Al Sharpton is in Ferguson, Missouri, to call for the rioting to end and for police to stop concealing the name of the cop who shot Michael Brown. It’s been two days of violence and confusion since the unarmed 18-year-old African-American was fatally shot by an officer in the street.
Al Sharpton is joined by the NAACP in asking that the name of the cop be revealed so that a proper investigation can begin. Police have declined to give the cop’s name, citing threats on social media.
Another community left unsatisfied and angry with the justice system?
The story has become a common one: A cop shoots and kills a minority suspect for a minor infraction. The local community becomes angry, the cop goes to trial, and is exonerated or given a slap on the wrist. The anger boils over, and rioting and protests begin. Innocent bystanders are hurt, property is destroyed, and the dust settles.
In Ferguson, police have already given the local community reason to fear this case will be the same, and the rioting has already started. According to Reverend Sharpton:
“The local authorities have put themselves in a position — hiding names and not being transparent — where people will not trust anything but an objective investigation.”
Mr. Sharpton feels that the local authorities cannot be trusted. The FBI have started a civil rights investigation into the case, and the Department of Justice is also reportedly watching the situation closely.
Although the name of the cop is still concealed, officers have released their version of the incident. According to the police, Michael Brown accosted the unnamed cop and, although he was unarmed, reached for the cop’s gun. At which point the officer shot the teenager fearing for his life.
Seven eye witnesses deny that version of the story, saying the Michael at no point reached for a gun, and even after being shot lay on the ground with his hands in the air.
The mother and father of Michael Brown, who called for Reverend Sharpton to come to Ferguson, have asked for the riots and violence to end.
“In order to establish peace, you must have fair justice for everyone,” said Sharpton. “We are not more angry than his mom and dad. If they can hold their heads with dignity, we can hold our heads with dignity.”
With the entire country watching, the police in Ferguson will eventually comply to an investigation and trial, which means revealing the cop’s name. But whether national scrutiny will ensure a fair trial is unclear.
[Image Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters]