Jumping into the Missouri unrest here… It’s very disturbing.
The following description of what happened to Michael Brown given by his friend Dorian Johnson, as reported in the New York Times, is the closest I’ve read to actual details about the event:
He said that he and Mr. Brown had been walking in the street when an officer drove up and told them to get onto the sidewalk. The two stayed in the street after telling the officer that they were close to Mr. Johnson’s house. The officer, who had passed them, then backed up, almost hitting them in doing so. He then tried to open his door, which hit Mr. Brown, and when the door bounced shut, the officer reached out and grabbed Mr. Brown.
“Mike was trying to get away from being choked,” Mr. Johnson told MSNBC. At that point, he said, the officer pulled a gun and fired, striking Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown “did not reach for the officer’s weapon at all,” he said.
Mr. Johnson said that he and Mr. Brown began to run, and while he ducked behind a car, Mr. Brown kept going. After Mr. Brown was shot a second time, Mr. Johnson said, he turned to face the officer with his hands up, the officer fired several more shots, and Mr. Brown fell.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer representing the Brown family, said Tuesday that Mr. Johnson had yet to be called in for questioning by the police and wanted to speak only to federal authorities.
“He does not trust the local law enforcement community,” Mr. Crump said. “How could he? He saw his friend executed.”
Meanwhile the police only say Mr. Brown hit the officer and tried to steal his gun.
I don’t know how to judge this. The police statement does not seem to make sense to me. After all, Brown was walking and the police were in a car. Why would he attempt to hit the officer and steal his gun? It seem improbable.
The way Johnson describes the events sounds more “credible.”
What I don’t understand is why the police even stopped them. Why did they try to order them off the street? Why didn’t they take them at their word that they were close to Johnson’s house? “Walking while black?”
To be honest I can’t help but feel that if it was me, and I was walking off the sidewalk, the police would not have bothered me.
Also, I cannot fathom among all this the looters and vandals wreaking havoc in the area. I can’t believe those people care at all about Michael Brown and feel they are, instead, just violent thugs taking advantage of the situation. And I’m glad arrests are being made.
I’m also glad Michael Brown’s parents are speaking up against the violence and asking for calm.
The photos of the police, to me, are frightening. It’s obviously very different from the Lafayette Square neighborhood in St. Louis where relations with police are very good.