It’s been almost three years since the killing of Michael Brown and the events in Ferguson, Missouri that lead to the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Three years since I remember my Facebook feed exploding with emotion and heated discussions about the events leading up to the death of that young man, and the events that followed.
The narrative we all became familiar with was one of a young man who committed a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store. The police officer, Darren Wilson, who responded to the call shot Brown multiple times in self defense, after Brown had reached for his gun and became increasingly aggressive. In recent court documents that have been released that narrative is disputed by none other than officer Wilson himself. It also reveals that Wilson had a history of using excessive force and racist behaviors against citizens.
I don’t feel the need to delve into the content of the documents, which are linked above. In light of the recent release of these documents, I would just like to say that I remember you.
It has been three years but I still remember. I remember you, who leaned quite heavily on the argument that committing a robbery warranted the death penalty. I remember you, who spoke to me about how it was not the police but the citizens needing training on how to deal with police encounters. I remember you, who ranted about this all boiling down to a lack of respect for the authority of law. I remember you, who repeatedly shared feel good stories of police officers doing nice things for people to avoid having to engage with the real issues of the over policing of black and brown people. I remember you, who made fun of Eric Garner’s last words, immortalized as a slogan of the movement. I remember you, who clung to the idea of bullets somehow strengthening Brown, as he charged a fearful Wilson like a raging bull. I remember you desperately grasping for reasons as to why that boy deserved to die.
Here we are nearly three years later. So much has changed and so much hasn’t. We find ourselves at this moment of deep political unrest and insanity. It seems that so many of us are turning around and looking at our fellow countrymen and women and our country wondering, how did we get here? There are so many answers. One of them lies at the heart of what happened to Michael Brown, and the collective responses to it. His lifeless body became an integral part of the foundation of our house. Now the walls are shaking.