When unarmed black teen was shot and killed by a white police officer in the “Show Me State” earlier this month, local outrage and national concern emerged over abusive police force. And according to a former cop, there's plenty of reason for that reaction.
"Major news outlets over the last decade have repeatedly covered stories that on its surface appear straight forward but once a good-guy-win scenario is introduced, the public accepts it,” said Rodney Jackson, a civil rights consultant at the United States Department of Justice's Office of Civil Rights.
On a Saturday at about noon, Michael Brown Jr., 18, was shot at least six times by Police Officer Darren Wilson, 28, on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri after he and his friend Dorian J. Johnson, 22, were stopped for the low-level offense of jaywalking.
“Witness reports said Wilson told the two young men to get the F*** off the street,” said Jackson. “Gentlemen cops tend to be nice all the time and that statement, if it occurred, was not reflective of being a gentlemen or professional.”
A scuffle between the decedent and Wilson ensued and most witness reports said Brown was shot in the police car as well as away from the police car, yet Wilson did not call-in the incident, he said. “So, we are led to believe that, without calling it in, Wilson had a situation alarming enough that he empties six to eight bullets in the direction of this individual," Jackson said.
Brown’s lifeless body was left uncovered in the street for hours.
A preliminary autopsy report issued by independent forensic pathologists revealed that Brown was shot at least several times in the right arm, once in the hand, and at least twice in the head. Two more autopsies are expected to be completed but neither have been released: one by St. Louis County and another by the DOJ.
CNN reported that a 12-second audio of what might be the gun shots fired at Brown has been obtained by FBI officials which shows what appear to be up to 11 gun shots in the background. The owner of the audio, via his attorney, said he inadvertently recorded the audio from his apartment while talking on-line with a friend.
Police departments are involved in all kinds of criminality: drug dealing, turf-wars, extortion, and even murder, said Jackson who is a former police officer. “In all fifty states where police officers have been involved in corrupt practices, the patterns and behavior are always the same.”
There are large numbers of skin heads and related hate group members on police departments in America, he said. “That should not surprise anyone, but what should mortify people of color is that they are angry a black President Obama is in office and in retaliation these individuals are resorting to brutality against them.”
After wearing a badge since 1975 and having served on five separate police agencies, Jackson said he repeatedly ran into corruption. “I have learned a few simple and sad truths and this one may apply to Ferguson: If no one is talking about it, it’s because ‘it’ is probably the problem.”
Ferguson Police Department set forth a character-assassination of Brown at a press conference, yet failed to question the motives behind the actions of the officer, said Jackson. “If Wilson was not being attacked, under the letter of law, there would need to be a motive for his 'intent' to kill.”
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson identified Brown as the perpetrator of a “strong-armed robbery” occurring just minutes before the shooting. This ignited a derogatory name-calling frenzy of Brown, who had no previous criminal record.
The video the police department released is from Ferguson Market which is about a half a mile away from Canfield Drive. It shows someone, presumably Brown, push a store clerk while exiting the store. A second video released independently shows what may have been a financial transaction for cigars. "Even if Brown stole a few cigars, it does not rise to the level of a robbery," said Jackson.
The attorney for the Ferguson Market, Jay Kanzler, said at a press conference that his client did not call in a robbery, did not identify the person in the video as Brown, and were only made aware of a connection when the police asked for surveillance tapes – well after Brown was killed.
Some in the news are reporting witnesses that said the older teen, who was of a 6 foot 4 inch, close to 300 pound-stature, charged at the officer. Other witness reports corroborate that Brown did not charge the officer or pose an immediate threat. Although Chief Jackson said Wilson was treated for injuries in connection with the altercation, those records have not been released. Claims of an eye fracture suffered by Wilson in the media have been disputed.
The frustration in the community over Brown’s death erupted into protests and looting in the city of Ferguson which resulted in a police military-style effort that used noisemakers, armored vehicles, bullhorns, tear gas, and flash grenades to push back demonstrators.
The racial divide in the St. Louis suburb between the people and the police is enormous. According to a Huffington Post article, the number of black officers on the Ferguson police force is 3 out of 53 members - in a community that is 67% black.
MotherJones.com reported that supporters and family members of Brown who created a memorial at the site of his death were confronted with angry St. Louis County Police Department officers. They had emerged with dogs and one was allegedly permitted to urinate on the memorial site. Local State Rep. Sharon Pace said candles and flowers had been smashed after police drove over them.
Officer Wilson, who has reportedly left his residence in Crestwood and is under police protection, is being investigated by a federal grand jury. Brown, a recent high school graduate, is survived by his parents, younger sister and other family members. He was laid to rest Monday at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.