By: Hashim Arain
The events in Ferguson, Missouri during the past couple weeks have caused quite a stir throughout the nation. The events all started after the shooting of an unarmed African American teenager named Michael Brown, who was shot by a local Ferguson police officer. The shooting of Brown caused protests throughout the city of Ferguson. There has been a lot of reaction to how the Ferguson police force responded to the wave of protests, and the overall consensus around the nation was that the police responded too harshly.
The common theme the protests represented was for the need of justice in the aftermath of the shooting. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, protesters are now suing the police for using brutal force against them during these couple weeks. Some of the main uses of force that police used were tear gas and rubber bullets. This shows how intense the Ferguson police were in their actions, and this was a big storyline that went along with the shooting of Brown.
According to the Huffington Post the St. Louis County Police Chief defended the way his officers were using force against the protesters, saying that it was necessary because of how some protesters were acting. The Huffington Post also notes that he never thought he, or his officers would ever use force against protesters, and admitted how painful tear gas is, but he said that using this type of force was the only way to clamp down on the looting and rioting that was going on amid the protests.
Now some would disagree with how the Ferguson police responded how they did during this period of time, and that criticism is certainly justified. As numerous reports have indicated they were only a handful of protesters that resorted to looting and violence, but the majority of the protesters were peaceful and just wanted their voice to be heard. There were certainly some racial tension that came out after Brown was shot, and that can be explained by the history of Ferguson.
According to one Ferguson resident in a CNN article, he explained that the city has a mainly white police force with a large African American population, the resident also explained that there is a “disconnect” between the African American community and the Ferguson police force. This example shows that things have always been a bit tense between the Ferguson African American community and their police force. The shooting of Brown might have been a breaking point in terms of racial tension and the way that some protesters and the police handled the situation.
Now the thing to do is for both the police and the African American community in Ferguson is to listen to each other and tried to solve the problems that they may have. It will not be an easy task for sure, but it could be a stepping-stone for how to address race relations in America as a whole.
According to ABC News some police officers in other states have started efforts to reach out to their African American communities in the wake of Ferguson. This is a good first step in dialogue between the police forces and their African American communities. The whole world watched in disbelief with the images coming out of Ferguson for the past couple weeks, now they want to see if any good can come out of this tragic shooting.