As the controversy over the Michael Brown shooting continues to rage in Ferguson, Missouri, some people are already comparing the situation to when George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin, with witness Dorian Johnson describing a one-sided struggle. But others are casting the situation in a darker light by suggesting Brown was a thug.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, a conspiracy theory is suggesting that the Michael Brown robbery video was actually footage from earlier this summer. The Ferguson riots have expanded even to New York’s Times Square, where protesters marched the street. The controversy has also sparked a debate over how police departments throughout the United States have increasingly become militarized.
The similarities between Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin are not hard to miss. The police officer who allegedly shot an unarmed Brown has not been charged, and protesters believe criminal charges need to be filed by prosecutors. But reports claim Brown and the police officer fought over the cop’s gun before the shooting occurred, which could be likened to how Martin and Zimmerman fought.
This is how Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson described the scene as a witness:
“I could see the muscles in his forearm. Mike was trying to get away from being choked. They’re not wrestling so much as his arm went from his throat to now clenched on his shirt. It’s like tug of war. He’s trying to pull him in. He’s pulling away, that’s when I heard, ‘I’m gonna shoot you.’ I seen the barrel of the gun pointed at my friend. He had it pointed at him and said ‘I’ll shoot,’ one more time. I seen the fire come out of the barrel. I could see so vividly what was going on because I was so close. The whole time [the officer] was holding my friend until the gun went off.”
According to KDSK, attorneys for Johnson have confirmed that both he and Michael Brown took part in what is being described as a “strong-arm robbery” of a convenience store. But Brown’s family claims police are just trying to draw attention away from the shooting.
The comparison to Trayvon Martin doesn’t end there. Benjamin Crump, the lawyer who represented the family of Martin, has taken the case for the Browns. Sybrina Fulton even released a statement that compared Brown to her own son’s death:
“My heart goes out to Michael Brown’s family. I know they are hurting. My family and I continue to pray for them during their darkest hour of burying a child…. It just reinforced our focus that we needed to get busy and we needed to work on some type of way to prevent this from happening to somebody else’s teenager.”
Whether or not Trayvon Martin was a thug is still a controversial topic to this day. In the past, some reporters claimed Trayvon was a “knockout game king,” that marijuana usage made him violent, and that George Zimmerman was the “victim” in the shooting. During the trial, some focused on Trayvon Martin’s drugs and guns photos found in his cell phone records and how a whistleblower named Ben Kruidbos revealed these phone records only to lose his job. In response, there are those who call George Zimmerman racist although a FBI investigation determined that was not the case.
The debate over whether or not Martin was a thug also took aim at how the media chose to portray the situation. For example, this tweet provides a photo worth a thousand words:
— Jesterfaze (@Jesterfaze) July 24, 2014
In his syndicated column, Leonard Pitts asked, “Why did some of us need Trayvon to be an angel in the first place? Why did they feel such a pressing urgency to magnify — and manufacture — his failings? Why was it so important to them to make him unworthy of sympathy?”
Michael Brown A Thug?
Not everyone has made comparisons between Martin and Brown that cast the latter in a good light. For example, a popular Yahoo Answers thread claim Brown was a “thug” and even says, “He got what he deserved just like Trayvon Martin did. The officer should get a metal.”
A website calling itself the Conservative Treehouse became well known for cataloging potential issues with Martin’s past. Now it’s claimed that in the case of Brown that he has photos of himself using the Bloods street gang sign that means, “What’s up blood?” In addition, they highlight how “both Martin and Brown had their social media history scrubbed, “had their juvenile criminal records sealed,” and “had quick narrative constructed of personality ‘good kid’, ‘aspiring astronaut,’ ‘no trouble,’ etc.”
The portrayals of Michael Brown as a thug has already received a backlash. For example, a writer for Truth Out wrote:
“Black life matters. Yet the police and their media support team have already begun to execute their standard playbook in the aftermath of yet another slain black youth: 1. Put the victim on trial for his own death. At the initial press conference, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar described the shooting as justifiable and the result of Brown’s allegedly aggressive behavior. 2. Create a narrative that depicts Brown as unsympathetic and criminal – to render his blackness visible and legible within the dominant cultural imagination.”
Twitter users have started their own protest of the idea by using the hash tag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown in an attempt to prove the point that a limited set of bad-looking photos does not tell the whole story:
— I Am Who I Am (@King_Ghidorah5) August 11, 2014
— Malcolm Shakur West (@CruelYear) August 10, 2014
What do you think about the allegations that Michael Brown was a thug like Trayvon Martin?