Posted by Tracy Rosenberg on December 1, 2014
The fake conversation about Ferguson goes like this: The grand jury heard the evidence. They declined to indict. The riots are happening because some people don’t like the result.
That’s not what happened in Missouri.
In the fantasyland of American jurisprudence, what occurs is a jury of peers hears the evidence as presented by a skilled and committed advocate for each party in conflict. Each argument for guilt or innocence is given the strongest possible display in order to have the maximal chance at persuasion.
This arrangement constitutes a fair deal per the society, even as it gets increasingly tattered by profiling, selective prosecution, and the ever present role of money and the lack of it.
But in Missouri, the machine didn’t even have the decency to play pretend.
Prosecutor McCullough has deep ties to the Ferguson Police Department, ties so deep any rational human being would have demanded recusal on the basis of conflict of interest. No witness was cross-examined, a vital tool for uncovering faked testimony. In other words, no trial happened or is going to happen, except maybe the media trial of the victim for being a “thug who deserved to be shot”, a characterization now assigned to all young black men on default, whether armed or unarmed, no matter what they do or don’t do.
Dismissal without trial. That is what happened. Not a fair deal and one that consigns the dead body that laid on the pavement for four and a half hours to invisibility. Somebody that just doesn’t matter. And one in a long line of black bodies that have been declared not to matter. Exempt from the deal. Another version of 3/5 of a person.
“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”
Those who question the rioting, the property damage, the determination to shut it down.