‘Saint Michael Brown’ and the anti-police movement

Michael Brown would have turned 28 yesterday. 

But Brown died 10 years ago because he chose to rob a convenience store in Ferguson Missouri, assault the owner who tried to stop him, and then fight with and attempt to disarm the lone police officer, Daren Wilson, who tried to arrest him. 

Brown’s death ushered in our nation’s most recent anti-police movement, some six years prior to the death of George Floyd. His death also ushered in the propensity by many to turn criminals into saints when their deaths involve the police.

A long period of rioting occurred in Ferguson as activists seized the moment to create the narrative of “another young black man” targeted by the police and killed for no reason. 

The rioting was born out of the vacuum created by activists, the media, and opportunistic politicians who dispensed with the facts and ran with false narratives portraying Brown as a victim of police violence.

The reluctance to support officer Wilson, and the undermining of the police brought about the “Ferguson effect, followed by the “Minneapolis effect” — whereby officers became demoralized, criminals became emboldened, and society suffered from the resulting chaos and an explosion in violent crime. 

Despite three separate investigations (Missouri District Attorney, Missouri Grand Jury, and Federal Department of Justice) which cleared officer Wilson of any wrongdoing, Brown’s name is routinely used as “evidence” of police misconduct and “proof” the police target and shoot young black males without cause.

“Hands up, don’t shoot” is the activist slogan now routinely chanted at police during anti police rallies. Never mind Brown didn’t put his hands up or utter the words “don’t shoot.” Activists can’t be bothered with facts, only narratives.

It is shocking just how easily many in the public can be influenced to turn on their police — to their very own detriment. The term “useful idiots” is an accurate descriptor. 

To this day, uninformed people will boldly and stubbornly assert that Brown was “murdered” by police. They are seemingly oblivious to the harm that perpetuating such a false narrative causes us all. 

The narrative of unwarranted “police violence” is harmful to the very young black males the activist crowd claims to support — to say nothing of the harm it causes society. The narrative gives young black males the justification to ignore police officers’ orders, and even resist and fight with officers who might attempt to arrest them. This puts the lives of both young black males and police officers unnecessarily at risk. 

It’s a screwed-up world where facts are routinely ignored in deference to destructive narratives, but here we are.

We’ve all seen the High School graduation photo of Brown, which the mainstream media and others have trotted since his death to portray Brown as a big, sweet, lovable kid.

Brown should be remembered more accurately by his final acts — robbing a convenience store, assaulting the store owner, and attempting to disarm the arresting officer. 

Brown was no saint, and portraying him as such while ignoring the lessons that his death should provide, only perpetuate an atmosphere making it more likely, not less, that similar scenarios will occur.

Decent people who care about our society need to boldly and unapologetically challenge and correct false narratives like the one created around Michael Brown’s death. Do it today and every day — our future depends on it.