AMERICAN IDEALS PROCESSING:
Grief and Protests Follow Shooting of a Teengager
Summary of Story/Link
On August 9, 2014, an unarmed 18 year old black teenager named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in a St.Louis, Missouri suburb. The shooting occurred on Saturday afternoon when an officer approached Mr. Brown and his friend. The St. Louis County police chief, Jon Belmar states that the shooting ensued after Michael Brown "physically assaulted" the officer. In reaction to the shooting, thousands of people have gathered and flooded the town in order to protest the death of Mr. Brown. This fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, has revealed and intensified the long history of tension between the African American community and the local police and government.
Explanation of Ideals
Rights and equality are linked to this story
The fatal shooting of Michael Brown is a highly controversial topic. Many believes that the officer who shot Mr. Brown violated Michael Brown's rights. In this shooting, it is unclear whether the officer had reason to suspect Brown and his friend for any unlawful behavior. Although, police officers clearly have a right to uphold and maintain social order, they do not have the right to use force or unjust violence without sufficient evidence. The officer violated Mr. Brown’s Fourth Amendment rights because the officer approached Michael and his friend without reasonable suspicion. When Michael and the officer had a physical altercation, Michael was unarmed. Generally, police officers cannot civilians if they are unarmed. However, the police shot Michael. Ferguson has a white government and a white mayor, but a large black population. Many members of the community believe that a large factor in the shooting came from the fact that Michael Brown was a large black man. Mr. Brown clearly had a right to fair and equal treatment before the law, regardless of the color of his skin. Consequently, many believe that the officer violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.