This is not a black or white issue. This is an ignorance issue. Honestly, had I not known what the protests/riots were about, I could have easily assumed that it was the celebration after a college wins the National title or fans upset after a soccer game. The point is, there is never a good reason for this behavior.
One of the worst parts about it all is the fact that none of those rioters knew what evidence was presented. They just knew the results of the Grand Jury. I dare say that had the Grand Jury handed down an indictment, they would have still rioted, set fires and looted, but all in the name of a celebration. Nothing ever gives anyone the right to steal or destroy someone the property of others.
I put a lot of blame on the media. They certainly fueled the fire, no pun intended. They immediately started reporting that the police did not present enough resistance towards the rioters. They reported that if they had, the rioters would have probably dispersed.
Then, right after that statement, they criticized the Police for using tear gas, flash bangs and bean bags. So are you suggesting that they should have just started shooting live rounds into the crowd? That would certainly be considered resistance. Then again, had they done that, they would have been condemned for using too much resistance or force.
At one point last night, a reporter said, on camera, "Where are the police now? They seemed to have left the area. Where are they and why aren't they here protecting these businesses?". She further stated that she "saw several Officers getting in their police cruisers and driving away". A few minutes later, this same reporter comes back on camera, showing the police marching down the street, in full riot gear. She then condemned the Police because they were in riot gear. Why did they leave? I can answer this from experience. The situation was escalating and the police needed to regroup and prepare for "battle". This includes putting on the riot gear. Why couldn't they put the riot gear on while on scene? Simple answer. If you do that, you are no longer focusing on the actions of the crowd and you are, essentially, putting your guard down, which is unsafe in any potentially violent situation.
This morning, one of the broadcasters from CNN had the audacity to say that "If this had happened in NYC, the Officer would not have been in fear for his life". That was the most ridiculous thing I've heard. So...New York City police have a higher level regarding their fear versus the level of fear for a police officer who is not in NYC. This type of reporting, or blatantly offering an opinion on a subject where you have no expertise, is improper. Again, you are responsible for fueling the fire and raising the level of aggravation.
Last night, after the violence erupted, a black female reporter for CNN commented that the Grand Jury determined that there was no Probable Cause to hand down an indictment. She immediately then stated that "There was Probable Cause for the indictment and the Grand Jury knows that". Now, we all know that these "spin-heads" don't know anything about the actual evidence. They only know what has been reported. The Grand Jury was provided the evidence and made their decision based on that evidence.
Community leaders are blaming the police because "they did not protect the buildings from fire or vandalism".
What about the people setting the fires and destroying businesses? Are they not accountable? Of course not. Community leaders were also guilty of "stirring the pot". A female leader said that the Grand Jury was "fixed" and that's why they came back without an indictment. She said that no matter what the testimony by the multiple Medical Examiners was, Michael Brown was shot several times in the back. Of course, the medical evidence refutes that. In other words, she, like so many others, knew nothing about the evidence, yet feels that they have the right to spew their hatred in an attempt to hold the Officer blatantly responsible.
Another Community leader was on camera stating that the message was clear that "black people's lives have no value", while another leader said that "they don't get their day in court". Again, none of these people had access to the evidence or the testimony presented to the Grand Jury, yet they feel that they have the right to assist in inciting this behavior by speaking about something that they knew nothing about.
I hold the media responsible for a lot of this behavior. I also hold the "Community Leaders" responsible for a lot of this behavior. It was up to them to try to quell the situation...not to escalate the situation.
The forensic evidence, as was reported, supports the version of events testified to by Officer Wilson. I can say that physical evidence does not lie. I will also say that there are, at times, a misrepresentation of the evidence and the evaluation of such evidence. The perception by one doesn't always coincide with the perception of someone else.
Was Officer Darren Wilson right in his actions? Honestly, I don't know. Why don't I know? Because I have not had the opportunity to review all of the evidence. All that I know is what has been reported by the media...and we all know where that will lead you. I do know that the judicial system that we have in place allows for a Grand Jury to evaluate all of the evidence presented, and then render a decision based on their interpretation of that evidence. This was not a quick action by the Grand Jury. It took them 3 months to review all of the evidence that was presented to them. They made the determination that Officer Wilson acted according to policy and to the law.
I've been involved in thousands of court cases in my career. Do I always agree with the verdict? No. Do I always feel that the jury "got it right"? No. However, the system worked as it is supposed to and, that's all any of us can ask for.