The Grand Jury Decision Unpopular With Some

The Grand Jury decision came in earlier this week, and it proved wildly unpopular with certain segments of the population in Ferguson.  There’s been rioting and looting in subsequent nights since the decision was announced, and the world over is watching … some in shock, some in support.  But let’s take a look at the facts of the situation, and set emotions aside for a moment.

Michael Brown was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the incident.  While most cannabis users insist that marijuana won’t make the user aggressive or violent, studies have proven otherwise.  An article published in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors reported that “marijuana is clearly the drug with the most evidence to support a direct intoxication-violence relationship.”  It’s also the drug that is most linked with criminal activities in America.

The police officer was not under the influence at the time of the incident.

Michael Brown and his companion assaulted the officer while the officer was still in his vehicle.  Now what might cause two grown men to attack a police officer?  Michael Brown and his friend Dorain Johnson were walking in the middle of the road — which is considered to be obstructing traffic in any city in the U.S. or Canada —  when the officer ordered them out of the street and onto the sidewalk.  It was an order they chose to ignore and refused to obey.  When the officer opened his car door to address the situation face-to-face, Michael Brown and Dorain Johnson determined that the proper response was to assault the officer instead of complying with the order.

Had they complied with the officer’s order, that would have been the end of the situation.  But they didn’t comply with the order.  Instead these two men chose to assault the officer.

When the officer directed Michael Brown and Dorain Johnson to stop, the 6-foot-4, 292-pound Michael Brown chose to run at the officer “like a football player.”  The officer fired three shots (see autopsy report for details) but Michael Brown kept coming at him.  The officer fired two more shots (see autopsy report for details).  The last shot was fired as Michael Brown kept coming at the officer.

Finally, the majority of shots were obviously intended to injure not kill Michael Brown as there were far more gunshot wounds to the chest than to the head, and there were even more gunshot wounds to the arms than to the chest.   In other words, most gunshot wounds were to the arms, and the fewest gunshot wounds were to the head.  It makes sense that the gunshot wounds to the head would have been the last gunshot wounds received.

Based on the FACTS, the Grand Jury chose not to indict the police officer.  That is their decision based on FACTS not emotions.

It is unfortunate that Michael Brown lost his life due to his poor decisions that night.  Of that there is no doubt.  Whenever a life is lost, it’s always tragic.  However, that doesn’t mean that justice has not been done, and people need to stop confusing revenge with justice.  They are not the same thing.

And given the set of circumstances, this incident cannot be framed as one that stems from racism, bigotry, prejudice, and/or intolerance.  In fact, there are many similar stories where an African American officer has found himself in a similar situation with a Caucasian attacker, and the results have been the same … right down to the Grand Jury decision not to indict the officer.

In this instance, for Michael Brown’s step-father to incite others to violence by directing them to “burn this b**** down” only causes more animosity between groups of people while victimizing innocent business and home owners as well as renters.

Meanwhile, President Obama who urged people demonstrating to do so peacefully, found himself the brunt of a number of inappropriate responses on social media from those who would rather “burn this b**** down” than follow in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr.

Those are the facts.  Please feel free to return the previously set aside emotions to the discussion.

Elyse Bruce


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