Michael Brown’s Body

There may be a good explanation for why Ferguson, Missouri, a mostly black working-class suburb of St. Louis, had a white mayor and police force. There might be a good explanation for why an unarmed, 18-year-old high school graduate, Michael Brown, was shot down in the street.  But if so, nobody has said so yet.  The only thing for which there is a good explanation is why Brown won’t be starting technical school today. That’s because he’s dead.

From the New York Times:

The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager Saturday by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb came after a struggle for the officer’s gun, police officials said Sunday, in an explanation that met with outrage and skepticism in the largely African-American community.

The cop isn’t named.  The story makes little sense.

At a news conference on Sunday morning, the St. Louis County police chief, Jon Belmar, said that a man had been shot and killed after he had assaulted a police officer and the two had struggled over the officer’s gun inside his patrol car. At least one shot was fired from inside the car, Chief Belmar said.

“The genesis of this was a physical confrontation,” Chief Belmar told reporters.

Good use of the word “genesis,” but it’s a lie.

Just after noon on Saturday, the police said, an officer in a patrol car approached Mr. Brown and another man. As the officer began to leave his vehicle, one of the men pushed the officer back into the car and “physically assaulted” him, according to the police department’s account.

The genesis was when the shooter approached Michael Brown. Why? Then he “began to leave his vehicle.” Why?  Then, according to the police account, “one of the men” pushed the cop back into the car and “physically assaulted” him. Why?  Who?  But mostly why would a kid who just graduated high school do this?

Yet, even if we were to take this fragmented story, because the shooter cop on the Ferguson police force wouldn’t be expected to have an explanation for why he gunned down a young man in the street, a complete story, a real story, a good story, it doesn’t explain why Michael Brown was shot down in the street.

A struggle occurred “over the officer’s weapon,” and at least one shot was fired inside the car, Chief Belmar said. The two left the car, and the officer shot Mr. Brown about 35 feet away from the vehicle, the police reported. Several shots were fired from the officer’s weapon.

No, several shots were not “fired from the officer’s weapon.”  They were fired by the cop at Michael Brown with the intention of killing him.  They were fired when Michael Brown was about 35 feet away from the cop car.  Why?  We don’t know how many bullets struck Michael Brown’s body. We don’t know if they hit him in the front or back.  The cops know. At least they should, but they aren’t telling. Yet.

There are a great many why’s here, and one would hope to have very quick, very real answers to very simple questions.  The media, however, is busy reporting about how protestors are yelling mean things like “kill the cops” and looting stores.  They are so busy telling the story of how those still alive in Ferguson are behaving so poorly that there is no room in the papers for questions like “why?”

At a candlelight vigil on Sunday evening, the heightened tensions between the police and the African-American community were on display. A crowd estimated in the thousands flooded the streets near the scene of the shooting, some of them chanting “No justice, no peace.” They were met by hundreds of police officers in riot gear, carrying rifles and shields, as well as K-9 units.

Clearly, there is no faith that the police can be trusted.  Killing a young man in the streets for no particular reason tends not to help.  Neither does hundreds of police in riot gear with rifles and dogs when a community holds a candlelight vigil.

Eventually, a story will emerge.  The police, as required by their public relations manual, ask that everyone in Ferguson remain calm and let the police conduct their investigation.  The people of Ferguson ask in return why the unnamed officer didn’t remain calm and not shoot Michael Brown dead in the street.

If there was anything, any taint to dissipate the anger and mistrust between the black community and the white police, it would have been the first words spoken.  Now it’s too late to smear Michael Brown by his past, leaving those inclined to leap to illogical assumptions that he must have done something to deserve to be killed.  When the cops have nothing to say, it is deafening.

At least the media can smear those who mourn Michael Brown, who protest his killing.  Without that, they would have to focus on the story nobody’s telling, and why no cop wants to explain why Michael Brown won’t be starting school today.

18 comments on “Michael Brown’s Body

  1. RKTlaw

    Not directly relevant to your post, so I get it if this doesn’t make the cut, but I can’t help but wonder what the reaction would be if armed “militia” showed up in Ferguson and pointed weapons at the cops a la Bundy Ranch. I’m sure it would end well.

    1. SHG Post author

      Like so many official perspectives, one side is “right” and all others are not. Remember the Black Panthers in the 60’s? That didn’t end well either.

  2. Jake DiMare

    ‘Anarchy will not be tolerated’ – George H.W. Bush

    On Day 2 of 4 days of riots in LA which saw the PD completely lose control of the city, dozens killed, thousands injured, and costing an estimated billion dollars.

    What I’ve been wondering is how it took so long for the riots to happen again. And how the police could have forgotten what happens when they take things too far.

  3. Phil Perspective

    I know it’s small potatoes but why did the cops wait 4 hours to even cover the body, much less remove it? I’m sure most people have seen the pictures by now, especially with the one cop just standing there like a lump on a log. Have they no decency?

  4. Kevin OKeefe

    Couldn’t help but think this AM that 50 years later we still have a heck of race divide in this country. Watching the St. Louis TV coverage, via the net, it’s wild not seeing any black police officers. You then have a white police chief being interviewed by a white news reporter regarding turning the case over to to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department, which felt to me like their buddies next door. If I am feeling this way how would a black person in Ferguson feel?

    Police with dogs, machine guns, and tear gas lined up against a peaceful march is likely to beget violence and that’s what happened last night. I wonder if that was march of white people their would have been such a show of force.

    1. SHG Post author

      Or if it was a march of white people, it would have been to the golf club, as there would be no dead body in the street to protest.

    2. Color Wheel & Race Correction Unit

      Mr. OKeefe., “Watching the St. Louis TV coverage, via the net”,

      A black CNN reporter with a British sir name interviewed the chief and had his cameraman pan over to a line of two cops with about 10 in each line. The CNN newsroom lady with the Palin / Perry eye wear asked him to pan over again and it was clearly visible that there was a huge black officer placed in the middle and another placed near the end of the front line with visors flipped up and no dogs in sight. With no clear view of the back line of officers faces or arms.

      Two interviews of the same event, where we saw the CNN interview in real time while unable to locate this St. Louis TV interview you pointed to. Had we not seen the CNN interview, we would be inclined to believe your report to be true in which it very well may have occurred either on purpose or by coincidence, – that there were no black cops or reporters in Ferguson during the interview. The gas was rightfully deployed to disperse criminals looting, burning & throwing bottles, not the peaceful protesters having nothing to do with committing those crimes. The non criminals left the area. There were a few Woods (aka white folks) in the peaceful marches with their closed fist in the air during the day time, you just have to look real hard.

      There’s still time for concerned white folks to join peaceful protest vs. posting comments having no effect as it lends to the big picture that it’s a black thing, when it’s actually a trigger happy scared cop thing in every single state where people of every color are getting shot while unarmed by cops of all colors with real bullets. If you miss this opportunity to peacefully protest the using of lethal options over non-lethal options regarding non-violent crime events / encounters , you have more important things to do like Commenting and sadly, that doesn’t count.

      Tune in next week when we address the outcome of cops killing unarmed people and their pets that bark as it leads to a federal mandate that all killings of this nature be investigated by the FBI & DOJ (not the office located in the region due to buddies in the bureau). The Michael Brown Act will remove the ability to investigate yourselves or hand it off to friends in regards to any officer or jailer related rapes, beating and killings and forbids the President from making statements.

      RIP Mr. Brown.

  5. ExEMT

    Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that after 35 years in law enforcement “It’s the worst week of my life, and last night was the worst night of my life.” Jackson goes on to say that he thinks it was a “routine patrol encounter…..just a clear-the-road type of incident” WTF does that mean? A routine you’re-black-so-I’m-stopping-you-and-telling-you-to-get-off-the-street encounter?

    How does jay walking escalate to a confrontation like this? Don’t the police learn to “de-escalate” instead of “exacerbate” a minor infraction to where a struggle takes place and shots are fired and a young man is dead? If this were a well-to-do neighborhood, and it was a young white man who may have mouthed off, would we have the same result?

    The bottom line (IMHO) is that we have a young man who is tragically dead at the hands of a police officer under very suspicious circumstances. Whether justice is obtained for the family and community that were left behind does not have a great outlook. Based on the power structure that is prevalent, I fear that the concept of justice is far too fleeting for people, and this is especially true for young men like Michael Brown. You wonder in the article if a “good explanation” will emerge, and I am very skeptical if the truth will ever be found. I have become far too cynical of law enforcement, and the number of citizens joining me on that side of things is growing rapidly. That group is growing by similar cynicism due to mistrust of the media to tell the facts rather than sensationalizing the story. Where is Walter Cronkite when you really need him?

  6. lawrence kaplan

    The NY Times got it wrong. It reported: “At a news conference on Sunday morning, the St. Louis County police chief, Jon Belmar, said that a man had been shot and killed after he had assaulted a police officer and the two had struggled over the officer’s gun inside his patrol car. At least one shot was fired from inside the car, Chief Belmar said.”

    This means that Belmar claimed that it was Brown who had allegedly assaulted the police officer. But Belmar NEVER said this. What he very carefully said was:

    “Just after noon on Saturday, the police said, an officer in a patrol car approached Mr. Brown and another man. As the officer began to leave his vehicle, one of the men pushed the officer back into the car and “physically assaulted” him, according to the police department’s account.”

    “One of the men.” They could well have been referring to the other yet unnamed man., not necessarily Brown.

    Later on the chief said that the officer shot at “a subject.” As others have already noted, “A subject”– not “THE subject. ” Again, according to the Chief, the officer could have been shooting at the other man and hit Brown by mistake.

    I am not saying any of this occurred. My only point is that the Chief was even more ambiguous and said even less than would appear from the Times.

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