Ferguson police tell a far different version of events. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters that Brown struggled with the officer over his sidearm.

We don’t know all the facts in this case, but I continue to hold on to the one critical piece of evidence that law enforcement and witnesses all agree on: Brown was unarmed.

I have written far too many of these columns over the years; stories about young black men whose lives are snuffed out by callous men who are fast on the trigger.

I’ve grown weary of watching the funeral processions for young Black men play out in real time on network television. It upsets me when I hear Black mothers grieving for their slain sons while some folks dismiss this crisis as a routine occurrence. I’m exhausted watching press conferences where police stand before the cameras and call for increased sensitivity training for their departments.   

But I grieve, too, for these families. The call for justice is more crucial than ever because Black men and women are dying on our streets at an alarming rate and under questionable circumstances.

Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen from Sanford, Florida, was killed in 2012 by George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of his murder. Eric Garner, a black father of six children, died last month after a New York police officer put Garner in an illegal chokehold and Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old Detroit woman, was shot and killed by Theodore Wafer after McBride knocked on Wafer’s Dearborn Heights door for help after a car accident.

Wafer’s razor-thin self-defense claim was rejected by a jury who convicted him last week of 2nd degree murder.

“These incidents erode the public’s confidence in the justice system,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. “This is about more than one community. Similar incidents have been documented all over the country.”

Local faith leaders are asking why another young unarmed black man was killed by police gunfire – and they wonder when the deadly pattern will end.

Rev. Rodney T. Francis, Pastor of Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, joined a group of black ministers Sunday who met with Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson.

“Though we are waiting for the facts of the case to come out, this is yet another tragic incident of an unarmed youth’s interaction with a police officer that has ended in the homicide of that youth,” Francis, the father of two young boys, told me. “There is an expressed concern about how police officers are being trained to de-escalate rather than escalate interactions with unarmed citizens in high-stress communities.”

Ferguson is one of those high-stress communities. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, in  2013 police pulled over blacks at a 37 percent higher rate than whites compared to their relative populations. Black drivers were twice as likely to be searched and twice as likely to be arrested compared to white drivers. This was Michael Brown’s world.

The FBI is now investigating the Brown case and hopefully that brings some level of comfort to Brown’s family.

“The shooting incident in Ferguson, Missouri, this weekend deserves a fulsome review,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “In addition to the local investigation already underway, FBI agents from the St. Louis field office, working together with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, have opened a concurrent, federal inquiry.”

Rev. Al Sharpton, president of The National Action Network, plans to meet with Brown’s family Tuesday after Brown’s grandfather asked Sharpton to step in.

Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, told reporters that raising a black male in urban America is a challenge and that Brown’s graduation from high school was a success story for her family. The shooting, McSpadden said, wasn’t justified. She believes if the need arose, her son could have been subdued with a club or Taser. She said the officer involved should be prosecuted.

“I would like to see him go to jail with the death penalty,” she said.

I didn’t know Michael Brown, but I do believe that a thorough investigation of his death by the FBI must be completed for justice to find its way to Ferguson.

In a chilling post on his Facebook page last week, Brown wrote to a friend as he prepared for college: “if i leave this earth today, at least youll know i care about others more then i cared about my damn self.”

(Photo: Rev. Rodney T. Francis, pastor of Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis speaks at a rally in Ferguson, Missouri, before a coalition of local faith leaders met with Ferguson’s police chief about Michael Brown’s death. Picture courtesy of Rodney T. Francis)

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14 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Michael Brown Is The Latest Victim Of The War On Black Men

  1. I’m always so angry whenever I see hundreds of people mobilize to protest the shooting of a young black man by a cop, but treat the slaughter of dozens of young black men in any given city, on any given day, by other blacks as business as usual. If this amount of outrage (minus the looting) was displayed whenever a young child is slaughtered in the street, no matter the race of the victim or the perpetrator, we would see a change in the way society as a whole sees us. Not just white cops.

  2. demp109 on said:

    Great comments. We will not get any respect or support until we respect and support our own communities, and get control of black on black hatred. There should be a boys to men mentoring program in every major black city in America; at every church, in every school, Boys Club, YMCA, etc. I bugged our church until it happened. I hope you all do the same.

  3. word-up on said:

    I’m truly relieved to read so many comments on the right track. The truest problem in the inner city is out-of-control young men afflicted with the “shooting syndrome” of bullets into others, drugs into themselves, and semen into our girls.

  4. My heart goes all the way out for this young mans family. “If nothing changes nothing changes.” This is a state of emergency, these cops have no intentions on stopping unless they are going to be held fully accountable. FBI don’t drop the ball!

  5. Church Girl on said:

    I agree with timekeeper but there are more unarmed blacks dying at the hands of young black men than police officers. I live in Chicago and my kids can’t play in the park because of ignorant violent young black men, not the police. While police brutality has gotten out of control, black on black violence is on another level especially in Chicago. We’re waiting for the nation to get enraged about that but nobody seems to care unless the killer is white. Joy2, the ministers are out there but they can’t do it alone. Where are the parents who used to bring their young people to church and get them involved in the community? Most of them are grandparents now. Parents aren’t raising their kids like in the old days. Parents under 45 are nothing like parents over 45 today. That’s who you need to call out. Young parents are the ones with their teens/young adults out of control but when are we going to address them? They have a role/responsibility in this as well.

    • Church Girl: Your points are definitely well taken. You are correct in that the ministers can’t do it alone. All of us should be held accountable including ministers, police, (so-called) community leaders, and PARENTS. My bigger point is that ministers, and leaders should come together nationally, and figure out what can be done, i.e., job training, mentors, parenting classes, etc. It won’t be an easy feat….but we need to start somewhere. Realistically these parents need to be trained to be parents (I know that sounds crazy but it’s true). And that can’t be done over night. Keep the faith my sister….keep the faith

  6. Timekeeper on said:

    Everyone agrees that black on black violence is a tragedy , as well at times even an epidemic. Local citizens, clergy and interested activist groups in New Orleans, Detroit, Camden, Chicago and anywhere else for that matter have railed against this violence and have attempted many intervention methods in an attempt to squash this violence. I am certain we will continue to do so. This latest drive by shooting was and isTotally incorridgible and despicable. When they get caught ( and they will) I believe they will get the harshest sentence allowed. But, don’t get these facts twisted with the police. They are supposed to protect and serve” We do pay their taxes. The senseless act of a drive by killer doesn’t mean it’s okay for the police. There is a difference, lets not forget that. They are supposed to be professionals. So while I deplore the black on black crime, equating this to police action is a Huge mistake and also disengenupois as well. It’s called propaganda. Convenient for some but not on equal terms.
    As we continue to fight corruption and youth violence in our inner cities, this should not be a license for unfair [police violence, regardless of your political opinion or perspective. Just as I hope those drive by killers are found and arrested, I also hope that if the truth comes out about the police acting irresponsibly, that, they too, are held accountable.

    • Time: THANK YOU SO MUCH for your intelligent/timely comments. I hope people take time to read, and absorb what you had to say. You said it all in a nutshell !!

  7. LookIntoTheEyesOfTruth on said:

    Reading the statistics from New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, etc…., I agree there is a war on black men and boys,.. BUT who is the enemy??

  8. Soulman johson on said:

    If we are going to march every time a White kill a Black we have to get something to do when a Black kill a Black.
    It can’t be to drawn out and it can;’t take to long because it look like a all day job to keep up with the ones coming out of Chicago.
    Maybe a good thing to do so we could keep up just tip the hat as they go by and hope the arm don’t cramp up.

    • Soulman: Black on Black crime is definitely out of control. Where’s Jessie….Where’s Al, and where’s the 10,000 BLACK MINISTERS that stand in pulpits every Sunday preaching the same sermons they’ve preached for DECADES……..INSTEAD OF BEING OUT ON THE STREETS WHERE THERE HELP IS REALLY NEEDED!!!!

  9. “New Orleans police were investigating a drive-by shooting Monday that killed a man and an 18-year-old woman and wounded five other people, three of them children”

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