I have known and seen racism and discrimination. I have known and experienced privilege.
And I have the common sense to distinguish between the two.
Ferguson is a place that is riddled with racism and discrimination. The police are known by all to engage in discrimination and racism. The state has disbanded police departments for racism and other malfeasance. Darren Wilson belonged to one such department to start his career. He came to Ferguson where the Department has long had issues in policing the community. All but a handful of officers are white in a community that is overwhelmingly black.
Blacks are stopped far more frequently than white (when adjusting per capita). That’s despite fact that whites that are stopped are found to have contraband in higher rates.
In this respect, Ferguson is hardly alone. Many other communities around the St. Louis region (and indeed nationally) face the same problems.
But the specifics of this case are exceptionally troubling. Only Officer Wilson was able to speak to what happened - and it was couched from the outset that he feared for his life when he stopped Brown. Both were the same height (Brown had 70 pounds on him). All the shots were fired by Wilson. And Brown lay dead more than 150 feet from the vehicle, in about a minute after the stop was initiated by Wilson.
All the eyewitness evidence was disregarded or minimized by the fact that Wilson feared for his life. That there’s no bruising apparent from the photos taken hours later. Yet, he thought he was a punch or two from being disabled?