a grand jury on monday decided not to indict police officer darren wilson. on august 9, wilson, a white male, shot and killed michael brown, an unarmed 18 year-old black male in ferguson, a suburb of st. louis, missouri.
the announcement was made last night by st. louis county prosecutor robert mcculloch. most grand jury proceedings are swift and simple: a few witnesses are called, the prosecutor makes a case for an indictment and the jurors vote. but this grand jury met for an extraordinary long session, hearing what mcculloch said was "absolutely everything," which could be considered evidence or testimony.
what happens in the grand jury room is almost always kept secret. but the controversial prosecutor insisted on making the transcripts of the proceedings available to the public immediately after the session concluded. unlike most defendants, wilson testified before the grand jury.
the grand jurors met in a st.louis county courthouse on 25 separate days. they heard 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses. they reviewed forensic reports, medical documents, police radio logs and tapes of f.b.i. interviews with bystanders.
after three months of hearing evidence, the grand jury began its deliberations last friday at 3:04 pm. by monday afternoon, they were finished. the jury was comprised of nine whites and three blacks - seven women and five men. mcculloch released thousands of pages of documents to the public last night. he said the testimony and many eyewitnesses did not match the physical evidence.
wilson testified in september. wilson said brown's face, after being stopped on canfield drive, "looked like a demon." he said brown reached into his vehicle, fought him for his gun and was so physically overpowering he "felt like a five year-old holding onto hulk hogan." wilson said brown made "a grunting, like aggravated sound," as he ran towards him. wilson fired seven shots: one was fatal.
in 2011, the number of times the new york police department stopped young black men exceeded the number of young black men in the city. young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than their white peers - mainly at the hands of white police officers.
michele alexander is an acclaimed civil rights lawyer and legal scholar. alexander is also the author of 'the new jim crow.' she says the u.s. today has a "system of social control unparalleled in world history." no other country imprisons as much as its ethnic or racial people. in fact, the u.s. currently incarcerates a greater percentage of its black population than south africa did - under apartheid.
alexander poignantly writes in her book, "the fact that more than half of the young black men in many large american cities are currently under the control of the criminal justice system (or saddled with criminal records) is not - as many argue - just a symptom of poverty or poor choices, but rather evidence of a new racial caste system at work."
melissa harris-perry is a renowed author, cultural critic, msnbc talk show host, political commentator and wake university professor of politics and international affairs. perry said, "from 2006 to 2012, a white police officer killed a black person at least twice a week in this country." can you imagine this country's reaction if black police officers killed white boys at all - or, in similar numbers?
black men encounter constant surveillance (jordan dunn, eric garner, treyvon martin), violence (sean bell, amadou diallo, michael griffith) and shockingly high chances of correctional supervision for matters the rest of the population does not. black men also face discrimination in education, financial services, housing, political and voting rights after exiting prison.
marcus garvey said, "people who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it." the world will never know if and/or how michael brown would have evolved from teenager into manhood. the brown family will have to endure the coming holiday season with one less member. this writer feels michael brown was wrong for stealing cigars...
and darren wilson was wrong for killing him.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.