Activists seem to frequently take up a case as emblematic of their cause and demonstrate regarding that case. Unfortunately, they often choose unsympathetic cases to hold up.
A quick example those familiar with politics will remember is Mumia Abu-Jamal. He's been held up by the anti-death penalty crowd, but his case is particularly unsympathetic. He shot officer Daniel Faulkner in the back, then shot him once the officer was down, helpless on the pavement. Wounds to his hands indicated officer Faulkner was holding his hand in front of himself, trying to defend himself while helpless on the ground. Mumia is a murderer. I'd support putting him down to protect the rest of society because he's capable of executing someone in cold blood. That he murdered a police officer just conducting a traffic stop makes it so that I could activate the lethal injection myself without any regret.
The current big news story about Michael Brown is another example of activists choosing a singularly unsympathetic case. He's been taken up as an example of police brutality and racism. Unfortunately, as the facts have come out on the case, it turns out Michael Brown was a bully, a criminal and a wannabe cop-killer. He wasn't shot in the back, didn't put up his hands, and was only unarmed because he lost the struggle with the officer for his gun. He was stupid enough to think that after years of bullying smaller people, he could do the same with an armed officer. He died trying to do it. I'm comfortable with the results of his attempt at cop-killing. For a slightly longer explanation, I would recommend this blog post: Morons Riot in Ferguson to Defend Rights of Stupid Big People to Rob, Beat Up Small People
Here's a taste, then go read the rest: "After Michael Brown, a really stupid big guy, strong-armed a box of
cigars from a store, he was stopped by Officer Darren Wilson, who caught
him with the cigars. Because Michael Brown was a really big guy, and really
stupid, he thought he could beat up Officer Wilson, and began doing
so. Officer Wilson then proceeded to demonstrate to him that force
really does equal mass times (velocity squared), pumping six bullets into Michael Brown."
Michael brown wasn't a victim. He was a victimizer. He doesn't represent police brutality or racism. He represents a justified self-defense shooting by a police officer in fear of his life. While I might wish Michael Brown had chosen a much wiser course and learned earlier or less lethally that his behavior was socially unacceptable, I feel no outrage about the result. It was a natural consequence of his behavior, an inevitability given the life of thuggery he lead. Legal experts reviewing the grand jury's work report that the grand jury was unusually fair, careful and thorough.
The worst part is that there are bad and racist cops out there, and cops who are just apathetic. They're not the majority, and all police don't deserve to be characterized that way, but the bad ones really are out there. By choosing Michael Brown as the emblem of their movement, those wishing to correct actual inappropriate behavior by police undermine their case and make themselves look unrepentantly idiotic.