by April V. Taylor
Just before 7 a.m. on Sept. 23, the memorial erected on Canfield Drive, mere feet from where unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson, went up in flames. Twitter lit up with pictures and outrage. Many who were at the scene report smelling something that may have been used as an accelerant. However police and officials are saying that candles near the memorial site are what caused the blaze.
Ferguson Police Department Capt. Jeremy Corcoran has stated to KSDK that the fire started around 6:45 a.m. He also stated that the fire was not put out with hoses but rather with portable fire extinguishers. No official cause has been given.
This is not the first time that a physical memorial in Michael Brown’s memory has been destroyed. The night Brown was murdered, a police officer allowed a police dog to urinate on a memorial and then a different officer drove over the memorial with his police cruiser.
One Twitter user compared the burning of the memorial to the cross burnings KKK members use as a form of intimidation.
In a community where so many are still trying to heal, with no justice in sight, the burning of the memorial seems to add insult to injury. Despite multiple, matching eyewitness accounts that Brown was gunned down while holding his hands in the air in surrender, Darren Wilson has yet to be charged or arrested.
The grand jury set to decide Wilson’s fate has been given until next year to make a decision on an indictment. Prosecutors and police officials have been called out by the ACLU, Amnesty International and the United Nations for their handling of the murder and its aftermath.
Despite the community reeling from what seems like overwhelming injustice, one community member went to Twitter and stated, “You can burn down the memorial, but not the memory.” Residents have already laid a sheet over the burned grass and begun rebuilding the memorial.
April V. Taylor can be reached via Twitter @AprilVTaylor.