Michael Brown

Media Outlets Construct Mike Brown's (Thug) Life After Death

[OPINION] Michael Arcneaux says the hunt for the slain teen's criminal records is nothing more than an attempt to defend the officer who killed him

Michael Brown

Michael Brown

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I’m all for keeping the story of Michael Brown alive, but not in the context of creating a narrative that perpetuates the status quo and stigmas about Black men as opposed to any reporting that would offer substantive information related to his death.

According to reports, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and a California online journalist both petitioned the St. Louis County Family Court to unseal any records about Brown in family court, should they exist. The citizen journalist in question is Charles C. Johnson, who writes for the site GotNews. In various tweets, Johnson says “two law enforcement contacts” revealed that Brown had a juvenile arrest record involving a second-degree murder charge. These same “contacts” also said they “heard” that Brown was a Crip.



If there’s any lingering doubt about what Johnson’s real intention is, Johnson also opined, "Knowing the truth about Brown's past will help us gauge the credibility of his parents and family who have called him a 'gentle giant.'"

Johnson’s sentiment is all too telling. Johnson wants to essentially portray Brown as a brute, and thus, absolve Darren Wilson for killing him. To Johnson, the onus is on Brown for daring to be Black and potentially having the unmitigated gall to not lead a life of perfection. Or, as the New York Times would say, it's worth proving that he was “no angel.”

Nonetheless, it’s one thing for some troll who rushes to answer the “tips” of biased sympathizers of Darren Wilson, but another for a newspaper to behave in similar fashion.

Lest we not forget Christine Byers, a crime reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, tweeting “Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop's version of events in shooting #Ferguson,” only for the paper to reveal that Byers had been on medical leave since March and “is not involved in the Ferguson coverage while she is on leave.”

Byers herself later acknowledged that her tweets “did not meet standard for publication.”

Now this.

In its write up on the search for Brown’s potential juvenile records, the AP wrote, “The basic legal argument boils down to the question of whether Brown's privacy rights extend beyond the grave.”

That, plus it’s a reminder to persecuted Black men and women everywhere that even in death, our names will be sullied for the sake of giving our persecutors escape any consequence for their actions.

Black lives do not have to be lived pristinely to be of value. No matter what Michael Brown did before he died – up to the very last few minutes – it does not excuse the actions of Darren Wilson. That will eventually be settled by a grand jury, but this fishing expedition of Michael Brown’s childhood just goes to show low racial biases will take certain people and institutions. Brown’s juvenile background has no bearing on what preceded his death. Period.

Since we’re all for acting questions, riddle me this, y’all: Where in the hell is Darren Wilson?

Why did the Ferguson Police Department plot a de facto escape plan for Wilson after he shot an unarmed teenager from 25 feet away and left him to sit in his own blood for several hours?

Why won’t St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch recuse himself from the investigation of Michael Brown’s death given his family ties with St. Louis' police department?

If he won’t step aside himself, why won’t Gov. Jay Nixon be a leader and replace him?

If we’re all about taking about people’s pasts, are Charles C. Johnson and staff members on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looking into Darren Wilson’s role in a previous police force in Jennings, Missouri that was shut down due to the racial tensions between the White cops and Black residents?

Speaking of police forces, why not sue the Ferguson Police Department for the actual police report of what happened the day Michael Brown was killed?

Hey, at least my questions are relevant because in the end, Michael Brown didn’t have to be a “gentle giant” to make Darren Wilson any less of a monster. Alleged theft of cigarillos doesn't excuse a public execution either. All of that is irrelevant no matter how much clamoring for dirt various bigots and the media outlets that seek click bait to capitalize on them will tell you.

For the record, a court official confirmed on Wednesday morning that Michael Brown was never found delinquent of the juvenile equivalents of any Class A (second degree murder, first degree robbery) or B felony charges (voluntary manslaughter, second-degree robbery and first-degree burglary), nor was he facing any at the time of his death.

With that settled, why don’t you mudslingers in the media go be more useful and locate the whereabouts of the person who killed him. It seems like there may be a story there, no?

Michael Arceneaux is the author of the “The Weekly Read,” where tough love is served with just a touch of shade. Tweet him at @youngsinick.





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