Investigate Policing Methods After Protests Turn Violent

Riot Defense Police

Target: President Barack Obama

Goal: Urge federal investigation of Missouri police officers after lethal force was used on protesters

The shooting of eighteen-year-old Michael Brown has many citizens, particularly the black population, in uproar. Both the officer and the witnesses have opposing stories, which only complicates the situation further. Citizens are angry that the name of the officer has just been released, and the incident feels like a repeat of the Tavyon Martin case, where an unarmed black youth was shot by a white man. Missouri citizens gathered in the streets to protest, but when the protest turned violent, officers used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the people. Officers that are responsible for using such tactics when their life isn’t in danger should be investigated thoroughly for their actions.

The shooting took place in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unnamed police officer opened fire on an unarmed black youth. The mere fact that both the officer and witnesses have differing accounts of what happened between the officer and Michael Brown has added to the public’s unrest and rage. The officer, Darren Wilson, states that he and Michael Brown tussled in his car, with Brown trying to wrestle the gun from the officer’s belt. A shot was fired in the car. The officer then drew his weapon at a fleeing Michael Brown, shooting him multiple times. Witness Dorian Johnson has a different story, who states that Officer Wilson was trying to get Johnson and Brown off of the street, where a scuffle at the home enraged the officer who then tried to shove Brown into the car. A shot was fired while trying to get Brown into the vehicle, and multiple shots were fired when Brown tried to run away.

To the public, this case sounds jarringly similar to the Tavyon Martin case, where a black youth was shot by a white male. The shooter was acquitted of murder charges, to the dismay of the public. Residents in Ferguson, Missouri are deeply concerned that a repeat of these events will happen again, and have taken to the streets to protest. While the city called for protests to end by nightfall, citizens grew violent. In one incident, a citizen pulled a handgun on a St. Louis County Police officer, forcing the officer to shoot and wound the man. In other incidents, residents were seen looting stores and vandalizing property. By August 11, police used tear gas and rubber bullets on citizens when the protests turned violent; citizens were seen throwing rocks and glass bottles at police forces. Dozens of people have been arrested, and both Brown’s family and civil rights groups are asking the people to protest peacefully.

Excessive and lethal force, such as implementing tear gas and rubber bullets, should only be used when an officer has no other choice to protect his or her life. It is likely that the way the police treated this case could have inflamed citizens. Therefore a federal investigation needs to be conducted on behalf of the police’s conduct. Urge the president to initiate a transparent and impartial investigation as to how the police handled these protests.


Dear President Obama,

As you may well know, the Michael Brown case has sparked outrage, especially for those who live in Missouri. The shooting of an unarmed black youth by a police officer is eerily similar to the Tavyon Martin case, whose shooter was acquitted of murder charges. I’m sure you can understand the fright citizens in this area are experiencing over this shooting.

I want a federal investigation of police conduct, in particular to how the police have handled the protests. The citizens have a right to demonstrate, and police forces can only use lethal and excessive force if that is the only way they can save their lives. I am concerned that police action inflamed these citizens, and therefore ask that you punish any officer who was out of line and unlawfully hurt a civilian.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Spc. Jillian Munyon via Wikimedia Commons

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