OBJECTIVE: Comparing & Contrasting Rodney King & Michael Brown
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS TO ANSWER:
1. Who is to blame in these incidents?
2. Why did people riot? Was rioting justified in some way? Why?
3. What can we learn?
INITIAL THOUGHTS IN RESEARCH (copy in your first posts & responses, if any)
1. Rodney King did run from the cops, because he was on parole, and the high speed chase that ensued I believe created something known as “cop rage”. Officers that risk their livelihood and lives trying to catch suspects, and they are understandably angry at fleeing suspects by the time they apprehend them. However, policemen are not justified in beating someone just because he or she runs. Yet King demonstrated concerning and bizarre behavior when they arrested him. According to Wikipedia, “King remained in the car. When he finally did emerge, he acted bizarrely, giggling, patting the ground, and waving to the police helicopter overhead. King then grabbed his buttocks which Officer Melanie Singer took to mean King reaching for a weapon. King was later found to be unarmed. She drew her pistol and pointed it at King, ordering him to lie on the ground.” It goes to say that they thought he was on PCP, I believe mainly because they tasered him twice and regardless, he kept getting up. The video tape demonstrates a vicious beating that seemed unnecessary. Adding this all up I believe the police bear most of the responsibility for using excessive force.
3. Michael Brown bears more of the responsibility than King does, due to the fact that he was walking in the middle of the street, refused to obey Officer Wilson’s direction, instead verbally attacked him, and then physically confronted the policeman. There are pictures of Darren Wilson’s bruised face which I believe are legitimate, proving that Brown attacked him. See this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/look-at-these-injury-phot_b_6235084.html
4. I believe that Wilson could have done more to subdue Brown without shooting him, such as using his baton, pepper spray or taser gun. So ultimately he bears more of the blame, but it is close. Michael Brown chose to verbally and physically attack a police officer and it is foolish to believe that anyone can do that without violent consequences.
ANSWER YOUR CRITICAL THINKING QUESTIONS
1. BLAME? I have already addressed blame, but I will restate that Michael Brown has far more responsibility in his situation than King does.
2. RIOTS? In the case of Rodney King, an argument can be made that rioting was the only way that people