Four Hours Changed Ferguson
The fatal Aug. 9 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson is neither the first of its kind, nor the last. According to Nation of Change, since July 2014 over four unarmed blacks were killed by police, including Eric Garner, Ezell Ford, John Crawford III, and Dante Parker. Dozens more die every day at each other’s hands.
But reaction to the 18 year-old’s death in Ferguson, Missouri is unique.Instead of a brief plug during a local news segment that’s quickly forgotten, Brown’s killing garnered a month’s worth of global media coverage that included images of protests, police dogs, looting, tear gas, arson, military-grade weaponry, and mass arrests.
At 12:02 p.m., six-year-police veteran Wilson unloaded six rounds into Brown’s body.For nearly 10 minutes, his 6-foot-4-inch body laid uncovered, and the image was captured on cell phones. The poignant image—one that arguably provoked community unrest—shows Brown’s body lying on Canfield Drive, face pressed against pavement soaking in a stream of his own blood.
An ambulance crew checked his vitals, pronounced him dead, and covered his torso with a white sheet. The sheet did not cover his protruding feet and wounded head. Brown’s partially exposed body laid on the street for four hours.
The community interpreted this display as an inhumane lack of respect, and once the images hit social media, they went viral, fueling hashtags mentioning Ferguson and Brown.
The majority-white Ferguson police department blamed the inordinate amount of time on delays in the crime scene investigation. According to police logs, homicide detectives took over an hour to reach Canfield Drive. Brown’s body was not checked into the morgue until 4:37 p.m.
Although details regarding the altercation between Brown and Wilson remain under investigation, one picture says 1,000 words. No person deserves to have their bullet-riddled body lay in the street for four hours.