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No Justification, No Peace: Why Michael Brown’s Alleged Robbery Is Irrelevant

Last Friday, Ferguson, Mo., Police Chief Thomas Jackson held a press conference and finally released the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, on Aug. 9. The officer was identified as Darren Wilson 28-year-old White male who has been with the Ferguson police force for six years. Chief Jackson was sure to point out that Wilson had no prior complaints and described him as “a gentle, quiet man” Who had been “an excellent officer.” No photographs of officer Wilson were provided.

At the same press conference, Thomas distributed to the press video stills that portrayed Brown as anything but gentle or quiet. The stills were derived from a convenience store surveillance video, which purports to show Michael Brown committing a “strong-arm” robbery. In the video, the young man described as Brown can be seen shoving the store clerk before exiting with Swisher Sweets, a type of inexpensive cigars. Attorneys for the Brown family and his friend, Dorian Johnson, who accompanied Brown the day of the shooting, confirmed that it was Brown in the video. The robbery occurred just hours before Brown’s shooting.

Later on Friday, Chief Jackson came back for a second press conference and admitted that officer Wilson did not have knowledge of the store robbery and stopped Brown and Johnson because they were walking in the middle of the street. In a later interview Jackson tried to connect the two incidents by stating that Wilson may have seen the stolen cigars. Although the police report from the robbery has been released, the police report of Brown’s shooting remains unreleased.

So why release the surveillance video if it was unrelated to the shooting of Brown? Slandering and maligning the name of police brutality victims is part of the law enforcement’s playbook. Images and video were leaked to the press showing Trayvon Martin smoking marijuana and holding guns. More recently, Eric Garner, who was unarmed and died due to an unauthorized police chokehold, was portrayed as man selling loose cigarettes. The negative storylines are intended to smear the reputation of the victim, erode sympathy, and distract the public from the real issues. The goal is to assassinate the characters of those assassinated by police.

The laws of the United States ensured to protect the rights everyone, upstanding citizen and criminal alike. Initially the media harped on the fact that Brown planned to start college the Monday following his death as if that is why Black Americans were so outraged by his murder. No unarmed Black male deserves to be assassinated by those who are charged to serve and protect all citizens.

Whether or not Brown robbed a convenience store is irrelevant.

Even if the officer’s version of what happened that fateful day is true—and a struggle for the cop’s gun ensued in his vehicle—none of that justifies Brown’s murder.

What matters is that while Brown was several feet away, Officer Wilson shot him in his back. What matters is that once struck, according to eyewitnesses, Brown turned around to face the officer and displayed the universal white fag of surrender by throwing his hands up. What is critical is that while in a state of surrender, unarmed, and utterly vulnerable, officer Wilson riddled Brown with bullets until Brown dropped to his death.

There is no justification for what Wilson did to Brown. If Brown broke the law, he should have been apprehended and made to face charges. Instead, Wilson became the judge, jury and executioner.

Author Biography:

Stacy M. Allen has served as counsel on an array of legal matters including civil and criminal law, family law, bankruptcy, and even terrorism cases. Stacy is a proud graduate of St. Edward’s University where she graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations with a concentration in Latin America, and of Howard University School of Law, in Washington, DC, where she served as President of the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Moot Court Team. Her current practice focuses on a variety of civil litigation and criminal law matters.

Stacy M. Allen, Attorney at Law (@SMAllen_Esq)

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