By: Nick Adamo
Once again our nation is involved in a heated and divisive debate regarding the topic of race. Everyone knows what is currently going on in Ferguson, Missouri so there is no need for an overview of the events that have taken place. If you are reading this article chances are that you have already taken a stand on this topic. If you have there is probably no way you will be convinced to change your mind regardless of which “side” you are on.
This is the real problem facing America today. It seems that no matter the issue, people from both sides of the aisle come to the table with their mind made up and their own set of facts. No matter what evidence or statistics there are against their point of view, people will come up with something, anything to maintain their sense of being right. Our nation is supposed to be a symbol of tolerance and a beacon of hope, yet we have become close minded and combative towards beliefs different than our own. We have a tendency to instantly write off or insult others for disagreeing with us and instead of having a constructive and calm discussion on the issues we often engage in shouting matches and name calling.
As a member of the United States Army I have had the privilege of making friends with people from all over this country. I can tell you firsthand that some of the people who I disagree with the most on political issues and current events , are some of the best people I have ever met. I can also tell you that I have met people who believe exactly as I do, that I didn’t get along with at all. If we could simply remain objective and give each other some basic respect our entire system and country would be better off.
Before I give my objective opinion on what happened and what continues to unfold in Ferguson, I would like to provide a little background on myself. I am a 21 year old native New Yorker who is currently serving as a Paralegal Specialist in the United States Army Reserve. In 2012 I traveled across the country to work in Southwest Ohio on President Obama’s re-election campaign as a Field Organizer. I am also proud to consider myself a Socially Liberal Progressive.
Now, to all of the people rioting and protesting because they believe Michael Brown was shot with his hands up, I would simply ask this. What evidence do you have? It seems to me that the only evidence of this version of events would be the story of Michael Browns friend, Dorian Johnson. According to Johnson, Brown was fleeing and was shot in the back with his hands up.
First of all this person is not an objective witness, his good friend was killed and no matter the circumstances one would naturally expect someone in this situation to be angry about that. He clearly has a conflict of interest in this, and that immediately hurts his credibility. Not to mention he also has a criminal record that includes filing a false police report and theft. His claim that Brown was shot in the back has also been proven to be untrue through Forensic Science. To put it simply, in a legal environment Dorian Johnson has absolutely no credibility as a witness.
There is also a video of Brown, with Johnson committing a crime just minutes before being shot by Officer Wilson. In the video Brown is seen stealing from the store and violently shoving the Store Clerk when confronted about this behavior. So we can see parallels between Browns Behavior in the store and Officer Wilsons version of events. Is it really a stretch to believe that a young man who just shoved someone in a robbery, would resist an arrest or physically challenge a police officer?
Now onto Darren Wilson, a six year police veteran of two different departments, the last four of which he spent with the Ferguson Police Department. During his six years Officer Wilson never had a complaint or disciplinary action taken against him. And here is a quote from a Witness who wasn’t involved in the incident but saw the shooting take place
“ The officer was already in pursuit of him. He stopped. He did turn. He did some sort of body gesture. I'm not sure what it was, but I know it was a body gesture," the witness said. "And I could say for sure he never put his hands up after he did his body gesture. He ran towards the officer full charge."
I know many people feel that if there was at least an indictment with the potential for a trial then they would have felt better about this situation. While I understand that view, the legal system is not supposed to be used in that way. You cannot indict someone because of political reasons or public pressure. Doing so would be both illegal and a waste of time and resources. A person should only be charged with a crime if sufficient evidence exists to secure a conviction, and in this case a conviction would be impossible.
I have never been to Ferguson Missouri, and although I believe in Darren Wilson’s innocence I would never claim to “know” that he was justified in shooting Michael Brown. Only two or three people actually know what happened that day. All we can do in a case like this is follow the evidence, and if you remain objective and follow the evidence than there is no way that Darren Wilson could be charged with a crime.
Hopefully the tumultuous times in Ferguson can come to an end and we can shift our focus on ways to prevent similar events from occurring again.