The family of Michael Brown might soon be granted justice for the his death.
Darren Wilson was cleared of a potential indictment by a grand jury in November and the Department of Justice this past week decided there is not enough evidence to charge officer Wilson with Brown’s death. The parents of Brown will now file a civil suit against Wilson for the wrongful death of their son.
According to CNN, a civil suit has a higher likelihood of sticking because the jury won’t need absolute certainty beyond any reasonable doubt as to whether Wilson is guilty. The jury will only need sufficient enough evidence to suggest Wilson is responsible for the death of Brown.
The fact that Wilson was not even indicted in February is absolutely absurd. An indictment is not a guilty verdict. Letting Wilson walk without even a proper trial was extremely irresponsible on behalf of the grand jury. However, I believe it would have been hard to prove Wilson guilty in a criminal court case. A handful of eye witnesses providing different stories probably would have hurt the chances of Wilson being put behind bars. However, some accountability should come out of the civil suit.
Despite not being able to charge Wilson, the DOJ did find substantial evidence to prove systemic racism within the Ferguson Police Department. According to CNN, 85 percent of people subject to vehicle stops were black, while 93 percent of people arrested during these stops were black. Ninety-five percent of jaywalking tickets were given to black people. When the Ferguson Police Department used force against a suspect, 88 percent of the people were black.
Black people make up just 67 percent of Ferguson’s population overall, so these outlying statistics are impossible to ignore. Racist emails mocking President Obama and jokes erroneously belittling the work ethic of people of color were also found on the computers of employees in the Ferguson Police Department. Two officers have subsequently resigned from the Department within the last week.
When an unarmed black teenager ends up with six bullets in him from a police officer who is a part of an undeniable racist system, there needs to be some accountability.
The Brown shooting cannot be treated as an isolated incident. Maybe Wilson did shoot in self-defense. However, this is unclear. Either way, a public service job, such as a police officer, cannot be soaked in racial bias.
The family of Brown and all citizens of Ferguson should be able to trust that their police department is operating without a predisposition for hate. I wish Brown’s family well in their civil suit and I wish the citizens of Ferguson well in their attempt to fix a broken system.