Editor: Tef Poe is an artist from the St. Louis area. Through powerful imagery and complicated honesty, he has earned a reputation as one of the best rappers telling the story of St. Louis, which is about much more than one place. Poe has been featured in music publications such as XXL and Urb Magazine. His project The Hero Killer was released on January 2 and was followed up this year by a full-length with DJ Burn One entitled Cheer For the Villain. Follow him on twitter @tefpoe. Get The Hero Killer here.
My body is fatigued as I type this. At this point I have been out in the streets of north county for what feels like an eternity. I am confused and dazed by what has taken place in my city. We have been tear gassed and shot at with rubber bullets in a scene that resembles communist Russia more than an American metropolis. Mike Brown was shot down like a dog in the street, and the Ferguson police refuse to give us answers. His killer remains free, uncharged and shielded by the badge. An overwhelming amount of pressure has been placed on the Ferguson Police Department, yet virtually nothing has happened. We've all watched Brown's parents grieve.
We have protested for justice and encountered a cruelty that resembles the brutality of the Jim Crow demonstrations in the 1960s. President Obama gave an address recently, and even he tacitly endorsed this treatment by referring to us as "violent protesters." I have seen men and women, both black and white, beaten and rounded up like cattle. I've seen officers forcefully push the barrels of assault rifles into the faces of the people they have sworn to protect. A bold, trigger-happy army occupying the streets of Ferguson. This is not a normal police force. This is a completely militarized group of wild cowboys. They lack discipline and have even aimed their guns at the media.
I feel like we are living in a third-world country. Our constitutional rights have been trashed, deleted, burned, abolished and thrown out the window. I have never witnessed such well-coordinated, lawless behavior by law enforcement. I have observed the police tear gassing innocent children. Every entrance of our neighborhood streets were barricaded. When we peacefully pushed back, they turned up the firepower. We are painted in the media as savages.
The truth is: The Ferguson police killed Mike Brown, not us.
I grew up on the same streets that Mike Brown walked. Our stories are very similar. I was once a young, black north-county teen with dreams of getting involved in the music industry. I have often been stopped by the police simply for being black.
I believe Mike Brown died because he was a black male walking in Ferguson at the wrong place and time. Now, his blood has become the motivation for a full-bloom revolution. A new civil-rights movement has been birthed by the constant social-media attention his demise has received.
The happenings of the last two weeks have left me forever changed. I feel as if we, black people, are not considered American whatsoever. The police have demonstrated a willingness to shoot us with reckless abandon. The Ferguson PD has completely lost the trust of the people. Its officers have combined forces with nearly every other police precinct in the city to guard themselves from the displeasure of the community.
We have been shot at for nothing by white men who are twice our age and carrying assault rifles. There are black men twice our age standing on the sidelines, watching it all play out. Armored vehicles which closely resemble tanks have been stationed five minutes from my parents' house. The best political organizers in the world have flown to Missouri to fight this monster. None of us can say we have ever witnessed anything quite like this.
I have never felt this range of emotions before. Out of pure anger and frustration I have cried twice, but now I have gotten to a point where the tears can no longer be summoned. Still, these feelings will reside within me for the rest of my life.
Continue to page two for more.
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