Last fall, Ferguson, MO was rocked by protests after a grand jury decided to not indict the officer involved in the shooting, and killing of Michael Brown, who at the time had been unarmed. The shooting itself put the international spotlight on Ferguson’s police department, and the riots that later ensued also made international headlines. The grand jury decision also led to many peaceful demonstrations elsewhere in the United States.
At the time it seemed as if Michael Brown was not going to get any justice after he was shot and killed by Darren Wilson who has since left the Ferguson Police department. In the eyes of the public, Wilson was guilty, and to be frank, the public opinion in this case is probably correct. There was no need to kill an unarmed man, but the main issue in this case was the fact that the only side of the story that was ever told was of the officer’s. Michael Brown is dead, and there was no video evidence, making this a tricky case. But, it seems that there may be some justice yet.
CNN reports that the US Department of Justice is looking to file a lawsuit against the Ferguson Police Department in connection with racially discriminatory practices. The DOJ is not expected to file charges against Wilson, but is expected to outline various alleged discriminatory practices within the department. If the Ferguson PD decides to make changes to their practices, the lawsuit will not move forward.
This is a positive move in the right direction. What made this case so galvanizing was the fact that a white Police officer killed an unarmed black man. The racial element in this case quickly became clear, and at a time when a few other high profile cases of unarmed black men being shot by Police were in the media, added to the public outrage. This story seemed to serve as a breaking point for the public, boiling over in the riots in Ferguson after the decision to not indict Darren Wilson was made public. The public was outraged, and in Ferguson that outrage quickly turned violent. Elsewhere in the country, the decision sparked peaceful protests.
Assuming the DOJ does go ahead with filing a lawsuit against the department, it will represent a positive turning point in which Michael Brown, and his family may see some justice, even if Wilson is never brought in on any charges. For the public, the Michael Brown case alone serves as enough evidence to prove that the department is racially discriminatory, but if the Justice Department also has enough evidence to prove this, then it’s time to move forward with the lawsuit and hold the department accountable for its actions. These practices are unacceptable, and in the case of Michael Brown, led to a fatality that should have never occurred. Michael Brown did not deserve to die that day.