The Michael Brown Shooting

According to news accounts, police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. Officer Darren Wilson killed him by shooting him six times in total, four of which struck Brown's right hand and two of which struck his cranium. According to a witness, Michael Brown was unarmed and didn't indicate that he intended to assault the police. His death sparked unrest in Ferguson, where officers engaged the city's devastated citizens for days while making arrests every day.

This case assumed a racist dimension and received worldwide notice. The blacks felt like Michael Brown was only shot because he was a black man and the officer in question was a white man. The blacks took to the streets to protest and fight for their rights as American citizens. Darren Wilson said that there was a struggle before he shot Michael Brown. The police autopsy and the private autopsy conducted by Brown’s family differed with Darren’s narration. The autopsy showed no signs of a struggle and said that Brown died purely out of gunshot wounds.

The police were slow in their investigations and hid some information from the public citing security reasons. The residents were very angry and protested complaining that the police investigations were not open. President Barrack Obama ordered the police to speed up the investigations and share the progress of their findings with the public. The police finally gave out the name of the officer who shot Brown and gave out a report about the findings of their investigations. They said that Brown was a suspect in a robbery that happened a few blocks away from where he was shot. This report further angered Brown’s family and the residents because Brown had no history of breaking the law in any way whatsoever. Darren resigned four months after the incident.

Police Psychology

Police officers are people who are exposed to various situations that are harmful to their mental health while in line of duty. They face violent situations, mentally ill people, drug addicts, and even ugly scenes such as murdered people. These scenes affect their health mentally and sometimes it spreads over to their families. Police psychology is the use of psychological principles to ensure public safety and the safety of the police officers (Thomas, 2011). Officers are regularly screened for their psychological status before they are handed a gun and a badge.

Officer Darren made a decision and shot Michael Brown. As a police officer, one is faced by tough decisions in the field to decide very fast and execute before it is too late. Their decisions are meant to protect themselves and the general public. Darren’s decision was not supported by many because it is the duty of a police officer to protect the lives of the citizens. Darren claimed to be protecting himself but the teenager was not armed and therefore was not considered dangerous (MacCormick, 2005). It is not clear why Darren shot Brown but it is clear that even the police department is not satisfied with the reasons the officer gave. If officer Wilson wants to serve again in future, it is very important that he goes through further psychological tests to ensure that he is fit for police duty again. These tests are important because he has gone through a lot of mental torture with the media and the public all over his case. Such pressure could have an effect on his mental stability and affect his self-esteem and decision-making ability.

Deductive analytic techniques start with a premise that leads to a specific and true conclusion. On the other hand, Inductive analytic techniques start with an already formed conclusion which might turn out to be wrong later. The major difference between the two techniques is that one starts from a conclusion while the other starts at a premise (MacCormick, 2005). Officer Wilson used the inductive analytic techniques to analyze Michael Brown and led to his decision to shoot the boy. According to the whole scenario and the evidence produced, there is a good possibility that Officer Wilson might have concluded that Michael Brown was a suspect without any substantial evidence. He looked at the boy and maybe judged by the color of his skin and saw a possible suspect to a crime. This predetermined conclusion clouded his judgement and decision-making skills leading him to making a controversial decision.

A well-prepared officer is supposed to posses a certain set of characteristics to ensure that he does a good and honest job. These characteristics include agreeableness, empathy, listening, comprehension, and sociability. These characteristics are meant to assist an officer to enforce the law without prejudice or bias. Officer Wilson did not show any of these characteristics when he encountered Michael Brown. If he had these characteristics, then agreeability would have enabled him to come to an agreement with Michael and take action without firing. He would have been able to listen to the teenager, and be able to engage him in a conversation and get to know whether he was really a suspect. Officer Wilson clearly lacked empathy given that he shot the teenager six times. Under normal circumstances he would disable the boy if he tried to run or attack him. He would shoot him in the leg to disable him but he chose to shoot him six times including twice in the head. It is almost as if he was angry and he was letting it out on the teenager determined to end his life.

Officer Wilson had a number of options to decide on what to do. He could call it in and wait for back up, engage the suspect without a weapon, follow the suspect without engaging him, or resolve to let him go to his destination. All these options would have a different outcome. The best option is one that protects the officer, the suspect, and the public in general (Kennison & Squires, 2013). The best decision Officer Wilson would have taken was to allow the suspect to proceed to his destination. This would not have triggered any kind of conflict between them or endangered anybody’s life. He was free to pursue the suspect at a later date for questioning and come to a conclusion whether he participated in crime or not. Taking more time to come to a clearer and safer conclusion is often the best decision especially when the suspect did not engage the officer violently. There is a good chance that after all this is over, Officer Wilson might be taken to court for shooting an unarmed teenager. It will be very difficult for him to prove that the teenager was violent considering that he shot the boy six times. The police department itself is not defending him and there is a good chance he could go to jail for shooting Michael Brown.


Kennison, P., & Squires, P. (2013). Shooting to kill. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

MacCormick, N. (2005). Rhetoric and the rule of law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Thomas, D. (2011). Police psychology. Santa Barbara (California): Praeger, ABC-CLIO.

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