Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking in the middle of the street when Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, whose name was only recently released to the public, told them to get on the sidewalk. Wilson had been called to the area because of a shoplifting report in a nearby convenience store.
Brown, who police said was unarmed, was fatally shot as a result of the encounter.
Blair Kelley, an associate professor of history and a civil rights scholar at N. C. State University, said that members of the community are disturbed mainly because of the lack of information from Ferguson police, the way Brown’s body was handled and the way Brown has since been portrayed by the media.
“The disregard and the disrespect happened in the light of day,” Kelley said.
Senior Annasa Harris was also upset by the media’s portrayal of the incident.
“It opened my eyes to how people think,” Harris said. “This was an execution of an innocent man. The (media) seems to steer away from that.”
Brown’s death has sparked protests over police misconduct nationwide, but that did not stop a few police officers from the UNC Department of Public Safety from attending the event in the Pit.
Capt. Connie Bullock emphasized that he, along with other police officers in the Chapel Hill community, were not students’ adversaries.
“We want to embrace the student population. We represent justice no matter what color you are,” he said.
Bullock continued to say that what happened in Ferguson was an isolated event and, in his opinion, it was not handled properly.
“What happened... it didn’t paint out right,” he said.
Michelle Robinson, a member of the Carolina Black Caucus and an assistant professor of American Studies, said the caucus was encouraged to come and support students.
Students posed with Robinson’s “I am human. Don’t shoot.” sign and posted the photos to their social media accounts to continue to spread awareness.
Senior Shy’Kiya Lee said because of the Michael Brown incident, she is fearful for her life.
“As a Carolina student, this is my safe haven,” she said. “It makes me afraid no matter what. It can happen anywhere.”