The “verdict” is out, Darren Wilson, the officer who gunned down the unarmed teenager Michael Brown on August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri during a confrontation, did nothing wrong per the grand jury’s decision. What a big surprise! Anything other than such outcome would have been a real shock. Instead of boiling the outcome down to a Black and White issue and losing track of the real problem, let’s take a look at the Grand Jury role in general and look back at the incident in particular for a dose of sanity.
A Grand Jury (in the United Sates) is a group of citizens sworn in to hear a case, usually criminal in nature. The Grand Jury usually comprises 12 individuals but could be as many as 23; that number is never exceeded.
According to the University of Dayton, Ohio, “the grand jury–which was known as “the voice of the community” or “the people’s panel”–was a way of injecting the common sense of the individuals who make up the community into government affairs. Specifically, grand juries were used to bring the everyday person’s perspective into two aspects of government: investigating crime and/or community conditions and bringing charges against people who may have committed crimes.”
The principal role of a Grand Jury is to determine probable cause; there is no need for the Jury to hear all the evidence, or even conflicting evidence. In the case of Michael Brown/Darren Wilson for instance, the only rationale the Grand Jury should have used (irrespective of the circumstances leading to or surrounding the tragedy) would be, was officer Wilson justified to shoot Michael Brown? Did Officer Darren Wilson use excessive force? If the answer is no to the latter and yes to the first, he should not be indicted, otherwise he should.
Was such rationale used? Or did the Grand Jury conduct a mini-trial? Notwithstanding the fact that prosecutor Robert McCulloch – which has been “siding with” the police in each and every case where a black man is killed in St Louis, MO; Mr. McCulloch’s father, a police officer in St Louis, Missouri was killed by a black man when Mr. McCulloch was only 12 years old– did absolutely nothing to warrant a trial for the killing of Michael Brown; in fact, contrary to what prosecutors usually do, go after the perpetrator, Mr. McCulloch was very instrumental in pointing discrepancies in witnesses’ testimonies to the Grand Jury. Regardless, the Grand Jury had overstepped its role in not indicting Darren Wilson. It wasn’t to the Grand Jury to determine whether Darren Wilson was guilty or not; that’s the job of a jury trial.
The Grand Jury main task was to simply determine whether Officer Darren Wilson was justified and did not use excessive force. To those two questions, regardless where one stands in the matter, Michael Brown was unarmed; Officer Wilson fired his weapon twelve (12) times. It doesn’t take a genius to answer those two simple questions and yet the GRAND JURY in the Michael Brown tragedy needed months to come up with a recommendation. It fell on the prosecutor and the judge to guide and speed up the process, neither of which was in a hurry to do the right thing. In the end, it boiled down to what it has always been in the country; a black man killed by a police officer is no big deal.
Then again, I may have spoken out too early. To judge by the extensive injury (see Pictures above) sustained by Officer Wilson during the confrontation, one can clearly understand a) why Wilson fired at the UNARMED teenager 12 times b) the Grand Jury believed he acted to save his own life and c) of course Officer Wilson has a clear conscience and would do the same thing over again. Give me a freaking break! Most dogs in the country are treated better (by their owners, by animal right groups, by the justice system) than the young black men on the streets of America.
The biggest irony of it all is that the country is run by a black man who has tap-danced around the subject of bias, prejudice and discrimination, avoiding it like a plague. And yet, in every opportunity handed to the President in a platter, – such as in the case of Trayvon Martin and now Michael Brown – Mr. Obama usually takes the time to lecture the victims’ families and protesters of the progress made on the race issue in the country, as if that’s meant to relieve them of their emotional distress and pain, “rosy-up” the outlook and prevent further such tragedies. Mr. Obama should be reminded that, has it not been for sacrifices made by individuals such as Martin Luther King, it would have not been possible for him to occupy the highest office in the land.
To simply mention progress in the race relation in America is self-serving, self-gratifying; those words do not advance the goal, the cause, the needle further in the race relation issue. Had Martin Luther King acted like Mr. Obama, there would have not been an Obama in the White House. So, it’s time Mr. Obama stops giving lip service in the Black Inequality struggle in this country. Today, most blacks including Mr. Obama can point to the progress made thanks to Martin Luther King’s and others’ sacrifices; what would future generation say of Mr. Obama’s contribution to the black struggle? Mr. Obama believes or seems content that his ascension to the presidency is a great contribution to the progress for black advancement in the country. Mr. President, it’s not! As of date Mr. President, no future generation will be able to stand on your shoulders as you did on Mr. King’s. Mr. Obama, your presidency is not a contribution; it’s an opportunity for such.