Q: Two people are uniquely positioned to help the people of Ferguson to quell their anger if (likely) the police officer is not charged with a crime by a grand jury finding that he acted within the law deadly force against a citizen who was in process of a felony (grabbing a police officer’s gun would be the felony). Pres. Obama’s &/or ex-AG Holder’s statements of calm should be tied to the announcement of the grand jury’s decision with strong statement that the legal system has acted properly and the situation, while a tragedy, was not a wanton execution. Alas, they were both actively engaged in (inflaming) the situation when the popular visual was the execution of an unarmed, hands-in-the-air, 18-year old. I worry for the safety of the residents in Ferguson, that our two highest profiled African-Americans’ silence will be deafening at a time when our citizens need them most. I hope I am wrong!
If the GF decides to move forward with a trial then I would hope the same action be part of a jury’s acquittal, which is a strong likelihood.
A: Given that the prosecutor refused to recuse himself, I don’t think a decision by the grand jury not to go to trial will be viewed as being credible by a community that has been the prey of law enforcement and subject to governmental and prosecutorial malfeasance. If you were asking should the President or the attorney general comment (regardless of race), I think the answer would be no. Just because they happen to be Black doesn’t change anything in my mind. In fact, because they happen to be Black, and because there was such racial bias in how Blacks were treated in Ferguson before Mike was shot six times, I would think they should be less inclined to make a comment.
In essence, you’re asking two Black men to urge calm amongst the mainly Black constituency, after that constituency was subjected to extreme, persistent and racially biased law enforcement. That the flashpoint for all of this cruel injustice was an unarmed teenager being shot six timesand left uncovered in the street for four hours like he was roadkillexacerbates the point. I don’t think it’s fair to ask President Obama or Attorney General Holder to cover for all of the nonsense in Missouri. I think it would be far more appropriate for Governor Nixon to offer a deep apology, a plan of action to address systemic injustice, and an announcement of the police chief being fired and the prosecutor being replaced for this case (considering he does not have the confidence of the public in Ferguson)then asking for another chance and asking for calm. But there’s zero chance this will happen. To apply President Lincoln’s words to this situation, Governor Nixon appears to me to be “confused and stunned, like a duck hit over the head.”
I’m not sure how anyone could say with certainty that the police officer acted within the law. Seems to me that he provoked an incident and the reaction was perhaps more than he anticipated, but then he retaliated by shooting an unarmed teenager six times. Mike had no powder burns on his arm or head wounds. He wasn’t wearing a long-sleeved shirt or head covering; there would’ve been powder burns on his skin if the shooting had been at close range. I don’t know how much you’ve handled handguns, but the muzzle flash from a pistol can extend six inches, more or less depending on the firearm and ammunition. The Ferguson Police Department carries a .40 caliber handgun. I can’t imagine they were using low-flash/low-velocity ammunition. If Mike had been shot inside the car, there would have been powder burns. The police officer turned in a blank incident report, he did not present himself for medical examination, there were no body cameras or dashboard cameras installed. This is all suspicious in my mind. I’m not saying the officer is guilty, but there certainly seems enough there for a reasonable person to think there should be a trial.
And you also have the actions of Governor Nixon, who has proven himself to be so inept that if this were a movie, the audience would groan in disbelief.
So it’s the President’s job to cover for all of this by requesting people to remain calm You think the local people care all that much what the President thinks, given what’s happened I don’t think so.
Now, if the grand jury decides to move to a trial, then an acquittal is on the jury and the prosecutor’s office. Even though I thought both people were guilty, at the time I also bet that O.J. would get away with it, and I bet that Zimmerman could get away with it. They shouldn’t have, but with O.J. the prosecution blew it and with Zimmerman the law was inadequate to protect citizens from predators. I don’t know if Wilson would get away with it, but I don’t think you’ll see the reaction from a trial that you will if the grand jury refuses to go to trial. Either way, I don’t think the President of the United States or the attorney general have the obligation to comment just because they happen to be Black men.
The time to worry about peace and calm in the community was long before Mike was shot.