WTVM 3/20/15 Editorial: Hands up, don't shoot

WTVM 3/20/15 Editorial: Hands up, don’t shoot

(WTVM) - The popular protestors' chant of "hands up! don't shoot!" after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., rocketed around the internet.

It was acted out by pro athletes and celebrities to call attention to the killing of unarmed black men by police officers.

But as the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart recently reported, in Brown's case it was never backed up by facts.

Capehart is a well-known African-American columnist who says the Department of Justice report on Brown's death concluded that witness testimony was unreliable or wrong and crime scene evidence showed that Brown never signaled his surrender.

The Washington Post's respected fact checker segment backs up the fallacy of "hands up, don't shoot" and gives it four Pinocchios, the top of their scale in measuring falsehoods.

But at the same time, we cannot forget that the Justice Department's broad investigation of Ferguson police did find concrete evidence of racial profiling and a pattern of excessive use of force aimed at black citizens.

In fact, every single instance of canine attack ordered by the Ferguson PD was against black suspects.

The use of tasers was also found to be disproportionate against African-Americans.

So while "hands up don't shoot" might be popular rhetoric, the legacy of the protests should be that a brighter light now illuminates the overall treatment of minorities in Ferguson, which is an important step in creating positive change.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

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