When the wrong man was named as the person who shot Michael Brown, that innocent man immediately received countless death threats, many of them very graphic. His reaction:
When we spoke this week, Willman was back on the job, but struggling to recover. “I’m stressed out, and don’t sleep very well,” he told me. Though he isn’t looking over his shoulder in real life, he feels scarred by the trauma online, and doubts he will ever return to social media again. He told me, “For a group who want information to be released to be willing to put peoples’ lives in danger—that’s pretty low. They turned me into a victim. They got it wrong.”
The whole incident turns my stomach from all angles. I see the fear and anxiety on the side of the cop – the adrenaline rush driven rapid fire. But to see the resulting far-from-peaceful demonstrations and riots and looting … it’s just sickening.
I grew up in North St. Louis County, ending my Missouri residency in Ferguson actually. I never saw or heard of anything like this when I lived there. It makes me sad that this is now the image of St. Louis that the rest of America who has never been there will have. This incident does not define all of St. Louis!