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Ferguson, Missouri Riots

Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown unarmed black teenager, on August 9, 2014. The shooting occurred in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis in Missouri. After the shooting incident, there were rights in the area for several weeks. Although the region had started gaining its calmness after weeks of protest, the decision of the grand jury not to interdict Darren Wilson elicited another wave of the protests. The continuous waves of protest resulted in the overhauling of the criminal justice system of Ferguson (The New York Times 2015). The decision arrived upon confirmation that the institutions committed several constitutional violations in the city. The write-up compendiously presents essential facts and accounts of the cause of the riots and how the concept of frustration-induced criminality was displayed during the Ferguson riots.

The facts and accounts of what happened on the day of the shooting are disputed among the police, eyewitnesses, and family members. However, the documentation indicates that on August 9, 2014, Darren Wilson was driving a police car, Mr. Brown, on the other hand, was walking along the street with the friend, and that is when the encounter took place (Time 2014). About a few minutes Mr. Brown’s lifeless body was found lying in the street for about four hours, having suffered seven gunshot wounds. Although the seven wounds were noted, the investigations indicate twelve bullets were used.

According to officer Wilson, his confrontation with Mr. Brown and his friend Mr. Johnson on August 9, 2014, at midday; the officer had directed the two men who he claims were walking in the middle of the road and were holding traffic. He states that Mr. Johnson and Mr. Brown refused to adhere to his request, and he suspected that they could be suspects in the robbery committed in the nearby area. The officer wanted to arrest the two men, but Mr. Brown confronted him and punched him (Times 2014). Mr. Wilson claimed that Mr. Brown and friend Mr. Johnson ran and caught up with them. He asked them to surrender, but Mr. Brown hid his calling, resulting in his action, which he claimed was an active defense.

According to the witness who was Mr. Johnson, Mr. Brown’s friend was with him throughout the entire incident; he said that officer Wilson did reverse his vehicle, and upon reaching out, he grabbed Mr. Brown by his neck. According to the witness, at no point did Mr. Brown punch Mr. Wilson. Mr. Johnson states that Mr. Brown did surrender when the police officer did run after him, and Mr. Brown did raise his hands as a gesture that he had offered. According to Mr. Johnson, the police officer short Mr. Brown despite surrendering.

St Louis County Grand Jury and the United States department of justice dropped charges against Mr. Darren for lack of evidence. The composition of the Jurors’ panel had a total of twelve persons. Nine were while three were black. Several witnesses provided the evidence. There was also information obtained from the investigative experts such as forensic and medical. However, the court did find some of the evidence from the witnesses to be inconsistent and contradictory. Some of the witnesses sided with the officer while other witnesses did side with the main witness of the scene, Dorian Johnson. Robert McCulloch, the main St Louis County prosecutor, recommended no charges against Mr. Darren Wilson to the jury.

The decision that was made by the jury elicited mixed reactions among the citizens. The judgment has attracted a lot of critics from various persons who feel the justice was not served. Starting from Benjamin Crump, the deceased’s lawyer stated that jurors decided without considering several issues. The inconsistency of the witnesses, the symbiotic relationship between the chief juror and the accused, and the chief juror Mr. McCulloch had an imperative history with black people (The New York Times 2015). There were also mass protests and riots in the city following the development as the protesters demanded justice. The United States Justice Department’s research finally found a more comprehensive range of racial bias on the city’s institutions, that is, Ferguson’s police force and court system. The two systems were faulted for having discriminated against the African-Americans in their way of operations. After the findings, some actions were taken. For instance, police chief Tom Jackson was forced to resign. There was also a recommendation for the institutional overhaul.

Under the concept of frustration-induced criminality, suppose an individual is frustrated, they will become more aggressive to the extent that the negative emotions start coming up. The frustrations can lead to the provocation of violent responses. Suppose an individual chooses to be violent, aversive arousal can evolve from such behaviors and mostly leads to reward. However, the escalation of such violent behaviors may occur over time, and extreme situations can lead to murder or any other violent crimes. There are two different groups of criminal personalities (The New York Times 2015). The socialized offenders who have learned their illegal activities and antisocial characteristics from the environment peer interactions, modeling, and conditioning on their environment, and individual offenders whose criminal activities and antisocial are a result of a long series of unmet needs beginning early in their life.

In this case, the judges did apply the concept of the frustrations induced by criminality in arriving at a decision. They assumed that the officer was provoked, and as a result of the frustrations induced in the office, it evoked the action that led to the murder of Mr. Brown. In their reasoning, it seems the jurors failed to press charges on Mr. Wilson based on the argument that he was provoked and shot by Mr. Brown due to self-defense. If even that were true, there are many cases where the black Americans have been frustrated whenever they take similar action; such reasoning does not protect them. I think the jurors, in this case, applied double standards. African-Americans had continued to face racial discrimination for many years since the transatlantic trade when they were brought to America. I think if at all the reasoning of the jurors’ that led to the decision which freed Mr. Wilson was applicable in the case, then the concept should be applied in the African-American instances as well. This is because they have been frustrated for an extended period. Most of the criminal activities that some of them might be involved in could be due to the frustrations induced by criminality. I believe that the systems, especially the police and court, should portray justice in all their courses and shun discrimination of any kind. Whatever the concept or the reasoning used should apply in all cases.


Time (2014). LOOKING FOR ANSWERS ABOUT MY ENSLAVED ANCESTOR. Ferguson: In Defense of Rioting.

The New York Times (2014). Questions and Answers. What Happened in Ferguson?


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