Racial Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri: Solutions Coming?

The killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer set off a chain of events that will have us pondering the causes for a few months.  He was an eighteen year old young man who was about to start college in the fall semester.  What led to the confrontation with the police officer will be the subject of an ongoing debate.  The recent death of Eric Garner at the hands of NYC police officers leave some people feeling like it is open season on African Americans.  The continued civil unrest points out the work that has to be done on a number of social fronts.

It was reported that the police force has fifty-three officers.  Only three are people of color.  The Ferguson area recorded a population of 67% African American in the most recent census.  The police force needs to reflect the population in some way shape or form.  About 10% of the population lives below the poverty line.  It was stated that the school system is overwhelmingly African American.  Most of the people that can afford to have sent their children to private schools.  It could have been some lingering frustration from past experiences that caused the total breakdown in law and order after the shooting of Michael Brown.

There has been relative calm in Ferguson since the Home Going service of Michael Brown on Monday.  The police officer who shot him has not been seen.  I hope that there was an erroneous sighting of George Zimmerman in the area but the rampant news reports were covering all angles.  There was a second autopsy performed on the body of Michael.  It did little to assuage the pain of his parents.  He was shot at least eight times.  One of the bullets penetrated the top of his skull from the front.  What part of police training encourages officers to shoot to kill?  I thought that an unarmed civilian could be apprehended through the use of handcuffs or a shot to the leg.

The use of force was evident also with the insertion of the Missouri Highway Patrol into events that began to spiral out of control.  There were looters who were breaking into stores and carrying away unearned goods.
There was a recent article on the looting that occurred on Columbia Avenue in Philadelphia in 1964.  This looting was caused by racial tension.  Fifty years later and the killing of an unarmed African American youth has unleashed another powder keg.  President Obama has had to weigh in with a call for calm.  The Attorney General's office will begin an investigation.  I doubt if the officer involved will be charged with a crime though.

There was a video released of Michael Brown and an accomplice robbing a convenience store of some cigars shortly before his death.  It was a menacing image of Mr. Brown physically assaulting the store clerk/owner.  I guess the police will use this to justify the excessive force which was used to ultimately end the life of a potential college student.  There was also a story of a police force that the officer was a part of that was disbanded due to racial overtones.  There seems to be no clear path to a solution for underlying racial tension in parts of this country.  As George Zimmerman was acquitted for profiling and murdering Trayvon Martin, I suspect that Officer Wilson will also be absolved of any legal responsibility for the murder of Michael Brown.

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