Posts Tagged ‘grand jury’

Law vs. justice: A grand jury declines to indict a police officer in racially charged Ferguson, Mo., shooting

November 26, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 26, 2014

Legally speaking, the Missouri grand jury that declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the Aug. 9 shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown may have made the right decision.

But the fact is that another man — another white man — another white man with a license to carry a deadly weapon — won’t face charges for the killing of another black man — another unarmed young black man. Morally speaking, this episode seems to reinforce an unwritten, unofficial American hierarchy that values white lives over black lives.

This is the same power dynamic that we’ve seen play out over the past several days — in fact, over a number of decades — in the case of beloved comedian Bill Cosby, a talented, successful entertainer who appears to have drugged and sexually assaulted more than a dozen women dating back to at least 1965. In Cosby’s case, a number of his alleged assaults were white, while he is black.

But make no mistake. The entertainer’s ability to escape most consequences of his apparent misdeeds is an extension of the same societal structure from which Wilson has benefited, and George Zimmerman before him, and Woody Allen before him, and Bill Clinton before him, and countless others before them. This structure habitually favors men over women, the rich over the poor and the powerful over the powerless — even if its beneficiaries occasionally sport darker skin, as in the case of Cosby.

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