Yesterday’s Grand Jury decision of not pressing charges against Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, doesn’t come as a big surprise.
Conflicting witnesses about what happened when the white cop and the African-American teenager met apparently prevented the jury from pressing charges against the officer. It is a positive step, for the sake of public peace and for justice, that the evidence and documents that prompted the Grand Jury to exonerate Wilson will be released.
Transparency is crucial, here. There is, among the general public and in the African-American community in particular, a deep and justified distrust of the Ferguson authorities.
From the start of the incident the local Police department actions were arrogant and insensitive, as Brown’s body laid on the street for hours. What happened next only confirmed the breach of trust between a mostly white department and the African-American neighborhoods it watches over.
The same lack of minority representation in the police is also reflected at the government’s higher echelons.
Reviewing the process and evidence will also help allay concerns that St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s actions affected the case.
According to reports, the prosecutor unloaded all the evidence before the Grand Jury without giving them a clear guidance about how to press specific charges, as it’s customary in those cases.
From the beginning it was questioned whether McCulloch was the right person to take up the case, because of his family ties with cops and because his father – a police officer – was shot dead by an African American in 1964.
The Brown family’s hopes now rest in the hands of the Justice Department.
Michael Brown’s killing turned the public’s attention towards a discriminated community that lacks adequate representation at different government levels.
We hope that this tragedy will bring the necessary changes to Ferguson, and that other cities lagging minority representation —there are plenty— will do the right thing without having to endure such a painful process