DENVER — As demonstrators across the nation raise their voices in protest to the grand jury’s decision to not indict the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, one Denver teen is raising awareness a different way.
And teen Ja’Won Montgomery is using a classroom that’s as unique as he is to spread his message.
“We use these to see the hair analysis that we’re doing on human hair or even animal hair,” Montgomery said, enthralled with CEC Middle College of Denver’s crime and forensic class. “We can say, ‘Hey, the person we’re looking for has this size of a shoe, with this width.’”
And as luck would have it, Montgomery grew up 15 minutes from West Florissant Avenue — an area that has been at the heart of the Ferguson protests.
“As far as the social aspect, or honestly, even the racial divide, it’s totally different from Denver,” Montgomery said. “It’s like a melting pot here; we’re all together.”
When asked how he feels about the grand jury’s recent decision, he said this class has really forced him to take a look at the facts.
“One witness said she heard a total of nine shots,” Montgomery said. “Could this have happened the way the officer is saying it? Yes. Could this have happened the way the witnesses are saying it? Yes. The fact of the matter is we will not know because we weren’t there.”
Montgomery said it’s disheartening to learn not all students take the time to listen to the facts.
“Someone earlier today at my school said, ‘Oh yeah, we’re protesting for Chris Brown.’ Chris Brown!” Montgomery said. “So my message to them is, I think you guys really need to get educated.”
On Friday, Montgomery and CEC teacher Stacey Hervey made an effort to do something about it.
“It’s always my goal not to teach my students what to think, but to teach them how to think,” Hervey said.
Montgomery had a lesson he wanted to impart, as well.
“You can’t take the actions of one or a few bad police officers and put a label on all of them,” Montgomery said. “Because all of them are not the same.”