Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Michael Brown and Darren Wilson--we need a trial

I’m always most interested in what brings people together instead of what tears them apart.  That is why I wish the St Louis County Grand Jury would have issued a charge against Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown.

I don’t know what happened on that August 7 night.  And unless we were there none of us do either.  That is why we need a trial.  We need a legal process to determine justice and judgment. 

Because a trial won’t happen Michael Brown’s killing will be viewed through the prism of the media and the prism of race. 

Already Darren Wilson was interviewed on ABC news to share his side of the story.  I watched Lesley Mc Spadden, Michael Brown’s mother, share her side of the story on CBS news this morning.  I can understand why both of them would want to share their story.  But without cross-examination and the rules of a fair trial these interviews fuel the divide that exists.

It’s not surprising that a Huffington Post survey shows that 62 percent of African Americans believe that Darren Wilson was at fault in the killing and that 22 percent of whites believe the same.

I can understand why people all over the country have protested since the decision was announced on Monday night.  Violent protests are never justified, but civil disobedience in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is. 

But the story is not about the protestors.  The story is how race affects the criminal justice system in an unfair way.

I can understand how African-Americans can believe that the criminal justice system is rigged against them.  Because of my skin color I don’t have to worry about being stopped by a police officer for walking down the street.  In many parts of America that isn’t the case for African-Americans.  

The lack of a trial against Darren Wilson will continue the belief among many African-Americans and others including me that when an African-American is killed the justice system often does not operate fairly.

Our country needs a trial.  Without a trial justice will not be served.

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