Opinion: Ferguson Grand Jury, Protests

We don’t know what happened, but we’ve seen the protests and we hope they remain peaceful in the days and weeks to come.

By now, I’m sure every one in KSI has heard the basics behind the Ferguson protests and the nationwide movement that has started since MIke Brown was shot and killed Aug. 9, 2014.

The Grand Jury is expected to reconvene today and possibly decide if charges are warranted against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

I’ve got to be honest, as most of you probably feel, that I have no clue what happened that day.

Did Wilson pull Brown towards him and start the scuffle? Did Brown push Wilson into the vehicle? Did Brown go for Wilson’s gun in the car? Or did Wilson grab his gun and attempt to shoot Brown there? Did Brown run away from Wilson? Did Brown run far enough away just to run back after the officer? Did Brown put his hands up and surrender? Did Brown warrant getting shot six or seven times?

There are so many pieces to this story we don’t know. Witnesses said what they believe, but witness testimony is notoriously flimsy.

We’ve heard reports of what Wilson said, but is Wilson’s testimony any more iron clad than the surrounding witnesses?

Media reports indicate that Wilson will not be charged by the Grand Jury. I’m not sure if that’s the correct route.

The basis for a Grand Jury indictment is any questionable use of force by Wilson. If the Grand Jury thinks there are enough questions in this case to think Wilson may have used unnecessary force, it would be force to indict Wilson.

The police report indicated Brown was shot 35 feet from Wilson’s cruiser — all though several other news sources have mapped the distances to be above 125 feet.

As I said, I don’t know what happened. What I do know from watching live streams, reading media reports and covering some of the fall out myself, the Ferguson protestors are doing exactly what we should all do when a tragedy strikes — so far.

To this point, they have been holding their law enforcement accountable for the acts of their officers. Any time a citizen dies, it should be a tragedy. But when a law enforcement official, who is charged to “serve and protect” ends a life, even if the officer is just protecting himself or members of community, reviews should be conducted to make sure nothing was done in excess.

We know that Brown’s death was the first homicide in the city of Ferguson this year. We also know he did not possess a firearm.

However, if he did attack Wilson, who is quite diminutive in stature to Brown, it’s not hard to believe Wilson feared for his life.

But the community protesting to protect a life of a neighbor is what all communities should do. Not just for those killed by police, but those killed by other citizens too.

In Ferguson, though, they were protesting the only homicide in their city this year.

But with news of the Grand Jury’s decision, gun sales in the community have spiked and messages of vitriol have increased. I think the entire nation sits on the edge of their seats, awaiting to see how this plays out.

If Wilson walks without charges, things could get out of hand quickly in Ferguson.

I hope that this is not the case, but all signs point to protests and demonstrations that could lead to bloodshed.

The actions of the protestors, to this point, have been exemplary.

The looting and destruction of property in the nights follow Brown’s death came from outside sources… people traveling to Ferguson to urge anarchy.

The citizens of Ferguson even created a human shield to protect some businesses from that destruction.

They have not attacked officers. They have not waved guns and explosives in the face of law enforcement.

The protests have been peaceful, except for those isolated individuals and the officers who choose to point loaded guns in the faces of women and children.

However, I hope the news of Wilson’s indictment, or lack thereof, does not change this movement. I hope it doesn’t put an ugly scar into the St. Louis suburb and I hope it doesn’t reopen the recently scabbed-over deep racial wounds in this nation.

The next few days and weeks have the potential to escalate and put fear and shame into millions of Americans.

Please, keep calm and keep the peace, regardless of outcome. This is not worth dying over.

*** As always, these views represent those of the author and not KSI, the Board of Directors or any other entity within our outside KSI. Any comments, disagreements or solidarity can be sent to the author and can be responded to privately or re-posted on the website for the purposes of respectful and responsible community-wide discussion.

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