Unrest in Ferguson

Priscilla Yiv and Jada Kissi

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On August 9th Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri. Accounts from the media report the following: Michael Brown and his friend Dorrain Johnson were walking down the middle of the street when officers Darren Wilson stopped them for jaywalking. Just moments before Michael Brown had shoplifted cigarillos from a nearby store.(NYTimes)  An altercation broke out between Brown and Wilson through the window of the police car until Wilson’s gun was fired, wounding Brown. After the altercation inside the vehicle window, Brown ran about 135 feet away from the car and Wilson fired a total of 12 rounds. Of the 12 Brown was hit by 8, with 2 fatal shots entering his forehead. Reports from eye witnesses differed as to whether Brown had his hands up, surrendering, or if he was charging toward Wilson, when the final shots were fired.

The shooting resulted in an up roar amongst the citizens causing protests that stirred the area for weeks. On November 24, after viewing photographs, forensic evidence, medical reports and listening to 61 testimonies from witnesses and Wilson, the grand jury decided that Wilson would not be indicted, meaning that he would not be brought trail for the killing of Michael Brown. This set off a wave of riots in Ferguson. Buildings were set on fire and looting was reported from many businesses. As news of the decision spread some protesters progressively became more violent, attacking officers in riot gear. Governor Jay Nixon pre-deployed Missouri’s national guard to contain the situation, and some officers responded to the protesters, including peaceful ones, with rubber bullets and tear gas. Since then, there have been smaller violent protest. This whole incident has set off concerns across the nation. Since then many people have been involved in protesting in their own ways such as the hash-tags on social media, t-shirts, posters even promotions at sporting events. These protests are still on going and do not seem to be slowing down

A survey was taken at RGNS to see what students and faculty think about the situation.

 

Questions Percentage of Students Percentage of Faculty
Did you know what was going on with Ferguson before the survey?
    Yes 96% 97%
    No 4% 3%
Do you think it will be effective for police offers to wear body cameras?
    Yes 81% 82%
    No 19% 18%
Do you agree with the grand jury verdict not to indict?
    Yes 37% 59%
    No 63% 41%
How do you feel about the events happening in Ferguson and the incident itself?
    I’m concerned 74% 85%
    I know what’s going on but I’m  not concerned 24% 13%
    I don’t know what’s going and I’m    not concerned 2% 2%

 

From the get-go this topic was shown to be very controversial: when a mistake was accidently included in a survey, many responses to the mistake were sent out instantly in protest. The biggest difference between the faculty survey and the student survey was the percentage of people who agreed or disagreed with the grand jury verdict.

This topic is widely known and talked about. Incidents like this are a great issue in our nation. An incident similar to the Michael Brown case is the Eric Garner case. Eric Garner was a black man in New York city approached by white officers not in uniform, accusing him of illegally selling single cigarettes. After Garner denied it, the police men attempted to arrest him. He put both hands in the air and with “passive defiance” (CNN) told the men not to touch him. Officer Pantaleo put Garner in what some has been describe as a choke-hold, as the video suggests, and put his face into the ground. Then, other cops assisted in holding and handcuffing him. While this was happening, Garner is clearly heard saying “I can’t breathe” eleven times. He died, and medical investigations say it was due to neck compression from the police, and heart attack. Other factors that contributed include: obesity, asthma and heart disease. This grand jury also came to the decision not to indict Pantaleo. This has started protesting and negative reactions nationwide.

The point of this article is to inform RGNS about some off the issues affecting us nationwide. This is a huge concern in our nation and it is important to stay informed about the events occurring across the country.

Protester confront Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers in front of the Ferguson police station. Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed by Robert Cohan.

Protester confront Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers in front of the Ferguson police station. Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed by Robert Cohan.

A demonstrator sits in front of a debris fire in Ferguson. Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed by Stephan Lam

A demonstrator sits in front of a debris fire in Ferguson. Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed by Stephan Lam

Memorial sits in the middle of the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police. Picture courtesy of buzzfeed by Jeff Roberson

Memorial sits in the middle of the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police. Picture courtesy of buzzfeed by Jeff Roberson

Protesters run after police throw smoke bombs. Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed by Justin Sullivan

Protesters run after police throw smoke bombs. Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed by Justin Sullivan

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