BY MAYA JARRELL DECEMBER 18 2014
On Aug. 9, Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. This caused the community members of Ferguson to riot in the streets of the city.
After weeks of deliberation, the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson. This decision sparked even bigger riots that spread across the country and world.
Cities from New York City to London, England are showing their outrage for the decision by protesting and rioting in the streets.
The shooting of Brown also sparked a debate about whether or not racial discrimination was involved in both the shooting and the lack of indictment of Wilson.
“People also have to consider that it was just a bad place, bad time, kind of thing,” an anonymous student said.
Sophomore Khairi Lee-Ellis agrees that people should not jump to conclusions about the situation.
“People are so quick to assume that, oh, it’s racism, but what if it’s really not, and there’s a valid reason behind all of this,” Lee-Ellis said.
Some people believe that the shooting occurred because Wilson abused his power.
“I think that cops think they can do whatever they want to do because they’re cops, and they think that they have power over everything,” sophomore Olivia Parker said.
However, the case of Brown is not one of a kind. Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and other African Americans in the past have been killed by police officers who have not been charged.
One of the main sources of outrage for protesters is that Wilson, along with the policemen who killed Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, were found to be innocent, and were not charged.
“He basically shot him for no reason, because he had his hands up and everything,” Parker said.
Although some believe that the shooting of Brown was unwarranted, others think that it was necessary and justified.
“There’s a lot of evidence to say that [Brown] rushed him, and tried to take his weapon, so that’s why the court said he was free to go,” freshman Joseph Harris said. “He acted in self-defense, in my opinion.”
Sophomore Audrey Cannon thinks that racism is a part of the trial. She believes that racism passed on from older generations, and that young people are generally more open minded.
“All of us pretty much have parents and grandparents that lived through the civil rights [movement], and a lot of them are probably still pretty racist,” Cannon said.
A growing number of Americans believe that the judicial system does not provide the same treatment to blacks and other minorities that it provides to white Americans. Because of this, citizens are protesting for change.
Protests include laying in the street and rallying with signs. Protesters also stand with their arms up in the universal “don’t shoot” pose that witnesses say Brown performed before he was shot.
Although many protests are peaceful, some are violent. Violent rioters may loot stores, break windows and set cars on fire. Because of the level of destruction, many people question whether riots are doing any good.
“It’s a powerful form of expression, and it’s not good that people are destroying stuff and setting things on fire, but it’s raising attention,” Cannon said.
Although some believe that riots are simply bringing attention to the situation, others believe that it does nothing but make the problem worse.
“It was wrong for the cop to shoot the kid, but we don’t have to protest, and have black on black crime,” an anonymous student said.
Parker thinks that riots are not necessarily a bad thing. However, she does think that the riots should stay focused on the police instead of looting and destroying other businesses.