Michael Brown and his companion, Dorian Johnson, were walking down the middle of the street in the middle of the day. Officer Darren Wilson stopped his squad car and asked them to move to the sidewalk.
All sides in the tragedy in Ferguson, Missouri agree on that point. What happened after that is not yet clear.
Michael Brown was shot dead by Officer Wilson. Dorian Johnson is a witness to the event. Marching and looting has occupied the last two weeks.
For all of the coverage of this tragic event, I have more questions than answers. My first question is why were they walking down the middle of the street in the middle of the day? People just do not do that unless they are looking for trouble.
The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during a news conference on the steps of the Old Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 12, 2014, in St. Louis about the shooting of Michael Brown Jr in Ferguson, Mo. Behind Sharpton are, from left, Michael Brown Sr., attorney Benjamin Crump, and Lesley McSpadden, Brown's mother. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.B. Forbes)
When the police officer stopped on the scene he knew he had a problem. He asked them to move to the sidewalk and then all hell broke loose.
I question what Gov. Jay Nixon (D) thought he was accomplishing with his entry into the debacle a week after the shooting. He criticized the over-militarization of the local police department and said he was horrified at the television images of the militaristic confrontation.
Gov. Nixon held a press conference spouting platitudes that were poorly received by the citizens. He then announced a curfew and ordered in the National Guard. Apparently he was unaware of the fact that they also wear military uniforms.
He later ended the curfew and delivered a speech designed to wring the very last vote that he could from the overwhelmingly Democrat electorate of Ferguson. He read the speech off a teleprompter so we know that it was thoroughly vetted by his political and legal advisors. He promised a vigorous prosecution and demanded justice for Michael Brown.
Michael Brown is dead. He is not charged with anything or even under investigation. He doesn’t need justice. He needs peace.
Nixon also promised a vigorous prosecution. Since he served as attorney general for 16 years he might have shown passing interest in completing an investigation prior to the prosecution, but we shouldn’t get bogged down in details. For Nixon this was just another political event.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaks at a news conference dealing with the aftermath of a police shooting of teenager Michael Brown, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. The governor declared a state of emergency Saturday and imposed a curfew in the St. Louis suburb where police and protesters have clashed after Brown was shot to death by a white police officer a week ago. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
I am never curious or even surprised when Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson show up. They were not tardy. Their opportunities to profit off unrest have been declining lately, though Jesse did pass the plate while he was speaking. You have to get it when you can.
I am surprised that the White House asked Sharpton to assess the situation in Ferguson and report to Valerie Jarrett at her rented condo on Martha’s Vineyard. He has a long history of inciting mobs and polarizing situations, and always against the police. On second thought, maybe I’m not so surprised.
I do not understand why Attorney General Eric Holder found it necessary to go to Ferguson and undercut the effort being made by the local officials to resolve the dispute.
Holder met with Michael Brown’s parents and with “community leaders.” He said. “The Department of Justice stands with the people of Ferguson!”
Justice Department investigators began interviewing witnesses and Holder weighed whether there would be a federal prosecution.
Attorney General Eric Holder talks with Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol at Drake's Place Restaurant, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, in Florrissant, Mo. Holder arrived in Missouri on Wednesday, as a small group of protesters gathered outside the building where a grand jury could begin hearing evidence to determine whether a Ferguson police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown should be charged in his death. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
If Holder pulls the rug out from under local investigators and takes over the prosecution of the case, let us pray that he has different prosecutors than were sent to New Orleans to prosecute five white police officers in a civil rights case in which two citizens were shot after Hurricane Katrina.
In a 123-page ruling, Judge Kurt D. Englehardt overturned the convictions citing “gross prosecutorial misconduct.” Federal prosecutors were posting anonymous comments on an Internet blog creating a prejudicial environment. One of the bloggers was Karla Dobinski, a trial lawyer in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice department for 25 years. When asked about the postings they lied to the judge. A private attorney would have been sanctioned for that behavior. No one was fired at the Department of Justice.
While the attorney general is travelling the country measuring the performance of local law enforcement he might stop by Utah.
Two days after the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed white man was shot and killed by a black officer in Salt Lake City. The officer’s name was not released. The recording of the 911 call and the officer’s chest video were not released either. Perhaps they’re waiting for General Holder to show up and tell them what to do.
My biggest question about these civil rights disturbances has been bothering me since the Detroit riots in 1967. What is accomplished by destroying businesses in your community?
Some businesses will stay and try to recover, but many will never reopen and many people will move their families out of the city for personal safety.
In 1960 Detroit was the wealthiest city in the Americas. Today it is one-third vacant, 50 percent functionally illiterate, 60 percent in poverty and bankrupt.
And then on a curious note: Why are mag wheels, televisions and whiskey essential loot for the movement?
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