The parents of the late Michael Brown Jr., Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, released a calming and powerful statement on Monday night in the wake of a grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of that unarmed teenager over the summer.
“While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen,” the statement read. “We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.”
The Brown family’s comments were so measured that they were cited by President Barack Obama when he took to the podium in the White House on Monday night ahead of riots which were soon to spiral out of control.
The spirit of that statement was not, however, matched by the Brown family’s actions.
McSpadden, inconsolable with grief in the wake of the grand jury’s decision, appeared before a crowd in Ferguson alongside her husband, Louis Head. While consoling his grieving wife, Head (beginning about 1:30 and exploding at the 3:10 mark) determined that the best way to address what he perceived to be injustice was to “Burn this s*** down! Burn this b**** down!” (Language Warning):
While these may have simply been understandable expressions of anguish, it seems that his audience nevertheless took Head’s advice.