Is it relevant that St. Louis, near Ferguson, recently had the third-highest per capita murder rate of any large city (with 250,000 or more residents) in America, ranking behind New Orleans and Detroit? And, according to an analysis of 2011 FBI crime stats, St. Louis had the second-highest overall crime rate among large cities.
Is it relevant that the state of Missouri ranks second among states in per capita black homicide victimization rate? According to the Violence Policy Center, only Nebraska has a higher per capita murder rate for black victims, based on 2011 FBI data. Last year, according to FBI statistics, more than 6,300 blacks were homicide victims, or almost 18 per day, almost all at the hands of other blacks. Even more disturbing, a decreasing number of murders are “cleared” (solved). In 1961, 93 percent of all homicides were cleared. That number now is down to 64 percent in 2013, primarily because of drug and gang-related murders where people don’t talk because of a “no snitch” culture or fear of retaliation.
Is it relevant that while the world watched the Michael Brown case, two black teenagers, and one Hispanic teenager were arrested for murder in a deadly hammer attack against a St. Louis man?
As to the Michael Brown/Darren Wilson case, is it relevant that the forensic evidence shows a trail of blood leading away from Officer Wilson’s car and then back toward Wilson, corroborating Wilson’s version that Brown charged him? Also, several witnesses, including black witnesses, confirmed Wilson’s version.
One witness described Brown charging toward Wilson in a “full charge”: “(Mike Brown) stopped. He did turn, he did some sort of body gesture, I’m not sure what it was, but I know it was a body gesture. And I could say for sure he never put his hands up after he did his body gesture; he ran towards the officer full charge. The officer fired several shots at him, and to give an estimate, I would say roughly around five to six shots was fired at Mike Brown. Mike Brown was still coming towards the officer, and at this point I’m thinking, wow, is this officer missing Mike Brown at this close of a range? Mike Brown continuously came forward in the charging motion, and at some point, at one point he started to slow down and he came to a stop. And when he stopped, that’s when the officer ceased fire, and when he ceased fire, Mike Brown started to charge once more at him. When he charged once more, the officer returned fire with, I would say, give an estimate of three to four shots. And that’s when Mike Brown finally collapsed.”
Yes, several “pro-Michael Brown” pundits point to the greater number of witnesses who apparently saw Michael Brown with his hands up. But when witnesses don’t agree, with physical evidence that doesn’t line up, this isn’t even probable cause, let alone reasonable doubt — if the matter ever reached a jury.
Is it relevant to those crying “injustice” that the Department of Justice is conducting two investigations, one to determine whether Michael Brown’s civil rights were violated and the other a top-down review of the Ferguson Police Department? Or that our top law enforcement officer — the President of United States — is black, as is the attorney general, the secretary of the department of Homeland Security and Obama’s national security advisor? Or that all of this suggests an extremely thorough investigation, with absolutely nothing swept under the carpet?
The media, led by CNN, covers Ferguson as a civil rights story — rather than focusing on the simple question of whether Officer Wilson responsibly used lethal force. Incredibly, Harvard’s Charles Ogletree, once Barack Obama’s law professor, called Ferguson “just like the assassination” of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ogletree said: “This reminds us of exactly what happened years ago when I was a young kid to the great man Emmett Till, the young kid who was killed in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. This is even worse, because Michael Brown did not break in any law at all, in terms of the police officer.”
Many say Ferguson suffers because its police force “doesn’t look like the city.” Meaning what? That white cops can’t police black areas? That when people call 911, they want an officer who “looks like them”? What do the “activists” think Dr. King would say if we assumed cops were bad because of the color of their skin? He’d call it what it is: racially profiling white cops.
So much for evaluating people, including police officers, not on the basis of their color — but on the content of their character.
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host.