Protests in Ferguson, Missouri have yet to cease since the deadly police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in August. Police have continued to meet the protests with the same overly-aggressive force that they used immediately following Brown’s death. The awful events in Ferguson could have brought about real change in our country. Because the media has underreported these continued acts of police brutality in Ferguson, however, we cannot reprimand the police officers that use their power to harm innocent people.
Over 12 arrests were made on the particularly tense night of Sept. 26., when multiple Ferguson residents took to Twitter to document instances of police brutality. On Sept. 28, eight people were arrested outside the Ferguson Police Department when their protest apparently turned violent. On Oct. 2, at least six people were arrested outside of the police department, including a female freelance journalist working for CNN.
Though the astonishing images of protesters being attacked by police with tear gas and rubber bullets are not as prevalent in recent protests, this does not mean that the story is over. Ferguson police continue to use force when no force is needed and side-step the law in order to make arrests under bogus conditions.
The protesters have shown again and again just how caring and united they are as a community; this makes hearing about these police brutalities all the more difficult. When the protests first started, few news outlets reported on the protester giving out free milk to those who had been shot with tear gas or the protesters cheering and dancing to keep momentum going.
Similarly, the media has failed to adequately report on the protest that occurred Saturday Oct. 4 at the St. Louis Symphony. Crowd members stood at intermission to sing a requiem for Michael Brown and displayed banners with slogans like “Black Lives Matter” in a beautiful display of continuing solidarity.
If you are getting tired of hearing about Ferguson, then you should definitely be reading this. The events in Ferguson are a microcosm of the countless threats to equality and safety that African-Americans face on a daily basis. This is a story that we cannot lose to our fast-paced news cycle and low attention spans.
Ferguson was––and still is––a story of race, despite how some conservative networks have framed it. Eighty-six percent of police stops and 92 percent of police searches are made on black individuals despite the fact that the population of Ferguson is only 67 percent black, according to the 2010 United States Census. Given that black residents of this town face constant harassment from police while white residents do not, it is difficult to argue that this story is not about race.
The passion and publicity of the protests that followed Brown’s death led many to believe that Americans had finally recognized just how dire the climate of racial tensions has become. Some even called Ferguson the beginning of a second wave of the civil rights movement—a wave that would finally address racial inequalities in our society.
In order to face the issues of race brought up by the shooting of Michael Brown, the media must continue to inform the public of the injustices being faced by the protesters in Ferguson.