This morning Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson finally named the officer who shot and killed the unarmed Mike Brown: Darren Wilson. Wilson had been with the force for six years and had no disciplinary record — whatever that means when the people judging your behavior also think it’s fine to respond to protests with tear gas, rubber bullets, and dogs.
In a move as infuriating as it was unsurprising, Jackson tried to cast aspersions on the 18-year-old victim’s character with a convoluted and seemingly unrelated story about a “strongarm robbery” that occurred around the same time. The victim-blaming tactic is cruel and dishonest; it’s clear the Chief sees police brutality as a PR problem to be spun away, rather than a crisis of justice. This goes without saying, but despite Jackon’s attempts to subtly link the two events, there isn’t any reason to think Brown was involved in the robbery — but even if he were, execution isn’t the punishment for stealing.
Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and co-director of Know Your IX.