Last week the grand jury finally ruled in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. No indictment was issued against policeman Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown. In other words, a white cop was legally justified in killing an unarmed 18-year-old Black youth. Unfortunately this should not surprise us. Police or security guards murder a Black person every 28 hours. And few who commit these crimes are brought to trial.
Following the grand jury’s announcement, the media shifted from coverage of Michael Brown’s murder to the actions of people who took to the streets, outraged by this verdict. In Ferguson and all over the US, people protested this miscarriage of justice. No longer was the fact that Darren Wilson fired 12 shots at Mike Brown, hitting him six times a question. No longer was there discussion of the fact that an emergency medical response team was not called and Mike Brown’s body lay, uncovered, in the street for four and a half hours. It was of no concern that Darren Wilson was not questioned or detained, but left free to collect his paycheck.
The media focused on the angry response – the blocked streets and highways, the stores burned or looted – the acts of those outraged by the legal cover-up of this murder. While there was a big outcry about destruction of property – isn’t it interesting that there was a total lack of response by fire departments across the country or by the militarized police? They just let everything burn.
And the media even tried to turn Darren Wilson from the murderer of an 18-year-old youth, to the terrorized victim of a cigar-stealing demon. The open racism of the corporate media could not be more obvious. A fully armed 28-year-old, experienced cop, terrorized by an 18-year-old? Wilson’s claim that he feared for his life as Michael Brown punched him didn’t show up in his hospital photos. His entire story seems to be a well-coached distortion of the truth – or in other words – a lie!
Wilson’s testimony before the grand jury was not given the close examination that was clearly given to the testimony of the eyewitnesses to the shooting. The politicians intentionally chose to take the case to the grand jury because the jury meets in secret and is controlled by the prosecutor. Brown’s death was not an accident it was an execution. The grand jury verdict was used as a cover up.
We cannot stand by and allow this violence to be carried out without a response. We cannot accept the lie that the police are there to serve and protect us. The only ones they serve are the big businesses and their politicians. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted by the media’s accusations of violence against those who took to the streets in anger. The media is not neutral – it is owned and controlled by the same big businesses.
It will take more than small street demonstrations and disruptions to stop the brutality of the cops. These demonstrations are just a way to try to stop business as usual. But it certainly would not have been better if there had been no response to this legal lynching. Certainly we cannot believe we can rely on the politicians and judicial system that carried out this travesty of justice.
So what else could be possible? What if a large number of workers had organized themselves and announced there would not be any business as usual if Darren Wilson was not charged? What if many who work at MUNI, AC Transit and BART had not gone to work? What would have happened if the hospitals ran short-staffed and other large offices and workplaces were closed across the Bay Area? And around the country! What if hundreds of thousands of people came out in demonstrations at courthouses and police stations around the country? That by itself would not put an end to police brutality. But it would certainly be a step toward organizing our forces for the fights ahead. And it would send a strong message to those in power.
The only way to put an end to this violence in the long run is to put an end to this system that depends on exploitation to make its profits. The racism and other forms of oppression are built into this system. It is this system that has the blood of Michael Brown and many others on its hands.