The point is that the focus shouldn't be on the types of young men Michael and Dorian were - nerds, geeks, troublemakers, athletes - it doesn't matter. What matters is whether someone who promised to serve our community, who we gave the power of being a law enforcement officer to, who gets to carry a gun and is charged with maintaining peace and order, whether that person committed what was anything from a cold blooded murder at worst to a horrible mistake to self defense at best and why they did it. Ferguson is responding shamefully to the inquiry. When we turn on the news and see Ferguson police officers harassing journalists (of all colors) or hear one of the (white) police officers screaming to a predominately black crowd of protester, "Bring it you fucking animals!" Well, that's a race problem, ladies and gentlemen. No matter what the political leaders of Ferguson may say, no matter how much they want to deny a truth that's staring them straight in the face, there are deep imbedded race problems in this community. Whether the shooting of Michael Brown was a result of that race problem, I don't know. But I do know that the people in Ferguson should be responsible for their actions, should be accountable. Should step up to the plate and recognize and acknowledge their problems and start taking proactive steps to fix them, not to just smear people's characters and play the blame game. We charge police officers with one of the highest duties there is - to serve and to protect us. If we cannot trust those we charge and trust to enforce the law to obey it, then there is no justice. So, the obsession on Dorian's arrest three years ago is smoke and mirrors meant to allow cowards to ignore the real race problems and to allow them the luxury and laziness of refusing to roll up their sleeves and work on fixing those problems.
I once had a pro bono client who was an inmate in a Massachusetts prison. Guards beat the living daylights out of him one day. There was no justification or excuse. People would ask me, "But what did he do to get into prison?" As though that justifies being beaten. Last time I checked, the 8th Amendment was still good. The police are essential for a well-functioning society and their importance underscores the very high standards they must be held to. We trust them with our lives, our safety, our families, our communities. We trust them to carry around deadly weapons and to put men and women in cages. We can't trust just anyone with that kind of responsibility and power - we must trust people who are trained, who are decent and who hold themselves to a high standard. The law enforcement profession is and should be noble and respected. That's why it's so important to get rid of those within it who don't uphold those high standards of justice. They'll bring all the good people down with them and betray the trust of their communities and, really, who wants that?