Ferguson situation proves racism still rampant in United States

Opinions Columnist | Electronic media junior

The death of Michael Brown proves that it is still unsafe for black men in America. Although his untimely death was a recent incident, it serves as a continuation of the constant harassment and abuse of the African American people, particularly the black male, at the hands of those appointed to protect and serve.

There are many horrid events reminiscent of the Mike Brown shooting that stretch back to the origins of America. Emmett Till in 1955 was not necessarily the earliest case of this nature, but perhaps one of the most prominent. Till’s killers were acquitted after he was beaten, slain, and dumped into the Tallahatchie River. The Rodney King case in 2012 is another example of brutality without righteous cause. Every officer involved in the beating was acquitted, even after video footage of the entire episode was provided.

It is very likely that, should another event such as this occur, the result would be the same. The officers involved are usually never punished, a decision which strongly implies immunity to prosecution or a sense of being above the law. In the case of Emmett Till, however, there were no police officers involved, suggesting that civilians may also get away with killing black men for no substantially evident reason.

Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Mike Brown, should be tried in court as any other citizen. Due to the problematic precedents established concerning punishing law enforcement, some people may have a sneaking suspicion that Wilson may be granted amnesty due to his merits as an officer of the law. The possibility of a biased prosecutor with deep ties to Ferguson law enforcement may also strike the citizens as completely unfair. If Robert McCulloch chooses not to recuse himself from the case, he may choose not to prosecute Officer Wilson. It cannot be said for certain if his morals are that questionable, but there is a history of the people of Ferguson finding themselves unable to trust local authority figures.

Killing an unarmed individual is inexcusable under any circumstance. Whether or not Mike Brown was responsible for the gas station robbery, he was unarmed and could have been apprehended by other means. According to eyewitnesses, Brown was attempting to surrender, rendering his death unlawful. Different versions of the incident essentially balance the possible criminal charges between self-defense and murder, or the lesser charge of manslaughter. The fact that Brown was unarmed should be reason enough to punish Officer Wilson to a fair and reasonable extent.

Although the Michael Brown case specifically pertains to African Americans, there is nothing to stop police officers from wrongfully using deadly force against other minority groups as well. The constant acquittals of these officers entail the lack of importance in wrongful death cases, making the killing of unarmed minorities acceptable.

At the core of the Michael Brown protests is a dangerous mixture of tension and hopelessness, brought on by the perpetual abuse of African American people at the hands of authority figures. Although Darren Wilson is an officer of the law, he should face some sort of administrative punishment and finally prove that the life of a black man is not worthless by any means. The African American community has dealt with harassment and police brutality for years, and is simply asking for equality and justice for its own. Hopefully, rightful justice will be served and the death of Michael Brown will mark an end to the senseless cycle of violence made possible by the men and women of law enforcement.