Unrest In Ferguson

Unrest In Ferguson

Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, was shot multiple times and killed following an interaction with a Ferguson, MO police officer.  There are conflicting reports from police and witnesses of the incident, so unless concrete evidence comes forth, we will likely never really know what happened to result in a kid being shot eight times, according to his mother.

But this isn’t the subject of my thoughts here.

This is:


This is a photo of a tank that was deployed on the streets of Ferguson, Mo Saturday after Michael Brown was killed.


Was it because police feared the tensions that have apparently been elevating in the city finally reached a breaking point because of the shooting death of a kid by a police officer?

Was it because the police wanted to instill fear into the residents in order to maintain calm?

I don’t know the rationale, but I cannot imagine that a military presence was comforting to residents of the St. Louis suburb who have been consistently targeted by local police:

 In an environment where certain individuals are targeted, consistently, and are made to feel less than human, and are then confronted by those responsible – following the “almost execution-style” death of a kid – what is the proper response?   From what I’ve seen of mainstream media, the people and protesters of Ferguson have been painted with a negative brush in a dim light, as “animals”, but it is not justified.  What these people are is afraid and tired.  Tired of being mistreated and demonized, and tired of seeing Black men and boys killed by law enforcement.   If some reports are to be believed in this case, the once peaceful crowd of protesters are now largely an angry mob of looters.  Were there incidents of violence and looting on Sunday? Yes.  But from a relatively small number of the people present.  Not the majority as it has been represented.  During last night’s protests, witnesses and journalists on the scene reported no looting or violence:  


…but earlier they were met with:

Making matters worse was the fact that residents repeatedly attempted to go home, but were unable to do so by the police who were insisting that they do just that.      



It seems as though I’ve seen 1000’s of tweets from Ferguson residents, activists, journalists such as Wesley Lowery, Matt Pearce, Julie Bosman, and David Carson, and Alderman Antonio French who are on the ground.  These are first-hand accounts.  All of them were consistent throughout the night and seemed to paint the police as the antagonists.

So what does this mean?  What are you supposed to do when everything you do is the wrong thing to do?  What happens to a people when they are constantly targeted, tensions increase, and in the aftermath, they are the “thugs”?

I wish I had an answer, but I don’t.

I just feel so awful for the people there.  The people in Ferguson – like so many other Black communities – have been demonized and are now having their character assassinated because of their grief and rage.  And they appear to be in a lose-lose situation right now.  As one resident told Wesley Lowery:


I don’t know what happened leading up to the death of Michael Brown.  I just have the image of his lifeless body burned forever into my mind.  But what I feel is that the people of Ferguson have been provoked and betrayed by those sworn to “protect and serve” them, as is the case in so many communities around the country.  And the situation the city is in appears hopeless. What are you supposed to do when your home is like a war zone?  


Miya W.

Living, working, and writing anonymously in the Chi.

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