“You have broken our hearts, but you have not broken our backs!” -Reverend Al Sharpton
Reverend Al Sharpton held a press conference today and by God it’s one of the best post Darren Wilson non-indictment speeches we’ve heard! Sharpton’s speeches always have lessons wrapped around powerful statements that make you want to quote him and those one was no different.
Ever the riveting speaker, Reverend Sharpton called prosecutor Robert McCulloch out for lying to the American public and trying to make Michael Brown out to be a criminal, he created a laughable moment when he mentioned Darren Wilson’s testimony, which included Wilson comparing Brown to Hulk Hogan and he rounded it out with a plan and hope. “How do you have a man on the force who feels like he’s a child up against Hulk Hogan, so what kind of training and policing do you do?” Sharpton asked and we’re like…no really. President Obama should definitely take notes. Al Sharpton was not playing games with law enforcement or the people of Ferguson.
Perhaps one of the biggest moments was when Sharpton reminisced on the iconic police brutality case of Rodney King. Sharpton compared Brown’s case to King’s and mentioned that those policemen that beat Kind almost to death were initially acquitted. And because the civil rights leaders refused to stop marching in support of King, they were able to involve the federal government and each of those officers were convicted and charged. That’s the kind of hope we have to hold on to and exactly what Sharpton offered. Check out the most amazing moments from his speech:
1. Robert McCulloch, The Prosecutor Is A Liar:
“The appearance by the district attorney made it clear to everyone why we had little faith in a state prosecution. I’ve been involved in civil rights all my life. We’ve seen cases go ways that we felt were right and ways we felt were wrong. I’ve never seen a prosecutor hold a press conference to discredit the victim. He went out of his way, point by point, in discrediting Michael Brown, who could not defend himself.
Have you ever heard a prosecutor go in and explain to the press why the one who did the killing is not going to trial, but the victim is guilty of several things? He takes his time to methodically try and discredit the witnesses. Witnesses who will still be needed in the ongoing federal investigations and if there are civil proceedings.”
“He implied that the federal government and the state investigation ran hand in hand and ended last night. That is not the case. The attorney general has released a statement saying the federal government investigation continues in the killing and in the review and Mr. McCulloch’s statements led others to believe differently.”
2. The Slandering Of Michael Brown:
“The only one makes that makes a presentation in the grand jury is the prosecutor. There is no cross examination. For him to talk about inconsistencies is unchallenged because there is no one representing the other side to come and cross examine what he put up. What may sound inconsistent is only responding to what was asked. When you have the attitude of a prosecutor that feels it’s his duty to go out of his way to discredit a young teenager that can’t speak for himself, then America saw that why we said from day one, the federal government needs to step in to protect the rights of Michael Brown and the rights of America.”
3. When All Else Fails, Blame The Media:
“It was very strange to us that he lectured the media. A media that he and others had no problem when he leaked a video tape of Michael Brown in the convenience store, a media you had no problem leaking all kinds of favorable stuff for the prosecution, a media you had no problem leaking things for the officer. It seems to me he had the use of the media, then has a strange decision in a town that has been tense, in a town that has been forecast to have all kinds of problems–his solution is let’s announce it after dark. Let’s make sure that all the kids are home, all students are back for Thanksgiving break and it’s dark outside. We’re going to announce it and then I’m gonna get up in the dark and castigate the character of Michael Brown. I think it’s irresponsible. I think that it was unnecessarily provocative.”
4. How The Law Was Mishandled:
“How do you have a grand jury that’s a trial jury? You don’t have a grand jury decide on the guilt or innocence of the accused. You only decide is there enough to go forth. The prosecutor was not announcing whether there was probably cause, he was announcing the acquittal of the officer. He tried him rather than investigate him. That’s a misuse of the grand jury system.”
5. On Michael Brown’s Legacy & The Hope For Justice:
“Michael Brown will not be remembered for the ashes from buildings burned in Ferguson, he will be remembered for new legislation and the upholding of law that protects citizens in the country. Michael Brown has lit a new energy for police accountability. When Rodney King happened, our hearts were broken. We watched a trial jury acquit those police. There was violence after that, but we kept on going and the federal government came in and those policemen were convicted. So before you think this is over, remember what happened in Rodney King. We went from Simi Valley to the federal government. We have told his family we’re with them to the end. We told them we would do this with dignity. We’re here today to let Michael Brown’s parents know, we may have lost one round, but the fight is not over. Sometimes you can even get knocked down in a round, but I’ve seen champions get up off the mat and still win the fight. We took a blow last night, we’ve gone to the corner and cleared our heads. We’ll come out for the next round.
For over 100 days, all kinds of people marched in Ferguson peacefully. Those that got violent last night does not represent the spirit of Michael Brown. It was those young and old who stood, no matter the weather for those 100 days–those are the ones who stood for Michael Brown. Those that burn are on their own side. If you’re on Michael Brown’s side, you walk with dignity, you stand with pride, you uphold the law. We are on the side of Michael Brown to fight for what is right. Don’t lower those standards.”
6. What’s Next?:
“We were not surprised at what the outcome was. Certainly, it is painful for the mother and father. Certainly there will be emotional reactions. I’ve never seen a case where there wasn’t. Let the record be clear: you have broken our hearts, but you have not broken our backs. We’re going to continue to pursue justice. We will continue to fight for a new level of accountability of policing in this country.”
“We have called and emergency civil rights meeting in Washington, D.C. we will determine an ongoing strategy that will include mass and regular marches, legislation and economic boycotts. We will not turn around. We will have the leading civil rights activists, including some of our young groups that want room on the platform that have shown the ability to mobilize. This is not about all of us liking each other. This is about all of us being bonded with a common goal. We will come out of that summit and lay out a plan that will constructively change this nation and bear on those ongoing cases.”
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