The emotions that crawled over me in regards to the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown went something like this: anger, frustration, depression, hopelessness.

The anger rose in me because Brown’s shooting, yet another in a series of systematic executions and public displays of excessive force by the police towards African-Americans did nothing but add to a list of names that stretches decades long now. Eleanor Bumpurs, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Jonathan Ferrell, John Crawford and even Michael Blair here in Houston. Unarmed, a threat to no one and in Blair’s case, a man with a history of uncommon mental issues. The account from the police and an actual eyewitness vary. The only common point they have of agreement is the end, one in which Brown laid sprawled on a hot Ferguson, Missouri ground, motionless, his blood running from his body onto the pavement and running through the cracks.

Neither story dispute that an officer discharged his weapon in shooting Brown but the story told Sunday from the police felt more like trumped up fiction of a Hollywood film rather than real life. Brown was walking with his friend Dorin Johnson when they were stopped by an officer in a police truck. The officer attempted to leave his vehicle after talking to the boys. If you believe the narrative given by St. Louis County police officials then you would be believing a story in which one of the boys attempted to push the officer back into his vehicle, fought him, attempted to reach for his pistol before running away.

Johnson’s account, which wasn’t taken by police considering he was a direct eyewitness among others tells a different story. His account, one that involves the cop ordering the boys on the sidewalk and hitting Brown with his car door mentions the officer telling them, “I’m gonna shoot you.” The cop fires a shot at the both of them, prompting them to run before a second shot halts Brown about 35 feet away from the officer’s vehicle. Johnson remained hidden. Brown threw his hands up, reminding the officer that he was never armed and posed no threat.

Multiple shots are then fired, many of which striking Brown. An eyewitness account says the officer stood over Brown and unloaded his magazine into the 18-year-old teen. His body lay in the Missouri heat to bake and been seen as a talking point for the community for hours before he was led away for autopsy. The officer was placed on administrative leave, leading to a four day period which we’re mired in now – tear gas, police officers dressed more than paramilitary soldiers with weaponry to fight in Iraq more than small town, USA and an angry community, quarantined in their own houses and subdivisions.

The reason for violence in Ferguson, for the unrest and anger is simple: the lack of cooperation by law officials in bringing one of their own to justice. In cases before where an officer may have feared for his life following an incident, their names were promptly released to the public without further incident. Administrative leave for the officer in question is more akin to protection. A scary consideration when a predominantly African-American community and a largely white police force are asked to cooperative with one another — when there has been less cooperation on Capitol Hill.

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The cards were never in favor of black Americans to begin with and the policing of black Americans in this country has always been under different rules and guidelines than nearly everyone else. There’s reason why some parents of African-American children, boys especially have zero idea what to tell them for fear that the same dreary expression that lay with Brown’s parents happens to them.

Why they’re more likely to be afraid of their child dying at the hands of the police than any other man, at a rate which it occurs every 28 hours.

There’s a reason why society is more than likely to cower in fear of the image of a group of black men inside of an restaurant engaged in protest with assault rifles in honor of their 2nd Amendment rights than that of a white militia group assembled under those same rights.

The frustration that swept over me was boiled down to simple facts. The people of Ferguson, Missouri, the ones who didn’t ask for their city to be turned into one of martial law were blocked from getting the actual truth. The name of the officer in question has yet to be released due to concerns of more violence. A drive-by shooting occurred in an area of the city that is completely blocked off last night with a woman suffering a gunshot wound to the head. My question, along with theirs is, how? How can a shooting occur via a drive-by if all streets in the vicinity of said crime were under lockdown?

How can a city’s police officials undergo a massive cover up operation in which nearby apartment cameras were destroyed, residents threatened and tear gas deployed onto peaceful, yet angry and frustrated demonstrators as if they were the problem? The provocation has been taken by police officers, those sworn to protect and serve who has combatted protesters with the already instilled belief that they will attack. If a man is given access to weaponry one would find more often in a video game such as Call Of Duty with zero consequence, at what point would his superiors determine he didn’t need to do so?


In a society where image is direct in psychoanalysis and determining the makeup of a man, the demonizing of individuals who are originally deemed victims is all too common. Brown’s toxicology reports were brought up within hours of the shooting, an image circulate of him throwing up a “gang sign” and the Riverfront Times in St. Louis chose to scan over his brief musical output on Soundcloud to determine whether or not he was a “gangster” rapper. By comparison, the image of James Egan Holmes originally sprayed upon news channels in the wake of the mass murder he committed in an Colorado movie theater on July 20th was originally that of yearbook photos. There are rarely few choir boys in life, we are all determined to have made some dirt here and there.

The issue is determining why appearance should immediately lead to death. Brown’s body in its final rest displayed him with his pants sagging, some Twitter commenters easily determining the he felt no remorse over his death because of such. There have been black bodies dangling like fruit from raised tree bark in suits, ties, dresses. Bodies strung and circled in blood in T-shirts, slacks


Sunday night, the protests and vigils began in Ferguson. Hours later, the police arrived onto the scene with dogs and their own weapons. The looting took place by a select few who thought having the police in one centralized area would be a perfect time to take rims, shoes, hair and more. Others chose arson, a thought of burning the QuikTrip where it was rumored Brown had shoplifted to the ground. It was later determined that the shoplifting story was false, that no one from that store even called the police.

That’s where the frustration lies — for as Sam Cooke once believed, “change will come”. Hopelessness is being resigned to the fact that it never will come. Depression because the national media will focus far more on the juice — namely the riots — than the reasoning behind any of them.

For the residents of Ferguson, home, is sadly where the hatred is.

Images: Getty/AP