Features General — 11 August 2014

BELIZE CITY—Michael Brown—the unarmed teen who on August 9 was fatally shot six times by a white police officer, including what has been described as “a kill shot” to the head—could very well be a Belizean youth, and the tragedy of his death has brought to light the fact that like Brown, an 18-year-old youth of the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson in Missouri, USA, who was to start college in a matter of two days, black youth across the USA are far more likely to face threats, attacks and killings at the hands of the police than white youth.

The predominantly Black Ferguson community, as well as supporters of other ethnicities, are not taking the latest police killing sitting down, and public protests continued to escalate over his killing by police officer Darren Wilson, whose family and friends say should be arrested for what they insist is an unjust homicide.

Local police has since alleged that Brown was involved in a robbery at a convenience store in the area, but indicated that Wilson did not know of the allegations at the time of the deadly shooting.

The US Office of Justice Programs: Bureau of Justice Statistics cites 2008 statistics which indicate that Blacks were more likely than whites or Hispanics to experience use or threat of force. USA Today reported last week that nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012. The report cited the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI.

The killing of Brown has sparked protests by the African American community in the area, but the police has responded by militarizing the police force, who have been supplied with military grade weapons, as well as armored vehicles. The National Guard had also been ordered into Ferguson.

Earlier today, protestors walked with 1,000 roses for Brown, as they decried the killing and demanded the arrest of the police officer.

During the wave of unrest which has followed the killing of the Black teenager, several protestors have been arrested and some journalists reported that police had threatened violence against them. Getty Images photojournalist Scott Olson had also been arrested amid protests.

Some protesters also marched over to the Wainwright State Building, in downtown St. Louis, looking for the governor, and although security guards managed to keep them out of the building, the demonstrators began a sit-in just outside the building.

Meanwhile, midnight curfews which were in place over the weekend have reportedly been lifted.

Last week, US President Barack Obama said the death of Michael Brown was heartbreaking. He added that the Department of Justice was investigating the situation, along with local officials.

Time reported today that an online fundraising effort netted US$10,000 to support the police officer, Wilson, in just 19 hours.

An official autopsy, the third performed on Brown’s body, found that he had been shot 6 to 8 times.

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