Like most young people these days, checking Twitter is one of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning. In the past few days, my timeline has been filled with tweets about Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s ironic statements quotes about how “the world is watching,” memes comparing Captain Ron Johnson to Stephen from 12 Years a Slave and debates about what people should do in St. Louis and beyond when the grand jury announcement drops—but there was one recent tweet in particular that gave me pause yesterday. A young sister from Louisville posted two simple, yet profound words:
One hundred days since Mike Brown was killed. One hundred days that we have cried, prayed and fought for justice. One hundred days of cover-up, lies and a lack of transparency from the Ferguson Police Department and the state of Missouri. Protestors are fed a steady stream of “breaking” news from various media outlet, as unidentified sources reveal details and rumors that do little but increase tensions and anxiety of those who are already living in fear in the St. Louis area. Not to mention the tanks being driven down the highway, the pictures of Homeland Security vehicles parked in the area and the escape plans being distributed to employees in the Ferguson area.
As someone who helped organized the first protest at the Ferguson Police Department on August 9th and many of the actions after that, I field many questions about accountability and work to ensure that every protestor is stays peaceful. However, I never hear those questions presented to officers or police captains or chiefs who willing took a oath to protect and serve. All I ever hear from Chief Belmar, Chief Dotson, and Captain Johnson is that ‘’violence will not be tolerated” but nothing about the violence that law enforcements officers inflicted on peaceful protestors—let alone the violent act committed against Mike Brown. Re-watch the press conferences and speeches that have given and you will hear nothing about measures to respectfully and peacefully to reengage the protest community, just statements about hours of police trainings and how many officers (1000 to be exact) they have on stand-by, and how they are equipped with almost a quarter of million dollars of weaponry to face US citizens. How do you think this fear-mongering has impacted the views of the mostly peaceful protestors in the minds of people across the world?
Wouldn’t an indictment be in the best interest of citizens and elected officials alike? If for no other reason but to return the citizens of Ferguson and the surrounding areas to a sense of normalcy? There are at least eight witnesses providing information that suggests that at the very least, a trial would be appropriate. How broken is a system that could ignore the cries of the people and dismiss eyewitnesses in order to protect one officer? How many boarded up windows and evacuation plans must be sent out for elected officials like Governor Nixon, Mayor Slay and County Executive Stenger to realize that it is not the police force that is in danger, nor citizens who are in danger of being harmed by protestors, it is the entire community being threatened by a police department with seemingly unchecked powers?
One hundred and one days later, it doesn’t seem like we are any closer to justice. The movement is sustainable. The people are committed. But the fight has only just begun, because our government and our police officials have made it quite clear that they are not yet willing to listen to the cries of the people.
Taurean Russell is one of the co-founders of Hands Up United. Follow him on Twitter: @hotepTNT