What’s Going on in Ferguson

Police officers point their weapons at demonstrators protesting against the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

“We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice” Lesley McSpadden 

The Grand Jury in the Michael Brown shooting is expected to announce their decision in the coming days. Michael Brown was the unarmed African American teen killed by the Caucasian, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9th. Following Brown’s shooting there was days of protest, some violent in the City of Ferguson, Missouri. The jury is weighing whether to indict Wilson or clear him from all wrong doing. Today, we heard two different messages from key individuals in this case, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri and the parents of Brown, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr.

McSpadden and Brown Sr. spoke to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. “We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice,” McSpadden told CNN in Geneva, Switzerland. “We need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson.”

While their testimony to the committee took place behind closed doors, the delegation that organized their trip said the couple would read from a statement submitted by the Brown family and organizations called HandsUpUnited, the Organization for Black Struggle, and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment. The document says Brown’s killing and force used by police officers during protests that followed the killing “represent violations of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” Michael Brown Sr. said he and his wife were offering “an outlook on what’s going on in the United States and all over the world with the police, police brutality, no justice (Josh Levs).”

While Brown’s parents were calling for justice in Missouri, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was calling for calm following the grand jury’s pending decision. “In the days immediately following Michael Brown’s death, peaceful protests were marred by senseless acts of violence and destruction,” the governor said.

“These measures are not being taken because we are convinced that violence will occur, but because we have a responsibility to prepare for any contingency,” said the governor.

“This is America. People have a right to express their views and grievances, but they do not have the right to put their fellow citizens or their property at risk,” he said.

Instead of asking the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner, Governor Nixon should be spreading that message to the Ferguson and Missouri State police officers. It was the police, not protesters, who turned Ferguson into a war zone. It was the police, not Ferguson protesters, who gunned down an unarmed teenager. If protests erupt in Ferguson again, it will be because of an unlawful justice system not unlawful protesters.

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