The day before Mike Brown’s funeral service the New York Times deemed it necessary to publish an article entitled “Michael Brown Spent Last Weeks Grappling With Problems and Promise.” The article is a recount of Brown’s final week on earth. The writer, John Eligon, dubbed the slain teen “no angel.” The full paragraph is as following:
“Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police say he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar. He got into at least one scuffle with a neighbor.”
As an older sister to a 17-year-old Black teenage boy in America, I am very sensitive when incidents like Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin occur. It is even more unfortunate the day before the family and friends of Brown are scheduled to lay the 18-year-old to rest, who should have begun his college matriculation, a newspaper believed it was appropriate to dehumanize another human being.
At 18 I’m not sure I know anyone who is an “angel.” According to the Fifth Amendment, no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” However, Darren Wilson took away Brown’s chance to a fair and due process by slaughtering the teen. Whether he was a thief or a rapper, Brown was a human being first.
As the article continues to gain attention, many took to Twitter to express their rage—once again. Here are a few comments in 145 characters or less.
I’m curious what is the New York Times definition of an “angel”?