As Ferguson, Missouri awaits the Grand Jury decision for the killing of Michel Brown, the world watches. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon held a press conference on Tuesday on the anticipated Grand Jury decision in the killing of Michael Brown which could come at any time. As the US and the world await the St. Louis Grand Jury decision on whether to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, one thing is clear. The Missouri Governor and the law enforcement are expecting the worst and are spreading the tone that the worst will occur.
At the press conference today, there was no mention of Michael Brown’s name or his family. There was very little, if any, mention of peaceful protests. There was no mention of how the police learned from their earlier mishaps which resulted in many peaceful protesters including journalists and lawyer observers who were doing their job being arrested. And it is very clear that based on the mood, tone and temperament of the Missouri law enforcement officials that a very bad thing is about to occur in Missouri. Sadly, I fear the worst will occur if the outcome is not an indictment as the tone has been set by the Missouri State officials.
The press conference had all law enforcement standing on the podium plus Governor Nixon. Missing were any peaceful organizers of protests, clergy, national or local civil rights leaders, family members of Michael Brown and anyone who exhibits peace and tolerance. Instead the police showed they that intend to meet force with force. All the focus was on violence and force. The focus should have been on peace if peace was the main objective. From listening to the press conference held on Tuesday at 3:00 PM, it was clear that Ferguson failed to learn anything from their past mistakes these past few months. If anything, they learned incorrectly that they need to further escalate the force by bringing in 1000 officers. The press conference was a total failure. And the tone of the conference was beyond disturbing.
A calming approach should have been given, if calmness was the intended goal. The vast majority of people want to speak and express themselves in a peaceful fashion. On earlier accounts, many of the peaceful protesters were confronted by the police with tear gas and arrests. There is a Constitutional right to peaceful protests and peaceful assembly. The Governor or the law enforcement officials present failed to mention that they would respect peace. As many online stated, the press conference was to comfort white fears about loss of property instead of comforting black fears about the loss of life. If the police want to prevent further loss of life, they should change their tone, tactics and temperament.
Sadly neither Governor Nixon or the representatives of the various Missouri law enforcement agencies learned anything on how to handle the Grand Jury outcome from their past mistakes. The world is watching Ferguson. And they just failed another test. And everywhere in America, a Ferguson exists.