Opinions on Ferguson shooting


By Sydney White, Staff Writer

Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead on the streets of Ferguson Missouri August 9. The shooting and death of an African-American teenager by a Caucasian officer caused an uproar of fury and indignation across the town while news spread quickly throughout the country.

On the night of August 9, 2014, police were notified after Ferguson market and liquor was robbed by Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson. Officer Darren Wilson, alone, arrived at the area. After recognizing Brown as a suspect for the robbery, he asked the men to step to the side of the street so he could speak to them. Still inside the vehicle, Wilson and Brown broke out in an argument with physical violence over the accusation. What happened next is not entirely known. It has been found that there are multiple stories in which were considered. Eyewitnesses claimed  that Brown never moved toward the car while another claimed he charged the car, in which Wilson claimed to also happen. In the process, it was claimed that the teenager had his hands raised in the air, others said his hands were not raised. Wilson then fired two bullets from inside the vehicle, one grazing Brown’s thumb while the other missed. The officer exited the vehicle, then continued to fire ten more shots, resulting in the death of Michael Brown. Evidence confirms that Brown was in fact moving toward Wilson when he was shot.

The epidemic caused an immense amount of anger throughout the town of Ferguson. The town, predominantly black, broke out in protests, riots, and clashes. Unsurprisingly, citizens were infuriated that an unarmed teenager was shot, however, the race of both the officer and the teenager also played a tremendous role in the reaction. Being that Brown was African American and Wilson is caucasian, racism played a huge role in the problem. The reaction from citizens would be much different if the officer had been black. A racial divide rose throughout the town and trust in white policemen was lost. So called “peaceful protests” turned into violent acts, leading to multiple citizens being shot and arrested. After an extended period of time and the continuation of riots and protests, state Governor Jay Nixon called in the National Guard where they shot tear gas at protesters in order to clear the streets. Once the streets were free of citizens, Nixon enforced a curfew in hopes to calm the them but it didn’t help. Being that the citizens were rebelling against the St. Louis County Police, they replaced them with Missouri Highway Patrol, however, the decision was only temporarily effective. Though citizens of the town are protesting for Brown, are they causing more harm than good?

After almost four months, the grand jury decided not to convict officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown. It was decided that there was no substantial reason to accuse Wilson for the death of the teenager. Being that it was claimed that Brown charged Wilson and due to altercation, he fired in order to protect himself. After the announcement of the trial decisions, the Brown family asked for peaceful protests, however acts of violence and riots started up again, this time worse that before. Civilians of the town began to burn property and cars, rocks were thrown at officers, and many more violent acts were committed before officials shot tear gas and flash grenades.

In a speech, President Barack Obama speaks about the activity in Ferguson saying, “There are productive ways of responding and expressing those frustrations and there are destructive ways of responding. Burning buildings, torching cars, destroying property, putting people at risk, that’s destructive and there is no excuse for it.”

Ferguson has experienced an overwhelming amount of activity over the past couple months. The death of a black, unarmed teen has been seen as both the correct and incorrect thing to be done, that decision being completely opinionative. The future of Ferguson is entirely unknown, but it is known that the town will have history that will forever impact those living there. Though citizens are fighting with both peace and violence, strongly standing up for what they believe in, are they helping or causing more harm than good?