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Violence is not the answer / by Mitchell Blatt, December 3, 2014 Adjust font size:

The perceptions of various witnesses are contradictory on some key questions. The prosecutor released an unprecedented amount of evidence to the public after the grand jury decision was announced. Among interviews with 20 witnesses, there was disagreement about whether Brown was charging Wilson when he made the fatal shots or whether Brown was kneeling on the ground.

But almost all of the witnesses agree that Brown had a confrontation with Wilson near the police car window, and there was blood splattered inside the car. Wilson had a bruise from where Brown punched him. Afterwards, Wilson fired his gun, Brown ran, and Wilson pursued him. Brown eventually turned around, confirmed by the autopsy and blood splatter evidence, and was shot from the front. While witness statements differ on whether Brown was surrendering or running back toward Wilson, blood splatter evidence suggests he moved 21 feet towards Wilson.

We will never know what happened because we were not there, and even those who were there didn't see events clearly enough to see everything. The grand jury made the right decision not to indict Wilson. Just as it is an injustice for someone to be killed for no reason, it's also an injustice for an innocent person to be imprisoned. We may not ever know for sure if Wilson is innocent, but the United States' justice system works on the presumption of innocence and the need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A person's freedom should not be held hostage by those calling for an indictment and threatening violence if one is not made.

Protesters who make Wilson the face of police brutality are not only besmirching him, perhaps wrongly so, they are also doing a great disservice to their own cause. If someone looks at the above evidence and concludes that Wilson did not commit any crime, then they may come to the conclusion that the whole problem which he has been made to represent has been overblown.

Then, when the unrestrained rage comes spilling out in arson and property damage, the people who are hurt are ones who didn't do anything wrong. "Queen" K. Barnes-Greene was a school teacher who used her savings to start a beauty parlor when she retired. "I wanted to show my family that having your own business was attainable," she said in a post on, where she is raising money to rebuild. The hopes and dreams and livelihoods of so many people who didn't have anything to do with the case went up in smoke.

Can a phoenix rise from the ashes of Ferguson? Can something good come out of all this? Some people are donating to rebuild businesses. Natalie's Cakes has received over $260,000 at, and the Ferguson Market has received over $30,000, though Queen's Royal Touch and Sam's Market are still in need of much more.

It would be best if we could leave it at that, leave the buildings standing on a foundation of reconciliation, but the Ferguson Market has already been looted twice in three months. It will take more than a day to rebuild.

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