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REFLECTION: Is this Justice?

By December 3, 2014No Comments

After an agonizingly long wait, the decision of the Ferguson Grand Jury has been announced. The fact that the officer was not indicted has generated anger, outrage, hurt, dismay, and disappointment. This result is the criminal justice system in Ferguson, Missouri at work, but the burning question is was it really justice. Once again, the killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer has been “justified” by the system.  

There are hundreds of instances where police officers in similar circumstances have gained control of the situation with a verbal warning and a command given at the point of a gun, without a shot being fired. The difference could very well be the level of professionalism of the officers and the quality of the training they have received. However, a lack of professionalism and/or poor training does not give a reason for the gunning down an unarmed human being. Whether or not resorting to fatal force is appropriate should not be determined by ethnicity or social status.

Not being privy to all the evidence presented to this Grand Jury makes it is virtually impossible to make an informed critique of its decision. However, the obvious facts of the case make it no less troubling. More than one shot was fired; it’s not unreasonable to believe that one shot should have accomplished the goal of eliminating the threat to the officer.

The Grand Jury has spoken; there will be no prosecution of the officer that fired the fatal shots. As a people, as a community, as a nation, we must honestly confront the realities of how racism continues to weaken the very fabric of our society. This is the basis of the question: Is this justice?