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Ferguson shooting: Discussions on race in America

The shooting in Ferguson, Missouri opens up difficult and uncomfortable discussions about race in America.

A local race expert and sociology professor at the University of North Florida, Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder says part of the solution begins with honest and open discussion.

"We want to have productive and constructive conversations."

Wilder says the case brings to mind Florida cases that have also gained national attention following the shooting deaths of black teenagers, such as Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.

"What we're seeing is a recurring pattern over time of unarmed black males being gunned down."

She warns against finger-pointing and assessing blame and encourages people to view the death of Mike Brown as a social issue.

"Now it seems to be a pattern in the deaths of young, African-American males. Rather than pointing sides and assessing blame, I think we all need to hold ourselves accountable and look at this not necessarily as a race issue but more as an American issue that's attached to humanity."

She recognizes not everyone will agree as more details come to light in the case. However, she still feels Mike Brown should be alive.

Ferguson police revealed that Brown was involved in stealing cigars from a convenience store the same day he was shot by a Ferguson police officer. The police chief says the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, was not aware of this when he approached Brown.

We asked how this impacts the investigation.

She says, in her opinon, his involvement in criminal activities didn't warrant his death.

"This is something that could have been avoided. Michael Brown did not have to die."

An independent autopsy reveals Brown was shot at least six times, two of those times in the head.

The national guard is deployed to Ferguson, MO to maintain peace and order on streets filled with protestors and rioting. The governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, has repeatedly asked for peaceful protests as the investigation into Brown's death continues.

Attorney General, Eric Holder, will head to Ferguson Wednesday to conduct an investigation.

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