Don’t Shoot: The Cries of a Nation in Distress

ferguson-protest
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by Ciana Davis

Michael Brown was a seventeen-year-old young man with promise. He, as many other freshly graduated high school students around the world, was heading off to college to start his life. Unfortunately, his life was cut short one fateful August afternoon after being shot by a police officer on his way to his grandmother’s home in Ferguson, Missouri.

St. Louis County police chief, Jon Belmar, stated at a press conference Sunday morning that Brown was shot after he and the shooting officer had a struggle over the officer’s gun in his patrol car. After one shot from inside the patrol car “more than a couple” followed into the street. However, eyewitnesses saw and stated otherwise. They reported to news crews on the scene that Michael Brown was murdered execution style by the officer after Brown had clearly surrendered.

mike brown
Recent High School Graduate Michael Brown

These conflicting stories led many to questions on whether this shooting justified, or whether it was another senseless murder of a young black man. Soon after the shooting, protesters arrived at police headquarters demanding answers. According to Antonio French, an alderman in the city of St. Louis, the police’s statements offered no hope to the people of Ferguson that justice will be served to the party responsible, which caused unrest within the groups of protesters.

Tensions reached an all time high when riots broke out during a candlelight vigil for Brown on Sunday night.  The riots continued into early Monday morning. Looting and the burning of a local gas station occurred in the midst of the riot. The riots were displayed for the world to see on social media. Thousands of people watched and read as the riot continued in the St. Louis suburb. Antonio French was among those reporting what was going on throughout the protests. The riot and protests sparked trending topics and conversation that could not be ignored by social media users. Needless to say, the nationwide attention gave the protesters fuel to keep their fight for justice going.

The protests continued into the following week gaining momentum and also, more action and attention from the police. On August 11, 2014, protesters were greeted with as many as three-hundred police officers. According to KSDK TV an NBC affiliate in St. Louis, mass arrests, tear gas, wooden pellets, and rubber bullets were all used against protesters. The protesters retaliated peacefully shouting “Don’t Shoot” and “No justice, No peace”  at the police officers as they continued rallying on the streets. Officers also ordered the media to leave the streets of Ferguson and not report what was going on thus, violating their First Amendment rights.

By Tuesday, August 12th, Ferguson, Missouri resembled a war zone. The FAA issued the area a no fly zone to provide a “safe environment for law enforcement activities,” according to Matthew Hosford of ABC news. Between the police department not releasing the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown and ordering the media to leave, there are some shady things coming from the government of this area.

 


The actions of the police department as well as other government offices lead many to wonder what sort of integrity do these people have and what are they hiding?


 

What would cause someone to shoot and kill an unarmed teen? These are questions that are causing a national uproar. These protests and riots do not come as a surprise to the people living in the area. They have become a result of the ongoing tension between the people of the Ferguson and the local police department.

This leads us to wonder, with all of this happening, what has our nation come to, and where is it going? It seems with these recent events America has taken a turn towards the 1960s. What’s next? Fire hoses spraying the people who are simply pleading for the justice they deserve? Ferguson police seem as though they are preparing for an all out war, not crowd control. The only ray of hope is the thousands of people rallying behind the fight for justice for Michael Brown and the many others who have been wronged by the people put in place to protect and serve.

 

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