Land of the (Sometimes) Free

So, it’s been over a month since white cop Darren Wilson shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown to death in Ferguson, Missouri.

As it stands, Wilson is on paid leave, and cries for his arrest have been met – unsurprisingly – with stony silence by the Ferguson police. After all those “violent clashes” in the streets, with police in military-grade vehicles not only trying to enforce a media blackout, but firing tear gas and wooden bullets into crowds of peaceful protesters, there hasn’t been a move made against the murderer – who, witnesses agree, fired at the surrendering teen no less than 11 times.

Now, this is far from the first case of white-cop-kills-black-kid the United States has seen, and unfortunately, it is not likely to be the last, but what is significant is the national outrage it has sparked. There have been protests up and down America, calling on the White House for stricter control of police (with petitions circulating which demand that officers wear body cameras), and the internet, at least, is not willing to let the outrage die. In fact, this incident has really demonstrated the power of social media, with protesters and journalists on the ground getting around the police media ban by tweeting events as they unfold. However, all of this means nothing if nothing is done to punish the man who murdered that boy, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen any time soon, because the last thing the institutionally-racist police force of America wants to do is set a precedent.

For years they have been – literally – getting away with murder, and if Darren Wilson goes down for killing Michael Brown, as he surely should, that won’t be allowed to happen again. It is now those who should protect and enforce the law who are trying to obstruct it. The police do not want Darren Wilson to be charged, despite the six witnesses who saw him gun down the 18 year-old, because they know that it will mark a turning point in what they will be allowed to get away with.

But, it is for precisely that reason that he needs to be charged. Police brutality is a scary, scary thing, and if there is even the smallest chance that getting justice for Michael Brown will ensure justice for any other innocent man or woman attacked by police in future, then that is what needs to happen.

So, to the protesters in Ferguson, keep fighting the good fight. By challenging the rotten, racist core of the American police force, you are making history, and I for one, even though I’m typing this hundreds of miles away, applaud you.

– Lana Wrigley, A2 Politics.

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