One month ago in a place that hardly anyone had ever heard of, police officer Darren Wilson shot Mike Brown multiple times at close range in broad daylight -- and then proceeded to blow his brains out. According to several eyewitnesses, Mike Brown -- a college-bound high school graduate -- had both of his hands up when he was murdered. Officer Wilson never called in to report the shooting and he never called for an ambulance. Mike Brown's body laid in the street where he fell for more than 4 hours. Eventually, an unmarked black SUV came and took his body away.
At this juncture, I should probably tell you that the population of Ferguson (a suburb of St. Louis) is about 21,000 and 70% black. Out of 53 cops, only 3 are black. The mayor and five of the six city council members are white. Ticketing, arresting and otherwise harassing black folk is big business for Ferguson. More on that some other time.
Let's be clear: Officer Wilson never called in to report the shooting because they turned it over to St. Louis county police almost immediately. Oh, but that didn't stop them from turning over an incident report and video in which Mike Brown is allegedly guilty of stealing cigars. (Nevermind Fox News and their idiocy. Cue Kevin Sorbo and his racist rant about Ferguson.) Interestingly, the store didn't call the cops -- a customer did.
Watch your back, black folk: customers can get you killed. Just ask John Crawford -- a few days before Mike Brown's murder, he was shot 10 times while holding a toy gun in Wal-Mart as he chatted on the phone with his girlfriend, who was in another section of the store. Ronald Ritchie, an ex-Marine (that's not true), called 911 while his wife April (who had a broken ankle and was on the phone with her mother) trailed behind Mr. Crawford in a Wal-Mart scooter at what she described as a "safe distance", waving people away from him. No one else in the store was alarmed by Mr. Crawford. A month later, Ronald Ritchie completely changed his story.
The kicker is that Ohio is a right to carry state. That means you can openly carry a firearm in public.
Right about now, the attorney general of Ohio is hoping that this case goes away so no one's career gets tanked and those cops and yes, you too, Mr. Ritchie -- because this is all your fault -- don't get sued into oblivion and see some serious jail time for murder. As far as I'm concerned, the rest of his natural life wouldn't be long enough.
But I digress.
Cops arrived on the scene that afternoon with assault rifles because angry residents refused to disperse, and wanted answers. That's when everything went beserk and suddenly, Ferguson was on full blast. Twitter was on fire with moment to moment updates as everything unraveled, from photos of German shepherds attacking black folk to a militarized police presence to the barricade that ultimately shut the police out of the neighborhood after the cops deliberately destroyed Mike Brown's memorial. And that was the first day.
Officer Wilson was secreted away immediately and his identity was withheld by the Ferguson police department for almost a week. Apparently, this was long enough for him to erase any unsavory tidbits on his social media and hide with his family in "a safe place" -- with pay and benefits, of course.
What's the upshot?
- The Ferguson Police Department is facing a federal civil rights investigation, headed by Attorney General Eric Holder. And what they've found so far is pretty disturbing.
- The Ferguson City Council (which met for the first time today since Mike Brown's murder) is assembling their first ever police department review board.
- Black folk in Ferguson have been holding a slew of voter registration rallies.
Oh -- and about that Ferguson City Council meeting...
#FergusonCCM is trying to keep residents from commenting by "requiring" they state their full name and address while being broadcast online.
— Rap Game Rahab, doe (@_peech) September 10, 2014
Mayor asks people to state name and address before speaking. Crowd incensed. Speaker says her address is "ground zero." #FergusonCCM
— mervyn marcano (@britrican) September 10, 2014
A ferguson resident said no signs posted about council meetings.She went to city hall to find out & was told to check the news. #fergusonccm
— BrownBlaze (@brownblaze) September 10, 2014
"I spent more time in jail than Darren Wilson." -#Ferguson protester Legal system ≠ justice system. #FergusonCCM
— Namira Islam (@namirari) September 10, 2014
Citizens are doing at the #FergusonCCM exactly what they have been doing since #MikeBrown’s death, challenging structural racism.
— zellie (@zellieimani) September 10, 2014
Man: "I heard the mayor say #Ferguson doesn't have a race problem. There must be two Fergusons." #FergusonCCM pic.twitter.com/hz9n6o2uuK
— Tyson (@tysonmanker) September 10, 2014