I don’t even know how to write this post.
So I’ll be brief.
Last night I read with much appreciation John Piper’s comments about police restraint. If you haven’t, you should read it, along with posts from Bryan Loritts and Al Mohler and Rachel Held Evans. I didn’t follow the link Piper provided to the actual footage of the other shooting he mentioned. I thought it was perhaps the edited footage from a news segment or something.
This morning something led me to watch the footage.
I’m sitting here weeping, so I’ll let the footage speak for itself.
Please be warned. It’s a live cell phone recording of police 9 miles from Ferguson shooting and killing another unarmed African-American man who has apparently committed a petty theft and who acts in a defiant manner when police officers emerge from their patrol car with hands on hilt. UPDATE: Police maintain he was brandishing a knife. This is not a television show. This is real life.
This video does not suggest this is what happened in the case of Brown and Wilson. I’m not saying that. Perhaps it is; perhaps it isn’t. But I wonder if seeing this unfold before our eyes will help us believe that it’s time for leaders to speak out about the statistics and the multiplying incidents that prove a pattern of unfair and severe treatment. This punishment does not fit the crime. That, too, is a virtue and promise, a public trust, that is supposed to undergird our criminal justice system.
The case I and so many others are making is that the cries of “Injustice!” don’t rest upon the facts of Wilson-Brown alone. The facts there will be weighed and a judgment reached. But then there are the facts piling up everywhere else, sometimes on video, and they cry out for justice quite apart from the particulars of Wilson and Brown.