Rod St. Aubyn: Will The Ferguson Protest Set Back Race Relations?


With recent the police shooting of an unarmed young black man in Ferguson, Missouri, we have seen a continuous display of protest within Ferguson and now even in Fargo. At times these protests have become violent. And now reports indicate that there has been another police shooting of a knife wielding black man robbing another store in Ferguson.

What is most troubling to me is that the investigation is still in progress. Yet protesters seem to have already made up their minds and seem to assume their own facts without waiting for the investigation to be done. We have seen what appears to be the suspect doing a strong armed robbery and physically pushing the store owner. And now we hear some alleged information about how the young black man had physically assaulted the policeman doing significant damage to his face just prior to the shooting.

While I don’t blame the media for reporting all of this information, I fear that the recent events will set back race relations even more than what exists today. Most of the arrested protesters are not even from Ferguson. These agitators seem to just appear at these events to stoke the fires of anger.

And now the Federal government has stuck its nose into the situation, which should be a state action. The President has ordered a third autopsy. Why? Are the other two autopsies incorrect? Why hasn’t the President done this in other state police killings? There was talk about replacing the local prosecutor with an independent prosecutor. Why? Has anyone provided proof that the existing prosecutor has been derelict with his duties?
Keep in mind that not all the Ferguson protesters have been violent. In fact, many in the crowds have been trying to calm some of the behaviors of the agitators. This entire situation is unfortunate and I hate to see that anyone is killed, but why can’t we wait until the investigation is done and the facts have been determined. Isn’t everyone, including the young black man AND the policeman, presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court of law.

Now we have protesters in Fargo reacting. Exactly why? Do they have more facts than we have today? I fear that this rush to judgment and the ongoing protests are going to only set back race relations in this country. I urge everyone to wait until the investigation is done and all the facts are presented before we make any judgment. We don’t need even more division in our country.