This is a teachable moment for the nation that presents an opportunity to transform policing so it serves the people.
The killing of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, MO police officer, who was identified Friday as Darren Wilson, and the aftermath in which nonviolent protesters and reporters were met with a violent and militarized police force have exposed something that has been building for years. Many have written about the militarization of the police and the disproportionate impact they have on people of color, but now more Americans are seeing this reality and cannot escape it.
Michael Brown is one of four unarmed black men killed in the last month by police. On July 17, Eric Garner was killed by an illegal chokehold in New York. On August 5, John Crawford was shot in a store in Beavercreek, OH. Just after Brown’s death, on August 9 Ezell Ford, a young man with known mental illness, was shot in Los Angeles. These are four examples of many,according to a recent study, a black man is killed every 28 hours by police, security guards or vigilantes. The whole nation is experiencing these tragedies; reality is being forced upon us.
The public reaction to the event has been immense. On Thursday evening protests were held from coast-to-coast expressing solidarity with the people of Ferguson and grief for the death of Michael Brown and the deaths of others across the nation killed by police. There are now increasing calls for the demilitarization of the police by the Attorney General and elected officials. And, the DOJ has announced a broad review of police practices that lead to deadly force. People are taking action pressuring the DOJ to act, see: Tell The Department of Justice to end racist and militaristic policing.