Mike Brown

(Un)Justifiable Homicide: Now What?

Source: ABC News

Source: ABC News

In recent months, social media has sounded and maintained the outcry that “Black Lives Matter” as a result of the murders of unarmed black children, teenagers, men, and women. While there surely have been others that have not obtained the same media attention, notable victims include, but are not limited to, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Jordan Davis, Eric Garner, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice. In each of these cases, a schism often arose among public opinion that centered on the probable guilt or innocence of the victims and/or their associates. The innocence of the victims and/or their associates has often been a focal point of debate among persons, pundits, politicians, etc. in order to determine if the victims’ deaths were in fact justifiable.

Granted, one may contend, that from a legal standpoint, determining whether or not a homicide is justifiable is logical and a necessary component of the American legal system. Without it, many innocent people simply seeking to protect themselves and their families would probably go to jail – and for long periods of time. However, the subsequent legal processes related to the killings of the majority of the aforementioned also reveal the converse. A well-known example (and therefore one to which I have pointed before), is that of nine year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Aiyana, sleeping on the couch of her home, was shot and killed when police officers stormed the residence. Instead of being convicted of her murder, the officer responsible for her death was released after conflicting accounts of events provided by Aiyana’s family and police personnel resulted in a hung jury. The officer has since returned to active duty. In another example, the man responsible for killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin remains free after a jury found him not guilty due to what was deemed a lack of forensic evidence. In the case of Eric Garner, video evidence showed he was restrained to the point of death by police officers. Still, there were no indictments. (more…)

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America’s Journey with Justice: From Blind to 20/20 Vision?

There’s an old adage that hindsight is 20/20. Often when we look back, we are able to gain clarity on matters. Gaining clarity Ferguson National Gruardoften enables us to learn from the past. That Jay Nixon, Governor of Missouri, has declared a state of emergency ahead of the grand jury’s decision regarding the shooting of Michael Brown, speaks volumes about what we as a country have learned from the past. Explicitly, it is expected that there are going to be a lot of disappointed, discouraged, and highly emotional persons in what is anticipated to be what many may deem an unjust decision. One can only presume that the previously decided judicial outcomes, or fates, of those whom have killed and/or harmed unarmed black youth have conditioned many of us to expect little accountability on the part of those who committed the act. (more…)