Featured Photo Credit: Flickr user Tiffany98101
As a woman of color, when pressing issues such as race and class come up in discussion, I can’t help but get emotionally entangled when breaking down the political system which we exist in-for me, it’s personal. It’s personal for those I’ve watched protest from the window of my Broadway apartment, banners held high, chanting “We are Mike Brown.” It’s personal for those who’ve expressed their dissatisfaction of the ‘justice’ system via social networking sites-an outcry of rightfully angry voices. It’s personal for the anguished faces I’ve witnessed on the faces of my loved ones as we shared intimate conversations, many of which related similar accounts of experiencing police misconduct– we all take a personal blow to this. The grand jury’s choosing not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the August 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown was a blow to many of us, not shocking, but a blow nonetheless.
And there’s those who side with Darren Wilson’s defense: Wilson made a conscious and just decision under the law of shooting dead an unarmed teen in the streets of Ferguson for fear over his own life (I want to note here the final shots to an already wounded Brown were from 153 feet away.) In their view, Wilson should be protected by the law that he defends; Wilson is the law.
Policing the Police: Why Ferguson Matters To Us All
No matter which way we sway, we all take some sort of personal stake with what’s unraveling out of Ferguson. In a time with the majority of the country at civil unrest at divided odds, rather than polarize the nation, Ferguson should be the catalyst for discussing the increasingly militarized police state we live in. This is not an attempt to overshadow the fact that Black America continually remains under attack (particularly young black males, who are marginalized and 21 times more likely than their white counterparts at being shot dead by police), but that we should all be enraged, collectively as Americans, that a man will not even be tried in the murder of an unarmed teen simply because he holds a badge. This is all of our problem, and we should all demand for justice.
While the nation’s overall homicide rate dropped, ‘justifiable homicides’ committed by law enforcement is at its highest in over two decades-a total of 461 counted by the FBI last year alone (which is a conservative estimate, as reporting the data is completely voluntary.) For a bit of relative perspective, juxtapose this number to the total of number of Brits killed by police during the same time-Zero.
Check out the infograph below for a deeper look at police brutality across the U.S.