As some of you may have heard, the grand jury has come to a decision on whether or not to indict Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Mike Brown. The decision is supposed to be announced sometime very soon today. I for one, am not very hopeful for the outcome. Given how there has been a concerted effort among officials involved with the case to keep some of the evidence and the changing stories that the police department has been given, I do not see the jury deciding to indict Wilson. If that is the case, then it would be very unfortunate, yet not surprising at all. America has not had the best record in terms of police brutality towards Black bodies. One can see a precedent throughout the entire 20th century. The modern prison system was implemented as a replacement for slavery. African Americans were arrested for frivolous “offenses” and often sentenced to years of working slave labor. The acquittal of the officers who beat Rodney King is another example. Then there the recent (last few years) string of extrajudicial killings of African Americans by police officers. I have links below that illustrates the degree to which African Americans are killed by police officers. Something that I think has been lost in the conversation is what happens after the indictment. Remember, the indictment is not a declaration of guilt. It is whether the case should go to trial. I provide another that offers the distinction between grand jury and trial jury. What I want to point out is that even if the case goes to trial, there still may be an acquittal. George Zimmerman was put on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin and he was acquitted. Based on the last few months, I have little reason to believe that there will be an indictment and even less of a reason to believe that there will be a conviction. The evidence is just too much in favor of the alternative: best case-scenario is that Darren Wilson is put on trial, worse case is that there will be no trial. This is the world that we live in. Once, I was asked by someone “What is it like being Black in America?” This was my response: There’s a lot I can say to answer that question, but one way it can be summed up is from this quote: “To be Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” There are alternating feelings. Some are anger, some are fear, some are sorrow. It seems like every other day there is a new story about an unarmed Black person being shot or killed by a police officer or a self-appointed vigilante. As long as I can remember I have been afraid of police officers; every time I see a police car, I get a chill down my spine. This is because I am aware that on the wrong day or with the wrong move, my life could be over. Then there is the negation of our existence. Footnotes in history books, aspects of our culture being appropriated and distorted, contributions being erased or having others taking credit for them. To sum it all up: to be Black in America is for your existence to constantly be negated, minimized, trivialized, devalued, and threatened. What this decision represents in the larger scheme is how much that experience of being Black in America will be perpetuated.
Ferguson Grand Jury Decision