A year ago, my life and the lives of most people in North St. Louis County changed. Anger in its rawest form manifested itself in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson. Back then, we knew so little about what transpired in Canfield Green, and yet a hundred conclusions were reached in under twenty-four hours. Unfortunately, a determination to accept only the worst case scenario, that a racist white policeman murdered a promising young black college bound youth in his prime, became almost instantly ingrained. The consequence of that narrative is still a reality we continue to face today in spite of factual clarifications that nullify the stories of the early days.
-We now know that Michael Brown committed a strong arm robbery prior to the altercation in Canfield Green.
-We now know that Darren Wilson was aware of the robbery and had a physical description matching what Michael Brown was wearing at the time of his death.
-We now know that blood evidence confirms that Michael Brown was inside Darren Wilson’s car and advanced at least twenty feet toward Darren Wilson at the time of the final gunshots.
-We now know that many of the early stories were based on lies, with a few of the inventors coming clean to the FBI and other detectives while citing community threats and pressure to condemn Wilson.
-We now know that eight witnesses came forward confirming Darren Wilson’s account, and many of whom expressed a similar fear of reprisal.
What transpired between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson on this day, last year, is an event that when considered by St. Louis County Police, the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, and an independent Grand Jury matching the racial demographics of St. Louis County, all came to the same conclusion: That based upon the available facts it was reasonable for Darren Wilson to be in fear of death or serious bodily injury from Michael Brown. Based upon this conclusion, the shooting was deemed to be justified.
Unfortunately, every step in this process has been discounted by a steadily growing movement of protesters who seem to have never heard of the term “confirmation bias.” When the robbery video was initially released by Ferguson Police, it was deemed to be irrelevant and an attempt at assassinating Mike Brown’s character. When the Grand Jury found that there was not sufficient evidence to reach the minimal level of probable cause to warrant an indictment, it was deemed that the Grand Jury was swayed by improper procedures on the part of the prosecutor (as if rioting and direct threats of more rioting hadn’t been cause to alter discretionary procedure). When the DOJ, operating under a black Attorney General, appointed by a Black President, came to the exact same conclusion as the Grand Jury, we were told that the unrest in Ferguson never really had anything to do with Mike Brown but other systemic problems. The goal posts had shifted again.
Now, a year later, protesters have once again converged on Ferguson, Missouri, not seeking an end to revenue based policing practices, but looking for justice in the case of Michael Brown. Peaceful protests as defined by the media continue with such chants as “Pigs in a blanket, fry em’ like bacon” and “Guns up, shoot back.” What peaceful message is supposed to be derived from a decapitated pigs head being placed on a concrete median in front of a police station?
Friday Night, protesters threw bottles at a tow truck and tried to pull the driver out of the truck after he released the car on his flat bed and started to drive away. Gunshots were fired on W. Florissant.
Saturday Night, a person was shot near the parking lot of McDonalds at Ferguson Ave. and W. Florissant. Then an unmarked Florissant Police car had its rear window shot out. A short ways down the road, a person was shot to death and another wounded in their vehicle on I-170.
For every positive change to come out of the unrest in Ferguson, like Senate Bill 5, we seem to have more officers and citizens targeted by violent criminals whose behavior has worsened to levels not seen in decades. Tonight is the anniversary of a lot of things, but for me personally, it was the start of bad times to come. Since last year, I’ve been to the scenes of seven people shot. To be fair, two of those scenes had more than one victim, but that doesn’t make for much consolation.
And what will the world look like tomorrow?