Police Shooting Missouri

A member of the Clayton police department stands watch as protesters gather outside the Buzz Westfall Justice Center.

During Slavery in America, Blacks were considered three-fifths of a person, and their life was controlled by an overseer and master. The overseer was authorized to punish slaves, and kill them if they refused to do the work. In 2014, many Black activists believe the police force is the new overseer in the African-American community, and they have forgotten that they are being paid to serve the residents.

In the last week, the Ferguson Police Department in Missouri has terrorized the residents in a suburb of St Louis, which is 65 to 70 percent Black, with tear gas, rubber bullets and arrest. This incident was started when a police officer Darren Wilson, shot an unarmed 18 year old Black youth Michael Brown for walking in the street. There are eyewitnesses who say the Black youth raised his arms and said he did not have a gun, but he was still killed with numerous shots.

For the past five days the city has been turned into a war zone, with the county SWAT team in riot gear and armored tanks. Police Chief Tom Jackson tried to justify the over-militarization of the treatment in the community, but on Thursday the governor turned the oversight of the situation to Captain Ron Johnson.

Johnson, a Black man, has replaced riot gear and armored tanks, with state Highway Patrol walking side by side with protestors, and turned the situation from violent to peaceful. For five days the Ferguson police chief and the county police have treated the Ferguson community as thugs, criminals and the enemy. This over-policing of the residents shows that the police operate from an overseer mentality, and murdering Black men is part of the job. But on Saturday the town turned into a war zone again, when the governor implemented a curfew.

In 2012, a study was done by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement that a Black man is killed every 28 hours by police. Many of these killing and murders are covered-up and very few are allowed to be publicized by the media.

In 2014, Eric Garner was unarmed and a group of NYPD chocked this Black man to death. In North Carolina Jonathan Ferrell was unarmed and shot 10 times and died, and Jordon Baker, an unarmed Black man from Houston wearing a hoodie was shot and killed. In 2013, Trayvon Martin was killed for walking down the street and Jordan Davis, an unarmed Black youth, was shot sitting in his car, because a White man thought his music was too loud.

At this point, it appears to be open season on Black men by authority figures that carry guns. The police, security forces and licensed gun permit holders believe they are in a position to dispense law, and murdering Black men is no mistake. They tend to shoot first and ask questions later.

In the majority of these cases the Black man is unarmed, and very few of the perpetrators are prosecuted for a crime. In the Ferguson incident there are two stories; one from the police, and one from eyewitnesses. The police department is saying that Michael Brown was the aggressor, and he was shot because the young man tried to take the policeman’s revolver.

Michael Brown had no record; he was getting ready to start college, and it would not make sense to struggle with a policeman with a gun. In most cases in America, there is a cover-up and Darren Wilson will probably walk free. There is a raging fire just beneath the Black national consciousness and the over-policing and the militarization of the police departments makes for an explosive situation in the Black community.

Roger Caldwell