First, the musical accompaniment, this goes back a spell but unfortunately is still relevant. Check out this tune by Public Enemy.
So here we are , two days after the grand jury in Missouri determined that Officer Wilson would not be indicted (read stand trial) for killing Michael Brown. Specifically, they asserted that there was nothing to indicate criminal activity by Officer Wilson.
No doubt, through the lens this grand jury used it may have seemed obvious that Officer Wilson did NOT break the law. Based on our their collective interpretation of our legal framework (conveniently excusing whatever personal biases they might have held) this grand jury arrived at what it felt was perfectly reasonable decision.
Unfortunately, what the grand jury could not examine was everything leading up to this incident that may or may not have required a legal lens.In situations like this, purely objective interpretations don’t always paint a full picture
There’s a great scene in Spike Lee’s Movie “Do The Right Thing” where Robin Harris, along with two other black men are sitting on the “block” when a cop car drives by. The black men eyeball the cops and vice versa. The vibe depicted in this clip present as good a short hand characterization of the state of affairs between black men and the police as any;sadly, that movie was released in 1989, not much has really changed on the ground in 2014it seems.
During his interview last week with George Stephanopolis Wilson was asked if there was anything he could have done differently.Hee responded that there wasn’t anything he would do differently.
The truth of the matter is that there was one important thing he could have done; that was to choose NOT to engage Brown and his friend when he first saw them. As far as we know the young men had broken no laws.Wilson at the time he came across Brown and his friend, was unaware of the convenience store incident in which Brown had been a part.
What Wilson chose to do was exercise his power and authority because he could. NOT because of concerns for public safety or the rule of law.
Until we as a culture and a country have real discussions and then take substantive corrective actions around race and oppression as they manifest formally and informally, these sorts of incidents will continue. Not always ending in death, certainly always contributing to the corrosive nature of racial inequity.