown at some point turned around. Many witnesses who have spoken publicly said that Brown looked like he was trying to surrender and put his hands in the air as Wilson shot the final fatal rounds. Wilson reportedly contends that Brown was headed back toward him.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported that seven or eight witnesses largely backed up Wilson's account of the shooting in testimony before the grand jury. Those witnesses, like most of the people in Ferguson, are African-American.

When Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson released Wilson's name on Aug. 15, the police department simultaneously released a video that appeared to show Brown stealing cigarillos from a convenience store not long before the shooting and shoving a clerk when he was confronted. Jackson has since said that Wilson was not aware that Brown had been involved in any alleged robbery when the officer spotted him on the street.

While I believe that many police officers do helpful, brave work, I think there is also discrimination and cover ups within the police force across our country. It is not clear what happened in Ferguson but I see why there are protests and why there should be policy changes. -DG

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