That Congressman Lewis, a civil rights icon who was beaten to within an inch of his life in Selma, would draw a moral equivalence between violence on the part of police officers who viciously beat nonviolent civil rights protestors with the encounter between Brown and Officer Wilson, where the facts indicated the teen had struggled to wrest control of the officer’s gun, is disheartening. Disheartening because Lewis’ words will give strength and solace to those who believe in the narrative that our country remains overwhelmingly prejudiced toward blacks instead of confronting the sad reality that almost all shootings involving black men in America today take place at the hands of other black men rather than white police officers.
How can Lewis prejudge an outcome as a miscarriage of justice involving a shooting unless he considers the only proper outcome to be Wilson’s indictment (and ultimately conviction) when Lewis had no access to the evidence considered by the grand jury? While the grand jury ultimately voted in a manner that would displease Lewis, its members were tasked with weighing evidence and facts, while his finger had already tipped the scales of justice to meet an ideological rather than impartial outcome.
Last year, 76 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty, and I’m hard pressed to name one of them. Yet, high-profile cases such as the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin and Mr. Brown in the present case have made these names well known across America and around the world.