St Louis police shoot unarmed black teen; governor calls out the National Guard

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Shawwal 21, 1435 2014-08-18

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

Police in America shoot and kill black men, especially teens, first and worry about their guilt later. Even in death, their character assassination continues as the case of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO shows. The unarmed teen was shot six times execution-style even after he had raised his hands in surrender. Life for black teens is extremely precarious in the US even if one of them makes it to the White House!

St Louis, Crescent-online
Monday August 18, 2014, 9:28 DST

Killing black teens is a way of life for the police in America. Blacks are considered guilty until proven guilty without any opportunity to prove their innocence.

Dead men do not speak.

The latest episode in this deadly cycle of endless oppression and violence occurred in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb of St Louis, MO.

Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black youth was shot and killed by St Louis police on August 9 even as Brown had raised his hands indicating he was unarmed and surrendering.

The police still shot him, not once but six times, two bullets smashing his skull. Several eyewitnesses dubbed it an execution.

Far from acknowledging that the officer that shot Brown was wrong, the police used deadly force against protesters venting their anger at the killing of another black teenager.

More than a week of protests ensued erupting into riots. State and county authorities escalated the use of deadly force causing more anger.

Numerous commentators have talked about the militarization of American police. They are now armed with high velocity assault rifles, armored personnel carriers and tanks.

All were deployed as well as teargas and the imposition of nightly curfew in an attempt to crush rising anger within the black community.

Initially St Louis County police did not name the officer that shot and killed Brown. Later, under growing public pressure he was identified as Darren Wilson.

When St Louis County police that is predominantly white failed to contain the protests, a black officer, Captain Ron Johnson of Highway Patrol was made in charge to defuse tensions.

While Johnson talked in conciliatory tones, the State governor, Jay Nixon not only imposed a nightly curfew but also called out the National Guard.

People appeared in no mood to let the matter rest there. They held protests chanting “no justice, no curfew” and “we are Mike Brown” as they gathered at midnight at one end of the street where unrest has centred.

Dozens of officers, some carrying assault rifles, were still poised at the other end even after curfew went into force.

The police also attempted the character assassination of Brown accusing him of robbing a store. Even if true, the officer who shot him did not know this but the manner in which black youth are demonized was evident from the latest killing.

Brown’s family called for an independent autopsy by the renowned doctor Michael M Baden into their son’s killing who was supposed to start college in a couple of weeks.

Dr Baden’s preliminary autopsy found that the teenager was shot at least six times, the New York Times reported.

Four shots hit Brown in his right arm and one entered the top of his skull, the Times said, citing findings by Dr Baden. He said his autopsy was not intended to determine whether the shooting was justified but he questioned why so many shots were fired.

On Sunday (August 17), US Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a federal autopsy of Brown's body, seeking to assure the family and community there will be a thorough investigation into his death.

Observers from Amnesty International, which earlier on August 16 condemned curfews as the tool of dictators, were monitoring the street in bright yellow shirts. Other groups, such as activists from the Black Panthers, Nation of Islam and Christian groups were also out in the streets urging people to go home by 11.30pm.

The coldblooded murder of another black teenager reflects what is wrong with America. It is a racist society where the police act as executioners rather than upholders of law.

This is the lifestyle they want to spread to the rest of the world. Is it any wonder others do not want such a lifestyle and are willing to resist, even at the risk of getting killed, to prevent this mindset from being imposed in their societies?


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