Michael Brown’s Murder

To the family of Michael Brown:

First of all, I want to express my profound empathy for you at the loss of your son and how his murderer has been found innocent of wrong-doing. Unfortunately, nothing I say or write can restore your son to your loving arms; perhaps, though, in speaking up about his murder, I can help shift the travesty of justice that has just occurred.

My understanding is that the “prosecutor” in the grand jury hearing was a man whose father was a police office killed in the line of duty. I just double-checked and I am quite certain this is the case. Here, for instance, is such a report on-line:
“Experts disagree over whether McCulloch should have stepped aside and let a special prosecutor handle the case.
His father, a police officer, was killed on the job by an African-American man in 1964, when McCulloch was 12.”

The fact that this man did not step aside is astonishing. In and of itself, such a refusal made the outcome not to seek an indictment a foregone conclusion and a travesty of justice.

Furthermore, I am profoundly disturbed by the fact that this case did not simply go to trial. When Rodney King was beaten, the case went immediately to trial. When an unarmed man is gunned down in the streets following an incredibly minor offense, only one thing should happen: a murder trial in which the murderer is cross-examined in a manner that fully represents the interests of the murder victim. This is not what happened.

Until there is a public trial of Michael Brown’s murderer, this case will remain an open sore in American social life. There have been dozens and dozens of these kind of murders in the past forty years. The truly sad part is that Michael Brown is just one person in a long list of such victims. Perhaps, though, his death is the breaking point and if enough of us speak up, some degree of change in law enforcement will begin to take place. If not, then even more devastating tragedies await us.

Let us hope, though, that Michael Brown’s death becomes the catalyst for a radically new social contract in which those who enforce the law are subject to the laws that they initially enforce. Only then will those laws inspire us to work together for our common good. We owe it to Michael Brown and his family to make that effort.

Once again, I send the Brown family my condolences.

William (Bill) Mohr