Ever since the life-ending confrontation between police officer Darren Wilson and teenager Michael Brown, the hue and cry in Ferguson, Missouri has been for justice. And justice in this case, contrary to the old adage, has not been blind, at least not in the view of many Americans. They perceive that it is challenging or nearly impossible for some, particularly a significant portion of the African-American community, to gain justice due to inequitable treatment by law enforcement. This long-standing attitude coupled with recent events ignited a nationwide reaction that has both sides attempting to argue their case. Subsequently, vehement outrage from the community, a disjunctive response by law enforcement, and virtual paralysis by the local elected officials has in many ways brought the perception of “justice in America” to critical mass for debate and discussion internationally.
For Ferguson and for all American communities to have trust and belief in the concept of equitable justice in America, there has to be respect and confidence in the process. Respect and confidence are fostered by the transparency of the process, accountability and responsibility by those administering the process, and trust in their competence and motivations. In Ferguson, it appears that a substantial portion of the community has no confidence in the process, at least not as it has been historically administered by the local elected officials and law enforcement authorities. In Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown, the accomplishment of respect and confidence in the process will be truly tested on an international stage. The world is watching. In order for justice to reach all – Michael Brown and his family, Officer Darren Wilson, and the community at large, there must be a complete, unfettered, unbiased, and thorough investigation. Though the investigation must take time and diligence in order to provide everyone involved with the answers they deserve, the resultant justice will be worth the time. Justice for all demands as much. This is the Ferguson community’s opportunity to show that justice can truly be blind and equitable when properly sought by all. To do otherwise will be a failure and a tragically lost opportunity.
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Sources: Eye on Annapolis, The Baltimore Sun