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The truth has fallen in the streets in Ferguson

The death of Mike Brown sparked a riot in Ferguson which indicates other underlying issues.
The death of Mike Brown sparked a riot in Ferguson which indicates other underlying issues.
Charlie Riedel/AP Photo

It usually takes a while for the truth to come out.

A white police officer shoots and kills an unarmed black teenager. No, this is not a story line from the turbulent 60s, but a news byte of August 2014.

No matter what is being heralded in the media, it is wise to wait and see what comes out once the emotions have chilled and tendencies of facts begin to surface. It was true during the Watts riot, true during the insurrection that again took place in Los Angeles after Rodney King’s verdict, and the unrest in Ferguson is much more than a Mike Brown being gunned down during an attempted arrest.

It usually is.

Truth has a way of coming to the surface despite the circumstances. Truth is not always pretty, truth can bring an indictment against injustice, and the truth can be very condemning. But the truth is still the truth.

There are some ugly truths surfacing regarding Ferguson and it centers on the disparity of public resources being allotted to segregated school systems and communities. It centers on a predominantly black community being policed by a nearly all white police department. Missouri’s own attorney general office documented that racial profiling is reflected in the arrest records for 2013.

Let’s focus on the racial profiling. According to a news story release by Al Jazeera today, around two-thirds of Ferguson residents are black, but over 90 percent of the local police force is white. Data released that in 2013 there were 483 black people arrested compared to 36 white individuals. That would appear to reflect the racial population difference.

Searches involved blacks in 92% of the searches and 86% of the stops and contraband was found in only one of five black men. However one of three white people stopped carried contraband.

So, why is there such a huge disparity in arrests when records show whites were more likely to carry contraband?

To make a long story short, Michael Brown graduated from Normandy High School, a school with academic standards and finances so poor that it was labeled “unaccredited” by Missouri state education officials. Inequality in education is a state of resentment that was simmering long before Brown’s killing.

A law allowed students to transfer from failing districts which were impoverished and predominantly black to “wealthier white ones”. Meetings of “security”, not education, became a focus of contention of many families in the wealthier school districts regarding the “transfers”.

To compound the problem, the more wealthy school districts, as the Francis Howell district, were able to charge the inferior school district over $11,000 for each transferred student which put financial strains on the “have not” school districts even more.

How concerned were the parents regarding the influx of transfer students? Twenty-one miles west of Normandy, nearly 3000 parents showed up to express concern about transfer students coming into their school districts. The number one concern of the parents was security based on the event being documented by St. Louis Public Radio.

Violence and security plagued Mike Brown’s high school because Normandy High was rated the most dangerous school in the area. One can begin to see that aggressive behavior was practically needed to allow one to survive, and at a supposed 6 foot 4 inches, Brown probably used his statue to get himself out or in trouble.

There is a sense of anger, frustration, and disenfranchisement from many students coming out of the poor school districts. An innocent question as "what high school did you graduate from?" could bring devaluation to students graduating from disadvantaged schools. Mike Brown happens to be one of those students.

There was a uncomplimentary video circulated in the news of Brown intimidating a much smaller individual in a store during an accused strong arm robbery of a box of cigars. However, Brown was stopped outside the store by the officer that ultimately shot and killed him. The rest of the story varies depending on who one talks to.

With Brown's dying in the street, much of the truth probably died with him. One can only guess at the numerous factors that contributed to the death of Mike Brown.

The truth had fallen in the streets of Ferguson a long time ago.

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