"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." - Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Ferguson’s police chief and mayor are white. Of the six City Council members, one is black. The local school board has six white members and one Latino. Of the 53 commissioned officers on the police force, three are black, said Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson.
As my colleague Dara Lind has pointed out, a state report on racial profiling revealed that last year, 86 percent of traffic stops and 92 percent of all arrests in the city were of black residents. For anyone who didn't understand the context of Ferguson residents' anger and frustration, and why the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager Saturday caused it to bubble over, think of these arrest stats. Then compare the demographics of the city to the demographics of its police force and city council.
Ferguson’s police chief and mayor are white. Of the six City Council members, one is black. The local school board has six white members and one Latino. Of the 53 commissioned officers on the police force, three are black, said Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson.
Why are police calling the people of Ferguson animals and yelling at them to “bring it”? Because those officers in their riot gear, with their tear gas and dogs, want a justification for slaughter. But inexplicably in that moment we turn our attention to the rioters, the people with less power, but justifiable anger, and say, “You are the problem.” No. A cop killing an unarmed teenager who had his hands in the air is the problem. Anger is a perfectly reasonable response. So is rage.
Black America is left searching for that ever-elusive sense of justice. But what is justice?
Justice for Renisha would have looked like Michael Brown being able to attend college. Justice for Trayvon would have looked like Renisha McBride getting the help she needed the night of her accident. Justice for Oscar Grant would have looked like Trayvon Martin making it home to finish watching the NBA All-Star game, Skittles and iced tea in tow. And so on, and so on. Justice should be the affirmation of our existence.
There were initial reports that phones had been seized from witnesses, so I'm hopeful, but ugh.
hypersloth: “The police here have done the exact opposite of every bit of it, clusterfucking this whole thing at every opportunity.”
MrMoonPie: “I flew into LAX right after the Rodney King riots, and we had to approach from the west, due to fears of bullets being fired into the air, apparently.
Note that I am not taking the side of the Ferguson police force, just addressing the speculation about closing the airspace.”
Thorzdad: “Note to the good cops: Do something, goddammit.”
elizardbits: “(Oh, I guess it's just Mississippi now. Georgia saw the light in 2001.)”
Eyebrows McGee: “I had the start of a really dark joke here about it only being 3/5 of a human rights violation[…]”
East St. Louis, Ill. —‘Hey, hey craaaaaacka! Cracka! White devil! F*** you, white devil!” The guy looks remarkably like Snoop Dogg: skinny enough for a Vogue advertisement, lean-faced with a wry expression, long braids. He glances slyly from side to side, making sure his audience is taking all this in, before raising his palms to his clavicles, elbows akimbo, in the universal gesture of primate territorial challenge. Luckily for me, he’s more like a three-fifths-scale Snoop Dogg, a few inches shy of four feet high, probably about nine years old, and his mom — I assume she’s his mom — is looking at me with an expression that is a complex blend of embarrassment, pity, and amusement, as though to say: “Kids say the darnedest things, do they not, white devil?”
Christ. Every cop nation wide needs to be wearing a camera at all times.
This shooting is a tragedy. It reminds me too much of what happened in the 1930s, 40s and 50s in this country when thousands of people of color were murdered without impunity simply because their lives were thought to be cheap. The death of Trayvon Martin has a chilling effect on black parents and their children, especially their sons.
They realize that in the 21st century they may still live in a circumstance where the law is no protection, government authorities permit the worst violence, and little is done to enforce justice. Hundreds and thousands of African American boys in Atlanta and other urban cities are killed, just disappear everyday. Of all the violence we hear about on the news, we rarely hear the stories of these boys. It’s as though no one even expects them to survive so their loss is not newsworthy.
There are forces in America today who want to take us back. They are suppressing voting rights across the country and encouraging legislatures like that in Georgia to expand the right to carry and use violent weapons.This tragedy is a reminder to all those concerned about justice that we cannot be complacent. There is no door that closes, no wall that is built, no line drawn in the sand that prevents us from going back. The only prevention is us.
We must get informed, know the history, be aware of current attempts to change progressive law. We must advocate and struggle against regression and injustice and march in the streets if necessary to dramatize the need for justice.
I just want justice for my son. I really do. I need justice for my son...I understand everybody has their own pains because they have losses too, but I need everyone to come together and do this the right way so we can get something done about this. No violence, man.
xmutex: “I wonder what it is in people that prompts them to channel their rage at police officers into burning and looting their neighborhood stores run by their equally effected neighbors. It's terrifying and puzzling.”
Bookhouse: “Because the people who deserve the brunt of their rage are heavily armed and armored?”
Brown, an unarmed black teen who was shot and killed by a police officer on Saturday afternoon, lit a fuse that snakes back as long as most here can remember. That fuse is a winding twine of what many black residents in Ferguson – and the broad patchwork of poor black towns that dot the near suburbs of St. Louis – say is daily harassment by police, occasional acts of brutality.
dhartung: “Just a clarification. Is there a county police force because this is a MO thing, or a metro-government thing, and how did law enforcement duties get split from the sheriff, or has it always been that way? I guess I'm asking if there's a history here that is linked to white flight in some way.”
"On their website, they're too busy talking about looting and rioting in Ferguson, while complaining about police militarization because... police "rushed in and held two white kids on the ground at gun-point for shooting potatoes into a lake setting hair spray as the propellant.""
Nothing makes white people more uncomfortable than black anger. But nothing is more threatening to black people on a systemic level than white anger. It won’t show up in mass killings. It will show up in overpolicing, mass incarceration, the gutting of the social safety net, and the occasional dead black kid. Of late, though, these killings have been far more than occasional. We should sit up and pay attention to where this trail of black bodies leads us. They are a compass pointing us to a raging fire just beneath the surface of our national consciousness. We feel it. We hear it. Our nostrils flare with the smell of it.
James Baldwin called it “the fire next time.” A fire shut up in our bones. A sentient knowledge, a kind of black epistemology, honed for just such a time as this. And with this knowledge, a clarity that says if “we live by the sword, we will die by it.”
cashman: “52 seconds in . I can't even imagine being coherent if that was me.”
"The City of Ferguson mourns the loss of Michael Brown’s life that occurred this past Saturday. We understand members of our community, and those nationwide, are grieving with us. We have worked diligently to provide an opportunity for our residents to both grieve and voice frustrations through prayer vigils and peaceful protests.
We would like to extend our gratitude to the St. Louis County Police Department, the St. Louis City Police Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol, and numerous local law enforcement agencies for their assistance over the past several days. These officers have worked throughout the night to quell violent outbursts and restore calm to our City.
We are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process. We have heard the community’s cries for justice and assure the public that the Ferguson Police Department will continue to cooperate fully in the investigations led by the St. Louis County Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Justice Department.
We ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner. We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our community. Unfortunately, those who wish to co-opt peaceful protests and turn them into violent demonstrations have been able to do so over the past several days during the evening hours. These events are not indicative of the City of Ferguson and its residents.
The City of Ferguson has been through tough situations in the past, albeit nothing to this magnitude, but will continue to display resilience and fortitude. The Mayor and City Council are committed to taking the necessary steps to rebuild and strengthen our community. We look forward to your cooperation and support."
And in cases where there should be audio or video that would corroborate one side or the other, and due to no fault on the part of the citizen there isn’t, there should be a presumption in any ensuing litigation that the audio or video would have corroborated the citizen’s account of the incident. That would seem to be a good incentive to make sure that the audio and video are both on, and that both are properly preserved.
...Those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve. I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.
Behold, the lewd, pornographic embrace of two great American pathologies: Race and guns, both of which have conspired not only to take the life of a teenager, but to make that killing entirely permissible. I can’t look an African-American parent in the eye for thinking about what they must tell their sons about what can happen to them on the streets of their country. Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.
We are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process.
They are checking the ID of people coming to the Mills Mall
like, there is a blockade at the entrance and the police are checking ID and asking what your business is at the mall
this is because two teenagers got in a scuffle at the Galleria. which caused the Galleria to SHUT DOWN AND EVACUATE THE ENTIRE MALL.
this is the same Galleria
that did exactly jack and shit when someone stole $600 worth of merchandise from my store in front of a mall security camera
and refused to do anything when i called in about a (white) man menacing people with a hockey stick
the Galleria fight was on Monday IIRC, just as a note. two teenage girls.
sio42: “No . Really. How is that not a curfew?”
It's a systemic racism problem (and a systemic classism problem). There are a lot of solutions at the politics-and-elections level that people try, that solve bits of the problem, but they often have unintended consequences and are never as successful as one hopes. The real solution is at the "systemic racism" level, IMHO. (Although we should, of course, be doing what we can do to ameliorate that at the politics-and-elections level.)
This photo was also in that slideshow, the backlight (from emergency vehicles?) literally outlining the body language of this protester. (Of course, the effect itself is quite evocative, conjuring, among other things, the chalk mark outline so familiar to homicides.)
"What y’all doin’ to that man? I’m sayin’!"/
Them handcuffs too tight for his hands! At least pull up his pants!/
Undercover van jumped out on 'im. He shoulda ran./
They talkin’ 'bout "He had somethin' in his hand".
I know my rights, and I’m lookin’ out for his./
I got a right to stand on this block; this is where I live!/
"I’m stayin’ right here!" Folks start crowdin’ around./
Niggas at the liquor store seen it all go down.
They say police been on the creep, all this week/
doin’ sweeps grabbin’ anybody standing on the streets./
But then, little man’s moms came downstairs./
She was screamin’ on 'em, crazy when she seen her son in tears.
We’ve been goin’ through this same bullshit for years./
Livin’ in fear. You have no fuckin’ idea.
What it’s like to be the prey; all day, every day.
Dead Prez — "For the Hood"
If it is your “opinion” that the dehumanization of Black bodies and execution of Black people are isolated incidents or is ok when conducted extrajudicially or via the State since Black people (like every other race) also have civilian intraracial crime, YOU ARE WRONG. FULL STOP.
> "I promise to visit if they wall North County in like Escape From New York."
A neighborhood just north of my home – Ferguson, Missouri – has been under siege by its own police force. Maybe it’s hard to imagine what that means if you’re not here ... but it’s actually harder to come to grips with if you are.
> one of the most iconic photos of a protest i've ever seen> Is that a bag of potato chips in his other hand?
> one of the most iconic photos of a protest i've ever seen
URGENT: The only 2 livestreams just went down, police is using jammers in #Ferguson. This is far beyond a police state.— Anonymous (@Crypt0nymous) August 13, 2014
Conetta @BmoreConetta · 18m
Police have moved tank and repositioned to face protesters on sidewalk across the street. #ferguson
Koran Addo @KoranAddo · 9m
Police now on the move, advancing on the crowd. #MikeBrown #Ferguson
Koran Addo @KoranAddo · 7m
Protesters asking: "what are we doing wrong" as police advance. Police dogs barking. #MikeBrown #Ferguson
Conetta @BmoreConetta · 6m
Police line moving towards peaceful protesters in #ferguson
"We cannot guarantee your safety. We will not be answering 911 calls"— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 13, 2014
maniabug: “However, a reading of that article satisfied me that the "enemy" discussed therein actually refers to the police.”
@jonswaine: Just saw two reporters in ferguson cuffed
jetlagaddict: “Police have moved tank”
sio42: “It sounded like a car alarm in the vines but higher pitched.”
roomthreeseventeen: “Buzzfeed confirms media trucks have been ordered out "so no way to get live images out for cable nets"”
Solution I'm considering is to just go there tomorrow and do the show live from the site of the protests.
The local authorities clearly have no idea what they're doing, and higher powers from the state or federal government need to intervene before things get even worse.
@elonjames: Not even sure we can get back into #Ferguson. Asked a cop about road access and had a sniper rifle pointed at my chest
Antonio French is currently locked up in the Ferguson jail facilities
Just confirmed with his partner. @AntonioFrench has been arrested.
PMdixon: “So olders and wisers: if I, random upper-middle class white guy drive five hours to stand witness and possibly get arrested or something does that help? hurt? stupid narcissism that no one would possibly give a shit about?”
"I'm being advised now by the community relations, number of measures that we can use to improve race relations, community relations," he [Police Chief] said. "Tell me what to do and we'll do it."
neitherly: “To be clear, that's Ferguson MO Alderman Antonio French, arrested by his own police force for protesting.”
Today & tonight dozens of calls including head of civil rights division at DOJ. Tomorrow call with Atty Gen Eric Holder.#MikeBrown
Continuing to work the phones to de escalate the tense and unacceptable situation in Ferguson. #MikeBrown
@clairecmc @GovJayNixon @MayorSlay @ChiefSLMPD Hello, @AntonioFrench is in Ferguson jail, think you can make a call or two please?
But are you imagining that all this is going to shock the nation's conscience? Are you imagining that Heartland America is going to be horrified and ashamed at the disproportionate display of force in Ferguson, or disgusted that freedom of the press is a joke to these cops?
Forget it. Somehow, a certain percentage of American heartlanders managed to feel empathy across tribal lines half a century ago, in the civil rights era. Maybe it just that it was a prosperous time, and the majority populace felt it could spare a thought for peaceful black protesters being attacked by racist mobs, menaced by police dogs, assaulted by firehoses, blown up in churches.
But in 2014 we live in a country where middle-class wealth stagnated for thirty years before the bottom dropped out of the economy altogether, and now the wealthy are experiencing a members-only recovery while the rest of us cling to what we have left. It's made heartlanders very sparing of their empathy. Besides, there are ready-made formulae under which they can dismiss the victims in Ferguson: some of those protesters did loot and riot, so I guess all of them deserve whatever happens to them; plus, we don't trust the media, so who cares if those snotnoses get roughed up a little by the law.
Maybe I'm underestimating America, but I doubt it. I just can't see any reason why the arrogant SOBs who run Ferguson shouldn't ride roughshod over everyone they're confronting -- why would they expect to be accountable afterward? There's no large, broad progressive movement in America; the civil rights movement is moribund and elderly; and what the hell could we do to punish some inner-ring suburb of a midsize city anyway? Mount an economic boycott? What do we buy from Ferguson, Missouri, that we could stop buying?
Portions of the heartland will get upset at much milder infringements -- even imaginary ones -- that affect members of their own tribe, but I just don't see America caring about this. I hope I'm wrong, though.
The October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation has been mobilizing every year since 1996 for a National Day of Protest on October 22, bringing together those under the gun and those not under the gun as a powerful voice to expose the epidemic of police brutality.
"I'm being advised now by the Bureau of the Department of Justice. They have a number of measures that we can use to improve race relations, community relations. And I've told them - tell me what to do and we'll do it."
A Twitter account belonging to Anonymous tweeted: “Jon Belmar, if you don’t release the officer’s name, we’re releasing your daughter’s info. You have one hour.”
Police in Watertown, Connecticut, (population 22,514) recently acquired a mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle (sticker price: $733,000), designed to protect soldiers from roadside bombs, for $2,800. There has never been a landmine reported in Watertown, Connecticut.
“As I was coming around, I heard the tires squeaking on the truck, and as I get closer, I see them tussling through the window. The kid was pulling off and the cop was pulling in,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell told News 4 she saw a door close on a police car. An officer was inside and Brown, Jr. was on the outside. She said the two were arm wrestling through the car window. Mitchell said she then tried to pull out her phone to record. Shots then rang out.
“It just didn’t look right for them to be arm wrestling,” Mitchell said. “The first gun shot came from the window, so I just started getting out of the way.”
According to Mitchell, Brown, Jr, began to run away after the first shot was fired.
“After the shot, the kid just breaks away. The cop follows him, kept shooting, the kid’s body jerked as if he was hit. After his body jerked he turns around, puts his hands up, and the cop continues to walk up on him and continues to shoot until he goes all the way down,” Mitchell said.
You Are In Trouble
At a community meaning with black leaders expressing concern over white out-of-towners who have started dumpster fires, had Molotovs.
One pastor, on Anonymous/anarchists in Ferguson: "They have hijacked the movement. ... They're not interested in what we're interested in."
Another community leader defends Anonymous but blasts white anarchists, who are apparently very much unwelcome here.
"If people in the news media want to cover stuff and take pictures of things, they ought to do it"
Nixon: "I'd prefer that they would make me look young and skinny."
We are inviting the press in. We are urging all citizens to get their cell phones out and run video. We understand that you, collectively, want to be heard, and we want to get your message out to the world.
We also want anyone who might be tempted to use this gathering as an opportunity for vandalism or looting that your friends, your neighbors, your community, and the world's press, have all have their cameras out.
For good or bad: The world is watching you.
saulgoodman: “I think this is exactly what's happening and being encouraged by some media outlets. I keep seeing this picture featured prominently next to articles "asking" (in the same way push polls "ask") rhetorical questions about whether or not residents have been throwing molotov cocktails. In fact, almost every headline I've seen concerning the question has been accompanied by the same photo of a protester throwing a tear gas canister back at police.”
CancerMan: “I really hope the Police Chief says something along the lines of, "You may not have seen it in the news, but believe me, attacks were made against police." /sarcasm”
corb: “Wait, weren't there photos of Molotov cocktails but the Black Bloc'ers just couldn't get them up and running?”
It’s understandable to hear Obama talk this way. First of all, he was probably eager to avoid saying anything that would get anyone too riled up, particularly while the situation is ongoing. And since the Justice Department is participating in the investigation, it’s important for him as the head of the federal government not to express an opinion (yet) about what actually happened between Michael Brown and the officer who killed him, lest it appear that that investigation is anything but an objective one.
All that may be true, but it still won’t go down easy. We expect the president to be not just the head of the government but the leader of the nation and its people, which means we want him to give voice to our emotions. When so many of us watch this situation and say, “This is insane!” we want the president to come out and say the same thing. And when we have a situation where race is such a critical part of the equation, one can’t help but notice that not a word about that factor passed Obama’s lips.
So it may be left to other politicians not only to express the emotions so many people are feeling, but to do something else Obama didn’t do — ask how the events in Ferguson relate to policy, and how those policies might be changed.
Yesterday, I wrote a post asking about the response to Ferguson from libertarians, particularly libertarian politicians, to the situation in Ferguson. The post made a lot of libertarians very mad; amid the river of mindless venom directed at me in the last 24 hours, there were some critiques that actually had a reasonable point to make, about the way I had framed the question and had overgeneralized (if you’re interested, I addressed that this morning in this lengthy discussion of what one can learn from one’s critics). In response, some people asked, “So where are the liberal politicians?” It’s a good question.
After all, the situation in Ferguson is a vivid reminder of problems that liberals have been concerned about for a long time, most particularly the way black people are treated by the police in big cities and small towns all over America. This has been evident in both Michael Brown’s death and the way the police in Ferguson have reacted to protests by residents there, treating them not like American citizens who are upset and have every right to let the world know, but instead like they’re some kind of invading army that must be met with force. As many have pointed out, if you’re white, like Cliven Bundy’s supporters, you can literally point rifles at federal officials, and the response will be to politely ask whether this whole thing can’t be worked out, but if you’re black you can get tear gassed in your own front yard for holding your hands up and saying “Don’t shoot.”
The greater a national constituency a politician has, the greater their influence and the more responsibility they have to offer something constructive. I was glad to see Rand Paul, who does have such a national constituency, offer this op-ed in Time Magazine this afternoon talking about the federal government’s role in arming local police forces way beyond their actual needs. There’s a great opportunity for him to join with his liberal colleagues to advocate legislation to address this situation. If Paul got together with someone like Warren, they could create a powerful coalition to actually accomplish something. For a whole variety of reasons, it may not be realistic to expect Barack Obama to be the primary vehicle for constructive change coming out of the Ferguson debacle in the short term. But maybe other politicians from both parties could step into that void.
#BREAKING NYC looters continue to defy rule of law, steal billions, leave thousands homeless. No arrests. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/YY57il750N
For many Americans, mostly people of color, this has been the reality for a long time. Policing has taken the form of occupation; military-like targeting over general public safety. The taxpayer isn’t the public citizen who is to be protected, but the suspect to be hassled and assaulted. It once sounded like ultra-left hostility to mention this, but that’s changing. One of the best books on the subject of American police militarization is Rise of the Warrior Cop by Radley Balko, a principled libertarian. Conservative writer A.J. Delgado recently took to the National Review, arguing persuasively that it made no sense for the Right to at once support American excessive policing while claiming to be against unaccountable government expansion that infringes upon individual liberties.
Only at the end of the op-ed does he make overt references to race. They're forthright references, and I give him credit for them. But they're secondary to his main point. The word "militarization" appears in the op-ed five times, and "military" three times. "Government/governments" appears five times. "Black" and "race" appear once each.
Military weaponry makes a bad situation much worse, but the core problem is still police forces that have nothing but contempt for the populations they're supposed to "protect and serve." By all means criticize the hardware -- but the real problem isn't going to go away if the use of that hardware is dialed back, because cops will treat civilians they despise with contempt using whatever's at hand. And if Paul's fellow libertarians get us talking almost exclusively about gear and government, then they'll have successfully diverted the discussion onto their turf, for their ends. We mustn't let that happen.
This idea of no racial profiling, I've seen the video. It looks to me like you don't need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single, you know, of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said in an interview this afternoon that he does not support the county police tactics in Ferguson, and has not sent officers to help them, aside from four officers to direct traffic. He said he made the decision earlier this week, long before the confrontation between police and protesters on Wednesday night that saw the St. Louis County respond to protests with armored vehicles, tear gas and officers toting cannons and assault rifles.
“One side, the chiefly side of me, wants to always be there to support law enforcement in the city or in the county,” Dotson said. “My personal side was concerned about the things I saw transpiring in Ferguson.”
“My gut told me what I was seeing were not tactics that I would use in the city and I would never put officers in situations that I would not do myself,” he said.
Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement Thursday following his meeting earlier today with President Obama to discuss the latest developments in Ferguson, Missouri:
“This morning, I met with President Obama to discuss the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Like the President, I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Brown. While his death has understandably caused heartache within the community, it is clear that the scenes playing out in the streets of Ferguson over the last several nights cannot continue.
“For one thing, while the vast majority of protests have been peaceful, acts of violence by members of the public cannot be condoned. Looting and willful efforts to antagonize law enforcement officers who are genuinely trying to protect the public do nothing to remember the young man who has died. Such conduct is unacceptable and must be unequivocally condemned.
“By the same token, the law enforcement response to these demonstrations must seek to reduce tensions, not heighten them. Those who peacefully gather to express sympathy for the family of Michael Brown must have their rights respected at all times. And journalists must not be harassed or prevented from covering a story that needs to be told.
“At a time when we must seek to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the local community, I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message. At my direction, Department officials have conveyed these concerns to local authorities. Also at my direction, the Department is offering – through our COPS office and Office of Justice Programs – technical assistance to local authorities in order to help conduct crowd control and maintain public safety without relying on unnecessarily extreme displays of force. The local authorities in Missouri have accepted this offer of assistance as of this afternoon.
“Department officials from the Community Relations Service are also on the ground in Missouri to help convene law enforcement officials and civic and faith leaders to plot out steps to reduce tensions in the community. The latest such meeting was convened in Ferguson as recently as this morning. Over time, these conversations should consider the role that increased diversity in law enforcement can play in helping to build trust within communities.
“All the while, the federal civil rights investigation into the shooting incident itself continues, in parallel with the local investigation into state law violations. Our investigators from the Civil Rights Division and U.S. attorney’s office in Missouri have already conducted interviews with eyewitnesses on the scene at the time of the shooting incident on Saturday. Our review will take time to conduct, but it will be thorough and fair.”
Our governor, Governor Nixon, has been absent from the minority community, not for a few years, but for a few decades. And this is inexcusable. And he only comes to the minority community when it's politically expedient.
And the governor is now here, but ... he has never come to ground zero. Right now he's in a different municipality, and he's speaking, but he has not been to ground zero, and for that I call him a coward.
cmfletcher: “You can't put tanks down in the motor pool or flak jackets and AR-15s in the armory and not expect the police to find a reason to break out the toys and play soldier.”
The truth is, the widely reported "war on cops" in 2010 and 2011 was exaggerated. Overall police fatalities did rise in 2010 and then again in 2011, but those figures are compared to 2009, which saw the fewest number of police fatalities since 1959. Generally speaking, police fatalities have been steadily declining since the early 1990s, along with the overall crime rate. And that's merely the raw number of deaths. Over the same period, the total number of police officers in America has also increased. So the drop in the fatality rate has been even more dramatic.
Construction was the most deadly industry, with 1,154 deaths. That was down about 3 percent from 1999, the first decline since 1996. Transportation was the second-most deadly industry, with 957 deaths, followed by services (768), agriculture (720), manufacturing (668), retailing (594) and government (571).
After truckers, those in the riskiest occupations work as farmers (476 deaths last year), salesmen (386), laborers (178), law-enforcers (142) and pilots (138), the census said.
Officer safety is usually cited as the main justification for the mass proliferation of SWAT teams over the last 30 years. Police say forced entry, flash grenades, and other paramilitary tactics are the only way offers can protect themselves while serving warrants on dangerous people like suspected pot dealers, poker players, optometrists who wager on football games, frail 69-year-old men suspected of selling painkillers, and women suspected of committing fraud on their student loan applications—to give just a few examples.
But what happens when police need to apprehend a genuinely dangerous person? We see this over and over: They don’t always send the SWAT team. And when they do, like they did in Columbine, the SWAT team sometimes waits outside until the shooting is over. So this week we had Whitey Bulger. He’s a suspect in at least 19 murders. He had 20 guns in his home when police apprehended him. So how did they do it? Once again, they didn’t send a SWAT team barreling into his home. Instead, they lured him out with a phone call, then arrested him peacefully.
The racial discrimination and animosity that stained our country’s early history are alive and well today, and they will continue to flourish until they all just sort of stop. But when? How many more stories like Trayvon Martin’s or Michael Brown’s must we hear before racism just kind of fizzles out without me having to do anything about it? How many police officers will be placed on paid administrative leave for committing a heinous crime against a minority before the dire and awful realities that plague this country suddenly stop being so dire and awful?
Brothers and Sisters,
By now we've all seen the shocking, horrifying images and videos of the Ferguson and St. Louis County police department responses over the death of Michael Brown. It is clear they are more interested in intimidation than pursuing justice and the truth.
But our work to discover the truth about Michael Brown's death continues unabated. Our hearts ache for the Brown family, and our anger, sadness, and frustration drive us forward to ensure a full, unrestricted, unencumbered investigation by the FBI is performed, and justice is served.
If you're like me and you can't let the shooting of another young, unarmed black man by police go unanswered, here's what you can do to help right now:
If you have information on the Michael Brown shooting, share it here.
We are united with one voice in support of justice in this case, and we will not allow Michael Brown's death to be swept under the rug.
There is a disturbing lack of action and answers about the circumstances of the shooting, and we're doing something about it. The NAACP petitioned the FBI to take the case, and they are now on the ground. We are providing a safe outlet for people with information on the case to come forward and be heard.
Stay up to date on our work on the ground.
We're working with the St. Louis County and city branches, the Missouri Youth and College Division, and the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP to get answers to some serious questions: Why was Michael Brown shot in the first place? Why has the response to potential witnesses dragged on, while the response to community gatherings has been so swift and intimidating? Stay up to date by visiting our "Justice for Michael Brown" page.
Share our "I support justice for Michael" graphic on social media.
Continue spreading the word that we are united with one voice in support of justice in this case, and we will not allow Michael Brown's death to be swept under the rug. Every tweet, Facebook share, and conversation moves us a step closer to justice. We're honored to have your support and help.
Cornell William Brooks
President and CEO
we blindly and generally consider police heroes [...] (b)ecause they "put their lives on the line for us". I mean, I don't know but I think most of America - even the supposed "bad parts" are actually pretty safe for police. I don't really look at my local sherifs and think "Yeah, you're saving my life on the daily!". So let's just stop that line of PR bullshit.