The Ferguson Masterpost: How To Argue Eloquently & Back Yourself Up With Facts

We encourage you to share the link to this rather than reblogging the entire post (since this is frequently updated and we want to minimize the spread of outdated info!): bit.ly/FergusonAEM. Also, comment volume is high enough that personal replies are not always possible anymore; browse through the comments & see if your issues/ideas have been addressed there.

As the folks from Sexplanations say: stay curious! Know that this is just one drop in the bucket. We encourage you to do your own research and follow the links so you can make your own informed opinion.


Introduction From The Curator

Updates & Notes After Initial Publication

Note (12/1/14 at 11:45 PM EST): Overall goal is to overhaul this post in the coming weeks so that it’s easier to read and further updated—taking into account the many, many comments flowing in. An “archive” GoogleDoc version will be made of its previous iteration for transparency and a new cleaned up version (with an extended introduction or a link to another post with such information, as well as a more cohesive author voice hopefully!) will be posted here in its place. Once it has reached an acceptable level/condition, we will probably close edits and comments.

Note (12/1/14 at 2:19 PM EST & 5:25 PM): For those of you asking, I am moderating posts, yes. If a comment is spam or hatemail w/ no points, it’s not going through. If it’s arguing against statements we’re linking to or things we’ve said, that can be posted [but if it’s clear you didn’t read or are willfully misinterpreting the post, nope]. For those of you leaving long refutations or additional details, thank you for taking the time to do so. I have some colleagues working to sort through those before approving the comments so we can fact-check and incorporate into the text as needed. It’s finals season in my world!

Note (11/30/14 at 12:35 PM EST): This was initially meant to be a smaller post, but I feel a duty to keep updating and fleshing it out. Still, I won’t be able to go past a certain point. That said, I hope it’s still helpful to y’all in whatever iteration is final & that you continue the conversation.

Note (11/29/14 at 8:00 PM EST): Holy moly, this got a ton of traction. Thanks to all the folks sharing, commenting, and helping us correct typos, inaccuracies, and so on! Keep it coming, but please note that comments are moderated & this is a one-woman-show from a busy bee, so responses and updates will not be immediate. We’d love to hear what you’re doing with this information, so definitely let us know of success stories in talking to family-members, using it in lesson-plans, and the like. You can say hi through my contact form &/or tweet at me @neuronbomb.

Note (11/29/14, don’t remember time): Consider this a living document! If you have things to add, put them in the comments! Because this is a collective work, there may be areas that need to be clarified, cleaned up, or entirely fixed. Further note: this article is not “Is Darren Wilson Guilty? Was Mike Brown innocent? We have the answer!” — this is a tool for discussions, compiling useful information to PRIMARILY speak about police brutality, racism, and the like.

Note (11/29/14 at 9:25 AM EST): To clarify, just because we link to something doesn’t mean it’s an endorsement or that the source is completely unproblematic. For example, while I personally have my issues with Tim Wise and how many institutions choose to bring him in to speak vs. the many POC who have been doing anti-racism for longer, we do include information about his documentary here.

Actual Introduction To Masterpost

The only kind of bombs I fully support are truth-bombs, and that’s why I’ve come together with a group of POC and select White allies to write this post. We feel it’s critical to have conversations about social justice loudly, noticeably, personally as well as systemically, and eloquently*—in this case, specifically around Ferguson, #stoptheparade, #BlackLivesMatter, #IndictAmerica, and all the myriad things happening right now around police brutality and the devaluing of Black lives. We need to connect our struggles and see where they intersect, while not pretending that we all face the same issues (today I’m lookin’ at you, non-Black POC). To do this, we need tools, scripts, data—means of having and supporting these conversations, as well as our communities.

That’s why we’re here.

We want to give you tools to support that work and that dialogue. If you’re facing tough questions from friends, family, colleagues, or even perfect strangers, we hope this will help you answer them. We need to collectively build support and awareness to build a better society, and part of that means challenging those who assume “we are already there,” exposing those who would further marginalize already disenfranchised communities, and educating those who do not see why any of these things are issues in the first place. Please contact me if you find any inaccuracies in this post; we’ve worked hard to dig things up, but sometimes new details come to light! You may also want to peruse other “master posts” that are out there (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). If you just want to read “what next, and how can I help?” you should scroll all the way to the bottom.

With Love and Solidarity, 

Aida

The fantastic team who helped out and suggested info included: Renee Cotton (who was a total rockstar), Luisa Ramírez-Lartigue, Sara David, Linda Hower Bates, Tamara Williams, Michael Becker, Katie Lamb, Dani Da Silva, Shanice Yarde, and G Starr Vidal.

*Note (11/28/14 at 9:25 PM EST): Eloquence should not be a pre-requisite for being listened to, particularly when talking about members of a group who are marginalized and speaking about their experiences. While we (the folks who made this post) do overall value eloquence for many reasons and feel it is an important tool in the overall kit, it is important to clarify that point, because to require eloquence from people speaking about their pain and oppression, especially when wounds are still fresh, is pure respectability politics BS, and we don’t support that.

P.S. We encourage you to play “racial incident bingo” as you go about your day discussing these issues. We can’t promise the results won’t be totally depressing.

racial incident bingo


Table of Contents

[Added 12/2/14: As noted in one of the comments, many of these were taken verbatim from conversations the people who helped put this post together had with individuals &/or groups.]

  • To Refute Fake Facts, Misleading Information, & Inaccuracies
    • But Mike Brown robbed a convenience store!
    • Mike Brown was a giant demon who charged at Darren Wilson, who had no recourse but to fear for his life and use lethal force.
    • Mike Brown smoked pot regularly and/or was high during his interaction with Wilson.
    • Mike Brown was reaching for a gun when killed.
    • Mike Brown was a threat and could not be taken into custody alive.
    • …but what about that viral image of the Black kid hugging the cop?
  • To Address Ignorant &/Or Misguided Questions and Statements
    • Q: Why are you making this about race?
    • Q: What did riots ever solve? Why are people getting violent?
    • “If there are more black people in jails or getting arrested, it’s probably because they commit more crimes.”
    • Q: What if Mike Brown had been White? Would you still be outraged? Would it still be police brutality?
    • “These [Black] people are destroying their own cities!”
    • Q: Why do Black people take this so personally?
    • Q: This is not the dream that MLK fought for. What would he say about all this?
    • “If you’re out causing trouble, of course shit’s gonna happen!”
    • “People should just stay home if they want to be safe.”
    • Q: Are you blaming Darren Wilson for defending himself?
    • Q: Why is it okay for Black people to address all White people as a whole, but White people can’t do the same thing back? What about reverse racism?
    • Why White allies should think before immediately un-friending their racist family and friends
    • “…BUT ALL LIVES MATTER!”
    • “I’m a non-black POC (or a White person) and this affects me too!”
    • Q: Do you think you know better than the grand jury? Did you study state law?
    • Q: Why is no one talking about the recent murder of a White man/couple/person at the hands of police [or Black people, or gangs]? This is discrimination!
    • Q: Darren Wilson has been hurt by this too.
  • Replies & Information For Actually Curious People &/Or Important Questions
    • Q: How can I help expose racists saying horrible things?
    • Q: How did we get to this point?
    • Q: What do I say if the police ask me why I’m filming at a protest/event?
    • Q: How do I address this during Thanksgiving/holidays with family?
    • Q: What do I tell my kids? How do I talk to them about this? What are other parents doing?
    • Q: How can I teach about Ferguson?
    • Q: How can I help the people in Ferguson? What can I do now in general?

To Refute Fake Facts, Misleading Information, & Inaccuracies

  • But Mike Brown robbed a convenience store!
      1. [Update 12/2/14: There are statements flying all over the place saying he did or didn’t, citing new videos and new evidence, or people apparently debunking prior released info. We haven’t had time to look into this yet so we can’t speak much to it or offer links right now.]
      2. “Attorney for the Ferguson store, Jake Kanzler, said the Ferguson store owner, [sic] nor any store employee called the police to report any shoplifting of cigars, but, rather, a customer called the police.” (here.) [Update 11/29/14: Since people are commenting on this, we want to note that we decided to include it because some folks were stating that Mike Brown robbed a convenience store and that the store owner is the one that reported it to police. We do not mean to imply that only the store owner could have or should have reported a robbery.]
      3. [Updated 12/2/14] No stolen things presented as evidence in the grand jury testimony (link to evidence above). Again, as above, just information to reply to those saying that it got used.
      4. [Updated 12/2/14] Most people are using the “robbed a convenience store” argument to imply that Brown was thus “A Criminal” (and thus “separate from you and me” or less valuable). How many people have stolen things from convenience stores? How many young White girls have stolen lipgloss from a pharmacy? We aren’t arguing so much about the “did he steal or not” but about the framing and the use of this to characterize Brown as “a thug who deserved what he got.” Obviously a young girl calmly stealing lip gloss isn’t the same thing, but the idea that “Bad People Steal” gets very selectively applied, y’know?
      5. [Added 11/29/14] Since so many folks are bringing this up, here’s the video and the stills from the convenience store. Once again, we are not arguing about the theft/robbery. This video wasn’t included previously in this post because the point we are making is about the framing of the situation, not “did he steal or not?” Something else noteworthy is that it’s been reported that the Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said  the reason for contact between Wilson and Brown was not due to the robbery. Apparently the story changed later, though, which is curious.
  • Mike Brown was a giant demon who charged at Darren Wilson, who had no recourse but to fear for his life and use lethal force.
      1. [Updated 12/3/14] For the quick n’ dirty bio facts since they are getting cited all over the place: Darren Wilson is 6’4”, 215 lbs, 28 years old. As per the autopsy report, Mike Brown was 18 years old, 6’5” (77 inches), and 285 pounds.
      2. Please also take a peek at our section below covering the question “What if Mike Brown had been White? Would you still be outraged? Would it still be police brutality?”
      3. Photographs of Wilson’s injuries don’t show much. Hospital discharge report writes that he had a facial contusion—a fancy way of saying bruise—check page 4. [Updated 11/30/14] The prescription in the discharge is for a mild painkiller.
      4. [Updated 11/29/14 and 12/2/14] The photographs of Mike Brown’s body by the medical legal investigator were not taken because they ran out of batteries (from grand jury transcript, page 31-32).
        1. As a commenter notes: “To be clear, that’s not the person who conducts the autopsy; it’s the person who initially goes to the scene and orders that the body be delivered to the medical examiner.” Apparently the police took pictures, but they don’t get discussed much here. Though measurements are usually also taken, the medical investigator did not “because it was self explanatory what happened. Somebody shot somebody.” We include this, not to say that measurements were never taken at all, because they were (and you can peek at the state examiner’s autopsy report here), but to show some of the problems with how this case was handled from the beginning.
  • Mike Brown smoked pot regularly and/or was high during his interaction with Wilson. [Updated 12/2/14]
      1. Know who else has smoked pot? Justin Bieber. And these grandmas. You should also be aware that marijuana has been decriminalized in 18 states, deemed legal for recreational use in 4 states and D.C., and medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and D.C.
        1. Why is this important? First: pot is not actually a big deal, but some people use the “Brown smoked pot” argument to demonstrate he was criminally-inclined, didn’t care for the law, and/or was taking part in “obviously morally reprehensible behaviors.”
        2. Secondly, smoking pot is still judged quite differently depending on who is doing the smoking (and thus claims about it have different slants); just take a look at how some elite colleges treat “4/20.” Compare that to a 2010 policy report in the same state (Lil’ Rhody!) noting that “marijuana possession is unfairly punished” and “black and Hispanic people arrested for marijuana possession [got] sentenced to prison at a rate 8 times higher than white people even though they use marijuana less than whites.” This is racialized, but also has to do a lot with class.
      2. The toxicology report was positive for cannabinoids in Mike’s system, but it’s important to note the following: “The toxicologist testified that Brown’s blood contained 12 nanograms of active THC per milliliter, a level that he said indicated Brown had consumed cannabis in the previous two or three hours. That contradicted testimony by Dorian Johnson, the friend who was with Brown when Wilson shot him. Johnson, who said he was with Brown all day, testified that they had planned to get high […] but never got around to it. Despite the blood test results, Johnson could be telling the truth. Daily marijuana users have been known to register 12 nanograms or more when they get up in the morning, and they may even perform competently on driving tests at that level.”
      3. Furthermore, as the above link points out, during the testimony there was a conflation of dosage and blood concentration, which was super misleading to anyone who heard it and took it at face value.
      4. “Pot is most popularly known as a sedative that relaxes users. One of the prominent arguments against its use, in fact, is that it makes users so sedated that they’re lazy and, as a result, unproductive.” and “There’s actually no reason to believe, based on the available research and the scientific understanding of pot, that marijuana would actually make someone more violent,” Lopez writes.”- German Lopez, Vox
      5. http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-30216293
  • Mike Brown was reaching for a gun when killed.
      1. [Added 12/2/14: Some of the information in this section is undergoing deeper revision right now! We’re getting mixed information from various sources and want to thoughtfully work through them.]
      2. [Updated section 11/29/14] He was unarmed and 12 distinct witnesses (of the 14 that spoke to the issue) testified that he had his hands up—the universal sign of “unarmed, don’t shoot” when he was killed (though there was a lot of contradicting eyewitness info, that was one of the things with near unanimous agreement). Regardless, the fatal shots that killed Brown weren’t shot while he was near the police vehicle, when Wilson claims he was reaching for the gun.
      3. Here’s a video of Forensic Pathologist Cyril Wecht commenting on the case, and in particular, his thoughts on the ballistics evidence regarding where Brown was shot. Wecht “has been the president of both the American Academy of Forensic Science and the American College of Legal Medicine, and currently heads the board of trustees of the American Board of Legal Medicine” (Wikipedia as bio source for brevity)
      4. [Added 12/3/14] There were a total of 7 gunshot wounds. The autopsy report and physical evidence (especially of soot on the skin as well as “gunshot particulate matter” under the skin for the wound on his hand) indicate that Mike Brown was shot initially while he was near Wilson’s vehicle, and that the gun was within inches of his hand. The other wounds don’t have these same residues, so they weren’t that close-range. The report also states that because he was so tall, his head must have been bent downward for them to have had the trajectory they did.
  • Mike Brown was a threat and could not be taken into custody alive.
    1. [Updated 12/3/14] Many known-to-be-murderous individuals are taken into custody alive all the time. Random example: cop killer, Eric Frein, captured alive (White). At the same time, we need to understand the different circumstances that have made that so, beyond just race. There’s a graphic rolling around the Internet listing White murderers who got apprehended instead of killed, but at least some of those murderers surrendered easily. For example, the 2012 Aurora shooter—James Holmes, pictured in the graphic—didn’t resist arrest and was completely calm (disturbingly so, according to the accounts). If other folks have the names for the rest of the people pictured and info about their apprehensions, leave ’em in the comments!
    2. [Updated 11/30/14] Thanks to commenters for posting the source! Some folks have been asking “why not use a taser?” Wilson stated “(…) I usually elect not to carry one. It is not the most comfortable thing. They are very large, I don’t have a lot of room in the front for it to be positioned.” You can find this on page 205 of Grand Jury Volume V, which is page 874 here.
    3. [Added 12/2/14] Something important to note  is that cops are trained to shoot at center mass, not the feet or kneecaps or whatever happens in films. You can read some articles explaining why that is here and here. So if Wilson was going to be shooting Mike Brown at all (which is the question many are asking themselves), it would have been in the “center mass” area. While some folks may be well-meaning in saying “but why didn’t he just shoot to immobilize the legs!” or something, that doesn’t particularly hold up given the realities of officer training.
  • …but what about that viral image of the Black kid hugging the cop? [Section added 12/8/14]
    1. It’s apparently staged/fake?

[Go back to top]


To Address Ignorant &/Or Misguided Questions and Statements

Q: Why are you making this about race?

  • [Updated 12/3/14] It already IS about race, except that some people don’t want to admit it, especially in this society where we think we’re “post-racial” (hint: we’re not) and believe that racial colorblindness is a virtue (hint: it’s not). To quote Lisa Wade: “A Pew study found that 63% of white and 20% of black people think that Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Darren Wilson is not about race. Those people are wrong.” See why here. Also read this piece from the MSW/MPH Facebook page at Boston University.
  • Check out this list of unarmed Black folks killed by police. [Added 12/8/14: Or read this ex-St. Louis cop’s story about what he saw and lived through in his time on the force. Hint: it’s racism and brutality. He notes that “sensitivity”and “racial justice trainings” will only do so much, and that what is sorely needed is real accountability for cops. You can also read this article about a veteran cop filing police brutality charges against his own department and this article from 2013 about Stop and Frisk in NYC, where a secret taping caught the deputy inspector pretty much suggesting and condoning racial profiling practices against Blacks and Latinos.]
  • [Added 12/8/14]  Read about the burning of the church where Mike Brown’s family used to go. The pastor believes it was race-related, particularly because he got 71 death threats and some of them were specifically racist and insulting in nature.
  • If you want to listen to a spoken word poem that will break your heart and police and lynchingsaddresses this, peep the video by Javon Johnson.
  • Some food for thought (link updated 12/4/14 so it’s direct): young Black men are 21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than White men. “Police kill Black Americans at nearly the same rate as Jim Crow era lynchings.” [Added 11/29/14: A commenter clarifies that the folks who made the graphic probably meant in the same quantities, not the same rates. 12/2/3: If anyone wants to figure out/debate the stats, you can do so in the comments.] [Added 12/8/14: The 21x stat is from a ProPublica study linked above. Eric Bradner from CNN puts those numbers into context and explains how we got there, as well as why/how Bill O’Reilly had other numbers.]
  • Just know that 2,200 National Guard troops were deployed to Ferguson (compared to 3,100 in Iraq). [Added 12/2/14: This is as an FYI about police presence in the area, particularly for folks who discuss it vis-a-vis responses to Hurricane Katrina—for which I don’t have the numbers though.]
  • [Added 11/29/14] Someone emailed me to share information about #BlackPoetsSpeakOut: “in solidarity with the movements to address racial injustices related to police brutality, including the killing of Michael Brown, poets have been reading poems online under the hashtag #BlackPoetsSpeakOut.” You can read some of them here.

Q: What did riots ever solve? Why are people getting violent?

  • Open a history book and take a look at the social change accompanying riots—from basic rights for Blacks and women, to voting rights, to ending war. Succinct case in point here and there. [Added 12/8/14: For a longer take on this, check this Al-Jazeera article. Long story short: social movements are complex things and multiple tactics are used.]
  • “My name’s DeAndre Smith and this is exactly what’s supposed to happen when injustice is happening in your community.”
  • “‘So are you saying we should just give up?’ That’s what people ask me when I say things like this. My response: ‘eh, how about just not reducing everything to patience and progress?’ Don’t ask kids to wait around and dodge bullets until the system treats us fairly. Just stop putting that on them. Believe it or not, you don’t have to save the world. And you sure as hell ain’t going to do it on Twitter. Just step back with the riot shaming, and work on your perspective.” – Tyler Reinhard, Hey, Step Back with the Riot Shaming
  • People are totally chill with Black Friday sales and going NUTS over them to the point of injuring others, but social justice protests are “too much.”
  • “The protesters in Ferguson aren’t irrational or apolitical. They are calling attention to their basic, unmet needs.”
  • Peter Linebaugh:  “…the thirsty do not ask permission to take a drink, nor the hungry food. Is it the new society? Of course not. But it could be; this is self-activity.”
  • Finally, if you’ve ever attended a Pride parade and ESPECIALLY if you’re LGBTQIA, did you forget the Stonewall Riots?
  • [Added 9/29/14] Some people take the “chaos” as a good time to hurt folks in the movement, as with the death (being investigated as a homicide) of Deandre Joshua (trigger-warning because the beginning of the article details his death), a friend of Dorian Johnson—who was with Mike Brown when he was killed.
  • [Added 9/29/14] One of the folks who commented on this post shared this and this, essays that give more historical information about riots, looting, and the rationale behind these behaviors.
  • [Added 12/2/14] Does that mean protests and riots are magical and come without bad consequences and/or collateral damage? No.
  • [Added 12/8/14] Many folks have mentioned that some of the biggest rabble-rousers and looters across many states have been White folks at these marches. Here’s an article about it. I don’t have bigger “official stats” but  do have a lot of personal experience with the marches and anecdotal evidence from folks in other states who echo this. Something to keep in mind is that these marches “are a wake, not a pep rally.

“If there are more black people in jails or getting arrested, it’s probably because they commit more crimes.”

Q: What if Mike Brown had been White? Would you still be outraged? Would it still be police brutality?

“These [Black] people are destroying their own cities!” [Updated 12/2/14]

Q: Why do Black people take this so personally?

  • As one person so succinctly put it: “Because, for us, we are one bullet away from our brothers and fathers becoming hashtags.”
  • A friend said at a vigil: “with a White cop becoming a millionaire after shooting one of us, it is basically open season on our asses.”
  • Black people are taking it personally because it IS personal. These injustices and this violence perpetrated against Black people affects them both directly and indirectly, no matter where in the U.S. they live. Not indicting Darren Wilson has reinforced the message (that is not new, by the way) that Black lives are not as worthy of discussing, saving, or supporting. That is a message being sent to all of America, and directly affecting Black people.
  • This image summarizes some of the reasons why Black folks have every right to be pissed off.
  • “These killings come on top of other forms of oppression black people face. Mass incarceration of nonwhites is one of them. While African-Americans constitute 13.1% of the nation’s population, they make up nearly 40% of the prison population. Even though African-Americans use or sell drugs about the black rage hillsame rate as whites, they are 2.8 to 5.5 times more likely to be arrested for drugs than whites. Black offenders also receive longer sentences compared to whites. Most offenders are in prison for nonviolent drug offenses.” – Adam Hudson
  • [Added 12/8/14] Because there are White people who mock these deaths, like this White couple behind an interviewer who was talking about Eric Garner’s case.
  • Finally, you can read the article from Salon by Brittney Cooper: In defense of black rage. If you’re feeling artsy, listen to the song “Black Rage” by Lauryn Hill.

Q: This is not the dream that MLK fought for. What would he say about all this?

  • If you’re feeling cheeky or snarky, you can just respond with I “literally don’t know because he was shot and killed too.”
  • If you’re NOT feeling snarky, we have a response ready too, since MLK actually did comment on riots when he was alive, and said they were “the language of the unheard” and that condemning riots without condemning the conditions that lead people to them would be reprehensible. In fact, he would call that “morally irresponsible.” [Update 11/30/14: Does that mean MLK is pro-riot? Nah. It means that you can’t condemn riots without also then condemning the conditions that make them happen.]
    • Here’s his full quote: “Now I wanted to say something about the fact that we have lived over these last two or three summers with agony and we have seen our cities going up in flames. And I would be the first to say that I am still committed to militant, powerful, massive, non-violence as the most potent weapon in grappling with the problem from a direct action point of view. I’m absolutely convinced that a riot merely intensifies the fears of the white community while relieving the guilt. And I feel that we must always work with an effective, powerful weapon and method that brings about tangible results. But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.”
  • As Jay Smooth put it: “The fundamental danger of a non-indictment is not more riots, it is more Darren Wilsons.” Check out how Jay Smooth breaks that down in this video where he addresses MLK, human limits, and riots. [Added 11/30/14] Here’s a transcribed version if you prefer to read or need that style for accessibility purposes!
  • Here is MLK talking about order and “White moderates,” the people who prioritize order over justice, who are in his opinion the most dangerous and the most detrimental to Black folks’ fight for justice and freedom.

“If you’re out causing trouble, of course shit’s gonna happen!”

  • First of all, what does “causing trouble” mean? Reducing direct action and protests to achieve goals of visibility to “trouble” minimizes their goals, impact, and meaning. It’s a clear tactic to make something seem worthless, like “drama.” If we ignored all that, though, the problem is that shit doesn’t happen equally when you account for all other factors. Black men are seen as “causing trouble” even when doing the exact same thing a White man would do and who would not be read as “causing trouble.”
  • Saying these protests are “causing trouble” is in the same line of victim-blaming thought that excuses rapes, and often perpetuated by the same people who look at White murderers and call for compassion, or focus on the fact that they “must have been disturbed or mentally ill to do these horrible things.” See that summed up in a single tweet here.
  • In response to arguments like this, where Black men are told to “pull up their pants” and “get educated” as a means of protection from state violence, a set of tweets notes how the argument is terrible and relies on broken ideas and respectability politics. Many Black and Latino parents do give this kind of advice to their children anyway in hopes of shielding them from harm, but it’s very different coming from White and non-Black people.
  • Iranian-American Shirin Barghi made some heartbreaking art of the last words Black folks like Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin (apparently) uttered. There’s also art for Kimani Gray (16), Kenneth Chamberlain (66), Eric Garner (43), Amadou Diallo (23), John Crawford III (22), Oscar Grant (22), Sean Bell (23), and Kendrec McDade (19).

BvBbUp-IYAAayxE BvBLDg-IMAAbmay BvhsmgEIMAE1eDb Bvhs1O6IcAAMLe0 BvBLanhIUAIHNoI BvE-5UhIEAABz15 BvRHONyCMAEXaxM BvhtZTtIMAAx0l2 BvE_k1yIEAAxAnf BvBL6x3IUAADSE2

“People should just stay home if they want to be safe.”

  • That’s like saying you shouldn’t eat because you’ll risk food poisoning or that women should be able to protect themselves against rape. [Note 11/29/14: This framing is purposeful to mirror common arguments, but we do not mean to imply that people outside of the “woman” category do not experience rape or that women can’t be rapists.] Ultimately, we shouldn’t live in a country where people are afraid for their lives if they leave their homes.
  • Even without leaving their homes, POC, and especially black folks, aren’t necessarily safe, especially from police brutality. Take a look at Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Or these children [some folks report this link isn’t viewable on mobile!]. Or Cambodian families in Providence, RI. The list goes on.

Q: Are you blaming Darren Wilson for defending himself?

Q: Why is it okay for Black people to address all White people as a whole, but White people can’t do the same thing back? What about reverse racism?

Why White allies should think before immediately un-friending their racist family and friends:

  • No one likes sitting next to that disturbing kid who gleefully pees in the pool, but removing yourself from a platform where you can educate others to not pee in the pool doesn’t help overall. It’s understandable that some people need to be blocked for overall sanity/mental health/etc., especially if they’re horrible about other identities someone may hold, but we’re just asking that you think about it and perhaps push yourself a bit. It might be deeply uncomfortable to address it, but it’s important, and even more so on social media where it’s not just a private conversation—you’re on a stage and other people are watching.
  • [Updated 11/30/14 for clarity] Many White folks have the luxury of ignoring racism and pretending it doesn’t exist. People of color don’t have that luxury [though they experience it differently]. Remember that.
  • [Added 12/3/14] Some people recommend hitting the “block” button, though. Jenée is writing from a WOC perspective, so it’s less applicable to this point in some ways, but it’s important to consider this alternative. Like we said above, it just comes down to your personal beliefs about where social change can and should happen, and what your role in it is or will be.

“…BUT ALL LIVES MATTER!”

  • [Updated 12/2/14] Yes, but not all lives are equally valued or even told that they matter. So many systems are built to value and protect White lives; you don’t need a movement for that. In other words, quoting @Chescaleigh: “we’re not saying all life doesn’t matter. we’re saying that BLACK LIVES NEED TO MATTER TOO BECAUSE RIGHT NOW THEY DON’T.”
  • As someone eloquently put on Tumblr: “Republicans are quick to tell you “all lives matter” when it comes to abortion but damn they quiet when it comes to a black boy killed in the streets”
  • “Officers are provided the unrestricted right to use force at their discretion — and will not hesitate to do so — and Black bodies are more susceptible to greeting the business end of those state-issued firearms.” – Julia Craven
  • For a snarky response, Arthur Chu’s tweet is very applicable: “Do people who change #BlackLivesMatter to #AllLivesMatter run thru a cancer fundraiser going ‘THERE ARE OTHER DISEASES TOO’” + He also made another tweet that summarizes it excellently. And, of course, @Chescaleigh was on-point around this issue here and here and here and here and here as well.
  • [Added 12/4/14] One of our commenters (Beth E.) pointed to “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement” by Alicia Garza if you want to peek at this from another lens.
    • As per our commenter: “It talks about how this the All Lives Matter sentiment and even other well-meaning progressive movements that have adapted the BlackLivesMatter [sic] movment slogan are decentering Blackness again, conflating experiences of oppression, AND failing to honor the debt owed to the Black Liberation movement for its influence on liberation movements for many oppressed people. It’s a call to true solidarity and to centering of the experience of Black people instead of diverting attention.”

“I’m a non-black POC (or a White person) and this affects me too!”

  • We are not all Trayvon/Mike Brown, though. There’s a lot of anti-blackness in POC communities that we have to work on addressing ASAP. If you’re not a Black POC in some fashion, the way this affects you is VERY different. Please don’t derail the conversation.
  • Furthermore, if you’re White and/or light-skinned, please read this article.
  • [Added 11/29/14] One of the folks in the comments pointed out something super important: the racial group proportionately more likely to be killed by law enforcement is Native Americans (stats from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice). They have some good bar graphs at the link that explain the breakdowns, especially among communities of color, so check them out!

Q: Do you think you know better than the grand jury? Did you study state law?

  • Before we get into the composition of the grand jury, let’s talk about how terrifically rare it is for a grand jury to not indict (read: decide that there isn’t enough cause to bring the case to trial). It’s so rare that former New York State Chief Judge Sol Watchler is often famously quoted that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich (see original newspaper scanned in as primary source).
  • For you data junkies, from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, federal grand juries decided to not indict 11 out of 162,000 prosecuted cases in 2010.
  • “And because the grand jury hears only what prosecutors want it to hear, it no longer functions as a meaningful check on their authority…The standard is so low that a grand jury refusing to go forward is essentially saying that there was no plausible basis for the case in the first place. Not having seen the evidence, we the public unsurprisingly find it shocking that the shooting of an unarmed man by a police officer should not give rise to at least the probability of a crime.” – Noah Feldman, Harvard Law School Professor
  • Even the National Bar Association—the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges—questions the lack of indictment against Darren Wilson. Read more on it here.
  • One of San Francisco’s Public Defenders points to four of the major flaws that effectively undermine the grand jury’s decision. [Added 11/29/14: A commenter notes: “It’s actually better than that; the statement is not merely from “one of San Francisco’s Public Defenders”, but from San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi himself, i.e. the Public Defender. Therefore, this is not simply an opinion from somebody who happens to be a Public Defender, but is an official statement from the Public Defender’s office.”]
  • Here is ALL the evidence.
  • Two attorneys explain in a video why the grand jury in Ferguson was set up for failure.
  • Watch this video of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, where he explains how the assistant district attorney gave the grand jury a copy of a 1979 Missouri law that had been ruled unconstitutional since 1985—the law stated a police officer is “justified in the use of such physical force as he or she reasonable believes is immediately necessary to effect the arrest or to prevent the escape from custody” (chapter 563.046) meaning that, “it is legal to shoot fleeing suspects simply because they are fleeing.” The grand jury was led to believe this law was still in effect, legally protecting Wilson’s actions within the story they’d been given. [Added 11/30/14: A commenter noted that in 1985, Supreme Court case Tennessee vs. Garner “ruled that it is unlawful for an unarmed person or suspect or suspected felon to be shot (dealt with using fatal force) while fleeing or surrendering.”]
  • Article with video clip featuring Vince Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, explaining that the grand jury was more about charging Mike Brown instead of indicting Darren Wilson and structural racism.
  • Even Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative judges in the Supreme Court, has a written opinion from the 1992 Supreme Court case of United States v. Williams where he clearly describes the role of a grand jury, which starkly contrasts with the way the grand jury was used in the case against Darren Wilson.
  • This is part of a pattern. See who else they’re not indicting: the officers involved in the Ohio murder of another Black man, John Crawford III. If you want to watch the security camera footage of what happened there yourself, you can do so here, but be aware it is a graphic video. Now contrast that with this video of two men carrying AR-15 (the gun most commonly used in mass shootings throughout the US) and how the police literally have NRA liaison print out the law to prove to these armed two men that open carry of AR-15s is unlawful where they are, two photos of white people open carrying at Target and this white guy and his gun at Walmart. And for added details, read about how the person who catalyzes this entire police brutality incident actually lied about what was happening during his 911 call, the call that led to events resulting in John Crawford’s murder and the death due to heart attack of Angela Williams, a 37 year-old mother who was there with her children.
  • [Added 11/29/14] Someone noted in the comments: “The evidence was presented in a skewed and unfair manner–I believe the evidence was completely one-sided, and the fact that photos of Wilson were shown but that photos of Brown weren’t shown is an obvious sign of lack of rigor from the prosecutor–there’s not a single prosecutor who wouldn’t want to show photos of the victim and what happened to them (if the prosecutor wants an eventual conviction).”
  • [Added 12/3/14: “The African American Policy Forum, led by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, issued an official statement expressing their bitter disappointment at the failure to indict Darren Wilson” via here. There’s also a microsite where law professors from Columbia are penning their thoughts. Oh, and from the same article noting all this: “Professors Bernard Harcourt and Jeffrey Fagan, the nation’s leading criminal law scholars, have created “Questions and Answers for Columbia Law School Students about Grand Juries,” a fact-sheet dedicated to understanding the disappointing Ferguson decision and dispelling many media instigated myths. “]

Q: Why is no one talking about the recent murder of a White man/couple/person at the hands of police [or Black people, or gangs]? This is discrimination!

  • Some folks are talking about a White couple attacked in Springfield and citing this Tea Party article about it, complaining that “race hustlers” aren’t talking about it. Um. That act of violence is horrible, yes, and it should be discussed, but when you bring it up SPECIFICALLY TO DERAIL AND MINIMIZE A MOVEMENT shining light on racialized systemic inequities in the criminal justice system and society as a whole to “make a point” (that isn’t even a real point), you are a huge part of the problem. Once again, it’s not that White lives don’t matter, it’s not that crimes against White people are insignificant or not as bad, it’s that THOSE GET ATTENTION ALL THE TIME and we are specifically calling that problem out. To co-opt a conversation about that to say that, for once, White people aren’t getting 100% of the attention is disgusting.

Q: Darren Wilson has been hurt by this too.


[Go back to top]


Replies & Information For Actually Curious People &/Or Important Questions

Q: How can I help expose racists saying horrible things?

  • [Added 11/29/14 at 11:30 PM: This section is controversial, and we understand that, but we include it because it’s something people are talking/asking about and we feel is relevant to bring up. This does not advocate harassing people, though, as some have exaggerated, and the links provided primarily talk about how to complain to someone’s employer about an employee’s racist actions. (And do you remember our top caveat about linking being about showing info not endorsing or saying “this is all totally perfect and fine?”) This is not new. Employers do care about these issues, especially, say, if someone works in a school. As social media becomes more and more important, being a racist jerk online can cost someone their job, yet some people still don’t get it, or think that our online lives are somehow magically divorced from our daily lives. Hint: they’re not in these cases. It IS crucial to think about the impact of such contact with employers, but by that same token, people should also consider the impacts of their racism. It’s a complicated issue.]
  • You can start by checking out Racists Getting Fired (which has gotten media attention) and RuPaul Drags Racists, two Tumblrs dedicated to calling out, exposing, and taking offline action against people saying and posting racists things online. If you want to take direct action but don’t know what words to use, here’s a phone script and an email template you can use when contacting employers of folks who have posted racists things online.
    • [Added 11/29/14 and updated at 11:30 PM: Before taking any of these actions, if you choose to do so, we encourage you to think about it thoroughly and think of what other ways you could be making direct positive change for POC rather than taking more reactive steps toward people perpetuating racism. It’s important to keep in mind what someone emailed us: “How many of these people provide the only support for their children, or an elderly parent? Where is the sense of proportionality?” We also encourage you to prioritize adults over youth (for the obvious reasons which apparently need to be clarified, which include “hey, many of us say stupid things when we’re young, so cut them a bit of slack!”). At the same time, people do need to understand the repercussions of their actions overall, not just when they’re adults. ]
  • If you live in New York, you can download the Stop and Frisk Watch App (free) to help monitor and hold the NYPD accountable for any police misconduct. According to the NYCLU, this app allows “bystanders to fully document stop-and-frisk encounters and alert community members when a street stop is in progress.”

Q: How did we get to this point?

Q: What do I say if the police ask me why I’m filming at a protest/event?

  • Here’s an image with 5 reasons and responses you can give the police if they ask you why you’re filming them at a protest or any event. For easy access, you can download it to your phone and set is as the wallpaper, or background image.
  • The ACLU also posted this image listing some of our rights under the First Amendment, which includes photographing and videotaping the police.
  • [Added 11/29/14] If you get arrested, here’s what some folks on Tumblr suggest knowing.
  • [Added 12/2/14] Though this section isn’t for overall protest advice, we wanted to include this cool resource suggested by a commenter anyway: a PDF from Boston Street Medics on “how to stay healthy so you can stay in the streets.” It has information on what to bring, what to do before leaving home, what to wear, what to do if put in plastic handcuffs, and loads more.

Q: How do I address this during Thanksgiving/holidays with family?

Q: What do I tell my kids? How do I talk to them about this? What are other parents doing?

Q: How can I teach about Ferguson? [Section added 11/30/14]

  • There was a Twitterchat that resulted in a long GoogleDoc chock-full of information collectively known as the #FergusonSyllabus.
  • Teaching for Change has a section on their website devoted to this.
  • Additionally, the Wabash Center started a blog “in response to the need for a forum on race and teaching theology and religion in the wake of the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent protests and police response in Ferguson, Missouri. However, we have purposively framed the blog more broadly than this single incident. Teaching for racial and social justice, dismantling the structures of white privilege in academia, and diversifying the faculty, the students, and the canon, are abiding concerns of the Wabash Center and many of our colleagues in the WabashNation.”

Q: How can I help the people in Ferguson? What can I do now in general?

[GIFs below were created by Button Poetry & are of Javon Johnson’s poem linked in a section above]

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415 thoughts on “The Ferguson Masterpost: How To Argue Eloquently & Back Yourself Up With Facts

  1. denverpaisano says:

    Reblogged this on dexterdrewapicture and commented:
    A true labor of love, an incredibly detailed and persuasive piece setting forth the opposing positions surrounding the recent “Ferguson” incident with common colloquialisms heard from media outlets as well as the forensic proof supporting and refuting both sides of the arguments. “We feel it’s critical to have conversations about social justice loudly, noticeably, personally as well as systemically, and eloquently…”. Well done!

    .

  2. Sarah says:

    Hey, thank you for this excellent resource. One thing I’m seeing on my Facebook feed a lot these days (from white people, of course— I am also white, btw) that is really infuriating me are posts about how the police have a really tough job, and face so much violence, and put their lives in danger for all of us, derail, sentimental tripe, derail, pixelated photos of badges, derail, derail, derail, etc. I have been very vocal on social media (both with my own posts and links to many of the resources posted here) about the meaning of the killing of Mike Brown, the grand jury decision, why people are so angry and upset, why protests are completely justified, and all the derailing that I see and hear about as a white person in a very white community, but I feel like these posts with hypothetical sob stories about all the children out there whose police officer mommies and daddies are gunned down to keep the rest of us safe (yes, SERIOUSLY) need a specific response. In lieu of typing a bunch of all-caps obscenities at these people, I would really like to find a good blog post that deconstructs this genre of pro-police meme and just post it EVERY. FREAKING. TIME. I see this sort of thing. Do you (or anyone else who is reading this) know of a piece of writing like this? Bonus points for stuff that white people with no anti-racist or social justice vocabulary can access, e.g., something that talks about why police violence agains black people is not the same as the threats the police face in the course of doing their jobs (as opposed to just saying, “this is derailing,” which to me is the OBVIOUS response, but I think that if you post the kind of crap I’m seeing, you probably don’t know what derailing is or care that you’re being accused of it). I’d be totally game to write something myself, but I feel like it has more authority when it’s published in a blog. (Which perhaps seems like a weird thing to say, but… these are the times in which we live.) Apologies if this is a totally frivolous use of this forum; I’ve just driven myself to frustration trying to Google my way to an answer. (SOMEONE has to have taken this on, right?)

  3. shiv says:

    The section about non-black/fairer skinned people of color derailing the conversation by feeling they are affected by stated issues is unclear, fractured, and quite insulting to a lot of people. How racism affects you shifts by virtue of context amongst plenty of other variables.

    Are lighter skinned black people to be excluded from feeling they are affected? What shade is the threshold for feeling legitimately affected? Why even introduce the statistic about Native Americans if other POC are just derailing the conversation by identifying as affected by these issues?

    Regardless of how any of these questions are answered, I don’t think ending racism and the resulting fallout is a one race at a time process.

    • Aida Manduley says:

      When we talk about derailing, we’re not talking about people feeling affected or acknowledging their own statistics/positions. Of course folks are affected. 🙂 We’re talking about co-opting movements and shifting the focus in conversations that are explicitly about Black communities [acknowledging the complex experiences by Black folks, definitely, and people’s intersecting identities]. While we support all marginalized communities getting shine and getting support, trying to erase the plight of Black folks [or any POC community getting focus] by saying “but ALL lives matter” as a tactic to promote post-raciality = nope.

      The inclusion of stats about Native American folks is to give broader context and highlight another racial community that is disproportionately affected, especially since so many people in the United States act like indigenous folks are all extinct. It inclusion isn’t detracting from the Black Lives Matter movement because it’s not trying to supplant it, it’s not trying to detail it, and its inclusion here is not coopting the BLM language.

      Seems we agree on the last point: ending racism isn’t a “one race at a time” process, which is why we need and have MULTIPLE avenues of activism and movement-building for racial justice.

  4. anon says:

    In the interest of full disclosure and facts in reference to autopsy and forensic reports on the topic of whether or not he was reaching for the gun, Michael Brown’s DNA was found on the interior paneling of the police vehicle, indicating that the initial shot (which pathologists/coroners concluded to be the shot in the hand) occurred inside the vehicle. Wanted to leave this for clarification, as what I came to understand from this posting is that he was not inside the vehicle, though the forensic reports and autopsies do not concur with this information.

  5. John Boogity says:

    Personally, I blame the brain dead idiot voters of America who keep electing career crimin–politicians into office, year after year after year.

    Why don’t we EVER look at the root of our problems?

  6. Beth Ellsworth says:

    A super good resource to add to the “But All Lives Matter” section would be “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement by Alicia Garza” at http://thefeministwire.com/2014/10/blacklivesmatter-2/. It talks about how this the All Lives Matter sentiment and even other well-meaning progressive movements that have adapted the BlackLivesMatter movment slogan are decentering Blackness again, conflating experiences of oppression, AND failing to honor the debt owed to the Black Liberation movement for its influence on liberation movements for many oppressed people. It’s a call to true solidarity and to centering of the experience of Black people instead of diverting attention. Here’s a long money quote:

    “#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important–it means that Black lives, which are seen as without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation. Given the disproportionate impact state violence has on Black lives, we understand that when Black people in this country get free, the benefits will be wide reaching and transformative for society as a whole. When we are able to end hyper-criminalization and sexualization of Black people and end the poverty, control, and surveillance of Black people, every single person in this world has a better shot at getting and staying free. When Black people get free, everybody gets free. This is why we call on Black people and our allies to take up the call that Black lives matter. We’re not saying Black lives are more important than other lives, or that other lives are not criminalized and oppressed in various ways. We remain in active solidarity with all oppressed people who are fighting for their liberation and we know that our destinies are intertwined.

    And, to keep it real–it is appropriate and necessary to have strategy and action centered around Blackness without other non-Black communities of color, or White folks for that matter, needing to find a place and a way to center themselves within it. It is appropriate and necessary for us to acknowledge the critical role that Black lives and struggles for Black liberation have played in inspiring and anchoring, through practice and theory, social movements for the liberation of all people. The women’s movement, the Chicano liberation movement, queer movements, and many more have adopted the strategies, tactics and theory of the Black liberation movement. And if we are committed to a world where all lives matter, we are called to support the very movement that inspired and activated so many more. That means supporting and acknowledging Black lives.”

    • Adsd says:

      Hey! I love your post. I think its expected that Black men will be shot more often than white since they are stopped much more often, and despite being 13% of the population commit over 70% of homicides: the vast majority against other Blacks. So I can see why the disparity, it might not be all on racism by the police. I encourage you, and your readers and anyone to read Black Man in America: In the corner of Progress and peril. Published by Washington Post. Also The Black Male handbook ( amazing book for any male(and female) of any race) – I had the privilege to study under Billy Close a Criminologist who researches race, policy, policing, and other things https://ideas.repec.org/a/bpj/bejeap/vtopics.6y2006i1n24.html <– some of his research on police bias.

    • aida manduley says:

      This is meant to be used as-needed and for people to hop around depending on the questions they have/are getting asked, not as a place for people to get the timeline of events and an introduction to the topic.

  7. Tim says:

    Just wondering what your source was for a black man being 21 times as likely to be killed by police as a white man? I’ve been doing some research for a project and from the FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports for 1998-2012 (last year the report is out for) and it shows that 62% of those killed by police are white, while 34% are black. Obviously this is still alarmingly disproportionate relative to the races’ share of the US population as a whole, however it is well below 21 times more likely.

  8. vernon says:

    The only thing I didn’t see addressed was that the whole thing would have ended much more quietly if one of the biggest racists in the US hadn’t inserted himself into the situation before any facts were available. Al Sharpton almost single-handedly caused the riots.

  9. mandy g says:

    I found this quite interesting. The main thing that I wish was here was stats of races not compared to the whole US nation but those of cities. While the populations make up a certain percent in the whole nation they might be higher in different cities/states. As well as the use of force by police might be higher in different cities/states.
    Stats can be easily made to look one way or another to support a side. Therefore I would really like to see population of races in different large cities and then compare percentage arrested or killed.
    Hope this makes sense- even if you don’t add this an email would be greatly appreciated if something like this is found.

    • Lilian Hare says:

      I found this article interesting. This case has gone global and even people in Australia are talking about it. I feel it’s absolutely imperative to get your facts right when writing an article like this. A lot of the points are saying ‘still being confirmed’ or she says he says. It’s great to open up conversations about race and this case but not until evidence is clear. Or else it loses credibility. Thanks.

      • aida manduley says:

        That’s happening because it’s literally what’s happening in the media as well… Remember the whole “this is a living document being updated as more information comes out” part and the list of caveats specifically to be transparent about the process. 🙂

  10. globalrevolutionn says:

    Thank you so much for making this post! This is much needed information that needs to be seen by all! The Ferguson case was definitely racially charged and it’s only the beginning of several racist cases to come. I support all those who were affected by this decision.

  11. Rosie Sonnier says:

    Missouri law states a police officer can justifiably shoot someone “attempting” to commit a felony or fleeing (armed or unarmed). Michael Brown didn’t have a chance of survival and Officer Wilson was fully protected under the current law. THIS LAW MUST CHANGE NOW!

    3. A law enforcement officer in effecting an arrest or in preventing an escape from custody is justified in using deadly force only

    (1) When such is authorized under other sections of this chapter; or

    (2) When he reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested

    (a) Has committed or attempted to commit a felony; or

    (b) Is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon; or

    (c) May otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay.

    4. The defendant shall have the burden of injecting the issue of justification under this section.

  12. Amandine says:

    This masterpost is incredibly spot on. I look forward to using this in my classroom, both for the exercise in rhetoric and for the content. Impeccable job!

    • aida manduley says:

      Thanks, Amandine! There are definitely some rhetorical “ehhhh” spots because it was a collective piece and is being updated in chunks, but we hope to get it to a more sound rhetorical spot given the amount of attention it has received 🙂

  13. bill says:

    I just started reading this, so I apologize if someone has already tried to make this point. To compare the alleged robbery of the cigars (I haven’t heard anyone say this didn’t happen yet) to a girl shoplifting some cosmetics is not a fair comparison, except that they’re both thefts. Brown took the cigars (if that’s what he really did) right in front of the cashier, and when the cashier or owner tried to block his exit, Brown shoved him aside. While, of course, he did not deserve to die for this, it did show two things. That he wasn’t a gentle giant, and he was capable of acting with anger, and without common sense. This goes to any claims that Brown couldn’t have done something as reckless as go for the officer’s gun, or charge full speed ahead at a guy with a loaded gun. Not saying that he did, but the store robbery takes it out of the “nobody in their right mind would do that” category. If that was indeed Brown on the video tape, then he was definitely not in his right mind.

  14. clodaghgallagher says:

    Agree with the majority of this, except the parts that don’t apply to my local race relations, but I’ve watched a couple of videos of kids from Ferguson commenting on how scary the riots were and I clicked on all the links you provided, so I get that black/white race relations are completely different in the U.S. to elsewhere. Took me a while to understand that before I stopped feeling offended. I haven’t experienced the tensions that seem to be present in some American communities so I’ll just take the bits that I don’t agree with (as being true for my local community) as being correct because you’ve got experience that I don’t.

    My only question is: why can’t I completely agree with everything you’re saying (as a white person), and want to help, and also be sad about how hierarchical racism killed Trayvon Martin – but still be proud to be a white person? Because I am. I’m proud to be white. I’m proud to own my heritage and culture, just as every other person in the world should be proud of their selves. I’ll just go off on a short tangent here and clarify by saying that there are beautiful aspects of every “race” and there are traits typical of other races that I admire, but at the same time, I try to own my own faults and imperfections and love the beautiful parts of my race that make me unique…. if you get me. Anyway….

    Why can’t I agree with black Americans on this issue and not be simultaneously forced to feel like I’m a bad person because I have the same skin colour (well, more or less) as a a murderer? I’m not trying to stir up anger, but I feel my question is legit and I don’t want that feeling to divide me from other people who want to stand up for systematically oppressed black people in the U.S. If anyone could offer their opinion/response, I’d appreciate that.

  15. Eli Cash says:

    I find the “all lives matter vs black lives matter!” debate to be very toxic. For one we are assuming anyone who says “all lives matter” is white. This isn’t always the case. Here in Seattle a Native American man was gunned down in broad day light, on camera, his killer was not charged. Does his life matter? Seems like it didn’t, people didn’t really even protest that. For things like this I strongly believe people need more of a historical understanding to struggle. What would Malcom X, MLK, Newton, or Hampton say about this? This analogy you make about an awareness about disease is to me extremely offensive because in this analogy you are saying that black, brown and white are not the same, when in fact race is just a social construct. Even MLK, the mr. Rodgers of the civil rights movement I think would have some very strong words to say in condemning this toxic rhetoric.

    • janus762 says:

      Race may be a social construct, but it is not an arbitrary social construct. For example, the government of the USA is a social construct, but it was very methodically created and it would have to be very methodically dismantled if it was ever to be replaced by something different. You are right that what we should say is “all non-white lives matter!”. Society is already set up, thanks to the social construct of race, to see white lives as valuable. When we say that black lives matter, in the context of the death of Michael Brown, we don’t mean that Black lives matter more than other non-white lives, we mean to highlight the fact that our society is not automatically set up to include black lives as valuable. I agree, non-white lives matter.

      • Eli Cash says:

        this rhetoric is so regressive. MLK, Malcom X, fred hampton and many many many more said again and again that we must build up coalitions that transcend color and race. but here we are in 2014 crossing off the word “ALL” on posters up around town and scribbling in “black”. our heroes of yesterday would not approve at all. ya’ll need to seriously check yourself. ya’ll are throwing mad shade on some of your biggest supporters while you essentially ignore all these racist assholes on the side lines telling us to go fuck ourself
        . stop it.

  16. wagpublishing says:

    One additional comment: I’m old enough to have (as a child) lived in LA during the 1965 Watts riot. I also grew up witnessing much of the disparity of treatment by law enforcement for blacks (and I am myself bi-racial w/black) so I understand the anger and frustration that results in rioting. It is a frustration that exceeds rational thinking in the sense that no one riots because they think its going to result in a positive outcome. People riot when their sense of dignity is taken from them from the system that is supposed to protect them. When a person gets to that degree of anger a tipping point occurs. A mob mentality pushes opportunists to engage in criminal acts instead of civil disobedience. It goes over the line. That is why I believe Christ said ‘don’t let the sun go down on you anger’ He knew we are all flawed beings that are capable of the worst conduct. Thanks again for allowing me to express this.

  17. Jake says:

    While this is spot on, the argument is one that we have to be very careful with. Systemically, our law enforcement system is problematic at best. However, on local levels, and in certain isolated regions, there may be departments which operate faithfully in support of their communities.

    If we are to lump the two together while addressing corrupt departments, we may have the issue of s###ting where we sleep. I’m not apologizing for the Wilson’s of the world, I’m saying that there is a long gradient between Wilson and the officer photographed hugging a protester, or the faithful officers protecting our communities regardless of race. Creating a schism between the people and the police may push officers to either side of that spectrum. I only hope the results push them our way.

  18. thewhiteboardpig says:

    I (and I’m sure many others) really appreciate the amount of time and effort that went into this post. It is absolutely astounding the amount of misinformation and outright lies circulating about this situation. I don’t know whether it’s intentional propoganda or people just cherry picking out-of-context pieces of information that fit their agenda. It’ll be nice to be able to point here, where they can see the FACTS of the case.

  19. nfadera says:

    How state officials managed the aftermath of the incident was utterly floppy and incoherent. No doubt about that. Leaving MB’s dead body in the middle of the road for an unprecedented measure of time is equally unjust as letting Darren Wilson put his own gun, used to shoot Mike Brown, in the evidence bag- (Source= AC360/CNN)

    PS: The post would have been MORE perfect if you guys had provided answers to some of the distinct questions from your own POV. Nonetheless. Great post. Wonderfully composed and very comprehensive statistics. Merci

  20. awax1217 says:

    You bring up some interesting points. But the main point is power. One authority figure not allowing for another to go his own way. Robbing cigars should not result in death. Hell, most kids steal from stores, logically we can kill a twelve year old for stealing twinkies. Walking in the middle of the road. That offense should result in death, jaywalkers unite. No this is another example of the power of the police to demand their orders to be followed. The police should have another option. Pull back and get the discreption, take a photo shot and then later ask for the person to go to the police station. If not there are consequences. Take the report to an arbitration board made up of people from the community and get a decision. Cool heads make good decisions. Hot points make bad confrontations.

    • A few things... says:

      It isn’t fair to make the comparison of a 12 year old stealing lip gloss to a grown man stealing from a store and not obeying police commands. A cop can not articulate that a 12 year old girl, that he outweighs by more than twice her weight, was of any significant danger to his own life, or the life of anyone else around them, and likely she will break down into tears. If for some reason, she goes for throwing a fit, there is no reason that the officer could not just move out of her reach, or restrain her. However, a young male that can be estimated to outweigh an officer by 50 lbs or more, who doesn’t want to obey, who decides to try to willfully oppose the officer, does not stop when warned with a gun pointed at him? Police have a thing called use and/or escalation of force, which means the officer can not use deadly force unless the situation has escalated to a point where it may be deemed necessary in order to protect the life of either themselves or others. Here is a link with a brief, but incomplete explanation of this concept: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_force_continuum

      They have a range of things they can do, starting with simple presence, and verbal warnings, escalating to presenting their weapons with further verbal warnings, use of batons, OC spray, tazers, and finally guns, depending on the situation. This spectrum of things they can do to deescalate a situation is not necessarily progressive, meaning that they are not required to take every single step in the spectrum before firing their gun, and also that if the situation deescalates, that they can also move backwards in the spectrum as well. It is all dependent on the state of their opposition. All the officer has to be able to articulate when they fire their weapon is that they were reasonably in fear of life or limb of themselves or the life or limb of others at the time that their finger pulled the trigger. I recommend that people not use the story of a 12 year old girl stealing lip gloss as a comparison for a 6’4″ black man that outweighed the cop by more than 50 lbs, it is not a relevant argument, it is an inflammatory statement that reeks of ignorance as to how police are trained to execute their jobs. If you wish to make the counter argument, say it was a 6’4″ white man that outweighed the cop by 80 lbs., but the result would be that both the black man and the white man would get shot. I understand that using a proper, congruent comparison does not support the argument that there is a racist police state, but it is not the same situation at all to use a 12 year old child of any race in the comparison to a young adult man or woman of any race who may be able to overpower an officer. Find a more intelligent argument, perhaps one where a white man willfully opposed arrest and was taken alive, but you will need real examples, not just hypothetical situations, and you should be prepared for people to bring up similar cases with police arresting black men not getting shot and killed as the ending result.

      • aida manduley says:

        Not sure if you read it, but the post states: “Obviously a young girl calmly stealing lip gloss isn’t the same thing, but the idea that “Bad People Steal” gets very selectively applied, y’know?”

  21. Miguel says:

    The “these people are destroying their city” Q & A part is extremely off beat as the question had nothing to do with race but your explanation jumped STRAIGHT into race. You explain this as if whites had nothing to do with any of it and blamed it all on the black people and then flipped it around to give example of ONLY whites doing the same thing and didn’t hand down any blame to any other race whatsoever (racist much?)…. tone it down… You are TRYING to make this a race issue extremely hard when it blatantly already has those implications.

    • aida manduley says:

      Hi Miguel! Since these questions were taken directly from conversations the contributors, particular myself, had with other folks, I fear some of the context may have gotten lost. When that question came up, it was phrased as “These Blacks are destroying their own cities!” but we redacted it differently for the published post. We might edit it later to add that context so it makes more sense for folks why we took the angle we did.

  22. curiosetta says:

    The most insidious form of racism against black people is to apply lower moral standards to them than everybody else and to bend over backwards to excuse behaviour which is judged as socially unacceptable for everybody else.

    These kinds of communities have serious issues which they desperately need to deal with. Youth crime, gang culture, fatherless households, a toxic (contrived and subverted) rap culture, much higher rates of parental assault on children (AKA ‘smacking’) are just a few examples. And these desperate attempts to re-define this event in a way that absolves Brown of responsibility for assaulting an armed police officer and absolves the community for going on the rampage like spoilt children having a tantrum (not all of them obviously) does nothing but shield communities like this from reality and invites them to step inside a fantasy narrative where up is down and down is up. This addiction to playing the role of victim, or a willingness to be cast in that role by others – even when clearly the aggressor – prevents communities like this from ever sorting out their own issues.

    *The best way to weaken and ultimately destroy any community is to continually tell them every single problem they have is not their fault, not their responsibility and not in their power to fix.*

    Here is the essential narrative being promoted……. Brown committed aggravated robbery, but because he was black he should not be judged negatively for it. Brown assaulted Wilson through the window of his car reaching for his gun but because he was black he should not be judged negatively for it – in fact we should all pretend Brown’s assault of the officer which qualifies as attempted murder never happened and all pretend he was shot for the robbery instead because that sounds more unfair and racist. Brown inflicted injuries on Wilson and could easily have murdered him right there when the gun went off but because he was black this behaviour is really not that aggressive and the white cop was wrong to feel his life was in danger. Brown charged the officer a second time with nothing to lose (by this stage he was already facing a long prison sentence for crimes already committed) and the cop did what any person would do and defended his life and protected public safety (had Brown overpowered Wilson and got his gun Wilson would have likely been shot and Brown would now have a gun, nothing to lose and innocent lives may well have been lost in the ensuing stand off or escape attempts), but because he was black we should label Brown as the victim and Wilson as the aggressor for saving his own life and possibly the lives of others…….. THIS twisted narrative is the kind of racism and race baiting people should be outraged by.

    To absolve Brown of moral responsibility for his actions is to class him, as a young black man, as inferior. It’s like setting a class an exam and telling the black students they don’t need to score as highly as the other students to pass the test. Instead of agreeing with this idea they should be outraged at the insinuation.

    The event was tragic, not because it was a racially motivated murder, but because Brown brought the whole thing on himself. Denying this only weakens the community even more. Smashing up shops and setting fire to the place is just teaching the next generation that violence and tantrums are how people in your community deal with difficult situations. And this is the attitude which got Brown killed. There is your answer right there, right in front of your face.

    When a community or an individual has no capacity to introspect and think rationally (rather than emotionally) all they can ever do in any challenging situation is lash out in anger… and that is precisely what got Brown killed.

  23. Josh says:

    Hey guys, awesome post! Very helpful and insightful. One question- yesterday in my Econ class we were watching a video about the protests, and one of the things that came up is that some people were looting local stores owned by black people. Everyone in my class is like, “why would they do that, what does that accomplish?” And “it can’t be about race if they’re looting other black people’s businesses”. I knew this was wrong, what would you say to refute these comments? I would really like to put those comments to rest in the elequent way this entire article was written

    • aida manduley says:

      Hey Josh! Looting isn’t usually an organized activity with a cohesive “group mission”, so I’m not surprised Black-owned stores got looted. There are many reasons why it could’ve happened (e.g. the people looting: weren’t Black, didn’t know the stores were Black-owned, were just going along for looting’s sake, and so on) but I don’t think any of them devalue the fact that as a whole, what’s going on in Ferguson is very much about race (though not solely about it, of course).

      The other thing to keep in mind is that not everyone has the same approach to social movements, justice, or even airing out their grievances. Furthermore, some people purposefully infiltrate protests to turn them into senseless, mission-less riots that will then “look bad” in the media *shrug* I’ve seen some of those happen in person (but around LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage).

      Are some people rioting and/or looting specifically because of the racial components of Mike Brown’s murder? Nah. Some people are just focused on the militarization of police, police brutality, and the like. Some people just want to break and steal things. I think the problem with many folks criticizing the riots/lootings/protests is that they don’t even conceptualize the possibility of these (particularly riots and lootings) being powerful or helpful in any way, and THAT is what I think is misguided. I don’t need people to say OMG YES LET’S ALL LOOT AND RIOT, but that we must understand why, when, and how these things come about.

      Hope that makes sense!

  24. Benjamin says:

    “Darren Wilson is 6’4”, 215 lbs. He had a gun and a car. Mike Brown was an unarmed 18 year old, also 6’4”, and 289 lbs.”

    ….isn’t 74 lbs a bit heavier? Go try to fight someone that’s 74 lbs heavier than you. Or put a gun on your hip (without drawing it) and see that they don’t take it from you like taking candy from a baby. I also don’t see why people keep harping on the fact that Mike was unarmed, as if that makes him harmless. I’m sure someone that has 74 lbs on you could pummel your brains out pretty efficiently.

    Nowhere have you refuted evidence that Mike charged at him, and everything I’ve read up to this point supports that that is what happened. Also, witness statements regarding Mike raising his hands have been recanted. Dorian Johnson, the star witness against Darren Wilson, has been shown to have a history of lying to police. But then again, people lying in the name of “social justice” is nothing new.

  25. MyLifeAsMaeganHagan says:

    I LOVE this! I have shared to every social network! Here is my blog. I posted my reaction last week when we found out Darren Wilson would not be charged. I am VERY discouraged by the current American Legal system. My heart is completely broken for the treyvon Martin’s, and Mike Brown’s of the world. Nothing about this seems fair. Here is a link to my blog: mylifeasmaeganhagan.wordpress.com

    You should be VERY proud of yourself! It is crazy how sickly misinformed people have become on Mike Brown’s case!

  26. Mike says:

    In all of the discussions I have seen about Ferguson I am shocked that no one is looking at the statistics that matter. And I don’t deny racism exists or that our court system is prejudice against blacks, particularly on the “war on drugs”. With that said, I cannot say with certainty that if mike brown was a 300 pound white kid who punched a cop, reached for his gun, and charged at the officer despite being told to get on the ground, that he too would not have been shot.

    But on to facts. Looking and who the police have killed over a 7 year period:

    4813 deaths
    1529 of which were blacks (31.7%)

    This is statistically significantly higher than the black population. But the true test to see if cops are killing blacks at a higher rate would be to look at the number killed per police to civilian interaction. If someone never comes into contact with a police officer it will be awfully hard to be killed by one. If we use crime as a proxy to estimate police to civilian interaction (cops go where the crime is) blacks commit in the 30-35% of violent crimes (assault, rapes, robbery) and 50% of murders.

    It works for all races, even other (Asian,Indian, middle eastern, etc) have account for 150 or the 4813 deaths (2.9%) while they make up 2.6 percent of crime.

    Seems to me the problem isn’t that there is discrimination in who the police are killing, but that they are killing a LOT of people regardless of race and walking away without consequence. My fear is focusing too much on the slice of the pie without realizing the pie is 5 times the size it should be. Time to wake up America.

    Also, white people get killed by police 25% more often but they never make the national news. A mentally ill white girl just got shot and killed in San Jose for having a power drill that looked like a gun. Ever heard of Michael Bell? Probably not (since he’s white) but look up his story too.

    • bill says:

      It is more accurate to say, Wherever cops go, crime is found. Assuming that crime is relatively equal between the two races, say as in marijuana usage, if the cops spent more time searching black people than white people, they would find more black people possessing, or selling marijuana. And guess what? This is exactly the case in the US.

      • katherinejlegry says:

        Hi Bill… Not sure what your example of marijuana is about. It should never have been criminalized in the first place. That police have wasted time on it as well as imprisoned and destroyed countless lives has been absolutely political. If you look at the history of hemp in this country you will find sails and ropes being made out of it. It would have been a viable, sustainable and gentle industry compared to cotton plantations… The crack down on marijuana and the “reefer madness” campaign was a way to bust black jazz musicians during a time of prohibition where underground speak easies were actually bringing the races together via music and dance. It was a way to cast an image of “sin” and maintain divisions helping the white radio industry co-op the music of black artists. The medicinal properties of marijuana include the actual ability to slow down the progression of M.S. (just to name ONE, as there are many medicinal uses) and so if you make it a crime and include it wrongly among narcotics, you are actually denying medicine to people, a medicine that can not be over dosed on, and that has never killed anyone like legal booze and pharmaceuticals have.

        So any black person put in jail for marijuana is owed reparations…if you ask me. Your example proves uniformed laws need to be changed so black lives are not thrown needlessly away and so that police are no longer blamed for throwing them away based on bad laws.

    • Mark says:

      Listen, I don’t know where you got your statistics from, but I’m gonna tell you right now that they’re wrong.

      Black people are killed more often by police and are actually responsible for less crime but blamed for more.

      Quit with the “all lives matter” bs and some “pie”. The simple fact is that THIS is a HUGE problem in the EVERYDAY lives of non-white people, BLACKS especially. I was raised in a part of Cleveland with a supposedly high crime rate, but the only crime I ever saw was literally the white teachers abusing the students at my school. I now live in a city with an extremely “low” crime rate (white town), yet, every year since I’ve moved here, I’ve witnessed several middle and high school students being arrested (under parental influence). But apparently the crime rate “is practically 0”. There are more cops at the schools than in the streets. My mother warned me about a meth problem in the area when we were moving in. Obviously this town is much worse.

      But apparently Cleveland is????

      Shut up about the “they’re killing everyone” bs and distracting from the real problem here, because last I checked, there weren’t any long standing vigilante groups whose soul purpose is to kill everyone and everything that your race has worked for, and still get police protection. Last I checked members of the group that’s killing you weren’t in the force.

      Honestly, do you run through cancer clinics screaming about other diseases?

      “White people get killed by police brutality,” is its own sentence. And it’s not as bad as with black people, given that a white man can hold an elementary school hostage and get taken alive but a black kid can’t walk down the street without getting a bullet in his back.
      Do not EVER piggy back off of a serious issue that (whether you want to believe it or not) affects a group more than the one that you’re a part of. How about you go back and reread the freaking article, asshole.

      • A few things... says:

        For your information, cancer clinics also treat diseases not necessarily classified as cancer, but can be treated in a similar fashion. Not all tumors are cancerous, not all blood disorders are cancer. I really find it offensive when people use this in comparison to the disease of racism. Racism affects our entire human race, all colors and ethnicity, as per it’s true definition. Statistics in general are all a deeper lie than a damned lie, but if you are going to cry about statistics, then it is only fair to present ALL statistics to get the big picture, and expose the lie of a single statistic that proves your point only when it stands alone. Statistics, in their very nature, have a bias, and are only a sampling of the reality, not the whole picture of what is really going on. If you want to talk about what is wrong with this country in regards to racism, don’t dismiss the struggles that others face in the same fight. You are only making the fight harder for the other unheard voices.

      • Mike says:

        I agree that people need to be careful when dealing with statistics. What’s the old saying, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. I’m just saying there is a need to quantify the magnitude of the problem. A single incident does not show systemic racism of our judicial system any more than a single hurricane can be attributed to global warming. Being a math person, I am surprised that very basic questions are not being asked. How many people are killed by police? How many of those people are black? How often are those officers arrested?

        My numbers are not wrong, but might be flawed. They come from the FBI, which only receives about a third of the killings from local police officers. We should demand more federal oversight of local police to get a complete picture of how many people our government kills a year, along with race, gender, and what the circumstances were along with the killing. You can find those numbers on table 3 of this report.

        http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/ard0309st.pdf

        The crime crate stats can be found pretty much anywhere, but here is the link I used

        http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/43tabledatadecoverviewpdf

        I am not trying to explain the figures, and I am well aware of racial profiling and implicit feedback loops where more policing leads to more arrests which leads to higher crime rates which leads to more policing and so on. BUT in order to look at arrest related deaths based only on population is misleading without taking into account the arrest rate.

        So out of all of this discussion needs to come actionable change. Cameras on officers is a good start. More training for police, a more diverse police force, police who know the area, federal standard of reporting police killings, federal oversight of grand jury indictments involving police due to a HUGE conflict of interest between the Prosecutor and the police.

        But if the goal is to save black lives, shouldn’t we discuss both the proportion of blacks killed by police AND the total number killed by police, regardless of race (or as I say the size of the pie)?

    • aida manduley says:

      The point being made by bringing up instances of White rioting is that often people who say “Blacks are destroying their own cities” don’t condemn (at all, or with less conviction/ferocity) instances of White riots and looting, and we are trying to highlight that hypocrisy.That’s a moot point for individuals who condemn both equally though, of course. 🙂 We also found it important to give more context to the mentality behind riots because they can often be easily dismissed “as troublemakers just wanting trouble.” Doesn’t mean everyone has to agree on their usage or usefulness though.

      • bradthebard says:

        Exactly who have you actually talked to that condemned the Ferguson riots that did not also condemn the other riots. I am suspect of someone saying that “often people do this or that”. It smacks of “I think this hypothetical supports my point so I am going to assert it as if it is credible”. I am one of many who find both instances deplorable and have yet to meet anyone who supports one and condemns the other.

  27. Russell Nelson says:

    Hi. Several disagreements about facts:
    o I also saw the initial reports that Wilson didn’t know that Brown had robbed a convenience store. Let’s assume that is the truth. However, *Brown* knew that he had robbed a convenience store. This was not a double-blind interaction. This was a perpetrator talking to a policeman.
    o In any interaction between an armed policeman and an unarmed citizen, there IS a gun, and if the citizen can reasonably overpower the policeman, the citizen must be assumed to be armed even though the policeman still has the gun. Therefore, lethal force is appropriate. This needs to be more widely known, so I hope you include it.
    o The forensic reports that are being quoted said that Brown’s blood was found inside the car. That means that his hands were inside the car. Was he reaching for Wilson’s gun? I don’t know, but it cannot be categorically ruled out if the forensics are accurate.
    o The forensic reports state that there is gunshot residue on Brown’s hand. How do you get gunshot residue on your hand unless your hand is closer to the gun than the rest of you? Again, this is subject to accurate forensic examination, and I’ve heard of too many cheats, frauds, and outright liars to trust forensics blindly. But still …. science.
    o Your posting would be more useful if it refuted other nonsense besides the pot use, like “Brown was shot in the back.”
    o Tasers are not non-lethal. They are less lethal. The principle of risk stability (make someone’s life safer in one way, and they will increase other risks) says that more young black men will get tasered than are shot now, and the homicide rate will probably not decrease by much.
    o Ferguson isn’t about race in this regard: Do you think you will stop protesting when young black men are killed at 13% the rate of young white men? Once parity has been achieved, is that enough? Will you sit back and say “Praise God, Hallelujah, we have achieved equality!” No, you will not, so in this regard, Ferguson is not about race, and it’s not about Michael, or Tamir, or John (Crawford II) either.

    Hope this helps!

  28. Nod says:

    inequality = violence = science.

    race , sexism, homosexuality, abortion, all of these are issues designed and promoted to keep us at each others throats instead of looking at our real enemies.

    fuck, the rich. And their police state minions.

  29. Christian says:

    As long as you claim not to be heavy modding here I’ll repost what I said. You claim that to bring up a instance of black on white crime would be inappropriate because it would derail the “wrongfulness” of Michael Browns death. But when someone tries to bring up the wrongfulness of the Fergusson riots you immediately try to derail the wrongfulness of it by bringing up instances of white riots. That’s the pot calling the kettle black if I’ve ever seen it.

    • Jane says:

      The things to consider when bringing up instances of black on white crime are (1) did the black person get arrested? (2) did the black person go to the grand jury before gettting arrested ? and/or (3) did the grand jury decide not to indict the black person? If the black person was arrested then any comparison is a moot point. The riots are being compared because of the reason for rioting .. rioting for justice vs rioting for winning the Superbowl are quite different. The act of rioting in either case is wrong, just can’t argue the reason behind it as being equal.

  30. cbecker53 says:

    Amazing, amazing post. Thank you. When people make comments and posts on Facebook I am often at a loss of how to rationally and factually refute them. This will help. Thanks to all the commenters who have added links and corrections and suggestions.

  31. maggiezee says:

    Another answer to “what about when B{cop} killed W (suspect)? Where’s the media attention?” Answer: “Has the officer or citizen been taken into custody, charged, indicted?”
    Make them look up the answer..

  32. John says:

    A lot of very sensible points, but I would call to question the term “reverse racism”. You are indeed correct to say there is no such thing as reverse racism, because it is in fact racism full stop.

    You need not be black to experience racism, it is not a problem solely attributed to black people. You can be of any race and experience racism, be that black to white, Hispanic to Jewish. Whatever the race and whomever the racism originates from, it is still racism. I would also add that racism is not any longer an issue of skin colour but rather of cultural identity and the stereotypes we attribute to the way people behave and present themselves. E.g black youth culture (again not necessarily a black phenomenon, but one that people have come to see as one), gypsies/travelers etc .

    The biggest problem that Ferguson and likewise cases cause is creating a schism in society between black and white people, police and normal citizens, educated and uneducated. While I agree that some white protesters don’t understand the narrative of being black and targeted and so being told not to take part or stand aside, I think it does much to separate people further when we should be looking to unify them.

    Another point, if we create a mass hysteria that attacks the whole police force as a racist institution rather than individuals then we are going to be taking steps backwards in the long run. Police, protect and serve, they keep us safe, and yet we voraciously attack them at any opportunity despite not understanding the stress these officers go through and the inadequate training they are often given. Mr Wilson had never discharged his weapon on duty before, and the American police force is trained to fire for the body and head, not to incapacitate. His reaction although extreme is a testament to this problem. Police officers often go through a torrent of abuse in general life, criminals and those that partake in illegal activities do not respect or appreciate the work police officers do, instead they paint them as the bad guys to condone their own activities. In the end law and order exists for a reason. Imagine if you often feared for your life, if every situation you encountered could potentially end violently. Police profiling does exist, since officers will often look for any sign they can to distinguish whether someone is portraying “criminal” tendencies or not. This is obviously an incredibly fine line and can be misconstrued or abused in many ways. But if we want to change that, then we need to look at the cultural representation that elicits these behaviors, not claim racism at every opportunity to attack the “white privilege” society.

    I am not in any way condoning Mr Wilson’s actions, there is no doubt there was an excessive use of force, but it is making a step to understanding why these problems keep occurring and how much racism as opposed to cultural clash is a factor.

    Thank you
    Great article.

  33. JustSaying says:

    I read above that you updated the information regarding the rate at which young black men are killed by police, to reflect a commenter’s belief that the researchers probably meant quantity.

    Quick stats lesson: Actually, the researchers did mean rate. Deaths, like health/illness and other social statistics, are reported by number per population unit (usually per 1,000 persons).

    So, for example, if there were 10,000 white persons in the U.S. and 10 were killed this year by police, that would be a rate of 1/1000. If there were 1,400 African Americans in the U.S. and 30 were killed by police, that would be a rate of 21/1000. There is only a 3x difference in quantity (30 deaths versus 10), but there is a 21x difference in rate.

    The smaller numbers illustrate the concept. In reality, the white population of America is around 200 million and fewer than 100 were killed in the last year by police (according to FBI stats for precincts reporting). The African American population is about 40 million and around 350 were killed in the last year by police.

    Smaller population + higher number of deaths = huge disparity in rate.

    • aida manduley says:

      I wasn’t checking the stats piece, but I believe what they were bringing up was that there were different population #s during the Jim Crow era and that thus the rates weren’t the same (this is the super boiled down version, though, as I read it). That overall the same # of folks got killed, but that it wasn’t at the same rate. If you have a second, it would be amazing if you could check their comment and let me know? Thank you!

    • Russell Nelson says:

      A problem with this analysis is that if you assume that people (black and white) are generally racist, they’re going to call the police on black people at a higher rate than white people[1]). Your analysis assumes that police have a reason to interact with people at a rate proportional to their representation in the population. I think my assumption is safer than your assumption[2].

      Also, FBI stats say that black people are responsible for half the homicides but are only 13% of the population. That means that a random black person is 7[3] times more likely to be a murderer than a random white person. So if police are killing according to the race of the person they interact with because of a fear that the person is going to kill them[4], oughtn’t they to kill 7X as many blacks as whites? Yet they’re only killing one half[5] that many. That suggests that the black/white differential is not caused by racist police, because killing is negatively correlated with the likelihood of being a murderer.

      [0] And why can’t a comment have footnotes??
      [1] e.g. the black dude who recently got stopped because his hands were in his pockets ON A COLD DAY.
      [2] Because this entire post has no reason if people aren’t racist.
      [3] Blacks are only 13% of the population, so in order for them to murder as many as whites, they have to murder 7 X as often. 7 * 13% = 100% – 13%.
      [4] I am assuming that someone who is willing to murder someone is just as likely to murder a policeman. I am not so very certain of that assumption. It might be refutable with data that I don’t know how to gather.
      [5] “around 350” / “under 100” / 7 is one half. Technically, it’s 7/16ths, which is why this is in a footnote.

  34. la-shayquand shareef shazaadstein says:

    The problematic issue of you being a cis het white male makes all of this inadmissable. You should NOT be talking about things that YOU and YOUR privelage caused as if you are an innocent bystander. YOU are guilty by compiance.

  35. LongPost says:

    Hi, I am going to try and refute as many as the points as possible. While that may sound antagonistic at best I think your post is going to lead to a lot of misinformed people trying to argue with those that have sat and read through the Grand Jury’s documents. And quick side note just because someone mocks something doesn’t mean you don’t have to explain it. That bingo card has a lot of good points that you are choosing to deride for no other reason but laziness.

    I am a half-black man in the military. Normally I do not bring this but since we made it a point to focus on race I am playing my card. I spent my first ten years being raised by my black dad and the next eight years with my white mother. So if I comment on black culture that is where I am coming from. I did not live in a white suburb all of my life, I am not commenting on it because of white savior this is what I learned as a black man in the United States.

    First is the Store Robbery. While it is not hugely important it did do one thing. It sent Wilson back. If you read through his testimony he says he got into an altercation with Brown, left, and then heard over dispatch that a person fitting Brown’s description robbed a store. That is why he went back. The robbery in the case was pointless therefor not brought up. It is just an establishing shot.

    Second the injuries suffered by Wilson, not all injuries appear the same way. While you do mention that the medical examiner thought it wasn’t a big deal. It says later on in the report that one more punch could have killed him. By judging an injury by appearance or the first time you see it you run the risk of accidentally killing a person.

    Third pot being in the system. First who cares who else smokes pot, did those Grandmas get shot by Wilson too? Second for the most part it is only brought up while discussing Brown’s character. The original argument was that he was a good boy that didn’t do anything wrong. Third, it is legal to rape women in Somali; does that make rape not an issue?

    Fourth Brown reaching for the gun. It doesn’t matter that 12 people said he had his arms up if all of them lied. Most of the witnesses that said they saw all of it. Were caught lying. One even threatened to kill herself if she got charged with perjury. What matters is that a bullet was fired into the seat of the cop car right next to Wilson. Also your video is out-dated if you read through the Grand Jury Documents you can get all the info.

    Fifth in regards to capture. The people we do manage to get without killing also surrender. But you used tumblr as a source here so I am going to guess you didn’t bother to read the story. It is important to go into a story impartial then make up your mind.

    Sixth on why race matters. Now I am not going to write out a big long post on this. To keep it short. We have more people now then we did during Jim Crow, that includes blacks. It means less are being killed. Two the guard was there to protect the people and the stores not involved. And it turns out 2,100 were not enough.

    Seventh on Riots. There is a difference between a protest and a riot. Even a violent protest is not a riot. But importantly. Most American’s are disgusted with how we treat Black Friday. What basic unmet needs are not being met? They had the three the country guarantees (life, liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness), well up until they broke the law. I ask you because the article doesn’t state what need was unmet.

    Eighth on Blacks and jail. You link to a lot of sociological reports and documentaries. The one source that I can trust (the FBI table) shows that yes. The majority population commits more crime. That is not the argument though. The argument is the relation to black on white crime to white on black. Also surprisingly if we were arresting black people for being black you would think Suspicion would have more blacks arrested than whites.

    Ninth on Brown being white. I am going to have to ask you to prove to me that describing Brown as a demon is racist. The problem is that Wilson was scared for his life. Of course he isn’t going to see an angel. Second Brown (at first) was not described as a thug. He was a good boy that didn’t do nothing wrong and was going to go to college. And they pushed that narrative. That is why him having cannabis in his system is being used agaisnt him. Just like his music and his pictures he uploaded. No one is perfect. But you don’t need to lie to hook people.

    Tenth on the destruction of the city. White people after rioting do not complain that the stores won’t open and that there is no job. (here is a source because it is a bitch to find http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/tales-employment-woe-plague-some-ferguson-protesters) And for every store that someone protected two more got robbed.

    Eleventh on blacks taking it personally. I take it personally when people call our men and women in the military child killers. Does that mean the military has never killed a child? No, it is shameful though. Not indicting Darren does not say black lives don’t matter. It says there is not enough evidence to try him. Justice is blind to media scorn. The people who take it personal are the same people who didn’t follow up on any of this.

    Twelfth on MLK. He also would have brought up that we need to change black culture. He would have looked at it as a multifaceted problem. But that wouldn’t prove your point would it?

    Thirteenth on trouble. Turns out if you try and change the status quo people fight back. Don’t get mad that cops are shooting you with rubber bullets. Don’t complain about the militarization of the police if you are the reason they are doing it. The country does not bend over for the people, to paraphrase J.F.K.

    Fourteenth on the safety of home. I can not defend this. I get the argument on both sides. But it is a dumb point. Of course being alone is safer than being in a group.

    Fifteenth on defense. The NBA holds no sway. The ABA does. But there is comment already on the rules for lethal force and he put it way better then I ever could.

    Sixteenth on reverse racism. Lead by example. When I lived in the South Side of Chicago. I got shit because I am biracial. When my mom visited she got shit for being white. When I went to a market ran by a non-black they got shit. Black people can be just as racist as whites. To solve an equation you must work on both sides. And to think that just because a group is part of a majority means they can’t get oppressed is funny. (read the “oppression of women” in the US)

    Seventeenth on un-friending racists. Go ahead and keep talking to them. They will block you. If this post is anything to go by you appeal to emotion and not facts. That does not win you minds of the enemy.

    Eighteenth on lives. Lives matter, criminal ones do not. The problem with the whole Black lives matter issue is that no says they don’t matter. That is it. I mean that is like me saying that Crackers are food too. No one is arguing that they don’t.

    Nineteenth on anti-black racism. I assume they refer to people like Pharrel Williams, or stand by Cosby’s statement of black culture. And you know what? I stand with those people. Black Culture is destructive and anti-intellectual. The fact that the call it racism shows that they refuse to understand where the other side is coming from.

    Twentieth on if you know more then the Grand Jury. You said nothing, those articles said nothing. These are 12 men and women who breathed this case for 70 days. I am going to take their word over yours. And I have to agree with them. He acted within the rules for lethal force.

    Twenty-first on white vs black crimes. Yes to derail the problem is wrong. They are using it to ask a question that you don’t want to answer.

    Twenty-second on Darren Wilson. His life was ruined. He followed the rules and he got punished. That is all

    I am not going to bother talking about the points you make at the bottom since it is not for the opposition. But I just want to say that you guys are looking at this the wrong way. When I saw this post I was mad at first. This was just more of the white guilt posts that have been everywhere post Zimmerman.

    I do hope with this post you may use this to try and fix your masterpost. I did not cite most sources because to be frank. After the third tumblr link. I don’t think you will read it. Needless to say. Just read the Grand Jury Documents in full. I know it is 4799 pages but if you want to talk about this topic. You need to read it.

  36. Jason says:

     But Mike Brown robbed a convenience store!
    Mike Brown did rob a convenience store.
    Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5ga8xM8W4M
    Robbery report
    https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/236914260?access_key=key-dQEuokNnVSDaRpY38HO6&allow_share=true&escape=false&view_mode=scroll
    Dorian’s lawyer says Dorian admitted that Brown “did take cigarillos”
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/robbery-report-could-have-made-ferguson-officer-more-wary/article_2e863e1b-11ce-5cc3-9098-3075c105d596.html
    Dorian’s GJ testimony describes the robbery in great detail
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/248126858/Dorian-Johnsons-Testimony-Before-the-Grand-Jury
    But if I understand you, all of that can be discounted because some people say it was the owner who called 911 when instead it was either a different employee or customer? Regadless, Mike Brown robber the store!

    You also mention that Chief Jackson said the reason for the contact between Wilson and Brown was not due to the robbery. Yes, Wilson initiated contact because they were in the road. After they passed him, he ID’d them as potential suspects because of the cigarillos Brown was openly carrying at the time. After ID’ing them, he called for backup then reversed and re-initiated contact.
    Dorian describes Brown openly carrying the cigarillos http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/robbery-report-could-have-made-ferguson-officer-more-wary/article_2e863e1b-11ce-5cc3-9098-3075c105d596.html
    Wilson’s radio call for backup after he initially stopped and then re-approached
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/multimedia/special/darren-wilson-s-radio-calls-show-fatal-encounter-was-brief/html_79c17aed-0dbe-514d-ba32-bad908056790.html
    and Chief Jackson said from the beginning that the *initial* contact was not due to robbery, but that Wilson ID’d them as suspects and then backed up to contact them the 2nd time
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/robbery-report-could-have-made-ferguson-officer-more-wary/article_2e863e1b-11ce-5cc3-9098-3075c105d596.html

     Mike Brown … charged at Darren Wilson, who had no recourse but to fear for his life and use lethal force.
    To this you mention that both Brown and Wilson are 6’4”, and there’s some weight difference between them. You also mention a hypothetical whether Wilson would have done the same were Brown white. I can’t quite figure how a hypothetical gives us any understanding of what actually occurred in this case but I digress. Next you state the (hospital) photographs don’t show much… except it does show bruising and there were also scratches as confirmed by the physician’s assistant at the hospital. Seems like it would be difficult to get these marks from someone who never laid hands on the officer as Dorian testified
    Physicial Assistant Testimony http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370797-interview-witness-62.html
    Michael Brady also says Brown was punching on the officer – see ~3:20 mark in the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2nWxMUX05k#t=194
    And last, you mention that the medical investigator failed to take pictures and measurements because they ran out of batteries and what happened was self explanatory. And yet you state that measurements and plenty of pictures were taken?!? Is this supposed to be convincing evidence to refute Wilson’s claim of self-defense?
    Meanwhile, the physical evidence shows there’s at least a 20 foot trail of blood behind Brown’s body, indicating that Brown must have advanced that distance to then fall where his body lay. There’s also shell casings laying behind Brown’s body, which show that Wilson had to retreat from his position to keep some separation between him and a “charging” Brown.
    Crime scene map with spatter and casing marked https://theconservativetreehouse.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/crime-scene-map-e1416977380517.png
    Crime scene photo showing same http://i1.wp.com/listverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/74810024.jpg?resize=632%2C603
    And witnesses corroborate Wilson’s testimony that Brown charged and would not stop, even thoughugh Wilson shouted for him to multiple times.
    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370795-interview-witness-48-1.html
    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370768-interview-witness-10.html
    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370776-interview-witness-14-1.html
    Was Brown a threat considering he was unarmed? Let’s take a look at the tape…
    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/brown-robbery-stroe.jpg
     Mike Brown smoked pot regularly and/or was high during his interaction with Wilson.
    Bieber and grandmas smoked pot, true; althoughugh no one said smoking pot justifies someone being shot. Tox report demonstrates that indeed, Brown smoked pot and was high during his interaction with Wilson.
    You note the report that says people may be capable of driving competently with 12 ng of THSC. And that pot is typically a sedative which relaxes users. But Brown wasn’t driving, and 12 ng is also apparently enough to trigger hallucinations http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-30216293.html
    Even Dorian stated Brown’s behavior was more aggressive than anything he’d ever witnessed. http://www.scribd.com/doc/248126858/Dorian-Johnsons-Testimony-Before-the-Grand-Jury
     Mike Brown was reaching for a gun when killed.
    PBS Chart – does state 12 said his hands were up. Except, #64 is Dr. Baden, who wasn’t an eye witness yet is on the chart (oops). He testimony states Brown could have his hands up, or in front of him. He assumed hands up b/c the media witnesses never mentioned him having his hands in front of him althoughugh many Grand Jury witnesses did. The DOD Medical Examiner also stated that if Brown was shot with his hands over his head, he would have to have had his palms facing each other. I’ve never seen someone surrender in that position?!?
    p.67-153 http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370509-grand-jury-volume-20.html
    Witness 48 stated he had his hands up, for a few seconds, then balled his hands into fists out in front of him and charged after which Wilson fired, stopped, and then fired again when Brown continued to charge. Hands balled up into fists in front of him? Now there’s the universal position of surrender
    http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370795-interview-witness-48-1.html
    Suffice it to say, it seems PBS took a very broad interpretation of “hands up while being fired upon” for their chart.
    Cyril Wecht’s video asserts Wilson in no way could have felt threatened by someone 30+ feet away in a tshirt and shorts. Except Mr. Wecht completely ignores the fact that Brown traveled at least 20 feet back towards Wilson (see spatter evidence above) and that shell casings demonstrate Brown advanced past the position where Wilson was originally standing when he started firing. I suppose Mr. Wecht would not consider a 300 lb man charging at him for 20 feet to be a threat, as long as he was wearing shorts and a tshirt. Now if Mike Brown were wearing jeans… again, let’s go back to the tape and see how little a threat this unarmed man presents while dressed in some baggy shorts.
    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/brown-robbery-stroe.jpg
    I don’t know about you, but I’m guessing Mr. Wecht would have a different opinion were this unarmed man bearing down on him after already having punching him multiple times and made an attempt to take a firearm from him.
     Mike Brown was a threat and could not be taken into custody alive.
    Other dangerous people have been taken into custody alive. Example, Eric Frien, who SURRENDERED to authorities when they found him. “Frein gave up withoughut a struggle and got down on his knees to be handcuffed when approached by the marshals” http://6abc.com/news/us-marshal-describes-moment-eric-frein-was-captured/373904/ Brown on the other hand advanced for at least 20 feet, with his hands balled up in fists as he charged Wilson.
    Why not use a taser? As you stated, Wilson didn’t have a taser available so uh..not sure of your point. That said, a Taser isn’t a fullproof option either
    http://uniladmag.com/video/man-gets-shot-with-taser-3-times-fights-police-gets-away/

    In summary, I really haven’t any idea of the fake facts, misleading info or inaccuracies you’re attempting to eloquently discuss. Or when you do, what their relevance are to the issue at hand. Owner didn’t call 911, What if Brown were white? Medical investigator didn’t take pictures or measurements but someone else took plenty. Justin Beiber!!!! Perhaps more familiarity with the facts would assist in identifying which are potentially fake and/or rife with inaccuracies.

    Cheers

  37. Andrea Marie (@ms_amariep) says:

    Hi! For the “Brown was reaching for the gun” part, I was having a conversation with someone and linked them to the video you posted under that section. They then directed me to the article below which seems to say that Mike initially ran away, but then turned and charged towards Wilson and was not stopped until killed. I’m not sure if that is the only interpretation of the autopsy results and wanted to get your opinion. If so, I believe that information should be added somewhere. Thanks!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/11/28/the-physical-evidence-in-the-michael-brown-case-supported-the-officer/

  38. Chuck Edwards says:

    I just wanted to leave some comments about the list you wrote: “To Refute fake facts, misleading information and inaccuracies”. The facts of a case are ultimately objective. We can refute them, and/or provide support for the refuting. But at the end of the day, the facts speak for themselves.

    i.

    The physical evidence refuted most of the eye witness statements. For example – eye witnesses testified that they saw Wilson shooting Brown in the back. Others testified that Brown had his hands up. The physical evidence that was introduced to the grand jury refuted pretty much everything that the eye witnesses testified to. Some witnesses even admitted that they had not seen the shooting happen and they were flat out lying.

    ii.

    Darren Wilson received a call on the police dispatch that a robbery was in progress, and in this call, Michael brown was identified as a young black male, who had stolen a pack of swisher cigars. His activity was videotaped in the store, stealing a handful of cigars and walking out without paying. The video clearly shows Michael brown stealing cigars.

    iii.

    Does theft deserve death? I do not believe that at any point during the grand jury deliberation this question was posed. This is not the “core issue” as you put above.

    iv.

    The physical evidence shows that Michael brown reached into the car Darren Wilson was sitting in, and grabbed Michael Brown’s gun. In this situation, as a police officer, you are not concerned with the race, sex, ethnicity or any other defining qualities of a human being. All you are concerned with is the fact that your life is in danger. Therefore, in accordance with the U.S law, the shooting was legitimate and Darren Wilson should not have been indicted.

    v.
    Your section on why Mike Brown could not be taken into custody alive is interesting. I would ask you to place yourself in the shoes of a police officer, or more importantly the family of that police officer. When you are a police officer and someone reaches into your car and tries to take your lethal weapon, you are fearful for your life. Therefore, it is absolutely justified for that police officer to shoot the individual trying to take his weapon. Furthermore, this is how ALL police officers are trained. Officers are taught that when they fear for their lives, they should respond with the legitimate use of force. Picking out a single case where one white man who killed a police officer was captured alive, is not a very accurate representation of the facts.

    This is not to say that there is not a serious issue on hand. There is a very big problem of young males, typically of color, getting shot by police officers. I just do not think that this was the right case to further the awareness and cause. Instead the cause has been delegitimatized by surrounding a case where the police officer was not in the wrong. Why was the reaction in Florida – with George Zimmerman – so much less than in Ferguson?

  39. Robert Locke says:

    It’s absolutely clear from the prosecutor’s public defense of the Grand Jury that he never intended them to indict. When he talked about the contradictory and/or unbelievable testimonies from the eyewitnesses –even telling the general public how one witness claimed that Wilson shot Brown in the back several times while Brown was lying on the ground– the question must be asked, “Why did this prosecutor put witnesses like that on the stand?”

    He did it, obviously, to taint all the witnesses. Instead of vetting the witnesses and putting only the most believable on the stand, and the ones whose testimony were most in line with the physical evidence, the prosecutor decided to befuddle the Grand Jury and contaminate all the witnesses.

    There was plenty of evidence to warrant an indictment, but with a prosecutor clearly working instead for a non-indictment, what is to be expected? A question I do not hear anyone asking is how the feds should proceed now to charge this prosecutor (and perhaps his team) with Obstruction of Justice.

    • Jason says:

      um.. sorry, your assertion was the prosecutor should have tossed out any testimony he didn’t find credible? And if he tossed out say a certain person who said it took him 5 hours to make a 15 minute walk to the market, who said Brown never made a step towards Wilson even though his blood trail shows he traveled at least another 20 feet beyond where his body lay, who said he ran home to change close despite the fact in pictures and video he’s wearing the same clothes he wore at a certain market and the same guy who has ESP and could determine what Wilson and Brown *meant* to say but were unable due to gunfire.
      DJ testimony fro p102-176 http://www.scribd.com/doc/248126858/Dorian-Johnsons-Testimony-Before-the-Grand-Jury

      Or how about the witness who initially said she’d never seen Brown at all that day until she peeked through her sliding glass window to see the officer take 2 (and only 2) final shots and his body fall to the ground but now can describe in detail that she saw the two struggling at the car, who saw Brown flee after the first shot (despite the fact she wasn’t even looking out the window at the time) and the officer chase after him while firing several shots. Who saw him turn with his hands in the air… scratch that, who *after the autopsy was performed* saw him start to put his hands in the air but *probably* never got them up, then get shot twice… sorry, who saw *after the autopsy was performed* Brown get shot the *most times* after he turned. Who also saw Brown did not move, not more than a centimeter of an inch, despite the 20 foot long trail of blood behind Brown and shell casings indicating that Wilson had to retreat while firing as Brown’s body fell to rest beyond where several casings were found and abrasions consistent with Brown having forward momentum were found on his forehead, cheek and lips.
      witness testimony from 8/9 on the scene of shooting http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370802-interview-witness-16-2.html

      Yeah, McCulloch clearly should have weeded out the obvious liars. Instead he left them in, on both sides, and let the GJ decide who they found to be credible. Undeniable evidence of jury tampering.

      physical evidence supports Wilson and that Brown advanced
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-evidence-supports-officers-account-of-shooting-in-ferguson/2014/10/22/cf38c7b4-5964-11e4-bd61-346aee66ba29_story.html
      10 most important pieces of evidence – be sure to check the crime scene photos showing blood spatter
      http://listverse.com/2014/11/25/10-of-the-most-important-pieces-of-evidence-from-darren-wilson-testimony/

  40. Distilling An Agenda says:

    While I applaud the effort to compile a distillation of the testimony, you clearly have an agenda. Almost everything is extemporaneous beyond Mike Brown attacking Wilson. The only section devoted to the crux of this entire national debate has a horribly misguided title of “Mike Brown was reaching for a gun when killed.” No one claims that. Mike Brown grabbed the gun in the car while attacking Wilson. Wilson got one round off that went through Brown’s hand in such a way that he was grasping the weapon, forensics/autopsy report confirms this. From there, Brown took off running.

    Secondly, in this all important but sparsely populated paragraph you link a single video to an expert. While I agree that this person is credentialed, he gets almost every detail wrong from Wilson’s height, to confirmed distances to wild speculations of Wilson’s demeanor (outside the scope of his expertise). The two men are the same height. He did note that the angles of the bullets were weird implying execution style or very close range killing. That’s his opinion, fortunately the forensics examiners on the case felt it consistent with someone bent at the waist (as if in a charging position). Point-blank range execution-style killing would result in gsr/soot in Brown’s scalp and hair. To my knowledge, that was never a finding so you must rule it out.

    For everyone out there, read it yourself. Distillations are nice, but they are generalizations: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/25/us/evidence-released-in-michael-brown-case.html. There are quite a few witnesses who claim Brown was shot while running away, something that forensics doesn’t support at all (15 out of 20 witnesses testified to this). Witness testimony is some of the worst evidence you can ask for. With witness testimony you aren’t looking for consensus, you are looking for parts of the story for which you have NO ONE validating your story. Every part of Wilson’s story is confirmed by multiple witnesses. If you exclude those witnesses who have major contradictions (like Mike Brown was both kneeling, running away from, and facing Wilson) it’s even more supportive of Wilson’s case. There are no major parts of the series of events that unfolded that are not confirmed by multiple witnesses (altercation inside the car, shooting inside the car, Brown running away, turning around and facing the officer, Wilson yelling “Stop stop stop” when Brown charged him).

    • Distilling An Agenda says:

      Oh my, it appears I’m in error. You have ZERO sections dedicated to the most important part of this debate, Brown attacking Wilson.

      I do apologize in calling your title “misguided”, as you are simply addressing the part of the case about whether or not Mike Brown was armed. I read it as “Mike Brown was killed while reaching for Wilson’s gun.” My bad.

      However, that makes this post even more sad and agenda-driven. You don’t even want to deal with the violent attack on Wilson. It’s the single most important part of this case and it gets zero attention.

  41. Samantha says:

    I can’t even read all this crap. Your points are ridiculous. White girls stealing lip gloss…nothing more than bruises yet was prescribed pain killers….the cop had a car???what are you pointing out there??? he should have driven away??? really??? you mentioned the cops height and weight but you don’t mention Brown’s…how convenient for making an invalid point – omit all the facts…exactly what you are complaining other people did. Fact…he punched a cop….Fact….he turned and walked toward that cop while a gun was trained on him…Fact…he is not a skinny white girl with ill gotten lip gloss he is a large man with no apparent regard for authority who had already punched the guy he was walking toward…what the hell does one imagine would happen in that situation?! What the hell does that have to do with his color?! What kind of message are you attempting to send? it certainly isn’t about racism…its if your black you should be able to do these things without consequence. I hope a 300 lb black man punches you in the face and when you call the police they stand back and say “sorry he’s black so I can’t help you – I have a car so I’m going to get away” You (the radicals) are what is wrong with this country – you don’t offer solutions to real problems you create issues where there are none to further your agenda which then makes your agenda invalid. If your going to stand up for something stand where there is a reason stop trying to make a reason that doesn’t exist.

    • aida manduley says:

      Seems you missed this part “Mike Brown was an unarmed 18 year old, also 6’4”, and 289 lbs.” The rest of your comment is pretty ignorant, so I’ll ignore it and just note that.

      • Christian says:

        I have a strong feeling the only comments you allow on here are either the ones that agree with you or the ones that are so obviously ignorant you can easily pick them apart. I only say this because I posted a critical comment on here a little while ago but now it’s no where to be found.

        • aida manduley says:

          Nope! I’m only really modding out the hatemail at this point. Some we’re checking up on before approving and I’ve passed on to colleagues so they can help in sorting through them.

      • nate bigley says:

        How about 2012 FBI statistics stating that out of 2,600 murdered black men in that year less than 200 we’re committed by a caucasion? Did all of these black people kill each other because they were forced to out of systemic racism. They’re situation being so bad because of lack of white priviledge that they were forced to murder one another for personal gain? Does racism exist? Yes. Probably always will. Is it the biggest problem black America faces today? Some would say no. There is a large portion of America that embraces a lifestyle that promotes violence in america, and I refuse they don’t because they have no choice but to act that way. There’s plenty of white people that also support violent cultural norms also. But you can’t deny that it’s prevalent in a large portion of black America’s psyche. All black people, certainly not. But it’s not a small percentage

    • Sam says:

      You are 100% on the mark, Samantha. At least a few sane people still exist. Actually, 80-85% of people polled don’t side with the position presented on this page (something all of you should know), but the remaining 15 or so percent will still think they are smarter than everyone else because they identify Liberal (what they don’t realize is they are not Liberal by an FDR sense of the term Liberal). As well, most people professing these views are young and don’t remember the tenets of FDR Liberalism. And yes, MLK would NOT have agreed with how this group has handled this situation but Malcolm X probably would have. You–meaning the people who run this webpage–would do some good focusing on the demographic that largely has supported this GoFundMe Campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/nataliescakesnmore And why are whites supporting Natalie’s cause? Because she’s a victim. A good person who is strong, independent, kind, and responsible who has had her livelihood threatened by violence, looting, and property damage. We stand up for people who do the right thing, not criminals. This is not racism. If you think it is, grab a dictionary and look up the definition of the term (all of you misuse it).

    • TruthTella says:

      Rudy Giuliani caused a racial firestorm by stating that White cops are needed in Black communities because 93% of Blacks killed in America are killed by other Blacks. He is trying to justify the militarization of Black communities by perpetrating the same old racist fear tactic of the so called “Black Crime Menace.” The term “Black on Black Crime” is just a racist propaganda catch phrase used by the mainstream media to imply that Black people are inherently violent to ignore poverty and inequity. The fact is that crime is a matter of proximity and opportunity, so most crime is White-on-White, Black-on-Black, Brown-on-Brown, etc. Equally important, it must be noted that high crime rates have more to do with class than race. Crime has always been higher in poorer areas across all racial and ethnic lines. Furthermore, when one analyzes ”arrest records and conviction records” by race one must take into consideration the unfair Draconian Rockefeller drug laws. Additionally, Whites commit a large percentage of crime as well but it is not reported a lot in the media. In fact, the actual number of rapes, arsons, child molestation cases, bank robberies, etc are higher among whites. And the White on White murder rate is just as high at 87% according to FBI crime stats. The majority of the poor in America are White, thus most Whites don’t reside in the suburbs. Many of them live in poorer areas and trailer parks. In the last 7 years there has been a 127% increase in Meth addition in those poor White regions which has resulted in a huge spike in crime in those areas. Since whites commit more crime numerically speaking, due to the fact that there are more whites in America, then shouldn’t those crimes be reflected daily in the general mainstream media. But on the contrary, the media only focuses mostly on so called “Black Crime” to paint the Black male as PUBLIC ENEMY #1.

      Only a very small percentage of the Black population participates in criminal activity. “In America, the perception is that crimes committed by White people are explained as deviations of the individual but have nothing to do with their race. However, crimes committed by Blacks or Latino’s are somehow attributed to the whole race,” states news columnist and political analyst Edward Whyckoff Williams. Furthermore, let’s break down inner city street crime beyond the so called stats. Most of the murders taking place in major cities like NYC, LA and Chicago are gang related and drug related. It has nothing to do with race. Gang related crime has been a problem going all the way back to the 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s and 60′s. During those times the gangs were Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish, etc. The murder rate among those gangs was very high. They were responsible for thousands of murders. In fact, the White gangs during those eras invented the whole concept of drive by shootings. The gangs of the past focused on robberies and burglaries. When the White gangs of the 20′s, 30′s, 40′s, 50′s and 60′s were slaughtering each other by the thousands, the media did not label it as “White on White Crime.” Instead, they classified it as “Gangland Crime.” Today, most of the street gangs are Black and Hispanic. They focus more on drug dealing and gun running as a way to finance their criminal enterprise. However, instead of isolating the gang menace, the mainstream media focuses on all black males as the face of crime. Hence, they label it as “Black on Black Crime” when it is really mostly “GANG RELATED and DRUG RELATED CRIME.” The system refuses to eradicate the gang problem because the gangs fuel the multi billion dollar Prison Industrial Complex by supplying it with a steady stream of 1st time and repeat offenders. The real problem with inner city crime is the Gang menace and not all Black males.

      The fact is that the vast majority of Black Americans are law abiding and hard working individuals. Since 2000, the disposable income of Black Americans has risen to an astounding $1.2 trillion dollars. (Just Research It). Black Americans have made great strides in the fields of science, invention, finance, etc. Just log on to http://www.BlackInventor.com and see the myriad of Black American Inventors and scientists who have changed the world. In fact, Black Americans run some of the biggest companies in America. Did you know that the CEO’s of the $24 Billion McDonalds, the $23 Billion Xerox, $22 Billion Merck & Co, $20 Billion American Express, Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Jamba Juice are all Black American?

      The mainstream media will never show positive images of Blacks on a regular basis. Positive images have a positive impact and negative images have a negative impact. Pretty soon you will see martial law in Black neighborhoods and the militarization of Black communities. You will see Black folks being arrested in mass numbers and placed in interment camps. And you will not hear an outcry from the general public because people have been conditioned, programmed and brainwashed via the mainstream media propaganda machine to believe that Blacks are public enemy #1.

      PROPAGANDA IS THE FIRST STAGE OF ANY MAJOR MILITARY CAMPAIGN! According to the noted psychologist Dr. Umar Johnson “The Goal of Propaganda is to dehumanize the target population to justify aggression against those particular people.” War is being waged on the hood daily via biological warfare, economic warfare, environmental warfare, germ warfare, physical warfare, psychological warfare, and spiritual warfare. It is imperative that we understand what’s going on and fight back through boycotts and other means.

      By Jesse Atkinson From Urban Threshold

  42. Steve Livingston says:

    I am SUPER enjoying this read! Very plugged in to this, and wanted to ask you about a couple of things. I saw your reference to the HuffPo story about young Black men protecting the local businesses immediately after the fatal shooting (dated 8/16/14) and wondered if you’ve heard or read of any similar actions subsequent to the Grand Jury ruling.

    Also, noting your quote of a protester complaining that Officer Wilson has become a millionaire for shooting a Black man, and acknowledging this is a widespread belief and not necessarily yours, which is exactly why I ask the question: are you aware that both ABC and Wilson have denied that he was paid for the interview, and are you privy to any hard information to the contrary? And, can you shed any light on the claim that he has access to $500K that has been raised for him online?

    Thank you so much for the work you’ve done, and are doing!

    • aida manduley says:

      Thanks, Steve!

      I haven’t followed the trail deep enough to confirm some of those claims, but it would be amazing if folks could help sleuth that out. I’ve included some links and noted what some have mentioned, or “seemingly” happened, but can’t personally confirm, unfortunately! I know the GoFundMe was pulled offline by its originators, but I believe that shouldn’t have prevented Wilson from receiving the money since GoFundMe isn’t like Kickstarter… Let me know if you can help find any info on that? 🙂

  43. Laurika HK says:

    Just wanted to add to the chorus of THANK YOU for putting this together. What a wonderfully useful and collaborative tool!

  44. Mikel says:

    Reblogged this on The Skeptical Seeker and commented:
    Wow. As a contract to the general media confusion around the events in Ferguson, MO, this is a very organzed and imformative post. I think I’ll be digging through this for some time, but for now I wanted to go ahead and spread the word.

  45. Suzanne Nathans says:

    Thank you so much for all of this great information. Thanks for all the time and care it took to compile. It is so helpful and appreciated and I have learned a lot. I want to add this investigative piece I saw on the distance Michael Brown was from the police car when he was killed. I thought it was straightforward, simple, and very well done in it’s simplicity. The title is a little inflammatory, but the writer does back up his title with the contents of the blog. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/20/1346374/-BREAKING-VIDEO-Police-Lied-Mike-Brown-was-killed-148-feet-away-from-Darren-Wilson-s-SUV?detail=facebook

    • maggiezee says:

      I posted this via Twitter. A gun person said that the type of gun DW used could not have shot that far. Have taken him at his word since my research skills are limited. I did not see that King factored in that there was a chase. For sure, Mike Brown was shot at least 148′ from the cruiser.
      I raise this in order to limit the spread of what might be inaccurate, though compelling.

      • bradthebard says:

        If Wilson was firing a standard service weapon it was likely a .40 or 9mm Glock or Sig. I carry a Sig p2022 .40 caliber and can easily hold a 6 inch pattern at 60 feet standing still. Wilson could easily have made the rather poor shots he took from the distances stated.

  46. brandi c says:

    Hi Aida. Much respect and deep appreciation to you and your team for putting this together. I spent an entire day reading every point and every source you linked. It’s so incredibly thorough and well-executed. I’ve shared it broadly and plan to reference it every chance I get. I also learned so much, so thank you again.

    One request I would like to make that I think would make accessing the info in this piece a little easier is if there were a table of contents, so to speak, that link to each topic as you’ve broken them down throughout the post. That’ll allow folks to jump to each point when they’re looking for info to aid in their discussions.

    Peace and power to all the crusaders fighting the good fight!

    • aida manduley says:

      Thank you! And yep, that’s on my to-do list (originally for my own reference/ease of navigation, but now that it’s getting so much attention, for EVERYONE’S ease of navigation!). Thanks for your kind words 🙂

    • aida manduley says:

      If someone wants to write up some bullet points and provide some sources, I’m happy to add it! I think a lot from the “well they must be committing more crimes” can be used to refute this, but maybe some more/other specifics would also be helpful 🙂 Feel free to comment about it/rally more folks to make that happen!

      In my head, it’s just one snarky point “And White people kill White people. Congratulations on stating the obvious.”

    • maggiezee says:

      I tell them that it is a change of conversation to bring this up, that it is being discussed elsewhere. Please go there for more information. They can find the links if they are really concerned about it. BTW, you will find RW’s often change the subject when they can’t refute what you are saying.

  47. de says:

    Fact check: the fund raiser for the lotted bakery is not in Ferguson. It was initiated by conservative Christian actress Patricia Heaton on line.

  48. Mary Beth Wallace says:

    I hope that you don’t mind that I chose to share your blog with others. I am hoping that it will force others to start doing their own research, and I am personally tired of attempting to counter all of the ignorance that has been floating around in social media. Thank you!

    • aida manduley says:

      Yeah, no problem! Sharing is the point, so go forth and be merry! I just encourage people to share the link instead of the text so people can get the most updated info on here since I’m regularly updating the post.

  49. SJW says:

    This is a great resource, thank you for compiling all this information together! In response to your request for sources on why Darren Wilson didn’t use a taser, check out this breakdown of his testimony: http://www.vox.com/2014/11/25/7281165/darren-wilsons-story-side. It’s not exactly what you were asking for, but the article explains that he wasn’t carrying a fireable taser, and Wilson believes he wouldn’t have been able to hit Brown with it if he was carrying one.

  50. araenel says:

    Hi, thank you for this! This is amazingly well put together information. It succinctly says so many things that I wanted to respond to people, but didn’t know how to word or didn’t have the facts.

    One small note: You write that the prescription that was written for Darren Wilson was for an over-the-counter drug (Aleve), which is sort of true, but a little misleading, since it is prescription strength (500mg) and over twice the over-the-counter dosage (OTC Naproxen is 220mg). It is still a mild painkiller, and an NSAID similar to ibuprofen and still indicates that the injuries were not that bad.

  51. Od Zilla says:

    On page 205 of the grand jury testimony, Darren Wilson stated, “I normally don’t carry a taser. We only have a select amount. Usually there is on available, but I usually elect not to carry one. It is not the most comfortable thing. They are very large, I don’t have a lot of room in the front for it to be positioned.”

  52. Chicken Legs says:

    thank you so much for this thorough, reasoned, tempered (I doubt I could have done it), and dynamic (ie updates) page – you’ve managed to assemble a series of points that highlight the issue (well issues, it’s all very complicated), without all the noise.

    now to share.

  53. Kraphtymac says:

    The best discourse I’ve seen on this topic: if Mike Brown had done anything BESIDES turn around and charge Officer Wilson, he would still be alive today. He took off running after trying to take the Officer’s sidearm. He wasn’t shot in the back. He turned around to harm the Officer. Not a surprising conclusion.

  54. Nic Illa says:

    If I politely ask you over and over again to please get your foot off of my neck and you ignore me and never move, don’t accuse me of being overly aggressive when I get up and body slam you. #WHYWERIOT

  55. Todd says:

    As a prior cop in the military the one thing that I am repeatedly seeing overlooked in these things is the Use of Force that we as cops are taught as well as how we trained to shoot.

    First we are trained to shoot center mass of the target. For the people who think he should aim for the arms or legs this is not how we are trained.

    As for the Use of Force (UF from here on on out) it is a bit longer. There are 5 levels of the UF and is normally represented as a triangle. Since we are dealing with the top level which is lethal force I will stick with that. The top level states if the suspect is believed to show signs of causing LOSS OF LIFE or SERIOUS BODILY HARM then the use of lethal force is authorized. However the suspect must meet three things as well (hence the triangle shape) which are INTENT, CAPABILITY, and OPPORTUNITY. Did Brown show intent of serious harm or life threat? Yes, when he went for Wilsion’s gun that shows intent. Was Brown capable of getting the gun or causing serious bodily harm? Yes, at a 74 lb. advantage Brown could wrestle the gun from Wilson not to mention the damage he could with just his fists. Believe it or not this is not the movies where the hero cop gets in a fist fight with some hulking bad guy and wins. Majority of the time an individual of that size will win a fist fight. Finally was the opportunity available for Brown to cause harm ti Wilson? Yes, Brown and Wilson where obviously in the same immediate area and the gun within the holster could be accessible to Brown if he wanted to wrestle for it. I think that pretty much covers that. Either way Wilson was well within his rights to shoot him as soon as Brown went for the gun (regardless of when).

    Also, here is a article done on the bullet wounds:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/11/28/the-physical-evidence-in-the-michael-brown-case-supported-the-officer/

    As for the comment about not shooting an unarmed individual when (fleeing which Brown was not), that I recall is also false if it is believed the person cause a life threat or major bodily harm in the future. Though that is also much harder to prove.

    Finally Brown was 18. While I don’t know where he was school wise at the time this would make him legally an adult.

    I hope this helps. it is now time for bed for me.

    • Mike B says:

      Thank you for the info. I really hope this gets added to the bullet points of why Michael Brown could not have been taken into custody alive.

    • lyle Zak says:

      One must walk at least a few steps in another mans shoes. Being a police officer can be a target in itself. They are first liners and thus must make tough decisions within a few seconds. I am sure that any police officer placed in this position will for the rest of his life question his judgement. Bless the guys/girls that serve and protect.

  56. SaraKate says:

    One argument with all the facts you have presented is this: You cannot assume the full extent of Wilson’s injuries based upon pictures taken that day. I say this because my family was recently in a car accident. At the hospital, one of us had a small bruise by one eye, and that was the only visible injury. Three days later, that quarter size bruise had developed into two completely black and blue eyes.

    I apologize for respectfully disagreeing with many of your conclusions regarding this, but frankly, had Mike Brown been walking on the sidewalk (since it IS against state statute in MO, by the way), perhaps he would have been ignored by Wilson. Further, it’s clear that he chose to engage with Wilson in some manner, rather than comply with directions given by an officer of the law. Does that mean he deserved to die? Nope. But it does show that the actions we take sometimes do have consequences we can’t anticipate.

  57. Sharon R T says:

    Thank you so much for this information–I really appreciate all your hard work. I listened to Robert McCulloch’s statement and thought he sounded logical and unbiased. Because of your article, it helped me understand the Grand Jury concept, and now I am even more incensed with the results of the Grand Jury. Keep up the good work!

  58. James N says:

    Some of your points are good. In my opinion, anything justifying these riots and relating them to civil justice movements are far reaching and unnecessary. Can’t each side be partly right and partly wrong? I feel like there is a great deal too much justification for criminal behavior. Is it just reactionary?

  59. delayed2sleep says:

    It happens I’ve just been reading Booker T. Washington, founder of Tuskegee University in Alabama, on my kindle: 19th century writings mostly by him but also about him. Had his work, vision and example in the decades after he and the other slaves were freed been followed better, we might well have been in a much better place wrt to race relations in this country today.

  60. Sean says:

    So my biggest problem with the white people/black people having similar overall crime statistics is that the statistic for just homicides is very suggestive. According to Wikipedia: “According to the US Department of Justice, blacks accounted for 52.5% of homicide offenders from 1980 to 2008, with whites 45.3% and Native Americans and Asians 2.2%. The offending rate for blacks was almost 8 times higher than whites, and the victim rate 6 times higher. Most murders were intraracial, with 84% of white homicide victims murdered by whites, and 93% of black victims murdered by blacks.”

    This really sucks, and suggests, along with the statistics on poverty, that people of African American descent are growing up in worse environments. I think that, instead of getting angry at the police and at how people view the African American population, we should be trying to put a collaborative effort into funding for better education and better neighborhoods for the African American population. I also think that police brutality in general is an issue, regardless of what happened in this case, and that there’s a strong case to be made for making body cameras mandatory on all on-duty cops.

    But that’s just my two cents.

    • aida manduley says:

      Agreed on the body-cam issue! Certain states are working on that kind of legislation right now, I believe.

      Thing is, we don’t have to pick and choose as a society: there are groups addressing education, groups addressing the police, and groups addressing things like media bias. We can use all the strategies simultaneously. On the personal level is where more focus is necessary due to time and impact.

  61. Eric says:

    My fundamental issue is that you downplay Darren Wilsons safety. You downplay that he got punched in the face twice by a 300 lb man. Facial punches could’ve knocked him out. You downplay that Mike Brown went for the officers gun. At that point Wilson had a legitimate fear for his life. According to your logic, it would have been preferable to fatally shoot at the car. Your argument is that not just police but everyday citizens should cater to criminals. If someone breaks into my house, I should wait and see if they’re armed before using force. If a policeman is attacked, he has to be on the verge of death to justify using deadly force. It is an intense desire to believe the cop is in the wrong that you wouldn’t care if Wilson was shot, maimed, or killed as long as Mike Brown was healthy.

  62. Chuaht says:

    I’m responding for a couple of reasons. I was tuned into article via FB from a man I respect. I was excited to see a thoughtful (read: long and well organized) article about how to be a better white ally. The term White Allies is a new one for me and I only just heard it a few days after reading an article about what White allies are and what we can do to be better at being White Allies. The first time I saw the term used was in

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/12-things-white-people-can-do-now-because-ferguson. The author expresses that we can do these 12 things:

    1) Learn about the racialized history of Ferguson and how it reflects the racialized history of America.
    2) Reject the “He Was a Good Kid” narrative and lift up the “Black Lives Matter” narrative.
    3) Use words that speak the truth about the disempowerment, oppression, disinvestment and racism that are rampant in our communities.
    4) Understand the modern forms of race oppression and slavery and how they are intertwined with policing, the courts and the prison industrial complex.
    5) Examine the interplay between poverty and racial equity.
    6) Diversify your media.
    7) Adhere to the philosophy of nonviolence as you resist racism and oppression.
    8) Find support from fellow white allies.
    9) If you are a person of faith, look to your scriptures or holy texts for guidance.
    10) Don’t be afraid to be unpopular.
    11) Be proactive in your own community.
    12) Don’t give up.

    Furthermore, he states, “There are many more ways and I invite you to consider what else you can do to become a strong and loyal white ally. People of color, black people especially, cannot and should not shoulder the burden for dismantling the racist, white supremacist system that devalues and criminalizes black life without the all in support, blood, sweat and tears of white people. If you are not already a white ally, now is the time to become one.

    People are literally dying.

    Black people are dying and it’s not your personal fault that black people are dying because you’re white but if you don’t make a purposeful choice to become a white ally and actively work to dismantle the racist system running America for the benefit of white people then it becomes your shame because you are white and black lives matter. And if you live your whole life and then die without making a purposeful choice to become a white ally then American racism becomes your legacy.

    The choice is yours.”

    Now, I was tuned into your article and was only met with disappointment. Because I believe that the grand jury decision was a good one, but I also know that facts (the real ones, not the ones you purport to be) support the idea that racism is an institutional problem. We are lucky to live in a free nation where we can express our anger over this, yet we haven’t figured out many ways to affect change. I will riot shame until I’m blue in the face.

    Your article is not about facts at the end of the day. Your article doesn’t leave room for me. I’m the one who thinks that the decision was a good one and I think that it’s wildly completely ridiculously irresponsible for us to just blankly assume that the grand jury, 12 people who endured over 70 hours of testimony, were just racist and lying and wrong and evil.

    At first glance I was so excited to read this because I really thought it would speak to me wanting to be a better white ally. Yet, as I started reading, I saw clear evidence that you WERE trying to argue guilt of Darren Wilson – here is how I know that.

    For example, under the heading, “To Refute Fake Facts ….,” sub header, “But Mike Brown Robbed a Convenience Store!,” you state, “Absolutely NO stolen things…,” and by doing so, you are presenting bias. I don’t need emphasis, I can read. All I need to know is that there were no stolen items as part of the evidence presented.

    Your writing is problematic. When presenting facts, you should refrain from using words like ridiculous and unacceptable. When I’m looking for facts, these words tell me that you’re not interested in telling me the facts – you’re trying to make an argument.
    Take your paragraph, “Darren Wilson is 6’4, 215 lbs. He had a gun and a car. Mike Brown was an unarmed 18 year old, also 6’4, and 289 lbs.” If you were presenting facts and nothing more, this paragraph would have read, “Darren Wilson is xx years old, 6’4, 215 lbs. He had a gun and a car. Mike Brown was 18 years old, 289 lbs and had no weapons.” Do you see the difference? Mine is fact. Yours is fact with some bias.

    The paragraph about no batteries, lack of measurements, and the quote from the medical examiner’s investigator is all just bias. Yes, s/he ran out of batteries, but photos were still taken. You say they were apparently taken, but it’s not talked about much here. The fact remains that they were taken and those photos were part of the evidence. The make of the camera does not change the content of a photograph. And, in these types of photos, the photographer doesn’t matter much either. Yes, s/he didn’t take measurements herself, but measurements were still taken and presented as part of the evidence. You’re taking her quote out of context and you’re not adding anything, if anything, you’re consistently making me aware that you are trying to bias me. (I’ve read most of the transcript myself). I don’t think anything can be derived from her testimony, really. The things you want me to believe are important, are just not important to the overall case. Your words, “completely ridiculous and unacceptable,” don’t help either. I can read and this is supposed to be about facts. I don’t even think this speaks to fumbled-upedness either like you want me to believe, but whatever, moving on. The statement, “Because it is more comfortable to use lethal force, apparently.” Just does not help out. At this point in the document, I now know that you are not THAT interested in facts, you are indeed arguing here. This statement assumes that you know how Darren Wilson FEELS about the use of deadly force. He might not be comfortable using deadly force at all. Do you think he feels his actions were “comfortable?” Do you know that he’s not torn up about it? Do you know that he does not feel an ounce of remorse? No, you do not know. Now, I am keeping in mind that we are still in the section that you claim are facts. As a reader, at this point in your article, I am now more cautious than ever and I’m lumping you into the people who just want to convince me of something, not someone who genuinely wants me to be a better ally.
    Under the question, “Why are you making this about race?” you state, “Regardless, the responses are proof that this is unequivocally about race.” Bullshit. The response surrounding Galileo’s finding that the Earth was round would have proved that it was flat under this argument. But, I do think it’s about race, you just don’t help yourself out much by saying that the response proves anything.

    I’m not going to even touch your defense of riots, but that’s ok – I’m still reading because I still want to be a better ally. And my use of twitter is just fine – I don’t need to burn a building down or steal some tennis shoes to make my voice heard.

    I just wish your article had room for me as a person who wants to be better, do better, and try to make a difference and yet thinks the grand jury decision was well thought out.

    • aida manduley says:

      Hi Chuaht!

      My hope is that you can take what is useful from this post, whether it’s bits of it or all of it. There are definitely pieces in here about how to help regardless of how you feel about the grand jury opinion. Something to make clear, again, from the get-go: this document is aimed at helping folks find information that may be helpful in refuting commonly discussed issues or questions. This is not a “how to be an ally,” or “how to be a White ally” post even though it does contain some elements of that. It’s not a “is X guilty or innocent?” post. It’s not “these are just the facts, ma’am,” post.

      We do not claim that this is a message without an agenda or bias; in fact, it’s pretty obvious from the introduction. The claim from the title about helping people back themselves up with facts does not mean the entire post is going to be a bullet-point list of facts. I would also hope that people are, like you, able to pick out pieces that are opinion, since, again, they’re fairly clear.

      Our collective opinion about the grand jury is based on the information we have about it, including legal experts and legal associations decrying the outcome, since probable cause is a pretty low bar to begin with. This is not a “blanket assumption,” as you claim.

      I’ve chosen to leave some of the comments/opinions of the various writers (e.g. “because it is more comfortable to use lethal force, apparently”) within the text even if I would not personally word it the same way so it speaks to their experiences unless it is actively being detrimental to the understanding of the links they are providing. The section is about “refuting fake facts, misleading information, and inaccuracies,” — where does it say that it will just be “FACT FACT FACT FACT”? Again, this is why we’re linking to various sources, so people can figure out what they want/need/believe for themselves using this as a jumping off point.

  63. scottserio says:

    How about addressing the blood evidence? There is blood 20 feet past where Brown fell. The blood spatter is directional towards the officer. If Brown was “hands up, don’t shoot” and never advanced on the officer, how do you explain this? The fact is that the blood evidence, which is not flawed like witness testimony, is concrete and it shows Brown advanced 20 feet towards Wilson. Explain that? You can argue around the edges all you want, you can’t explain away the real evidence.

    • aida manduley says:

      I don’t think we’re saying he never advanced…? Or that he never tussled in the SUV? O.o

      Either way, I’m working to add more content to this post, including some things that relate to this kind of evidence. However, I’m not going to go into depth with some of the physical evidence because it’s irrelevant to the points we are addressing. Like I said above, we’re not trying to be “The one and only source for every fact related to the Mike Brown case so you can figure out if he’s guilty or if Darren Wilson is guilty or blahblahblah” we’re trying to help people have a collection of links to be able to start having these discussions with some sources, and they can figure things out for themselves beyond that.

  64. Concerned Citizen says:

    Don’t know if this question has been asked but: Just how did Wilson allege Brown reached for his weapon? Seems difficult to reach into an SUV window, over the body of a 6’4″ 215lb trained offer and successfully get his hand on the weapon still in the holster on the opposite side of Wilson. Seems highly unlikely.

    I believe Wilson already had his weapon in his hand when he grabbed Brown. This would naturally cause a reaction to reach for or push away the weapon as you try to escape.

    Many times cops use the following buzz words when in situations of brutality and/or misconduct:
    “Stop resisting!”
    “He reached for my weapon”
    “I feared for my lifeed.”

  65. Christina says:

    I want to add that on the point of what’s been touted as the ‘robbery’ (which even by the descriptions given by those using it as validation and the video is at most ‘petty theft’ legally) the police stated that the initial contact between Darren Wilson and Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson was unrelated to the incident at the convenience store. They changed their story afterwards, but that is cause enough to be suspicious of the correlation of the two. Here’s the video: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/ferguson-police-name-michael-brown

    Great post! Very much appreciated!

  66. Jordan Croff says:

    This is an excellent resource. The only problem is that it’s preaching to the choir. The points herein have been explained thoroughly and succinctly yet those who insist on remaining willfully ignorant remain to do so as evidenced by some of the comments here and the author having to further clarify already well clarified points. Anyone is free to disagree with those points but at least attempt to honestly understand what you are disagreeing with.

  67. DJ Shiva says:

    In case no one has mentioned it, Stonewall riots were a huge flashpoint for the gay rights movement. Thought you might want that for that “yeah, so riots actually sometimes DO have a place in the struggle” type section.

  68. Jn Hiesfelter says:

    In regards to “stealing”, I agree that it irrelevant being shot to death. However, for the people who are clinging to “he was a thief”, there was a video from another angle of Michael paying for something at the store. The cops did not release this video from another angle – yet one more case of them only showing their narrative, especially in the crucial early days after the shooting.

  69. jcalton says:

    Re: Mike Brown was a giant demon / Darren Wilson was hurt by this,too
    Darren Wilson’s “beaten almost to death, put him in the hospital” injuries were so serious that he stood around the crime scene for hours. Does anyone know when those pictures of his wound (what my mom would call a boo-boo) were taken or when he checked in, compared to when the shooting occurred?

    Re: Mike Brown was a threat.
    A 153 feet-away threat. Which the police lied about for over 100 days.

    What I always say in cases like this is, don’t try the officer for the first shot, try him for the last shot.

    • aida manduley says:

      Not sure about the time of pictures, but digging around might provide the answer. Let us know if you find it!

      RE: that distance thing, a few other folks have commented, and I have a few links coming down the pipes to hopefully address it. Just haven’t added it to the post yet 🙂 Thanks for bringing it up!

  70. unknowntones says:

    One thing missing from the “fake facts” section is the distance Brown fled from Wilson’s police cruiser before he was killed: more than 150 feet. Wilson, other police officers and many journalists have frequently stated that the distance was only 35 feet. In the grand jury testimony the distance between Wilson’s car and Brown’s body is given as 153 feet, 9 inches (page 145).

  71. Alex Colvin says:

    You’re cherry picking, especially using MLK’s words. Disgraceful. MLK was a student of the kind of Civil disobedience which Thoreau advocated. Non-violent protest. To use MLK as an advocate for anything else by removing the context of his words, is insulting to his memory and a disgrace to intellectual rigor. He would not have approved on any level with the rioting that followed his own assassination and certainly not of what erupted after Ferguson. He would have spoken out against it. But what Ferguson is, is a reflection of the void in genuine leadership the black community that has suffered in the wake of MLK’s death which has left room for the militancy and anger that has taken its place. Your imaginary intellectualizing the MB/Wilson incident only helped fan those flames by providing a pseudo-rational for its continuation.

    • aida manduley says:

      We’re not saying he approves of riots, but that the arguments many people are using *against* riots through certain MLK quotes (or just general knowledge of his non-violence) is lacking in context, and that MLK had a more nuanced view of riots than many give him credit for.

  72. valeriesoe says:

    Reblogged this on beyondasiaphilia and commented:
    I’m in Asia right now so I’m viewing the Ferguson grand jury verdict aftermath from afar, but this article is an outstanding resource for talking about all the issues around it. I can’t add too much more to it since it’s thorough and comprehensive.

  73. leatherargento says:

    I don’t agree that all lives matter the same. I think cops who think they should always go for a kill shot (which is, despite what people seem to believe about cops, NOT what cops are trained to do to ANY color of people) are worth far less than the test of us. Wilson is lucky he’s not in NYC. If the POC presence in the NYPD continues to grow the way it has been, pretty soon there will be actual justice in who gets arrested.

    As it is, I’m horrified that nobody has brought up the fact that cops are supposed to shoot at knees before they shoot at the chest or head. That should immediately count against Darrell Wilson. That kind of information should be distributed before any of these abstractions. So should the idea that maybe hiring some Black cops who grew up in the neighborhood to safeguard it would be a better idea than dropping a lone jumpy white racist with an itchy trigger finger off in a neighborhood that’s basically a shooting gallery in his head.

    • Jeremy Snyder says:

      One thing, cops are certainly NOT trained to shoot at knees. This is a patently incorrect urban myth as I have learned from a wide variety of officers. Small targets are hard enough to hit even before you throw in movement. Officers are explicitly trained to shoot for the center of mass, i.e. the upper torso, where they are most likely to hit. Otherwise, the concept of community policing where officers live in and represent the community they serve in is a step in right direction (along with de-militarizing the warrior cop)

    • Min Xiu says:

      To counter this…in the military as well as most global police forces, the preferred part of a body to aim and fire at is ‘center mass’. This is to mean head, shoulder, and chest area, as this gives maximum stopping power (in conjunction with the firearm being used). Aiming anywhere else, has a higher chance to miss, and a sliver of opportunity for the assailant (regardless of race, of course), to enact damage (which of course, would vary based on the situation).

    • bradthebard says:

      Police are trained to eliminate the threat. If you shoot you aim for center mass because that shot is most likely to neutralize the threat. You need to better inform yourself.

  74. Jack Sakaluk says:

    I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.” THIS IS TAKEN FROM A POST OF A BLACK MAN >>> NFL player Benjamin Watson’s Ferguson post on Facebook goes viral

    Posted: Nov 26, 2014 11:42 AM CST
    Updated: Nov 26, 2014 11:42 AM CST

    • Min Xiu says:

      Regardless of race or creedo, or religion, Man would fall short in the eyes of their Deity. Plain and simple. Religion had nothing to do with this situation as well. Sure, we could take the religious (or even better, Christian) slant and say that Christ wanted people to obey those in power.

      And there’s many ways He himself had done so in his day. But if you also note those same scriptures, he also was disobedient to the laws of man, which were put in place to hamper the lives of women, Gentiles, et. al.

      • Jordan Croff says:

        The summary has the whole list. You might have to click ‘show more’ to see it all. The riots aren’t all exactly modern (some of them date back to the 1800’s) but I think it shows a pattern of privilege and disparity that leads up to modern times and also a comparison of property damage and loss of life.

  75. Pili says:

    Aida, thank you! This is a wonderful resource.

    You write: “One of San Francisco’s Public Defenders points to four of the major flaws that effectively undermine the grand jury’s decision.”

    It’s actually better than that; the statement is not merely from “one of San Francisco’s Public Defenders”, but from San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi himself, i.e. the Public Defender. Therefore, this is not simply an opinion from somebody who happens to be a Public Defender, but is an official statement from the Public Defender’s office.

  76. Meghan says:

    Under your section that is talking about “people should just stay home if they want to be safe”, please change women protecting themselves against rape to people or a gender neutral term. I’m sure you didnt mean it that way but it is sexist to assume or imply men are not raped/only women are raped. thank you!

  77. bill Lee says:

    People should use their own arguments instead of just throwing sound bites presented here. I hate arguing with conservatives as they throw sound bites they hear on foxnews. Read and learn people stop using other people’s arguments.

    • Jack Sakaluk says:

      Shame on the conservative. They should be on a blog such as this to be able to develop an eloquent argument of fairness and become a Minion and follow the poor oppressed vulnerables narrative like all totally correct liberals. Shame on the conservative for even attempting to have a discussion with such liberal self – righteous.

      • Min Xiu says:

        Liberalism….has nothing to do with what’s going on here. Where was the political slant at? Please point it out directly and call it as it’s presented. They had facts, separated from media bias. Also, there was QUITE the bias included from the law’s POV, which is clearly presented above. Should you have information, refuting their information, please share. Otherwise, it appears that you’re trolling.

  78. Aiden Sims says:

    In regards to my earlier comment (I am unable to reply to your reply). I read the article, but I should have stated I think that racism is not race exclusive should be in the section about reverse racism as a main idea, not a tertiary point that can only be viewed by clicking on a link. I think that concept is vital for people to understand, even in this situation.

    Also, this may be an unpopular view, but I think it should be stated, perhaps in the sections about having a dialogue about race, that this situation is the direct result of adhering to the social construct of race, which has no scientific basis and was created to justify atrocities against people of “inferior races”. I read an article the other day that succinctly supports this: http://www.vox.com/2014/10/10/6943461/race-social-construct-origins-census

    I also want to thank you for your dedication to intelligent debate based upon well supported arguments.

  79. Tony says:

    This post is a veritable treasure trove of information. Thank you so much for this (and I’m glad to see that it’s been shared on FB more than 10,000 times).

  80. Jack Sakaluk says:

    Is this exercise an attempt to address the issue fairly with real solutions or to supply information to the” Minions” who aren’t going to be happy until the outcome follows a narrative of guilty no matter what,removal of the police chief and district attorney as well as monetary reparations to the family and for good measure a donation to REV. Al Sharpton so he’ll go away.

      • Jack Sakaluk says:

        Just re-read the tippy top and low and behold silly me. I was correct … it’s to supply the Minions with information so as to arrive at the narrative you and your team of fair and unbiased co-conspirators believe. Thank You for your efforts. But the information your coming up and kidding yourselves with is the same old tired line of crap that just doesn’t resonate. I offered some ideas and information that responsible blacks are stating … but those posts were deleted. you seem hell bent on hashing over and dinking with facts about how many witnesses who said what and so on. Let the system work that you are bent on disking and start looking at the hole in the soul of this country. It starts in the hearts and minds of individuals will there be true equality, fairness and justice.

  81. Edin says:

    You can look up Supreme Court case Tennessee vs Garner, which ruled that it is unlawful for an unarmed person or suspect or suspected felon to be shot (dealt with using fatal force) while fleeing or surrendering.

    • aida manduley says:

      I’ll look into it. I read something about some old laws being presented to the jury without context and I believe it had to do with this (or rather, the lack of THIS one being presented). LMK if you have direct sources or links we could use!

  82. kaywelkaywel says:

    I appreciate the commitment to facts! In that vein, a quick heads up regarding your (cross-posted) lynching stat:

    Police killings are hard to track, but consensus seems to be that about 100 African Americans are killed by the police each year (one source of many: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/14/police-killings-data/14060357/). According to the Tuskegee institute, Jim Crow-era lynchings, peaked around 1894 with about 130 lynchings per year (http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/shipp/lynchingyear.html). This all soundsin sync with the stat so far, except that the stat cited says the rate is comparable, not the quantity.

    The African American population was around 7 million in 1890 (http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0056/tab01.pdf). The current African American population is estimated to sit around 38-39 million (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States). In order for the rate to be comparable, we’d have to have about 650 African Americans killed by the police each year, which (thankfully) is not the case.

    Otherwise, keep up the good work!

  83. Samantha says:

    No, it is not required that one be eloquent to be heard, but they do need to be reasonable and sometimes those two are intertwined. You go through point by point and defeat singular free standing arguments but none of these factors are free-standing when making a decision. You don’t analyze each point separately when making actual decisions. That’s why real life decisions are harder than tests on paper. I’m sure you think you are an anti-oppression thinker on paper but when you need to make choices about your life, I’m sure you are not considering the freedom and equality of others, about how your decisions to buy cheap things supports inequality and corporate oppression everywhere. You only think as far as your intelligence and recognition allows. The world is far from being able to achieve freedom and equality. Every choice for freedom creates a reaction of oppression for others. We do not live in an indefinite space free of consequences, otherwise everyone would have all the freedom in the world. Sure, maybe there’s an argument that in this specific circumstance excessive force was used, but to put the blame on the national police force for racism is illogical and ignorant. This is a localized problem in certain areas where the culture has caused ingrown racism due to past experience. I’m not sure if you’ve actually interacted with perpetrators of domestic violence or done any real social work but if you have any extensive experience, you’ll know that jobs which require interaction with dangerous criminals requires extra caution. To give everyone the benefit of the doubt is to subject yourself to undue risk. Police officers put their lives on the line and need to be extra cautious when they walk around the streets, especially in high-crime areas. It should be common sense to be humble, cautious, and safe when having a confrontation with a police officer but pop culture has created an image of invincibility. This movement has only made people more confrontational with police officers and giving rise to a greater need for the police to be cautious and protect themselves from public harm. The only reason this case became a national movement is because someone somewhere saw an opportunity to make personal economic/political gain and as a downhill bandwagon formed. Do you really think this is the epitome of unjust police force? Everything started before all the facts were out and all anyone knew was that a white police officer shot a black student. To think this is a well thought-out movement for equality which some have compared to MLK is just an abomination to racial equality and the speaking from pure emotion. So yes, you may be knowledgeable about how you feel but that is the limit. You see what you were told and you latched on to the first thing you were able to understand. As a result, you have piled on a one-sided montage of facts along the way to discovering “truth.” I by no means admit to knowing all the facts of this case since I have not had a chance to find all the facts through thorough and unpoliticized mediums, but from what I can see, this is no different from politics. When reasonable persons can disagree about the “right thing to do,” it’s clearly not a fight for universal justice but a struggle for political power.

    • aida manduley says:

      I’ll address a few of the salient points here worthy of clarification since a lot of the others are addressed in the post above.
      – Yes, I’ve extensively interacted with victims and survivors of domestic violence, both personally and professionally.
      – Totally true, that everything we do has effects and that under this current society, it’s hard if not impossible to do XYZ without also taking part in some sort of oppression. Still, the goal I’m advocating for is to reduce the harm and to promote holistic understandings of issues so that such a thing can happen. In the end, we put this information forth so people can make their own decisions about how to tackle their own existence and complicity in power structures that no single person can extinguish.

    • Connor says:

      This is probably the most coherent, articulate, well reasoned response to an article I’ve ever seen on the internet. Thank you for this brilliant input and the manner in which you expressed it.

  84. Stephanie says:

    I cannot recommend The New Jim Crow highly enough for anyone interested in “How did we get to this point?” Thank you so much for this well-balanced, thorough post.

  85. N. Netchuyk says:

    I’m not sure why that list of black deaths is supposed to be significant. Their lives are significant, yes, but the number of deaths from car accidents per year exceed the max of those, per year. Sure, you can call racist on some of the unfortunate events, and I don’t disagree with that.

    While this is an excellent article with numerous sources to back up your opinions, it’s also biased towards one view. Another person with opposing views can easily write up the same arguments in the other direction.

    And no, I’m not white or black, just a bystander. I simply don’t agree that this is a case of racism. The race card is thrown up too often to promote this cause, in the same way that you say white people shouldn’t throw up the stories about white deaths by black people because it’s just to make a point.

    Nice read though.

    • aida manduley says:

      The list of black deaths is to illustrate the point regarding the number of unarmed Black folks being killed by law enforcement, which is helpful in refuting arguments that minimize/erase the number, or claim it doesn’t happen. It doesn’t make sense to say “well the number of deaths caused by [insert unrelated thing] is higher!” because we’re not just talking about death rate, we’re talking about a specific cause of death. It’s akin to saying “whatever, Ebola, many more thousands of people die for [insert higher ranking cause of death.” It’s important to keep perspective, always, yes, but you’re missing the point.

      As far as “this isn’t about race,” we address that in the post. 🙂

  86. Mychaelah says:

    There is another thing that POC can and should do: VOTE. I’m not just talking about the Presidential elections! Our lives are most affected by local government. All elections have consequences. Please research the low voter turnout in Ferguson and shine a light!

  87. Byron James says:

    Thanks for bringing together these sources. Under the “Why is no one talking about a White person…” section, you state that crimes against White people “GET ATTENTION ALL THE TIME”. How would you address the inevitable argument that this interpretation of the ways that “the media” reacts to White on Black violence (vs. B/W violence) is no longer valid? It seems likely that most people in the United States can name three or four Black victims of White violence, but zero White victims of Black violence. The predictable theory is that mainstream media racializes White on Black violence intentionally as a way to create a narrative that is both inflammatory and polarizing (to sell commercials, papers, get clicks, etc.), and that this doesn’t seem to happen when the violent actor is a PoC, regardless of the identity of the victim. It would be useful to have a bit more on this, and on media bias more generally. The Ted Bundy example is interesting, but also 25 years old. Thanks!

    • aida manduley says:

      Hm, I think they can name them now, but that wouldn’t have been the case a bit ago, y’know? I feel the “GET ATTENTION ALL THE TIME” is talking about a historical pattern and kind of cultural narrative rather than the last few months or even year. Furthermore, I can’t speak to this w/ links because I’m about to go sleep, but in terms of personal experience, White is often considered the “default” and only difference gets brought up in ways that make “White crime” just “crime” (not the fault of White society or specific White people, just criminal elements overall), but then when POC come into the picture, things get immediately racialized and even the language used to address the issue changes (I hear WAY more “thug” for example, when discussing Black folks).

      There’s a specific link I’ve been looking for but wasn’t able to find again before publishing the post that had a roundup of various White men in high-profile murder cases that were treated with more kindness in the media and were way more recent than Bundy, so I’ll post it when I find it!

      • Byron James says:

        I understand the interpretation that racialized language is a kind of systemic symbolic violence toward an oppressed segment of the population. Still, there are those who would argue that, since at least early 2012, the Whiteness of the physically violent actor has become THE defining characteristic when debates about interpersonal violence in the United States reach a national level. That is tough to push back against, even with all of the ammunition provided in this blog.

        Of course, the coverings of mass/school shootings committed by White men are characterized primarily by debates on gun control or mental illness, and not race. As such, it might be an important example of the unmarked nature of White crime more generally. That feels like it might be changing, too, though, given the lenses used to analyze the UCSB killings and the relationship of the relative absence of critical discourse around the Marysville, WA shootings and the racial/ethnic identity of the shooter.

        Of course, “Black-on-Black” is mobilized in a way that “White-on-White” is not. However, the “B-o-B” formulation seems to be most commonly used in politically conservative media as a (lazy) response to the intentional amplification of Whiteness and racialization of stories about White-on-Black violence in politically liberal media. In those cases, both “White” and “Black” are marked, and in opposition to one another.

        Thanks for the response!

  88. scoobsz21 says:

    Thanks so much for this resource! I know it’s long already, but I have a couple ideas of things you can add (and if you choose to include them, I highly suggest you truncate what I write because concision is not something I’m known for…sorry!). I spent some time reading through treatises on Missouri Rules of Criminal Procedure to make sure I understood the legal process as best as this fledgling law student could. A few things I found:

    1.) As we already know, a grand jury is not supposed to find truth, guilt, or innocence. The fact that the grand jurors thought they were supposed to be doing that highlights a huge problem in the proceedings. They should have been dissuaded of that notion from the get-go. The grand jury’s job was to determine if there was sufficient credible evidence that, IF ASSUMED TO BE TRUE, supported probable cause based on the basic elements of the possible charges.

    2.) Credible evidence doesn’t mean TRUE evidence, just that the source of the evidence is not in doubt (e.g. evidence is not credible is someone claims to have been an eyewitness but was in Florida when it occurred or have a history of lying on the stand (I think one witness did have such a history?); evidence is credible, even if factually disputed, if the witness or source cannot be FACTUALLY found to have lied with motive–mixing up stories is part of what happens with eyewitnesses, and Darren Wilson’s testimony was contradictory in and of itself).

    3.) Probable cause is a very low bar. Like, beneath that to get a ruling in the trial court of even civil proceedings. It is slightly higher than having a suspicion, or the possibility of it happening, but WAY beneath an event DEFINITELY happening. It literally means that if all of the things alleged were true, there’s a good chance–but not overwhelming or definite change–that it happened. Put another way, you don’t necessarily think it happened, but wouldn’t be surprised if it did. An analogy: if a weather forecaster says there’s a 33% chance of rain, you might not take an umbrella with you, but you wouldn’t be surprised if it did rain that day. That’s the bar for probable cause.

    4.) Lawyers (particularly public defenders), the court, and the general public frequently state the general unfairness of grand jury trials. However, as of yet it has not been found to violate any federal constitutional rights. This means that anything that has happened within grand juries in the past is a legal tool to aid prosecutors. The prosecutor’s job, like any lawyer, is not to be “morally” fair but to use any and every legal tool at their disposal for their client. A huge part of the outrage is that here, the prosecutor clearly did anything BUT that, and while lots of (mainly white) folks (or people participating in/supporting whiteness) seem to believe that either the prosecutor was correctly doing his job OR was taking the moral highground, it’s just one more instance of when, in a situation where the current rules don’t favor a white man and the rules can easily and acceptably be altered to benefit him, the rules get changed at the expense of people of color.

    5.) Re: your point about talking about “white folks” as a monolith–obviously I agree with what you wrote, but I think another idea to toss out that I’ve found useful (which I alluded to above) is to also describe it as narratives about what it means to be fully “human”, which is coded in the word “white”, and which is why plenty of people of color can easily (and sadly) be grouped into the “White folks” category because their beliefs end up supporting narrow ideas of respectability and behavior that is decontextualized from socioeconomic and political forces that frame and shape peoples actions. You can probably say it way more eloquently than I can haha.

    6.) Because my numbers aren’t automatic, I’m going slightly out of order. Back to the grand jury, people should know that the existence of copious amounts of conflicting evidence are precisely the reason trial courts are part of criminal and civil procedure. In other words, the reason a trial is needed. The more conflicting the evidence is when the sources of the evidence are credible, the more necessary a trial is.

    7.) We don’t know for sure what charges were possible in the indictment, but we can make a pretty good guess. No indictment means that the grand jury didn’t think there was probable cause for ANY of the following:

    First-degree murder: intentional, done in bad faith from prior negative thoughts, pre-meditated–unlikely since it’d be difficult to prove Darren Wilson was specifically targeting Brown prior to their encounter (the law doesn’t like accepting “groups” as the target of pre-meditation)

    Second-degree murder: intentional, done in bad faith from prior negative thoughts, not pre-meditated–more likely there is sufficient evidence for to press charges on these grounds given the obvious racial bias from his testimony.

    Voluntary Manslaughter/Third-degree murder: heat-of-the-moment, intentional, not necessarily done in bad faith with prior negative thoughts, or pre-mediated. Very likely there is sufficient evidence to press charges.

    Involuntary Manslaughter: unintentional killing, no forethought whatsoever, but intended the act or the circumstances leading to the negligence that caused the act. Extremely likely there is sufficient evidence to press charges.

    Excessive use of deadly force: Duh on both counts. Also, there is that MSNBC video going around that is kind of clouding the issue. It’s true that SCOTUS overruled a law saying that you are justified in using deadly force to stop a suspected felon who is running away, but there are more caveats than that, and those were only kind of discussed. Basically, you have to justify any beliefs about their danger to either you (the cop) or the general public.

    (https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/471/1/case.html)

    8.) There’s another meme going around showing MLK & Co. at a march in suits, then some other young Black men in do-rags, shorts, and either tanks or no shirt on. The tag says “Why they took us seriously” over MLK and “why they don’t now” over the young men. Respectability politics at its core. If wearing suits made us human, we would have been given equal rights immediately after the Civil War. Anyway, it might be worth using as an illustrative example?

    That’s all I can think of for now as food for thought. Obviously do with it what you will–and again, a FANTASTIC resource 🙂 THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • aida manduley says:

      OH MAN. So much valuable commentary in here! I usually post the comments once I’m done addressing them, but I’m auto-approving this one and including more details from your post later because, uh, I need to sleep today, ha! Thanks for your thoroughness and I look forward to making further edits/checking out your line of thought.

  89. Mark says:

    Surprised it hasn’t come up more often, but after the presidential election in 2008 William Bennett said on Fox News that electing Obama “proved” we were a post-racial nation, and that he didn’t want to hear any more whining about race. Lately McWhorter said “The age of Obama is over”. It was wrong then and wrong now to assert the election of Obama was the end of the debate or the disparities.

  90. willemelias says:

    thank you for this. most of the conversations i’ve been engaging in revolve around due process and procedure…primarily the conflation of grand jury setting to trial setting.
    appreciate the time and effort put into this, and hope more folks who don’t understand will come on by and have a look, get an education.

  91. Jayy says:

    I remember reading that not only was the footage released of the convenience store of another guy, it was also on another date. People don’t even talk about that. One news outlet calls him a thief and everyone goes with it. Also, let’s keep in mind that “robbery” and theft are not the same thing.

    • aida manduley says:

      Yeah, but “strong-armed robbery” is a robbery where there’s the use or threat of force. From Justia: “However, if in a purse-snatching or other such crime, force or threat of force is used to overcome the active resistance of the victim, the offense must be classified as strong-arm robbery (3d).” So *shrug*

    • Jack Sakaluk says:

      My comment is in response to this comment by the moderator “: The other big point about addressing protests and riots here is that playing by the rules will not (and should not) be the only strategy of an entire movement.” It sure sounds like this to me.” Rioting and Looting is Okay when it is for a reason “ordained” as for the “good” of an entire movement.

  92. sid satyrson says:

    Does everyone here acknowledge that all of the looters and rioters should answer for their crimes with fines and jail time?

    • Jack Sakaluk says:

      No that would be in direct conflict with the belief : The other big point about addressing protests and riots here is that playing by the rules will not (and should not) be the only strategy of an entire movement.

  93. Steven says:

    Great article. One correction:

    “Here are some examples of White people rioting in Ferguson.”

    Those folks are actually listed as being in quite a few different locations, none of which are Ferguson.

  94. Sera Phina says:

    Thank you for all the time and research you put into this–an amazing feat.

    Now if all who judge would do similar research, and not just rely on twisted, distorted “stories” that came through mainstream media from the get-go.

    • aida manduley says:

      Thank you! I think a big takeaway from this is that we all have to stay updated and work collectively to unearth important information, whether it’s about Mike Brown and Ferguson or anything else 🙂

  95. Legsuptoh3r3 says:

    Protests, yes, riots, no. When businesses and private property are wantonly destroyed, any movement or issue whose supporters deploy such tactics chip big chunks of sympathy out of the limited part of the well of my heart that is reserved for social justice causes. For me, those violent actions negate the entire point of the protest and I no longer want to listen. I was literally in the middle of the WTO protests in Seattle- not participating, but observing and I can say that once it turned violent due to the anarchists who joined, the message of the protest was completely lost.

    When a business owner sees their shop burned to the ground or someone sees their car destroyed, the car that most likely helps them get to work everyday and feed their families, that is an absolute betrayal of your neighborhood and your community and that is criminal. When someone destroys the material goods that fits into the larger pool of resources so that people can earn a wage and then donate a percentage of that wage (statistics show that low wage earners donate more often on average than high wage earners -using minimum wage as the mean) to social justice causes- they are diminishing that pool of material resources as well as the sympathy of those who may have originally supported the intent and issues of the protest.

    We never have control over others, but what we always have control over is how we CHOOSE to react to others. Learn the game and it’s rules, figure out a way to bend them and make them work for you, and then dominate the game. This is what MLK did. He saw that the game that is criminal law and the justice system and the game that is marketing your important cause isn’t won by tearing down your community, harming others property and person – the game is won by choosing reactions ethically and carefully and then the rightness of your cause speaks the loudest and doesn’t alienate even those who hate change.

    • aida manduley says:

      Totally acknowledge that perspective. Our mentioning of riots here is less about “YESSSS EVERYONE GO RIOTTTTT” and more to explain the rationale behind them and how/when/why they can be useful (even when they will alienate possible supporters of a cause). I think we all have to challenge ourselves too, though, when we are compelled to stop listening to an argument or compelled to stop engaging with an entire issue because of a riot, to see beyond that instance and A) put it in context and B) see what else can be done/is going on. The other big point about addressing protests and riots here is that playing by the rules will not (and should not) be the only strategy of an entire movement. Personally, I’m way more of a “play by the rules” than a “smash the windows” kind of person, but it’s critical that I/we understand what drives people to smash those windows and how that comes to be.

      • VN says:

        Thanks for the post, it was very helpful. I understand what you’re saying in terms of trying to understand the background/rage that leads people to respond violently (as we’re not talking about one incident). However I still say the violence puts me off as an average Asian guy just trying to make a living an support my family. I agree with the poster that the solution is learning the game and using its rules to change the system.

        I also don’t understand the reverse racism argument. I read the post linked and it was not clear. I can see reverse racism is just racism but then it goes on to say because whites are favored people can’t be racist against them? That seems kind of silly to me. I’m sure there are black people who are straight up racist to other races just like there are races who are racist to blacks.

        Last comment: it sounds like you’re saying the video of Mike Brown at the store was an attempt to show he was a thug and deserved to be killed. Looking at the video I would say he used physical force and robbed the owner, not just shop lifted as some of the comments claim. I also feel like the video can give us information of whether or not some of the other claims by the cop is reasonable. If this was a straight A student with a clean background I would be more inclined to not believe that he was trying to grab he cops gun. I guess your post is saying I’m wrong to think this, but that’s the way I see it.

        • aida manduley says:

          Violence puts off a lot of people, yeah! And rioting is pretty incendiary to moderates overall, so that’s understandable; the idea is to share more perspectives on it and try to explain why some view it differently 🙂

          The link talks about 2 different scenarios—they’re not one following the other. So reverse racism doesn’t make sense in Scenario A using a particular definition and it doesn’t make sense in Scenario B using the other dominant definition. Long story short: it’s either racism or it’s not. Depending on your definition of racism, something may or may not be racist, but the only way “reverse racism” makes sense is if racism gets defined as “White people doing bad things to Black people” or something.

          I agree that someone demonstrating force in one scenario can give us a place to base further assumptions or thoughts. The problem we’re pointing out is how it’s being twisted by many to drag Brown’s rep through the mud, and by others, to just flat-out say “and he got what he deserved.”

  96. Gebel Stevenson says:

    if i was a cop, i would be more trigger happy to black people because they are more likely to be doing a crime and/or cause harm to me. You guys can try to help blacks out of their social scum hole, but it is up to them to stop killing each other over drugs, having babies out of wedlock, and not getting an education.

  97. Jonathan says:

    According to FBI statistics, black americans kill white americans twice as much as white americans kill black americans.

    That should be included in the race sections in order to give a more accurate view on todays society.

  98. Carlos Fernandez says:

    First of all I AM NOT a POC (Person Of Color) just because I am Latino and was born in Cuba. I am sick and tired of people using this terminology when it is not correct. There are white Latinos, black Latinos, and Latino’s of color. Secondly, you appear to “cherry pick” your information. You never mention the video that shows Mr. Brown giving the store owner a beat down just prior to his incident with Officer Wilson. I read about half of your entire post and the elimination of facts that MAY point to Mr. Brown’s culpability in this are always excluded.

    • aida manduley says:

      Hey Carlos! You’re correct on that there are a variety of Latin@ subtypes. If you don’t identify as a person of color, that’s fine; we’re not going to tell anyone what they should be calling themselves. The term POC is a term of solidarity, and one that has been used in a variety of ways and contexts. We are, in fact, using it politically to refer to a group and in solidarity here (that doesn’t negate that some folks won’t want/like the term, as you mentioned). I’m curious what you mean by Latinos of color as opposed to Black and White Latinos? Do you mean folks with like…tan skin or…?

      It’s interesting to see how people label themselves, too, since most of the light-skinned Cubans and Puerto Ricans I’ve approached (or that I have in my family) that were born on their respective islands, particularly if they’re Republican, don’t consider themselves POC. (There’s also an interesting history to the term Hispanic—the book “Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats, and Media Constructed a New American” by G. Cristina Mora is a good read if you’re interested in that).

      Anyway. Re: the video—yeah, that was not included here because we’re not trying to get at “is Darren Wilson guilty? Is Mike Brown innocent?” We’re trying to debunk issues in the framing and certain facts that are getting brought up (and if anything, we’re more arguing for why an indictment would’ve made sense rather than the verdict that would’ve come post-indictment). But since you and other folks are bringing it up, I’ll link it above and contextualize it!

  99. slang says:

    Regarding “I’m a non-black POC (or a White person) and this affects me too! — According to the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, the racial group most likely to be killed by law enforcement is Native Americans. That needs to be part of the conversation, and is not a derailment of it. Would you be willing to acknowledge that in that section?

  100. DLS77 says:

    Thank you so much Aida and everyone who helped you for putting together this comprehensive piece. I can only imagine how much time it took. Your labor of love is appreciated.

    • aida manduley says:

      Thank you! That’s actually linked to already (one of the other folks who commented let us know about it and we put it in), but yes! Useful, but as you said, definitely not for all audiences. I think the same goes for a lot of what’s linked to here; our hope is that people will be able to browse through and find what they need for their specific circumstances. 🙂

  101. Jack Sakaluk says:

    I was anxiously clicking on the site expecting a place of neutrality or a place were real catalysis might be. I should have realized before clicking in the title it states “How to Argue” and eloquently on top of that “with facts” (whose facts ?) as well. Until we as as individuals first find that truth inside of us (Physic / Spiritual Change) all this surface stuff is nothing more than fodder for argument. All the social engineering and political correctness that can be perpetrated on us will not fix this. It must be an ” inside job ” starting with the individual.

  102. Bettina says:

    Can you link the permalink associated with “Furthermore, if you’re White and/or light-skinned, please read this article.” At the moment it just links to a tumblr (not the specific post). Thank you for all this btw. 🙂

  103. teachpoet says:

    Reblogged this on teachpoet and commented:
    This is a deeply important post about Ferguson. We all need a reality check as we post, rant and connect this issue to the larger world. It is imperative that you read this. It doesn’t mean you need to argue: this may mean you never engaged in an argument.

  104. RW says:

    You need to correct the 16 people testified under oath. Those are witness statements made not under oath. The story points out that once they were called to testify under oath, most changed their story, or refuse to testify.
    You need to change the “photographs of Mike Brown’s body were never taken because the MEDICAL EXAMINER RAN OUT OF BATTERIES .” Also misleading since these were the crime scene photos, and there were hundreds of photos taken at the scene by other officers, just not the medical examiner who showed up. There are photos of the body.

  105. H T says:

    Also, your count of the number of witnesses who said Michael Brown’s hands were up in the air is inaccurate. Whoever recorded the number “16” probably got it from PBS Newshour’s little chart, but also seemed to have double-counted the separate interviews of the same witness. The actual count is that 12 distinct witnesses said Brown’s hands were up, of the 14 witnesses who spoke to the issue. (The other two said he didn’t put his hands up.) Take a look at the table yourself (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/newly-released-witness-testimony-tell-us-michael-brown-shooting/) and you can see that while there are indeed 16 green check marks in the column about MB having his hands up, there are four pairs of check marks that come from the same witness, during separate testimonies. Again, the end conclusion is the same, but I want to make sure we present accurate information.

  106. H T says:

    Unfortunately, your comments about the medical examiner aren’t quite right. (I want to point this out because it’s really important to get the facts right, and this post has gotten enough shares on Facebook that we need to make sure people are echoing the correct facts.) The person who failed to take pictures and “didn’t take measurements” wasn’t the medical examiner–it was the medical legal investigator. To be clear, that’s not the person who conducts the autopsy; it’s the person who initially goes to the scene and orders that the body be delivered to the medical examiner. Moreover, pictures were taken by others at the crime scene (according to the testimony–I’m not sure how well the pictures document the scene since we don’t have them, though) so I think it’s wrong to say that photographs of the body were “never taken.”

    Though, it’s a separate point to say that the evidence was presented in a skewed and unfair manner–I believe the evidence was completely one-sided, and the fact that photos of Wilson were shown but that photos of Brown weren’t shown is an obvious sign of lack of rigor from the prosecutor–there’s not a single prosecutor who wouldn’t want to show photos of the victim and what happened to them (if the prosecutor wants an eventual conviction).

    Just to preempt another point that might be misconstrued: In the same document you cite, the witness (the medical investigator) says that s/he never took measurements. But measurements were made by the medical examiner, who later conducted the autopsy (you can see that in the Autopsy document: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2014/11/24/ferguson-evidence/assets/reports/2014-5143-autopsy-report.pdf). In fact, the state’s medical examiner took extensive measurements and recorded the injuries in a lot of detail–it has a lot more detail than the private autopsy the Brown family requested (http://graphics8.nytimes.com/newsgraphics/2014/11/24/ferguson-evidence/assets/reports/michael-brown-private-autopsy-report.pdf).

    • aida manduley says:

      This is fantastic! Thank you so much! Just incorporated all this in 🙂 (Quick note—we did say that pictures were taken, the “never taken” was referring to the person whose testimony we were linking to). I will also mention this to the contributor who provided these links so they’re directly aware as well.

    • aida manduley says:

      We’ve added this as a question/statement because many of the folks involved in making this article happen have actually heard it used as an argument (interpersonally, I don’t think we claimed it was said in a court). In fact, many of the statements we refute/discuss/give more info on above have been taken verbatim from conversations I and others have had in the past week!

      • Kyle says:

        I’m sorry. I think this is a good article. Definitely a good article. I think racism is a problem that we can’t ignore and there are racist murders in the U.S.. I don’t know if this was one of them but one part of the article that I have trouble with is when you talk about black people being able to refer to white people as a group and not the other way around. That they need to learn everything about white people to survive. I’m sorry but that is racist. You cannot “learn everything” about white people. We are all different. But to refer to us as a group is to take away any gains there might have been in individuals not being racist. AND there is a discrepancy between the number of riots when a white person shoots a black person and when a black person shoots a black person. I don’t know percentages but a majority of black homicides are the result of abother black man behind the gun. So while this white person may have been racist, and the grand jury may have been too, the “black community” has a problem as well that needs to be addressed. Also, the rioting was not just a cause of the Grand juy decision because there was rioting the night after the murder as well. If you want to fix racism, take the media out of it, and fix the system to be able to punish the individual rather than bashing the group without media interference. You can’t deny the media player a role in this case and it may have hurt it. Also, rioting doesn’t solve anything. You can’t win. What happens when you “defeat” the police? National guard. What happens if you “defeat” them? The rest of the military. So while rioting may feel good, it only hurts the community around them. And in this community, that’s predominantly African American people.

        • aida manduley says:

          A few things:
          – For the “learn everything” line, that’s a quotation from someone. They do not literally mean “learn everything about White people”—they are talking about how for minority groups in the U.S., it’s crucial to learn the ways of the dominant social group in order to thrive or even survive, and how for POC it’s drilled into our collective heads that we must know and “ideally assimilate” to Whiteness while it does not go the other way around.
          – refer to the section about crime stats and “does this mean Black people commit more crimes?” for more information related to your

  107. Really Truly Wow (@ReallyTrulyWow) says:

    Since when do you, who have not participated on the grand jury and have not reviewed the actual evidence, able to make these statements? You are repeating popular media blasts that are clearly not fair or balanced or even all that factual. Many years ago I saw a cop get off for shooting and killing a white soccer mom, unarmed, with an infant, fleeing from a pharmacy after she had just attempted to pass a fake prescription for Soma. He was not white. Where were the riots then? Oh, that’s right the shooting was the consequence of her actions. So basically, you are saying that ONLY black lives matter, and police actions are ONLY corrupt if the criminal/victim is black? You, my dear, are therefore RACIST!

    • aida manduley says:

      Maybe you should, uh, read the article…? If you’re pressed for time, check the section “BUT ALL LIVES MATTER,” the one about “where are the riots for white victims?,” and the mentions of reverse racism. We’ve already covered this ground above.

      • Justin D. Fax says:

        Yes, all lives matter, including the cop. Brown “tussled” with the cop and grabbed for his gun. I don’t know why Brown assaulted a cop. it is pure speculation on anyone’s part to try to explain it, but for some reason Brown physically assaulted a cop and wrestled for his gun. That is a felony and any reasonable person would assume that behavior will get you shot. When he ran, Wilson gave chase and ordered Brown to get on the ground. That is standard police procedure. Brown did not comply. Not one witness has stated that Brown complied with the officer’s demand to get down. Not one. Having sat on several juries in my life, I can tell you that wrestling with the evidence is what a jury does. Speculation and cherry picked facts doesn’t cut it, nor does it do anything to end the violent cycle in our culture. As long as we keep teaching the children of color that they are second class citizens, that no matter what they do or how hard they try there will be racists who will shoot them if they say the wrong thing, if that becomes that kid’s expectation that is exactly what he/she will become – second class citizens. They will live up, or down, to whatever expectations the parents set for them.

      • Aiden Sims says:

        While I agree that reverse racism does not exist, I think it is because racism is not exclusive to one race. The term “racism” covers all forms of racism by definition. I also think that point could still be supported by your statements about what racism towards people generally perceived as white would look like.

        • aida manduley says:

          Yeah, the link I provided there talked about it 🙂 Since debunking or supporting “reverse racism” depends on what definition one uses, I explained it from the 2 primary perspectives. The only way “reverse racism” makes sense as a construct is if someone defines “racism” as “White people doing bad things to Black people.”

      • Really Truly Wow (@ReallyTrulyWow) says:

        You, uh…should improve your reading comprehension. The situations were nearly identical, yet you think it’s OK to have a riot about a police officer who protects himself in the line of duty because the victim is not the same color as he is. “Reverse racism” BTW implies that “racism” applies only to certain races and not to Caucasians, which becomes an element of actual racism itself. No American should act as reprehensibly as the looters and rioters have. MLK said hate cannot drive out hate, or did you just ignore that part of his doctrine? Again, you are a racist, a SJW, who thinks that quietly typing a blog about an issue of which you know NOTHING (I happen to be mixed as is my husband), somehow means you are going to help the situation when most people don’t give a crap about your opinion. You can’t help fix something that is not broken. People have the right to protect themselves from battery, from bodily harm, whether they are police officers or not. Get over it. You know, and therefore are, nothing. You don’t have a dog in this fight.

  108. W says:

    Typos in the very beginning. Two ‘the’s and missing a word I think.

    “Attorney for the Ferguson store, Jake Kanzler, said the the Ferguson store owner, nor any store employee called the police to report any shoplifting of cigars, but, rather, a customer called the police.” (here.)

    • aida manduley says:

      Thanks for catching that! Just corrected it 🙂 It’s a long document and was worked on in various sections by multiple hands/eyes, so that accounts for some of the random things like this. We welcome folks’ corrections and information! If you see anything else, please let me know.

      • Justin D. Fax says:

        You seem to ignore the fact that Brown’s partner admitted to the theft. You also ignore his testimony. His statement on network TV was that Brown was reaching down to his waist, perhaps to pull up his pants, when Wilson shot him. This is consistent with Wilson’s statements. Also missing from your analysis is the testimony from two eyewitnesses, both African American, who stated on network TV that Brown was leaning into the squad car “tussling” with the officer when the officer’s gun discharged inside the vehicle. That is also consistent with Wilson’s statement.

        • aida manduley says:

          Hi hi! Added some text to clarify that it was 16/29 (as reported by PBS) folks (and removed the oath piece). The tussling isn’t relevant to that section because it’s not when he was killed (as noted in the text). Re: the theft, added some text to contextualize and clarify (since the point wasn’t to debate the theft, but talk about how it was being used to say “Mike Brown was a thug and got what he deserved”). If you can send me a link to add info about the “reaching toward his waistband” piece, we can add it in as well! Thank you!

          • bradthebard says:

            “The tussling isn’t relevant to that section because it’s not when he was killed (as noted in the text)”

            I am sorry but that is absurd. The tussling represented an altercation with the police officer (assaulting an officer is generally frowned upon by most law abiding citizens) and was a critical context for the rest of the interaction. That tussle represented felony assault. Now understand, I think officer Wilson pretty much screwed the pooch from the getgo on his handling of the situation and there should be an investigation and charges brought, but it is a disservice to the truth of the situation to act as if the preceding events had no bearing on the outcome.

      • Mrs Oberst says:

        Here is a series of tweets that comment on the waistband thing, among other inconsistencies. (Im trying to find this article about the prosecutor who is also the person who spearheaded a thing in favor of Darren Wilson, and has a history of always siding with cops.)

  109. Isabole Motumbu says:

    You keep talking about ‘POC’ but change it over to blacks. Why don’t you just stay consistent and say blacks? When you say POC you are referring to Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Blacks, Vietnamese, Siberians… But you only say POCs have so and so badly and quickly just only cite Blacks as one of your statistics but not Chinese or Indians or Arabs or Vietnamese or Siberians at all.

    • aida manduley says:

      This is an intentional use of language, not an accidental inconsistency—when we talk about POC, we’re talking about the collective group, but when we single out Black folks and communities, or specifically say “Black and Latino” it’s because the disparities of the in-group (especially in relation to Whites) is what we’re discussing. Let us know if there’s a confusing or misleading part, though, and we’re happy to change it!

      • Ana says:

        I believe you cannot discuss social justice without including the collective. By excluding the other POC (aside from Blacks and Latinos) you are omitting struggles that are very well prevalent in their communities as well. If we are going to argue for racial equality and social justice, we cannot afford to handpick. This is the hypocrisy (although I appreciate the initiative of this article) that I cannot understand. The rest of the POC injustices need to be brought to light aside with #blacklivesmatter.

        • aida manduley says:

          Hi Ana! Other POC injustices definitely need to be discussed and we need to address POC communities holistically, but I (and the others who helped with this piece) believe that co-opting a conversation that is working to highlight and explain the issue of Ferguson, Mike Brown, and police brutality in those spaces is irresponsible. I wholly believe in intersectionality theory and the ideas of how we must connect our struggles, as noted above, and this post is keeping that in mind (e.g. clarifying that women, and especially trans women of color, need to also be considered in these conversations of brutality) while staying on the core topic of Ferguson and the Mike Brown case. For more on this, check out the “BUT ALL LIVES MATTER” section of the post.

  110. Victim Much? (@victimmuch) says:

    This is a very impressive tome, unfortunately it is based on flawed thinking. All you are doing by creating the bingo card and the spinal reflex responses is encouraging people to stop thinking. All your posts on your website are the same: empowered victim retweets. The causes change but the problem is your ego. It is the (centuries old) human condition. Unfortunately it is wrong 100% of the time. You really could create a victim artificial intelligence smartwatch to speak for you and sew your mouth shut..

    You are a retweeter (defined by me as someone who doesn’t think) and your impressive victimmuch masterpost isn’t going to help anything.

    I would recommend you do the opposite and think the opposite of everything you believe in on all matters 100% of the time. Your victimmuch ego is not you.

    Romans 14:17-19
    For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

    Tell your victimuch ego to shut up anytime it tells you you are a victim. That is what I mean by serving Christ. You can put away your RT Christianity bingo card/blog post.

    Its not too late. Seek the peace that passes all understanding. Do the opposite, think the opposite of everything your ego is telling you to say and do.

    The ego killed Michael brown. Your ego contributed. It is the (centuries old) human condition.

  111. Casey says:

    I wish I could find it again but there was a great response to “they’re destroying their own cities” from a protester which goes simply “we don’t own shit out here.” It cuts to the larger problem with the whole landowners junk where white people own most of the actual property in poc neighborhoods and make their money parasitically by renting it out.

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