Students for a Democratic Society condemns the August 9, 2014 murder of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Students for a Democratic Society condemns all racism, police brutality and the perpetration of state violence against its citizens.
When officer Darren Wilson took aim at the back of Michael Brown, he took aim with his gun but also targeted his humanity. Officer Wilson took due process into his own hands and became a vigilante and a cold blooded killer behind a badge and a gun. Witnesses reported that Brown was fleeing with his hands raised when he was struck by the first bullets. They also report after Brown was struck by the first, stopped and turned around calling out that he was unarmed the officer continued to fire.
Michael Brown was 18 years old, a recent graduate of Normandy High School who was set to begin attending Vatterott College the next day. Brown had not only overcome the obstacle of the American school to prison pipeline complex that many youth of color are subjected to systematically but he was reaching for a better life. His life was full of promise and one his family has spoken about publicly with great pride amidst their mourning.
Brown was on his way to his grandmothers with a friend, John Crawford, when the two were first harassed by officer Wilson shortly before he was to commit the cold blooded killing of Brown. Crawford has stated on the record that officer Wilson approached the young men in his car calling to them with obscenities to get off the road on which they were walking. When the boys responded they were almost to their destination, Crawford stated that officer Wilson reversed his car, hit Brown with the door and proceeded to grab him by the neck. Other witnesses saw officer Wilson slamming Brown against his car in what appeared to be an attempt to put Brown in the rear seat of his police car. According to Crawford and other witnesses Brown struggled to get free and flee when Wilson retrieved his gun and opened fire on Brown, sticking him first in the back and again as he fell turned and collapsed to the ground.
This murder by officer Wilson is part of an American legacy of racism and violence dating back generations. Officer Wilson's act evokes images of klansmen lynching blacks in the American South. Wilson took the law into his own hands, charging and convicting Brown, stripping him of his civil rights and human rights, and condemning him to death. The murder of Michael Brown is part of a legacy of criminalization of young black men by law enforcement. In recent years Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, John Crawford and Eric Garner have been names among the growing list of lives taken by vigilante violence. This brand of racist, violent injustice both committed by vigilante citizens and servants of the state is as engrained in and synonymous with American culture and society as Nike or Coca-cola.
Students for a Democratic Society is opposed to all racism and the violent oppression that accompanies it. We demand justice for Michael Brown and all youth of color systematically and institutionally criminalized by our broken system of injustice. We say not one more!
Students for a Democratic Society also stands opposed to the brutal militant police response in Ferguson. Images of Ferguson since the murder of Brown resemble the haunting images of Fallujah and Kabul, also evoking memories of the violent police and state repression of the Civil Rights movement and historic National Liberation struggles. Local St. Louis County police armed with some of the $4.3 billion worth of military grade arms by the federal government and millions of dollars of additional Department of Homeland Security exhibit a sort of domestic state militarization of a sort not seen since full military occupations of American cities amidst the urban rebellions of the 1960's and 1970's.
The militarized police response to protests, vigils and demonstrations is an act of intimidation, agitation, provocation and must be characterized as nothing less that racist repression. The use of tear-gas, rubber bullets and dogs by police armed to the teeth and covered in body armor and helmets standing behind their armored police vehicles in jackboots is not on excessive but unacceptable by any measure. While the community mourns the police maneuver with military style strategy against the citizens they are allegedly employed to serve and protect.
Finally the St. Louis County Police chief Jon Belmar from the onset has defended officer Wilson at the expense of defending any law or order and should resign immediately. Chief Belmar has saturated the media with manipulation and lies in what can be clearly seen is a cover-up. In immediately claiming it was self-defense on the part of officer Wilson, Belmar planted the seeds for an elaborate but poorly disguised justification of murder.
Belmar has continued to tamper with the legal process and justice system by spreading suspicion and deceptive information amongst the public that might provide the jury in any investigations to come. This misguided information comes in the forms of rumors about alleged confrontations between officer Wilson and the victim Brown. Further, in hiding the identity of officer Wilson, the chief demonstrated the hypocrisy of a legal system which is quick to publicly condemn alleged 'cop-killers' and convict them in a court of public opinion long before any judge or jury has seen the case. While Wilson is a cop who is a killer, hiding his identity places a higher value on the officers life than the life he took in killing Michael Brown, which had his name released immediately accompanied by bold face lies and manipulation by Chief Belmar. It is in the face of such lies that SDS demands the immediate resignation of Chief Belmar and an investigation into his efforts to provide a cover-up for one of his officers.
Students for a Democratic Society stands with the people of Ferguson in their fight for justice in the face of police brutality and state repression. Further it demands the immediate arrest and charging of officer Wilson in the murder of Michael Brown. SDS stands against the racist repression of the police in Ferguson and across the United States where youth of color are routinely subject the oppression, injustice and violence. We demand justice for Michael Brown! If the people get no justice, then the police get no peace!