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Ferguson prosecutor indicted a black cop who hit a man with his baton
Is Dawon Gore the victim of a racist double standard?
In the turbulent aftermath of a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the August killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the public has once more cast a jaundiced eye at Bob McCulloch, the controversial St. Louis County prosecutor. And as people continue to scrutinize McCulloch’s inflammatory and sometimes demonstrably false remarks during a Monday evening press conference announcing the decision, more of his professional history has been brought into the spotlight.
A Washington Post op-ed declared that McCulloch has “a long record of protecting police in [cases like Wilson’s], and his decision not to recommend a specific charge to the grand jury essentially guaranteed there would be no indictment.”
But on July 25, 2014, just two weeks before Brown was gunned down, a St. Louis County Police Department press release revealed that McCulloch would be prosecuting another police officer, Dawon Gore, for felony assault—because he struck a man’s hand with his baton.
While on duty at the North Hanley MetroLink train station in April, Gore tangled with 24-year-old Pierre Wilson, a black man, allegedly rushing him and breaking several fingers. After being charged, he was suspended without pay—Darren Wilson enjoyed paid leave—and jailed on a $3,500, cash-only bond. He’s crowdfunded 0.3 percent the amount of money his infamous colleague has. If convicted of second-degree assault, he faces up to seven years in prison.
All of this is old news, as Gore has been condemning the double standard and alleging department corruption since late August, but the story has only just metastasized on social media. (Some observers mistakenly believe that the charges were filed against Gore this week.)
Google Dawon Gore…
— Miss Simp (@MonicaThePub) November 26, 2014
St. Louis cop Dawon Gore, from Ferguson, was charged w/felony assault for hitting a guy w/his baton. Michael Brown was killed 15 days later.
— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) November 26, 2014
BLACK officer Dawon Gore jailed for minor assault on a citizen…WHITE officer Darren Wilson is walking free after murdering a young man…
— Garrett Plummer (@GarrettPlummer) November 26, 2014
With Darren Wilson’s case a non-starter and Gore’s still pending, national attention could well come to rest on the latter. A guilty verdict might serve as another flashpoint in the national debate over institutionalized racism, a debate that, whatever Gore’s fate, will not conclude anytime soon.
Photo by EsotericSapience/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'