Ferguson Ruling: A Collage

The following is a collage attempting to capture and interpret the range of voices surrounding the recent Ferguson grand jury decision on November 24, 2014. Fragments of news, social media, and commentary have been stripped of their context and purposefully rearranged. None of it is my writing. 


Throughout the community there’s a tension, something on the horizon that you feel everywhere you go.

8:25 PM Central Time 11/24/2014

Well, this sucks.

What's done is done, now do what you gotta do, an angry woman yelled into a bullhorn. 

Outside the Ferguson Police Department, anger and disbelief rippled through the crowd after word came out that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the killing of Michael Brown on August ninth.

I thought, Holy crap, are we going to have enough people to protect the businesses in our major corridors? I was assured we'd have plenty of law enforcement to handle those tasks. And we got overwhelmed and overrun.

At least 61 people were arrested, and at least 10 businesses were damaged or destroyed by fire. I hereby loot this 80" 4K TV in solemn memory of Michael Brown.

Probably much worse

Well, can’t say we didn’t see that coming. Probably the most obfuscating and self-serving speech I’ve heard in a while, though. Once again, as in every single other reaction and decision in this whole mess, tone deafness and seemingly blind levels of poor choices predominate. Sigh.

If you’re not from Missouri, I don’t want to read about what you think about St. Louis right now.

Thousands of people also protested in other US cities, from Los Angeles to New York.

I’m extremely proud of our justice system to come to the right decision and not indict Officer Wilson.

YOU'RE AFRAID TO EMPATHIZE WITH OTHER PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO ADMIT THAT OUR WORLD IS AS A UGLY AS WE ALL HOPE IT ISN'T.

Let's not just make noise; let's make a difference.

If any of you somehow manage to have the kind of Thanksgiving where none of your relatives say anything mind-bogglingly racist and tone deaf this year, it will be CNN’s top story.

Sloshed Man: They won’t come out here. They’ll get shot!

Me: Twiddles thumbs, contemplates world peace, and that I am not going to argue with drunk people I don’t know, but still can’t hide my jerk face

Sloshed Man: Recognizes I am uncomfortable. Uhh I’m not a racist. I just…you know…so many of those black guys kill each other why do they care when it’s a white guy that does it?

Therefore, there's no use in spouting off hypothetical situations like, well where would Al Sharpton be if Darren Wilson had shot a young white man!? Because the answer to that question is: According to statistics, Darren Wilson is a lot less likely to have shot a white man in the first place.

Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Kendrec McDade, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Eric Garner, Jonathan Ferrell, Amanda Diallo, Kimani Gray, Kenneth Chamberlain, Trayvon Martin. This happens to much. [sic]

Brown, like thousands of other young black men, is crying out from his grave, saying, you all have to change this system.

I felt that another of those punches in my face could knock me out or worse, Wilson said. …I've already taken two to the face and I didn't think I wouldthe third one could be fatal if he hit me right.

I stand by Officer Darren Wilson.

Stop! Your ignorance is showing.

Justice was served. Injustice would be filing criminal charges with underwhelming evidence.

Don't tell me my life experiences aren't applicable in a discussion. That's like saying your still incomplete college education isn't applicable in a discussion.

It is much too easy to focus on the details of the MB case and be too concerned with Wilson's innocence or guilt rather than embracing and understanding our collective participation in a society that creates measurable disparities for African-Americans. This moment has only been a smaller incident in a long history of racial violence in this country that has lasted longer than the political institutions themselves. While I hope that my children and grandchildren will see reconciliation and racial parity, I have sincere doubts.

Enough is enough. Action speaks volumes.

Firefighters were at the scene, spraying down the Little Caesar's at 10:32 p.m.

I’m so disgusted by so much defacement of important and historical art around the city. All of the pictures I have seen repulse me. Not sending a good message to the people you want on your side, idiots. I hope this is not the beginning…

CNN's Sara Sidner was struck in the head with a rock as more rocks flew around her. Amid the looting and arson across Ferguson, some protesters demanded the media stop reporting on the events.

Firefighters had to pull out from the scenes because of numerous shots fired in the area.

Obviously there’s a smell of marijuana in the air.

We are getting ready to challenge the narrative.

In case you forgot, here are some reasons why STL rules: free stuff, the zoo, first waffle cone, the Arch, Birds, asking where they went to high school, hating where they went to high school, Mardi Gras, Rams, Lewis and Clark, Crown Candy, Main Street, Forest Park, jokes on Halloween, toasted ravs, Busch, NELLY, the Valley, gooey butter cake, Fast Eddies, Six Flags, the Hill, and good people.

No matter what people have said about us being violent, that's not what we are about, Moffitt said. We are not going to allow a repeat of the violence and damage that happened to this area in August.

He bought himself a .357 Magnum revolver to be ready.

Police had said that they deployed tear gas after they used smoke to attempt to disperse the crowd. Earlier they had said they did not use gas.

You lost me at Governor Nixon said.

Some protestors used milk to try to soothe the effects of the tear gas.

But the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, who is widely viewed in the minority community as being in the pockets of the police, made matters infinitely worse by handling this sensitive investigation in the worst possible way.

A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect–W.E.B. Du Bois

Would be great if there was an online fundraiser for everyone who saw their livelihoods go up in flames tonight. I seriously doubt insurance claims will provide any coverage for the hourly workers.

Wait, so now we're saying there is injustice in being tried by a jury of our peers? Or is that the racist bit? And justice is burning, shooting, rioting and stealing? God bless murderers and thugs.

My heart brakes [sic] for my most favorite city in the entire world and the fire, EMS, police, children and citizens caught up in the middle. I pray one day people realize responding with violence doesn’t solve the problem but further perpetuates it. No matter your believes [sic] on the situation, I hope the family and friends of Michael Brown are able to grieve together and that St. Louis comes together as the wonderful city it is and works through this difficult time.

Friends and family at home, I love and miss you all. Please stay safe in all this unnecessary recklessness. My heart is in St. Louis and I pray for the brave officers and citizens affected by the selfish idiocracy [sic] and destruction that is the response to the grand jury decision.

Riot shaming is racism. If you engage in one, claim the other. Don't be a coward now.

The community has become more and more enraged. How do you say we hear your concerns if you haven’t made any changes at all? The mayor is still in place, the police chief is still in place. 

Belmar said as far as he knew, police did not fire shots, but there was plenty of gunfire in the area. He said he personally heard at least 150 shots.

There are patients in the ER that have been here since yesterday. And they’re taking up rooms so the waiting room is backed up… Twenty-five patients left without being seen last night, and they couldn’t be transferred because Barnes and Christian were full.

A peaceful protester was hit in the face with a broken piece of concrete.

This process is broken.

Three months from now, when it's no longer trendy, your personal #Ferguson will still be a Black city ran [sic] by White civic leaders and patrolled by officers who most likely don't live in the neighborhoods that they are paid to serve. Our schools will still be terrible with parents who don't volunteer. Our prison systems will still profit off unjustly imprisoning young black men and women for nonviolent crimes for which others manage to escape jail time. The small businesses will still be owned by people who don't invest in the community. And meanwhile, most of the community’s inhabitants will be solely concerned with the Presidential election and not local policies.

The message: shoot first, think later, and you can count on being exonerated.

Lol at anyone who thinks the cops are anything but a legally sanctioned street gang.

Hands up! Don’t shoot!

How many dead black men will it take for one white man to be indicted? Stay tuned…

If all this weren’t bad enough, Mr. McCulloch took a reckless approach to announcing the grand jury’s finding. After delaying the announcement all day, he finally made it late in the evening, when darkness had placed law enforcement agencies at a serious disadvantage as they tried to control the angry crowds that had been drawn into the streets by news that the verdict was coming. Mr. McCulloch’s announcement sounded more like a defense of Officer Wilson than a neutral summary of the facts that had led the grand jury to its conclusion.

Change is created through our voice, not the destruction of our community.

Be nice to my city. I like living here.

David Whitt lives just feet away from the shooting site and has been arming people with 200 cameras to get every police move on tape. He calls it his weapon.

Strength does not come with ease.

Shortly after 11:30 PM, a young man drove up to the police line in a parking lot on West Florissant Avenue and said he had been shot in the leg. He climbed out of his car, dazed and limping, and appeared to have a wound near one ankle. He at first refused medical treatment, saying he didn't want to leave his gray Ford Mustang. It's all I have, he said.