As this shameful saga continues to unfold, there’s an aspect of the whole Mike Brown issue that I don’t feel has received enough attention. According to the most recent leaked info put out by an obviously police-sympathetic St. Louis Post-Dispatch crime reporter, Officer Darren Wilson — you know, the person who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old — initiated the encounter with Mike Brown and Brown’s friend because the two guys were walking in the middle of the street, and Wilson apparently didn’t like that.
So Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson are just walking down the street, presumably minding their own business, but maybe showboating a bit, because that’s what young men of that age tend to do when they travel in groups. So they’re allegedly walking in the middle of the street, and up rolls Officer Darren Wilson in his obnoxiously large police SUV (not a standard squad car, an SUV) and orders them to get out of the street.
Were Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson committing a crime by walking in the street? Doubtful. Even if they were committing a crime — let’s say, some imperious local ordinance — did this infraction rise to the level of warranting police scrutiny? Almost certainly, no. Rather, in all likelihood, Darren Wilson was doing a bit of showboating himself, exerting his will and authority because he’s a police officer, you see, and he’s got a gun and a badge and an obnoxiously large SUV to ride around in all day. So he sees these two chumps walking down the street, and decides he’ll give them some sass. All in a day’s work. He’s probably done it a million times before. And because he’s a police officer with arrest powers and the ability to ruin your life on a whim, most of his subjects bow dutifully to his authority.
But Mike Brown’s pissed off that day, and he doesn’t feel like putting up with some asshole cop, and maybe he returns the sass with a little attitude of his own, and then suddenly the thing escalates into a physical altercation, and within seconds, Mike Brown is dead.
How could this have been avoided?
Maybe Officer Darren Wilson could have just left those two potentially showboating dudes alone, because they weren’t disrupting the peace, they weren’t doing anything that rose to the level of warranting aggressive police investigation, and confronting them wouldn’t be in service of maintaining public order. Maybe Officer Darren Wilson’s time could have been better spent sitting on the side of the road in his SUV and writing tickets, because that’s how local governments in that part of Missouri are evidently funded. Instead of accosting those two guys, maybe Officer Darren Wilson could have gone to get some coffee and engaged in some small-talk about his upcoming Fantasy Football draft. Surely he’s a St. Louis Rams fan, right? Talk about some Rams stuff. How’s their defense gonna be this year, champ?
Or maybe Darren Wilson could have just never become a police officer. Because police officers are constantly inserting themselves into situations like this, and terrorizing the populace. Maybe if Officer Darren Wilson decided to do something less destructive with his life, Mike Brown would be alive today.