• UNF professor weighs in on Ferguson decision

    By: Erica Bennett


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was a long night of protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Tear gas, riot gear -- the result of a grand jury decision.
    "Sad definitely, but surprising? No, given what we've seen already," Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder said.
    Wilder, an associate professor of sociology at UNF, has been following the Michael Brown case since the beginning.
    She said while the legal system did what it was supposed to do there, it's deeper for some.
    "I would argue that in Ferguson perhaps, the death of Michael Brown was almost a tipping point of everything else that's been happening for years in that particular community," she said.

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    Wilder is talking about strained race relations. Not just in Ferguson, but across the country. Action News found the frustration isn't limited to one group. People from all backgrounds are weighing in.
    "Guy sits there and kills and unarmed boy -- just because he took some blunts out of a store? Kills him in cold blood and leaves him to rot for who knows how many hours? They really made a bad decision," Dorothy Aarseth, a white woman, said.
    Wilder plans on talking about the case in her classes and believes in time, things will settle down. On a long term scale, she said we have to think bigger picture, whether you're black, white or another race.
    "Until we get to a point of recognizing that one life is not necessarily better or worse than the other, we're going to constantly be in these situations having these conversations," she explained.
    A group of local pastors left for Ferguson Tuesday to promote "The Shield." Average items -- like a pen or crucifix necklace -- are built with hidden cameras in effort to record encounters like Michael Brown's.

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