Social Media

Controversy Rages Over Images The Media Presents of Ferguson Shooting Victim Mike Brown

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After four days of protesting and rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, finally Thursday night the tension was defused by policing that focused on walking alongside the protesters instead of aiming guns at them. But at the heart of the furor is the death of Michael Brown at the hands of a policeman, and whether the shooting was justified, or if the policeman used unnecessary and excessive deadly force.

In this brave new world where everyone has a social media footprint, a controversial case like this is often tried in the public eye long before it hits the courtroom, and that’s where Michael Brown’s character comes in. His family and friends paint him as a “friendly giant” who was days away from beginning college. The official police report from the officer says the eighteen-year-old attacked and tried to reach for his sidearm.

Here’s a local news report about how images frame the debate:

Will images from his social media imprint muddy the waters, or clear them up? Don’t let the media decide for you:

1) At graduation:

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2) Younger, with a relative:

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3) Gang sign?

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4) His high school diploma:

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5) A picture of Brown as a child, and a jar he kept with ideas for rap lyrics:

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6) Another gang sign?

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7) At a meal:

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8) A selfie:

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9) Flipping off the camera:

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10) With earphones:

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11) More gang signs?

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The Gateway Pundit blog offers an analysis of these pictures that claims Michael Brown is flashing gang signs corresponding to allegiance to the “blood” gang.

So what do you see in all of these images of Michael Brown? Was he a thug that could have tried to grab a police officer’s gun and forced him to make a terrible decision to take his life? Or was he a “gentle giant” who loved his family and was gunned down heinously? Or is the truth somewhere in between?

Whatever truth we can ascertain, whatever insight we might gain, we all seek that justice be served.