I’m trying to understand why Michael Brown is lying dead from a police officer’s bullet instead of packing his bags and heading to college.
Brown, 18, was killed last Saturday in what could be called the war against young Black men – the escalating confrontations between police and African American males, a fierce war that is often played out on our nation’s streets, a block-by-block battle that America refuses to accept and won’t own even when some of the crimes are caught on video.
As a journalist, I am patiently waiting for the facts in the tragic case of Michael Brown to emerge, but as a Black man in America, I find myself angered once again because another young unarmed black man is gunned down senselessly after an altercation with a police officer.
Brown was shot multiple times by a Ferguson, Missouri, policeman outside an apartment complex in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominantly Black suburb of St. Louis. Just two days before the shooting, Brown, who friends describe as a “gentle giant,” was ready to attend Vatterott College and plan for the future.
But now, there are more questions than answers: How did the altercation between Brown and the police officer begin? Could Brown’s death have been avoided? Why did the officer shoot Brown since was unarmed? And why couldn’t police subdue him without using excessive force?
Witnesses say Brown and a friend were walking in the street by and apartment complex when an officer in police car ordered them onto the sidewalk. A verbal exchange ensued, and Brown’s friend said they ran. A shot was fired and the friend says Brown was standing with his hands in the air when the officer continued to fire. St. Louis Alderman Antonio French told CNN that he heard Brown was killed “execution-style.”