I need to start this blog by stating I do not know all the facts in the death of Michael Brown last August in Ferguson, Mo. Like most of us, I have received the majority of my information on this case from the national news media. Not sure that it has been accurate or without bias. I feel for the Brown family who lost a loved one, as well as for Officer Wilson who had to make a deadly force decision. I have been both a Police Chief and an involved Officer in the use of deadly force upon another. They are very stressful situations for all involved.
I hope that the Grand Jury process was complete and fair…and that the County Prosecutor took the time to ensure that this case was investigated completely. I have no reason to think otherwise. Members of the Grand Jury are citizens pulled from the jury pool from the community. These citizens heard all the facts and evidence presented…and completed the job that was before them. I’m sure this was no easy task, and one that will stay with them long after this cases fades from media attention. They received their fair share of stress too.
I hope that the good people of Ferguson are able to rebuild their community, and take pride in their City once again. I found it hard to watch as the rioting became the story. I’m sure that this disturbance drew participants from other jurisdictions as well. What I watched was not something I expected to see happen in this country. I saw criminal acts of destruction (arson,looting,etc.) combined with what appeared to be an unprepared response (lack of,delayed, inadequate.) This appeared to all lead to a situation that got much worse than it needed to be. It was sad for the City of Ferguson and for all of its residents.
I hope that the young people of Ferguson have hope. That they can reach out to their Police Department and build the TRUST needed for all of Ferguson to recover. Without the hope for a better future I doubt this can occur. It will take work from both sides. There will need to be some quality communication.
The photograph in the MMT (and around the country) today showing 12 yr. old Devonte Hart hugging Portland Police Sgt.Bret Barnum had that message of hope. Both Devonte and Sgt. Barnum showed us what hope looks like. I hope that this will be occurring in Ferguson soon too. Let’s all hope that happens.
Chief of Police