Michael Orlandus Darrion Brown, the 18-year-old victim of police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, would’ve celebrated his 28th birthday today had his life not been cut short by Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014.


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There was a confrontation between Officer Wilson, a 29-year-old white male, and Brown, an 18-year-old Black male who’d graduated from Normandy High School just eight days before his death, which ended with Brown being shot six times, all in the front of his body. All confirmed reports and video surveillance footage show that Brown was killed with his hands in the air.

To say that the investigation into Brown’s homicide was insubordinate is an understatement, with the St. Louis County Police Department taking over an hour to arrive at the crime scene. Still, they claim that the gunfire from the surrounding and growing crowd kept them from the scene of the crime. The FBI launched an investigation into Brown’s death just two days after he was killed but, in March 2015, cleared Wilson of violating Michael Brown’s civil rights in the shooting. The investigation concluded there was no evidence upon which prosecutors could rely to disprove Wilson’s asserted belief that he feared for his safety, that witnesses who contradicted Wilson were not credible, that forensic evidence and credible witnesses corroborated Wilson’s account, and that the facts did not support the filing of criminal charges against Wilson.

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The grand jury took 25 days, over three months to hear the lengthy testimony from 60 witnesses and then deliberate on whether or not to indict Wilson. Most grand juries complete their work in a matter of days. On the night of November 24, Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch reported in a 20-minute press conference that the grand jury had reached a decision and would not indict Wilson.

There was even a review of his case by St. Louis County prosecutor Wesley Bell in 2020, but after five months of seeing if Wilson could be charged with manslaughter for the death of the teenager, aid he didn’t “have the evidence to ethically bring a charge against Darren Wilson.”

The Ferguson riots became a center of resistance within the United States after the killing of Michael Brown, with the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” slogan becoming just as common as the last words of the late Eric Garner, “I Can’t Breathe”. In December 2014, Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and killed two NYPD police officers and claimed that it was revenge for the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Brinsley committed suicide before he was apprehended. In March 2015, two officers were shot and wounded when a 20-year-old Black male opened fire on the Ferguson Police headquarters.

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On August 9, 2015, 18-year-old Tyrone Harris, a friend of Brown, was shot by police in Ferguson and that same day, the Columbia (Missouri) Police Officers’ Association (CPOA) proclaimed August 9 “Darren Wilson Day”, calling Wilson an “innocent, but persecuted, officer” and insisted his ethnicity had nothing to do with their support of him.”

Even though Brown prematurely lost his life and justice was never served, his death catalyzed the struggle for racial equality and civil rights in the United States, a human rights battle that has been fought by Black people as long as they’ve been in this country. The same month Brown was shot dead, American rappers The Game, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Diddy, Fabolous, Wale, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beatz, Yo Gotti, Curren$y, Problem, King Pharoah and recording group TGT released the song “Don’t Shoot” as a tribute to Brown.

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