Today, August 9, 2018, will mark four years since the murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown, by Darren Wilson, a cop in Ferguson, Missouri. I don’t want to call this an “Anniversary”, because the word Anniversary always makes me think of it as a celebration of some sort, or a milestone, and there’s nothing to celebrate about the death of someone’s child. For those who may not remember what happened: Michael Brown, a teenager living in Ferguson, MO, was accused of shoplifting from a local convenience store, and the store owner called 911. Officer Darren Wilson stated that he was responding to that call, when he came upon Michael Brown and a friend walking down the street. Wilson stopped his cop car near the two young men, and this is where the contradiction in the events get murky, especially since Mr. Brown was not alive to give his side of the events. Wilson said that Brown hit him through the window, he became like the “Hulk”, he feared for his life, and he unloaded 12 rounds, killing him. The witness’s accounts, there were several I might add, were entirely different. The witness’s state that Brown was being pulled into Wilsons car through the open window, Brown resisted, broke free, and began running away from Wilson, and Wilson got out of the car and shot Brown as he was fleeing. In none of the witness’s testimony did they state that Brown was charging, threatening, or turning into the “Hulk”. Wilson was whisked away, taken to the hospital for his non-existent injuries, all before giving a statement, giving him the opportunity to get his “lies straight”, I mean “story straight”, while Michael Brown, lay dead in the street, on the hot asphalt, not too far from his home. The prosecutor since 1991, of St. Louis County, Robert McCulloch, who has a history of not holding cops accountable for any actions, up to and including murder. McCulloch has several family members who are cops, and his father, also a cop, was killed by a black man when he was a boy. McCulloch dismissed the witness accounts who were mainly black, as lies because we all know that black people lie for each other, unlike cops who never lie for each other. The characterization of the differing of accounts as lies, instead of people having a different vantage point or understanding of the events that they witnessed. Due to his penchant for protecting cops, he saw to it that there were no charges levied against Wilson, but he gleefully prosecuted the black people who came out to protest Michael Browns murder.
Almost 4 years later, the reign of cop protection, from the prosecutor’s office has ended. Wesley Bell, Ferguson City Council member, won the election against McCulloch to become the St. Louis County prosecutor. Mr. Bell has made criminal justice and bail reform as his main platforms. For almost 30 years cops in and around Ferguson were not held to any accountability for their actions of racial profiling, brutality and death. I have no doubt that Mr. Bell has a steep hill to climb in making reforms, did I forget to mention that Wesley Bell is a black man, well he is, and with the prior practices of this police department, racial bias and prejudices are business as usual.
The voters of St. Louis County, and Ferguson made their wishes known by voting out McCulloch and voting in Mr. Bell. The citizen’s there have proven for all to see, that in a secure and fair election, voting can, and will change things in your city, county, state, and federal governments. On the other hand, by not voting, we allow others to determine who guides and makes the laws in our current system of governing, in this country.
So many gave their lives, so we can vote, don’t we owe them that? VOTE!