Michael Brown – What Does Justice Look Like?

Michael Brown – What Does Justice Look Like?


This is a tough blog to start the school year with, but the coverage is on every news channel, 24 hours a day… so, I figure we should probably talk about it… in a mature, respectful way. The trouble with this case and many other cases is that eye-witnesses have provided completely different versions of reality. Without having been there, it’s hard to know what to believe.

The Facts: Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson robbed a store and proceeded to walk down the middle of a street. A police officer (Darin Wilson) told them to get out of the street. Some kind of a struggle happened between Michael Brown and Darin Wilson and a single shot was fired. Michael Brown took off running. Officer Wilson got out of his car, unholstered his gun and yelled, “Freeze.” What happens next is a disputed. However, what is undisputed is Officer Wilson shot Michael brown six times – 4 in the arm and 2 in the head – killing him.

Scenario One: Dorian Johnson, the teenager who was with Michael Brown, gave an interview after the killing. He says that Officer Wilson swore at them and demanded that they get out of the street. He grabbed Michael Brown by the neck and pulled his gun. Michael Brown was shot once and began to run. Officer Wilson then began shooting at Michael Brown as he continued running. Brown then turned and put his hands in the air to signify that he was not a threat. Officer Wilson continued to shoot Brown, delivering a fatal shot to the head.
Michael Brown 1
www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlMjhoYPmZ8 (interview with friend, Dorian Johnson)

Scenario Two: After robbing a convenient store, Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson were confronted by Officer Wilson for walking down the middle of the street. Seconds after this incident, Officer Wilson received a call about the robbery. Fitting the description and noticing the stolen cigars, Officer Brown backed up his car and confronted the teenagers again. There was a struggle for the officer’s gun and a shot was fired. Brown and Johnson took off running. Officer Wilson got out of his car and with his gun pointed, he yelled, “Freeze.” Michael Brown taunted the police officer and unexpectedly began “bull” rushing Officer Wilson. Wilson began firing his gun, hitting him in the arm. When he didn’t stop, the officer fired two more shots into his head, killing Brown.
Michael Brown 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mAaJMBxKA4 (edited video of eye-witness talking after the shooting)

Joe’s Perspective #1 – Reserve Judgement: If scenario #1 is accurate, Officer Wilson should spend the rest of his life in prison. Police officers need to be held to the same standard as anyone else. If a police officer abuses his power, makes bad choices and kills an unarmed person who is not a threat… end of story… throw him in the slammer for life. On the other hand, if Michael Brown, had previously attempted to steal the officer’s gun and is now running at the officer, I can understand the officer’s decision to use deadly force. I think we should wait for trial and learn the facts. Let’s see what the toxocology report says (i.e. was Brown high, which impaired his thinking), what does the autopsy say, let’s hear from other witnesses and cross-examine them.

Joe’s Perspective #2 – Protest Responsibly: If I lived in that community and/or that was my child who was killed, I would be protesting too. I would want a fair trial and I would probably want an impartial branch of the federal government to hear the facts of this case. I strongly believe Americans have the right to assemble and protest. I further believe people have the right to protest without police officers pointing guns at them or threatening them.

At the same time, a perceived injustice does not give individuals or groups the right to loot stores, damage property, steal merchandise, threaten and physically hurt police. A loud and yet peaceful voice has enormous power, particularly when 200 News Channels are taping everything. Unfortunately, when “bad actors” come from different cities to cause trouble and drive their own agendas, the larger issue gets lost, police are put in positions to make difficult choices and violence mounts.

Joe’s Perspective #3 – Transparency: The local police and federal agents have a responsibility to be as open and transparent as possible. This isn’t about protecting “one of their own.” They should do a full investigation, report the facts and take this to trial. The facts of the case should lead us to justice. At this point, however, I am not sure what justice in this case looks like. Do you?

Joe’s Perspective #4 – Deadly Force?: “If” scenario #2 is accurate, and the police officer was feeling scared and in fear of his life, the guy “bull” rushing you still doesn’t have a gun. Why not shoot him in the leg? If that doesn’t stop him, shoot him in the other leg. Everyone who has ever been trained to use a gun disagrees with me on this point, but my scenario finds Michael Brown in a hospital, not in a coffin. Just sayin’.

Your Turn: Please place your comments below, (2) like and share our Facebook page (character development & leadership) or (3) tweet to @CDandLeadership using #GoodJudgment)
1. What do you think justice looks like in this case? Do you have enough information to make that determination?
2. What is your opinion of the protests? What is your opinion about the police response to the protesters?
3. What suggestions do you have to help resolve this tense situation?

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  1. Violence does not solve problems. You have to have a peaceful and mindful approach to solve problems. I do not think you have enough information and facts to convict and point fingers. There is no proof that parts of the information given are true.

  2. It is tragic and people’s reactions are contributing to further tragedy. History shows us that peaceful protesting works and violence does not. People who truly want justice don’t behave in a manner that hurts others or causes more misery.

  3. I don’t think the officer should have shot Michael right away. The officer could have given Michael a chance to stop and relax. The saddest part about this whole thing is that Michael wasn’t even getting punished for the stolen cigars. So if #4 “Deadly Force” is correct I totally agree with Joe’s perspective.

  4. i don’t think starting a riot was the right thing to do because now instead of only Bown losing his life now so is a lot of other people. Before people get involved they should know exactly what happened or just not got involved. i think Brown losing his life was enough why take others when you could be trying to help figure out his and help his family. Yes i do think the cop should get prison time but what if what the cop did will help protect others what is there was something wrong that set him off if that what really happened? there are lots of questions people don’t know yet.

  5. They should of did this peacefully and not violent and then maybe they could of made a better change. In the first place they should of just bought a pack instead of taking it. But the officer should not of shot him in the first place.

  6. I think that they should of went by it in a better way instead of what they did. Brown lost his life that was tragic but the rioting was not necessary. I just hope that they get the facts right and solve the case.

  7. Thanks for the comments! I do think it would be difficult to make a decision in a split second decision. However, I am standing by my thoughts that the officer had the ability to shoot Michael in the leg(s) and render him as a non-threat. Still, we should wait to see/hear all the facts!

  8. Is shooting someone over stolen cigars really a resonable punishment? I honestly think this is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. You tell them to stop running and if they dont, you chase them. You dont take there life away from you. In my oppinion, the police officer that shot the man, probably had intentions on killing him before he even got there, just because they have a badge they somehow think they can break the rules. Thats all. R.i.p broo

  9. This Mike Brown shooting is very sad to hear about, but we have to understand how often pointless shootings happen. Not only that, there are thousands of teenagers dying from some cause everyday.. and nobody acknowledges it. It is also partially our fault for being enslaved to government authority and letting cops harass our people every single day of our being!!!!

  10. Justice in this case would have to be for that ”person” to be in prison for life, yes I believe I have enough information to make this determination. I think protests are important and they do get reactions and in some cases that is very important. Protesting is this particular case is really important because people dont believe a man of the law would do what he did. Many just look at what the victim did in the past to justify the officers actions and thats not right. People are usually forced to do things they dont want and we should not judge them for that. The officers reactions to a protest should be nothing really because it is our right. Untill someone is threatend or something then they should maybe do something because these people protesting are feeling like the law does not care about them that the officers could do what they did to someone else. That they wont be punished and these people just want a little bit of justice and comfort in the fact there will be justice of some sort, they just want that to happen. for officers to pull out the same wepon that killed there loved one , I think that would make anyone angrier and more scared of injustice in there community. I only believe in one way this could be resolved and that is if this ”person” who killed a young man for no GOOD Justifyable reason would be for him to go to prison for the rest of his life or die.

  11. 1. Justice is obviously very wrong in many different ways. Cases like these happen all the time. I think that the cop should at least be fired from his job and sued for shooting an unarmed man.

    2. I agree with the protests 100%, but they should take a step further and start putting fear into Ferguson Police Station. Make them know that this will not be tolerated and they will suffer the consequences.

    3. I suggest that the cop should receive the death penalty, and let Karma direct his path

  12. I dis like the fact that Michale Brown was shot over robing a store the police officer could have shot him with a tazer not a pistol!