This morning marks nine days and nights of protests in Ferguson, MO surrounding the killing of Michael Brown on August 9 by police officer Darren Wilson. Now Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, whose son was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in 2012, has reached out to Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden with a letter.
For Time magazine, Fulton wrote, in part:
To The Brown Family,
I wish I had a word of automatic comfort but I don’t. I wish I could say that it will be alright on a certain or specific day but I can’t. I wish that all of the pain that I have endured could possibly ease some of yours but it won’t. What I can do for you is what has been done for me: pray for you then share my continuing journey as you begin yours.
I hate that you and your family must join this exclusive yet growing group of parents and relatives who have lost loved ones to senseless gun violence.
Further complicating the pain and loss in this tragedy is the fact that the killer of your son is alive, known, and currently free. In fact, he is on paid administrative leave. Your own feelings will bounce between sorrow and anger. Even when you don’t want to think about it because it is so much to bear, you will be forced to by merely turning on your television or answering your cell phone. You may find yourselves pulled in many different directions by strangers who may be well-wishers or detractors. Your circle will necessarily close tighter because the trust you once, if ever, you had in “the system” and their agents are forever changed. Your lives are forever changed.
However with those changes come new challenges and opportunities. You will experience a swell of support from all corners of the world. Many will express their sympathies and encourage you to keep fighting for Michael. You will also, unfortunately, hear character assassinations about Michael which I am certain you already have. This will incense and insult you. All of this will happen before and continue long after you have had the chance to lay your son to rest.
I will support you and your efforts to seek justice for your Michael and the countless other Michaels & of our country. The 20 Sandy Hook children. Jordan Davis. Oscar Grant. Kendrick Johnson. Sean Bell. Hadya Pendleton. The Aurora shooting victims. The list is too numerous to adequately mention them all. According to The Children’s Defense Fund, gun violence is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-19. That is a horrible fact.
Fulton continues, promising that Brown and Martin’s lives will not be in vain and she is willing to help Brown’s mother in the fight for justice. On Monday, McSpadden spoke with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts.
As I mentioned when a Wayne County, Michigan jury found Renisha McBride’s killer guilty of second-degree murder, African Americans know we are owed basic human rights but we are shocked when we receive them without a fight. And in Ferguson, everything has been a fight.
The Ferguson Police finally released the name of Brown's killer, Darren Wilson, on Friday, but refused to release any more information including a photo. So Yahoo found and released an image of Wilson via his father’s Facebook page. In the picture, Wilson is receiving a Commendation from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who described him as "quiet."
USA Today reports that Wilson left his neighboring town of Crestwood days ago as protestors and media are looking for him and for answers.
Yesterday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called in the National Guard to calm the nightly protests while rolling back the 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. The interesting thing about the curfew is many in Ferguson shared that long before the Governor’s mandated time, police were launching tear gas at peaceful protestors and pushing them back into closed areas, where some said they couldn’t leave to go home, even if they wanted to.
Car driver offered to give a ride home to remaining protesters. Police stopped the car, guns drawn pic.twitter.com/lK6a3LiJ4L
— Amanda M. Sakuma (@iamsakuma) August 19, 2014
Meanwhile, MSNBC's Chris Hayes was threatened with pepper spray on Sunday night, and CNN's Don Lemon was man-handled and pushed by police while on live television on Monday.
Riot cop to me just a few minutes ago: "Get back! Or next time you're gonna be the one maced."
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) August 18, 2014
As many have asked, do the Ferguson authorities know we can see them?
Probably, and they don’t care.
On Monday afternoon, President Obama delivered a statement that left people wanting a definitive message that wanton police violence against American citizens will not be tolerated, in the same way he sternly declared that rioting and looting would not be tolerated. The President’s speech came after Brown’s family lawyer Benjamin Crump hosted a press conference where Dr. Michael Baden explained what he found during his independent autopsy. Baden announced that Brown had been shot numerous times including once through his brain, via Politico.
Baden said six bullets struck Brown, including two head wounds and added there weren't any signs of a struggle. However, Baden said x-rays, which should be available at some time whether in the next few weeks or month, will give more information. He added that "at some time" there will be access to Brown's clothing.
"But often in an investigation like this, it's not uncommon for prosecutors not to want information released, but I think in my experience, when that happens it only get the community more upset," Baden said.
The following was tweeted by a Ferguson resident who live-tweeted Brown's shooting from his home nearby where he saw the entire incident play out.
I cant say much, but let my tweets show you, i never said he was shot in the back
— Bruh. (@TheePharoah) August 18, 2014
Now, it’s Tuesday morning and Wilson still has yet to be arrested or charged with a crime, let alone publicly located.
People from as far away as California and other states have been arrested in Ferguson during protests and Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his officers were under fire from civilians last night but did not return fire. They also arrested at least 12 civilians who "weren't being peaceful." Again, Johnson warned against those attempting to divide the peaceful protests by looting and causing violence under the cover of night.
The story of Michael Brown's death and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri continues to grow and the militarized presence that began exacerbated the city's initial tension has only fanned the flames.
Images via Facebook and AP Images.