Dear Stripes readers,
On August 9th, Mike Brown was stopped by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, allegedly for walking in the street with his friend. In the confrontation that followed, Brown was shot several times and killed. Mike Brown was an unarmed, black teenager. Wilson was a white, 6-year veteran of the force. Brown’s body was left in the street for hours after his death and finally removed by a police SUV, instead of an ambulance.
The community of Ferguson erupted immediately after the incident with protests, ranging from vigils to looting, calling for justice to be done. Ferguson PD responded to both forms of protest with military-style action, haphazardly deploying tear gas and rubber bullets. Public officials, at the local and national level, did not immediately comment on the killing, ensuing unrest or the reactionary measures of Ferguson PD.
President Obama waited until Tuesday to make a statement, expressing his condolences, confirming that the FBI was conducting an investigation into the incident, and calling for peace in the aftermath. He followed up with a speech on Thursday, denouncing the use of violence by protesters as well as the use of “excessive force” by Ferguson PD.
On Thursday, Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon announced he was withdrawing Ferguson PD from control of the community, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol took over the situation.
On Friday, Ferguson PD released Darren Wilson’s name after days of pressure, but also released footage of Mike Brown allegedly robbing a QuikTrip convenience store. Protesting ramped up at night, as looters took to the streets once more. Police response was more restrained.
On Saturday, Gov. Nixon announced that a curfew would be established from midnight to 5 a.m. in an effort to curtail violence. Community members remained frustrated in the absence of an indictment of Wilson, police report or autopsy report.
We here at The Stripes are frustrated, too. Of course, we encourage the conversation to continue and wait for all of the facts in the case to be confirmed. However, given the information available at this time, we believe that Brown’s death was unjustified and avoidable. He deserved—at the very least—to be tried under due process of law.
This incident has incited a national conversation on police brutality and misconduct, particularly as it affects minority communities, and we cannot stand by without voicing our concerns that justice be served and that progress be made.
We urge you to follow the case as it unfolds, discuss the issues at hand within your communities, and take steps to effect change. We have compiled a list of resources (found at the bottom of this post), including links to organizing materials, petitions, and noteworthy articles, that we hope will you aid you in this endeavor.
Last but certainly not least, do not hesitate to submit an article or multimedia piece to us regarding the web of issues surrounding this incident. As always, we are here to facilitate and encourage the conversation.
Editors-in-Chief of The Stripes