Letter From The Editor: Michael Brown Murder

Posted by | On August 15, 2014 | Leave a comment | Under: Claude Julian, Columnists, Features, Letter From The Editor

by Claude Julian | ARCHIVES


On August 9th, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis was rocked by the cold blooded murder of college bound  Michael Brown in an execution style shooting at the hands of police officer Darren Wilson. Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking in the middle of the street when Wilson drove up and ordered them to move to the sidewalk. The disputed set of circumstances centers around Brown and Wilson struggle through the window of the police car until Wilson’s gun was fired, either intentionally or as a result of the struggle. Brown and Wilson then fled in different directions with Wilson in pursuit of Brown. The end result of said pursuit saw Wilson shooting Brown six times — ultimately killing him.

Johnson was walking with unarmed Missouri teen Michael Brown when he was killed. According to Johnson, Brown was “shot like an animal” by a police officer who approached the pair for no apparent reason while they were on their way home.

“We were just walking down, minding our own business,” Dorian Johnson, 22, told NBC affiliate KDSK. The officer drove up to them and told them to “Get the f**ck on the sidewalk!” Johnson claimed. Wilson drove forward without saying anything further, only to abruptly back up, positioning his vehicle crosswise in their path, almost hitting the two men. He said, “We were so close, almost inches away, that when he tried to open his door aggressively, the door ricocheted both off me and Big Mike’s body and closed back on the officer. He didn’t say ‘freeze,’ ‘hold,’ or nothing like we were committing a crime.”

Johnson said his confusion soon turned to fear as he watched the officer grab Brown around the neck. Even though Brown “never once attempted to grab for the officer’s weapon” the cop reached for his gun with his other hand, Johnson stated.  “The cop said, ‘I’ll shoot.’ It wasn’t even a second later before the gun just went off.” Brown ran, putting his hands up in surrender, but the officer kept firing.

“It was just horrible to watch,” Johnson remembered, breaking down in tears. “It was definitely like being shot like an animal.”


According to Johnson, Brown “did not reach for the officer’s weapon at all.”  Instead he insisted that Brown was attempting to get free of Wilson rather than attempting to attack him or take his weapon from him.  Johnson recalled that Wilson drew his weapon, said  “I’ll shoot you or “I’m going to shoot” and almost instantaneously fired his weapon, hitting Brown.

Wilson shot several rounds at the fleeing Brown. In the short pursuit, Brown turned around with his hands in the air, after reacting as if he was hit and said, “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting! Wilson ignored the meaningless attempt to surrender then fired several times, killing him.”

The shooting sparked protests and civil unrest in part due to the belief among many that Brown was surrendering as well as racial tensions between the majority-black community and the minority-white city government and police. Protests, both peaceful and violent, in conjunction with vandalism and looting continued for more than a month, along with night curfews. The response of local police agencies in dealing with the protests received significant criticism from the media and politicians, leading to control being shifted to the State Police.  On the day of the shooting, a makeshift memorial to Brown was established in the street where he was shot. Flowers and candles were scattered over the bloodstains on the pavement. That night, according to Mother Jones, a police officer allowed his dog to urinate on the memorial and it was later crushed as police drove over and through it. These incidents inflamed tensions in the community, according to Missouri State Representative Sharon Pace, who spoke up, “That made people in the crowd mad and it made me mad.”

Local police stations assembled over 150 officers in riot gear on August 10, 2014. Some people began looting businesses, vandalizing vehicles, and confronting police officers who sought to block off access to several areas of the city. At least 12 businesses were looted or vandalized, and gas station was set on fire, leading to 30 arrests. Many windows were broken and several nearby businesses closed. Police used a variety of equipment, including riot gear and helicopters, to disperse the crowd by 2:00 a.m.

Michael Brown Funeral

Michael Brown’s mom says good-bye to her son at his funeral

On August 25th, Brown’s funeral was hosted at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, in St. Louis. The Alpha Phi Alpha paid the entire costs for the memorial and funeral services. At a rally held the day before, Brown’s family asked that supporters suspend their protests for one day out of respect for the funeral proceedings. The service was attended by an estimated 4,500 people, including three White House officials: Broderick Johnson, head of the White House’s “My Brother’s Keeper Task Force”, Marlon Marshall, a high school classmate of Brown’s mother; and Heather Foster, a representative from the office of Public Engagement. Al Sharpton delivered one of two eulogies.

This execution style killing represents another clear example that while racism runs rampant in the Ferguson, Missouri police force, the racial tensions that continue to divide our nation as a result of the tragic murders of Trayvon Martin and now Michael Brown will no longer be ignored.


To learn more about the Michael Brown murder, CLICK HERE


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