Ferguson. Nauseous. Disbelief. And yet exactly as expected. Or feared.
The Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy has invited PDA. How appropriate. A disaster recovery organization coming to a Presbytery named for Elijah Parish Lovejoy, killed 177 years and 2 weeks ago, less than 100 miles from Ferguson, while supporting freedom for all people.
All-or-nothing space is a broken space in which to exist. So many places in which the outcome might have been different.
The prosecutor said only that the officer heard the radio report about shoplifting. Ok, so that’s the officer’s perspective, assuming the two kids are suspects in the shoplifting. Was there any indication of weapons or force used? What level of pursuit and force is warranted for shoplifting cigars?
What was Michael’s perception of the circumstances? Did Michael pay for the cigars or did Michael shoplift cigars? Has that question been definitively answered?
Officer’s driving an SUV. So even with or above Michael during the confrontation at the SUV. Different perspective than from in a squad car. In the absence of a weapon, how much bodily injury could a person outside an SUV cause a person inside an SUV? Is Michael holding cigars in one hand?
Threat and response by gun at the patrol car. Two gunshots. Still no indication of any weapon in possession of Michael or his companion. Let’s assume, for the sake of discussion, that these shots were in self-defense. Reasonable response may warrant self-protection. Could that include waiting for backup which was apparently no more than 90 seconds away? Could self-protection include pursuit by SUV?
Was escalation of violence demanded by police procedure? Why? To what end? So we can feed the court systems which feed the overcrowded prisons of the nation with the highest rate of incarceration?
Now, it is incumbent upon us lawyers not to just talk about the truth, but to actually seek it, to find it, to live it. What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?
I set out to prove … that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That’s not the truth, because the eyes of the law are human eyes — yours and mine — and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be evenhanded. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices, so until that day we have a duty under God to seek the truth, not with our eyes and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts — where we don’t know better. Jake Tyler Brigance’s closing arguments in A Time to Kill (1996)
Close your eyes. I want you to picture your favorite 18 year old: Stephen, Josiah, William, Jeremy. William. Or Robbie. Or Malik. Or Malachi. Or Teran. Or Tomias. Or Chase. Can you see him? That once-little-boy-on-the-edge-of-manhood. Now imagine that he’s been confronted by a police officer. And imagine that police officer shoots him. And shoots him again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. This last one enters the top of your little boy’s head. And he crumples to the ground. Where his body stays for hours. And hours. And hours. And hours. What truth does your heart see now?