On Sunday afternoon, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot the unarmed 18-year-old black man Michael Brown, and witnesses say that Brown had his hands up, attempting to surrender. Since then, protesters and police have clashed in Ferguson, with a militarized local police force bringing tanks and sniper rifles to demonstrations and firing smoke bombs and tear gas at what appeared to be peaceful gatherings. They also arrested reporters and local politicians and attempted to ban news crews from the site. It was a national travesty. Last night, things apparently settled down in Ferguson, thanks in part to the fact that Missouri State Highway Police Captain Ron Johnson was brought in to command Ferguson police, and that he tried radical solutions like walking with protesters and talking to them rather than gassing them and provoking them. Still, there was something off-puttingly stagey about all the morning-news images of Johnson, a black man, walking among protesters, shaking hands and hugging people this morning. The implication seemed to be that everything is OK now, and that just doesn’t seem possible. Frank Ocean seemed to be having similar feelings this morning. On his Tumblr, Ocean posted a photo from a Ron Johnson press conference, and he wrote this:
You see that black woman standing up there? I wonder if she was called to stand behind the governor because she’s black. I wonder if i’m supposed to think Missouri’s gov’t is pro-black because of her being stood up there with those other black men being all black and everything. I wonder if she was off the clock while she stood up there. If she was off the clock..then i wonder if she was getting paid for her time off like the guy who shot Michael 8 times. What’s that guy’s name by the way?
(via Ocean’s Tumblr)
Actually, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson revealed the name of Brown’s killer this morning. It’s Darren Wilson.
Meanwhile, J. Cole shared “Be Free,” a song about Ferguson, this morning. It samples eyewitness accounts of the killing. Here it is:
Killer Mike also shared some thoughts on Brown’s killing earlier this week.