I recently wrote about how we should be careful about playing the racist card in many of the incidents that seem to keep popping up in the news of late. One of the things mentioned, is that we should temper our knee jerk reactions to publicly lynch people or institutions, rather than letting checks and balances, which have been built into our governments, properly investigate incidents, and draw conclusions and provide recommendations thereon.
I was pleased, as such, to hear about the recommendations made from the US Department of Justice relative to the Ferguson, Missouri police force. Just a reminder to those of you who may have missed the Ferguson riots: Michale Brown, a young adult of African American heritage, and a suspect in a robberty, was fatally gunned down by a Ferguson police officer. People in Ferguson, and across the US, protested, both peacefully (encouraged) and through rioting (not encouraged).
I’m all for peaceful protesting; it is our democratic right to stand up for what we believe in and to do so in a civilized fashion, to honour all the blood, sweat, and tears it took over the centuries to get to the point of where our society is at today. To be clear, our society is probably at the best point it has been in written history, even if it might not seem in such a good place were you to open any front page of any newspaper in the world.
Rioting, on the other hand, completely takes away any credence to the issues that are being contended, and an excuse by the ignorant and malicious to self-serve.
That being said, I am glad that the DoJ immediately initiated an investigation into the policing of Ferguson. Today’s report supported the side of the peaceful protestors:
“As detailed in our report, this investigation found a community that was deeply polarized, and where deep distrust and hostility often characterized interactions between police and area residents,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “Our investigation showed that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force against them. Now that our investigation has reached its conclusion, it is time for Ferguson’s leaders to take immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action. The report we have issued and the steps we have taken are only the beginning of a necessarily resource-intensive and inclusive process to promote reconciliation, to reduce and eliminate bias, and to bridge gaps and build understanding.”
No question. The Ferguson police department is riddled with racism, which translates into incredibly biased and just general the kind of bad policing that can tarnish an entire profession.
My point is that an independent investigation supported the allegations of racism in Ferguson, which is what is supposed to happen with this sort of incident.
We would do well to let justice be served by the Department of Justice, and similar institutions, rather than letting irrational reactions rule, as they tend to in this media-driven day and age.