The first report that I heard from Ferguson Missouri days ago was that an unarmed teen was killed by a white policeman. Then, I heard miscellaneous details that include 3 of 53 policemen on the force there are African Americans while the community is approximately 60% African American. That sounded problematic and the teen’s death sounded extreme as in police brutality.
Next came more details. The extra large teen entered a carryout and ordered several boxes of flavored cigars. He grabbed one and handed it to a friend and headed for the door having committed grand theft. The storekeeper, a smaller man, headed him off at the door, but closed circuit tv showed that the teen intimidated the storekeeper and then fled the scene.
Now, the innocent teen who was shot to death appears less innocent, even though he was unarmed.
Next, was a report that the teen who was sought by police after identification from the video was confronted by a policeman and the teen allegedly tried to smack the policeman in the face. That would be assaulting an officer of the law and is illegal.
The policeman responded and shot the teen six times, after which he died.
There is enough wrong to go around in this story and there is no “innocent teen”.
The policeman may have used too much force, but the investigation must be completed to determine that. The teen committed robbery and apparently assault on an officer of the law. If the investigation proves that then there are some things to consider going forward:
- Community education among teens and the general population about the consequences of committing robbery and assault.
- Police education about how to handle difficult situations without resorting to the use of handguns unless there is no other alternative.
- Community education that includes national education that small crimes are bad and may result in escalating violence when the perpetrators commit the escalation.
This incident should not put the nation into an automatic outrage. It should instill a detailed analysis and understanding of the situation.
Improvements will include changing the ratio of African American and white police officers, and educating the community about zero tolerance for petty crime or worse.
"Ferguson Cop Had 'Serious Facial Injury,' Source Tells ABC News
FERGUSON, Missouri — Aug 20, 2014, 6:17 PM ET
By STEVEN PORTNOY and JIM AVILA
via GOOD MORNING AMERICA
Ferguson Grand Jury to Begin Hearing Evidence
The Ferguson police officer who shot and killed an unarmed teenager suffered “a serious facial injury” in the altercation before firing the fatal shots, according to a source close to the officer who spoke to ABC News today.
The characterization about Officer Darren Wilson being injured in his confrontation with Michael Brown emerged on the day that a grand jury was expected to begin hearing evidence in the shooting. Attorney General Eric Holder is also visiting Ferguson today, meeting with community leaders and groups to discuss the tension over the shooting.
Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Wilson on Aug.9, and protesters have been angrily calling for Wilson's arrest and indictment since that day.