On August 9th, 2014, 18 year old Mike Brown was shot 6 times by a Ferguson, MO police officer named Darren Wilson. Witnesses to the shooting say the unarmed Mike Brown had his hands up while Wilson continued to shoot. Public outcry erupted in Ferguson, which did not have any murders thus far this year in their city until the murder of Mike Brown. From VOX: An independent, preliminary autopsy found Wilson shot Brown at least six times from the front, and two of the bullets struck Brown on the head. One of the bullets appears to have hit the top of Brown's head. "This one here looks like his head was bent downward," Dr. Michael Baden, who conducted the autopsy on behalf of Brown's family, said "It can be because he's giving up, or because he's charging forward at the officer." The news of yet another young, unarmed black man being killed by police (or faux police) made me angry.
In the days that followed, protests erupted. The mayor of Ferguson and governor of Missouri did nothing to calm the unrest, in fact their statements only enraged people more. In this small town midwestern town outside of St. Louis, Ferguson's fully militarized police force came decked out in gear that alarmed even recent Iraq and Afghanistan war vets. Armored vehicles typically used to protect US military forces from IEDs were trotted out, with guns pointed at the protesters, US American citizens. Martial law and curfews were enacted in Ferguson. Evening images from Ferguson via Twitter were seemingly the only reliable, unfiltered real-time sources of the police brutality. Teargas canisters and wooden bullets were shot at the crowd. I read accounts, watched uploaded videos, and was sickened by the injustice I was watching unfold. As the police violence became worse, major news media outlets could no longer ignore the brutality. Ferguson police arrested reporters, confiscated news media cameras, and shot teargas canisters at them apparently suspending first amendment rights altogether. On the evening of August 18th, unable to sleep, I watched horrified at the police marching side-by-side in line like a scene from the Battle of Waterloo with their guns pointed at the unarmed crowd of American citizens. The people of Gaza, being annihilated by Israel with US supplied arms, sent their support to the people of Ferguson. Protests and marches in NYC, LA, SF, Seattle and other major cities have been happening across the country, pretty much ignored by main stream media (MSM) outlets.
Almost a month later, Darren Wilson is still not charged nor in custody. The Ferguson and St. Louis police force have raised money for his defense, along with the KKK, and are protecting his whereabouts. Justice for Mike Brown doesn't seem to be high on the priority list from anyone in authority from the POTUS on down. Nothing but lip service.
In response to the unjust murder of Mike Brown and the chants from the crowds when protesting of "Hands Up, Don't Shoot!" I made the above image to reflect my own unease. I thought of our flag upside-down, a symbol of the country in distress, overlapped with hands up in surrender for an image to represent the injustices that are on the rise.