CNN reports that:
Ahead of a grand jury's decision on whether to indict a police officer in the killing of Michael Brown, Missouri has both called in the National Guard and diminished the role of the Ferguson Police Department.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency Monday as a precaution, he said, in the event of unrest or violence.It's unknown when the grand jury will hand down a decision on whether to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for his fatal shooting of Brown, a teen. Prosecutors have suggested the grand jury would be done deliberating in mid- to late November.At the national level, the FBI last week issued a bulletin to law enforcement urging vigilance in the days before the Ferguson grand jury decision, according to a law enforcement official.
Mike Brown is not just an individual. He is our son. He is our brother, flaws and all. For decades, police brutality has plagued the black community. For decades, our young men and women have been shot, beaten and strangled by the police. Every day, there is a new victim. Yesterday, it was Rodney King, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner and countless others. Today, it is Mike Brown. His brutal killing is a reminder of that long and continuing legacy of police oppression. Often, when white police officers kill or injure black people, the officers are not convicted. They are free to kill and maim again. Our lives are declared worthless. Time and time again, we are denied justice. Unfortunately, it appears that Mike Brown case may be another example of such a denial.The bulletin did not cite any specific intelligence to suggest there was any ongoing threat to officers. It was based on what had occurred during previous protests.
Early on, the stage was set to deny justice for Mike Brown. The prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, has a strong bias in favor of law enforcement. According to CNN, Mr. McCulloch's father was a police officer. When McCulloch was 12 years old, his father was killed in the line of duty by a black man. Additionally, in 2000, as reported in the Washington Post, Mr. McCulloch agreed with a grand jury's decision not to indict two white officers for killing to unarmed black men. The article provides other examples of Mr. McCulloch's bias in support of law enforcement.
Despite proof of bias, no special prosecutor was appointed. Instead of filing criminal charges against Officer Wilson and having a public preliminary hearing, Mr. McCulloch brought the matter before a grand jury. The grand jury process is closed to the public. There is no transparency. That lack of transparency breeds skepticism, mistrust and rage.
According to the New York Times, the court process is taking so long because, the prosecutor is "'presenting absolutely everything' to the grand jury, including eyewitness accounts of the fatal altercation and forensic conclusions that might be diametrically opposed." That is unusual. As Mark O'Mara points out in his CNN article, prosecutors often "stack the evidence in favor of their case in order to ensure an indictment -- often excluding details that would support the case for the accused." Mr. McCulloch did not do so in this case because he probably does not want Darren Wilson to be indicted. Mr. McCulloch wants to use the grand jury as a scapegoat, a fallguy.
Apparently, the Governor knows that the die has been casted. By declaring a state of emergency, the Governor is essentially prematuring concluding that there will be no justice for Mike Brown and the black community. The Governor is basically saying that Officer Darren Wilson is going to get away with killing unarmed black teen Mike Brown. The Governor's declaration is not going diffuse the rage. It is only fueling the flames of hell on earth. Ferguson is going to burn literally and figuratively. When a people are rendered invisible and their legitimate cries for justice are muted, they have no choice but to take matters in their own hands.
If Darren Wilson is not indicted, we must raise hell. There must a national strike. College and high school students should walk out of school and take to the streets. Black workers and black professionals should leave work and take to the streets. There must be a national campaign of civil disobedience around the country. There should be demonstrations at police stations, state houses, mayors' offices and governors' offices around the country. There should be a new march on Washington. We must stop traffic and business. Businesses in Ferguson and Missouri should be boycotted. Business as usual must cease until we have justice. No justice, no peace!
The demonstrators should demand several things. They should demand that a special prosecutor be appointed immediately. They should demand that criminal charges be filed against Darren Wilson immediately. They should demand that Darren Wilson be arrested immediately. They should demand that Congress pass the End Racial Profiling Act. They should demand that Congress establish uniform, federal standards for police use of deadly force. They should demand that all police be required to wear functioning video cameras at all times will on duty. Until those demands are meant, the protests should continue.
In addition to making demands on law enforcement and politicians, the protesters must make demands on themselves. They must register to vote and actually vote. Ferguson is over 60 percent black. However, the mayor and the police chief are white. Only one city council member is black. Only one school board member is black. There are 53 police officers on the Ferguson police force. Only three of them are black. (Source: Mother Jones) Those stats are outrageous and ridiculous. Also, in the words of Kwame Ture, each one of us should join a black social justice organization and get involved in today's movement. If we want to change the situation in Ferguson, we must use every single means available to us.