I’m a Minority. I’m a Cop & Darren Wilson is Innocent.
I wanted to post my personal views about Mike Brown and the grand juries decision to not indict, but then I spoke to a person who I consider a friend and decided to let him speak his mind on the matter. Jose Gomez and I attended the same junior high and high school. We both went our separate ways after graduation, both starting our lives only he became a cop, yup a cop and he has been one for eight years. I often speak to Jose about social issues because what he experiences as an officer is very different from what I experience as a regular citizen walking around. Mike Brown’s death has the country talking and Brown’s killer walking away freely without penalty has the country divided. There will be so many opinions about what Jose says but I ask you to read his thoughts with an open mind and before you dismiss him just hear him out.
While I don’t agree with everything he said (Jose knows we go back and forth all day) I respect his views, and I believe that his opinion matters all things considered. It’s funny because I wanted to choose a picture for this post that represented Jose in the best light. I was scrolling on his facebook page and I found myself thinking, “Find a picture that lets everyone know that Jose is a cool down to earth guy. He laughs and loved “The Rock” at one point.” ( I don’t know if he still does). I wanted you, the reader to not just fizzle him down to being “just a cop.” So I chose to use no picture a person’s character shouldn’t be reduced to likeability. I simply wanted to make him human. Because making Jose human makes him no different from you. I want to thank Jose for being willing to share his feelings and doing so in a way which will at the very least get you to talk and engage. None of his personal feelings are a reflection of his job or co-workers. Jose is currently a Violent Crimes detective in Florida.
I understand that because of my career choice, a lot of people who might potentially read this, immediately will dismiss my thoughts and some facts I’m going to share. I hope the people that are tempted to do so, also understand, that I am a minority. I’ve experienced some of the same struggles and biases. Also, understand that when I share these very same thoughts with some of my co-workers they also discard what I have to say. I encourage you to not dismiss the following information, but at least to entertain it and ponder it, most importantly, research it. In the information age, one thing that we all have access to if we search hard enough is facts.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between the law and what people consider to be justice. The law is a written document. It’s a Do and Don’t. If you do something, something will happen. If you don’t do something, something will happen. Justice, well, by definition it falls in line with the law. But usually when people want justice, what they want is an outcome that they feel is right. That a person got what they deserved. Depending on what perspective we have and how we’re affected, justice in the same situation can change dramatically.
If a man sexually molest a child, we all have different perspectives on what justice looks like. According to the law the child molester, once convicted he should go to jail. The parents of the molested child probably thinks that justice is death for the offender. For the parent of the offender justice may look like their son getting treatment or some type of help, and he probably isn’t a bad guy, just has a problem.
I’d like to debunk some myths. First of all, the police aren’t trained to shoot a hand, or leg, or anything like that. If any of you have ever gone to a gun range or purchased a target, or google one, the targets only show, the waist up. Shooting a gun is difficult, it becomes even more difficult under stress. If you’re not a gun owner reading this, imagine having to pee and if you sometimes miss, now, imagine it when you’re in a rush. It’s a very barbaric example but I think it captures it. It’s not easy to aim at something accurately especially under stress. Not only that, but if someone wants to kill you, shooting a hand doesn’t stop anyone, shooting a leg doesn’t either. Humans are very strong and can do a lot of damage even while injured.
The other myth is the notion that police are third degree black belts. Height, weight, and experience are major factors in a fight. Most of you wouldn’t do very well in a fight against The Rock or Brock Lesnar. In any wrestling, boxing, or mixed martial arts fight people are grouped not by height, but by weight. The weight of the opponent is extremely important in a fight.
A lot of people noted that Mike was only 18. That he was a teenager. At 18 you’re pretty much an adult. You can vote, go to the military and in some places be a police officer. They’re 16 year olds committing murder. His age is tragic because of how short it was and the potential he had, what he could have been, what might have happened, so, to that point, 18 is too young to die.
With all the aforementioned information, I want to be clear, Michael Brown was a victim, but not for the reasons the media has made it. The media and the narrative that some folks will have you believe, is that Mike Brown was a victim of police brutality, that’s incorrect. He’s a victim of a society, a culture, and a system that is designed to keep him stuck and never move forward out of poverty.
Dorian, the “witness” that was with him said some interesting things. He had only known Mike for a few months. When he first met Mike, Mike was living with his grandmother. The day of the shooting, Mike was living with friends. Mike had a criminal record as a juvenile. Most people would say that it’s irrelevant. That’s the worst thing anyone can think or say. Why? Why does a young man steal car? Rob someone? Or do anything like that? From my experience, I’ve rarely seen kids with normal house lives making these type of decisions. I rarely see a child with a strong father figure do things like this. As kids we tend to do stupid things, the difference between most of us who never get arrested and those who do is usually supervision. I don’t know that Mike was a bad kid, Mike was a kid who grew up in a bad situation. Mike grew up with family around him, but no family.
We’re all in need of that loving mother that will quickly grab a belt or shoe and throw at us to correct our behavior. That Dad who will go upside your head when you start doing the wrong thing. He didn’t even have a friend that would stop him from committing a robbery. It would be ignorant to say none of these things matter. They do matter! Barack Obama didn’t have the type of history, and not everyone is going to turn out to be Jay-Z. Most of us can hope to have good, respectable jobs. Be good citizens, friends, and family members, but it takes a village to raise a child, at least a parent. On the day of his shooting, there’s no evidence that Mike even saw his parents.
Dorian, his “friend” during his testimony says, he went to smoke weed with Mike. They went to the store to get cigars, he was unaware that Mike was going to rob the store, when he saw Mike doing this, he backed off and was shocked. When Officer Wilson came in contact with Mike and the fight started, Dorian again, backed off and was shocked. When Officer Wilson begins to shoot Mike, Dorian makes no attempt to stop the officer, no one has testified that Dorian said “Stop”, Dorian didn’t say to Mike “We broke the law, we have to face consequences”. Dorian simply allowed Mike to make bad decision after bad decision and never once steered him in the right direction.
I wonder where Mike’s parents were when he was getting shot? I wonder where his parents were, when he had to stay with his friends. Wonder where they were when he was staying with his grandmother. I wonder why we haven’t seen many pictures with his parents or his family. I wonder what influences he didn’t have in his life, that I did, that would never allow me to steal a car, rob a store, or hit a police officer. I’m not condemning Mike. I’m saying Mike, like a lot of minorities in this country are in circumstances that are almost impossible to over come.
Now, to Officer Wilson. I don’t have any statical date to back this up. I don’t have any facts. Just an opinion based on observations I’ve seen. Wilson is obviously a White Male. It seems Missouri is fairly segregated. I probably wouldn’t be stretching it, if I said, Wilson probably had very little interaction with minorities prior to becoming law enforcement. I can tell you that becoming law enforcement and meeting different cultures isn’t pleasant. The reality is, the Police aren’t called when mom and dad got a raise. They’re not called when our report cards are good. They aren’t called when the new car or house get bought. They’re called when people are at their worst. Wilson probably continuously saw minorities when they were victims of Domestic Violence, when someone broke into their house, or into their car. When he caught the guy, breaking into the car, catching the guy who broke into the house. Seeing people at their worst makes people sometimes form a bad and unfair opinion about them.
The way that some negative interactions with the police make people think that all officers are racist or mean or unfair. The way that some negative interactions with some minorities make people think that all minorities are criminals, or don’t take care of their kids, or are on welfare.
I don’t think that Officer Wilson much valued Mike’s life. I don’t think he approached Mike with much respect. I don’t think he even viewed Mike as a person equal to him. But his actions, under legal standard were lawful. The testimony provided to the grand jury (which I have read) and the evidence, back up Wilson’s testimony. Mike attacked him. Mike was going to attack him again. Mike might have tried killing him. Wilson defended himself. Wilson didn’t value Mike. Wilson might have arrested Mike in the part or have stopped in the past and they have had some bad blood. But under what the law says, he was justified in shooting him.
So, what now? We march, we protest, what do we do? What changes do we want to see? Body cameras on police? Sure that’s a good step. But I can assure you, its a distraction to bigger things.
The percentage of blacks in jail versus whites for simple possession of marijuana isn’t even close. Blacks are in jail at a much higher rate, but the use is equal. Like the President said, laws are sometimes not equally enforced. Police need to do a better job. Poor communities aren’t given the same opportunities. I live close to a street called Martin Luther King Boulevard. It’s a very residential area. Mostly poor. It’s a very long stretch of road. They’re a lot of junk yards, they’re tire shops, gas stations, and further down, away from residences, they’re a few industrial areas.
They are not any neighborhood Wal-Mart they’re no clean chain grocery stores, they’re no movie theaters, they’re no McDonalds, no Starbucks. There’s a lack of construction, there’s a lack of road improvement. There’s a lack of jobs, lack of opportunities, a lack of dreams, a lack of hope, a lack of a future. Much like the streets that Mike grew up on.
The police aren’t going to change tactics. You strike an officer for any reason they’re going to strike back. They’re going to hit harder. Cops aren’t trained to fight fair. They’re trained to win (whatever that means). The number of people protesting, marching, rallying, doing whatever, whether in Ferguson or any part of the country need to vote. Get laws passed. Laws changed. Better schools and teachers. Better jobs in those neighborhoods. Better trained police that are more culturally sensitive.
We should heed Malcolm X message. Love yourself. Your hair. Your skin. Your nose. Your lips. Love people who look like you. Don’t celebrate killing each other (songs like Hot N*gga). Leave the alcohol and drugs behind (they’re being used to poison us). Get your mind right and your body right.