*Hundreds rallied in LA’s Leimert Park Monday night in reaction to the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown an unarmed teenager who was alleged by Wilson to have been attacking him and attempting to grab his weapon when he was shot.
This was a case that received world wide attention and protest nationally, so the world was literally watching and waiting for the outcome of this case.
Locally the activist community here in Los Angeles that included ministers, and gang interventionists all came out to plead to local residents to exert calm and be peaceful in their reaction to the verdicts. Darren Wilson was facing several serious charges that included involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, second degree murder, and or first degree murder.
The grand jury decided not to charge him with anything in this case, and to say that many in the black community were upset is an understatement.
As we all know, violence broke out last night in Ferguson after the verdict was announced. There was looting, fires being set to businesses, and shootings directed at police.
So far, there hasn’t been any appreciable violence here thanks to the cooperation that LAPD has gotten with local clergy, gang interventionists and community activists.
Although a very large group of demonstrators marched down Crenshaw Blvd., and ultimately went to Beverly Hills while another group formulated and marched to LAPD headquarters downtown L.A. Also a group of protesters found their way onto the 110 freeway and clocked traffic. (See the video below for that report.)
The shooting of Michael Brown at the hands of officer Darren Wilson is another chapter in the continuing saga of unarmed black men being killed by the police. While in Leimert Park the site of the demonstrations in Los Angeles, the police presence was very obvious, and strong. I had a chance to speak to officer Paul Snell who is African American, and the area captain from Southwest Division of the LAPD. I asked him for his thoughts in the wake of the decision of the grand jury to not to indict officer Darren Wilson and he replied that he understood why the community was so upset at the outcome, but that “I’m here to make sure that the people have their right to peaceful protest. And I want to be as transparent as possible.” When I asked him what was key in dealing with the growing crowd of demonstrators? His reply was “one of the things we did was to develop partnerships with clergy and gang interventionists in order to help keep the peace.”
The decision not to indict Darren Wilson has struck a nerve in every black community from coast to coast. People took to the streets in New York, Oakland, Chicago, and Los Angeles (amongst other cities). And frankly folks, until there is a halt to the killings of unarmed black men, this writer cannot imagine that the rage of the people will come to an end.
Mohammed Mubarak can be reached at [email protected]