On Aug. 9, 2014, an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown was brutally shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. Following the fatal altercation, a series of protests ensued and the case was brought to court.
On Nov. 24 of the same year, a grand jury ruled not to indict Mr. Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown. Following this announcement, more protests began due to the inhumane and argumentatively racist shooting that took place.
In March of 2015, the Justice Department asked the city of Ferguson to analyze and rethink their criminal justice system as it was believed they had violated constitutional laws in their recent jury ruling.
This series of events furthered the Black Lives Matter movement while simultaneously angering those who believe the police are equal victims in these types of situations.
Since August 2014, six protestors from Ferguson have died; three ruled as suicides, two were found dead inside torched cars and one from a fentanyl overdose on a bus.
According to police, there is no evidence that these deaths are connected to the Brown protests, but some activists are skeptical. A large group of observers question whether the investigations were conducted in a morally conscious and valid way.
Since the shooting, fear has been a prominent part of society in Ferguson. Protest leaders have been targeted with threats, attacks and the vandalization of their personal property including Cori Bush, a popular protestor in the area.
Bush has come forward with the mistreatment she has experienced following Brown’s death. Her car has been run off the road, her home has been vandalized and someone has shot a bullet into her car which nearly killed her 13-year-old daughter at the time.
Bush suspects this mistreatment is coming from white supremacists or “police sympathizers;” a bold yet quite possible statement.
“They shut us up and they win,” said Bush.
For the three protestors who have sadly taken their own lives, psychologists are attributing law enforcement to be a possible reason for their suffering mental health.
For many protestors, the law is not in their favor. It appears as an enemy. And when something is put in place that no one can change, that can be extremely damaging to that person’s mental health, especially if it’s restricting them from living their lives normally.
Other possible factors are obviously the racism in America that we see broadcasted on the news every day.
Five of the six protestors who died were black, male and in their 20s. This fact alone has sparked serious concern for young children of color not only in Ferguson but throughout the entire country.
Moving forward, it’s hard to know exactly what happened to those six activists, but it’s important to remember and respect what they did for so many citizens in this country.
Those are true American heroes.