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Michael Brown's Death Reveals Dangers of "Living While Black": St. Louis Comptroller

Categories: Michael Brown

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St. Louis Comptroller's Office
Darlene Green.
The following letter to the editor comes from Darlene Green, comptroller for the city of St. Louis:

I feel very deeply for the mother and the entire family of Michael Brown. No parent should have to grieve the loss of their young son at the hands of an overzealous police officer. There's no acceptable state of mind for an armed police officer who's sworn to protect and serve a community to ignore the universal sign of surrender by an unarmed human being -- hands up in the air. I also feel for the officer whose life has forever changed; but nonetheless, I want justice for this apparent crime.

Michael Brown was left dead, lying on the ground in the middle of the street in his neighborhood while the officer responsible for shooting him was allowed to flee the scene. That image seen around the world gives credence to the notion that black people in this country are seemingly at war with the police: Driving while black; Walking while black; Living while black.

See all Riverfront Times coverage of Michael Brown and Ferguson.

Black teens are not the only kids that are found walking in the middle of the street who are stopped and questioned by police. White teens are stopped as well. According to a friend of mine, his teenage son who is white was stopped by a police officer in much the same way as Michael Brown -- walking in the middle of the street in a suburb of St. Louis. The young white teen was questioned by the officer, asking who are you, where do you live, and who are your parents. Then, this young teen was given a ride home -- delivered safely to his parents. Quite a contrast from what happened to Michael Brown and countless other black men and boys. Far too often in this country, a ride to the morgue follows black teen/police encounters.

On any given Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend at the Old Court House you might have heard me speaking to the community about gun violence, urging our young black men to stop killing each other, stop the violence, and to put down the guns. We have to continue to uplift our youth and help them to believe that they have a future. I'm always working to support ways we can provide funding for youth jobs, job training and recreational opportunities. I stand with the police who want to serve and protect. I want community policing to benefit all citizens.

But, as an elected public official, I call for zero tolerance for the police shooting and killing of unarmed black men and boys -- period. I stand firm with the black communities around the country that say enough is enough. We cannot continue to tolerate the kind of police actions against unarmed black men and boys that cause their deaths. In public school systems, our children have to deal with zero tolerance mandates to stop violence in the schools. In many public and private workplaces in our country, zero tolerance mandates can be found. Today, it is time for zero tolerance for the police who shoot and kill unarmed black men and boys. I pray that Michael Brown is the last one.

I strongly believe that we cannot go forward from this terrible tragedy in Ferguson without all of us working to achieve a transformative change. Finding justice in this situation is our first order of business. In moving forward, I believe police across the country must take a hard look at their respective forces to retool and retrain them in an effort to stop the senseless killing of unarmed black men and boys. For example, as a first step, arming the police officers with body cameras and police cars with cameras must be mandated and implemented immediately. Then, there must be tough penalties presented for police who engage in this behavior to keep these incidents from happening.

And finally, we must be encouraged. The black community must continue to hearten one another to engage in efforts that will uplift and support ourselves Living While Black.



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74 comments
Paul Roper Sr.
Paul Roper Sr.

just the other day 9 year old black boy executed in his own back yard in Chicago by a black gang who rittlled his poor little body with several rounds!

Paul Roper Sr.
Paul Roper Sr.

Blacks should fear blacks due to them killing more blacks than white. Black on black crime is crazy outta control!

Christine Elizabeth
Christine Elizabeth

Did someone forget the officer shot out of defense because the 'unarmed black man' was running towards the officer? He charged the officer after being ordered to stop running. He was running because he assaulted the officer. I guess the truth actually doesn't matter. Let's encourage the media to continue spreading lies about our city, officers, and the truth. Let's keep teaching children to not trust a police officer and to hate them. Totally makes sense.

Scott Parkinson
Scott Parkinson

It two young men would have been raised to respect authority instead of glorifying thuggary and complied with a COMMON sense request by the police officer to use the sidewalk instead of walking in the middle of the street NONE of this would have happened. Ms. Green you live in a different world, good luck with that. Wake up.

Lynn Croxton
Lynn Croxton

Technically blacks can't be racist because they are an oppressed population, but they can hold bigoted opinions or exhibit racial prejudice.

Lynn Croxton
Lynn Croxton

Ok, but you can't choke Rihanna either. Just a joke!

Lynn Croxton
Lynn Croxton

It's really pathetic for an elected official to state a definite position on this even when not all the evidence has come forth by any means. She may need some salt to eat those words with.

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

"Zero tolerance" of any sort means that you throw reason and fairness out the window.

Cindy Marsden
Cindy Marsden

What the hell is wrong with people. When you assault an officer resist arrest rob people you are not a victim or a damn hero I would have shot him too

Tony Bologna
Tony Bologna

Cops have zero tolerance for violent felons who attack officers and reach for their guns.

Dianna Dye
Dianna Dye

Wtf about everyone who is unarmed?????????????

Renee Risse Berry
Renee Risse Berry

I hope it is the last one too! As long as the thugs quit threatening the police it will stop! We don't have an answer to Michael Brown case. The justice system is still working on it so I won't make a comment until we get the real facts!

Katalina Santos
Katalina Santos

Who the FUCK says the cop was overzealous? ANYONE w being BUM RUSHED by ANYONE ELSE 6'4" 200 or so LBS would shoot ESP when they orbital socket was busted....

Reed Paladino
Reed Paladino

I might be done with RFT, it's biased and borderline racist.

Michael Cary
Michael Cary

Hey, wait for me! I wanna be part of the story too!!

Padráig Mac An TSaoir
Padráig Mac An TSaoir

airhead... You mean scumbag theif strong-arm robbing wannabe thug BLACK men and boys...

Robin Miller
Robin Miller

Tired of the race card being pulled all the time - should us White Folks using the race card geez

Pamela Sanders
Pamela Sanders

Well of course it wouldn't make since to you. But when I last checked I am entitled to my opinion.

Brian Penn
Brian Penn

I pray that every cop comes home safe......their just trying to do a very tough job.

Jeff Craig
Jeff Craig

Praying with you for that and a curbing of the blind racism exhibited by the protesters I have seen.

John Blecha
John Blecha

So is it still ok to kill unarmed white men & women?? Psh.. racist.

Mike Drury
Mike Drury

You make no sense. There is no black or white way to view it. If the cop was in the wrong the investigation will prove that. If he wasn't it will show that as well. It's racist to think just because the cop was white that he was automatically in the wrong.

Shawn Layman
Shawn Layman

You do understand no one knows the whole facts yet right? How can any one judge? By the way if they prove wilson was attacked and browns buddy was an accomplice in the felony of attacking a police officer his buddy is going to be charged for browns murder. Look up the law if you are apart of a felony and someone dies during the commision of that felony you are responsible.

Kathy Ballheimer Coulson
Kathy Ballheimer Coulson

it just blows me away how it all got to be a race thing.....PEOPLE....a COP killed a CRIMINAL..... no colors just facts!~!

Freddy Swan
Freddy Swan

There's lies the problem. Not allowed To discipline , correct, defend yourself against a black. They are alwsys right even when wrong? Only a black is allowed to do this to another black. So its ok for blacks In Chicago, that blacks are killing Blacks ?

Laura Tomerlin
Laura Tomerlin

He won't be the last thug bully killed by a cop white or black.

Art Kobermann
Art Kobermann

Sorry Darlene, But this wont be the last time it happens, Every time a thug of any color bum rushes a cop of any color and try's to take his gun, the results will be the same, Its called Self Defense .....Look It Up ... Maybe you just need help with your Racist Attitude Darlene, there are places for you to get help.

Johnny Niswonger
Johnny Niswonger

Did I misread the physical assessment earlier in the week that presented Officer Wilson with fractured orbital facial bones? I don't think that came from someone surrendering.

Nikki Madigan
Nikki Madigan

Jeff Weffelmeyer, he's another load of nonsense for ypu

Paul Enoch
Paul Enoch

Does this mean it is OK to shoot unarmed whit men and boys? Talk about racist!

Stephanie Mondaine
Stephanie Mondaine

I would challenge her and say it's time to stop police brutality against everyone.

Noah Leitch
Noah Leitch

Lol, i love how rft decides to run this stuff, with out infact doing any research, i guess thats what a opinion piece is, just a opinion, remember, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, the problem is when you decide to share it.

Jay Chirco
Jay Chirco

This lady is the judge, jury, and executioner. She's also a moron.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

too many blacks working in Saint Louis, they are very biased and unfriendly to Whites trying to get services, this is an example of their abuse of power.....

Chris Brown
Chris Brown

Idc what color who is. Stop killing people

Tom Kennedy
Tom Kennedy

He was only unarmed because the officer was able to keep him away from his own weapon.

Stacey Barbeau
Stacey Barbeau

dont commit crimes and we wont have any problems...

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

I will pray that less unarmed black men and boys commit crimes that pit them directly against the police.

Charlie
Charlie

(none of which actually happened)

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