Russell Brand: ‘Ferguson is a microcosm of centuries of racial oppression’
On the latest episode of The Trews, British comedian and social activist Russell Brand responded to Fox News’ coverage of the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson and the protests that followed.
“The grand jury found that that white man, Darren Wilson — who’s a policeman, coincidentally — didn’t do anything wrong when he killed that young lad, Michael Brown — who’s a black man, coincidentally,” he began.
“It’s this series of coincidences that’s leading to protests. Does that mean we have no power? Does that mean that the laws that have been set up don’t give us any access to power? Are we living in a corrupt world with no possibility for change?” Brand asked.
“Let’s find out,” he said, before cutting to a clip of Fox News covering the protests. “Interesting that when it’s reported on Fox News, the words that are used are ‘looting’ and ‘violence.’ Here’s another way that that Fox report could’ve gone: ‘Every 28 hours, an unarmed black man is killed by law enforcement somewhere in America.'”
After showing a clip from Fox News touting the injuries Wilson suffered in his altercation with Brown, an incredulous Brand replied, “Injuries he suffered that day? We’re being invited by Fox News to see Officer Wilson as the victim of a situation in which he killed a teenage boy.”
“Can you imagine a situation in which I, an affluent white person, killed a teenage boy and people would go, ‘What injuries did you suffer there, Russ?'”
Brand then shifted to discussing the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. “What kind of police state are the American people living in,” he asked, “where a real child with a pretend gun can be killed by a real police officer with a real gun, who will be very unlikely to face real consequences?”
“We have a responsibility to reframe this information, because it seems that what Ferguson has become is a microcosmic cauldron of centuries of racial oppression,” Brand continued. “The attempt to reframe it as, ‘this is unruly unrest and looting,’ is absolutely irrelevant. What is relevant is that St. Louis police have killed 14 people and that a young boy has been murdered and there are no legal consequences to it.”
He then played another Fox News clip, in which the announcer was reading a statement from Darren Wilson’s attorney. “We have maintained and the grand jury agreed that Officer Wilson’s actions on August 9 were in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern the procedures of an officer,” the Fox host said.
“What value do those ‘laws and procedures’ have then?” Brand replied. “Any law or procedure that can lead to the murder of a teenage boy needs to be scrutinized. Because according to the law, Officer Wilson did nothing wrong when he killed that teenage boy.”
He then read a list of all the military-grade equipment the St. Louis Police Department has purchased since 1997, and said, “it’s almost like they know the laws are unjust, and that people have no recourse within the law, so eventually they’ll rise and protest — and [the police] are ready for that, they know that change is coming, they know that people are unifying and they’re not going to yield to it.”
“Power never yields,” Brand continued, “you never get any concessions without protest. You’ve got these options: Shut up! or protest.”