LESLIE McSPADDEN, MIKE BROWN’S MOTHER
Last night, MSNBC’s feed was on. Some official was giving a detailed description of why Mike Brown’s murderer went free, and a no bill of indictment was returned by a grand jury that was empaneled to ensure that justice was done in the case. It appears that jury members did not take their responsibility seriously enough.
I wasn’t there and I didn’t witness Mike Brown’s murder, but despite the well written and moderately well-read statement, it was obvious that justice was not served. Mike Brown was murdered in cold blood, and then left in the street to fester in the hot August sun for four and a half hours before an ambulance showed up.
When the outcome was read, I was surprised but not shocked. It felt like I was kicked in the gut, and I had to lie down. This is not new to me; we’ve been getting shot down in the streets like dogs, by cops, for years, and more often than not, an outcome that allows the muderers to go free seems to be the result. It took a day to get to the point where I could write. Then, I remembered that that was what the game is: To be too immobilized by anger or fear to act. Sorry for the delay.
So people left their homes, went into the night and raised their voices for justice. Freedom fighters in Oakland/San Francisco, Nashville, Beverly Hills, New York, Seattle and Washington DC, spontaneously protested the outrageousness of another criminal justice process gone wrong. Social Media posts from participants on the ground, concerned citizens, casual observers and critics helped to propel the fight for justice all over the globe. Those who would prefer a more passive observance of this tragedy miss the point: Without protest, the shame of Ferguson would never have come to light – the revolution is being Tweeted.
They’re out there again tonight; rebelling with a cause. Why? Because the senseless murder of unarmed black folks must end. The problem is not procedural, it’s systemic. America was built on the corrupt institution of slavery and refuses to come to terms with her blood-soaked legacy of shame. Ever since we came here in shackles and on boats, we have fought to be recognized as human, and at its core, this is our basic struggle.
Darren Wilson, the cop who did the murderous deed testified to the grand jury that Mike Brown seemed like a demon who was going to “run through” his shots. Apparently, after Mike Brown didn’t successfully run through the first couple of rounds, Wilson found it necessary to fire several more times until Brown’s life was ended.
I am not surprised that Wilson saw Brown in a subhuman way, because societally speaking, so much of the way we are taught would lead you to believe that being white automatically makes you smarter, wiser, deeper, more sophisticated and more deserving of life and gives you the right to determine the destiny of people of color. Darren Wilson is just a product of his culture – a culture of white supremacy that says that unarmed blacks can be murdered by white law enforcement officials, and that we don’t deserve the basic right of due process.
So what of Mike Brown’s family? After the results, they issued a statement that indicated their disappointment. I feel for them, and especially for his mother, Leslie McSpadden. This weekend, she should have been looking forward to her son spending Thanksgiving with her and sharing stories of his freshman year, first-semester final exams. She should have been looking forward to cooking and serving his favorite holiday dishes and discussions of whether the St. Louis Rams are going to get a win this weekend. Now, all she has is the knowledge that she will never have another holiday shared with her boy, and that his life wasn’t even worth the cost of a jury trial, and that the circumstances of his death didn’t meet the standard of a prosecutable offense in her local district – despite the fact that he was unarmed and shot in cold blood. My thoughts are with Leslie McSpadden and her family. I hope that she continues to seek justice and that she eventually gets it. That would be something to be thankful for.
For Monica and The Ab and all the rest who are looking for justice in the streets…