On Ferguson, Darren Wilson, and Michael Brown

Darren Wilson, photographed in a medical office after shooting dead Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo released by the St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office photo
Darren Wilson, photographed in a medical office after shooting dead Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo released by the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office

Ferguson, Missouri, burst into flames after a grand jury found no cause to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 9. Some 700 National Guard troops were immediately summoned, with 2,200 reinforcements added Tuesday, to quell rioting.

But the story of Ferguson is deceptively simple, and beguiling: a tale of authorities versus delinquents, blacks versus whites. devils versus angels. Here is my column on the case, Ferguson’s Damned Details.


Here is a select list of journalism collations and original documents about the story:


 The Marshall Project:  Collated news and opinion items about Ferguson
Moyers and Company: What We’re Reading About Ferguson
U.S. and international reporting on Ferguson by the New York Times;  BBC; France 24;  South China Morning Post; and Russian Television (RT.com) 

Original sources:

A Guide to the Facts and Issues  and Evidence released from the Grand Jury, collated by St. Louis Public Radio
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s press stream, of videos and news releases

What next?

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in October announced a Ferguson Commission, tasked to:

  • “Conduct a thorough, wide-ranging and unflinching study of the social and economic conditions underscored by the unrest in the wake of the death of Michael Brown; 
  • “Second, to tap the expertise needed to address the concerns identified by the Commission – from poverty and education, to governance and law enforcement; 
  • “And third, to offer specific recommendations for making this region a stronger, fairer place for everyone to live.”

Related works in F&O’s archives:

Deadly Force in Black and White America. By Ryan Gabrielson, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Eric Sagara, ProPublica

An analysis of statistics supports what has been an article of faith in the United States’ African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population. Young American black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.  

Michael Brown, Ferguson and the nature of unrest. By Garrett Albert Duncan, The Conversation

Many Americans share president Barack Obama’s sentiment regarding the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. This is clearly indicated in the deeply felt hurt experienced by so many and the massive swell of moral support people of all backgrounds offered to the young man’s parents in recent days. But to suggest that all, or even most, Americans feel the same would be severely misleading.

Six Days in Ferguson: Voices from the Protests. By Lois Beckett, ProPublica

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 9, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, 18-year-old Michael Brown. The killing sparked immediate protests in Ferguson which was followed by a heavily militarized police response that drew national condemnation. Here is a day-by-day chronology of what happened in Ferguson, drawn from the best reporting by journalists and witnesses on the ground.



Michael Brown at his high school graduation, shortly before he was killed. Photo from St. Louis Public Radio
Michael Brown at his high school graduation,  earlier this year. Photo from St. Louis Public Radio



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