The Ferguson Riots

A grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided to declare police officer Wilson not guilty in the killing of the 18-year-old, black teenager Michael Brown. There were many in the African-American community who called for Officer Wilson to be charged with murder after the incident.

Riots started the day after the shooting of Mr. Brown. People started protesting and there was social unrest in the community. This unrest sparked an intense discussion all over the US about law enforcement's attitude towards African American people. Furthermore, the discussion also included the use of force and weapons by the police in the US.

The nature of the unrest got out of hand. Some were still protesting peacefully, while others started looting and using violence against police officers. The police had established curfews, in addition to riot squads to keep the order. According to media reports, the police answered with militarized policemen. In response to the unrest and the shooting, the U.S. Department of Justice started an investigation about the practices of FDP (Ferguson Police Department). In March 2015, they declared that FDP had engaged in discrimination and misconduct against the citizens of Ferguson.

The grand jury in Ferguson decided that Officer Wilson, who retired from his job afterwards, should not be indicted on November 24th 2014. This decision sparked more protests, with more violence from the ones who protested. The Governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency after the grand jury's decision. The step-father of the victim Michael Brown shouted to the crowd outside the police department: "Burn this bitch down!" after it was clear Wilson would walk.

While there were still quiet protests, there was overwhelming use of violence from others that night, drowning the peaceful. People in the streets started looting, vandalizing and destroying both police and non-police cars. Moreover, a dozen buildings were burned down, ruining businesses. Firefighters had to evacuate the scene of a fire due to the sound of gunshots. They could not respond to other fires for the same reason. When the riots took this extreme turn for the worse, the police of Ferguson used tear gas and ordered people in the streets to disperse. Same night, 61 people in Ferguson were arrested on charges like burglary and trespassing.

On November 25th, the day after the riots, the body of 20-year-old DeAndre Joshua was found inside a parked car. The car was found a few blocks from where Michael Brown was killed. Mr. Joshua had been shot in the head and burned, thus the police ruled it a homicide. Same day, CNN reported that thousands of people had rallied in more than 170 U.S. cities from Boston to Los Angeles. They also declared that the National Guard forces were reinforced in Ferguson to prevent future riots.

In Oakland, California, at least 90 people were arrested for looting, arson and vandalism. The protests were not excluded to the U.S. They also took place internationally. Demonstrations occurred in major cities in Canada and in London, UK. Protesters called to boycott the Black Friday shopping day. Black Friday took place the Friday after the grand jury's decision, with hundreds of demonstrators outside the Saint Louis Galleria in Missouri and other shopping centers.

These riots and demonstrations are in my opinion an answer to injustice between the treatments of African Americans in the U.S. More specifically, the attitude and discrimination from the police are a major problem according to many people. That is why all the discussions occurred, and racism became a hot topic again. Martin Luther King Jr. was mentioned is the discussions, and his son commented the riots in Ferguson. He said his father would be disappointed with how they handled the situation, calling out for non-violent demonstrations. He reminded people of how his father fought for black people's civil rights; with protests and demonstrations without the use of violence.

I believe the fight against oppression is very important, because way too many people are discriminated on a daily basis. Every human is equal, and thus should be treated the same. A movie was just released, showing Martin Luther King Jr.'s demonstration walk from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Maybe this is the way people in Ferguson should have handled it too?

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Gro Liland

25.03.2015 kl.10:56


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Well written and summed up. The video is perfect!

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18, Kvam

Her poster eg arbeid fr English Social Studies.