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Why Words of Reconciliation Ring Hollow

Racial Repression and the Murder of Mike Brown

by ROB URIE

Few who heard the eyewitness accounts of the murder of eighteen-year-old Mike Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson needed an autopsy report to know that Mr. Brown was gunned down in cold blood. The autopsy report and the investigations to follow are the technocracy of racist slaughter, official reports of all of the details except those that matter. Had the murder been an isolated incident it would be tragic. But the death of Mike Brown was a political assassination. The systematic nature in which youth of color are harassed, intimidated, incarcerated and assassinated perpetuates the historic repression of American blacks and browns from the barbaric founding of the U.S. in slavery and genocide to supposed resolution with the Civil Rights movement. This is to state that any of these murders might be considered individually but the aggregation paints a clear picture of systematic racial repression.

The sense of entitlement exhibited when white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot the young Mr. Brown combined the impunity of racial privilege with a pathological indifference toward the person of Mike Brown, his family and his community. Whatever the personal failings of Darren Wilson, it was in his official role on the Ferguson police department that he murdered Mr. Brown. Around the country the appearance of the police as invading armies in poor communities of color is because that is what they are. As the late Huey Newton put it nearly a half century ago, the police aren’t in poor communities to protect property because poor people have no property to protect. And the police in Ferguson conspicuously weren’t there to protect Mike Brown and other youth from violence.

urieautopsy

 

Picture (1) above: the (private) autopsy of Mike Brown indicates that he was shot six times, including twice in the head. Given that Mr. Brown was unarmed and that by reports he was fleeing Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson when the shots that ended his life were fired, there was no conceivable threat to Mr. Wilson when he murdered Mike Brown. Public perceptions that there was any plausible rationale for shooting Mike Brown illustrate the role of ‘the law,’ and in particular the role of the police, in strategies of racial repression.

To the canard of black on black violence, three centuries of racial repression haven’t created a state of justice so why would continued repression by external forces be a plausible way to bring it about? Put differently, why would police violence of any sort be considered a solution to violence? The base premise at work is of intrinsic qualities of social dysfunction that justify / legitimate repressive tactics. The release by the...

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