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August 12, 2014 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson? - According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas and wooden rounds into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling, the paramilitarization of police and media depictions of black shooting victims have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.
posted by Artw (3381 comments total) 170 users marked this as a favorite

 
> Belmar acknowledged that the police were still trying to work out what, exactly, had happened.

Yeah, it sounds like a real headscratcher all right.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:58 PM on August 12 [66 favorites]


A straight up whodunnit.
posted by Artw at 2:00 PM on August 12 [17 favorites]


Compare and contrast to the Bundy Ranch idiocy, and you will conclude either that Black Communities need more AR-15s and Gadsden flags, or that America is unfortunately not a post racial society.

And for the love of god, don't read the comments. How do so many racists have so much free time ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:00 PM on August 12 [43 favorites]


How do so many racists have so much free time ?

Bored and lazy losers usually do.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:03 PM on August 12 [32 favorites]


The eyewitness account is fucking nauseating. The whole story is fucking nauseating, but that in particular was a kick in the stomach. God dammit. How many more times are we going to allow this to happen.
posted by penduluum at 2:04 PM on August 12 [12 favorites]


"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
Just something to keep in mind.
posted by Fizz at 2:05 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:05 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]




Holy crap. That "eyewitness" link is pretty fucking chilling. Of course he's not an impartial witness, but the story is told very coherently and convincingly. And if he's telling anything like the truth that's just a straight up "I got mad and decided to execute someone for the hell of it." I wonder if there's any police car video or recording or any of that stuff (of course, if there is, and if things unfolded the way this witness says, I wonder if the recording will mysteriously vanish).
posted by yoink at 2:07 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Airspace over Ferguson has been shut down to commercial aircraft to 3000 feet for the next 4 days, conveniently keeping news helicopters away.

Number : FDC 4/2599 Download shapefiles
Issue Date : August 12, 2014 at 1318 UTC
Location : FERGUSON, Missouri near ST LOUIS VORTAC (STL)
Beginning Date and Time : August 12, 2014 at 1315 UTC
Ending Date and Time : August 18, 2014 at 2000 UTC
Reason for NOTAM : TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES
Type : Hazards
Replaced NOTAM(s) : N/A
Pilots May Contact : KANSAS CITY (ZKC) ARTCC, 913-254-8500
posted by Lyn Never at 2:07 PM on August 12 [30 favorites]


The FAA just banned all flights under 3,000 feet in Ferguson.

"TO PROVIDE A SAFE ENVIRONMENT FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITIES"
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:08 PM on August 12 [14 favorites]


Lauren Williams: Ferguson, MO, is 67 percent black, and its police force is 94 percent white
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.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:08 PM on August 12 [53 favorites]


The Ferguson mayor helpfully cleared up any potential worries we might have about the rioting.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:08 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


FAA bans low-flying aircraft over Ferguson “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.”


Man, if you want to talk about some examples of systematic racism, Ferguson over the last few days has given you examples for days.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:08 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Vet on SWAT teams: "We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone."

The images from the Fox 2 Now team (follow the teargas link and scroll down) are insane.
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Airspace over Ferguson has been shut down to commercial aircraft to 3000 feet for the next 4 days, conveniently keeping news helicopters away.

Also making it possible to break the world record for most video-recording quadcopters flying over a town without the usual bureaucratic hassle.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:12 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]


According to pictures of protests and eye witnesses, they're also mischaracterizing the protests as violent, when they've been large crowds of people with their hands up. Given the history of police violence toward peaceful, non-violent protest, I'm inclined to believe the protesters. The removal of the media from the site is another bit of evidence in their favor - this kind of racist shit thrives in the dark.
posted by Deoridhe at 2:12 PM on August 12 [64 favorites]


From weston's link: "You can't win someone's heart and mind when you are pointing a rifle at their chest."
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:14 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


The coverage of all of these cases of unrest seems to focus too much on the inciting incident, but people don't riot over one case of police violence. They need to look at the big picture. Even if this were justifiable homicide, it doesn't change all the other negative interactions that people there have had with police.
posted by empath at 2:15 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


In Defense of Black Rage:
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.
posted by scody at 2:15 PM on August 12 [149 favorites]


Anger is a perfectly reasonable response. So is rage.

QF-fucking-T.
posted by frijole at 2:16 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


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.
posted by ChuraChura at 2:16 PM on August 12 [43 favorites]


Jesus Christ. Some of those pictures are reminiscent of Tiananmen...
posted by schmod at 2:16 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


FAA bans low-flying aircraft over Ferguson “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.”
Man, if you want to talk about some examples of systematic racism, Ferguson over the last few days has given you examples for days.


And yet the words of "safe environment for law enforcement activities." sure sounds like the safe environment being provided is the safety of less recording for the safety of less accountability.

But hey, if how accountability for public officials is obtained by calling it racism, by all means call it racism.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:17 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


The images from the Fox 2 Now team (follow the teargas link and scroll down) are insane.

I never thought I'd say this but thank god for Vine. Otherwise we'd probably have no images at all.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:17 PM on August 12 [11 favorites]


Why is the FAA, a federal agency, enacting this restriction?

What threats do the federal government perceive are manifest to the police except for public exposure?

Are UAVs with cameras, which would likely not be something the black community of Ferguson, MO, would possess, exempt from this restriction? (I think I know the unfortunate answer to that question.)

The Federal government and some state governments seem interested in enacting legislative gun control.

I say we start by taking away cops' guns.

Right fucking now.
posted by mistersquid at 2:18 PM on August 12 [27 favorites]


At least according to one witness, a TV news camera crew was on the scene near the burned-down QuikTrip making sure to studiously avoid filming any white dickholes driving by shouting racial slurs, while filming anyone who was black and angry-looking.
posted by Foosnark at 2:18 PM on August 12 [11 favorites]


Btw -- where are the Oathkeepers protesting clear violations of human rights by the police?
posted by empath at 2:18 PM on August 12 [19 favorites]






Thank you for posting. I put together a Twitter list of a few locals - Antonio French is well worth following.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:20 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I really, really hope there's good video of this. There were initial reports that phones had been seized from witnesses, so I'm hopeful, but ugh. If they fire + prosecute the guy without video, the cops are going to have a morale nosedive, which isn't good for anyone. If they decline to fire or prosecute and don't release video showing why, that will also obviously be terrible and probably make the riots worse.

I don't understand the officer's... goals, I guess? In the encounter as described so far. My city has an ordnance requiring people to walk on sidewalks. What that means is that police have a reason to talk to + ID people walking in the street. I don't understand just yelling at someone to get on the sidewalk. It's a super-minor safety issue at most just taken on its own. Its real value is that you can use it to check for warrants, ask someone why they're in the area, that kind of thing. But people, especially in certain neighborhoods here, walk in the street because robbery is common and being further away from points of concealment gives them more time to run or avoid attackers. Simply yelling at them to get on the sidewalk doesn't make any sense.

I just wish I could see what happened.
posted by kavasa at 2:20 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Dude, it wears me out that people feel they need to defend "black rage". What this country could use a little more of is black rage, if you ask me.

This whole country's motto ought to be "a boot stamping on a human face forever", because that seems to be what everyone does the minute they get a bit of power.
posted by Frowner at 2:20 PM on August 12 [34 favorites]


Why is the FAA, a federal agency, enacting this restriction?

Because that is their job.

And it isn't that uncommon for them to do that - lots of choppers in a small area is a great recipe for disaster.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:20 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


So there's a picture floating around allegedly of the police chief's son in their house, with a Confederate flag on the wall. I wondered how disenfranchised the voters must be in a town that's 67% black to have a police chief like that.

Then I looked at the Ferguson City Council web page. Very post-racial that city, clearly there's very little voting along race lines.
posted by straw at 2:21 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Compare and contrast to the Bundy Ranch idiocy, and you will conclude either that Black Communities need more AR-15s and Gadsden flags, or that America is unfortunately not a post racial society.

AR-15s and the ownership issues are based in the idea that the citizens would have a way to address an out of control government power structure.

Reporting about a local tattoo and gun shop is slated in the "armed society is a polite society" way. armed ppl "save" strip mall businesses
posted by rough ashlar at 2:21 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


The last time I read about this, the eyewitness (his friend) had not yet been interviewed by police, but had by the media. Is that still the case?
posted by Chuffy at 2:21 PM on August 12







zombieflanders: "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."

Haven't followed this story closely, but for those who have: has this stat been reported in the broader media? It's important, and if it's being omitted, rather telling.
posted by aerotive at 2:23 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I worked in Ferguson for more than twelve years. It's surreal to see former regulars from the neighborhood bar and grill on CNN.

I'm horrified at the "othering" and the blanket statements made about an entire community, and that so much of the focus has shifted from the shooting of a young man to the actions of a few (criminals, many not even from Ferguson).

Yesterday on the news a reporter asked a policemen if they supported the people's right to protest peacefully, and he said absolutely, they have no problem at all with that, and that they had fired tear gas to disperse the crowd after they didn't comply after having been told to disperse. The reporter said why not just arrest them all? And he said that's the end goal, they wanted to see them all in custody.

Last night they closed the city completely. The media left entirely. People got gassed in their own yards. So much for being allowed to protest.

Here's suggestions for crowd management, from the FBI.

The police here have done the exact opposite of every bit of it, clusterfucking this whole thing at every opportunity.
posted by hypersloth at 2:23 PM on August 12 [31 favorites]


I'm appalled that I need to specify *which* recent murder of an unarmed black person by police I'm talking about at a given time.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:24 PM on August 12 [113 favorites]


I say we start by taking away cops' guns.

That'll fly about as far as pointing out how much money the US of A spends on the various department of defence guns and things that go boom in the night everytime the culture of violence has a violent outburst.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:24 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


There were initial reports that phones had been seized from witnesses, so I'm hopeful, but ugh.
I wish this made me hopeful, but right now I'm not that optimistic that any incriminating video on those phones will ever see the light of day.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:24 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


The one black Council member is also the person who has been doing a lot of first-hand reporting on the twitters and I believe is responsible for the eyewitness interview linked to up thread?
posted by PMdixon at 2:25 PM on August 12


It is hard to imagine any legitimate reason to shut down the airspace over the town.
posted by maryr at 2:25 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


The police here have done the exact opposite of every bit of it, clusterfucking this whole thing at every opportunity.


Yeah, this is getting into some Bull Connor territory, here,
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:25 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


I'm appalled that I need to specify *which* national news-making recent murder of an unarmed black person by police I'm talking about at a given time.
posted by PMdixon at 2:26 PM on August 12 [18 favorites]


The last time I read about this, the eyewitness had not yet been interviewed by police. Is that still the case?

Lawyer: Police Haven't Talked To Michael Brown Shooting Witness

He isn't going to say anything they are interested in having on record.
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on August 12 [18 favorites]


Black children deserve to trust the same way I do. I am a white person with two police officers in my family, and I'm observing this situation from a position of considerable privilege. And if I can see the systemic issues at play here, and if I can see how fucked up it is, anyone can.
posted by rewil at 2:29 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


So, who wants to join in my Hug ArmyTM? I don't know if it is because I have a small child now, but all I want to do is STOP THE HURTING and give all parties a chance to hug and/or be hugged.
posted by jillithd at 2:31 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


And it isn't that uncommon for them to do that - lots of choppers in a small area is a great recipe for disaster.

As far as I know, this kind of total lockdown of civil airspace during civil unrest is actually very uncommon, especially when it excludes media.

During the LA "Rodney King" riots they had tons of helicopters in the air. Flying in the "Bravo" class commercial airspace that is the normal approach to LAX over South Central LA, not to mention the dozen-odd other regional airports in the area.

Heck, they do this every time there's a car chase, where half a dozen helicopters will be following the same car, along with whatever LAPD or LA Sheriff's helicopters following the same scene.

They manage to keep safe traffic control and aircraft separation just fine. I suspect that Fergusson's airspace is decidedly less crowded and complicated.

The real answer here isn't LEO safety or air safety, but controlling the media and reporting.
posted by loquacious at 2:34 PM on August 12 [81 favorites]


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.

How does that even happen? The council consists of two members from each of three wards -- I can't imagine how you could remotely gerrymander that small of a system to fuck things up that much.
posted by Etrigan at 2:35 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


News helicopters were all over the airspace during Hurricane Katrina, and that was a national rescue emergency.
posted by naju at 2:38 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Wait - Ferguson is right next to the St. Louis Airport. Is 3,000 feet high enough that planes would have to change their approach to avoid the flight ban?
posted by maryr at 2:38 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Local coverage from the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
posted by PHINC at 2:39 PM on August 12


Is there some way I could chip in a few dollars to help local news stations pay the fines for putting up their helicopters anyway?
posted by LogicalDash at 2:40 PM on August 12 [12 favorites]


Unless the Ferguson police has jets with air-to-air missiles, or MANPADs, or some such, if I were a news organization with a helicopter, I would just say "fine us."


They don't have those things, right?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:40 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]


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.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:42 PM on August 12


I would suspect that the penalties for deliberately ignoring the FAA are worse than just fines, and fall on the pilots as well.
posted by kavasa at 2:42 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


I remember visiting Germany and thinking it was blurring the line between police and military too much just by having the police wear green.

This? This is fucking ridiculous.
posted by ckape at 2:42 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


How does that even happen?

Perhaps the voters decided to pick the reps based on qualification VS skin colour? Kind of like how the Democratic party opted to pick that one person over the other persons for the President nomination 6+ years ago.

If you'd like you could weave a tale about crooked voting machines or the mind control powers of the mass media/the power of money over voters.

One could always dig up the public web pages about the voting there to create some kind of narrative to explain 'how that even happened'. Might make a fine Masters level paper for some poly-sci/media degree.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:42 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Given some of the mainstream images that have come out of Ferguson (Time, I'm looking at you), I'm not entirely sure Ferguson, MO, media outlets don't find the aerial media blackout quite copacetic.
posted by mistersquid at 2:43 PM on August 12


And for the love of god, don't read the comments. How do so many racists have so much free time ?

The vitriol displayed in the comments section beggars belief.
I understand slavery being implemented hundreds of years ago. It was wrong, terrible and everything else. But from the owners standpoint it made economic sense.
The hate on display in those comments doesn't make sense. None at all. It seems to be hate for the sake of hate.
A friend always tells me the human specie was tribal, is tribal and will always be tribal. It is so ingrained in our dna that the race will die off before our innate need for tribal affiliation can be bred out of us.
posted by notreally at 2:44 PM on August 12


Last night they closed the city completely. The media left entirely. People got gassed in their own yards. So much for being allowed to protest.

Jesus christ.
posted by rtha at 2:46 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


The fires of frustration and discord are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand. Redress is sought in the streets, in demonstrations, parades, and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives.

. . .

We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk.


19-sixty-fucking-3.
posted by absalom at 2:49 PM on August 12 [13 favorites]




Christ. Every cop nation wide needs to be wearing a camera at all times.
posted by brundlefly at 2:49 PM on August 12 [45 favorites]


Maybe it's time for a Mideastwest spring autumn?

I'm sure democracy activists in Ferguson are all on the Twitter, organizing, right?
posted by ennui.bz at 2:51 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


John Crawford III's Family Seeks Video Of Fatal Shooting At Wal-Mart

A lot of mysterious shit happens when they aren't on camera.
posted by Artw at 2:51 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


I can't help but feel like we should all be rioting in the streets. What am I even doing stewing here in an office.
posted by naju at 2:52 PM on August 12 [23 favorites]


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.


Right, but that was likely a voluntary safety precaution, not a complete shutdown of the airspace by the FAA. They probably also re-routed the approach because of smoke and visibility issues.

If the FAA simply issued a safety advisory and left it up to the risk of the media helicopter pilots, that would be a different story.
posted by loquacious at 2:52 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Christ. Every cop nation wide needs to be wearing a camera at all times.

"But Rialto's randomised controlled study has seized attention because it offers scientific – and encouraging – findings: after cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers' use of force fell by 60%." - Guardian piece
posted by hypersloth at 2:53 PM on August 12 [62 favorites]


So, who wants to join in my Hug ArmyTM? I don't know if it is because I have a small child now, but all I want to do is STOP THE HURTING and give all parties a chance to hug and/or be hugged.

I have two small children and, for their sake, am ready to join the Fu*k-You-Let's-Fight-Back-For-Real Army CC.

I've had it, and I'm sick - completely, exhausted sick - of worrying about their growing up in police state.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:55 PM on August 12 [13 favorites]


"But Rialto's randomised controlled study has seized attention because it offers scientific – and encouraging – findings: after cameras were introduced in February 2012, public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers' use of force fell by 60%." - Guardian piece

Yeah, there are simply no good arguments for not having video on all cops and in all cop cars at all times (as well as in all interrogation rooms, holding cells etc.). Anyone arguing against them might as well just be saying "but we like getting away with abuse."
posted by yoink at 2:56 PM on August 12 [39 favorites]




I just learned about the Tulsa Race Riots in Black Wall Street and I can't help seeing comparisons between these two situations. The results in Tulsa give me chills. I'm praying (and I'm not a praying sort of person) that we reach a better conclusion in Ferguson.
posted by chatongriffes at 2:58 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I wondered how disenfranchised the voters must be in a town that's 67% black to have a police chief like that.

There are entire states of people who have to deal with that on their own state flag. It's a fucking disgrace to humanity.
posted by elizardbits at 2:59 PM on August 12 [35 favorites]


Compare and contrast to the Bundy Ranch idiocy, and you will conclude either that Black Communities need more AR-15s and Gadsden flags...

Can you imagine the shitstorm the cops would kick-up if a black neighborhood started open-carry of AR-15s? It would be mayhem.

Unfortunately, there's not a chance in hell of anything being done to reign-in the out-of-control police in this country unless there's literally an Afghani-wedding-hit-by-a-drone level slaughter by cops. And, even then, I'm not convinced anything will be done.

Note to the good cops: Do something, goddammit.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:00 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]


(Oh, I guess it's just Mississippi now. Georgia saw the light in 2001.)
posted by elizardbits at 3:00 PM on August 12


Sorry if this has been posted upthread, but NYT ran a piece in June about how the Police are getting the Army's hand-me-downs:

During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

posted by Strass at 3:02 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:03 PM on August 12


Thorzdad: unfortunately, even walking around with a toy gun is enough to get a black man shot in this country. (comparison of that with a white teen toting an actual weapon as seen on twitter)
posted by rmd1023 at 3:05 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine the shitstorm the cops would kick-up if a black neighborhood started open-carry of AR-15s? It would be mayhem.

It would probably go something like this.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:06 PM on August 12 [20 favorites]


Can you imagine the shitstorm the cops would kick-up if a black neighborhood started open-carry of AR-15s? It would be mayhem.

This was effectively the approach of the Black Panthers in Oakland in 1966-67. It almost immediately led to police attacks on the Panthers and reprisals.
posted by ryanshepard at 3:07 PM on August 12 [18 favorites]


From Twitter: "Officers in Railto, CA are now required to wear video cameras while on duty. In one year, use of force has dropped 60% & complaints have dropped by 88%."
posted by Phire at 3:08 PM on August 12 [13 favorites]


but NYT ran a piece in June about how the Police are getting the Army's hand-me-downs

This year saw record donations of military equipment to police, $752 million worth this year so far.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:09 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


an Afghani-wedding-hit-by-a-drone level slaughter by cops.

Oh, you mean like the MOVE bombing in 1985 that burned 5 children alive? Something like that? The one where the Philly cops fired on people trying to escape the burning building?

Yeah, something like that would surely put the brakes on US police brutality, right?

i mean surely
posted by elizardbits at 3:10 PM on August 12 [123 favorites]


“to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.”

That always seems to be job one, doesn't it? The number of things justified because of cop safety - even as their fatalities and risks decline year after year - never seems to end. Yet at the same time we're expected to hand over all sorts of compensation for how risky the job is.

Are UAVs with cameras, which would likely not be something the black community of Ferguson, MO, would possess, exempt from this restriction? (I think I know the unfortunate answer to that question.)

A friend of mine who does 1Am & communications law asserts they don't have a constitutional ground to ban them and that they have failed to follow proper rulemaking procedure to boot.
posted by phearlez at 3:12 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]




I've been following this here in St. Louis and except for some of the people the social media (facebook mostly) is just horrible. I am angry and this is just screwed up and I know some of the people protesting and getting shot at with tear gas.

I didn't even know about the FAA resitriction. It hadn't been mentioned on the news as far as I could tell.
posted by lizarrd at 3:14 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I just want to expand on this - when I said it was surreal to see former regulars, I meant the mayor, the cops, and all the residents, not just a handful of people of any one stripe. It was a popular, family-friendly place people loved to go. There is a lot of pride in Ferguson.

I didn't expect the national media to paint anything with a very fine brush, but it's sickening seeing the local news running away, and my FB feed suddenly fracturing into two camps, and realizing a lot of people I know aren't at all what I expected.

Not trying to make this about me, but I've been stuck in my head and very sad, and I'm really glad it's finally on the blue.
posted by hypersloth at 3:17 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


Is there cave somewhere that my cats and my sweetie and me can just go live in?

Because this is all just getting to be unbearable.
posted by sio42 at 3:19 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


This article sources two explanations for the FAA airspace shutdown: risks due either to firearms or news helicopter crowding. The shutdown isn't unprecedented but seems quite unusual. Particularly troubling that FAA probably isn't terribly concerned about media access, historically they're quite willing to let security concerns trump freedom of the press.

But the airspace thing is a sideshow. What's more important is what's happening on the ground in the next few days, and what happens with the investigation into the police killing. I sure hope all this attention is bringing a whole lot of cameras on the ground to Ferguson.
posted by Nelson at 3:22 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


hypersloth: “The police here have done the exact opposite of every bit of it, clusterfucking this whole thing at every opportunity.”
That's been my observation. At every turn the police in Ferguson have escalated and antagonized in precisely the opposite way sworn officers of the law should address a protest over police violence. After the events of Sunday evening, they're goddamned lucky all that happened were a few broken windows, some stolen tennis shoes and rims, and a burned down gas station.

The militarization of the police isn't reflected just the tactics and equipment they use. For example, look at paranoia in this article from Officer.com from five years ago, "Ambushing / Counter Ambushing, Part 1." We, the public the author is sworn to protect and serve, are the enemy.

I'm sure the author would say that his paranoia is only for the "bad guys." Michael Brown's death is testament to the depravity of that lie. This sentiment must not be allowed. It must be eliminated, root and branch, from our police departments starting at the top. Anyone found to harbor it must be forever barred from positions of authority.

I'm going to leave it at that before I descend into one of my signature Class V Profane Tirades. My sincere thanks to ArtW for having the self-mastery to write this post. The two times I've tried, I didn't get 25 words into before I realized what I wrote was an instant delete and just closed the tap..
posted by ob1quixote at 3:23 PM on August 12 [61 favorites]


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.”
I do recall someone saying the helos were being shot at last night. I put about as much stock in that as I do the similar stories from New Orleans during Katrina.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:27 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


Christ. Every cop nation wide needs to be wearing a camera at all times.

If that happened, I'd open a repair business to fix all the cameras that would keep mysteriously malfunctioning and to replace all the storage devices that would keep mysteriously losing recordings.

I bet I'd make enough money to retire to a tropical island after just one year in business.


I feel like there's nothing else I can say that I haven't already said in the various threads about the killing of unarmed black men by police and "concerned" citizens standing their ground, so for Michael Brown, the many before him, and the many who will follow:

.
posted by lord_wolf at 3:28 PM on August 12 [19 favorites]


I'll note that many traditional media outlets originally, and falsely, reported that the protesters were chanting things like "kill the police", when, in fact they weren't.

But reporting in the USA is totally not racially biased.

This is horribly enraging and depressing at the same time. I know I am utterly and completely powerless, that the majority of American voters really like and support this sort of police action, that the Supreme Court has ruled on multiple occasions that scientific evidence of systemic racism in policing can't be used to justify any sort of change in policing.

And I've got a black eight year old son who is not naturally submissive and I live in terror of his fate at the hands of racist cops.

I have no idea how to fix this, and it desperately needs fixing.

I also predict that the result of this will be, at absolute most a slap on the wrist for the cop who murdered a black kid, and very likely he will be allowed to continue working as a cop. In the end nothing will change, the protesters will be remembered as nothing but vile rioters who got what was coming to them, and the voters will keep right on pushing a war against blacks executed by the police.

elizardbits, actually Georgia arguably went worse in 2001. What we commonly identify as the "Confederate Flag" is actually just a battle flag adopted by parts of the CSA military. The Confederated States of America went through three flag designs during its brief existence, the first one (called "the Stars and Bars" because, reasonably enough, it had stars and bars) looks **EXACTLY** like the Georgia state flag minus the weird Georgia seal and plus a ring of 7 to 13 stars. Essentially Georgia adopted the actual national flag of the CSA as its state flag as an upraised middle finger towards everyone.
posted by sotonohito at 3:37 PM on August 12 [45 favorites]


"Why are police calling the people of Ferguson animals and yelling at them to “bring it”? "

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.

Every cop who did this should be stripped of his badge and gun. What the hell. That is wildly unprofessional and deliberately incendiary.

"Btw -- where are the Oathkeepers protesting clear violations of human rights by the police?"

I had the start of a really dark joke here about it only being 3/5 of a human rights violation as far as the Oathkeepers are concerned but I just want to vomit about the whole thing. I've been only loosely following the story because I knew it would enrage me too much (and I have other shit going on right now that requires emotional attention). I was right.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:41 PM on August 12 [30 favorites]


Thorzdad: “Note to the good cops: Do something, goddammit.”
Indeed. And I'd add, "While you still have time. If you wait much longer, everyone in blue will be classed a de facto enemy of the people. Dig?"

elizardbits: “(Oh, I guess it's just Mississippi now. Georgia saw the light in 2001.)”
Yeah… see the current flag is really close to the Confederate "Stars and Bars." So, ya know, we shouldn't be patting ourselves on the back too hard in the Peach State.


Anyway, I'm going to go look at cat pictures or something for a while. Maybe tonight Christopher Goddamned Hayes will lead with the most important story in the nation instead of the tragic death of Robin Williams. I made my feelings about Williams pretty clear, but damn if that didn't need to be a 120 second "before we go" on All In last night.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:43 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]



I have two small children and, for their sake, am ready to join the Fu*k-You-Let's-Fight-Back-For-Real Army CC.


Violence begets violence as we can see is playing out today. We cannot diffuse the situation with more violence. What we need is compassion and some levelheaded leadership.

And a Hug ArmyTM.
posted by jillithd at 3:44 PM on August 12


The only reason a cop can kill a kid in cold blood like this is in good part a reasonable expectation that he can get away with it largely "unscathed". This is the problem everywhere in America where a cop can kill a person on camera and still pretty much walk away with nothing more than a couple of administrative slaps on the wrist.

The man who shot and killed Mike Brown should face murder charges - his career ended in shame and a long time behind bars to pay for what he's done to a citizen he was supposed to protect from the kind of violence he delivered - the kind of violence that, carried out by anybody else, would result in serious, long-term consequences.

Thanks for posting this OP.
Ferguson, keep raising your chants and demands for justice.
posted by fantodstic at 3:45 PM on August 12 [27 favorites]


Essentially Georgia adopted the actual national flag of the CSA as its state flag as an upraised middle finger towards everyone.

UGH TRUE I didn't even notice that, I was so busy being confused as to why Florida and Alabama both have St Pat's flag as their state flag, and why is hawaii flying the union jack? what is happen

Oh i see texas has incorporated the bonnie blue, no surprise there
posted by elizardbits at 3:49 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.

The rage in me wants to say "What about Michael Brown's safety?"

But then I know that meeting injustice with injustice won't change anything, even if it feels right.

MLK Jr. comes to bear here:

My friends, we've followed the so-called practical way for a long time now. Time is cluttered with the wreckage of communities which surrendered into hatred and violence. We are going to follow another way: we will not abandon our righteous efforts. With every ounce of our strength we will continue to rid the nation of the incubus of segregation. But we will not in the process relinquish our privilege and our obligation to love. While abhorring segregation, we will love the segregationist. This is the only way to build the beloved community.

To our most bitter opponents we say 'We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will continue to love you. We cannot obey your unjust laws, because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as it is to cooperate with good. But throw us in jail, we will still love you; send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community and beat us, and we will still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down.

One day we will win freedom, but not only for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and so our victory will be a double-victory.

posted by allkindsoftime at 3:53 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


This is a situation where the governor of Missouri should be calling off the local cops, bringing in the National Guard, and settling the legalities later on.

And, the "hands up" tactic of the protestors is brilliant and inspiring.
posted by beagle at 3:53 PM on August 12 [50 favorites]


Violence begets violence as we can see is playing out today.

What about systematic oppression and inequality under the law? Does that beget violence?

I think it's fine to advocate for nonviolence, but lets all realize that in this situation we're asking the people in the streets to basically be the Tiananmen tank man. Nonviolence--as either a political or spiritual tactic--isn't about not disrupting our everyday lives with yucky, scary hostility. It takes a tremendous amount of courage because it's about absorbing the violence of your oppressor.

What we need is compassion and some levelheaded leadership.

Let me know when you find that.
posted by mondo dentro at 3:53 PM on August 12 [21 favorites]


I'd really like to know what the best and strongest arguments are for shutting down the airspace before I do something like contact congressional staff for my local offices and start encouraging them to investigate the decision.

The policy cited seems like it's a stretch.
posted by weston at 3:57 PM on August 12


Eyebrows McGee: “I had the start of a really dark joke here about it only being 3/5 of a human rights violation[…]”
“Where the Sidewalk Ends,” Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 11 August 2014
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?”
posted by ob1quixote at 3:58 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


Obama's statement on this:

The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.

That statement really doesn't sit right with me, at all. I know I can't expect anything else from someone whose job it is to keep the peace and status quo authority, but it's essentially: "be docile and behaved. Don't make any waves." Well now is not the time to be subdued, reflective and understanding. This is the perfect time to be fucking pissed off.
posted by naju at 4:00 PM on August 12 [33 favorites]


MLK Jr. comes to bear here

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

Obama's statement on this

God, could he be any more toothless?
posted by sallybrown at 4:04 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


My snarling dog is coming out. This pisses me off so fucking bad.
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:04 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Christ. Every cop nation wide needs to be wearing a camera at all times.
If that happened, I'd open a repair business to fix all the cameras that would keep mysteriously malfunctioning and to replace all the storage devices that would keep mysteriously losing recordings.


During months that camera footage is unavailable due to malfunctions, payroll should be unavailable on a department-wide level until the footage is.
posted by weston at 4:04 PM on August 12 [13 favorites]


Did these cops not watch Eyes on the Prize in middle school like everyone else? Did it just not effect them? Are they "truthers" who believe in the boondocks school of thought that all black people now are stupid and lol and totally desecrating that dream? Do they think they're not complicit in the causes of that?

Because all this is missing is firehoses, unless i haven't seen the photos of that.

And i don't even think we regressed as a society, i think that's giving us too much credit. I think in some areas, and in some ways as a whole we simply have not advanced as much as we'd like to think since those days.

Or at all.

This is seriously one of the most upsetting things i've ever heard. The blow should have been softened for me, i my idealism as a young teen has worn off that we had truly made great steps towards being an equal, star trek like society. But i thought that america, as a whole, was at least better than this. Like, i knew how much fucked up shit had been going on nationwide with cops, but this is indistinguishable from the shit my mom saw as a child.

What's next, reinstate the draft and do another vietnam in the middle east?

I'm just fucking depressed even thinking about this. a . doesn't even cover it.

mistersquid: Are UAVs with cameras, which would likely not be something the black community of Ferguson, MO, would possess, exempt from this restriction? (I think I know the unfortunate answer to that question.)

phearlez: A friend of mine who does 1Am & communications law asserts they don't have a constitutional ground to ban them and that they have failed to follow proper rulemaking procedure to boot.

Regardless of actual legality, i think this would be decided like this and not in the courts.

I mean really, they're driving around in what appear to be MRAPs. I'm not even capable of imagining them doing anything but lighting the fucking thing(s) up. They'd be smashed to bits on the ground from a couple hits with intermediate cartridge-sized rifles as soon as they got eyes on them.

lord_wolf: If that happened, I'd open a repair business to fix all the cameras that would keep mysteriously malfunctioning and to replace all the storage devices that would keep mysteriously losing recordings.

All cruiser and officer cameras have network-diverse cell data coverage from two carriers, all cameras stream video/audio data to city or state servers. all server data is mirrored on, from the departments perspective, write only servers owned by the DOJ.

This doesn't have to be 1080p hd, and it doesn't even have to be 30fps. it could be 480p at 20fps with mono audio and it would serve its purpose.

All data is kept for at least 6 months, and if it gets marked for any reason it's kept until the statute of limitations runs out. If it's ever used in court, it's kept forever.

There should be a website on which any citizen can go, select a time and location, and any videos from within X number of blocks or Y spread of time in a decent sized buffer all directions are marked to be held.

Any failure of the camera to record, that isn't recorded in its memory as or determined to be an electronic failure outside of the officers control is grounds for suspension and a full investigation. There should be several spare officer cameras stored in the car(in a charging dock, just like the radio already are), and several fail-safes to set off lights and beepers notifying the officer that the unit is malfunctioning so they can swap them out. It should also have several hours of internal storage, but immediately upload as soon as it acquires a signal if it lost it for any reason.


I'm not saying this would solve the elephant sized problem. But imagine the problems it could solve. And yea i know, engineering solution to a social problem, etc.
posted by emptythought at 4:08 PM on August 12 [35 favorites]


From Buzzfeed: Black Residents In Ferguson, Missouri, Are Stopped And Arrested Far More Than Whites

I wish I could say I was surprised at Mike Brown's killing, or the protests and riots that followed, or the police's violent, incendiary response. This is par for the course for black people in this country.

Obama's statement on this

This response tiptoes around the elephant in the room.
posted by supermassive at 4:11 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


In addition to cameras, I think police uniforms should include large, sports-jersey like names and numbers on the front and back.
posted by fings at 4:12 PM on August 12 [85 favorites]


Does the military garb these riot police are wearing lead to a decreased sense of social responsibility? Isn't part of what makes this so deadly is that when you look like soldiers you act like soldiers?
posted by Carillon at 4:17 PM on August 12 [14 favorites]


Obama's statement on this
This response tiptoes around the elephant in the room.


The last major black political figures who didn't tiptoe got assassinated - Malcom X and Martin Luther King.
posted by srboisvert at 4:17 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


The last major black political figures who didn't tiptoe got assassinated - Malcom X and Martin Luther King.

I understand that Obama has his hands tied when it comes to talking about race/racism. It's just that the response is... frustrating, even as I understand its necessity.
posted by supermassive at 4:20 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Does the military garb these riot police are wearing lead to a decreased sense of social responsibility? Isn't part of what makes this so deadly is that when you look like soldiers you act like soldiers?

Some theories point to a resounding YES.
posted by daq at 4:23 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


The last major black political figures who didn't tiptoe got assassinated - Malcom X and Martin Luther King.

John Lewis on Trayvon Martin:
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.
posted by sallybrown at 4:24 PM on August 12 [12 favorites]


It's hard to know what to do about this kind of thing from a distance, but if I were a millionaire I think I might Fedex every household in that town a digital recording device, set up for live streaming to an internet uplink covertly installed nearby. Maybe there's a Kickstarter idea in there somewhere.
posted by uosuaq at 4:24 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


"He was going for my gun" is the "The dog ate my homework" of police shootings. It's such a stock excuse, referring to something so freakishly unusual, it's embarrassing to hear someone claim it, given how astronomical the odds are that they're not entirely full of shit.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:25 PM on August 12 [65 favorites]


That statement really doesn't sit right with me, at all. I know I can't expect anything else from someone whose job it is to keep the peace and status quo authority, but it's essentially: "be docile and behaved. Don't make any waves."

It would be stupidly irresponsible for Obama to say "you need to go out there and rip shit up!" What is worth noting about Obama's speech is that it talks of Michael Brown simply as a victim whose death needs both to be collectively mourned and also to be investigated by the appropriate authorities. And he assures people that the appropriate, federal, authorities are going to pursue an investigation and seek justice for Brown. If I was the cop who shot Brown I wouldn't feel any too confident about my future at this point.
posted by yoink at 4:25 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


For those of you who are asking where the Oathkeepers are, let me say I think it would be incredibly irresponsible to open carry there without the invitation of the community. It's one thing risking your life, another thing entirely to risk other people's lives.
posted by corb at 4:26 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Oh an Obama assurance, haven't had one of those let me down yet!
posted by Metafilter Username at 4:27 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


If I was the cop who shot Brown I wouldn't feel any too confident about my future at this point.

I don't know. Every single similar case in any country I've ever lived in has seemed to work out pretty okay for the officers involved.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 4:27 PM on August 12 [27 favorites]


Okay, really gonna close this and watch some cartoons or something after I post a couple of inks from the "Broken Windows" thread from the last couple of days:

“Outrage in Ferguson”
“This St. Louis alderman is offering a terrifying inside look at the chaos in Ferguson.”

And finally this, which always brings me comfort at times of strife: "On the Mindless Menace of Violence"—Robert F. Kennedy, 5 April 1968
posted by ob1quixote at 4:30 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


I don't know. Every single similar case in any country I've ever lived in has seemed to work out pretty okay for the officers involved.

Francis Livoti spent six years in the clink and is now singing at parties to make ends meet after killing Anthony Baez. Laurence Powell and Stacey Koon both picked up 32 months for beating the shit out of Rodney King. Dennis Spaulding just scored five years and David Cari picked up two and a half for their troubles bullying a Latino guy.

The feds do go after that second bite of the apple quite a bit.
posted by Talez at 4:36 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


"The world that America seeks is not one we can build on our own. For human rights to reach those who suffer the boot of oppression, we need your voices to speak out. In particular, I appeal to those nations who emerged from tyranny and inspired the world in the second half of the last century, from South Africa to South Asia, from Eastern Europe to South America. Don't stand idly by, don't be silent when dissidents elsewhere are imprisoned and protesters are beaten. Recall your own history, because part of the price of our own freedom is standing up for the freedom of others."
-Barack Obama
posted by Metafilter Username at 4:39 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


Maybe we should be glad the airspace has been closed. If you're in a car chase with the cops, and a news helicopter fucks up and crashes, you get charged with the deaths of the people in the chopper. Who's to say that doesn't apply to "resisting" the police as well?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:42 PM on August 12


Michael Brown's father's statement:
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.
posted by yoink at 4:43 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


Well now is not the time to be subdued, reflective and understanding. This is the perfect time to be fucking pissed off.

There's "line up in front of the police headquarters and hold up signs and chant slogans" fucking pissed off...

...and there's "loot and burn random businesses in the neighborhood who employ your friends and neighbors and had absolutely nothing to do with the injustice" fucking pissed off.

I'm totally in favor of the former. But there's been too much of the latter, which makes the cops crack down on everyone.
posted by Foosnark at 4:43 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Does the military garb these riot police are wearing lead to a decreased sense of social responsibility? Isn't part of what makes this so deadly is that when you look like soldiers you act like soldiers?

I made this argument over here very recently. I like to think it's more than specious, because those sorts of vehicles, body armor, weapons, and tactics are just inherently antagonistic. It's like putting boxing gloves on drunk people and expecting them not to act like everythings a punching bag or a boxing match.
posted by emptythought at 4:43 PM on August 12 [11 favorites]


"He was going for my gun" is the "The dog ate my homework" of police shootings. It's such a stock excuse, referring to something so freakishly unusual, it's embarrassing to hear someone claim it, given how astronomical the odds are that they're not entirely full of shit.

To be fair, the last time I heard it claimed (in Seattle a month ago) the footage turned out to actually show the kid pulling out a gun right before he was shot. So it does actually happen (although I have no idea what the stats are on proven-true, proven-false and undetermined truthfulness of the claim).
posted by the agents of KAOS at 4:43 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


That's "he was going for my gun" not "he was going for a gun".
posted by Metafilter Username at 4:45 PM on August 12 [15 favorites]


This has been a cascading FAIL of law enforcement from the very beginning, with mistakes and apparent misconduct being compounded by bad judgment every step of the way.

From the initial altercation in which Mike Brown was shot and killed, to the failure to cover the body as it lay in the street for hours after the shooting, to the absurd story of that altercation being told by the cops, to the heavy handed presence at the demonstration the next night, to the military style blockade, use of gas and rubber bullets, etc. last night, it's almost as if the police have been trying to deliberately escalate tensions, not calm them.

From the reports I've seen this afternoon, it sounds like they may have taken a less confrontational posture at today's demonstrations, but of course that could change again at any minute. At least no one else in addition to Mike Brown has been killed or seriously injured so far.

And for those wondering, all that military style hardware does not necessarily belong to the city of Ferguson; the cops there are being supported by a couple of dozen other local police departments, including St. Louis County and the Missouri State Highway Patrol, both of which are likely to have considerably more resources than Ferguson, which as a town is small and not wealthy.

Also, in addition to the obvious issues of racism, historically there's also been a real problem with the basic competence of the cops in some of these smaller municipalities. (St. Louis County contains nearly a hundred different municipalities and towns, many of which have their own police departments, in addition to the County cops, who patrol unincorporated areas and those towns that don't have their own.) Compared to the bigger departments, the hiring standards are lax, the pay is low, and the professionalism is lacking.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 4:47 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Made the mistake of checking Twitter before I put on the ballgame. Antonio French deserves a medal for his series of Tweets/Vines "In #Ferguson Right Now."

I swear to God the cops in Ferguson are so stupid they couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel. Send out riot cops to roust a group of mothers protesting after three nights of violence? Sounds like just the thing that will calm the situation rather than further fan the flames.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:48 PM on August 12 [13 favorites]


National Moment of Silence events are being organized (on Facebook, sorry) in cities across the country.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:49 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


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.
posted by xmutex at 4:50 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I wonder what it is in people that prompts them to gun down black teenagers. It's terrifying and puzzling.
posted by Metafilter Username at 4:55 PM on August 12 [69 favorites]


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.

It's almost like enraged people don't think clearly! You should really head straight out there and help them sort out their faculties. Let me know how it goes!
posted by Talez at 4:55 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


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.

a lot of those stores aren't perceived as being run by neighbors - a lot of the time, they're owned and run by people from iraq, pakistan or india - it's pretty common in my town - kalamazoo - and all over the place

there are some who don't think they are part of the community because of this - that's wrong, but there are those who think so
posted by pyramid termite at 4:55 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


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.

Well it's a manifestation of desperation, feeling like all the cards are stacked against you. Because they are. What I find terrifying and puzzling is white panic over race riots always, always taking precedence over the war on black people this country is already waging every day. Seriously.
posted by naju at 4:57 PM on August 12 [41 favorites]


Let's see, on the one hand we have some property theft and damages (by some random black people) and on the other hand we have a teenager who was shot and killed (by the cops), fumbling attempts (by the cops) to cover up the murder that was committed (by the cops), tear gassing of mothers on private property (by the cops) and a ban on media helicopters (by a Federal body at the request of the cops). Which one should we be terrified and puzzled by again?
posted by Metafilter Username at 5:00 PM on August 12 [60 favorites]


jillithd: "Violence begets violence as we can see is playing out today. We cannot diffuse the situation with more violence. What we need is compassion and some levelheaded leadership."

The Andrew W.K. thread is thattaway...
posted by symbioid at 5:01 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


FWIW, police officers in my city are forbidden by policy from covering bodies. You can do things line strange vehicles to block the view of them, but covering is not allowed. You call the homicide car and crime lab, they do their thing, and the ME transports the body. Covering the body can alter or destroy evidence, which is why it's not allowed.
posted by kavasa at 5:01 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


It seems a lot of people still bring up Trayvon Martin, but my impression after reading the wikipedia page is that that specific case was not racially motivated, although the treatment by police after the event is much lighter than you'd expect if Zimmerman was black. Am I missing something?

The killing of Trayvon Martin was set in motion by Zimmerman's perception that Trayvon was threatening and needed to be stopped and questioned, which then snowballed to Zimmerman shooting Trayvon when Zimmerman "felt" under attack (this is of course accepting Zimmerman's version of events, about which we should be skeptical, to say the least). Trayvon was an unarmed kid walking home from the store with candy and soda. What was so "scary" about him to Zimmerman? Hmmm, I wonder...
posted by sallybrown at 5:03 PM on August 12 [19 favorites]


but the one thing i cannot get my head around is how the hell a 2/3 african american town ends up with the vast majority of their officers being white, not to mention the elected officials

just what kind of dirty business has been done in that town to permit this kind of thing

the murder needs investigating - the police response to the community needs investigating - but most of all, the way that whole town government works needs investigating - this shit doesn't happen without serious graft and massive violations of civil rights

ferguson needs to be exposed
posted by pyramid termite at 5:09 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


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.

Because the people who deserve the brunt of their rage are heavily armed and armored?
posted by Bookhouse at 5:10 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


"Can you imagine the shitstorm the cops would kick-up if a black neighborhood started open-carry of AR-15s? It would be mayhem."

"Waco to Ruby Ridge/
white privilege is:/
'let the modified uzi spit, 30 shot clips'/
that won't fly where you moolies live..."

-Billy Woods, Mozambique

posted by still bill at 5:17 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


As to the looting -- which is a shame, and a distraction -- I sometimes wonder if part of it comes from a feeling that if "the law" turns out only to be there for white people, then, well, the hell with the law. That's the best construction I can put on it. It would be great if someone could actually take a survey of looters to find out what was on their minds, but I don't see that happening.

Also, as to the ridiculous overmilitarization of the police force that was sent out to, you know, serve and protect the protesters...I've always figured some of it was to do with having all this totally rad gear and finally having a chance to use it. I mean, it makes intuitive sense to me that (for example) if you give tasers to a whole lot of cops and tell them they won't actually *kill* anybody, some of those cops are going to start to look for an excuse to try them out... But I also wonder if another motivation, higher up the managerial structure, is that by using some of that stuff, you prove that it needs to be in next year's budget.
I think the arming of the police force has gotten out of hand, and it would be good to understand exactly what's driving it. (Compare the news from August 6th that "a small number of police officers are now routinely carrying sidearms while on patrol in parts of the mainland UK." Our guys are about 2 years away from having full-on tanks.)
posted by uosuaq at 5:18 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


A fair point, kavasa. When I mentioned the body being uncovered upthread, I wasn't thinking that they could just throw a sheet or tarp over it, for the reasons you cite. But there was no attempt made to block the view of it with vehicles, a portable tent like I've seen at some crime scenes, or anything at all. This was, understandably, very upsetting to people.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 5:20 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


One way to express your thoughts is to join the 2014 National Moment of Silence for victims of police brutality in your area, scheduled for August 14. I believe it's a candlelight vigil.
posted by emjaybee at 5:21 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Iris Baez: Are the police getting away with murder?


That's almost like the opposite of Betteridge's law.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:25 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


Correction to my above quote from Billy Woods:

"Waco to Ruby Ridge/
white privilege is:/
'fuck the police, let the modified uzi spit, 30 shot clip'/
that won't fly where you moolies live..."
posted by still bill at 5:31 PM on August 12


This tumblr collects #iftheygunnedmedown photos.
posted by box at 5:34 PM on August 12 [16 favorites]


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.

Of nine people charged today, only one lived in Ferguson.

but the one thing i cannot get my head around is how the hell a 2/3 african american town ends up with the vast majority of their officers being white, not to mention the elected officials

This article helps explain it.
posted by hypersloth at 5:37 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


"but the one thing i cannot get my head around is how the hell a 2/3 african american town ends up with the vast majority of their officers being white, not to mention the elected officials"

Who's registered to vote? Who shows up to vote? What barriers are there against registration (birth certificate? photo ID?) and voting (transportation? job time off?)? Are felons barred from voting even after serving their sentences to completion? (What percent of felons in Missouri are black men with nonviolent drug offenses?) How packed or stacked are voting wards? What is the time commitment for serving in public office, what is the pay rate, and who can afford to give that kind of low-compensated or uncompensated time away from work or family obligations?

How hard is it to file to run for office? Usually it requires 4-8 weekends of "walking" door to door for signatures, or a fairly significant filing fee, to keep "joke" candidates off the ballots. How much does running a campaign cost? Even little local campaigns cost $3,000; you've got to either pay that out of pocket or raise it. What civic involvement are candidates expected to have had? (Local charity boards? Chamber of Commerce? Volunteer leadership?) How much opportunity to black citizens have to serve in those positions, which are typically selected by other prominent citizens? How interracial are the "networks" in the city? How much access do black candidates have to voter lists? When does the candidate "pipeline" begin and how much access do black citizens have to the pipeline? How active are local parties in recruiting and grooming minority candidates? How many people have the emotional wherewithal to stay engaged, for years at a time, in a system that never answers their concerns?

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.)

I have a ... friendly acquaintance? political colleague? who is black, and who was convicted of grand theft auto when he was 17. Tried as an adult. Felony on his record. He was released from jail 40 years ago and he's devoted 40 years of his life to running local businesses, being involved in local politics, and mentoring young black men in crisis heading down a similar path to his early years. For 40 years he's been a model citizen, and one who's used his own mistakes as a teenager to try to help other young men. He's ineligible for elected office in our jurisdiction. He has been trying for 12 years to have his felony expunged solely so he can run for office (well, I mean, he runs every four years anyway, but he gets thrown off the ballot for being a felon every four years, and then sues, and then comes back, it's clockwork), but he doesn't have enough connections to enough important people to get the governor's attention. And he's a well-respected and well-connected business owner with the personal resources to pursue repeated lawsuits about this. Which makes me pessimistic about the whole thing.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:39 PM on August 12 [176 favorites]


I was just going to say systematic oppression and entrenched poverty, but Eyebrows McGee does a much better job, here.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:42 PM on August 12


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?”
Also that the legitimate targets are human beings.

When things like this happen people get frustrated. They get angry. Enraged even. They're good people though, so instead of hurting someone they take out their anger on things. People do that all the time. Hell, there's a place in Dallas where you can rent a room full of plates and stuff you can smash with a baseball bat for $25 for five minutes.

Sure, some people who loot are opportunists of the "The cops are all into something. It's Christmas. You could steal City Hall" variety. I think what starts it though, is the need to vent anger that otherwise might be channeled towards a human being.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:44 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


At least no one else in addition to Mike Brown has been killed or seriously injured so far.

I consider getting hit by rubber bullets serious injuries.
posted by item at 5:46 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


This shot should earn some awards for the photographer.
posted by octothorpe at 5:47 PM on August 12 [42 favorites]


This shot should earn some awards for the photographer.

Suggested caption: Bull Connor Lives
posted by scody at 5:54 PM on August 12




This is such unreal bullshit. Enacting a no-fly zone, refusing to release the name of the murderer of a young man, tear-gassing people in their yards?

Well done, America. Well done.
posted by Kitteh at 5:56 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


Anyone remember when 'Brutal and Negligent Cops Drove [Point Marion]'s Police Department Out of Business'. Ya know, Ferguson has only 20k people, while Point Marion had 1200. Any chance Ferguson won't have a police department anymore once the ACLU, NAACP, etc. get done with them?
posted by jeffburdges at 5:58 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


This shot should earn some awards for the photographer.

It's already been compared to Goya.

posted by Numenius at 6:00 PM on August 12 [12 favorites]


There's also this angle. The mailbox makes a compelling point.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:06 PM on August 12 [21 favorites]


Apparently the excuse they're giving for the no-fly zone is that the police claim that someone shot at their police helicopter. Of course, I don't believe anything coming out of the Ferguson Police Department right now, but if the FAA has to take their statements at face value then the airspace restriction isn't totally unreasonable.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:13 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


A sort of self-link to my Twitter feed, but I made this.... That's what I was thinking of.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


I'm not trying to minimize the potential harm from rubber bullets, item, and the wooden, so-called less lethal "baton rounds" apparently fired last night look quite nasty as well. In this case, I'm using "seriously injured" to mean "hurt badly enough to require hospital admission." The wounds suffered by the people who got hit by these things are no joke, but so far, they all seem to have been treated-and-released types of injuries.

Also, it looks now as if the cops may be getting confrontational again. The local NPR affiliate is compiling Tweets, Vine videos, etc, from Antonio French, their own reporters, and others in real time on a timeline that, all in all, seems to be one of the better running accounts of events out there right now.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 6:18 PM on August 12 [5 favorites]


It's amazing what injuries can be treated-and-released when the patient can't afford to go to the hospital.
posted by Metafilter Username at 6:21 PM on August 12 [15 favorites]


I suspect that Fergusson's airspace is decidedly less crowded and complicated.

In this case, it's very much not. There's a bunch of restrictions flying in that area because it's under the Class B airspace for KSTL, because Ferguson is right next to Lambert St. Louis International and very close to the landing pattern of the main runways.

Anything 8000' or below has to be in contact with the STL terminal controllers before they can even get close to that area, and it doesn't allow SVFR operations period. And the rule for Class B is clear "You must have ATC clearance to enter and be prepared for denial of clearance.*

So, while I clearly think this is an attempt to shut down the media, this isn't your average suburb in the middle of nowhere. The FAA, and STL ATC doesn't want this airspace full of helicopters at any time.

Those of you thinking UAVs? Absolutely banned at all times from Class B airspace, and rightfully so. Class B airspace exists only around the 37 busiest airports in the country. Way too many operations, and way too many operations at low level. I wouldn't be surprised if planes were under 2000' passing near Ferguson if they're landing on 30R or 24.

* N90, New York TRACON, and SCT, Southern California TRACON, are usually pricks about this. Unless you were in one of the VFR corridors, the answer is NO. C90, the Chicago TRACON, used to be utter pricks about this. They'd happily give you directions, but not utter the all important phrase "Cleared to enter our airspace." Then they'd call the FAA and send the tapes, which showed clearly that at no time had they cleared you to enter the airspace. Then you got a certified letter from the FAA saying your pilots licenses was suspended pending resolution of a violation of Class B airspace, which is more than enough to get your ticket pulled permanently.

Now, C90 is just the regular sort of "NO" pricks.
posted by eriko at 6:23 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]




“Michael Brown shooting unearths Ferguson’s deeper troubles,” Trymaine Lee, MSNBC, 12 August 2014
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.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:32 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Apparently the excuse they're giving for the no-fly zone is that the police claim that someone shot at their police helicopter.

I would be very angry and surprised if Ferguson owned a helicopter. It's probably St. Louis County's -- and it was the County that requested the TFR, not Ferguson.

Important Political Fact: St. Louis County has nothing to do with The City of St. Louis. In the county, there is a lot of unincorporated area, which is policed by the county directly, and a bunch of small municipalities, policed by a combination of municipal and county police. The City has police at the Airport, which is an exclave of the city, but that's it.

Important Historical Anecdote: When I was living there, Ferguson Cops were dicks who basically existed solely to give tickets to people driving on I-70 and I-270, the vast majority of whom were black, of course, but they weren't above nailing anybody in a cheap or decent car. A Mercedes or BMW meant there was too much of chance you were either a lawyer or could afford one to raise shit, so they didn't get ticketed.
posted by eriko at 6:36 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


I find it alarming that Rachel Maddow pointed out that the person that was with Michael at the time of the shooting has NOT been interviewed by the DA nor the police department and that the results of the autopsy (how many bullets are in Michaels body) has not been made public.
posted by robbyrobs at 6:36 PM on August 12 [14 favorites]


OK, since my comment appears to have been modded, I'll try it again, this time without the cussing:

Metafilter Username, please don't try to twist my words. You know nothing about the wounded individuals, their personal economic circumstances, or whether or not they can afford medical care, and are using a stereotype to take a cheap shot. My sympathies are with the Brown family and the people of Ferguson, and I'm appalled by the use of these weapons. If I had justyped "Lucky no one else has been killed so far," would that be sufficient to satisfy your sense of semantics?
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 6:38 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I live in a community adjacent to Ferguson. The protests in Ferguson have been happening about six miles from my house.

So here is how things actually went down with that riot on Sunday. Michael Brown was shot in broad daylight in the afternoon on Saturday. Lots of witnesses. Word spread quickly locally. Of course, not a lot of people watch the news on Saturday night, so it wasn't really until Sunday that many people outside of the immediate neighborhood knew about it.

Michael's parents, some of his neighbors, and some local black community leaders planned a vigil and a protest for Sunday night. The vigil was to honor Michael. The protest was meant to be a march to the Ferguson police station. To demand that the police department submit to an investigation by someone outside of St. Louis County. To demand the immediate suspension of the officer who committed the shooting from the force. To demand the release of the police officer's name, and other information about the shooting that the police department had been withholding.

From the get-go Michael's parents called for peace even as they made a demand for justice. Our son was a nonviolent person, they said. We do not want any violence committed in his name.

The police showed up Sunday night with reinforcements from St. Louis County PD and several other municipalities. I've heard reports of 100- 300 police officers showing up that night to confront MAYBE a couple of hundred unarmed, peaceful protesters. Some of the officers showed up in full riot gear, with gas masks. BEFORE ANY RIOT STARTED. And they brought police dogs. Which lead to lovely images like this.

SOMEHOW this situation let to some locals getting angry and throwing rocks. Gee. Can anyone imagine how?

Then some fools hearing about these events over social media came and decided to start a full-scale riot. Stole some liquor. Set a gas station on fire. The police arrested about 30 people for rioting. The police have since confirmed that most of the people arrested for rioting were NOT from Ferguson and were NOT part of the protest.

Then came Monday morning. Ferguson residents and neighbors from nearby communities, including many protesters, gathered to clean up after the riot, bringing brooms and shovels out of their own homes. There was a second rally, put together by religious leaders, planned for 10 am. It had in fact already been planned and advertised before the riots of the night before. On a local TV news station at 8 am Monday morning, the mayor of Ferguson announced that St. Louis County and Ferguson police had decided that protest needed to be canceled. And that they would IMMEDIATELY ARREST ANYONE WHO SHOWED UP.

A local social media shitstorm ensued. I may have participated. The police suddenly remembered for a minute that freedom of assembly is in the Constitution. And they reversed their "cancellation."

That protest went on without much trouble. As did a "town hall" gathering at a church Monday evening put together by local community leaders and the NAACP. At this meeting, in addition to calls for justice for Michael Brown, there was condemnation of the rioting. There were loud calls for peace. But so many people wanted to attend the church meeting that there wasn't enough room. Hundreds gathered outside. No place to go. Some of people decided to go back down to the place where the riots had happened the night before, and hold a new (peaceful) protest there. A few local political leaders, including St. Louis City Alderman Antonio French and my own State Senator, Maria Chappelle Nadal, wound up at this protest, as well as some of Mike Brown's relatives. It was another peaceful protest, like the one that morning. It was NOT a riot.

And THAT is when police from every damn department in the county and the Missouri Highway Patrol showed up with enough military gear to subdue a town full of Taliban soldiers.

Police who barricaded the streets, stopped traffic, rerouted buses and blocked off access to people's homes, then shot tear gas into the crowd, demanded people go home immediately, and shot rubber bullets at the people who complained that the police were blocking their way home. Police who kept demanding that the media move or leave or stop filming them. Police who pointed a rifle at that alderman, Antonio French, and blocked a car carrying my State Senator. Police who dragged a pregnant woman from a car, threw her to the ground, and maced her.

The police in STL have LOST THEIR GODDAMN MINDS. I just can't even. I cannot.

I have lived in St. Louis for 33 years, most of that time in North County. I am white (Mostly. I look white, at any rate, and get treated that way). I support these protests. I was sad and angry about the riots. But more than anything, what the police are doing to my community right now is making me sick with rage.
posted by BlueJae at 6:40 PM on August 12 [315 favorites]


Maddow did mention at the end of that bit that the StL county police and the FBI had now scheduled / asked to set up interviews with the witness. But yeah, as she said, it's bewildering that it hasn't happened yet.
posted by shortfuse at 6:41 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Empress, this pic is an even closer parallel to the 60s pic. I've seen an even better on on Twitter/Tumblr (same angle, dog has similar pose) but I can't find it.
posted by emjaybee at 6:43 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


ALSO: it is important to note that Ferguson is a nice suburban town. I mean really. It is not a high crime area. It's by no means rich, but it's not super poor, either. The houses are nice. The businesses are nice. The people are nice. There's a farmer's market there, and a historic train station, and a few pretty little parks. It's quaint.

I am not noting this because I think it would be okay for this sort of police violence to happen in a town that was not as nice as Ferguson. I DON'T THINK THIS SORT OF POLICE ACTION IS JUSTIFIED ANYWHERE. But the Ferguson police are trying to convince people across the nation that THEIR OWN DAMN TOWN is some sort of war zone that they must armor up to protect themselves against. IT IS NOT. Not by any stretch of the imagination. It could be anyone's backyard.
posted by BlueJae at 6:45 PM on August 12 [66 favorites]


Important Political Fact: St. Louis County has nothing to do with The City of St. Louis.

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.

My expectation regarding the airspace closure (is it still active? I've seen conflicting reports) is that it may have something to do with preventing news photography but more likely was requested so that no chopper footage of tactical operations would be out there going live as they tried to bear down on something (cf. reports of "kettling" last night).

On the whole I think going full outrage on the cops for e.g. "effective martial law" on the day after there was looting and arson is a little bit of a futile strategy, but on the other hand the decision to go full military (even if e.g. in that NYT photo those are pellet/teargas/etc. guns as it's been explained elsewhere) and especially ridic stuff like the teargas at people in their own private yard is sort of the opposite of a helpful approach here. Things need to be ratcheted down somehow and I'm wondering if there is any discussion of how to do that or who might be a good interlocutor/mediator.
posted by dhartung at 6:46 PM on August 12


[guys, can drop the derail about Gawker Media?]
posted by mathowie at 6:50 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


(I was thinking of the picture/comparison bluejae posted; thanks bluejae).

At every point, the police have had the chance to let things cool, to let people express their grief peacefully and disperse. To at least say "we are looking into this and feel for Mr. Brown's parents." At every point, they have chosen to act as though this community is nothing but a pack of barely-restrained animals that is snarling for their throats. And when you refuse to treat people as people, as worthy of some basic trust, as wanting peace and security in the same way as you do, as loving their children, you reveal much more about yourself than you do about them.
posted by emjaybee at 6:51 PM on August 12 [20 favorites]


Btw -- where are the Oathkeepers protesting clear violations of human rights by the police?

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."

Emphasis mine.
posted by inigo2 at 6:56 PM on August 12 [6 favorites]


The dignity of Michael's parents asking for calm and decrying violence is breathtaking.
If it was my child I'd be screaming "burn it all to the ground".
posted by fullerine at 6:56 PM on August 12 [14 favorites]


Remember guys, make sure we try to empathize with the vicious scumbag paramilitary racists with guns and tanks, because there are two sides of every story.

This is more evidence that there is no such thing any longer as a "good cop". Putting your hands in your pockets and looking at the ceiling while someone in the same room does something horrible is only different from actually doing the deed by degree of involvement.
posted by maxwelton at 6:58 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


And in answer to the New Yorker headline.
posted by fullerine at 6:58 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Things need to be ratcheted down somehow and I'm wondering if there is any discussion of how to do that or who might be a good interlocutor/mediator.

Are you saying there needs to be mediation between... Cops and the community they police? Do you recognize that you are talking as if this is rival gangs or something?
posted by PMdixon at 6:59 PM on August 12 [10 favorites]


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.”
I've always thought of this as standard, but maybe only for urban/suburban counties with large populations? For example, the suburban county I live in has both police and sheriff's departments. The police are tasked with investigating crime and patrolling the streets. Sheriff's deputies are officers of the court, so they serve warrants, enforce court orders, and run the jail. Municipalities within the county also have their own police departments. I think having only a sheriff's department is more common in rural areas.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:01 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I feel the same way, fullerine. If I'd had to wait four hours while my child's body lay bloodied and uncovered on the street, just steps from home, before the police who had shot him FOR JAYWALKING even let an EMT through to look at him I feel fairly sure I would be in jail or dead already. But Michael Brown's parents called for peace. And even after the dismissive and brutal response from police to their community's call for justice, they still call for peace.

As far as I'm concerned, Michael Brown's mother and father and stepfather are superhuman.
posted by BlueJae at 7:06 PM on August 12 [18 favorites]


inigo2:

"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."
"
DoNotLink version of inigo2's original link for those who don't want to give them clicks/eyeballs.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 7:10 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


I mean if the House is going to impeach somebody anyway can't Holder just arrest the entire PD for conspiracy to commit civil rights violations or RICO or violating software EULAs?

And then keep going.
posted by PMdixon at 7:14 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Now, what I have said about Harlem is true of Chicago, Detroit, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco—is true of every Northern city with a large Negro population. And the police are simply the hired enemies of this population. They are present to keep the Negro in his place and to protect white business interests, and they have no other function. They are, moreover—even in a country which makes the very grave error of equating ignorance with simplicity—quite stunningly ignorant; and, since they know that they are hated, they are always afraid. One cannot possibly arrive at a more surefire formula for cruelty.

This is why those pious calls to “respect the law,” always to be heard from prominent citizens each time the ghetto explodes, are so obscene. The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer. To respect the law, in the context in which the American Negro finds himself, is simply to surrender his self-respect.
- James Baldwin, 1966
posted by gorbweaver at 7:35 PM on August 12 [59 favorites]


The City of St. Louis and the County have long been separate on nearly every level, long before such a thing as "white flight." It makes getting my crime data, parcel data, and so on very interesting.

Essentially, the City of St. Louis is a bunch of little townships which eventually fused from an original eighty-odd "neighborhoods," which differs from the county, lacking true townships in the beginning.

The police for the City of St. Louis have nine districts, which effectively serve as beats, that mostly fall long those old neighborhood lines. Their crime data is rather uniform, as compared to what you get (if you can get it) from the various separate police departments in the County. Some refuse to play ball with anyone.
posted by adipocere at 7:37 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


The St. Louis city/county split happened in 1876, and was mostly about people in the city not wanting to pay to extend services to what was then considered a far-flung expanse of mostly farmland. So, nothing to do with "white flight" in the mid-20th century sense.

There's periodic talk of a reunification, and there currently are a couple of groups studying and/or advocating that it take place, but no firm proposals so far. That hasn't stopped the municipal governments in a couple of the more remote, all-white suburbs from passing resolutions opposing any reunification; the claimed reasons for doing so basically boil down to barely veiled excuses for racism.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:38 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Do you recognize that you are talking as if this is rival gangs or something?

I am talking as if the cops think that way, yes. They are disengaged from the community they police to an apparently impressive, and tragic, degree.

I think having only a sheriff's department is more common in rural areas.

There are historical factors here and it definitely varies by state. I was asking about the specifics, though, of St. Louis County, for a reason.
posted by dhartung at 7:38 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


adipocere, I call jinx on the explanation of the city/county divide. Somebody owes somebody a coke.

One thing, though - as of January of this year, the city of St. Louis is divided into six policing districts, down from the original nine.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 7:41 PM on August 12


I am talking as if the cops think that way, yes. They are disengaged from the community they police to an apparently impressive, and tragic, degree.

Okay but they are agents of the state. We don't have to mediate. We can just take their guns away. They don't have a claim to being wronged that we need to indulge.

(Smash the submerged state!)
posted by PMdixon at 7:45 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


These military donations to all these police departments are nothing but Chekhov's tanks to me. Ferguson will not be the only situation like this, count on it.

My own country, the one where half my family has served in its military since WWI, and possibly before, paid taxes, worked, cleaned, labored for free - and here are fuckers in it who not only see my people as non-citizens, but criminals, undesirables; these racists want us back either back in chains or dead. Why don't I just say it, right? They want us dead. And precisely because we are only 13% of the population, historically despised and marginalized, we are easy to target. It is easy for people so inclined to try to make us scapegoats.

How dare such people call us savages? Because they're certainly not afraid to murder kids in cold blood, are they? Calling names, saying shit they'd NEVER say about a white president about Obama, calling us whiners or going on about us using some fucking race card, dammit, if everything was OK, there'd be no issue. But I get the feeling some of these folks are projecting that they want favoritism, they want special privileges, and then have the fucking nerve to say it's us. No, they're not afraid, they're creating situations to kill people because they want to. Civilians and police, going out of their way to kill us and escaping the justice they deserve. But if these racists think that if we were ever gone that the tanks wouldn't be turned on them, they're mistaken, and they're fools. Their lives would not magically become a 1950s TV show.

I've felt lately that I'll have to come to terms with accepting that I may not die an ancient lady at home in bed surrounded by loved ones, but end up killed because there will be these racists out here, riled up by the right wing trying to destroy us, and I'll end up fighting. If I have to fight, if I have to go down fighting, I will. I'd be terrified, but you can't do nothing. And the way things look now, laws aren't working. Marches, protests, nothing is working, and I'm scared.

Tanks! Small towns getting tanks and armored vehicles and machine guns. They mean to kill with those things, OK? A breakdown of the country and more violence against us has been scaring me at least since 2008, but I thought that maybe I was just paranoid. Now I'm not so sure.
posted by droplet at 7:46 PM on August 12 [113 favorites]


Oh, hi guys. Heh. I've been riding this one out glued to Twitter and Facebook for the past four days. I'd have come by sooner if I'd known you started a thread! BlueJae has the story from our perspective covered, it sounds like. I can't fave that hard enough. I grew up in Florissant and have friends and former lovers in Ferguson. I still have family, friends, and property in Florissant, 10 minutes straight north off West Florissant Road and New Halls Ferry Road, and I consider Ferguson part of my hometown—it's half of my school district, after all, and I spent a lot of time there growing up. I've mourned for Mike Brown since I first heard the news, and it turns out that heartbreakingly, my mom had met him and his mom before at events in Ferguson. I got that first email alert from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (don't even get me started on that initial "mob" headline) as I was pulling out of my dad's driveway up there.

I've been following this here in St. Louis and except for some of the people the social media (facebook mostly) is just horrible.

I will actually say, lizarrd, maybe I just have good friends (you know my friends, so draw your own conclusions!), but I've been pleased by the thoughtfulness and sensitivity of my friends who grew up with me in North County. I don't know where those Ferguson cops got their notions of right and wrong, but my friends and I WERE NOT RAISED LIKE THAT. Yeah, there were some crackers, but my friends and I tell people this all the time: We grew up in a North County that was like fifty-fifty black and white, and we were COOL. We were PROUD that everyone was so cool with each other. People didn't get stupid like those cops. My friends are on Facebook now worried about their families, obviously, given the extent of the looting Sunday, but also just aghast at the police brutality and ignorance being shown to our friends and neighbors of all colors, because that is NOT WHO WE ARE.

This has been a cascading FAIL of law enforcement from the very beginning, with mistakes and apparent misconduct being compounded by bad judgment every step of the way.

The wonderful exception to this was the Clayton officer Antonio French filmed earlier patiently and calmly explaining the rules of engagement for protests there to the protest leaders there. That was wonderful, because the conduct of the Ferguson officers and so many St. Louis County officers has been a cockup from every angle.

I mourn for Mike Brown and my hometown. As if it wasn't bad enough that we've all had to worry about radioactive contamination in Ferguson and Florissant, now the Ferguson cops come along and take away people's lives and civil liberties. It has been a really hard time for so many up there for so long, and the cops are just making it worse. It's shameful.
posted by limeonaire at 7:46 PM on August 12 [39 favorites]


There were initial reports that phones had been seized from witnesses

Does anyone have a link to any of those initial reports that phones had been seized from witnesses?
posted by mediareport at 7:47 PM on August 12


Alright, the FAA's stated reason for the shutdown is : To provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.

Zero mention of civilian aircraft. And law enforcement aircraft usually have no trouble dealing with news helicopters. It's only the impact of aircraft might've on law enforcement on the ground that bothers them. So it's purely about keeping images out of the media.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:57 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


jeffburdges, the Ferguson cops are claiming someone shot at a police helicopter, so the FAA's rationale makes sense. Whether that actually happened is another story, but certainly with reports of shots being fired at patrol cars, one can imagine there would be shots fired at police choppers as well.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:14 PM on August 12


Sad that there's nothing to burn but a 7/11.
posted by PHINC at 8:14 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Granted, on second thought, I don't want to sugarcoat things: By the time my brother was in high school, maybe around a decade or so ago, things were starting to get a bit more tense. We were raised to have the same respect for all people, but his high-school experience was not the same as mine. Unrest has definitely been growing, probably for the reasons many have described in the excellent links that have been going around on Twitter. I remember the time my brother was out doing the kind of thing he does, picking up bottles and cans from around our neighborhood to recycle, and a group of dudes beat him up. Maybe that's just because he's an iconoclastic geek—can't ever rule that out!—but it felt like things were changing. That said, after reading so many good links this week, I think I understand a bit better why that may have been. The profiling, the lack of representation in government, the growing feeling that the government doesn't give a shit about North County residents' health or well-being... The powers that be were not happy that the demographics were changing, either, and so they began putting the screws to people of color, white flight picked up again, and distrust started to grow. It sucks—the authorities (and everyone who picked up and moved to St. Charles County, I kind of feel like) are the ones who helped wreck the good thing we had going.

Anyway, for current events, I also wanted to note, for the most up-to-date info, the #Ferguson hashtag on Twitter has been great. The Redditors following the police scanners have also been posting excellent info.
posted by limeonaire at 8:15 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


limeonaire, I didn't see the specific Tweet of French's that you mention (with the Clayton officer acting like a reasonable human being) but I did see some other things suggesting that the tension level had been reduced somewhat for the morning's events there. Presumably the officer's actions and demeanor helped facilitate that, and if so, good on him/her.

Also just wanted to third your and BlueJae's characterization of Ferguson as being not the sort of place you'd expect war zone tactics to need to be deployed. Yes, it's mostly a working class area, and it took some hits from late 20th century de-industrialization and the recession of the late 2000s, but it's never had the reputation of, say, Kinloch or Wellston, which were devastated by white flight & factory closings, and wound up looking like wastelands on many blocks. Ferguson's old downtown actually had been on the rebound of late, with some new businesses moving in, concerts & festivals scheduled, etc.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 8:22 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner, if you're curious about the Clayton officer (or basically anything else important that's happened in the past four days!), definitely scroll back through Antonio French's Twitter feed to his Vines from the peaceful protest in Clayton earlier. I was definitely pleased to see that officer being so damn professional after the unprofessional "policing" we've witnessed this week.
posted by limeonaire at 8:27 PM on August 12




limeonaire, eventually I'll try to scroll back through French's feed and find that clip. However, I'm somewhat dubious of that Redditors feed, because it seems pretty indiscriminate - along with stuff from police scanners, they've posted some totally unfounded rumors gleaned from social media.

The most ridiculous one last night was a third-hand assertion that the "rioters" were going to take Metrolink (the local light rail system) all the way down to the Shrewsbury station - a 20 minute ride, at least, from Ferguson that passes by several more affluent areas and shopping districts along the way - and walk from there to the Hampton Village shopping center, more than a mile away, to continue looting.

In other words, it was basically a timely re-skinning of a common racist trope - "black people will use public transportation to come and rob me" - familiar to anyone who listened to the arguments against expanding Metrolink to other parts of the county a few years back. While one of the Redditors maintaining the thread eventually pointed out the implausibility of this, it took a while, so I've been viewing any breaking-news items on that Reddit link with some skepticism.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 8:39 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


The Reddit feed is just useful in a general sense, Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner—especially for those of us around here who are trying to keep track of where things might head next in North County specifically. People are transcribing things straight from police scanners (which themselves are full of potential misinformation, being subject to the same biases the police themselves are, but it's still a primary source) and now also social media. A lot of the misinformation you mention is straight from the police scanners. It's all to be taken with a grain of salt, but along with the #Ferguson hashtag, it's a good way to have a sort of proprioception about what's going on at any given moment.
posted by limeonaire at 8:49 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Girl in ferguson gives full statement on cop after recording the mike brown murder. Police have confiscated her phone for investigation reasons.

Thanks; the unnamed girl talks about the police taking down security cameras and confiscating her phone at 5:20 in the video.

I wonder if she's the 2nd witness the NAACP is now talking about. I hope there are more who managed to keep their phones.
posted by mediareport at 8:50 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Girl in ferguson gives full statement on cop after recording the mike brown murder. Police have confiscated her phone for investigation reasons.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:37 PM

Given what happened to Michael Brown, the officer who bullied the teenager into giving up her phone should be removed from the police force and prosecuted for subjecting a citizen to psychologial duress (or whatever charge will stick) to redress the harm perpetrated against the teenager herself and the community her courageous filming would have protected.
posted by mistersquid at 8:53 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


Anyone with good tips on immediately storing a phone's video online? I found this :
Three Sites to Stream Live Video From Your Cell Phone To The Net
posted by jeffburdges at 8:54 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Sunday night... I've heard reports of 100- 300 police officers showing up that night to confront MAYBE a couple of hundred unarmed, peaceful protesters

Just as yet another example of how distorting and awful the media coverage has been from the very beginning, here's a screenshot of something I took on Sunday morning, before this news had yet to really break nationally (see the west coast time: 9:02 am). Up to 1000 confront police after teen's death
posted by naju at 8:56 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I can't help but feel like we should all be rioting in the streets. What am I even doing stewing here in an office.

This. This is your country. And it's been fully taken over by militarized cops and corporations who have bought control of you entire political system.

You want to see actual change? Like, do you really want to see change? Then stop relying on a disenfranchised community in suburban St. Louis who are only trying to live in peace to stand up and say this is wrong.

Maybe see what happens when some actual white people stand up and say THIS IS WRONG.

But if all you can be bothered to do is come on this website, throw in a "holy shit", shake your head, and go on about your privileged life, then I honestly have no time for you.

If you really care about what's happening, take action.
posted by dry white toast at 9:00 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]




I just spent the last two or three days very busy/very close to this situation. I've missed the discussion up to now, but will try to catch up and see if I can add anything.
posted by DaddyNewt at 9:02 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]


This related video posted by the same guy who posted the video of the girl whose phone was confiscated claims to show another eyewitness and is worth viewing. It's hard to understand all of it because the guy's pretty excited, but at 1:30 he describes the event again and seems to be claiming the cop had already passed Brown and then "he reversed and tried to hit him...that's when everything fucking happened."
posted by mediareport at 9:05 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Maybe see what happens when some actual white people stand up and say THIS IS WRONG.

But if all you can be bothered to do is come on this website, throw in a "holy shit", shake your head, and go on about your privileged life, then I honestly have no time for you.


Since this is addressed to me - I'm not actual white people, but I agree. I'm trying to figure out how to make a difference here. I think a bunch of us are. I'm angry and shaking about this stuff, help me figure out how to make an impact.

(Oh, on second read I think you were agreeing with me, not castigating me. Sorry)
posted by naju at 9:06 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


mistersquid, not defending the cops here as things are reaching clusterfuck proportions, but it is actually normal for police now to seize video evidence as they would any other evidence. I myself have been able to e-mail video to police in two cases in the last year -- I'm very glad they weren't important enough to need chain of evidence as they likely would in a homicide investigation.

While there is ample reason to be suspicious of the outcome here exonerating the officer, we at least should be cognizant that the investigation is being done by a different agency, albeit one that is directly involved in the lousy policing of the protests. I also tend to highly doubt there will be anything that is actually live video of the shooting itself, rather, this is likely footage of the aftermath.

Anyone with good tips on immediately storing a phone's video online?

Dropbox works fine for my Android phone and the short MMS video segments it records. Stops recording, uploads automatically (well, when on wi-fi, but that's a user setting).
posted by dhartung at 9:06 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


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.”
posted by AceRock at 9:09 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]




Another good twitter for this is @JustinGlawe. And his profile photo is white in case you need a source to influence friends you suspect of being racist about this.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:10 PM on August 12


I made this argument over here very recently. I like to think it's more than specious, because those sorts of vehicles, body armor, weapons, and tactics are just inherently antagonistic. It's like putting boxing gloves on drunk people and expecting them not to act like everythings a punching bag or a boxing match.

I've done a bit of acting, and yes this.

Even though it was 20 years ago I remember distinctly the first time I put on a tight-ass regency shirt and fitted coat and ruff and holy hell I was like instant Mr Darcy.

I can't imagine that full battle rattle makes you feel like anything other than some kind of superhero psychopath.
posted by Sebmojo at 9:13 PM on August 12 [8 favorites]


I will say the thing that's frustrating about listening to the police scanners and/or following them via the Reddit feed is that I don't really have a good baseline for daily crime rates in North County. From statistics I looked at a couple months ago, I believe it generally had the highest crime rate of the six portions of the county that St. Louis County police patrol (though a couple others weren't far off), but what I don't know is what a normal day sounds like on the scanners. I mean, a normal day usually doesn't have officers hauling ass in riot gear, but beyond that, when I hear about burglaries or small fires in various places this week, I have no good way to know how that varies from what might be normal. It would be good if someone in the media would cover that angle.

That also reminds me of my million-dollar Twitter-account idea from this morning, free to the lazyweb: Someone (or a group) should do this all the time, posting updates from the scanners like they do in Sheboygan.
posted by limeonaire at 9:15 PM on August 12


Also, in addition to the obvious issues of racism, historically there's also been a real problem with the basic competence of the cops in some of these smaller municipalities.

So they're just like the cops and/or police forces in the larger municipalities.

Which one should we be terrified and puzzled by again?

Both, obviously. Both are puzzling. The questions are not in competition with each other, nor does being puzzled by both means you favour one over the other. Unfortunately, on Metafilter, this sort of bullshit competitiveness of viewpoints is on the rise and makes people just asking a question that is not officially the right one very hesitant to bother participating at all.

One is completely terrible and awful, the other rather unfortunate. I believe most of us have the capacity to consider more than one thing at a time. It appears in this case, as it appears to be the case in many similar instances, that the assholes looting and rioting were simply assholes looting and rioting. No harm in asking the question about them though. I don't think asking such a question means that we can't ask other questions and feel that the police reaction to protests, both for these particular protests, and for protests in general, is extreme to say the least, just like their reaction to supposed "suspects" they gun down.

Unfortunately, police such as these haven't the faintest sense of community and indeed, lacking a sense of community and proudly pounding your chest about it is something very popular in the States right now. Whereas community involvement is evil socialism or something. The police are often legalized gangsters and the good cops among them are moved to the pawn shop unit...

Important Historical Anecdote: When I was living there, Ferguson Cops were dicks who basically existed solely to give tickets to people driving on I-70 and I-270, the vast majority of whom were black, of course, but they weren't above nailing anybody in a cheap or decent car. A Mercedes or BMW meant there was too much of chance you were either a lawyer or could afford one to raise shit, so they didn't get ticketed.

In Toronto, for the longest time, when I got stopped for speeding, when driving alone, with glasses on, and being a ginger and therefore white, I was usually let off. The day my Filipina girlfriend and 2 black friends were in the car, I was not let off. I have to say that since I've been driving one of the cheapest Toyotas you can get, cops just seem to ignore me, but they seldom let anyone off for speeding anymore.

Given what happened to Michael Brown, the officer who bullied the teenager into giving up her phone should be removed from the police force and prosecuted for subjecting a citizen to psychologial duress (or whatever charge will stick) to redress the harm perpetrated against the teenager herself and the community her courageous filming would have protected.

That would be wonderful. It's part of police culture, it seems, to intimidate and bully persons. Consequences for such actions are the only way to change the culture, or getting people take the principles of their position seriously. Rare that.

Maybe see what happens when some actual white people stand up and say THIS IS WRONG.

There have been protests against this sort of things and people of many races, including "white people" for years. Result. It's worse then ever. Branding against sensible objection has become incredibly effective. People of all races have known for years that things continue to be bad and are getting worse in so many ways and nothing they've done has worked. It's very sad. Hopefully something will be effective but I fear it will take absolute rock bottom everywhere, for things to change. The people in power and influence seem to be doing their best to make this happen sooner rather than later, but they've been friends with dictatorial states for some years and may eventually just use that model on those of us who disagree with them. Lack of rights has been a "thing" for years with the black community and the poor (of any race). Right now, it appears that plans are in motion to make most everyone poor so even more people can be buggered.
posted by juiceCake at 9:17 PM on August 12


At least some of what is wrong here is the racial makeup of the police force, not unlike Detroit almost 50 years ago:
"In 1967, 93% of the force was still White, although 30% of the city residents were African American."
posted by PHINC at 9:20 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Btw -- where are the Oathkeepers protesting clear violations of human rights by the police?

They're on duty for the Freguson Police Department
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:23 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


As an aside, there is a protest (via) on Sunday over the LAPD's murder of another unarmed black man named #EzellFord last Monday night.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:23 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


"I'm angry and shaking about this stuff, help me figure out how to make an impact."

The NAACP currently has "Justice" campaign running: "The goal of the NAACP Criminal Justice Department is to advocate for and advance a better public safety system that reduces the reliance on prisons as means of solving social problems, advances effective law enforcement and removes barriers to voting and employment for formerly incarcerated people. " There are four goals: "1)Advancing Sentencing Reform and The Right to Vote for Formerly Incarcerated People; 2) Advancing Effective Law Enforcement Practices; 3) Elevating and supporting the voices of crime survivors; 4) Removing Employment Barriers for formerly incarcerated people."

They've been having a lot of success recently with their "Ban the Box" campaign that encourages state governments and large corporations to get rid of the checkbox asking if a job applicant has a prior criminal conviction. They've also done a lot of significant work to publicize this sort of police misconduct. It may or may not be your bag, but your local NAACP chapter may be running various initiatives in partnership with the national project, and that might be a way to make an impact. They've also been pushing social media pretty hard as a way to get the message out, so even if you don't have a very local chapter, your facebook and twitter may be more helpful than you realize. (Non-African-Americans are enthusiastically welcomed, there are no racial criteria for membership or involvement in the NAACP, though I know sometimes people are reluctant if they're not black because they're not sure. It's cool! It's fine!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:24 PM on August 12 [9 favorites]


I also just wanted to say, though, I'm glad you guys are all here and caring, paying close attention to what's going on in my hometown. We need all the eyes on this that we can get, for as long as it takes. MetaFilter always does a great job with threads like this, but it's especially gratifying to see it when it's about where I'm from. Thanks for being here.
posted by limeonaire at 9:27 PM on August 12 [21 favorites]


As an aside, there is a protest (via) on Sunday over the LAPD's murder of another unarmed black man named #EzellFord last Monday night.

Police Fatally Shoot Man in South L.A.; Family Members Say He Was Lying Down When Shot
posted by supermassive at 9:30 PM on August 12 [7 favorites]


. for Ezell Ford. This continuing police brutality is terrible.

Aside: Right now, it's so comforting that I can do that here, and you guys will know what I mean—I've been wanting to post the dot on so many Facebook and Twitter posts this week.
posted by limeonaire at 9:32 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


The NAACP currently has "Justice" campaign running:

Thank the gods there's something I can DO (the site is broken right now - did we crash it? - but I'll keep it for the future). I've felt so sick and rageful and empty and impotent over all of this; I am so tired of our kids and men getting shot. It's just not right.

My heart and care is with the families of Brown and Ford, and with the young men hassled for living in their own neighborhoods with sometimes fatal ends.
posted by Deoridhe at 9:48 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Someone (or a group) should do this all the time, posting updates from the scanners like they do in Sheboygan.

We have this in Rock County (and Winnebago as well). That said, there are two issues. One is that the police really didn't like it when he posted active police calls to social media, even though he is just transcribing what goes over the public safety channel. Unfortunately the operator is a sort of cop/EMT wannabe who has domestic violence charges against him, so there's some leverage. The other is that you only have limited information on the scanner anyway, as a lot of dispatch is done using computers, creating a sort of iceberg effect. I guarantee you that the prevalence of scanners in recent years led to them moving lots of radio traffic to private channels or data channels, and that public scrutiny would have a similar effect for any community. Even when the cops aren't corrupt/racist/thin-blue-liney, they don't like a mess of public looky-loos at any random crime scene, and they end up devoting resources to crowd control -- as happened in Ferguson. This would actually be awful for both activists and reporters and would return full control of the information to the police and insiders in a jiffy.

At least some of what is wrong here is the racial makeup of the police force

Which, it should be noted, is not necessarily merely a matter of the police saying "OK, minorities please apply." My city's department has had that sign up pretty much for 20 years running and we have, I believe, one half-Latina officer. (We still have a very small percentage of black residents and by the numbers about two black cops would equalize it, but apparently they all want to work in more prestigious, more urban, or frankly, more heavily African-American communities.) It's a similar issue to that with colleges who want black professors -- they are heavily in demand and can pick and choose their opportunities.

There's a secondary, somewhat foundational issue, of course, which is the high rate of young black men who rack up rap sheets of minor offenses that make them ineligible for public employment generally, not to mention as police, even if they straighten out their lives as adults. That's partly a drug war issue, partly a stop-and-frisk culture issue, and also partly related to other issues such as fatherless households. And also partly a self-selection issue in that e.g. very few of the young men righteously shouting FTP these nights are ever going to be interested in crossing over and becoming cops themselves. It's pretty complex and seems to be a self-sustaining cycle in many ways. So ultimately the flip side of this is police forces across the US that are made up of almost or wholly white officers, themselves often the product of a self-selection process that is well known to attract power-trippers and others with crossed circuits.
posted by dhartung at 9:57 PM on August 12 [3 favorites]


Also, in addition to the obvious issues of racism, historically there's also been a real problem with the basic competence of the cops in some of these smaller municipalities.

So they're just like the cops and/or police forces in the larger municipalities.


Cute attempt at snark, but no. There is an actual difference. Larger, better-funded police forces actually do tend have better trained/educated, more competent officers than these little towns with their rinky-dink shops employing a couple dozen cops.

There are exceptions both ways, sure, and cops from bigger departments still can be racists, corrupt, etc. But many of them at least can carry out the routine tasks they're supposedly trained to do, like stopping someone on the street and questioning them while maintaining control of the situation.

In this case, the cop in Ferguson who shot Mike Brown failed completely at this most basic level, and then escalated immediately to the use of deadly force. With a more competent cop, it's possible this interaction could have ended instead with Brown pissed off at being hassled for no reason, but still alive. That doesn't solve or even address any of the larger issues, but to me it seems like a preferable alternative, and an actual difference.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 10:08 PM on August 12 [2 favorites]


It is definitely not rational, but as someone who was at the peaceful Sunday protest before the looting began, I have to say the barking police dogs freaked me out. I have been to anti-war protests, gay rights protests, pro-choice protests, and I have never had to walk past a barking police dog being held back by the officer before. The images of Selma newsreels were flashing in my head. (It didn't help that we were in front of the Fire Station, so the hoses could have appeared at any minute.) I can only image what the Black folks were feeling about it.
posted by hworth at 10:12 PM on August 12 [36 favorites]


Yes...as I tried to explain to my coworkers yet again today, "boy and his dog" fluff stories about K-9 units are really problematic unless you address the ways in which the use of these dogs is polarizing and really overkill for so many situations, not to mention dangerous for civilians. Use of the dogs has resulted in false positives in drug searches and excessive-force complaints that just get brushed off by superior officers. There are real civil-liberties concerns regarding their use; it's not just "activists" who think so.
posted by limeonaire at 10:24 PM on August 12 [14 favorites]


There has been a drive-by shooting in the vicinity of the W. Florissant Ave. protests. The general area of the Quik Trip gas station that was torched the other night seems to have gone from somewhat placid to scary as hell in a hurry.

Before that, this incredible thing took place, which moved me to make my first Storify.
posted by dhartung at 10:50 PM on August 12 [22 favorites]


Looks like a woman was just shot in a drive-by. Listening to the St. Louis scanner. @ksdknews
posted by SarahElizaP at 10:53 PM on August 12


That's amazing, dhartung. I also saw protest photos earlier of an 88-year-old woman with an oxygen tank and a 103-year-old man in a wheelchair, the latter of whom had marched with Martin Luther King Jr.

Re: the drive-by, yeah, I'm just hoping against hope for her.
posted by limeonaire at 10:58 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]




dhartung, I like the cut of that guy's jib. Would like to know more details and/or see a pic, perhaps something will emerge at some point.

The drive-by sounds bad, and has been confirmed by the County cops. No indication as to how, or even if, it may be connected to the demonstrations. Also, there's a fair amount of chaff on that Reddit feed and on Twitter, apparently from someone calling in false reports of people with guns and smash-and-grabs in south St. Louis city, miles away from Ferguson. Looks like it could be another long night ahead, just hope no one else gets hurt.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 11:12 PM on August 12


I guess this'll be my late night listening tonight

http://youarelistening.to/stlouis
posted by mannequito at 12:23 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about that article posted no long ago how the rich really need to do something about income inequity, least they become targets of the revolution. And in it, the author comments how the French Revolution wasn't some slow build up that was easy to spot; rather protests sprang up around the country quickly and spontaneously in response to localized events. (paraphrasing, of course.)

Then I wonder about the protest and rioting here. It blew up overnight. For good reason, but it was rapid. As me last Friday if I expected in a few days police in military gear would be inciting riots and protests, and I would have never guessed.

The issue here isn't as simple as income inequality, but at its core, it sort of is. A marginalized race are the victim of both poverty and police state brutality, funded to protect the rich ruling classes, primarily white.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:02 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


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.

The initial urge of a disenfranchised mob is to take back from the powerful, to get street justice. But the rich and powerful are remote. The local kulaks act as stand-ins.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:37 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, Ta-Nehisi Coates has apparently left on a French jaunt, and has yet to comment on this situation. I'm looking forward to reading some of the BAR writer's take on it, though.

I was a kid when the Watts Rebellion went down. That was some kind of turning point; this is probably another. Also, this Metafilter thread has some of the best content I've found regarding this Ferguson, MO confrontation. Thank you for that.
posted by metagnathous at 3:44 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


As far as police confiscation of video goes, I just don't have enough trust in the police to assume that when they confiscate a video of a cop shooting someone it is for the purpose of gathering evidence against that cop instead of for the purpose of destroying that evidence.

Remember that the **ONLY** reason we have any video of the shooting of Oscar Grant is because someone refused to let their phone be taken. All other video mysteriously vanished. The security cameras were "malfunctioning" and all the rest got lost. Absent the person who, bravely and at not inconsiderable personal risk, refused to let her video vanish as well the police would have been able to hide all evidence of the real event and go with their original (lying) claim that Grant was trying to get a gun and that Mehserle killed him in self defense. Absent that brave person keeping the police from destroying her evidence Mehserle would have gotten a medal and a commendation and would be out there looking for another victim to kill.

There is simply no way that any evidence of police wrongdoing, once it enters police hands, will ever do anything but vanish. In this case only community rage is getting anything done at all, the evidence is all gone and we'll never, ever, see it.

I don't blame the woman for giving the cops her phone, they'd just killed someone and I have no doubt that she felt in danger of her life if she didn't cooperate.

But damn do we need a single button press instant live streaming video service for cases like this. We're almost all carrying video cameras around these days, the only problem is keeping the evidence from being destroyed by the police.
posted by sotonohito at 5:04 AM on August 13 [44 favorites]


In addition to the drive-by last night:

Police shoot suspect in north STL Co.

I don't know how people can look at what's been going on in Ferguson this week and still claim that the answer is MOAR GUNZ.

Just 8 days ago, Missouri voted to strike out concealed carry restrictions from the Missouri Constitution and replace it with a blurb about gun rights being "inalienable."
posted by Foosnark at 5:17 AM on August 13


I talked to a pilot friend about this, and he didn't seem too surprised about the airspace restrictions in the area -- it's a fairly standard procedure for any incident that requires heavy support from aerial law-enforcement or emergency services.

He also said that he'd be surprised if the FAA would deny a news crew's request for a waiver to enter the area. They'd need to provide very specific rationale for denying such a request, given the context of the situation.
posted by schmod at 6:03 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


I read this article on the Post-Dispatch yesterday and I almost vomited.

Key quote: At Metro Shooting Supplies in Bridgeton sales are “through the roof,” said John Stephenson, a general manager.
He said the sales spike began on Sunday, the day after Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson.
“Sales have been absolutely amazing for three days,” he added.

I despair of my hometown and my country.
posted by lineofsight at 6:03 AM on August 13


Is there a central organizing point for the "cameras on cops" movement? So far all I've been able to find are the ACLU's thoughts on how to protect civil liberties should cameras be put in place. I also looked at the NAACP's "Justice" page, but that seems like a much broader campaign.
posted by sallybrown at 6:28 AM on August 13


Nothing on the internet ever makes me cry, but I didn’t realize how exhausted I was. I think all of Black America is exhausted, but also wound tight and waiting for a release that will never come. This country is not for us and I am so tired and weeping. Since I was a little boy I wanted to grow up and raise a family, and I am too tired to imagine bringing Black children into this country. I am so exhausted and frustrated and enraged and disappointed and out of words to describe what this feels like. There aren’t any. There is no word to describe what it feels like to be at war with your own country for just existing while Black.

I am exhausted.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:44 AM on August 13 [35 favorites]


In this case, the cop in Ferguson who shot Mike Brown failed completely at this most basic level, and then escalated immediately to the use of deadly force. With a more competent cop, it's possible this interaction could have ended instead with Brown pissed off at being hassled for no reason, but still alive. That doesn't solve or even address any of the larger issues, but to me it seems like a preferable alternative, and an actual difference.

While I have shifted duties, I used to prosecute (administratively) the peace officer licenses of police in Missouri (for the purpose of either having them revoked or placed on probation/suspended, etc). There was nothing at all surprising about the manner in which the Ferguson cop reportedly behaved. St. Louis Metropolitan Police and surrounding departments are absolutely full of bad apples and terrible police officers. Even though I'm a white guy in his 30s, I'm leery of traveling in St. Louis City/County because of the things I've or my coworkers have encountered in our cases dealing with these police, chief among them is a terrible lack of judgment on how to conduct themselves in and out of uniform.
posted by Atreides at 7:08 AM on August 13 [22 favorites]


I read this article on the Post-Dispatch yesterday and I almost vomited.

I'm about to burn some bridges with former friends who are still insisting that guns make people safe. I was sick of it after Columbine, I was sick of it after Sandy Hook, I was sick of it after every other singled damned incident, and with this shit happening within walking distance I'm just done.

Michael Brown was unarmed and he got shot multiple times for his trouble. The protesters were unarmed and non-violent and apparently they had cops with riot gear and tear gas pointing combat rifles at them before there was any looting. I can't even imagine the police response if if the civilians of Ferguson were all armed. Bombing maybe? I understand the Boeing campus a couple miles away builds JDAMs.

The woman who was shot in a drive-by -- how the hell would giving her a gun have prevented that? She'd have had to preemptively shoot everyone in every passing car just to make sure.

Take the fucking guns away from everyone, cops included.
posted by Foosnark at 7:14 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


The gun sales spike may not mean what you think it means. In times of civil disorder, it's natural to want to protect yourself, especially if you're a woman, as one store owner says more women coming in has been driving the spike. Mob violence has a nasty habit of turning unpredictably.
posted by corb at 7:16 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but these people want to protect themselves from the "violent urban youths" and not the real danger they're facing, the armed racist murderers.
posted by elizardbits at 7:24 AM on August 13 [28 favorites]


Missouri voted to strike out concealed carry restrictions from the Missouri Constitution and replace it with a blurb about gun rights being "inalienable."

I wonder how this is going to stack up in court. "Unalienable*" is a keyword in law. It means that it *cannot* be restricted, removed or transferred. And yet, Missouri wants to prevent convicted felons and those "judged mentally ill" from carrying.

Except if the right to keep and bare arms is truly unalienable, those exceptions are illegal.


* I'm using the form used in the Missouri Ballot Initiative, not the form the website uses, thus, unalienable rather than inalienable. Means the same thing -- "Cannot be made alien"
posted by eriko at 7:27 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


The gun sales spike may not mean what you think it means. In times of civil disorder, it's natural to want to protect yourself, especially if you're a woman

Middle class white dude who believes this is the start of the race war that ends civilization and now is your chance to laugh at your libotard neighbors as they starve and die outside your prepper shack.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:27 AM on August 13 [20 favorites]


I've been thinking about that article posted no long ago how the rich really need to do something about income inequity, least they become targets of the revolution.

They are. They are building a highly armed force to protect them and giving that force the freedom of action to suppress the poor.
posted by eriko at 7:28 AM on August 13 [25 favorites]


In times of civil disorder, it's natural to want to protect yourself, especially if you're a woman, as one store owner says more women coming in has been driving the spike.

No, they said more women were shopping, not that it was driving the spike. And if the 2010 Census info is correct, then the area that's getting booming sales is the exact demographic opposite of Ferguson, with a huge (72%) white majority.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:29 AM on August 13 [6 favorites]


"the area that's getting booming sales is the exact demographic opposite of Ferguson, with a huge (72%) white majority"

I figured that was the subtext of the article - "white folks buying arms to protect themselves from black riots" - that would be obvious to those that live in those areas and are familiar with the demographics, but I was too disheartened to go look it up and see if the numbers supported this line of thinking. Thanks for doing that, even though it made me sad to have it confirmed.
posted by komara at 7:33 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]


In times of civil disorder, it's natural to want to protect yourself, especially if you're a woman, as one store owner says more women coming in has been driving the spike. Mob violence has a nasty habit of turning unpredictably.

Especially if the mob is armed, right?
posted by empath at 7:36 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]




They are. They are building a highly armed force to protect them and giving that force the freedom of action to suppress the poor.

This is really important.

I think it's easy to fall into a sort of Hunger-Games mentality, like "when the revolution happens" it will be really obvious and schematic, and the eeeeevil elites will be cackling away in a very obvious manner.

And I think in the US we're trained to separate race and class, as if "racism" were purely driven by misguided emotions and not by greed and the hunger for power. The cops themselves may be driven by all kinds of gross racist psychic sludge, but keeping black people down is part of keeping working people down. Black people may be at the bottom of the heap, but if the bottom of the heap gets pushed down, everyone else goes down too.

And if everyone gets used to low-intensity war against black folks, it won't take too much to get used to low-intensity war against any other poor group.

I think what we need is to fucking estrange the state of things. We live in a country where it's normal to have citizen militias patrolling the border and hurting or killing people who try to cross. We live in a country where it's normal that Native people run out of food and medicine on the reservations. We live in a country where it's normal to cut off people's water. Hell, we live in a country where it's normal to work black convicts in the fields in chains. And now we live in a country where you just shut a city down and do whatever you like to the citizens. This is our Hunger Games, it's our dystopia, and we have to be smart enough and in the moment enough to see it.

Every other world crisis and disaster - it just builds up until it seems normal. Something I didn't know - during the early stages of the Holocaust, there were actual charities allowed in to some of the ghettos to distribute food and medicine and report back to their funders. (There are photographs in the Yad Vashem archive.) That seems insane to me, but it was normal to everyone at the time, just another everyday crisis. And that's what we have now - an everyday crisis like they had in Guatemala, in Honduras, in Nicaragua during junta rule.
posted by Frowner at 7:45 AM on August 13 [74 favorites]


And I think in the US we're trained to separate race and class, as if "racism" were purely driven by misguided emotions and not by greed and the hunger for power.

Yes yes yes.

An individual person may be racist because of misguided emotions and incomplete and inaccurate information. A system is racist because racism benefits the system economically and socially, and it will do what is necessary - lie, kill, terrorize - to perpetuate its economic and social power.
posted by rtha at 7:53 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


(I don't mean that we all need to "fight the class war" and "be colorblind", to clarify...I mean that racism makes people of color, especially black people, the ones who are the most vulnerable to state and corporate violence, and that working class white people are deeply mistaken if we think we can buy our own safety with the lives and security of people of color.)
posted by Frowner at 7:54 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


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.

If the police had shown up with anything less than the force required to keep an enraged populace from burning their local policing infrastructure to the ground I imagine we would be seeing an intact shopping street. Or maybe not. Clive Bundy and company are past the point where they see government forces opposing them not as 'good guys who aren't on side with us' but as 'bad guys'. I don't know if the citizens of Ferguson are past the point of 'Where are/who are/are there any good guy cops?'

More than that, if the cops hadn't shown up with the intention to 'contain' the protest I would imagine that there wouldn't be damage anywhere. The cops escalated this.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:56 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]




Elizardbits - well, to be fair, it would seem that the way that police force is operating, the white middleclass citizens are not actually in much danger from them. Also, in seriousness, I think people of all types tend to have a really strong mental barrier against shooting even abusive cops.
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on August 13


Helpful Twitter list of outlets covering Ferguson. Looks like they are letting choppers in now?
posted by emjaybee at 8:08 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Wow, the tumblr likeatoaster posted is incredibly powerful and compelling.
posted by lalex at 8:12 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


well, to be fair, it would seem that the way that police force is operating, the white middleclass citizens are not actually in much danger from them.

They aren't in danger from peaceful, unarmed protests of that police force's killing a peaceful, unarmed young man, either.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:13 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]


An army of George Zimmermans is not an answer to any problem that people actually have.

(He's still out there, BTW, looking for a second kill.)
posted by Artw at 8:14 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Ok - caught up - I'll see what I can add. In many ways I think I'm more articulate visually, but here's how I wound up there.

I'm not a gawker at this kind of event, usually. I was there because of a meeting I had just a couple of weeks ago with a diverse group of folks. Young and old, black and white, rich and poor. The one thing we all agreed on was that there was an ugly problem with our culture that needed to be addressed. Adressed in a way where people talk face to face, honestly and respectfully. It's a problem we all share in the US, no matter how far removed we think we are.

When the tragic events of this weekend began to unfold, we realized this could be a start to the dialogue. So we were there, Sunday and Monday, talking to people, doing interviews. On both days we left mere minutes before things turned violent.

I can tell you that I'm a 56 year old white male and I was not hiding. I stuck out in that crowd like a very pale sore thumb. If someone wanted to hurt me they had ample opportunity while I was gazing through my viewfinder. I think, in many ways, this is not a race problem except in that it's a human race problem. More honesty and respect on all sides is going to be required. With any luck this could be a starting point instead of a talking point.
posted by DaddyNewt at 8:15 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


I've also been seeing this set of captioned video stills of Brown's mother going around Twitter.

"You took my son away from me. You know how hard it was for me to get him to graduate? You know how many black men graduate? Because you bring them down to this level where they feel like I don't have nothin to live for! The[y] gonna try to take me out anyway!"

(I have not seen the original video, if someone else has and could post that would be great)
posted by emjaybee at 8:16 AM on August 13 [6 favorites]


That seems insane to me, but it was normal to everyone at the time, just another everyday crisis

A constant, rolling, permanent emergency.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:17 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


The thing that worries me in all this is that it just seems to get worse and worse. Things are really broken right now. You would have thought, for instance, that after Oscar Grant was killed, the fact that there was so much evidence would have forced a serious reevaluation of policing.

I mean, I have been to many protests about police brutality and police shootings, and I've known two people who witnessed fatal police shootings. I live in a pretty liberal city. But nothing seems to change, no matter how much media there is. It feels like there's this bizarre open secret, where "everyone" knows that the cops are corrupt, racist and violent, but even though we all know and agree, nothing changes. It's like the very knowledge itself has normalized the situation and made it stable. Sometimes I feel like there's no point in even telling people anymore, because all it does is make them cynical or afraid.

I don't even know what to do anymore, actually, because there really isn't any responsiveness between the government and the citizens, and I see no way at all to stop the militarization of the police. There are so many factors pushing it - bureaucracy, tax policies, cronyism between arms dealers and city/state governments. And I surmise, since they may be fascists but they're not stupid, that if we could hear all the conversations at the right wing thinktanks and in politicians' offices, we'd hear plenty of people who are thinking that the new poverty is going to bring new crime and new riots, and they want to be prepared.

I grew up in a way where I was made to feel very deeply worthless, in every cell of my body. Like my physical self was this grotesque blight on the world and everywhere I went I was unwanted and potentially in danger. I grew up with shell shock - hypervigilance, obsessive anxiety, other stuff. I keep thinking of all these kids, and how they're getting the message that "society" doesn't think they're worth anything, that their very lives aren't worth anything, and that it's so much worse than what I went through, and what I went through was bad enough. It makes me so angry that I don't even know what to do with it, because I feel like every second someone is being destroyed - psychically if not physically - and there's no way to act fast enough, someone is getting thrown away.
posted by Frowner at 8:20 AM on August 13 [36 favorites]


(I have not seen the original video, if someone else has and could post that would be great)

52 seconds in. I can't even imagine being coherent if that was me.
posted by cashman at 8:22 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


The news is going on about violence and riots again and I wonder why they don't say armed militants are oppressing the right of the people to free peacable assembly.

It makes the violence seem like it's coming from a different side.
posted by sio42 at 8:26 AM on August 13 [9 favorites]


It makes the violence seem like it's coming from a different side.

That's the point.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:28 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


I know. :-(
posted by sio42 at 8:38 AM on August 13


cashman: “52 seconds in . I can't even imagine being coherent if that was me.”
There was more to that interview, but I'm having trouble finding it.

Also, goddamn does that shot of people being chased off the parking lot of their homes by cops with dogs make me angry. Dogs. One presumes the fire hoses were unavailable.

Honestly, I'm not sure there's anybody who wears a badge in that area who should still have a job at the end of the week.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:38 AM on August 13 [12 favorites]


Being in St. Louis, we've been obsessively watching the news and twitter and facebook. I had always assumed that most people I know were kind of racist, the sort of reflexive I was raised with terrible values but rejected them kind, but it turns out no. It's disheartening as hell.
posted by khaibit at 8:39 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


And I think in the US we're trained to separate race and class, as if "racism" were purely driven by misguided emotions and not by greed and the hunger for power. The cops themselves may be driven by all kinds of gross racist psychic sludge, but keeping black people down is part of keeping working people down. Black people may be at the bottom of the heap, but if the bottom of the heap gets pushed down, everyone else goes down too.

this. the most radical thing you could do in the US would be to give everyone full access to legal representation. if court cases for poor people were treated exactly the same as court cases for everyone else, the cops and the courts would be utterly different.

of course, that's exactly why this will never happen. "Legal Aid" was a half-start and was quickly squashed as public policy.

the problem with focusing the whole discussion around cops and racism is not that cops aren't often racist thugs or just thugs. but that it's impossible to not become a thug if you try to police the laws of civil society when that society is disintegrating. the idea that you can have "rule of law" when you live in a society which considers maybe 30% (make up your own percentage) of the people living in it to be totally worthless is just a way of saying we want thugs to keep those 30% from ever doing anything about it.

watch the workings of the US courts daily for a week, both civil and criminal, and ask yourself whether justice is possible in the courts...
posted by ennui.bz at 8:45 AM on August 13 [11 favorites]


Just as an outside observer, I'm struggling to find a downside to disbanding the entire local police force and bringing in state police.
posted by empath at 8:46 AM on August 13 [6 favorites]


I think, in many ways, this is not a race problem except in that it's a human race problem. More honesty and respect on all sides is going to be required.

Oh come the fuck on already
posted by obliterati at 8:46 AM on August 13 [47 favorites]


The only response I can muster to someone who asserts that this isn't a race problem is laughter. Perhaps someone with more patience than I can explain this basic idea.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:48 AM on August 13 [11 favorites]


[looks at a town populated mostly by black people but run by white people, where a mostly white police force has just killed a black kid and has neither given a credible explanation nor identified the guy who actually killed him] no race problem here, folks. everyone involved has to talk honestly
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:52 AM on August 13 [29 favorites]


It's a race problem and a class problem and a power problem and a media portrayal problem and on and on. That intersectionality doesn't mean it's not a race problem, or that focusing on race is a wrong tack to take, because to me race is still primary here. It's not like Henry Louis Gates was insulated from the police by his wealth, his access to power, or his ability to get media attention.

I hope this doesn't sound patronizing, but the creativity of the current high school and college-age generation in using social media for provocative and mind-blowing social justice ends makes me so proud.
posted by sallybrown at 8:53 AM on August 13 [13 favorites]


Consider the number of black men and teenagers who have been killed because cops claimed that they looked like they might be reaching for or holding a gun. Not because they were doing so in a violent situation, just because gun. Then remember when some morons walked into a Chipotle carrying military-grade automatic rifles and were treated as nuisance kooks to be talked away and not murdered on sight, and guess what color they were.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:55 AM on August 13 [49 favorites]


Focusing on race is the EXACT thing we should be doing. Why do we refuse to value Black Americans?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:56 AM on August 13 [24 favorites]


"I don’t care if Mike Brown was going to college soon. This should not matter. We should not have to prove Mike Brown was worthy of living. We should not have to account for the ways in which he is suitably respectable. We should not have to prove that his body did not deserve to be riddled with bullets. His community should not have to silence their anger so they won’t be accused of rioting, so they won’t become targets too."
posted by rtha at 8:57 AM on August 13 [86 favorites]


there really isn't any responsiveness between the government and the citizens

I live in Oakland, and yeah. There are many issues here.

1. Politicians may start as members of the community, but when they get elected, they have a vested interest in staying in office, and that means playing nice with the institutions in place, including the police union and prosecutors' offices. It's hard to overestimate how incredibly powerful the police union is, although I'm damned if I know exactly why. I do know that attempts to punish/fire cops for bad behavior, in really egregious circumstances, are contested by the union in court and usually the union wins. Which makes it that much harder for the politicians & civilian administrators to manage cops and implement better policies. (OPD cops put tape over their nametags during their "response" to Occupy and the Oscar Grant protests, in violation of city rules; none of them was punished for that, IIRC.)

The current mayor of Oakland, before she was elected mayor, went into the street during protests and put her body between the cops and the protestors; now, she lets OPD call the shots and the result is even more unchecked police brutality.

[I leave it as an exercise for the reader to look at Obama's position regarding the use of violence in service of the state, before and after getting elected.]

2. Cops are generally not members of the community. We like the idea of the beat cop who lives locally and knows everyone, but in most cities that's not the truth. Cities try to hire locally, but as noted upthread there can be problems with that. For one thing, few cops want to live in the community they're policing: it's too risky, in their view. What if they bump into a guy they hassled in line at the grocery store, or worse, on the street when they're out of uniform?

For another, as noted upthread, a lot of young men in the community don't meet the qualifications, for reasons associated with chronic poverty, underfunded educational systems, and imbalanced law enforcement focused on drugs and crime in the black community. So many black men have arrests in their history that they have a much smaller chance, proportionally, of getting hired.

So what you end up with is a police force that, if not mostly white, is mostly not local. Is mostly not from the community, is not poor, is over-armed, and is trained to see the poor and POC community as the enemy.

Of course the result is tragedy.
posted by suelac at 9:02 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]


The thing that worries me in all this is that it just seems to get worse and worse.

Not for nothing, but it only seems like it is getting worse because these things get reported far more often now. It used to be that an unarmed black guy shot by police was barely even a headline, and only made headlines if there was something really unusual about it - Rodney King for example was remarkable because there was video. I recall a police shooting in NYC 20 years ago or so that was remarkable because the cops reloaded and shot the victim some more.

But, look, 20 years ago, Zimmerman wouldn't have stood trial. Renisha's killer would've walked instead of being convicted of murder.

Progress is unfortunately a lurching, lumbering thing. Things improve, but only incrementally, and not everywhere at once. And sometimes people still do remarkably backwards and stupid things - like the death of James Byrd, Jr.

If you buy into this narrative that all things are getting worse, and will end in violence - you're really saying that the Conservatives and Racists are right and you should spend your time researching MREs and digging a moat.

There won't be enough justice or fast enough in this case. There never is. And the history of man is an image of the best among us dragging the rest, kicking and screaming, into the future.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:05 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]


A friend of mine wrote a thing about how the killing of Michael Brown, like all similar abuses of power directed at young black men, puts her in state of constant anxiety about her brother's safety.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:13 AM on August 13 [4 favorites]


And I think in the US we're trained to separate race and class, as if "racism" were purely driven by misguided emotions and not by greed and the hunger for power. The cops themselves may be driven by all kinds of gross racist psychic sludge, but keeping black people down is part of keeping working people down. Black people may be at the bottom of the heap, but if the bottom of the heap gets pushed down, everyone else goes down too.

That's the point my husband was making yesterday, Frowner: Ferguson and Florissant largely comprise working-class, lower-middle-class people, trying to get by and save up enough to have something. The area boomed in the late 1960s and 1970s, when large auto and aerospace manufacturers hired people to work on their production lines.

I can't find the link right now, but there was a University of Missouri–St. Louis professor who did a Q&A in the last couple of days to the effect that St. Louis' unique history as a divided city in a slave state that stayed in the Union is part of the background to what happened in Ferguson, and that this could have happened anywhere in St. Louis. I know the city's overall legacy is part of it, but it seems that there are some more recent historical factors unique to Ferguson that made this sort of conflict more likely there. The New York Times story on the historical underpinnings of this tragedy backs me up on this.

The Times story explains that Ferguson was one of the inner-ring suburbs where blacks moved starting in the 1970s because it was an older suburb that'd been built before restrictive zoning made it hard to build apartments. People also moved there because at that time, you could get a job in industry near there—you could work at the Ford plant in Hazelwood or for McDonnell Douglas (later Boeing) in Berkeley. You could be a union machinist and make a decent wage. When my dad went to McCluer High School, the school had classes in shifts, because there were so many middle-class baby boomers there. Those baby boomers, black and white alike, many Vietnam War veterans, are the parents of the current generation of youth you're seeing in Ferguson, who came of age in an era in which unions declined, these huge auto plants in St. Louis closed, and news of radioactive environmental contamination (from government-funded industry) and white flight led property values (and subsequently, school funding) to decline. In North County, the class and race issues are intertwined, but class is definitely a factor that helps bring the race issues to a boil.

You get a bunch of working-class people in one place, all scrabbling for resources and influence, and you disproportionately put people of one color in positions of power over people of another color. You contaminate the environment through dumping and leaching into the creek and other property that rings the area, but don't tell anyone about it right away. Wait a few decades, and see how that turns out. People have been mentioning Philip Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment, and a North County friend on Facebook yesterday posted a link to one of the videos from Jane Elliott's famous blue eyes/brown eyes experiment. When I was in middle school in North County, we did the latter experiment for a week or so. It was eye-opening. It's amazing how quickly things break down when one race is privileged over another, especially when resources and jobs are increasingly scarce (which does other things to your brain). Add to that your parents' friends and your older brothers and sisters starting to get cancer at disproportionate rates (which officials repeatedly deny), likely from contamination in areas you and your friends played in as a kid, and see how you feel.

It seems like a lot of people in North County are getting screwed these days, but our black friends and neighbors are bearing a lot of the brunt of things. It's not right.
posted by limeonaire at 9:14 AM on August 13 [16 favorites]


Thank you, sallybrown. You said it much better than me. I'm not saying race is not involved here, but the vast majority of young black men are killed by other young black men not white cops. It's a cultural problem that is very complex. To paraphrase Rebecca Costa in her book "The Watchman's Rattle", "When faced with a highly complex problem, don't attempt to solve it with THE ANSWER. Try to think of one thing you can do to make it better". Just for the record, I was not being paid to be there. It was the only way I felt I could help. I certainly am not trying to elicit laughter, but I do think opening a dialogue is more productive than handwringing or violence.
posted by DaddyNewt at 9:15 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


but the vast majority of young black men are killed by other young black men not white cops. It's a cultural problem that is very complex.

How is this relevant? The topic isn't the deaths of young black men. The topic is the murder of young black men by the state.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:21 AM on August 13 [29 favorites]


I'm not saying race is not involved here, but the vast majority of young black men are killed by other young black men not white cops.

Black-on-black violence is a red herring, especially when the basic problem here in this thread is the racist law enforcement and enforcers in Ferguson and, tangentially, elsewhere.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:22 AM on August 13 [18 favorites]




I'm not saying race is not involved here, but the vast majority of young black men are killed by other young black men not white cops.

And most white people are murdered by other white people, yet there's this perception among certain groups (i.e. racist shitbags) that as white people we're all in very grave danger of being murdered by a black person. Then a black person gets murdered by a cop, and everyone starts talking about black-on-black crime instead of talking about how shitty our cops are. Can we not do that here, please?
posted by palomar at 9:23 AM on August 13 [41 favorites]


Is that statement seriously saying to not gather after dark? Wtf?

I hope people do so, do so peacefully. And I hope nothing bad comes from it. Just pictures of candles and hugs and a community coming together.

Because that is the least scary thing to happen in the dark after what we've seen just happen in broad daylight.
posted by sio42 at 9:27 AM on August 13


Nothing gets white folks talking about black-on-black crime like white-on-black crime.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:27 AM on August 13 [72 favorites]


New statement from the Ferguson Police.

Assemble only in daylight hours, in an organized and respectful manner.

Well now.
posted by rtha at 9:28 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


New statement from the Ferguson Police.

Text:
"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."
posted by cashman at 9:28 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Well. They're basically calling for a curfew. Wtf?
posted by supermassive at 9:29 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Christ. Every cop nation wide needs to be wearing a camera at all times.

If that happened, I'd open a repair business to fix all the cameras that would keep mysteriously malfunctioning and to replace all the storage devices that would keep mysteriously losing recordings.


No doubt; that's already an issue. Balko wrote about it and links to Greenfield's piece which quotes him talking about what he thinks is the right way to deal with it happening. I don't know that we as a society have the will to do it (whining about police unions is a MacGuffin; nobody has to sign a union contract agreeing to things, they just have to muster the will to draw the lines and deal with the negotiation) but it's not hard to draw a line in the sand and say there's no excuses.
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.
I don't know how that works out in criminal cases; at the least I suppose you could somehow codify that the fact that there should have been a recording will be allowed to be mentioned to the jury. From an employment standpoint it should simply be no less enforceable than a requirement that they keep their firearm in proper working order or write their incident reports.

Anyone with good tips on immediately storing a phone's video online?

On the iPhone side the only one I know of for sure is Bambuser. Personally I just have a program called ClearRecord on my home screen that is set to auto-start audio recording when I open it and i have verified that it keeps recording when I lock the screen. It uploads to Dropbox but I feel like wanting to insure above and beyond that there's off-site is a secondary goal.

For resources about this sort of thing Flex Your Rights has some good information and they have covered the right to record. If you want to keep an eye on issues of police over-reach you can do worse than to watch CopBlock and their local organizations.

They're sometimes often a problematic organization; they tend towards libertarian/anarchist/open-carry douchebaggery and are mostly white dudes, but to some extent that's unsurprising - that means they're more likely to get tolerated or just arrested rather than shot or beat down. Sometimes the patronizing towards people of color on videos is a little tooth-grindy but they seem to me like people who are just patronizing to everyone who isn't one of their anti-authority brigade. Regardless, it's worth watching the stuff they put up to see just how awful cops can be - even when they know they are being recorded - to people who exercise even their most basic rights to be left alone and refuse to answer questions.
posted by phearlez at 9:29 AM on August 13


I'm not saying race is not involved here, but the vast majority of young black men are killed by other young black men not white cops.

Michael Brown was murdered with a gun paid for with tax dollars by an employee of the government whose salary is paid from tax dollars. His murder is one of a string of such racially-motivated murders by governmental employees whose salaries are paid from tax dollars. That is fucking sickening and don't change the subject.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:30 AM on August 13 [67 favorites]


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.

During daylight only, but also not during daylight if it's getting late? No room for confusion there!
posted by cjelli at 9:32 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


9:45 am to 9:47 am only, unless it's getting cloudy.
posted by rtha at 9:33 AM on August 13 [12 favorites]


...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.
- David Simon after Trayvon Martin was killed. This shit must stop.
posted by AceRock at 9:34 AM on August 13 [6 favorites]


So can we just dissolve all of the, say, sub-state level polities yet? I mean the feds have issues but I have basically never heard of a county or municipality being other than institutionally awful
posted by PMdixon at 9:35 AM on August 13


Ferguson Police are also refusing to name the officer who killed Michael Brown.
posted by palomar at 9:36 AM on August 13


No . Really. How is that not a curfew?
posted by sio42 at 9:37 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


but the vast majority of young black men are killed by other young black men not white cops. It's a cultural problem that is very complex.

So what? Those other young black men don't work for the state. Those other young black men are not issued badges, uniforms, vehicles, weapons, and arrest powers. Those other young black men are not paid by tax dollars. Those other young black men are not representing me, a citizen, in their actions. Those other young black men ARE NOT THE POINT and their actions have nothing to do with what is done by government actors under color of authority.

People in a position of authority - authority they do not have naturally, but which is invested in them by the social contract - have an obligation above and beyond that of average citizens. They are beholden to each and every one of us in a way another random citizen is not. That some other schomoe may be doing something too, or more often, will never be enough to make it okay for the cops (or army or politicians or...) to do it.
posted by phearlez at 9:38 AM on August 13 [26 favorites]


Ferguson Police have done the exact wrong thing at every step of this whole mess and should be disbanded immediately. The idea that the same people who are protecting the name of a murderer and pointing assault weapons at peaceful protesters are somehow at the same time promoting the safety of the community is a complete outrage.
posted by mike_bling at 9:40 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


No . Really. How is that not a curfew?

It is, and the justification is Fuck You.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:40 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]


No . Really. How is that not a curfew?

A curfew is official. A curfew has explicit penalties and ways to handle violators. A curfew must be legally justified and executed and has exemptions. A curfew is not a veiled comment that maybe things won't work out as well for you if you're out after this time, buddy.

tl;dr: Nice intact skin you got there. Be a shame if something happened to it.
posted by phearlez at 9:42 AM on August 13 [31 favorites]


How is that not a curfew?

I imagine because (1) they don't specify an actual time, (2) they're only 'asking' -- there's no stated penalty or fine, and (3) the statement as given only applies to 'groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest' not individuals.

Practically, this is is actually worse than a curfew, because violations are solely at the discretion of the police: they're implying that maybe you should think twice before you go outside tonight. Or maybe this afternoon. Or maybe you should just generally stay indoors; that's probably safer, right?
posted by cjelli at 9:45 AM on August 13 [20 favorites]


They're just establishing that Ferguson is to be a sundown town.
posted by borkencode at 9:46 AM on August 13 [24 favorites]


"The City of Ferguson would like to tell you that it is very very very sad about whatever it was that made you mad, we forget the details (and you should too) but the point is everything is FINE now with us, how are you? Everything would be fine with you too if you would just go home, and by "if" we mean "we're not asking" okay so ... great? Great! Thanks!"
posted by komara at 9:48 AM on August 13 [16 favorites]


I am scared for Ferguson.
posted by sio42 at 9:48 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Ferguson Police are also refusing to name the officer who killed Michael Brown.

Gawker Media is asking anyone with information on the killer's identity to send it to them and they will verify and publish (if they can).
posted by sallybrown at 9:49 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


We are working to restore confidence in the safety of our community and our neighborhoods so that we may begin the healing process.
This sounds like "If anyone has ideas how to restore confidence in our community, please let us know. Oh, I mean, except for the ideas "Interview the eye-witness" and "Name the officer who murdered Michael Brown, suspend him without pay, and arrest him for murder". Like, would a popcorn party be helpful to the healing process? We're working on that issue presently."
posted by 23skidoo at 9:50 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Practically, this is is actually worse than a curfew, because violations are solely at the discretion of the police

Exactly, but it's not really meant for those people anyway. They already know that being out where the cops are is dangerous. It gets you herded, gassed, shot with rubber and wood projectiles. Nobody who is theoretically the intended recipient of that message lacks the knowledge that being out there is risky.

That statement is for everyone else watching. It's an inoculation against culpability when shit does happen. We told them how they could best be safe; if they got hurt anyways it's because they didn't listen,
posted by phearlez at 9:50 AM on August 13 [17 favorites]


Meanwhile, in other parts of St. Louis County, BlueJae just told me this over Facebook:
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.
This whole thing is heartbreaking to watch, half a country away from home.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:52 AM on August 13 [24 favorites]


wow. Metafilter on the front lines! This shit is crazy.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:54 AM on August 13


Wow, that's gotta be the first ever Martial Law Apology. "We're ready to begin the healing process, and respectfully ask of those mourning or protesting: Don't let the sun set on you in Ferguson."
posted by forgetful snow at 9:55 AM on August 13 [15 favorites]


sio42: “No . Really. How is that not a curfew?”
Because they're not saying people aren't allowed to assemble after dark, just that if people do they're going to tear gas them and perhaps shoot some rubber bullets. They're daring people to come out after dark. They're going to continue to overreact and shoot tear gas at people until the people meekly submit.

The governor should step in immediately. If he doesn't, the president should. The area needs professional police immediately. FBI, Marshals, whoever will volunteer should be put in charge of police power in the area immediately. The idiots in charge in Ferguson seem bound and determined to not let this go until a cop winds up dead so they can really take the gloves off.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:59 AM on August 13 [29 favorites]


The governor should step in immediately. If he doesn't, the president should.

The fact that this has not already been done is another crime perpetrated against the people of Ferguson.
posted by winna at 10:06 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


There's no way to justify your riot-gear expenditures without having a riot, you know.
posted by empath at 10:06 AM on August 13 [8 favorites]


The Derp and the Horror
posted by empath at 10:09 AM on August 13


So if I've got this right, an officer executed a completely compliant and non-resisting kid in front of a bunch of witnesses for a crime that is laughably implausible at best, confiscated any cameras nearby to help conceal his actions. Some of the witnesses have been bullied, and others were not questioned for days, despite their immediate vicinity to the entirety of the events.

Hearing all this, the town starts a peaceful protest (which is, of course, marred by a very small element of people who used it as a brief opportunity to loot), and these peaceful protesters are then met with what is, for all intents and purposes, a military level response.

How many more times are we going to allow this to happen.

If I had my way, none. I don't want to be the firebrand that advocates violence, but we are sixty years into civil rights for blacks, and they are still gunned down, beaten, harassed, or questioned significantly more than any other Americans. They occupy a huge majority of our already ridiculous prison population, and are and have been clearly the victims of an ongoing systemic campaign to keep them seconds class citizens.

Peaceful demonstrations have proved ineffective as the police are more than willing to step in and turn them into tinderboxes that lead to riots, and while civil rights for the black community has unquestionably improved over the last half-century, the imbalance is still far too great against them.

This might be one of those times when the only answer is violence (or some analog thereof. Maybe not violence against officers, but police property, or anything that takes money from their budgets. Less money, impacts an entire department negatively, and if you took enough from them, it would make it very difficult for them to operate, or at the very least, operate with the spare time to test their impunity from prosecution. - In my dreams, the officers are completely unharmed, while they get to watch all their tactical toys burn in the back seats of their squad cars.)

I know that there are good cops, but as long as they are silent on what they know is happening in their precincts, they are as culpable as the rest.

After violent guerilla action, it's amazing how quickly aggressors will attempt to embrace anyone who is willing to negotiate peacefully.

This entire country has become a police state; we live at their convenience. This was never how it was supposed to be, and it has been used far too many times as a cudgel against whatever race they feel needs putting back in place.

Shorter: We need to fight back, and we need to fight back in a way that hasn't been tried before, because everything that's been tried before has eventually failed.
posted by quin at 10:13 AM on August 13 [10 favorites]


As I noted on Twitter, the Ferguson police really need to lay down specific guidelines for when people can protest. They're allowed to do that under the First Amendment, and vagueness = entrapment.
posted by limeonaire at 10:20 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


This might be one of those times when the only answer is violence (or some analog thereof.)

I think it's forcing the 'authorities' to draw a line in the sand and then crossing that line. "Approved" marches won't do it, but occupation will. Where are the occupy people right now? Seems like an ideal place for them to actually accomplish something.
posted by empath at 10:21 AM on August 13 [5 favorites]


There's no way to justify your riot-gear expenditures without having a riot, you know.

Bingo.
posted by scody at 10:23 AM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Hearing all this, the town starts a peaceful protest (which is, of course, marred by a very small element of people who used it as a brief opportunity to loot), and these peaceful protesters are then met with what is, for all intents and purposes, a military level response.

Yes, and then there was some looting on Sunday night. All of the sudden the narrative shifted to black people are rioting. Then on Monday night they were shooting teargas at people in their yards and threatening to arrest journalists. So that's where we are.
posted by khaibit at 10:24 AM on August 13 [1 favorite]


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.)
Don't forget that civil rights movements have specifically targeted the legal system, often with effective results. Schools are integrated today because the law was changed, and upheld by courts and law enforcement officials, and because subsequent legal battles were won in favor of integration, not because some holistic "systemic" change happened.
posted by deathpanels at 10:30 AM on August 13




This is all so horrible.
Fortunately, we have the Trayvon Martin experience under our belt.
(meaning, one heartbreak can allow you to react to the next heartbreak differently)
Unfortunately, as a Missourian, I physically live south of Ferguson's latitude, and I so desperately want to live north of it.
(So far North, my address is Canadian)
posted by QueerAngel28 at 10:50 AM on August 13


Fox’s Todd Starnes does not care for Obama being nice to the parents of dead black kids

Why does he even bother meeting wingnuts halfway with rhetoric like this?
posted by tonycpsu at 11:06 AM on August 13 [6 favorites]






Actually violence never does much to achieve specific social ends, quin, usually it just tears down the status quo only to be replaced by something similar or worse. We achieve progress through peaceful movements with a clear constructive goal that posses an unattributable but credible threat of violence in the background. Examples :

(1) Of course, the Civil Right's movement was all nice and Christian while being visibly bitterly antagonistic to the Black Panthers, Nation of Islam, etc. And more importantly civil rights leaders wanted left-wing economic reforms too, but never actually favored communism. LBJ backed them partially because the CIA did. America could've otherwise wound up with an arm of communist black nationalists working with the USSR.

(2) We've little progress on the Israel vs Palestinian conflict partially because Americans and Israeli have always perceived the Palestinian's threat of violence as credible and attributable, neither of which is really true.

(3) India had shear numbers behind their independence movement, which always carries a credible threat of violence, but the movement itself was profoundly peaceful.

Ain't so clear how achieves a civil rights movement without communism in the background. Just one idea : I could imagine an anarchist/hacker/maker scouts type program for poor youth in America. It'd teach survival skills for both cities and rural areas, but mostly it'd focus on technical skills like electronics, machining, chemistry, and computer skills including encryption, hacking, programming, etc. It might teach a little about maintaining guns and shooting guns over very long ranges, while discouraging interest in handguns. It'd teach an lightly anarchist view of history and political philosophy that agnostic to the classical economic debate between capitalism vs socialism, so authors like Howard Zinn. In short, it'd produce kids who were better able to understand and articulate their community's current situation and better able to handle relevant information technology that's most likely to improve it. And if the situation ever gets so bad that such kids felt the need to commit violence then they'd be most likely to do so via chemistry, homemade drones, or a sniper rifle. Zero plans to commit violence, but increased effectiveness whatever the course.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:07 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Apologies if this was linked earlier, but I found this photo to be among the most compelling I've seen so far coming out of Ferguson (via):
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.)
posted by tonycpsu at 12:12 PM on August 13 [33 favorites]


Oh wow, I hadn't seen that one. I'm so proud to say she was my wedding photographer.
posted by limeonaire at 12:19 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


[note: I am not advocating that the following is the correct thing to do, merely questioning why it hasn't happened]

Anonymous said, in their statement, "Attacking the protesters will result in the release of personal information on every single member of the Ferguson police department [...] [We] will seize all your databases and email spools and dump them on the Internet."

If it's true that they have this kind of access, or have already stolen this information, then I'm frankly surprised that they haven't found and released the name of the officer responsible for the shooting. The fact that they haven't makes me question the validity of their threat - not that the PD would confirm it by saying, "Yep, you got us - it was Jim Whassisname" if Anonymous were to leak it.
posted by komara at 12:20 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Organizations have learned not to put anything on email that can be hacked and/or subpoenaed. If the name ever comes out illicitly, I'll bet that it'll come from someone's personal email/text rather than an official account.
posted by Etrigan at 12:22 PM on August 13


I made the mistake of reading the comments for the "police fire tear gas into someone's backyard" story. 40% of it is people going "look, if they'd just obeyed the cops' orders to go inside, then they wouldn't have gotten gassed" or even "you can't riot one minute and claim civil rights the next."

The first statement, while literally true, could only be stated with a straight face by someone who's never been mad at police about anything, or thinks that it's always against the law not to do what a policeman says. The second statement appears to assume that the people in the backyard were either literally the same as the people who burned down the gas station… or just deserve to be treated as members of the same group as the rioters for reasons that are vaguely hinted at through the use of phrases such as "these people" but do not — do not, and how dare you even imply it — have anything to do with skin color.

Facebook-powered comment sections are interesting because I can read these comments and plainly see that they're all being typed by white people. It still astounds me that some people are willing to go through such mental contortions just so they can avoid the cognitive dissonance of having agreed with a black person about anything.
posted by savetheclocktower at 12:32 PM on August 13 [29 favorites]


Yeah, that info that the doxxers have been posting about officers and public officials has been frustrating. I looked at some of the Pastebins so far, and yeah, I was able to find the same info in the (public, open-access) county real-estate database, but I couldn't tell for sure where some of these people lived—one house with an address posted is owned by a trust that an official is one co-trustee of, for instance, which means there's no way to know for sure who lives there. And I would guess, too, that local officers and public officials are aware that the info in the county real-estate and property-tax databases is public, and that many fill out the form to keep their info private every year—or have filled it out in the last few days. (By the way, though, that does speak to your thought, komara—all I've seen posted so far is publicly available info, or info that was previously publicly available before sites or individual pages were taken down.)

I use those county databases all the time in my work, including for fact-checking, and even if posting an official's home address was ever justified, which is definitely an open question in media circles, I wouldn't publish or otherwise rely on information where it was that unclear what was correct.
posted by limeonaire at 12:38 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


I made the mistake of reading the comments for the "police fire tear gas into someone's backyard" story. 40% of it is people going "look, if they'd just obeyed the cops' orders to go inside, then they wouldn't have gotten gassed" or even "you can't riot one minute and claim civil rights the next."

Am I crazy, or do I correctly remember that there were people up in arms about Boston putting a community on lockdown while they were looking for the second Boston Marathon bomber? I seem to remember a lot of "you can't order people to stay inside, they have shit they need to go and do" types of comments for those articles (out in the world, not here).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


From the police statement: "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. "

That is 100% true. Unfortunately it's the same people who are making the statement that are turning things violent.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:47 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Anonymous posted what they claim is portions of audio of the police dispatch for August 9th. [YouTube - 1:50:56]
posted by cashman at 12:48 PM on August 13


i'm excited for someone to listen to that audio and tell me what is good in it
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:51 PM on August 13


St Louis MeFites. Come meet me at 6PM tonight (Wednesday) at O'Fallon Park [map]. Where a free concert is being put on, celebrating the life of Mike Brown. (as per Antonio French's tweet.)

Biking up from the South Side, if anyone wants to come with.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 12:52 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


8 minutes in (purportedly beginning at 11:05), it's all just standard things you'd hear - random calls and your standard stuff. Nothing notable as of yet. They probably posted more than needed, for context.
posted by cashman at 12:53 PM on August 13


Am I crazy, or do I correctly remember that there were people up in arms about Boston putting a community on lockdown while they were looking for the second Boston Marathon bomber?

Nope, that did happen. It happened in the thread here, too.
posted by rtha at 12:54 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Oh, and... this has been on my mind for the past three days:
"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"
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 12:56 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


This whole affair has my blood boiling. I was shocked to see not a single post on Facebook about it from my friends, so I posted it. The number of people that responded complaining of "rioting" and looting is so immeasurably disappointing. Or advising for "calm" until the "whole story" comes out. The number of people I have lost respect for today is amazing.

But beyond that, what hurt the most is that no one was talking about it, period. It just wasn't on most peoples' radars. I mean seriously? This is something big and ugly and no one is noticing. Those that have seem to think it's a bunch of looters. Everything gleaned from the mainstream media seems to suggest that this is some angry black people doing what those silly angry blacks do.

Interestingly, UK folks seem to recognize how fucked up this is. I guess that shouldn't be too surprising. We've screwed the pooch on this one big time.

Fuck this. Fuck everything. Fuck Fuck Fuck.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:56 PM on August 13 [21 favorites]


It starts about 12 minutes in.
posted by maggieb at 12:56 PM on August 13


It is audio from the St. Louis Dispatch. Not Ferguson. About 12 minutes in, they learn of the officer-involved shooting, from the news.
posted by cashman at 12:57 PM on August 13


"I Do Not Give A Fuck About Your Anti-Black Opinions…At All"
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.
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:57 PM on August 13 [13 favorites]


Ferguson police currently holding a news conference. Sounds like it has already gone to questions.
posted by cashman at 1:05 PM on August 13


Oh wow, now here's an interesting thing. I just did a search in the real-estate database, right? I was double-checking that what I said above was correct, after seeing yet another person repost the address info I just mentioned. Well, here's what I found: If you search for the person by name, they no longer come up in the database. But if you search by address, it's still in there. That's definitely interesting; I didn't realize that was how opting out of the database's search function works, but I checked the opt-out form, and yeah, it's for name only.

It makes sense, of course, that the person would have opted out, given what's happening—I wonder how many other officials are getting their info removed as we speak, and whether any missives have gone out to local officers and officials recommending that they do so, or whether it's just a personal-initiative thing on the part of some, or whether the county is taking care of this for them due to some directive. It's fascinating stuff for open-records geeks.
posted by limeonaire at 1:06 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


The policeman who is speaking (the chief?) just said "The incident was not caught on camera". Pretty sure he was referring to the Brown shooting. (Right now he's talking about last night's shooting).
posted by cashman at 1:07 PM on August 13


Yes, just confirmed that the police say they have no video of the shooting. They have video from right after the shooting. He said that people called in to say they had video, but the police do not have any video of the shooting.
posted by cashman at 1:10 PM on August 13


The state senator BlueJae referred to above seems to be at the news conference. She asked the chief "Will I be gassed again?" "I'm the state senator and we were blocked in". The chief said "I know, I know". She repeated - "We were just peacefully protesting and I was gassed. Will I be gassed again?" Chief: "I hope not".

The chief guesses it will take two weeks to finish the investigation. Says there are a lot of witnesses coming forward. He said the entire investigation was turned over to the County before he arrived on the scene.
posted by cashman at 1:16 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Looks like it just wrapped up.
posted by cashman at 1:23 PM on August 13


Also from reddit, which has had a shocking amount of info and media posted about all this, is one of the most iconic photos of a protest i've ever seen, of a guy throwing a tear gas canister back at the cops.

That's big print, front page of the paper(or well, it's 2014, the "papers" website) material right there. And i'm sure it's exactly the kind of imagine they were hoping to avoid.
posted by emptythought at 1:35 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


jeffburdges : We achieve progress through peaceful movements with a clear constructive goal that posses an unattributable but credible threat of violence in the background.

Thank you, I think that's what I was trying to go for but unable to articulate. That there needs to be a credible threat of violence being the premise of the rest of my comment, because as of right now, the police don't really view the black community as a threat (except in cases of the LA Riots, I guess), but I believe that there won't be any traction for change until the systemic enablers realize that continued action in this direction might lead to more than it asked for.

The "Unattributable" is an interesting caveat, and one that I think would be absolutely needed for any kind of action on the part of the black community, because the moment it can be pinned on a couple of agitators, it will, and that will - from a media perspective, mark the end of it.

You ever reach that point where you are so frustrated that you can't even put together coherent arguments, even though you can clearly hear them in your head? That's me right now. I'm glad Metafilter is here to provide a more even and measured tone that what am obviously capable of at the moment.
posted by quin at 1:37 PM on August 13


one of the most iconic photos of a protest i've ever seen

Is that a bag of potato chips in his other hand?
posted by rifflesby at 1:38 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


Yeah, some photojournalist is going to win a Pulitzer over this. That one, or the picture of six cops pointing rifles at one unarmed guy next to a mailbox that someone tagged "Fuck The Police".
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:38 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]




Is that a bag of potato chips in his other hand?

The best protesters can multitask, and it takes a lot of calories. Ask Egypt.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:41 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Another dramatic photo from the last few days.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:41 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Is that a bag of potato chips in his other hand?

You mean recording device. Is there video of the same scene? We could analyze the bag of chips to see what bad things the cops were yelling.
posted by shortfuse at 1:42 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


But beyond that, what hurt the most is that no one was talking about it, period. It just wasn't on most peoples' radars.

I bet they all had something to say about Robin Williams though, if your feed is similar to mine.

There are a few people talking about Ferguson on my list. One of them is a former area resident who is absolutely outraged at the injustice and how the police have handled everything. I've agreed with everything she's said.

Another only expresses how upsetting the property destruction and vandalism is, multiple times -- with no mention of the murder of an unarmed young man, nor the militarization of the police and the horrid way they have been treating peaceful protesters, nor the systematic failure of Ferguson's city government or law enforcement to represent or serve its people.

Another has only talked about how the Galleria is no good anymore ever since MetroLink brought "those people" to that part of town.

Another two only seem interested in white peoples' right to bear arms.

I feel a friends list purge coming on.
posted by Foosnark at 1:43 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Just posting a quick confirmation that the comments Elementary Penguin shared above about the shopping mall barricades and evacuation were indeed mine. Thanks, friend! *waves*
posted by BlueJae at 1:47 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


I promise to visit if they wall North County in like Escape From New York.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:48 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


But beyond that, what hurt the most is that no one was talking about it, period. It just wasn't on most peoples' radars.

I'm not talking about Ferguson and Michael Brown on Facebook because Facebook isn't for talking about stuff like that, for me. I have no interest in debates with any remaining shitty racist friends might be lingering on my friends-list, and anything I have to say or links I have to share have already been seen by my actual friends.

Which is not to say that I don't care - I've had long private conversations with friends about it, and I'm attending the National Moment of Silence for victims of police brutality here in Chicago tomorrow night. I might post about that event afterwards, if it feels right.

I just hope no one takes my "choosing to remain silent on Facebook" as not caring. It's actually because I care a lot.
posted by misskaz at 1:52 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


Is that a bag of potato chips in his other hand?

Yep.

I mean there's probably a photo somewhere of me walking around with a bag of chips at the John t Williams protest in seattle. Lots of walking at protests man, you burn cals.
posted by emptythought at 1:53 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]




"I was shocked to see not a single post on Facebook about it from my friends, so I posted it. The number of people that responded complaining of "rioting" and looting is so immeasurably disappointing. ... But beyond that, what hurt the most is that no one was talking about it, period."

FWIW, the first part of your comment is basically why I haven't posted about it on facebook. I already know my friend-friends agree with me, and I really don't want to find out which of my kindergarten classmates are fucking dumbasses -- especially at the expense of friends who are personally affected by this in St. Louis or family members whose skin is not the same color as mine who don't need to see racist fucks being fuckheads in their cousin's usually-babies-and-gardening facebook feed.

I know the importance of using social media to normalize ideas in your peer group (that is, if I post about how terrible the events in Ferguson are, my social peers will go, "Oh, hey, that seems to be the right opinion to have") but I am really, really careful in how and when I do that. I wait until I can post a link to something interesting, clear, and so reasonable that anyone who disagrees with it is an OBVIOUS dumbass and does not need refuting. (For example I have extremely strong feelings on the unaccompanied minor refugees at the border, but waited and waited to post to Facebook about it until I had a story to link to that was SOLELY about the health and welfare of the children involved, so that anyone who disagreed with it was basically saying "eh, screw kids" instead of "here are my ignorant polemics about foreigners and immigrants.") Also by posting very rarely about politics, it means a lot more of my right-leaning friends see my political posts, because they haven't hid me from their feed for posting political links all the time.

Anyway I come here to get my liberal rage-on. Or talk to my meat-space friends in more private settings where I know lunatics won't intrude.

But yeah, I think about some of my cousins who are still teenagers, and who are not white, and I am really really careful about my framing on this sort of thing, because while it's really unpleasant for ANYONE to be subjected to racist vitriol, I feel like I have a special responsibility in that we have an affectionate family relationship and I am older to try to prevent that sort of thing from coming into my "living room" on facebook where usually I'm just telling them how adorable their prom pictures are. I don't want them to be scrolling through my facebook feed when we all suddenly discover some kid I knew when I was five was a submarine racist all this time and, surprise! decided to "come out" about it at this moment. It's gross and unpleasant for me, but I worry about it actually hurting people close to me.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:08 PM on August 13 [18 favorites]


one of the most iconic photos of a protest i've ever seen

I love the American flag shirt. Nice touch.
posted by LizBoBiz at 2:11 PM on August 13 [11 favorites]


> "I promise to visit if they wall North County in like Escape From New York."
Oddly enough. "Escape From New York" was actually (largely) filmed in St Louis. [ IMDb location list ].

1981 St Louis had "abandoned, post-apocalyptic" vibe locked down. Several location scouts of that era took notice.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 2:12 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Today in captions that should not ever need be written: "A child shields her mouth from tear gas fired by police on Monday night"
posted by PMdixon at 2:17 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


Another dramatic photo from the last few days.

I'm struck by the two men closest to the camera. The civilian appears to be looking right in the cop's eyes, while the cop refuses to meet his gaze, his eyes averted and looking over the civilian's shoulder.
posted by Lexica at 2:20 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Today in captions that should not ever need be written

Yea, seriously. I'm just imagining someone sitting at their laptop writing that shit and going "God damn, what the fuck brought us to this point? why the fuck am i sitting here writing this?"
posted by emptythought at 2:21 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


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.
Ferguson is not a war zone. An article by my friend and fellow St. Louisan, Pamela Merritt.
posted by BlueJae at 2:33 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Is that a bag of potato chips in his other hand?

This photo just screams AMERICA FUCK YEAH to me, in the best way (not being snarky).
posted by sallybrown at 2:39 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


The comments about FB and difficult discussions reminds of tweet I saw the other day that rang true to me:

Twitter makes me like people I've never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:39 PM on August 13 [24 favorites]


I guess everyone might see this already thru the Reddit page, but just in case:

Live: KSDK News conference with St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch on #MikeBrown case.

(starting soonish)
posted by shortfuse at 2:42 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Starting now.
posted by cashman at 2:43 PM on August 13


After saying he's not going to have specifics about the case today, County prosecutor starts out with saying how tragic it is that Michael Brown lost his life.
posted by cashman at 2:46 PM on August 13


Oh gee, what was I just saying about "boy and his dog" fluff stories about K-9 units?

I thought this was on point: "I dont know that they should be teaching kids they & their dogs are friendly."

One of these days I'll need to post an AskMe about how to best educate my currently-under-2 kiddo about the cops as he gets older. The reality for him as a caucasian dude is probably about as safe as any police encounter can be, but I'm really not comfortable with giving him a blanket "trust cops" message. I don't believe it and it feels wrong to tell him something that's just not true for his browner friends.
posted by phearlez at 2:46 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile in Seattle; white guy yells at protesters, including a black guy. Security guard pepper sprays the black guy. White guy walks away; black guy gets handcuffed when cops get there.

What the everloving goddamn fuckity fuck.
posted by emjaybee at 2:52 PM on August 13 [25 favorites]


emjaybee, that is some hard shit to watch.

I can't say I wouldn't get physical about that. Just sitting at my desk I feel frustrated to the point of swinging and I am not a violent person.

Fuck abuse of authority.

If you're a cop, sheriff, security guard, whatever, you should be required by law to wear separate video and audio recording devices. If they fail for any reason, you should lose the presumption of innocence for all claims against you.

Yeah, some cops are going to go to jail, get hurt, and maybe even die over this. But citizens are dying right now with no goddamn recourse or hope or salvation.
posted by Imperfect at 3:01 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


The county prosecutor has made it abundantly clear they want all the evidence they can get. They're going to gather it all and hand it to the grand jury, and go from there. He said "there is no timetable" and as a reporter asked if two weeks (was about right), he balked and said there were tests to be done on physical evidence and the like.

He stressed they wanted to do things expeditiously but not rush. If there is no indictment at the end of the process, he said all materials - every piece of paper, every transcript, every video, will be made available to the public.

To me it seems like this is going to last months. I get it and I like his general demeanor and his insistence that they are going to do a fair investigation and whatever it turns up will be the result. But it just feels like the same thing that will happen - sometime in a month or two we'll get the news of no indictment or no substantial one, and by then focus will have shifted. And somewhere along the line, if it hasn't happened yet, Trayvon's parents will probably meet Michael's parents. This is just hard to take. At some point there has to be a way to not let these situations, which occur in minutes in broad daylight, go on as if the event just happened, for months.
posted by cashman at 3:02 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


I don't usually comment without reading all existing commentary, but I don't think this point has been addressed.

Ob1quixote's link yesterday to the Officer.com article about ambushing was interesting reading for sure, and O1Q is correct that anti-public perspective on the part of law enforcement does exist, is extremely dangerous, and urgently needs to be addressed.

However, a reading of that article satisfied me that the "enemy" discussed therein actually refers to the police. The author gives a run-down of various ambush types. That list may derive from a military source, or have been written with the word enemy used as a positional token for clarity in technical prose. The author may have even pasted that section in from some other text. In any case, the word enemy in those type descriptions means the recipient of the ambush, and his article is about cops getting ambushed and how to prevent/deal with that. Outside that list of ambush types, the word enemy does not appear. Were he using the term enemy to refer to civilians generally, or to the more restrictive class of potential-ambushers-of-police-officers, I'd expect that term to appear in part 2 of the article or in the remainder of part 1, which it does not.

Again, I'm sickened by the Ferguson incident and not trying to make excuses for the police. I'm aware and concerned about police militarization and have been a peaceful protester myself. But it's really important not to turn this into an us-versus-them thing. Most police are good people, and how police brutality happens is not simple. There are layers to it, and the LE community is not homogenous. The need to be rigorously accurate with accusations applies across all sides of all conflicts.
posted by maniabug at 3:04 PM on August 13


Anyone with good tips on immediately storing a phone's video online?

Someone just dropped off a stack of pamphlets for their new service at my work, ubnappd.

Stupid name, but it does a lot of what i was describing above. Video is instantly uplodaed. Video can not be erased in any way for 30 days. Is capable of doing just audio as well as AV.

Seems pretty sweet to me.
posted by emptythought at 3:04 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile in Seattle; white guy yells at protesters, including a black guy. Security guard pepper sprays the black guy. White guy walks away; black guy gets handcuffed when cops get there.

When it comes to police treatment of black men, the whole goddamn country is the Deep South.
posted by scody at 3:05 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


I just hope no one takes my "choosing to remain silent on Facebook" as not caring. It's actually because I care a lot.

Yeah my family lived in Ferguson when I was born and I grew up in North County in another nearby suburb. My mom taught in Ferg-Flor for decades. I went to a private mostly white affluent Catholic school and am Facebook friends with many of my classmates from there. There is some true horror show garbage on my timeline (not all of it, thankfully.) But I will not be touching this issue on there with a ten foot pole and it is sure as shit not because I don't care.
posted by evisceratordeath at 3:05 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


(By which I don't mean to impugn all Southerners, but rather to point out that this incident in Seattle is Exhibit 2,492 in the argument that this sort of violent, systemic racism is a nationwide issue, not a regional one.)
posted by scody at 3:07 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


It really feels like we're right back to the worst days of the 50s and 60s. Or like we've always been there, and we're only just waking up to it.
posted by naju at 3:09 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Like Donald Sterling is almost quaint right now. What the hell is going on?
posted by naju at 3:10 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Most police are good people

I'm sorry, I stopped believing that a few years ago after the umpity-umpth time I wondered "how could it be that none of this person's co-workers saw these sorts of things?" The answer in many cases is "it can't." It may well be that most officers aren't bad actors and would never do things that 5% of their cohorts do, but so long as they keep their mouths shut they're not up to the level of good people in my book.

The standard response to this is that they can't speak up for fear of being ostracized or even potentially put in danger because their fellow officers won't back them up. Which also doesn't exactly support the 'most' claim.
posted by phearlez at 3:11 PM on August 13 [43 favorites]


Like Donald Sterling is almost quaint right now. What the hell is going on?


Fear of a Black President.

Digital interconnectedness allowing for faster dissemination of info in situations where in the past, this sort of thing could have been rapidly swept under the rug.

Dissolution of American shared culture into insular inward facing tribes.

Militarization of police. Crazy use of force doctrines. 30+ years of inherently racist sentencing policies.

Economies on the skids nationwide.
posted by stenseng at 3:14 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


The standard response to this is that they can't speak up for fear of being ostracized or even potentially put in danger because their fellow officers won't back them up. Which also doesn't exactly support the 'most' claim.

Check out Adrian Schoolcraft.


And that was penny ante quota shit, not covering up an unjustified homicide.
posted by stenseng at 3:17 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


But it's really important not to turn this into an us-versus-them thing. Most police are good people, and how police brutality happens is not simple. There are layers to it, and the LE community is not homogenous. The need to be rigorously accurate with accusations applies across all sides of all conflicts.

This sounds like #NotAllMen, but for police officers. The fact that most cops are good people brushes the awful ones under the rug. And the awful ones are SO bad, that we don't really need to be reminded about all the good cops out there, we need to focus on the bad ones.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:18 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


Most people who catch smallpox don't die.
posted by PMdixon at 3:19 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


I shared the "which photo would they use" Tumblr and the main response I received was "well, they shouldn't share pictures of themselves dressed like that on the Internet."
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:25 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]




Good person or bad person, I'm pretty much going to take it as a given that an officer is lying when justifying their use of force unless backed up by witnesses and evidence. Times a million for claims that someone "reached for their gun" out of the blue.
posted by Artw at 3:30 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


Joey, please tell me you linked to a similarly "racy" photo for one of those commenters and said "you first".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:31 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


Apparently, it's not "racy" if you're white.
posted by stenseng at 3:36 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Most police are good people, and how police brutality happens is not simple. There are layers to it, and the LE community is not homogenous.

I made a crack about this in a different thread, but more seriously, because this is serious: Police forces all over the country use the broken windows theory of policing - crack down on the small stuff so that it doesn't grow into or cover over the big stuff - but they themselves don't follow this, of course. They are repeatedly and demonstratively uninterested in getting rid of the bad apples that are spoiling them all. It's irrelevant if some or many individual officers are nice and even good people when they are entrenched in a system dedicated to protecting and perpetuating itself and they will not denounce it.
posted by rtha at 3:37 PM on August 13 [18 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: I explained that the blog was created partially in response to situations like the Trayvon Martin and Michael Ferguson tragedies, and then I had to explain who both of those people were, and then I had to explain how news stations tend to use photos of young black men dressed as "thugs" as a way of justifying why they were frightening and, thus, the murderers were justifiable, and then she replied "oh, that's awful, but they still shouldn't be posting photos like that."

Edited to add scare quotes around "thug."
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:41 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Remember that the **ONLY** reason we have any video of the shooting of Oscar Grant is because someone refused to let their phone be taken. All other video mysteriously vanished. The security cameras were "malfunctioning" and all the rest got lost. Absent the person who, bravely and at not inconsiderable personal risk, refused to let her video vanish as well the police would have been able to hide all evidence of the real event and go with their original (lying) claim that Grant was trying to get a gun and that Mehserle killed him in self defense. Absent that brave person keeping the police from destroying her evidence Mehserle would have gotten a medal and a commendation and would be out there looking for another victim to kill.

sotonohito -- Look, I'm not saying that public distrust of the police isn't justified, but you're misrepresenting this particular case:

[Alameda County District Attorney] Orloff said Mehserle had committed murder because he killed Grant in an intentional, unlawful act. Orloff said no evidence his office reviewed - witness statements and video shot by BART passengers, including footage that the public has not yet seen but that the district attorney called "very helpful" - indicated the shooting was justified.

Also, the BART security cameras worked fine, it's just that they didn't show much of value. BART left the bullet impact damage in the concrete and later allowed the documentary-style recreation of Grant's last day, Fruitvale Station, to film there, which I find astonishing, really. They could very easily have made them film anyplace but Oakland.
Edit: Maybe not the best context for the film industry term "shoot".

Yeah, it may well be that the video that was released online ensured a public outcry and made it impossible for the BART Police to sweep it under the rug, but there isn't actually any evidence they tried to do so. Mehserle was convicted, albeit of involuntary manslaughter, and served only a short time in jail -- but he did serve time. Maybe choose an example where that didn't happen.

For my part I certainly believe that all police should always be subject to a competent civilian review board -- ideally at the county level or above. But I'll take always having investigations of police-involved shootings done by another police agency, if there's no other alternative. (This was recently made state law in Wisconsin, although it was already policy for local departments.) It's a step in the right direction. If we're so cynical that we believe any investigation is only being done for the purpose of disappearing evidence, tactically delaying any political fallout, and exonerating officers due to the thin blue line, well, we almost may as well give up on electoral democracy and our judicial system altogether. I think even if there's a high risk that cops will deliberately misplace or malfunctionize their recording devices, that's at least another barrier that they need to overcome and will (as the studies showed) probably deter a good proportion of bad behavior in the first place. And maybe the horse will learn to sing, you know?
posted by dhartung at 3:44 PM on August 13


> one of the most iconic photos of a protest i've ever seen
> Is that a bag of potato chips in his other hand?
Not only are they potato chips, there's a high probability (approaching 100%, to my layman's inspection) that they're goddamn Rippies -- St Louis' very own regional chip delicacy "Red Hot Riplets"! Beloved of Black STL, and also of 'hoosier' (poor and working class) White STL.

That's an awesome and powerful photograph on so many levels. But the fact that he's holding rippies elevates this to iconic #SoStLouis status in my eyes.

This is such a culture-thick and proud and unique place. And this fixes for me that this is a STL protest, conducted by our STL community, and addressing longstanding STL issues... and we are filling the streets with our fucking people... rippies in-hand.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 4:05 PM on August 13 [35 favorites]




Ryan J. Reilly is doing a good job tweeting SWAT activity in Ferguson right now. I counted 70+ SWAT officers. Guns trained on crowds. Insanity.

What could possibly go wrong? It's like these guys never heard of Kent State.
posted by Nelson at 4:10 PM on August 13 [19 favorites]


Oh my God, you're right, jjjjjjjijjjjjjj—they are Red Hot Riplets! My husband loves those. That photo is so American—and SO ST. LOUIS!

Sorry, by the way, that I can't meet up tonight. My brother's in town, so we're going out with my mom. I'm sure this is going to be basically the main topic of discussion, though.
posted by limeonaire at 4:17 PM on August 13


Can we just have one fucking thread where someone doesn't have to play devils advocate and go #notallcops or #notallisraelis or whatever the fuck? Why is someone(or several someones) always compelled to take the other side, seemingly just for the sake of it and get locked in mortal combat for a big portion of the thread, only to hand the reigns off to someone else?

Every longboat thread we've had recently about some serious upsetting issue has had it. The last police brutality thread had it, the one before that had it.

What is with all the dorm room contrarianism? Why is everyone so compelled to jump to the "not all cops are bad" and "if you can say you can't breathe, then you can actually breathe and you're not being choked to death" kind of crap?

Who are you really defending, and why? Because a lot of times it seems like it's not from some deep seated conviction or belief, but simply out of some maladjusted sense of duty that someone has to prop up the other wall of the tent.

Seriously, it's tired. Can we just discuss how fucked this shit is in peace without someone questioning how fucked it really is, or what fault the victims bear, or how what the aggressors did isn't really that clearly black and wrong, but kinda grey? Because it kind of links back to the discussion of fence post sitting in the Andrew W.K thread, and i feel like that disease is starting to metastasize on this site.
posted by emptythought at 4:21 PM on August 13 [30 favorites]


God, it's depressing that the optimistic outcome for tonight is mass arrests of the protesters and reporters.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:28 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


What makes this seem so hopeless to me is exactly what emptythought mentions....That people are all too willing to overlook that this is a regular occurrence and all too willing to accept it as normal.

Fuck that.

I was appalled and can still barely believe things like Selma happened.

That we have had multiple unarmed black men killed by law enforcement in the past few weeks is outrageous.

Anyone who can't see the racism in that is not paying attention to actual armed white men walking around in Chipotle and Target. Not to mention actual armed white men shooting at the goddamn police and LIVING.

Christ.
posted by sio42 at 4:34 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


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

posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:36 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Is that a bag of potato chips in his other hand?

Looks like that to me too, but we are not police officers. I am sure many an inquest could find people in uniform to testify that it was a Glock.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:43 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


The mounting horror of Antonio French's feed is just chilling:
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
It's like these guys never heard of Kent State.

Oh, I'm pretty sure at least some of them have heard of it. They just draw a different conclusion from it than we do.
posted by scody at 4:44 PM on August 13 [24 favorites]


According to Salon, Anonymous is currently saying they're going to release the name of the cop. (Apologies if this is repeating something above, but I searched the thread on "anonymous" and "name" and it didn't look like it.)
I'm not sure I'm down with that, frankly. Obviously the public has a right to know the guy's name...soon. But right now it does nothing for *me* to know if it was Jack Jackson or Fred Fredrickson who did this, whereas a name will lead to an address and I think we can all imagine how that might turn out. What we really need right now is an example of the system working properly for a change (viz. life in prison for the cop if things happened the way it sounds like they did) and not mob justice.
posted by uosuaq at 4:45 PM on August 13


There won't be any mob justice. The minute that name comes out, they'll cordon off his house, they'll take him and his family right out of there - there's no fucking way that cops won't protect one of there own, no matter if he's a murderer and a racist. The entire might of the goddamn state will protect that guy if he's outed.

For me, Anonymous are Robin Hood and Emma Goldman and Zapata and superheroes all rolled up into one package some days.
posted by Frowner at 4:49 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Earlier today, I was making The Purge jokes in my head, but just now on Twitter, from the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery:
"We cannot guarantee your safety. We will not be answering 911 calls"— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 13, 2014


I mean, what the actual fuck.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:04 PM on August 13 [25 favorites]


And now I'll stop posting stuff from Twitter, since you are all probably reading the same tweets I am.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 5:05 PM on August 13


Police have moved tank and repositioned to face protesters on sidewalk across the street. #ferguson

Police have moved tank

Police have moved tank


I don't really want to live in this America any more.
posted by jetlagaddict at 5:06 PM on August 13 [22 favorites]


The Onion: "Police Officer Doesn’t See A Difference Between Black, Light-Skinned Black Suspects":

Turner added that his dedication to upholding the law stems from a belief that all local residents should be able to walk their streets without fear, whether they come from an affluent white neighborhood or a working-class white neighborhood.
posted by dhens at 5:07 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


The thing is, this has to be punished, and pretty severely, because if not - then we know that you can shoot a kid in broad daylight and take over a town like you're an invading army and hold perfectly ordinary people at gunpoint and be only one stupid cop away from a massacre, and there are no consequences. All you have to do is look at how people have been emboldened by Zimmerman getting away with it. The thing is, in the past much of this stuff has been at least partly secret - people could pretend they didn't know, or pretend there wasn't enough proof, and there was at least some plausibility to that. Now, if this goes down live on Twitter and no one reacts --

If I were Obama, I'd be freaking the fuck out, too. There ought to be National Guard in there and get the Ferguson paramilitaries (which is all these are, they don't have a shred of legitimacy) shut down before more people get killed.
posted by Frowner at 5:08 PM on August 13 [26 favorites]


Snipers rifles aimed at unarmed American citizens right now in St. Louis, MO.

This must be some of that jackbooted Obamacare tyranny I've been hearing so much about.
posted by scody at 5:10 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


I would guess (although it's just a guess) that he and his family (and let's face it, if he has a wife and/or kids, they probably haven't shot anyone) are long gone by now, if the authorities in question have any sense.
I frankly believe he *should* be protected, but if you think I'm taking the guy's side, please stop thinking that immediately. I'm not a judge or juror, so I feel pretty free to assume this cop is guilty as shit. And he deserves what should happen to people in America if they're guilty as shit: being found guilty as shit by a jury of his peers, and sentenced to whatever you get for murder in that state.
Frowner just said:
The thing is, this has to be punished, and pretty severely, because if not - then we know that you can shoot a kid in broad daylight and take over a town like you're an invading army and hold perfectly ordinary people at gunpoint and be only one stupid cop away from a massacre, and there are no consequences.
...and if this is not left to the police, FBI, and Justice Department to take care of -- if the punishment is meted out by a (righteously) angry mob -- then we don't get to learn that you *can't* do that.
Of course, if the "authorities" can't actually serve up some justice in this case...well then.
posted by uosuaq at 5:13 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Remember how when Earl Williams talked about "production for use" in "His Girl Friday" he was a crazy person? Instead we passed multiple laws making it easier to outfit police officers better than some militaries, and yet we're kinda shocked when they start acting like one.

I really do not understand why the National Guard isn't intervening here to protect the populace from the police. This is insane and I am terrified of how this is going to end.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 5:19 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


The thing is, if people know who the guy is, it's harder for the state to cover up. The point isn't "oh, there should be mob justice", the point is that when the people categorically cannot act, we have no bargaining chip. What it always comes down to is whether the people in power think we can threaten them or not. If we're lucky, they're just afraid of the voting booth. In bad times, and these are bad times, they don't give a shit about the voting booth because they've bought, gerrymandered and hacked it. In bad times, all people have left is mass action as a threat. If no one knows who this dude is, no one knows if he's actually going to be tried, what his history as a cop is...it's much easier for them to cover things up and delay and lie, and then eventually recuperate the guy somewhere else.

If people don't like mob justice, there has to be some other avenue, and right now there isn't one. Almost no one wants to riot. I've been in violent protests - although nothing like this one, because I'm white and visibly middle class and I always knew that while I might conceivably be beaten (and I have been) I wouldn't be killed or convicted - and they are deeply traumatizing, even for people like me who also experience some exhilaration in the moment. (Protests where the cops were violent, I mean.)
posted by Frowner at 5:21 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]




none of the media accounts I'm following - @wesleylowery, @ryanjreilly, @elonjames - have updated in a half hour. that worries me a lot.
posted by desjardins at 5:22 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Why hasn't the National Guard been sent in there yet?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:24 PM on August 13


Posse comitatus, Frowner. Gov. Nixon has the authority to order in the Guard, Obama doesn't (well, barring some sort of declaration of insurrection and activation of the Northern Command).

Charles M. Blow (public editor of the NYT) just tweeted:

Do authorities in #Ferguson not understand the power of images? They are doing it all wrong...

As there have been no updates by the WaPo's Wesley Lowery and HuffPo's Ryan J. Reilly for many minutes now, there seem to be assumptions by others that they have been arrested -- in a McDonald's. If true, extremely disturbing, not to mention baffling. I did just watch a local news reporter -- FOX 2! -- get shut down by police as they were admittedly "trying to lock down this area".

This may be a photo of Reilly's arrest.
posted by dhartung at 5:24 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


maniabug: “However, a reading of that article satisfied me that the "enemy" discussed therein actually refers to the police.”
The language is cribbed from U.S. Army field manuals. In the context of the source, it is to be understood that the persons in the kill zone are the police. That makes the ambushers — the "bad guys" — us, the public.

You only get ambushed, especially in the deliberate manner discussed in the article, by your enemies. Quibbling over whether the ambushers or ambushees are labeled "enemy" in language derived from military manuals instructing our soldiers how to conduct ambushes is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit.

Just scroll up a little and look at the pictures. Us vs. Them is already in full effect.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:24 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Saw some retweets about journalists being handcuffed and/or detained:
@jonswaine: Just saw two reporters in ferguson cuffed
posted by CancerMan at 5:25 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I'm probably a little too historically-minded, and maybe that's messing up my view of things, but why are we assuming that the National Guard is going to intervene on behalf of the citizens, not against them? I feel like that's not how things always go when the National Guard intervenes in situations like this.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:26 PM on August 13


Maybe it's time to send in UN peacekeepers instead.

Also, Frowner, I'd be surprised if the state can cover for this guy *at this point*. The protesters have succeeded spectacularly in bringing national attention to this case. In other cases, maybe not so much.
posted by uosuaq at 5:26 PM on August 13


Hey desjardins, I'm looking at @BmoreConetta's feed and it looks like she's trying to find out whether or not @ryanjreilly was arrested when SWAT entered a McDonald's restaurant where he and @wesleylowery were working and recharging their equipment.
posted by neitherly at 5:27 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


We're well past the point of wondering whether you can or can't do this, because it's happening and no one is stopping it. We have to assume this is the police system working as intended. Presumably the President can turn this into a federal security issue and stop what's going on right this instant, right? And he's not doing it. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it appears that whatever happens tonight is happening because it's tacitly endorsed all the way to the top.
posted by naju at 5:27 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


jetlagaddict: “Police have moved tank”
To be fair, it's an armored car, not a tank. I mean there's a sniper on the roof and all. It's still horrifying. It's not a tank though.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:29 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


The last damn thing I'm worried about right now is being fair about the difference between armored car and tank.
posted by palomar at 5:31 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


Somehow, I don't think a town of 21,000 has the budget to pay for all the torts they've committed in the past several days.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:33 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


National Guard, federal security, whatever - this needs to be addressed from the top immediately. (I assumed National Guard would be useful because of their role in implementing de-segreatation but I have not kept up with how the National Guard has been used recently.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:33 PM on August 13


As this all shakes out - the people who are getting arrested now are going to need money for bail and lawyers and maybe medical expenses too (because I've been in plenty of situations where white middle class kids were badly hurt by cops during or after arrest, and if they'll do that to some white kid in a liberal city, they'll for sure do it to people in Ferguson). Possibly a lot of money, possibly a lot of lawyers, depending on what they're charged with. You may think "oh, they'll be charged with something that is bullshit and it will all get sorted out" but it can take three or four years and a bunch of lawyers and a ton of money to fight false charges and get it all cleared up. There's sure to be fund-raising efforts, so we should all keep our eyes open.
posted by Frowner at 5:33 PM on August 13 [11 favorites]


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but it appears that whatever happens tonight is happening because it's tacitly endorsed all the way to the top.

I think that's reaching a bit. But I would agree that it seems like at the very least the governor is not responding appropriately.
posted by elizardbits at 5:34 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Unconfirmed reports are that the police have arrested a couple of Washington Post journalists. If that proves true it's a really big deal.
posted by Justinian at 5:34 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


That's presumably a reference to Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly. Lowery is a Post reporter. And yeah, it's a big deal, and the Ferguson police are complete dingbats, on top of everything else.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:37 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Please god let them have arrested and confiscated the the equipment of some WaPo reporters. Please please please.
posted by rtha at 5:37 PM on August 13 [23 favorites]


I think the Governor needs to step in with the national guard and get the local police the fuck out of there.
posted by empath at 5:37 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Because if shit goes down in Ferguson, I doubt that the rest of St Louis is going to sit at home watching on the evening news.
posted by empath at 5:38 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


One WaPo, Justinian, and one from the Huffington Post. See my comment above.

I have not kept up with how the National Guard has been used recently

Well, aside from the fact that they have an execrable record of misuse in this sort of context, I really don't know that there has ever been a use of a National Guard against police and that is something they would seriously doctrinally oppose.

OK -- live -- new order to the crowd to back up 25 feet, after a long period of apparent disinterest.
posted by dhartung at 5:39 PM on August 13


Tweet from Lowery "Was arrested." Followed by "Also Ryan Reilly of Huff Po. Assaulted and arrested"
posted by dhartung at 5:40 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


"I just called Ferguson police chief to ask about @WesleyLowery and @ryanjreilly, told him what I knew. His response: "Oh, God." -- mattdpearce
posted by palomar at 5:40 PM on August 13 [21 favorites]


There's sure to be fund-raising efforts, so we should all keep our eyes open.

Agreed.

Unconfirmed reports are that the police have arrested a couple of Washington Post journalists. If that proves true it's a really big deal.

*Now* they've gone too far!
sorry to make fun of your comment, Justinian, but it's a bit sad that arresting reporters counts as the big deal here, even though it probably does
posted by uosuaq at 5:41 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Wesley Lowery's Twitter account confirms that he and Ryan Reilly were both assaulted and arrested by Ferguson PD.
posted by palomar at 5:42 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


uosuaq: Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.
posted by Justinian at 5:43 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


What's "ink"?
posted by uosuaq at 5:45 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]




They don't say which agency arrested them, palomar. This is the photo Reilly took of SWAT team in Mickey D's just before he and Lowery went offline. The majority of the SWAT uniforms/vehicles seem to be St. Louis County Police, from what I've seen, but it is probably an interjurisdictional force.

A recent flap in Massachusetts involved a SWAT agency, an incorporated non-profit, claiming it was private and not governmental.
posted by dhartung at 5:47 PM on August 13


Conetta also reported a while back that State Senator Nadal had been taken into custody.
posted by nangar at 5:48 PM on August 13


Wesley Lowery's Twitter account confirms that he and Ryan Reilly were both assaulted and arrested by Ferguson PD.


Now it says;
1. Officers decided we weren't leaving McDonalds quickly enough, shouldn't have been taping them.
2. Released without any charges, no paperwork whatsoever
3. Refusing to give us any names of the officers
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:48 PM on August 13 [13 favorites]


Just dropping in to add that red hot riplets are amazing (especially when they are 3 for $5 at Schnucks).
posted by stltony at 5:48 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


What's "ink"?

It's like toner, but wet.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:49 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


It was St. Louis County police. Still doesn't matter to me. Obviously the Ferguson chief of police knows he has an uncontrollable shitstorm on his hands, given that he gave the order to have them released with no charges and no paperwork (and no identifying information on the arresting officers, of course).
posted by palomar at 5:50 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Wesley Lowery's Twitter...good grief. Just look at it now. The police are just ...well in the words of KRS-1 - "The police department is like a crew, that does whatever they want to do".

I think he's about to appear on MSNBC. It's either him or Ryan Reilly.
posted by cashman at 5:51 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


nangar, later the twitter account for Nadal indicates she wasn't arrested.
posted by CancerMan at 5:52 PM on August 13


don't the police in ferguson get it yet?

THIS IS NOT GOING TO END - THEY ARE NOT GOING TO STOP IT

all they're going to do is make it worse
posted by pyramid termite at 5:56 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


nangar, later the twitter account for Nadal indicates she wasn't arrested.

Thanks, good to hear that.
posted by nangar at 5:57 PM on August 13


Haven't tuned in to Rachel Maddow for a while, but I hope she kicks ass tonight.
posted by uosuaq at 5:59 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Wesley Lowery looks to be on Maddow tonight. Right now.
posted by shortfuse at 6:01 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


THIS IS NOT GOING TO END - THEY ARE NOT GOING TO STOP IT

This is kind of how I feel. What now? The St. Louis County prosecutor isn't releasing any info whatsoever, saying there is no timetable. The Ferguson police chief handed everything over to St. Louis County. The police and their riot squad are roving around, tear gassing, arresting members of the media, not giving badge numbers when asked, not giving aid to people, explicitly saying they aren't responding to 911 calls.

What now? P.E.'s Lost At Birth is playing over this whole thing. "The future holds nothing else but confrontation."
posted by cashman at 6:01 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Coverage on NBC with Lester Holt seemed terribly slight and one-sided. I guess that's no surprise but I wish they had done half as good a job as they did on Lauren Bacall (RIP - not begrudging a segment on Bacall's death).
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 6:06 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


This is my twitter list, curated to be people on the ground vs. the hashtags. Nominations for additional sources (or better curated lists) accepted.

Right now MSNBC is All In with Chris Hayes. Reilly says will be on. Lowery will be on Maddow later.

Alex Heuer of St. Louis Public Radio tweets:
Mon. night & tonight there have been reports of journalists mistreated. I've talked to journos who cover wars & they get better treatment.

(Echoes the Business Insider article reader, a veteran, who said "we didn't suit up like that for a war zone".)
posted by dhartung at 6:07 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Wesley Lowery ‏@WesleyLowery 2m

"The chief thought he was doing you a favor" - police officer tells me about release. With no charges, no police report
posted by rtha at 6:08 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


I was just on Facebook, noticed that Ferguson is the top story on the little #trending feed, clicked it... and got a link to an LATimes story. That's it. No giant list of other Facebook posts like every other stupid thing on the trend feed, just a notice saying that there are no more recent stories to show right now for this topic.

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but damn.
posted by palomar at 6:08 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Just in on KSDK: Michael Brown had no criminal background.
posted by dhartung at 6:09 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


Wesley Lowery's twitter header photo is Radio Raheem. That sent chills up my spine.
posted by desjardins at 6:11 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]




I just? I don't care? I don't care if he had a record a mile fucking long. Some lunatic white dude lures cops into an ambush and tries to steal a house, a house! A fucking house with people inside it! With a shotgun! And he's still alive. And an unarmed black kid is dead.

I don't care if he sold crack to actual babies.
posted by elizardbits at 6:15 PM on August 13 [92 favorites]


So cool to see that Dog the Bounty Hunter, Michael Cera and Death Cab For Cutie are trending ahead of Ferguson on my Facebook. Neat stuff America.
posted by naju at 6:15 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


From @wesleylowery:

"Apparently, in America, in 2014, police can manhandle you, take you into custody, put you in cell & then open the door like it didn't happen"
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:19 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Like is the idea otherwise that the cop was somehow able to stare at Brown and get a little Robocop pop-up visual with his arrest record so then he knew it was okay to shoot a kid for no reason?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:20 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


well really tho at least half this grotesque country assumes that all of "those people" are guilty of something so they had it coming anyway
posted by elizardbits at 6:23 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


So cool to see that Dog the Bounty Hunter, Michael Cera and Death Cab For Cutie are trending ahead of Ferguson on my Facebook. Neat stuff America.
posted by naju


To be fair, that's more Neat stuff Facebook than America.
posted by COBRA! at 6:23 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


That question and answer from the presser earlier today that they just showed on Maddow says it all. The reporter asks, "Why do you need mine-resistant vehicles?"

The chief responds, "People are using bombs now."
posted by ob1quixote at 6:24 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]




Witness Dorian Johnson has finally spoken to investigators, who at first did not seem interested and then claimed they could not locate him. He also spoke to the FBI.

shakespeherian: In my city there is a big three-ring binder of all the known "frequent flyers" in local parlance including gang members and their affiliation, and street officers are required to be up to date on its contents.

Statement from Bernice A. King of the King Center calling for non-violence.
posted by dhartung at 6:27 PM on August 13


The chief responds, "People are using bombs now."

Well yeah, that's absolutely true. But someone should have reminded him that McVeigh is dead because now he just sounds stupid.
posted by elizardbits at 6:28 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


People also use anthrax, I don't see them out in hazmat gear.
posted by Justinian at 6:30 PM on August 13


this reddit page has alex jones' live video feed of what's going on - people are quite angry - this isn't ending anytime soon
posted by pyramid termite at 6:32 PM on August 13


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


Wasn't it recently addressed by the FCC that any and all jamming like this is a federal crime. You know, against federal law and stuff?
posted by emptythought at 6:33 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Streaming reddit and twitter and I keep on asking myself what year this is?!!
posted by Fizz at 6:34 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


To be honest I don't know that that anonymous tweet is even accurate. I just got caught up in the heat of the moment. The various police are doing stupid enough stuff that can be verified that I shouldn't be spreading rumors.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:35 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


People also use anthrax, I don't see them out in hazmat gear.

Don't give them ideas, they're already in space marine cosplay.
posted by Artw at 6:36 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]




Here is a direct link to the Ferguson (from W Florissant) livestream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/6106473

which is unfortunately broadcast by Alex Jones/InfoWars
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 6:36 PM on August 13


shakespeherian: In my city there is a big three-ring binder of all the known "frequent flyers" in local parlance including gang members and their affiliation, and street officers are required to be up to date on its contents.

I kinda doubt any of them are marked 'Shoot on sight' though.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:37 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


The ACLU of Missouri has sent the Ferguson Police a letter detailing objections to its request for limiting assemblies to daylight hours. They have also filed Sunshine Law requests for materials including the name of the officer who shot Brown. Key graf:

Your statement, which will be viewed as an informal order, effectively imposes a ban on expressive activity that is protected by the First Amendment. There is no legal support for exercising such authority. Moreover, your demand for protests to proceed in a "respectful manner" is far beyond the bounds of permissible government activity. Government agencies do not get to demand respect from protestors. Respect is something that government officials earn from citizens, and citizens are entitled to express their lack of respect by protest on public streets and sidewalks.
posted by dhartung at 6:37 PM on August 13 [62 favorites]


Just heard: "Where Obama at?"
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 6:37 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]




As a preemptive heads up, a number of organizations have filed sunshine requests concerning the shooting with the various law enforcement agencies. The controlling law in this case is Section 610.100, which allows for the release of incident and arrest reports.

Arrest reports are defined as, " (2) "Arrest report", a record of a law enforcement agency of an arrest and of any detention or confinement incident thereto together with the charge therefor;"

Incident reports are generally the very first bit of documentation created after a crime has been committed/reported, a subsection defines it as,"(4) "Incident report", a record of a law enforcement agency consisting of the date, time, specific location, name of the victim and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or incident, including any logs of reported crimes, accidents and complaints maintained by that agency;"

Unlike follow up investigative reports, which are closed records until the case is closed or goes inactive, incident reports must be released per the law. HOWEVER, there's a hitch, which I saw the New York Times acknowledged, there's an exception. In section 3 of this law, it states, "...if any portion of a record or document of a law enforcement officer or agency, other than an arrest report, which would otherwise be open, contains information that is reasonably likely to pose a clear and present danger to the safety of any victim, witness, undercover officer, or other person; or jeopardize a criminal investigation, including records which would disclose the identity of a source wishing to remain confidential or a suspect not in custody; or which would disclose techniques, procedures or guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, that portion of the record shall be closed and shall be redacted from any record made available pursuant to this chapter."

This reasonable likelihood aspect can be challenged in court, hence lawsuits, and while I have experience with Sunshine review, I'm afraid I don't know it off the top of my head in terms of the case law side of things (without refreshing via case law).

On preview, I see someone just mentioned the Sunshine law! So, well, there you go.
posted by Atreides at 6:40 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


The police just started shooting Tear Gas.
posted by cashman at 6:41 PM on August 13


shooting gas - someone threw a bottle
posted by pyramid termite at 6:41 PM on August 13


Aww jeez, from that Reddit feed:

@mattdpearce
Question for whoever is in charge of this police situation right now: Who are you, and what is your plan, exactly? #Ferguson

@mattdpearce
Today when I asked the Ferguson police chief who is in charge of the riot police, he said it rotated on a night-to-night basis.

No one is in charge of this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:42 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


are they shooting bullets, too?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:42 PM on August 13


Crap! Are the police really shooting?!
posted by neitherly at 6:43 PM on August 13


"Someone threw a bottle, loudspeaker said this was no longer a peaceful protest, and teargas was fired."
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:43 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


I really do not understand why the National Guard isn't intervening here to protect the populace from the police. This is insane and I am terrified of how this is going to end.

Because the system can't truly admit the system is broken. The DOJ can make some big cantankerous noises like they did in Seattle, but in the end it's all just loud flatulence. They're still killing and beating people out here just like they always did.

If they came in and took control, they'd be admitting the system is broken.

Then what? Shut it down? Rebuild? It's broken all the way to the top if this happened in the first place. Admitting this is broken at this level is admitting that. Then what do they do?

Why would anyone who has a vested interest in the status quo, including the officers of the FBI and enlisted members of the national guard top to bottom, want that? You're asking for them to say the emperor has no clothes.

Good luck with that.

This is like a massive structure fire. They're just hoping it doesn't spread, and that it'll burn itself out. The fact that it was arson is irrelevant to them at this point.
posted by emptythought at 6:43 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


But hey you know CNN has the actress who was in Mrs. Doubtfire. So you know they're covering the REAL IMPORTANT NEWS!?!

UGh.
posted by Fizz at 6:44 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


"Someone threw a bottle, loudspeaker said this was no longer a peaceful protest, and teargas was fired."

Whose cynical enough to say agent provocateur? Because I've seen that first hand with my own eyes.
posted by emptythought at 6:45 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


Today when I asked the Ferguson police chief who is in charge of the riot police, he said it rotated on a night-to-night basis.
Complete deniability. Nobody is in charge of an overall strategy and they can and will plead bad memories when asked who was responsible when Bad Thing X went down.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:45 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Is there another livestream up to follow this from?
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 6:46 PM on August 13


Police over loudspeaker again: "You are not peacefully assembling. You must leave the area immediately or be subject to arrest."
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:46 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


There's another stream on Youtube:
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:47 PM on August 13


thank you.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 6:49 PM on August 13


According to this guy, the county police are in charge tonight (and minutes ago he was also told that they were "not jittery at all", yet here we are). It took him several hours and follow-up calls, including the intervention of U.S. Sen. Blunt, to get that simple question answered, though.
posted by dhartung at 6:50 PM on August 13


Washington Post reporter arrested in Ferguson
"In a statement issued Wednesday night, Martin D. Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, said “there was absolutely no justification for his arrest” and said the organization was appalled by the conduct of the officers involved.

“That behavior was wholly unwarranted and an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news,” Barton said. “The physical risk to Wesley himself is obvious and outrageous.”"
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 6:51 PM on August 13


Car wash is on fire.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 6:51 PM on August 13


Police issuing final warnings...
posted by cashman at 6:53 PM on August 13


"In a statement issued Wednesday night, Martin D. Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, said “there was absolutely no justification for his arrest” and said the organization was appalled by the conduct of the officers involved.

Smooth move, Ferguson.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:53 PM on August 13


Antonio French tweeted the police are tear gassing.

I wish staying up all night could help somehow. I wish this was such a national tragedy that I didn't have work tomorrow.

Because it damn well should be. It is.

This is not supposed to happen. Not here.

I am not looking forward to the news in the morning.
posted by sio42 at 6:55 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Whose cynical enough to say agent provocateur?

Honestly my first thought was "look for a cop in really egregious blackface".
posted by elizardbits at 6:55 PM on August 13 [25 favorites]


The cops are about to move on the protesters. Please let there be no tragedy tonight.
posted by cashman at 6:57 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


There's another stream on Youtube yt :

Good grief, I had to collapse the comment section...so depressing...
posted by neitherly at 6:57 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


To be fair, it's an armored car, not a tank. I mean there's a sniper on the roof and all. It's still horrifying. It's not a tank though.

From the photos I've seen, it looks exactly like plenty of vehicles I've seen in photos of iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine, etc. just because the model plate on the side doesn't say APC, doesn't mean it isn't blatantly a military vehicle. I've seen very similar vehicles driving on the roads near JBLM in Washington. Which is a military base.

It seems pretty hair splitty to me, honestly. It's not the type of thing that should be deployed on the streets of an American city unless North Korea has just hit the beach with a landing craft, or some cult rolled out in force with surplus military vehicles of the same class and capability, or something. I'd understand it in situations involving civilians only if it was stuff like the mentally ill guy with the trackhoe thing who armored it and went on a rampage.

We should only be seeing these things if stuff has gotten fucked in the way they get in a b-list 3 star movie on netflix like Red Dawn or whatever the hell it's called.

This isn't N +1 force, it's N +10. If this was a twitch stream of some videogame the crowd would be hootling like chimps when the side who had those rolled them out. It looks like a setup to a fucking massacre.

Optics matter. And in this case, there's more to it than just optics as well.
posted by emptythought at 6:59 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Compare and contrast to the Bundy Ranch idiocy, and you will conclude either that Black Communities need more AR-15s and Gadsden flags, or that America is unfortunately not a post racial society.

Actually the Missouri militia claims they are present and providing security in specific areas.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 6:59 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


I am skipping some comments, so pardons if this has been addressed. Is there anything that can be done from a distance? Like when protestors took the Madison Capitol building, people were sending delivery? It seems like such a mess right now, but I want to do something.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:00 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


They don't need pizzas, they need body armor and gas masks.
posted by elizardbits at 7:01 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Video guy says he thinks he heard police tell them to turn off all reporting equipment. I can't confirm this from the audio, didn't catch it myself.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 7:04 PM on August 13




If it hasn't been mentioned, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police (along with the Kansas City PD) were actually placed on state oversight because things in that department went to pot decades ago.
posted by Atreides at 7:05 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


Ugh. Now deploying hideous high pitched sounds alongside tear gas and rubber bullets. That livestream is from the front line. Terrible.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 7:06 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


They're moving in.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 7:07 PM on August 13


Firing rubber bullets now.
posted by cashman at 7:08 PM on August 13


Wow, indiscriminately firing onto the crowd
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 7:08 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Tear gas being fired now. Explosions. It's wild that they have to know the world is watching, and they're doing this.
posted by cashman at 7:08 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Rubber bullets and tear gas. At protesters who are moving away - were moving away before the cops started firing. Christ.
posted by rtha at 7:09 PM on August 13


Surely this.
posted by uosuaq at 7:10 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Whose cynical enough to say agent provocateur?

Standard operating procedure in these situations.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:10 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


It looks like a tear gas bomb started a fire.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:11 PM on August 13


Setting people's backyards on fire. Jesus christ.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:11 PM on August 13


Antonio French's vines just showed me things I never thought I'd see as being in USA. People are milling about and peaceful and then bam...smoke and sparks.

I can't...I don't...
posted by sio42 at 7:11 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Boing Boing is reporting some kind of sonic weapon was used before they opened fire.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:11 PM on August 13


I love the dude that just appeared on one of the live feeds. He's just trying to get home to his family but the police have cut off the street. He's like "I aint trying to do all this belligerent ass shit." (pointing to the tear gas) "I'm really not". "I just got off the bus over here. I can't even get home to my family".
posted by cashman at 7:13 PM on August 13 [20 favorites]


"Boing Boing is reporting some kind of sonic weapon was used before they opened fire."

I certainly heard it on two separate livestreams simultaneously.
posted by komara at 7:13 PM on August 13


It sounded like a car alarm in the vines but higher pitched.
posted by sio42 at 7:14 PM on August 13


Yeah, then a fusillade tear gas and whatever else they're shooting.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:14 PM on August 13


sickening
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 7:15 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


Elementary Penguin: "I promise to visit if they wall North County in like Escape From New York."

I had one "friend" on facebook say yesterday, "now can we dome in North St. Louis?"

Methinks I need to drop her; most of her other posts are about her motortrike.
posted by notsnot at 7:16 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I hope these municipalities are ready for bankruptcy. Oakland (CA) is going to have to pay $4.5 million for just one Occupy-related incident (the total so far for all of them is $7 million), in which an officer fired "non-lethal" rounds directly at a protester (Scott Olsen, an Iraq war vet) and caused brain damage. The same officer then hucked an explosive teargas grenade directly onto him and the people who had come forward to help him. Bonus: The officer is not going to lose his job!
posted by rtha at 7:17 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


this is via Anonymous on Twitter: BREAKING: All satellite trucks belonging to any media have been ordered to move out of the area or be subject to arrest. #Ferguson
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:17 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]




Twitter - @jonswaine: Protesters chanting the title of a popular NWA track of which you may have heard
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:19 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]




The YouTube feed I had posted seems to have cut out but the one whyareyouatriangle posted is still up.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 7:21 PM on August 13


There is a homeowner on the KARG Argus Radio stream who is going off. Telling all about what has happened, the background of the violence, how police pointed a gun at her when she was trying to pick up her 20-year-old, talking about how the black youth in the area don't have access to resources, just going off.

She said she wasn't trying to get hit by a rubber bullet. She saw the guy was media and so he could stay on her porch if he wanted to. She said something like "what we should have done is stop spending money in their communities". She said the police force lives in the county, does all these violent things in their community, and then goes back to their houses in the county. But one thing she kept saying and was adamant about, was that the police started the violence.
posted by cashman at 7:21 PM on August 13 [21 favorites]


This is when Army Rangers arrive in black helicopters and tell the cops to stand down, right?
posted by b1tr0t at 7:22 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Veterans on Ferguson: The general consensus here: if this is militarization, it's the shittiest, least-trained, least professional military in the world, using weapons far beyond what they need, or what the military would use when doing crowd control.
posted by mcmile at 7:22 PM on August 13 [28 favorites]


and via Eli Rosenberg (@EliKMBC), reporter at KMBC 9: "We're dealing with 4,000 animals in there, & you want to give me attitude?" The deputy yelled, mad I was taking a pic #Ferguson #MikeBrown
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:22 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


If this isn't ALL the news there is to read tomorrow then fuck this country.
posted by uosuaq at 7:23 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


You guys the woman who just took this video is my friend who is in Ferguson right now where they are throwing tear gas and stun grenades. FUCK.
posted by BlueJae at 7:23 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


So how do I start a non profit that does nothing but sue the everloving shit out of PDs and their enabling municipalities?
posted by PMdixon at 7:24 PM on August 13 [11 favorites]




The "commentary" in the livestream chat was making me want to PUNCH things.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:25 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


So how do I start a non profit that does nothing but sue the everloving shit out of PDs and their enabling municipalities?

I believe the ACLU is kind of this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:25 PM on August 13 [15 favorites]


sio42: “It sounded like a car alarm in the vines but higher pitched.”
It's a Long Range Acoustic Device. Here's a video from Pittsburgh.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:26 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


FOX2NOW anchors: "…the most important thing is the safety of the officers, faced with increasingly heated protests nightly… said the mayor…". Infuriating.
posted by shortfuse at 7:27 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Buzzfeed confirms media trucks have been ordered out "so no way to get live images out for cable nets"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:27 PM on August 13


Are there any remaining live streams?
posted by uosuaq at 7:27 PM on August 13


So how do I start a non profit that does nothing but sue the everloving shit out of PDs and their enabling municipalities?

Also the National Lawyers Guild! Our friend Rachel is president of the SF chapter and sues the shit out of local police departments and wins.
posted by rtha at 7:28 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I can't remember the last time I have been THIS angry. And my status quo is pessimistic and angry. I feel horrible for the residents in Ferguson.
posted by futz at 7:28 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


They don't need pizzas, they need body armor and gas masks.

And buses to where the police live.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:29 PM on August 13


So how do I start a non profit that does nothing but sue the everloving shit out of PDs and their enabling municipalities?

No need to - you can volunteer for and donate to the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, or the Center for Constitutional Rights. ACLU's St. Louis Office has already put the Ferguson PD on notice [PDF].
posted by ryanshepard at 7:29 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


That Veterans on Ferguson link is definitely worth a look.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:31 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


No way to get live images out? So what? use you cell phone and get the video out later! Or am I misunderstanding?
posted by futz at 7:32 PM on August 13


St. Louis Doesn't Riot. - A great article showing how an area that has weathered some of the most violent times in civil right's history, did so without riots.

And how that has changed.
posted by quin at 7:32 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Just to be clear, the only ones rioting in St. Louis at the moment appear to be the police.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:33 PM on August 13 [47 favorites]


It is really fucking surreal to be watching this on Livestream. I can't decide whether it's totally voyeuristic or not.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:34 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


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.Christopher Hayes, 14 August 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 7:34 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


Both live feeds seem to be down? Anyone know what is going on?
posted by TheTingTangTong at 7:36 PM on August 13


Oh good lord - a New Orleans police officer shot a man in the head as she tried to arrest him on Monday but "the department failed to notify the public about the incident until late Wednesday."

It's too easy to make the leap that the NOPD doesn't want the kind of attention that Ferguson is getting at the moment.

Thankfully the person who got shot is still alive, suffering only from a "graze wound."

I just ... can't get over the idea that right now as I'm watching the events in Missouri unfold live I find out that my own PD is giving us the "oh ... we ... didn't tell you? That we shot a guy? I swear we prepped a press release. Let me look under my desk, or maybe it fell in the trash."

Good. Christ.
posted by komara at 7:36 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


Had to turn off the FOX news stream. Anchors were suggesting that the police could resort to whatever show of force they needed if protestors didn't stop using foul language or stray onto the streets or, heaven forbid, throw something at the policemen. How can the good, faithful men of the police conduct a truthful investigation in such chaos?!?! And so on.
posted by shortfuse at 7:36 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Honest to God… Those aren't violent protesters, you dumb cops. Violent protesters are holding sticks and Molotov cocktails. Those people are holding cameras, filming your dumb asses.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:37 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


"the department failed to notify the public about the incident until late Wednesday."

what

i mean WHAT.
posted by rtha at 7:38 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


re: New Orleans - "Asked if the daily police log should have noted the shooting as well as the officer’s hand injury, [police chief] Serpas said it did. Told that the log mentioned only the injured officer, Serpas replied, “I don’t know. I’d have to go look at it.”

"Yeah, we shot a guy and an officer's hand got hurt in the process, so ... you know, we wrote down the important stuff."
posted by komara at 7:39 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


Anyway, I'm sorry for the minor (but parallel) derail. I now gladly return you to the Ferguson horror.
posted by komara at 7:40 PM on August 13


Those people are holding cameras, filming your dumb asses.

A camera is a greater perceived threat to some police officers than a handgun.
posted by pjern at 7:40 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


This Livestream is still on.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:41 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Tear gas and rubber bullets, again, according to this livestream
posted by ChrisR at 7:41 PM on August 13


I think maybe it's recorded? I can't tell.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:43 PM on August 13


The video on that livestream is an archive from earlier this hour. Just before the live feed cut out, the videographer said he was down to about ten minutes of battery. I don't think anyone's found any new livestreams since then.
posted by chrominance at 7:44 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9035483/events/3271930 is still up, LRAD is on and the police are advancing.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:44 PM on August 13


A camera is a greater perceived threat to some police officers than a handgun.

Don't shoot!
posted by bowmaniac at 7:44 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Right. Okay. So are there any current live streams that are actually broadcasting? What's going on there?

It's weird -- I just finished reading Little Brother & Homeland, and this is so painfully reminiscent of that.
posted by ChrisR at 7:45 PM on August 13


Little girl and her mom (?) after being forced out of the McDonald's when the businesses were shut down at sundown.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:45 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


moonlight, it says "live event has ended, you can watch in DVR mode".
posted by dhartung at 7:46 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Hell yeah get Chris Hayes there. All of them. I want to see Matt Fucking Lauer reporting from that street.
posted by argonauta at 7:46 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


While all this was apparently starting (AGAIN) I was catching the end of a "Community Conversation" on KMOV (local CBS channel 4) with two celeb anchors and a small panel including Ferguson chief Jackson, mayor Knowles, a representative of NAACP, and I didn't catch the other three's affiliation (one was clergy).
It was nauseating, everyone pretending the people were the problem, and just full of the general softballs and fluff about how everyone is working so hard to stop the violence and restore the peace.
I'm screaming at the TV, "for shit's sake, it's so easy, all YOU have to do is STOP the violence!!! "
And they kept putting up FB comments on the screen, you know, the really fair and balanced kind that maintain two sides to every story, that the community needs to calm down to heal, that the people just need to stop the violence, that everyone needs to... You know the rest. Ugh, I'm fucking fuming. Meanwhile I refresh this feed and find out it's already started up again.

Also, I hate to continue the derail but holy shit Red Hot Riplets really are the best. I take them out of town for gifts. Okay, back to rage.
posted by hypersloth at 7:46 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Wow these protestors are brave.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:47 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


So yeah it turns out I still had some innocence left to lose how bout that

I know it's 11pm ET but how is the fucking LA Times and CNN the only ones even close to covering this
posted by PMdixon at 7:47 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]




I'm currently watching the stream Moonlight linked to. AdBlock is good for killing off the racist spam in the chat window.

Watching the police advance right now with their LRAD going off. Scary.
posted by Foosnark at 7:48 PM on August 13


empath : I think the Governor needs to step in with the national guard and get the local police the fuck out of there.

Agreed. But I think they should go a step further and have the National Guard arresting the police involved for inciting a riot.

That would be an interesting response we haven't seen before.
posted by quin at 7:49 PM on August 13


I know it's 11pm ET but how is the fucking LA Times and CNN the only ones even close to covering this

Eh? CNN has been mostly covering Iraq. It's MSNBC that is running this non-stop.
posted by Justinian at 7:49 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Found a possible live (if it's archived, it's not obvious to me) stream here: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2014/08/13/livestream-of-ferguson-protests/. Seems to be from behind police lines.
posted by uosuaq at 7:49 PM on August 13


Dhartung, you're right; it's a loop-- just thought "jesus christ how many times have they teargassed that one house with the black pickup in the driveway?" But Foosnark, if you haven't watched this footage yet, the woman talking about the peaceful protest upthread is in it and worth watching.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:50 PM on August 13


talk about racist spam - all one guy seems to be doing is speed-keyboarding a swastika over and over again

moronic
posted by pyramid termite at 7:50 PM on August 13


how is the fucking LA Times and CNN the only ones even close to covering this

Al Jazeera has been on this since day 1.
posted by elizardbits at 7:50 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


It is really fucking surreal to be watching this on Livestream. I can't decide whether it's totally voyeuristic or not.

Back when Occupy Oakland was active, the spouse and I had a citizen journalism livestreaming thing going on. We stopped when it became clear that all that remained of OO was the weekly "Fuck the Police" marches, which had turned into an excuse for the black bloc/junior anarchist types to break the windows of small local merchants and act aggrieved.

At times during the project we wondered if we were being self-indulgent or assisting voyeurism or anything like that, but a lot of people told us that they got a very different perspective on what was happening from watching our stream than they did from other media sources.

I'm feeling such an… I dunno, itchiness in the fingers, I guess. (Spouse was the in-the-field camera monkey running backwards from the police line and risking tear gas; I was back at base moderating the livestream chat to ban abusive commenters and provide additional background information to viewers.) This matters, and I feel like there's no way that I can actually affect it except for spreading information. I wish I could do so more directly.
posted by Lexica at 7:50 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


and via Eli Rosenberg (@EliKMBC), reporter at KMBC 9: "We're dealing with 4,000 animals in there, & you want to give me attitude?" The deputy yelled, mad I was taking a pic #Ferguson #MikeBrown

>animals

>animals

That is some back woods 1800s racism right there holy shit god damn. I wish I could post a gif of the judge from Nothing but trouble.
posted by emptythought at 7:51 PM on August 13 [26 favorites]


“Enough is enough in Ferguson,” Matthew Yglesias, Vox, 13 August 2014
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.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:52 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


(CNN is on it now, of course, they were just late to the party).
posted by Justinian at 7:52 PM on August 13


I know it's 11pm ET but how is the fucking LA Times and CNN the only ones even close to covering this

Well, it's not as interesting as a hoax boy in a balloon or a devils mystery hole in Siberia. Sheesh.

Fuck cnn. And fox. And...
posted by futz at 7:52 PM on August 13


None of the options are palatable:

* The media is completely a tool of the thugs with uniforms and their billionaire owners (most likely this)
* The public just doesn't give a shit, or thinks "they had it coming to them" (a lot of this too, mostly from the right-wing fascists (R) )
* From the president on down, the authorities have told the media "Lauren Bacall or unmitigated support of the thugs, your choice of top stories...or else"
posted by maxwelton at 7:52 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


The WH just published this tweet that I'm sure they'll regret tomorrow:

@Schultz44: Readout of tonight's social gathering coming shortly - spoiler alert: a good time was had by all.
posted by anastasiav at 7:53 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Rubber bullets, per Twitter.

If you've never encountered them - they're not soft, they're hard enough to go into the body.
posted by Frowner at 7:53 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


@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
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:55 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


BBC has been on it too.
posted by futz at 7:55 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


To be fair, Lawrence O'Donnell has been on this for the entire hour. I'm not sure he's even taken a commercial break.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:55 PM on August 13


Antonio French hasn't posted in awhile. Hopefully he's just taking a nap and charging phone.
posted by sio42 at 7:55 PM on August 13


The impression I'm getting, basically, is that these cops have no idea what they are doing and no plan. What a colossal fuckup. Somebody needs to intervene immediately.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:57 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


I think this livestream is actually live: http://www.ustream.tv/embed/6106473
posted by jess at 7:59 PM on August 13


What happens is that they kettle people and then beat them down. I think that's what is happening now, the cops apparently issued a "final warning", which is what they do before they go in - but of course, by that point there's nowhere they'll let you run.

Please please please don't let anyone be killed or crippled.
posted by Frowner at 7:59 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


The plan of the moment seems to be to shoot reporters and set peoples' yards on fire.
posted by Foosnark at 7:59 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


@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


Wait, am I in the ISIS thread or not
posted by emptythought at 8:00 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


(Flashbangs, teargas, rubber bullets. Thankfully not live ammo, though the way this is going I fear they might.)
posted by Foosnark at 8:00 PM on August 13


Or wait, even ISIS let vice in.
posted by emptythought at 8:01 PM on August 13 [7 favorites]


Looks like St. Louis Co. police and fire do not encrypt their audio - live scanner feed.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:01 PM on August 13


Or wait, even ISIS let vice in.

Semi tangent, when did VICE become one of the best indie journalist outfits in the US? I remember when it was ironic hipster trash about 8 years ago; they've really gotten their shit together.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 8:03 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Such a contrast to, say the protests in Madison, where the police and protestors were so remarkably peaceful, Fox News had to resort to footage of a fist fight in San Diego in order to gin up the controversy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:04 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


That Veterans on Ferguson link is definitely worth a look.

You weren't kidding - @BFriedmanDC "The gentleman on the left (Officer on the scene in Ferguson) has more personal body armor and weaponry than I did while invading Iraq." pic.twitter.com/5u6TxyIbkk
posted by cashman at 8:05 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Trymaine Lee on MSNBC right now describing less than 15 seconds between the initial bottle being thrown and the beginning of the entire crowd being tear-gassed.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:06 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Fox News had to resort to footage of a fist fight in San Diego in order to gin up the controversy.

Outside agitators?
posted by Pudhoho at 8:06 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


NBC claimed the protesters threw Molotov cocktails
posted by halfsquaretriangle at 8:07 PM on August 13




moonlight: late last year.
posted by dhartung at 8:08 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I suppose that the police with have to stand down and a bit of time pass before they start explaining that it was a "training failure" on the part of the police. Maybe the chief of police will have to step down, but no major changes in the police department, there.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:08 PM on August 13


Why are they still throwing tear gas canisters on the people who are standing there?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:09 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Trymaine Lee on MSNBC right now describing less than 15 seconds between the initial bottle being thrown and the beginning of the entire crowd being tear-gassed.

Almost like the police knew to move on a pre-arranged signal!
posted by winna at 8:09 PM on August 13 [23 favorites]


(The thing I keep thinking about that dispatch audio is that maybe the dispatcher didn't know about the shooting but I don't actually believe no one else in the PD did. Someone fucked up bad, someone else tried to hide it, they failed.)
posted by PMdixon at 8:13 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Dang, the feed cut out just as they were deciding to call it a night
posted by neitherly at 8:14 PM on August 13


Trymaine Lee on MSNBC right now describing less than 15 seconds between the initial bottle being thrown and the beginning of the entire crowd being tear-gassed.

That's not what I saw on the live streams. It was probably 7 or 8 minutes. And someone did throw a molotov on top of a car wash roof according to two people on one of the livestreams. Not at police, on top of a car wash roof, apparently adjacent to a business that was already burnt out.

(Unless there were separate scenes of confrontation, which would explain the different accounts)
posted by cashman at 8:15 PM on August 13


Via molly crabapple: Bail and Legal Fund for Those Arrested During Ferguson Anti-Police Demonstrations

before they start explaining that it was a "training failure" on the part of the police

Yeah, the bit earlier where he said the guys who arrested Lowery and Reilly "didn't know any better" was pretty much the Gillespie playbook (Chief played by Rod Steiger from In the Heat of the Night, apologizing for officer played by Warren Oates; if you have not seen this it is one of the era's great performances, and Oates is very good too).
posted by dhartung at 8:15 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I keep waiting for the grown-ups from the various strata of government (city of Ferguson, county, state of Missouri) to step up and shut things down but there seems to be nothing but deafening silence.

I'm pretty sure, though, that if I were one of the people in charge of overseeing employment for the Ferguson Chief of Police (surely somebody has authority over him? city council, city manager, mayor, somebody?) that I'd at least want a damn good explanation why the man has time to be on panel discussion shows while this is all going on and to know what his end game plan is, because things seem to be moving in a really, really unfortunate direction.

I'm also puzzled by the county administrators and executives who seem to be loaning materials and personnel to support the city police, and by the conspicuous absence of state legislators and the governor -- the former should be pulling whatever strings they have a grip on to calm things down and the latter should be at least threatening to move in the Missouri National Guard to rein in the out-of-control local law enforcement before a bloodbath takes place.
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:17 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


I hope these municipalities are ready for bankruptcy. Oakland (CA) is going to have to pay $4.5 million for just one Occupy-related incident

And the people who will pay for that, in the long run, are the citizens of Oakland, not the police, who are defended by a fierce police union, and who mostly live in the suburbs. So the bad cops keep their jobs, don't get punished, and don't even have their taxes go up to pay for their misbehavior.

What we need is for the civil authorities to take control of the police, not clean up after they've run wild.
posted by suelac at 8:20 PM on August 13 [10 favorites]


According to the Reddit live-feed, cops are now responding to gunfire.
posted by codacorolla at 8:21 PM on August 13


@MuseZack: Remember in Hunger Games how even the District 12 poor whites were shocked by how brutal the Peacekeepers were in black District 11? Yeah.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:27 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


In case this hasn't been linked to lately on this thread, this is a live video feed from a protest front in Ferguson, MO: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9035483/events/3271930

As I write this, Wednesday night at 11:28pm central, peaceful protesters are being shot and tear gassed by paramilitary police.
posted by wormwood23 at 8:29 PM on August 13


What we need is for the civil authorities to take control of the police, not clean up after they've run wild.

In theory, civil authorities are in control of police, everywhere in this country. The Oakland police chief answers to the mayor and the city council. I don't know what "take control" (more) looks like.

Also, I've lost track and can't find any recent mentions: was an official curfew ever declared? Or are we still in the midst of illegal and mealy-mouthed "be respectful and go indoors when the sun goes down" stuff?
posted by rtha at 8:30 PM on August 13


It's the latter; no official curfew was declared. It was more in the nature of a helpful request.
posted by Justinian at 8:34 PM on August 13


Helpful with rubber bullets.
posted by Justinian at 8:34 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


.
posted by humanfont at 8:36 PM on August 13


The chief responds, "People are using bombs now."

I'm pretty sure all or most of our famous bomb-throwers have been white guys, not black working class people. Maybe they should take those mine-resistant vehicles to park in front of abortion clinics; lotta bomb threats there.
posted by emjaybee at 8:37 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


#Ferguson tag is still working just fine for me. That's what I'm using to follow the news.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:38 PM on August 13


Imagine this with no Twitter or Vine. We really wouldn't know what the fuck was going on, since they kicked the satellite trucks out.
posted by desjardins at 8:39 PM on August 13 [16 favorites]


MSNBC is reporting that an Al Jazeera media vehicle was hit by a teargas cannister; the reporters moved away from their vehicle and the cops then went to the MSNBC crew with guns drawn and pointed, telling them they were trying to get them out of the area for their own safety. The MSNBC reporter is saying that the cops moved the Al Jazeera crew's camera so that it was pointed down at the ground. (I'm surprised it didn't OOPS fall over and get broken.)
posted by rtha at 8:39 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


I also see #Ferguson on FB.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:39 PM on August 13


#Ferguson tag is still working just fine for me. That's what I'm using to follow the news.

Ditto. Also showing at the top of the Trends list, and has for hours now.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:41 PM on August 13


That live feed - it looks like those kids are all boxed in - there's cops on at least two sides that I can see. And they're all in their summer clothes, too, everything is going to hurt. The cops like to wait until there's just a smallish group remaining and then box those people in and beat and arrest them (If you're ever in a serious protest, try to keep everyone together and then disperse all at once - don't just keep marching with some people trailing off bit by bit.)

It's always so weird, because there's always so much waiting in a protest. Hanging about weirdly in the middle of the street. Waiting and tension interspersed with panic; false starts.

Those kids are so good, so tough.
posted by Frowner at 8:41 PM on August 13 [22 favorites]




I'd chalk any Facebook #trending weirdness up to your own personal filter bubble until proven otherwise, but it's too opaque to actually know for sure.
posted by Small Dollar at 8:45 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]








What the wife of the #ferguson chief of police has to say on her Facebook pic.twitter.com/dGdkegmfc4.

Her outlook is no doubt shared by the entire police apparatus.
posted by Pudhoho at 8:55 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


“In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest” [with video], Wesley Lowery, The Washington Post 13 August 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 8:55 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Is that Facebook post real?
posted by mirepoix at 8:56 PM on August 13


Boston.com is doing a pretty good storify liveblog.
posted by valkane at 8:56 PM on August 13


What the wife of the #ferguson chief of police has to say on her Facebook pic.twitter.com/dGdkegmfc4.

Her outlook is no doubt shared by the entire police apparatus.


The person I saw tweet this initially is now saying it's a hoax, so I wouldn't put too much faith in it.
posted by almostmanda at 8:57 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Antonio French hasn't posted in awhile. Hopefully he's just taking a nap and charging phone.

Per Twitter he has been arrested.
posted by ghharr at 8:57 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


What the wife of the #ferguson chief of police has to say on her Facebook pic.twitter.com/dGdkegmfc4.

Can we bring back banishment?
posted by nathan_teske at 8:57 PM on August 13


Many people are reporting on Twitter that the Facebook post is NOT real. (Please do not target anybody with outrage until further verified.)
posted by Lexica at 8:58 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Antonio French hasn't posted in awhile. Hopefully he's just taking a nap and charging phone.

Per Twitter he has been arrested.


To be clear, that's Ferguson MO Alderman Antonio French, arrested by his own police force for protesting.
posted by wormwood23 at 9:02 PM on August 13 [23 favorites]


Source all the things. There are enough well-sourced happenings to be outraged about.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:03 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


As best I can tell, the awful person is real and awful, but she's not related to the Ferguson police chief. Also, the Ferguson police chief is not calling the shots at the moment, because the county has taken over.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:03 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]




Unconfirmed via Twitter:

Antonio French is currently locked up in the Ferguson jail facilitiesTef Poe/FootKlan (@TefPoe) August 14, 2014

Just confirmed with his partner. @AntonioFrench has been arrested.Colleen (@colleenkelly) August 14, 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 9:04 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Many people are reporting on Twitter that the Facebook post is NOT real.

Thanks for the information, it's good to know.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:05 PM on August 13


STL County Police Chief Belmar: "We've done everything we can to demonstrate a remarkable amount of restraint."

That's it. I officially have no more shit left to lose. I have more shit on backorder so I can lose it, but it's gonna be a while.
posted by rtha at 9:05 PM on August 13 [48 favorites]


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?
posted by PMdixon at 9:06 PM on August 13 [5 favorites]


To be clear, that's Ferguson MO Alderman Antonio French, arrested by his own police force for protesting.

Heavens! I'm sure Ferguson officials won't miss a beat in stating that it was "for his own safety."
posted by neitherly at 9:07 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that "wife of the police chief" is fake. The shitteeth in that "what did this little girl learn tonight" tweet comments, though, should be castrated.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:08 PM on August 13


Governor Jay Nixon: Canceling all appearances at the @MoStateFair to visit North #STL County tomorrow. Statement to follow.
posted by valkane at 9:09 PM on August 13


I sincerely hope the coming lawsuits are sufficient to prevent Ferguson from continuing to operate a police force.

And obviously not all right-wingers have taken the sociopathic police department's side :
"Images & reports out of #Ferguson are frightening. Is this a war zone or a US city? Gov't escalates tensions w/military equipment & tactics." - Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
posted by jeffburdges at 9:11 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


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 angry enough to consider it myself. Not knowing the area or having a definite place to stay, I feel like I'd only get in the way and perhaps take a hotel room from someone who really needs it. Better to donate what I would have spent on gas to one of the groups mentioned up-thread I think.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:13 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


That Facebook post appears to have originally been posted by @occupythemob, associated with Anonymous.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:14 PM on August 13


From TPM :
"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."
I'm gonna suggest not shooting unarmed teenagers in the back. Just throwing it out there. I've never been a cop, or done police work or anything, but I know a few cops - some still serving and some retired - and none of them have shot unarmed teenagers in the back. Their careers have gone pretty smoothly so far.

I know, I know - correlation and causation, and whatever. Like I said, it's just a suggestion.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:15 PM on August 13 [27 favorites]


What is going on the ground now? I am almost at the end of my phone usage minutes so I can't stream...
posted by futz at 9:17 PM on August 13


neitherly: “To be clear, that's Ferguson MO Alderman Antonio French, arrested by his own police force for protesting.”
Seeing enough on Twitter that I believe, but so far unable to track down definitive tweet or other info.

Also, Mr. French is Alderman of the 21st Ward of St. Louis. He is not an elected official in Ferguson. He's is, however, a goddamned American hero.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:19 PM on August 13 [21 favorites]


I am mute with horror.
posted by KathrynT at 9:19 PM on August 13


I just watched a bit of this livestream, futz, and saw a group of protestors - standing with arms held in the air in the traditional "I surrender" pose - fired upon with tear gas and rubber bullets.

That disturbed me an awful lot and I had to stop watching.
posted by nubs at 9:20 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


Senator Claire McCaskill:
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
posted by almostmanda at 9:21 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


Ferguson MO Alderman Antonio French, arrested by his own police force

He is an Alder for the City of St. Louis. Not Ferguson, not St. Louis County.

That Facebook post appears to have originally been posted by @occupythemob, associated with Anonymous.

As far as I can tell, the FB poster -- who has her account locked down, at least now she does -- is a genuine Tea Partier, but someone who lives in Pittsburgh, PA. The man on her FB avatar -- who is cropped out in the Twitter post going around -- is not Ferguson Police Chief Jackson, or even County Police Chief Belmar. I could not find out who he might be, but it seems something is crucially incorrect and the cropping makes me suspect deliberately misleading. Please disregard.
posted by dhartung at 9:24 PM on August 13


This is a shameful moment in our history.
posted by humanfont at 9:24 PM on August 13 [17 favorites]


Saw that tweet from McCaskill earlier; it's the ONLY comment I've seen from anyone at a federal level. Good on her, although I am skeptical she'll achieve anything.
posted by suelac at 9:25 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


@PMDixon, ob1quixote: This is my second week living in St Louis and even though it's a house share, I've got at least one couch and enough room for one or two sleeping bags for any Mefite who wants to get out here for a few days to show their support. (of course free of charge)

This stuff is crazy and I can't stand being close to this and just holing myself up in my room. I know I can send money, but I can certainly show up to help out if someone five hours away is talking about putting in an appearance. Just memail me.
posted by neitherly at 9:26 PM on August 13 [9 favorites]


STL County Police Chief Belmar: "We've done everything we can to demonstrate a remarkable amount of restraint."

But it's true. They really believe this. They really truly believe that since they aren't firing live rounds into unarmed people that they are showing restraint and should be commended for it. Because they don't think black people are human beings. End of story.
posted by elizardbits at 9:27 PM on August 13 [71 favorites]


We've heard plenty at the federal level, suelac, like oh Obama's nothing statement. At least Justin Amash actually blamed the police for "[escalating] tensions w/military equipment & tactics", but he's only a representative.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:33 PM on August 13


Also, Mr. French is Alderman of the 21st Ward of St. Louis. He is not an elected official in Ferguson.

Thanks for setting me straight. Every second that he and all the other protesters spend in jail is just mind bogglingly disgusting.
posted by neitherly at 9:37 PM on August 13




Confirmed that Alderman French has been arrested, via his wife: @clairecmc @GovJayNixon @MayorSlay @ChiefSLMPD Hello, @AntonioFrench is in Ferguson jail, think you can make a call or two please?Senka (@senka) August 14, 2014

Also, from the same Huffington Post article I found that tweet in, Daily Telegraph reporter Jon Swaine's vine of the cop telling him, "Move or you're next."
posted by ob1quixote at 9:42 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


In a Country with Permanent Empathy Fatigue, You Can Do Pretty Much Anything You Want to the Despised
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.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:42 PM on August 13 [25 favorites]


MeFi's own Jason Scott is asking people to archive what they can, especially streams.

BinGregory: St. Louis County -- not Ferguson -- Police Chief Tim Fitch, who fucking retired months ago. This crowdsourcing is coming up with utter crap as far as I can tell -- photos of the officer over the body who isn't the officer who fired the shot, constant agency confusion, and as noted a few comments above, supposed comments by a "wife" who has a different name and lives in Pennsylvania. I hope people will be wary of these things because they don't help the cause when they're horseshit.
posted by dhartung at 9:44 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]


O'er the Land of the Free and the Home of the cops who will straight up murder you if you're Black, or Latino, or look at them kind of funny, and don't do exactly what they say when they say it, and then terrorize your entire community Braaaaave!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:49 PM on August 13 [3 favorites]


Animals. For fuck's sake, who are the wild animals here? Who are you not allowed to look directly in the eye, who exists outside the rules of civilization? It's so telling when power feels the public gaze itself as violence. Journalists, protesters, bystanders, anyone is fair game for committing the cardinal sin of looking too hard or too long at the apes inside these men. God knows what else they are used to getting away with.
posted by forgetful snow at 9:55 PM on August 13 [14 favorites]


Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Let America Be America Again - Langston Hughes
posted by koakuma at 9:56 PM on August 13 [28 favorites]


Our local news ran Ferguson coverage and it was surprisingly not terrible. (Not great, but not what I've seen elsewhere) but in typical local news fashion, they interviewed minority locals who explained how they're parents warned them about what to do to keep from getting shot, like being overly polite and excessively compliant. Then they spoke to a mother explaining how this was something she worried about for her kids. I knew of all this (probably thanks to metafilter) but was delighted to see it being broadcast on TV in the highly segregated Milwaukee. Maybe this is a conversation we can really start having.

I too have been contemplating road tripping to Ferguson to lend my support physically. But also fear it wouldn't be helpful. Still, I just checked; 5.5 hour drive.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:00 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


You and your whole race.
Look down upon the town in which you live
And be ashamed.
Look down upon white folks
And upon yourselves
And be ashamed
That such supine poverty exists there,
That such stupid ignorance breeds children there
Behind such humble shelters of despair—
That you yourselves have not the sense to care
Nor the manhood to stand up and say
I dare you to come one step nearer, evil world,
With your hands of greed seeking to touch my throat, I dare you to come one step nearer me:
When you can say that
you will be free!

You and your whole race - Langston Hughes
posted by sallybrown at 10:02 PM on August 13 [8 favorites]




I can pray 
   
all day 
   
& God 
   
wont come.



But if I call 
           
911
       
The Devil 
           
Be here

in a minute!

"Monday in B-Flat" - Amiri Baraka
posted by sallybrown at 10:07 PM on August 13 [24 favorites]


Where is the NRA and all those Clive Bundy protestors? Probably working for the police.
posted by humanfont at 10:11 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


When I recall from my history texts that at a similar juncture in a contentious moment in history, EISENHOWER stepped up to protect his fellow citizens who were being harmed for no reason other than their race, well, then it's at that point when I don't know what to think regarding the current office holder partying in the Vineyard.

I really don't. Surely the current office holder could've sent his regrets to this dear friend, gone to his office and called for a meeting: "What do we do here?"

A staffer pawning off a tweet at 12 in the morning isn't what I expect from a leader in a time of crisis.

Now, maybe in 1954, Eisenhower simply wanted to show Gov. Farbus he was the boss, however, no one seems to be showing the Saint Louis County PD that, no matter what the staff of that PD personally thinks of black people, when it comes to AMERICAN CITIZENS exercising their rights, the Constitution is boss.

END OF.
posted by droplet at 10:13 PM on August 13


Where is the NRA and all those Clive Bundy protestors? Probably working for the police.

Yeah, they're probably in the same klavern.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:13 PM on August 13 [15 favorites]


Foosnark : (Flashbangs, teargas, rubber bullets. Thankfully not live ammo, though the way this is going I fear they might.)

Actually Rubber bullets, teargas, and flashbangs are all lethal under the the wrong circumstances. They are obviously not as dangerous as live ammo, but make no mistake, each "less than lethal" option that the police are using here has killed people in the past.
posted by quin at 10:13 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


Looks like St. Louis Co. police and fire do not encrypt their audio - live scanner feed.

Yeah, but they have separate "riot channels" they've also been using, so the scanners online mostly aren't getting everything. I think one of the Redditors might have set up a scanner that gets the riot channel, too, but I'm not sure.

If it hasn't been mentioned, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police (along with the Kansas City PD) were actually placed on state oversight because things in that department went to pot decades ago.

Yeah, and the city just won back control of its force, whereas if the county keeps this up, they very well could (and perhaps should) lose theirs.
posted by limeonaire at 10:14 PM on August 13


Does Missouri actually have a governor?
posted by Artw at 10:18 PM on August 13 [12 favorites]


USA Today reporter Yamiche Alcindor (@yamiche) is taking Vines outside the Ferguson PD, where some protestors have gathered. Protestors are chanting "What if this were your child?"
posted by princesspathos at 10:23 PM on August 13




Oh, hey, apparently it's this guy, so I guess we can give up hope for any kind of action there.
posted by Artw at 10:25 PM on August 13




Alexis C. Madrigal (The Atlantic, Fresh Air, etc.) is asking for help building out a wiki on the Ferguson & St. Louis Cty. police forces.

Pudhoho : What the wife of the #ferguson chief of police has to say on her Facebook

Once again: On digging I can find no connection with the person who said those things and the state of Missouri, let alone any individual law enforcement personnel there.

Yeah, Artw, I have to say political courage has been in short supply. I know more or less that from the inside (West Wing, wherever) this looks like a third rail, but for pity's sake.
posted by dhartung at 10:29 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I regret posting that link before I vetted it.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:31 PM on August 13


Governor Jay Nixon (D) has finished his dessert and finally made a statement. He canceled a trip to the state fair in order to visit the area tomorrow, so you know he's gonna be pissed.
posted by rhizome at 10:33 PM on August 13 [6 favorites]


this noble gesture will go down in the history books as the Corndog Sacrifice of '14
posted by elizardbits at 10:35 PM on August 13 [45 favorites]




It's iffy for the cops when the governor says "Ask for calm & urge law enforcement to respect rights of residents & press". It'll get interesting if sends the national guard to forcibly remove the police, like his twitter followers suggest.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:42 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]


urge law enforcement to respect rights of residents & press

Boy, you don't hear those words in that order very often.
posted by dry white toast at 10:44 PM on August 13 [4 favorites]


I am TBH not seeing this as a strong statement and more as a bland abdication of responsibility. Bringing the police under control or replacing them seems unlikely for a man who seems less in charge of them and more afraid of damaging their feelings.
posted by Artw at 10:46 PM on August 13


In case this hasn't been linked to lately on this thread, this is a live video feed from a protest front in Ferguson, MO: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9035483/events/3271930

Wow, i'm finally home on a real big kid computer and i could open one of these... and what the fuck is with the chat? it's just a warp speed stream of "FUCK N*****S" blasting by at multiple thousands of characters per second. seriously?
posted by emptythought at 10:52 PM on August 13


Interesting conspiracy theory posted by a Missouri self-proclaimed "drone lawyer": this is planned to get change of venue out of St. Louis County to rural all white jury

Medium: Strange Days in #Ferguson, a good roundup/intro to pass around for your friends (if you're seeing this here, you probably don't need it, though).

emptythought, I am pretty certain you and billmon would get along. He's been on a tear about this.

There's also this tweeted factoid that I haven't seen verified:
Mike Brown was the first homicide in #Ferguson this year. Think about that.
posted by dhartung at 10:56 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]




Interesting conspiracy theory posted by a Missouri self-proclaimed "drone lawyer": this is planned to get change of venue out of St. Louis County to rural all white jury

Yea, this will happen.

it's just way too plausible considering everyone involved on the local government side. bunch of good old boys who seem to think all these folks should still be picking cotton.

also oh man that twitter.
posted by emptythought at 11:29 PM on August 13


In Geneva, a bid to shame US over the killings of young black men

In 2012, Jordan Davis of Jacksonville, a 17-year-old black teen, was shot by a white man during an argument over loud rap music. His father, Ron Davis, is bringing a case before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with the assistance of the United States Human Rights Network, and the US will be forced to answer questions at the meeting about the state of race relations here.

(At this time, nearly two years after the killing, shooter Michael David Dunn remains unconvicted due to a mistrial and still awaits retrial -- set to begin next month -- on a first-degree murder charge.)
posted by dhartung at 11:59 PM on August 13 [11 favorites]




Forgive me if I missed this—what with the deployment of military vehicles, and launching of tear gas, and restrictions on air space, and arresting of reporters—but has any explanation been given for why EMTs weren't dispatched to the scene of the shooting, or why the still-nameless officer felt the need to interfere with two teens to begin with?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:48 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


this is just fucking shameful
posted by angrycat at 2:30 AM on August 14




People should keep in mind that the Ferguson PD is no longer in charge of all this; it's County police and the Highway Patrol. Disbanding Ferguson's police department isn't going to fix this, because the problem goes deeper and higher.

Bringing in police officers from other towns to quell the protests has its own badness, of course.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:48 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


What should happen is charges being filed against every one of the cops involved in this, and the governments involved.

What will happen is medals, awards, and back slapping all around as the grind of police presence finally stamps out the protests.

And then we're back to the status quo of a brutal police department.

What can we do to change this? The legal system seems to have no real solution, but can it be gamed? What if each citizen of Ferguson entered a separate suit, not a class action suit, in a sort of legal DDOS attack? What we have done in the past self evidently has not caused any change as evidenced by all the cops shooting black kids, so we need a new approach, but I have no idea what that approach is.

Anyone? Please tell me there's some hope for real change. Something, anything, we can do.
posted by sotonohito at 2:57 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


In my desperate googling for organizations working on long term responses to systemic racism and police violence (search terms "black, youth, justice" "police brutality") I stopped mid-search when I realized that the annual day against police brutality is 18 years old this year, just like Mike Brown.
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.
The coalition seems super ad-hoc, and the one St. Louis group they list hasn't updated their tumblr in a year. Even their main project StolenLives.org is struggling to keep up with the documentation of deaths from police brutality - "The second edition of the Stolen Lives book documents over 2000 cases in the 1990s alone. Volunteers are needed to help with the research and editing of cases since then. Please contact oct22national@gmail.com for more information."
posted by spamandkimchi at 3:13 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Not surprised but I turn on the news this morning and CNN is all "violent protests" when it should really be "militarization of police" and "excessive force".

Ugh.
posted by Fizz at 3:29 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


why the still-nameless officer felt the need to interfere with two teens to begin with?

Apparently they were black while crossing the street
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:43 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Graphic warning: "no protestors have been harmed"
posted by Metafilter Username at 4:42 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


The image under the "no protestors have been harmed" link is very graphic indeed and potentially distressing. It's a picture of a wound from a rubber bullet. However, it's one of the clearest explanations I've seen of why non-lethal doesn't mean harmless, and why police using rubber bullets shouldn't be the easy choice that it seems to be.
posted by frimble at 4:55 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


That video: Your Future indeed. A bunch of bumblefuck teen-aged boys playing army with real guns. It's all fun and games even after they murder you.

Those kids are so good, so tough.

Watching the live feed, I imagined those police steamrolling down my boyhood streets.
My sisters and our friends playing kickball in the street with absolutely no protection.
I am imagining I am 12 again and living in Ferguson.

It's late summer and instead of playing kickball in the street or just enjoying the last few weeks of leisure before school winds up again, the children of Ferguson are afraid for their lives.
The police force tasked to protect them is instead terrorizing them.

This is not like the old days where you can throw rocks.

They have tanks.
posted by Pudhoho at 4:55 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]



Just wanted to address the question of the benefit of being white and going to this situation. I have some experience in this area. Been involved with supporting a long-term minority confrontation with the police et al. I suspect that though the context and people are different that the patterns are similar.

While it's obvious to mefites what is coming out in mainstream media is distorted, biased and just plain wrong in many cases. During the thing I was involved in when I read the media stories about events that I saw with my own eyes it was like the story was talking about something entirely different. I spent a lot of time, online and just telling people what really happened. IT SHOULD NOT be this way but as a white person I know I got traction with people that likely would have dismissed the info if it had come from the minority person. This has some value in terms of making sure as much of the correct info is out there. Even just being able to talk about it to people in your daily lives or come across is a good thing. It's been many years since the thing I was involved in but it still occasionally comes up in conversation (usually BS) and I'm able to call out the BS in social groups that the main people involved have little or no access to.

The more diverse faces present makes it more difficult to make it just a thing involving that 'other' group. Media will try to manipulate in the sense of forming a specific narrative. Anything that makes it more difficult to ply that narrative helps.

This type of thing is exhausting both physically and emotionally for the people involved. It hits the core in ways that I as white person can only try to understand and empathize with. I was told that it helped a lot to have other people that weren't them there just because it helped with feelings of being alone and that other people that didn't have to deal with this shit because of accident of birth actually give a shit, even if there is very little they can do. Solidarity and all that.

A few things if people do decide to go. Walk beside or behind the people in a metaphorical sense. Be aware that a thing that happens fairly commonly is white person comes in, feels like they're awesome for being so with it and solidarity forever and tries to take the lead. Just don't be that person they suck ass.

Realize that by the luck of your skin color you are less likely to be arrested. It looks like in this situation that they are and will be less discerning but even then you still have some advantage in this regard. This sucks of course and it shouldn't be this way but it's important to be aware of. At times however it can be used in a positive way because you can do things that are needed that may be harder for someone else who isn't white. (Like for instance I was able to get around the police lines and through the (white) looky loo crowd to get some needed medical supplies without being hassled).

Things will be messy and I mean that in the sense that although the people involved are identified as one big group and that they have come together there are a myrid of smaller groups and ways of thinking involved. Going in it's easy to imagine, one big, we are all one, kumbya situation. Those elements will be there, but it is romantic to think that it isn't fraught with internal conflict as people are trying to deal with an incredibly stressful situation and figure out how to keep it all together. This is perfectly okay and the way these things work in the real world. In the situation I was in we had white allies come in and get kinda jaded because it wasn't what they thought it should be like with everyone agreeing with each other and that there were people doing what seemed to be really stupid things. None of this takes away from the larger context and reasons this is happening. There just is no such thing as perfect protesters as there aren't perfect people of any color.

That's all I can think of for now. I'll post more if I think of it.
posted by Jalliah at 5:11 AM on August 14 [55 favorites]






Police in Los Angeles shoot mentally challenged unarmed black man. Per eyewitness he was shot in the back, while laying facedown on the ground.

I think we are on track for 1 police shooting of an unarmed person every day this year.
posted by mrbigmuscles at 6:12 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Jesus. Its like every police department in the nation saw what happened in Ferguson and said "yeah, this is exactly what we need, someone go shoot an unarmed black kid".
posted by sotonohito at 6:17 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]



Just drove to work and CBCs the Current did a piece on this. I didn't catch all of it but they talked to a woman named Amanda who is there, the militarization of US police and how the trend is also playing out to some extent in Canada.

What the Micheal Brown Shooting Says About the Militarization of American Police.

I think the piece is available or will be available in podcast.
posted by Jalliah at 6:20 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


Jalliah, A great link, thanks for sharing. Sad that stories like that have to be written.
posted by Fizz at 6:23 AM on August 14


Jesus. Its like every police department in the nation saw what happened in Ferguson and said "yeah, this is exactly what we need, someone go shoot an unarmed black kid".

More like they've been shooting unarmed black kids on the regular for a while, it's (hopefully) now getting the attention it deserves.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:25 AM on August 14 [16 favorites]


I just listened to the NPR Morning Edition coverage of Ferguson. Between their coverage of Gaza and now this police apologist crap that as much said those uppity darkies were asking for it by being so angry, I've lost all faith in them.
posted by dejah420 at 6:29 AM on August 14 [17 favorites]


It's late summer and instead of playing kickball in the street or just enjoying the last few weeks of leisure before school winds up again, the children of Ferguson are afraid for their lives.

School was actually supposed to have started this week. Schools in the area have closed until next week because of this madness.
posted by Foosnark at 6:29 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Regarding Pogo's comment above citing a TPM article that kind of makes it seem like Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson was asking the general public for tips on what to do, 11:00 into the press conference, Jackson says:
"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."
posted by cashman at 6:43 AM on August 14


I don't think I've seen this picture of police taking down an Al-Jazerra America camera crew posted yet.

I'm sorry I don't know who took the picture, it was posted on another board I cheat on MeFi with read without attribution.
posted by bowmaniac at 6:44 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, in Texas: Anger brews over 'Open Carry' protest in Fifth Ward
posted by Artw at 6:46 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]




(Believe me, there were some Body Count lyrics from 1992 that I wanted to bring up, since Tom Jackson almost literally used the "tell us what to do?!" phrase Ice-T uses in 'Body Count', but law enforcement being submissive to the ideas of the DOJ is a different thing then the general white community throwing up their hands and acting like there's no conceivable action to take after another killing of of black kid.)
posted by cashman at 6:50 AM on August 14


Bill Maher was talking about the 1033 program in light of Ferguson recently, and asked a good question - he asked the Tea Party folk "hey, you claim the thing you're against is the encroaching of government upon our Civil Liberties - the exact thing you're protesting is happening in Ferguson, Missouri right now, and where the hell are you?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:54 AM on August 14 [39 favorites]


The anti-WTO protests and subsequent were also key parts of the militarization of the cops, as was the end of the Cold War - not as much market abroad, time to manufacture products to sell at home.

"Hippie protests" and Ferguson-protests are both part of a....a logic circuit about how to delegitimize protest. "Hippie protests" (majority white, about something relatively abstract) aren't legitimate because we're all spoiled rich kids; it's okay to beat up hippies because "everyone knows" that we are so rich and privileged that even getting beaten or incurring years and tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs doesn't matter for us; and after all, what do we have to complain about, it's not our business if they're building an oil pipeline or whatever - it's not like it's our issue, right, why aren't the indigenous people or the working class people protesting? But then Ferguson-style protests are illegitimate precisely because it's people who are directly affected by something - they're angry and they're upset, and they are not respectable, and after all, they don't care about the common good, all they care about is themselves. If hippies break a window, we're bad because we're rich so we should respect property; if poor folks break a window, they're bad because they're greedy. Basically, when it's white middle class people protesting in solidarity, we deserve to get beat down because we're not "real" victims and so we don't have standing; but when "real" victims do protest, they deserve to get beat down because they're too upset and not distanced from the issue enough.

Obviously white middle class people don't face nearly the consequences for protesting that anyone else does - that's not what I'm talking about. It just occurred to me today on the way to work that each kind of protest is used rhetorically to delegitimize the other kind, so basically the answer to "well what kind of protester wouldn't deserve to get beaten down then?" is really "whatever kind of protester you are not".
posted by Frowner at 6:58 AM on August 14 [50 favorites]


I wonder how the "armed society is a polite society" nutbars would react if some organization started distributing handguns (legally, with all the right paperwork) in mostly black neighborhoods.
posted by bonehead at 6:58 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


where the hell are you

Their mom's said they had to come home right now immediately.
posted by elizardbits at 6:59 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


It never ceases to amaze me how many people forget the second half of the expression "a few bad apples SPOIL THE BUNCH"
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:00 AM on August 14 [26 favorites]


basically the answer to "well what kind of protester wouldn't deserve to get beaten down then?" is really "whatever kind of protester you are not".

Divide and conquer. If both groups protested together it would be a lot scarier for the powers that be.
posted by empath at 7:01 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


I'm going to be watching #NMOS14 and #NMOS tonight in hopes that everything stays peaceful. (NMOS = National Moment of Silence)

Milwaukee's gathering (rally? protest?) is out of the way in an overwhelmingly black and high crime neighborhood; but Chicago's is in a very prominent location (Daley Plaza). I find this unfortunate because Milwaukee would likely get much higher attendance if they held it downtown. Milwaukee is a racial tinderbox though, so it might actually be safer to hold it in a black neighborhood rather than a place white people actually care about.
posted by desjardins at 7:02 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


shortfuse: "FOX2NOW anchors: "…the most important thing is the safety of the officers, faced with increasingly heated protests nightly… said the mayor…". Infuriating."

To serve and protect... ourselves from facing any consequences in any way shape or form no matter how dastardly our deed.
posted by symbioid at 7:02 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I wonder how the "armed society is a polite society" nutbars would react if some organization started distributing handguns (legally, with all the right paperwork) in mostly black neighborhoods.

See: 1985 - Philadelphia - MOVE
posted by edgeways at 7:05 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


"Dead cops

Down on the street
Giving poor the heat
With their clubs and guns
Doin' it all for fun

Dead Cops

Big bad and blue
They're in the Klan too
Brutality is their sport
We'll put 'em to the torch"

MDC - "Dead Cops/America's So Straight" (youtube)
posted by symbioid at 7:05 AM on August 14




am I crazy or was there a comment deleted about Anonymous releasing the name of the officer? A news article was also deleted.
posted by desjardins at 7:09 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


am I crazy

No, I think I saw it too.
posted by aramaic at 7:12 AM on August 14


I saw it too. It was deleted, and I didn't have a chance to click on the article, but if it's anything like that "wife of police chief's Facebook post" thing, I don't want to see it. No fake outrage, please, we have plenty of legit outrage to deal with.

I do want that name released, though. I just want it confirmed as legit.
posted by palomar at 7:13 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


What does it take to make real change come of this? Obviously the system is broken in this area right to the top; but it's been broken before and fixed before.
posted by bonaldi at 7:13 AM on August 14


(apparently I'm going to use the word legit a lot today, sorry in advance)
posted by palomar at 7:13 AM on August 14


It was, yes. I think it runs up against the "don't dox" culture here on the blue.

I admit to following the link when it was live, and finding the name, and googling it to see if it got a hit for an address and phone number. And it did. And even though I had someone do that precise thing to me once, and had the guy use that info to call and ask me out, and even though I knew exactly how creepy and shitty a thing it is to do, I was really tempted to use that information for nefarious purposes....before my conscience stepped in and said "no". And so, if someone like me - arguably on the goodie-two-shoes side - was tempted to call the guy and talk smack, imagine what someone with a quieter conscience would do, and that's why the mods cut that, I think.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I have the comment up on my page still, the gist of it is a link to Anon's Twitter, on which they are now threatening to release various info about the guy at staggered intervals until the St. Louis PD responds to them. Here's hoping this isn't like the Reddit "find the Boston bombers!" thing where they wrongly accused a whole bunch of people Internet vigilante-style.
posted by zempf at 7:16 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest

“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”
posted by FrauMaschine at 7:19 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


I'm so grateful no one died in Ferguson last night. I was really afraid I'd wake up to read that one person, whether cop or local, made one little mistake and then all those military weapons opened up and fifteen people were dead.

That could still happen today. I really, really hope the cops come to their senses and de-escalate the situation, keep their military equipment out of sight. Surely the folks in charge understand that the police are the provocation?
posted by Nelson at 7:20 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Anonymous Threatens To Release Name Of Officer In Ferguson Police Shooting
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.”
Stay classy Anonymous!
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:21 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Surely the folks in charge understand that the police are the provocation?

Well, no. One problem seems to be that no one knows who's really "in charge"... Ferguson PD immediately turned things over to county police, but then also they've got a rotating schedule of who's overseeing the riot cops on a nightly basis... and then the county police chief was saying last night that he feels like they've shown very admirable restraint in their dealings. So... no, they don't seem to get that they're the fucking problem here.
posted by palomar at 7:22 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


bonehead: I wonder how the "armed society is a polite society" nutbars would react if some organization started distributing handguns (legally, with all the right paperwork) in mostly black neighborhoods.

Well, we actually have a pretty good historical precedent for this, as the NRA wasn't there to support the Black Panthers in the late 1960s, and, in fact, worked to craft gun control legislation in many states after Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act in 1967.

They later changed leadership, and with that leadership change came a more universal hard-line position against gun control, so I highly doubt they'd be out there suggesting the protestors be disarmed. Still, the NRA's messaging over the years has increasingly relied on appeals to racial anxiety, so I do wonder if the sight of thousands and thousands of "law-abiding citizens" (who happen to look like the people many of their members are arming themselves against) arming themselves would create some difficult conversations at NRA HQ.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:24 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


The husband was in despair about this and other things last night, and I was saying, look, we're in the rock-turning-over phase; seeing the horror that has been going on underneath all along. What happens now partially depends on if we turn away, or keep bearing witness.

"Bearing witness" seems weak and useless, but it isn't; bad regimes want to hide what they do. That's why they are blocking journalists; they apparently do think that other people knowing what is happening is a threat to them.

Sunshine isn't a magic weapon, but it is still powerful. Without Black Twitter and other folk making noise, we'd barely know this happened. But they shone a spotlight, and now lots of people are paying attention. We need to keep paying attention. And it doesn't all depend on well-meaning white people; the black voices on Twitter and elsewhere are louder than they've ever been, and they have decades of passion and anger fueling them. Follow their lead.

I don't know if that's very coherent, but that's where I am.
posted by emjaybee at 7:24 AM on August 14 [45 favorites]


I'm glad Anonymous is threatening to dox kids now, because that's definitely really productive and unlikely to lead to further escalation.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 7:25 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Anonymous aren't helping anything here and should probably be ignored.
posted by Artw at 7:27 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


I'm glad Anonymous is threatening to dox kids now, because that's definitely really productive and unlikely to lead to further escalation.

You are absolutely correct. 100%

Still better than shooting them though.
posted by edgeways at 7:27 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The only thing that can stop a cop with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:28 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Tonycpsu, I can't link from my phone, but as a donor to the Armed Citizen Project, I can tell you some people are doing exactly that, if not specifically in Ferguson.
posted by corb at 7:30 AM on August 14


That's great, but the Armed Citizen Project isn't the NRA.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:35 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I'm glad Anonymous is threatening to dox kids now, because that's definitely really productive and unlikely to lead to further escalation.

In the interest of staying up to date, that happened yesterday, and Anonymous has since backed off of that due to twitter outcry.
posted by dysh at 7:36 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


The Toast today:

Updates From Ferguson, Missouri
Mallory Ortberg

We’re not, you know, normally a news site, but as much as I would like to bring you celebrations of minor Simpsons characters or jokes about dirtbag Yeats right now, the city of Ferguson, Missouri is under violent, racist, militarized police occupation...
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:37 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


Watched the events last night on my phone. This morning, while feeding my youngest son, my oldest and I were watching the Today show. They showed footage from one of the live streams (the radio one, KRAG or something, the one that was in nightvision) and I was talking to my oldest about what was happening (as much as you can explain what was happening to a four year old).

But, as I was trying to use the most general terms I could, he caught me off guard. He said "Those bad guys are shooting."
posted by stltony at 7:39 AM on August 14 [30 favorites]


Okay, I've read the article that telstar links to here, discussing how surplus army equipment was passed onto police forces throughout the country. Ostensibly this was to more adequately arm police forces engaged in "The War On Drugs" (tm).

Here's the thing though.

In the article, they make mention of one Connecticut community and what it has received through the program:
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.
Okay, I grew up in Connecticut. What's more, I grew up in the town in Connecticut that was arguably the one with the biggest drug problem - or at least it was one big enough that The Hartford Courant named it "Heroin Town" in a 2002 special report, and 60 Minutes did the same a year later. Watertown is clear across the state from my town and got a freakin' land-mine-resistant tank through this program - my town, however, got diddley-shit.

So this doesn't actually seem to be about arming the towns that have legit drug problems after all. So that begs the question - what exactly IS Program 1033 about?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:40 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


The thing about vigilantism like Anonymous is that is raises an ethical question (is vigilantism justifiable) and a pragmatic question (how can we prevent vigilantism). The ethical question can be debated from many angles. The pragmatic question yields some more solid answers given that vigilantism tends to grow where legitimate law enforcement is dysfunctional or becomes criminal itself.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:41 AM on August 14


So this doesn't actually seem to be about arming the towns that have legit drug problems after all.

I was never under that impression.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:43 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Anonymous played a part in uncovering the Steubenville coverup, that's the one time I can think of they've done something useful in a case like this and not just made a bunch of noise.
posted by Artw at 7:44 AM on August 14


Doxxing is wrong. Outing the person we think is the perpetrator denies everyone justice.
It's 'oxbow justice'. Fuck that shit.
Force the police to tell the truth via the appropriate channels.
When we start skipping steps we're worse than the cops.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:44 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


That was kind of my point, shakespeherian.....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 AM on August 14


Why was there a "War on Drugs" is one of triode questions like "why the fuck would anyone think the IDF have anything of use to teach law enforcement" - it's all about bombastic blowhards showing off and looking "hardline" and fuck all to do with reality.
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


"Sir, there are protesters gathering. They are saying that they believe one of our officers unnecessarily escalated a situation that should have been resolved peacefully."

"FIRE UP THE TANKS! GET THE TEAR GAS CANNONS! NO ONE ACCUSES US OF UNNECESSARY ESCALATION!"
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:47 AM on August 14 [73 favorites]


I'm pondering how to combat the public misconception in Feguson. Like many of you, what I'm seeing is a lot of people who are blaming the residents, not the overblown police response. A lot of it seems to be the preconceived notion of "Black people doing scary/self harmful things again." Which got me wondering if a viral blitz of a collection of images and tweets from the last few nights would be helpful. The image of what a rubber bullet really does got me thinking.

Is this just facile? I was thinking Buzzfeed style listicle. Not, it doesn't tell the full story, but maybe it can get eyeballs on it from people who might otherwise run with their pre- conceived predjudices.

I can't write for shit, especially in a way that might approach both the humor and balance needed to make it gain traction, but would be happy to start gathering images. If this isn't the worst idea ever, and someone wants to work with me on it, memail me.

I feel silly posting this, but I just want to DO something, and maybe knowledge can help with the tide of public opinion.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 7:48 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


When we start skipping steps we're worse than the cops.

I don't recall Anonymous shooting any unarmed kids.

Something can be a bad idea or an unjustifiable action without our needing to argue its moral equivalence to a worse thing.
posted by kewb at 7:49 AM on August 14 [21 favorites]


Google Doc with list of cities and locations for today's National Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:50 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


The governor is withdrawing St Louis Police from Ferguson, according to various reports.
posted by empath at 7:51 AM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Various tweets are claiming Governor Nixon is about to remove the STL County police from duty in Ferguson.

Jonathan Allen of Bloomberg seems like the most reputable source on this.
posted by almostmanda at 7:51 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


[insert clever name here] I NEVER post political stuff on Facebook, but I just shared an article about this exactly because there is so much misrepresentation. What I really wanted to find was a collection of photos that showed the police response to obviously peaceful protesters. If you or someone makes that list, share it with us.
posted by chatongriffes at 7:53 AM on August 14


Also, winna - I doubt it's a prearranged, ie agent provocateur signal. I think it's more likely that if people are militarizing cops, they're also militarizing their training and response doctrine to respond more quickly.
posted by corb at 7:53 AM on August 14


Police departments are less about protecting and serving the public and more about playing army man at home. How did we get to the point where it's acceptable for cops to wear camouflage? It's designed to conceal. It's a uniform for war. Its completely counter to the message you want to present as a police force. You want to be open, transparent, helpful, and very visible when needed. This shit is just some special forces fantasy camp.
posted by cmfletcher at 7:53 AM on August 14 [53 favorites]


Google Doc with list of cities and locations for today's National Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality.

There's one three blocks away from my house.

...Mefi meetup in Bed-Stuy, anybody?
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:54 AM on August 14


I'm fine with annoyance measures like doxing, so long as they stay non-physical. It's counter productive if you distract everyone with bad information though.

And obviously it must remain about annoying them through phone calls, hacks, and letters. If you're actually inciting folks to commit physical crimes then you've crossed that line from unattributable to attributable threat that prevents your views from being expressed in a civil solution.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:54 AM on August 14


Anon has released a name and a screenshot of his Facebook page. I won't link it here but you can find it easily in #ferguson.

Will be interesting to see if this is really the guy since he updated his profile on the 12th with a current photo. No visible sign of facial injury in the photo.
posted by honestcoyote at 7:55 AM on August 14


I'm pondering how to combat the public misconception in Feguson.

I've noticed a couple people changed their tune from "black people should remain peaceful and stop destroying their own communities with rioting and looting" to "the police have gone way too far."

The difference was when they learned about reporters and local politicians being tear-gassed and arrested.

Racism or a sort of racism-classism perhaps, but there it is.
posted by Foosnark at 7:56 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


But, as I was trying to use the most general terms I could, he caught me off guard. He said "Those bad guys are shooting."

This reminded me of watching footage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, and my then almost-four year old commenting, "those policemen are very angry, and they don't like brown people."
posted by ambrosia at 7:56 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


So that begs the question - what exactly IS Program 1033 about?

This (sympathetic to police) article has a little more info:

Police chiefs, meanwhile, say the program has helped them to work around budget constraints, modernize their departments and provide their officers with the tools they need to confront the dangers of their job.

"There's been a little bit of hype with departments getting M16s, MRAPs, that type of stuff," said Walkerton Police Chief Matthew Schalliol. "It's not for the purpose of becoming more militarized. It's for the purpose of being prepared for any type of scenario that could come our way."

In Walkerton, a town with a population of slightly more than 2,000, the police department got two Humvees worth nearly $40,000 each, five night-vision sights worth more than $4,000 each and scores of ammunition magazines and combat-oriented accessories in the past two years alone, according to data provided by the state, which coordinates the program.

Others, such as the Elkhart and Goshen police departments, obtained dozens of military rifles. In North Liberty, a town of 1,896, the stockpile includes Humvees, combat knives, rifles, dozens of ammunition magazines -- even a pair of landmine detectors.

Roseland, the town of 630 that encompasses roughly a square mile between Notre Dame and Cleveland Road, also got a Humvee, and so did Bourbon, a town of 1,810 in eastern Marshall County.

Yet while the combat gear has drawn the most scrutiny, small-town police chiefs have largely used the program to outfit their departments with general office and investigative items such as computers, printers and digital cameras, often acquiring thousands of dollars worth of equipment for free, except for shipping and handling.

The program allowed North Liberty town Marshal Mike Sawdon, who oversees just two full-time officers, to outfit his squad cars with laptops and build a gym -- complete with elliptical machines, treadmills and weights -- in the basement of the police station.

Schalliol, the Walkerton police chief, estimated that at least 70 percent of the office equipment at the town's police station, including every computer and monitor, was acquired through the 1033 program.

"If we didn't have this program, there's a good chance we'd still be in the dark ages, so to speak," he said.

And some of the military gear can be repurposed, Sawdon said, pointing out that his department could use the landmine detectors to find weapons, shell casings or other metallic evidence at crime scenes. Police said the Humvees can be used to track fleeing suspects into remote areas or even as ambulances during harsh weather conditions that pose challenges to other vehicles.

The heaviest weapons and vehicles, meanwhile, see use only on rare occasions, Mishawaka Police Chief Ken Witkowski said. In the two months since the Mishawaka Police Department unveiled the MRAP -- which will be used by the St. Joseph County Metro SWAT Team -- the vehicle has not been deployed for anything other than training exercises.


The clusterfuck of a nightmare that is the War on Drugs is the gift that just keeps on giving, it seems.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:57 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


What a colossal failure on the part of the police department.

Even under the best of circumstances there will be massive mistakes, but you don't cover them up then lash out at an angry community because of your mistakes.
posted by edgeways at 7:57 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


I'm fine with annoyance measures like doxing, so long as they stay non-physical. It's counter productive if you distract everyone with bad information though.

And obviously it must remain about annoying them through phone calls, hacks, and letters. If you're actually inciting folks to commit physical crimes then you've crossed that line from unattributable to attributable threat that prevents your views from being expressed in a civil solution.


I am absolutely opposed to doxxing because you cannot anticipate whether or not physical crimes will be perpetrated once you let loose the dogs of the internet and because doxxing is far too often some idiot with the google who picks someone with a similar name. Just because your name is Joyne Smithe you shouldn't be hounded for the purported crimes of someone named John Smith.

Also, winna - I doubt it's a prearranged, ie agent provocateur signal. I think it's more likely that if people are militarizing cops, they're also militarizing their training and response doctrine to respond more quickly.

I dunno, corb, I've had enough experience with protests that I know that agent provocateurs are absolutely a common tactic. But even if it wasn't, I think everyone can agree that cops shouldn't be militarized to the point they hair-trigger fire tear gas at crowds of the people who pay their salaries.
posted by winna at 8:01 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


KSDK has an interview with Alderman French after his release from custody this morning.
posted by nangar at 8:02 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]




I dunno, corb, I've had enough experience with protests that I know that agent provocateurs are absolutely a common tactic.

Maybe a Man Who Was Thursday-type situation.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:04 AM on August 14


The news reports this morning have a decidedly different tone to them. Even Fox(!!) are coming down against the police.

Shockingly, assaulting journalists is bad for PR.
posted by schmod at 8:05 AM on August 14 [19 favorites]


St Louis Post Dispatch police reporter tweets that police say Anonymous doxed the wrong guy.
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 8:08 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why they just don't release this person's name already. I can't imagine he and his family haven't already been taken somewhere else.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:11 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I don't recall Anonymous shooting any unarmed kids.

Doxxing is the equivalent of a person in a Lynch mob yelling: "There they are! Get 'em!" It's an act of violence.
posted by bonehead at 8:11 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I would not be surprised at all if Anon fucks this up.

Will be interesting to see if this is really the guy since he updated his profile on the 12th with a current photo. No visible sign of facial injury in the photo.

This means nothing; it matters when the photo was taken. I've often updated my profile with pictures that are days/weeks/months old. If I had a big bruise/cut on my face, I sure wouldn't update it to that.

I'm definitely not defending anyone, I just don't like to jump to conclusions. If you have the EXIF data, please post it.
posted by desjardins at 8:12 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why they just don't release this person's name already.

They say they are concerned for his safety. I guess they don't have enough cops to protect him ? Maybe the guns are too small.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:12 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


They say they are concerned for his safety. I guess they don't have enough cops to protect him? Maybe the guns are too small.

It really doesn't matter where they move him to. There are unarmed teens walking the streets everywhere. No place is safe.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:16 AM on August 14 [73 favorites]


They say they are concerned for his safety. I guess they don't have enough cops to protect him ? Maybe the guns are too small.

AFAIK 100% of the recent murders in Ferguson were committed by police.
posted by empath at 8:18 AM on August 14 [22 favorites]


Heck, I know where they can find a whole lot of guns - some of them shoot tear gas, though, is that okay?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


How on earth did this fool Crump get involved in this. Please tell me he won't in any way be involved in any case that gets brought against this officer. Please.
posted by cashman at 8:19 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Shockingly, assaulting journalists is bad for PR.

It's a shame that lately it seems like it's a relief when the cops start attacking targets that are not minorities because that's when you know people will start taking it seriously.
posted by winna at 8:21 AM on August 14 [32 favorites]


I just joined Twitter to follow this and the difference between coverage on TV and on social media is astounding.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:22 AM on August 14 [22 favorites]


Apparently Obama is going to make a statement at 12:15.
posted by cashman at 8:23 AM on August 14


Also: I assume people are tweeting at The President and White House accounts? Can I see those tweets? And the President's team have GOT to be following social media and what's going down, right?

There has got to be a statement from the Pres. soon.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:23 AM on August 14


New Yorker: What I Saw in Ferguson by Jelani Cobb. "Nothing that happened in Ferguson, Missouri, on the fourth night since Michael Brown died at the hands of a police officer there, dispelled the notion that this is a place where law enforcement is capable of gross overreaction."
posted by Nelson at 8:24 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


(Oh jinx cashman - buy, coke, me, etc.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:24 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The governor is withdrawing St Louis Police from Ferguson, according to various reports.

This is pretty much the first thing I have seen since Sunday that gives me some cause for cautious optimism.
posted by Foosnark at 8:25 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Prediction: Obama will ask the residents to stay calm, and will promise to work with authorities to figure things out. He will not say anything that can be interpreted as criticism of the police response.
posted by suelac at 8:25 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


This seems to be pretty good confirmation that Nixon is gonna pull STPD out of Ferguson.
posted by TheTingTangTong at 8:25 AM on August 14


I'm fine with annoyance measures like doxing, so long as they stay non-physical. It's counter productive if you distract everyone with bad information though.

I'm flashing back to a little more than a year ago when Reddit tried to "crowdsource" the manhunt for the Boston Bombers and wound up provoking some suicides, due to wrongful accusations. In the end, the Boston police were forced to release their information prematurely to stem the witch hunt that Reddit had provoked, which then resulted in the car chase, the firefight with the Tsarnaev's, the lockdown, and our first mainstream images of a militarized police force with tanks and snipers looking for one wounded boy.

Jesus, what a year that's been.
posted by bl1nk at 8:26 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]






Apparently Obama is going to make a statement at 12:15.

It better be blistering. It won't be, I know, but...where's the guy who said "fuck it" and delivered "A More Perfect Union" when he was under attack and people were telling him not to stick his neck out??

I don't care if there is nothing concrete he can do (calling in the Nat'l Guard, etc), he needs to step up to the mike on this one and use whatever tools he has.
posted by sallybrown at 8:27 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


Confirmed that the President will make a statement at 12:15 Eastern (in 45 minutes).
posted by cashman at 8:28 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Because in this situation, being half-cocked with the news is a bad idea - I want to own my own instance of going off half-cocked.

After claiming that my hometown did not receive an MRAP through the 1033 program, as I've claimed here, I've since learned that my home town HAS received an MRAP.

I still remain dubious as to whether the program exists to fight The War On Drugs (tm), but I wanted to correct that mistake.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Do we know that the President's statement is about Ferguson and not Iraq? Today is the 60 day deadline for mandatory Congressional approval of ongoing presence there.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:29 AM on August 14


empath: "Maybe the guns are too small..."

Why do you think they need all those MRAPs?!
posted by symbioid at 8:29 AM on August 14


I don't care if there is nothing concrete he can do (calling in the Nat'l Guard, etc), he needs to step up to the mike on this one and use whatever tools he has

He could call in the National Guard if he wanted to.
posted by desjardins at 8:31 AM on August 14


Do we know that the President's statement is about Ferguson and not Iraq? Today is the 60 day deadline for mandatory Congressional approval of ongoing presence there.

From the information I saw, there are suppositions that both topics will be addressed.
posted by cashman at 8:31 AM on August 14


The argument against outspoken presidential statements on this not backed by the ability to actually do anything would be this shit.
posted by Artw at 8:33 AM on August 14


Eric Schultz says both topics will be covered.
posted by donnagirl at 8:33 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


He could call in the National Guard if he wanted to.

That's Jay Nixon's job.
posted by Artw at 8:34 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I guess this shouldn't surprise me but: KKK Raising Money for Police Officer who Shot African-American Teen.

While the article has little new information, I did find this darkly humorous; "Email requests to Imperial Wizard Chuck Murray on Wednesday were not answered." I would think emails from Southern Poverty Law Center were not going to get answered by a Klan wizard, no.
posted by emjaybee at 8:34 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


> I don't care if there is nothing concrete he can do (calling in the Nat'l Guard, etc), he needs to step up to the mike on this one and use whatever tools he has.

I think the FBI and the DOJ count as tools.
posted by nangar at 8:35 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]




'Imperial Wizard Chuck Murray' has got to be in some Pynchon book or other.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:36 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


If that cop has even one tiny ounce of decency in his body, hearing that the KKK is supporting him and raising money for him should make him feel like absolute shit.

But then I live in a dream world where people actually feel terrible after they murder an unarmed teenager. Sigh.
posted by palomar at 8:36 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Several news reports are stating as fact that molotov cocktails were thrown by protestors last night. Is that documented anywhere reputable? It certainly is plausible, either violent angry protestors or else agents provocateurs. Or it could all be made up; many folks are misinterpreting this photo of tear gas being thrown back as evidence of molotovs.

Protests like this are dangerous when either side escalates. Snipers and armored vehicles, throwing bottles, doxxing the children of police officials, assaulting journalists.. These are all escalations. It's frightening.
posted by Nelson at 8:36 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


I look forward to seeing the official accounting of the total number of tear gas canisters, flash bangs, smoke bombs, rubber bullets (etc.) that these forces have used to date on civilians in Ferguson. Surely they are required to keep a careful record of how much ammunition* has gone into the field vs. what has come back. I want to see it. Now.

*or "crowd calming marshmallows," I don't care what they call it
posted by argonauta at 8:42 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Officer Friendly
posted by edgeways at 8:42 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


Not Just Ferguson: 11 Eye-Opening Facts About America’s Militarized Police Forces

...though I would call it "hair-raising" or "nightmare-inducing" more than "eye-opening," but that's just me.
posted by scody at 8:43 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Video of the cops tear gassing the Al Jazeera news crew and trying to dismantle or destroy their equipment.
posted by dejah420 at 8:44 AM on August 14 [17 favorites]


BREAKING: Rep. Clay Says St. Louis County Police to be Relieved of Duty #Ferguson

I'd be careful driving around St. Louis for a while. It appears there could be a large surplus of angry traffic police in the area.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:45 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Several news reports are stating as fact that molotov cocktails were thrown by protestors last night. Is that documented anywhere reputable?

Watching the livestream last night, two of the guys on one of them (the one with Mike Biggs or whoever from infowars) were saying that molotov cocktails were thrown onto the top of a car wash and that car wash was on fire, and the police didn't seem to be worried about putting it out. There was nothing about any of those being thrown in the direction of police, from that video. On that same livestream there was a bottle that was thrown by a single person, that lead to the police staring their "this is no longer peaceful, leave the area immediately or be subject to arrest" loudspeaker announcements.

Notably, the two guys called those people stupid or knuckleheads or the like, and it seemed like the majority of people were just out there, and at times, hands raised in the air like Michael Brown.
posted by cashman at 8:46 AM on August 14


Missouri's Case.net indicates that someone with the name Anonymous gave out was served a summons at the St. Ann Police Department in 2007.
posted by almostmanda at 8:47 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


If you're interested in the topic of police militarization then you can do a lot worse than Radley Balko's Rise of the Warrior Cop. And he is one of the libertarian voices who has been vocal about this before and during the Ferguson unrest, which is a very fair "where are they?" question raised above.
posted by phearlez at 8:47 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Veterans on Ferguson

"As someone who studies policing in conflict, what's going on Ferguson isn't just immoral and probably unconstitutional, it's ineffective."

"our ROE regarding who we could point weapons at in Afghanistan was more restrictive than cops in MO."

"we contained riots in Baghdad next to mosques with less violence than the police are employing."

"A lot of vets, me included, would go to Ferguson and gladly teach some classes on crowd control and patrolling You are fucking it up."
posted by Foosnark at 8:49 AM on August 14 [45 favorites]


dejah420, thank you for that footage. Absolutely horrifying and unconstitutional.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:50 AM on August 14


"As someone who studies policing in conflict, what's going on Ferguson isn't just immoral and probably unconstitutional, it's ineffective."

This is the most striking thing to me about the response in Ferguson. The authorities so clearly want the situation to end, but they just don't have any idea how to make that happen. Like they've forgotten that they can't just make this go away with screaming and guns. It's dangerous and unconstitutional and terrifying, but it's also petulant and ineffective.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:52 AM on August 14 [25 favorites]


Re: Molotov cocktails

From St Louis Post-Dispatch photo gallery from last night: "Protesters attempt to light molotov cocktails to throw at police right before the tear gas was fired by police Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. The protesters were unsuccessful in lighting the molotov cocktails." Another photo in gallery is protester throwing a bottle.
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 8:56 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]




Obama performs the Safety Dance in 15 minutes.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:03 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


Some good local perspective For the sake of Michael Brown
posted by postel's law at 9:03 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The first I heard about this incident, I got the police version. I thought that it was messed up, but that was my first entry into the situation. Then as I heard multiple (3) witness accounts, people interviewed on the scene by different news agencies, and seeming to be completely independent of one another, it just made me want the investigation to move along and conclude that the police version of events was flawed. Well that reddit feed started up again and linked yet another eyewitness account. 27-year-old Tiffany Mitchell (video):
“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.
Looking at the police vehicle in the video, (and I thought it was a car, but it's an suv, clearly), and given the multiple eyewitness accounts, I just can't imagine how the police version of events does anything. It doesn't make sense to me.

Brown is walking down the street. The officer yells what he yells (get the fuck on the sidewalk), pulls off and then comes back, obviously mad and confrontational. The go for the gun thing seems preposterous. I'm supposed to believe that Brown was somehow going to get close enough to reach in through the window, past the officer, and so forth?

That seems ridiculous. And even that is irrelevant because from all accounts, Brown got away from the officer, and moved away from the vehicle, and that's when the officer shot him multiple times.

That happened Saturday. Sunday passed. Monday passed. Tuesday passed. Wednesday passed. It's Thursday. If charges aren't brought by the end of the month and there is still no plausible information that explains this situation, then I'm at a loss for how to keep reassuring my family members who are terrified that something is going to happen to me.
posted by cashman at 9:03 AM on August 14 [31 favorites]


From postel's law's link: . The “look at us, we are on our way back” slogans boasted by chambers of commerce say nothing about those who have been treated as invisible or dispensable.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:06 AM on August 14


“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.

Chilling. What the hell.
posted by sweetkid at 9:07 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


About the molotov cocktails - eh, even in the midst of peaceful protests you run the risk of getting a couple knuckleheads. I was part of the United For Peace And Justice protest march during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, and there was a Black Bloc group with a huge green dragon puppet about 20 feet behind me in the crowd - and at one point they suddenly lit the thing on fire and caused a whole panic stampede (and I had to drag one of my friends past a bunch of riot cops and flee to take shelter in the doorway of Macys for about ten minutes). There are always a couple nutballs like that.

However, the difference here is that the UFPJ march was seen as being "largely peaceful"; the impression people got was that "oh, it was fine except for those few jerks". But in Ferguson, everyone's looking at the same percentage of "few jerks" and saying "oh, they're a representative sample".

No explanation for that, it was just something I noticed.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:08 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


You know it's bad when members of the military are saying, and I paraphrase, "Don't call these fools militarized—the actual military is both more professional and more compassionate, and has less firepower and body armor."

Re: Godwinning, well...I unintentionally Godwinned a thread on Facebook last night, actually, and I think the fascist behavior of the local police forces involved in Ferguson has justified that comparison. Here's my thing: I'm deeply concerned for the safety of everyone I know in Ferguson and Florissant, especially the people who, like a coworker's grandfather and several coworkers' parents, live right off the main drag. But my concern doesn't trump people's rights—'cause that's the whole point here, to me. That's why on Facebook, I Godwinned a thread by bringing up that old saw about the Nazis, that poem "First they came..."

The police in Ferguson have been behaving like the textbook definition of fascists. And that poem is so apropos right now because so many people believe the rights of the people who are protesting don't matter, or that it's inconvenient to insist on their rights being observed when our friends, family, and property in Ferguson and Florissant are potentially in danger. But that's exactly when it matters that their rights are observed—if we don't uphold citizens' most basic rights in troubled times, nothing that our nation is built upon can continue to stand.

And for anyone who says this isn't about Nazism specifically, well, sure—but Nazism itself didn't come about in a day, and the point is that it's a form of fascism based on racist beliefs. Now, there's also plenty of fascism out there that doesn't stem from a specific set of beliefs about race superiority—but the officers telling people "All you f–king animals, bring it" or "We're dealing with 4,000 animals in there, and you want to give me attitude?" aren't really helping combat the perception that they view blacks as less than human.

That's what this is about, and that's why people are protesting to begin with—that some people's lives and perspectives are so clearly valued over others'.
posted by limeonaire at 9:13 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Video of the cops tear gassing the Al Jazeera news crew and trying to dismantle or destroy their equipment.

When I was watching MSNBC last night, they had a local reporter on who was describing that exact incident, but there wasn't yet any video available. I had envisioned the Al Jazeera camera crew getting tear gassed in an incidental way - that is, I didn't think they had been specifically targeted. It's clear in this video that they were, since they're standing on the sidewalk near their vehicle, not roaming through a crowd, and the canister was fired directly at them.

What do we do when they know the whole world is watching and they clearly don't care?
posted by rtha at 9:17 AM on August 14 [37 favorites]




Brown is walking down the street. The officer yells what he yells (get the fuck on the sidewalk), pulls off and then comes back, obviously mad and confrontational. The go for the gun thing seems preposterous. I'm supposed to believe that Brown was somehow going to get close enough to reach in through the window, past the officer, and so forth?

There are potential arguments for the first shot. All eyewitnesses seem to agree that the police officer and Brown were fighting/wrestling/tussling/what have you, albeit through the window. What I suspect happened is that the cop grabbed the kid, and the kid, instead of remembering that any finger on a police officer is met with more force, tried to get away. And the policeman might have thought "he could go for my gun" though that depends on where he was keeping his gun - if holstered while sitting, that would take a whole lot of reaching, but if he had it somewhere stupid, I could maybe see it - especially with how quickly he got to it.

However, there's no fucking reason to shoot him again. I can't even comprehend why you would do that.
posted by corb at 9:19 AM on August 14


rtha: Here's the horrifying thing, this is how they act when they DO know the whole world is watching. Now imagine how they act when it isn't.
posted by sotonohito at 9:19 AM on August 14 [18 favorites]


Live stream from POTUS working for anyone?
posted by desuetude at 9:21 AM on August 14


the actual military is both more professional and more compassionate

Yes, exactly. The thing that strikes me most about the constant comparison to the military is that so many of these vets who come home having seen and likely participated in things that are haunting them, they end up actually dying from it, whether slowly via substance abuse or just outright suicide. They feel deep emotional anguish over the things that happened and have significant difficulties adjusting to their former lives. And yet I don't recall seeing a lot of news stories about cops feeling bad about enthusiastically brutalizing the citizens they are meant to be protecting, and I feel like they're not just missing out on training on how to use these new weapons and tactics effectively, I feel like they're missing out on some kind of basic humanity.

Obviously no country's military is perfect and blameless, least of all the US'. But I think we see a lot more remorse and soul searching and genuine regret from vets than we do from cops.
posted by elizardbits at 9:22 AM on August 14 [31 favorites]


Here? I think he's late.
posted by schmod at 9:22 AM on August 14


Live stream from POTUS working for anyone?

I've got nothing yet...
posted by neitherly at 9:22 AM on August 14


Delayed to 12:30 ET.
posted by shortfuse at 9:22 AM on August 14


However, there's no fucking reason to shoot him again. I can't even comprehend why you would do that.

Personally, the fact that there was no reason for the second and third and subsequent shots leads me to consider any arguments for the first one to be suspect as well. But that's just me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:22 AM on August 14 [33 favorites]


He's late.
posted by PMdixon at 9:22 AM on August 14


I managed to get the c-span stream, it's an empty podium right now.
posted by cmfletcher at 9:23 AM on August 14


desuetude, not sure how delayed they are.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:23 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"it's an empty podium right now."

How appropriate!
posted by Tevin at 9:24 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


What do we do when they know the whole world is watching and they clearly don't care?

Continue our struggle for equality. Eventually we will prevail.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:26 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Personally, the fact that there was no reason for the second and third and subsequent shots leads me to consider any arguments for the first one to be suspect as well. But that's just me.

Well, yes, but I'm saying, even giving the utmost benefit of the doubt and sympathy there is no reason for those, which is an unassailable moral high ground and not subjective.
posted by corb at 9:27 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


The heavy irony of recent vets commenting on the lack of actual policing and crowd control skills from the actual police is that after the initial invasion (both Iraq and Afghanistan), we basically asked the soldiers to be police, and they rightfully pointed out that we had not trained them to be police; being police and being soldiers are different - different goals, different tactics, different training.
posted by rtha at 9:29 AM on August 14 [15 favorites]


He's late.

Seems to be the man's MO recently. I like measured and reasoned responses to urgent issues as much as anyone, but that's very different from letting events run their course, or dithering until a crisis boils over into catastrophe as it has here.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:29 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


And I'm saying that when you consider the entire incident, the "arguments" for the first shot also come across sounding like total bullshit excuses from a guy trying not to get in trouble.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:30 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Shabez Kwame has some pictures of the scary scary protesters that the snipers and police in riot gear are trying to get to disperse.

The visuals from the protest are moving. One sign seems to sum it up:
You Are In Trouble
posted by audi alteram partem at 9:31 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]




Slap*Happy, I give POTUS a little leniency here. Nothing that he's going to say can't wait 15 minutes if he needs to get everything in order before he speaks.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:33 AM on August 14


Slap*Happy, I give POTUS a little leniency here. Nothing that he's going to say can't wait 15 minutes if he needs to get everything in order before he speaks.

I think people are talking about him being late in a sarcastic way. As in, he is several days late in responding to this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:35 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


I desperately want another cup of coffee, and I know that as soon as I go to get one Obama will start.
posted by rtha at 9:35 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Well, Rand Paul just released a pretty good op-ed on this. Politically, this is VERY interesting. He's maybe one of 2 slightly viable GOP contenders right now.

For once, "big government" is actually a really good answer to what the problem is.

Also, holy shit this quote from a Republican: "Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth."
posted by lattiboy at 9:35 AM on August 14 [29 favorites]


showbiz_liz, granted. Perhaps he wanted to defer to the governor of Missouri.

*crickets*
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:36 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


dithering until a crisis boils over into catastrophe as it has here.

The thing is, handling protests and such isn't rocket science. That the STL PD and whatever seem to be working from a 1958 Selma AL copy of the handbook seems to be the problem.

I think both the Governor and the President are as shocked as we are that all this hamfisted moronitude from the white people in charge seems to continue day after day. Hell, even the Cops in Sanford FL did a better job.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:36 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


And I'm saying that when you consider the entire incident, the "arguments" for the first shot also come across sounding like total bullshit excuses from a guy trying not to get in trouble.

I think it's fair to point out that even if you take all the plausible stuff that the cop alleges at face value, he still shot a fleeing unarmed kid in the back.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:37 AM on August 14 [21 favorites]


"what your cameras aren't showing is gunfire is erupting all around."

"And to make sure that the violence perpetuated by ordinary citizens is fully documented, we have banned news helicopters and detained on-site journalists....wait, is this right? That doesn't sound right. Did I get the wrong notes? What's happening here exactly?"
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:37 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


But in Ferguson, everyone's looking at the same percentage of "few jerks" and saying "oh, they're a representative sample".

No explanation for that, it was just something I noticed.


Unmarked people are always individuals. Marked people are representatives of their group.

/NOT MARK-IST
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:37 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


It's worth noting that 9 looters have been named and charged, but Brown's shooter is still uncharged, unnamed.
posted by edgeways at 9:38 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


"what your cameras aren't showing is gunfire is erupting all around."

I know I'm not the only one following the Twitter accounts of people on the ground at multiple locations in Ferguson, or the only one who has watched multiple livestreams from last night. I have not heard of one single gunshot at all, much less "gunfire erupting all around."

That is the single-most bullshit statement I've seen so far in this whole debacle.
posted by komara at 9:38 AM on August 14 [35 favorites]


Matt Pearce ‏@mattdpearce
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.
posted by desjardins at 9:38 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]




For once, "big government" is actually a really good answer to what the problem is.

I don't see how that's true. One can have big government and still avoid giving military-grade weapons to the police. One can (hopefully someday) have big government without making it a capital offense to be black while walking down the street.
posted by sallybrown at 9:39 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


15 minutes I can wait. The better part of a week for the first African American president to address a riot of the oppressed and the racist police insurrection that followed? That I'm having problems with.

(I also love how when the Green Berets finally got to the Yezeedi refuge in the mountains to organize the evac, the refugees were mostly gone. "They all escaped" is the line we're currently being fed. Take that with as big a grain of salt as you need.)
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:40 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


What the world needs now is Sam Vimes
posted by edgeways at 9:40 AM on August 14 [18 favorites]



I don't see how that's true. One can have big government and still avoid giving military-grade weapons to the police. One can (hopefully someday) have big government without making it a capital offense to be black while walking down the street.


That was kind of tongue-in-cheek on my part, it came off wrong.

I am a huge proponent of more and better government, but in this particular instance surplus military equipment from our criminally bloated defense budget enables bullshit like this to happen.
posted by lattiboy at 9:41 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


@juliebosman is covering Jay Nixon's speech at a church. "It has been a deeply challenging week in a lot of ways..."
posted by desjardins at 9:41 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Personally, the fact that there was no reason for the second and third and subsequent shots leads me to consider any arguments for the first one to be suspect as well. But that's just me.

This seems typical of police, where they make a mistake or do something wrong, and commit to a course of action no matter what the consequences. The video of the Seattle security guard shows a similar mentality, where he decided to detain someone, and reversing that decision or changing from that course of action is not even a choice. Is it that doing so is so threatening to their sense of authority or power? Or is this how cops cover their asses? Obviously, we don't know exactly what happened when that cop killed Michael Brown, but I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that that first shot committed that cop, in his mind, to following through to the end.
posted by AceRock at 9:43 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Oh for God's sake, the freakin' Black blocs are at it again...

Yo dudes that is not helping
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Also, holy shit this quote from a Republican: "Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth."

The man also believes the Civil Rights Act was misguided, so you'll excuse me if I don't think his occasional flashes of compassion mean he's fit for his current office, let alone a higher one.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:44 AM on August 14 [18 favorites]


will you please go get your coffee so this speech can start
posted by bq at 9:44 AM on August 14 [16 favorites]


earlier: So that begs the question - what exactly IS Program 1033 about?

The DoD can have a hard time of disposing equpiment. After all, it's not like there's a huge market for lightly-used tanks. And there are all sorts of restrictions on what sorts of gear can be exported, and to where.

Next, it can be really hard to justify new purchases, if you have all this lightly-used gear laying around. Since Congress treats DoD procurement like a jobs program, there has to be a secondary market for older vehicles, like these MRAPs. That way, DoD can slough them off, justify new purchases, and Congress can keep the money flowing to their districts.

It's definately not a scam, though. I doubt the people involved are conciously engaged in constructing and participating in this system. Everybody's just doing their jobs, following the rules, and looking out for themselves.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:46 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Nixon says he was just on the phone with POTUS, so that's the delay.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:46 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Yo dudes that is not helping

They're not really interested in helping. That's why they are who they are. It's sorta the whole point.
posted by aramaic at 9:46 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


HA I just went for coffee but we're out of milk and HEY there is a not-the-president guy on stage now SO THERE.
posted by rtha at 9:47 AM on August 14


The timing and language of that Rand Paul piece is verrrry interesting. He lays into the concept of both police militarization and (less so, but still!) the systemically racist nature of the prison system and law enforcement in a way you don't usually hear from politicians, especially at a time like this.

While I still find him totally disreputable and ultimately, of course, his conclusion is The Federal Government Has Run Amok!, it does seem like a bit of a calculated gauntlet throw to Obama.
posted by StopMakingSense at 9:47 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


2 minutes until the President speaks.
posted by cashman at 9:47 AM on August 14


This seems typical of police, where they make a mistake or do something wrong, and commit to a course of action no matter what the consequences.

I would say it's typical of people in general, really. It's just that when police do it, consequences tend to be higher.
posted by inigo2 at 9:48 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Julie Bosman ‏@juliebosman
"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."
Talk about tone deaf.
posted by desjardins at 9:48 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Nixon says he was just on the phone with POTUS, so that's the delay.

Break out the corn dogs!
posted by Pudhoho at 9:48 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Military Industrial Complex
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on August 14




However, there's no fucking reason to shoot him again. I can't even comprehend why you would do that.

Because modern policing - whether it be by virtue of policy or learned collaborative behavior - does not allow for the option of ceasing to react. We see it over and over again with police failing to follow rules not to engage in high-speed chases, even though we know that in almost every single case that engaging in them creates more danger for citizens than noting down the license plate number and calling it in. We see it when NYC police ventilate more citizens while trying to arrest someone than that person ever did. When cops shoot up a disturbed woman in a car, barely avoiding executing a child, rather than using vehicles to contain her.

I think a lot of things go into this, though most of it seems easily blamed on ego and pride. But as long as this sort of escalation is always excused as reasonable and choosing to end an encounter is seen as unthinkable I don't see how these things stop happening.
posted by phearlez at 9:50 AM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Talking about the Yazidis.
posted by rtha at 9:50 AM on August 14


What the world needs now is Sam Vimes

Can you imagine if someone in the power structure, the police chief, the mayor, whatever, said something like
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.
Ya think the property damage might disappear? You think the cops would need sniper rifles and flak jackets?

This is why this is just dick waving and subjugation: Because this is obvious shit. Politics 101. We have the panopticon, we collectively are the panopticon, but a bunch of small town power hungry bigots are too afraid of their own privilege to use it for good.
posted by straw at 9:50 AM on August 14 [24 favorites]


also to put things into hilarious and terrifying perspective it appears that this single police department is more heavily armed than the entire Fuerza Publica of Costa Rica.
posted by elizardbits at 9:50 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


While I still find him totally disreputable and ultimately, of course, his conclusion is The Federal Government Has Run Amok!, it does seem like a bit of a calculated gauntlet throw to Obama.

When a Libertarian tells you they want to close schools, end social programs and legalize weed you know which 2 of those things is actually going to happen.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on August 14 [24 favorites]


While I still find him totally disreputable and ultimately, of course, his conclusion is The Federal Government Has Run Amok!, it does seem like a bit of a calculated gauntlet throw to Obama.

Shame he doesn't seem interested in throwing the gauntlet at at least 4 of his fellow travelers in the Senate and 19 in the House, because that's where the gears have ground to a halt.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:51 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


POTUS: "First of all, [Iraq] ...."
posted by Westringia F. at 9:51 AM on August 14


Is there somewhere I can get a pin or a button or SOMETHING to demonstrate publicly that I support the community of Ferguson and abhor the actions of the police? Ideally I'd like it to say Justice for Ferguson, Justice for Michael Brown but I don't know if I could get this as fast as I'd like it. Is there a way I could do this myself? Is there a place in DC that would make me a single custom pin?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:51 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Um, Iraq is important and all but...come ON.
posted by desuetude at 9:51 AM on August 14


I think it's good that he's starting with Iraq. It's the end of speeches that linger.
posted by sallybrown at 9:53 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Is there a transcript? I can't watch video at work.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:53 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


It's almost like there's a world beyond the US borders or something! Madness!
posted by aramaic at 9:53 AM on August 14


No transcript yet, but stay tuned here for the liveblog...
posted by rtha at 9:54 AM on August 14


Yeah, I am glad he started with Iraq as well, as long as the Ferguson statement is helpful.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:54 AM on August 14


. I have not heard of one single gunshot at all, much less "gunfire erupting all around."

I heard a loud bang on my street last night and thought something was happening

But it turned out it was just a random car bursting into flames, not violence-related. No cops on scene, just a bunch of neighborhood people looking on while some bored-looking firefighters hosed it down. It was a really nice little civic scene of something scary being handled by competent and trustworthy people, for a change.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:54 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


also to put things into hilarious and terrifying perspective it appears that this single police department is more heavily armed than the entire Fuerza Publica of Costa Rica.

To be fair that's like every police department though. Costa Rica is not the best comparison point.
posted by corb at 9:54 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Take a step back and think about how we're all going to be moving forward

FBI and DOJ to investigate the killing
posted by rtha at 9:54 AM on August 14


DOJ and FBI are independently investigating. DOJ is also consulting about ways they can maintain public safety without restricting the right of protest and avoiding escalation.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:55 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


See, I was just freaking out because here we are in the world where part of my brain thought "God, I don't care about this very important thing in Iraq, get to the terrorism at home"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:55 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


He's just starting to address Ferguson, but the state of the stream is terrible for me. He's tasked the FBI to address the death of Michael Brown.

Also, Obama refuses to stop the briefing and PUT ON A DAMN TIE, no matter how hard I think it at him.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:55 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Nixon is a "good man and a fine governor."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:55 AM on August 14


The sound keeps cutting out.
Who's in charge, Rose Mary Woods?
posted by Pudhoho at 9:56 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


POTUS: "I'd like to ask us all to take a step back, and think about how we'll be moving forward." Interesting rhetorical trajectory.
posted by Westringia F. at 9:56 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


We lost a young man in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances

The local authorities have an obligation to be transparent about their investigation

Police should not be bullying and arresting journalists who are doing their job
posted by rtha at 9:57 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


There are "passionate differences" about the death of Michael Brown. :/
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:57 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


I think he's trying to help calm things down with his demeanor, but it feels dismissive and robotic to me. What he's actually saying is somewhat okay, if bland, but this was pretty much just a waste of a watch for me. He may as well of just issued a press release because it sounds like he just read one anyway.
posted by cashman at 9:58 AM on August 14 [21 favorites]


Safety Dance!
posted by Pudhoho at 9:58 AM on August 14


That was disappointing.

Shit.
posted by gwint at 9:58 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The sound keeps cutting out.
Who's in charge, Rose Mary Woods?


No technical problems on my end.
posted by inigo2 at 9:58 AM on August 14


rtha, are those quotes from POTUS, or your thoughts? Trying to follow along with the speech but can't watch...
posted by coupdefoudre at 9:58 AM on August 14


And that's it? Now is a time for healing and calm, and that's it.
posted by rtha at 9:58 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


What a nothing statement.
posted by empath at 9:58 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out whether I can get away with listening to this at work. :/
posted by corb at 9:58 AM on August 14


POTUS: "I'd like to ask us all to take a step back, and think about how we'll be moving forward." Interesting rhetorical trajectory.

always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.
posted by sweetkid at 9:59 AM on August 14 [25 favorites]


This speech needs Luther the Anger Translator.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:59 AM on August 14 [47 favorites]


Ferguson PD will apparently hold a news conference in the next few minutes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:59 AM on August 14


That was unwatchable on my end (for technical reasons) as well.
posted by phearlez at 9:59 AM on August 14


Total milquetoast bullshit statement by Obama. Thanks for nothing, Mr. President.
posted by kjh at 10:00 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Totally empty.
posted by penduluum at 10:00 AM on August 14


He essentially said nothing, corb, so you didn't miss much.
posted by bitterpants at 10:00 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I also got portions where the sound cut out, but it may just be me and you Pudhoho.
posted by neitherly at 10:00 AM on August 14


coupdefoudre, I'm not rtha, but yes this is what he said.
posted by Westringia F. at 10:00 AM on August 14


OK...so from what I'm seeing, so far, neither the governor nor the president has laid out the specific details of who's taking over what and when. That's what I want to know. When do we find that out?
posted by limeonaire at 10:00 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out whether I can get away with listening to this at work. :/

You really didn't miss anything.
posted by PMdixon at 10:01 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


All this passive voice about the violence "occurring." Why did he talk about the situation in Ferguson as if it were in the past? Is anyone capable of doing anything right now, for fuck's sake?
posted by desuetude at 10:01 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Also, Obama refuses to stop the briefing and PUT ON A DAMN TIE, no matter how hard I think it at him.

Because that's the important thing.
posted by stenseng at 10:01 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


You didn't miss anything, Corb.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:01 AM on August 14


That was unwatchable on my end (for technical reasons) as well.

Thought it was just me. Couldn't get it to work in opera or firefox, managed to watch it on my tablet.

I feel like I shouldn't have bothered anyway. Bland and empty.
posted by supermassive at 10:02 AM on August 14


Milquetoast. Can't believe Barry let me down!
posted by TheTingTangTong at 10:02 AM on August 14


rtha, are those quotes from POTUS, or your thoughts? Trying to follow along with the speech but can't watch...

Sorry, yeah - POTUS. I should've made that clearer but I was typing too fast.

The sound kept cutting out for me, too. Grrr.
posted by rtha at 10:02 AM on August 14


Several news reports are stating as fact that molotov cocktails were thrown by protestors last night. Is that documented anywhere reputable? It certainly is plausible, either violent angry protestors or else agents provocateurs. Or it could all be made up; many folks are misinterpreting this photo of tear gas being thrown back as evidence of molotovs.

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.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:03 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


See, I was just freaking out because here we are in the world where part of my brain thought "God, I don't care about this very important thing in Iraq, get to the terrorism at home"

It's all of a piece - the militarized police in Ferguson are just the latest avatar of our terrorism in Iraq, and our terrorism by proxy in Gaza and so many other places, coming home to us.

Obama is a reliable servant of elites everywhere, and of the military industrial complex. He's being bland and substanceless here because the new status quo he's worked hard to build insures that your opinion really doesn't matter - and that even keeping up the appearance of democracy is no longer important.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:04 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


looks like local newscaster Chris Regnier will cover the Ferguson PD Police Chief presser if you want to follow along.
posted by desjardins at 10:04 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Did Obama just endorse Rand Paul for president?
posted by b1tr0t at 10:05 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Transcript
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:05 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Sound was fine for me. rtha conveyed the gist of the comments, that was about it. Basically, "bad things shouldn't happen" and "we're looking into it." Infuriating.

This gallery has photos of protesters attempting unsuccesfully to light Molotov cocktails.
posted by desuetude at 10:06 AM on August 14


Yeah, the "heartbreaking and tragic circumstances" bothers the hell out of me. Makes it sound like Michael fell out of a roller coaster.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:06 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


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.

If it's that picture of the guy in the American flag shirt, it's a shame because that picture is great if you know what's happening, but fairly ambiguous on its own.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:06 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Thanks for nothing, President Obvious.
posted by stenseng at 10:06 AM on August 14


Don't take this as an endorsement for that speech, but I'm curious what people think he should've said?
posted by inigo2 at 10:07 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Or crashed into a tree on his way to the prom.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:07 AM on August 14


What did you guys want him to say, and how would it not have been turned by the press into "Angry Black Man Lectures Country On Race" and subsequently eaten up by the public with little to no question? See also: Trayvon Martin, Henry Gates.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:07 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


When a Libertarian tells you they want to close schools, end social programs and legalize weed you know which 2 of those things is actually going to happen.

Yeah, I guess that's what I mean? Just that we've reached a moment where pointing out the overwhelming and unnecessary militarization of the police force and the rampant, heartbreaking inequality and racism in who we police and imprison is on par with "LEGALIZE IT BRO" in terms of trying to seem down with the kids before you totally ruthlessly dismantle the tattered remains of their social safety net.
posted by StopMakingSense at 10:07 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


I'm curious what people think he should've said?

Well, upon reading the transcript I can see one thing he should've said differently - he started with a crack about how "the sound system’s really powerful" and that instead should have been "wow, the audio feed for the livestreaming is for shit."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:10 AM on August 14


Is there somewhere I can get a pin or a button or SOMETHING to demonstrate publicly that I support the community of Ferguson and abhor the actions of the police?

DC's gathering for the National Moment of Silence will be at Malcolm X (a.k.a. Meridian Hill) park tonight at 7pm; the organizers for DC say "To show solidarity, please wear a red armband around your right arm and bring extra to share with fellow mourners if you can." I don't know if that is a nationwide campaign, but would love to hear if it is. There's a separate vigil planned at the White House on Saturday at 1pm (some info here). I'd bet there will be some buttons and armbands available at both events.
posted by argonauta at 10:10 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I don't understand why Obama can't be more forthright. It's not like he can run for election again.
posted by desjardins at 10:10 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Don't take this as an endorsement for that speech, but I'm curious what people think he should've said?
posted by inigo2


That the abuse of the citizens of Feguson, MO at the hands of the police force sworn to protect them is unacceptable and will not stand. That investigation will not stop at the circumstances of Michael Brown's death but will extend to the unlawful and egregious actions of the Ferguson PD and the St. Louis County PD. That we will substantially and forever disregard the idea that this was some kind of isolated incident and will do something, anything, to stem the tide of black men being shot in the streets for having done absolutely nothing wrong.
posted by kjh at 10:11 AM on August 14 [46 favorites]


instead should have been "wow, the audio feed for the livestreaming is for shit."

This is a derail, but it worked perfectly for me.

posted by inigo2 at 10:11 AM on August 14


I'm curious what people think he should've said?

"I'm disturbed by what, even in the police's version of events, sounds like an extreme use of unjustified force, both in the killing of Michael Brown and in the force's reactions to protests over the last week. I'm disturbed by accounts, documented and supported by numerous witnesses, of arrests of reporters attempting to do their duty to cover events. As a former Constitutional law professor, I'm disturbed by the fact that those the public trusts with the responsibility of protecting and serving our community have instead been engaged in behavior that violates the law. This behavior needs to stop now."
posted by sallybrown at 10:11 AM on August 14 [28 favorites]


I didn't expect him to say much, but on balance he should have said nothing.
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the "heartbreaking and tragic circumstances" bothers the hell out of me. Makes it sound like Michael fell out of a roller coaster.

I heard that the opposite way, but I was probably being hopeful and projecting. Calling it heartbreaking and tragic seems to imply it was unjustified, and will certainly piss off people who think the cop was just acting in self defense. I know we're way past that point on the blue but I have reasonable friends who are still saying they "want to wait til the investigation is over before they jump to conclusions".

Of course he could've also just meant it in the "any time a life is lost it's tragic" way.
posted by DynamiteToast at 10:11 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Don't take this as an endorsement for that speech, but I'm curious what people think he should've said?

The fact that it would have been much more productive for Obama to simply read the op-ed by Rand Paul as his speech is pretty telling of how utterly fucked American politics is right now. At this point all we need is for Hillary to jump in and blame Obama for not arming the police more heavily.
posted by crayz at 10:12 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


I don't understand why Obama can't be more forthright. It's not like he can run for election again.

No, but his party certainly will be running someone.
posted by item at 10:12 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


All that being said, I'm dying for Obama to just start railing against true injustices in this country to the degree of outrage that I feel.
posted by DynamiteToast at 10:12 AM on August 14


I think he should have said that it is inexcusable that we still don't know the shooter's name, that it's inexcusable that the Constitution is being violated in Missouri, and that if the accounts of eyewitnesses turn out to be the real story, it is inexcusable that a young man is dead for no reason.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:12 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


I would have liked it if he'd said something about why, with the crime rate dropping, police departments that are supposed to protect and serve civilians look more like they're invading an enemy stronghold. And that maybe just maybe that kind of presentation is a significant part of the problem.
posted by rtha at 10:13 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


I would have liked to hear him say that the DOJ/DHS are going to revisit the question whether those types of weapons and armor should be in the hands of any civilian police force.

I would also have liked to hear him say that there is no account of the shooting that provides any justification for what happened to Michael Brown and that this is not a case of "ambiguity".
posted by shattersock at 10:13 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


Apparently Nixon is considered a possible democratic presidential candidate, if you want extra vomit.
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on August 14


Here's the type of thing he could have said. Except of course, that in this version, the disorderly mob have badges and assault rifles.
posted by stenseng at 10:14 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Antonio French's first tweet in 15 hours: After a night in the #Ferguson jail, I'm free. My staffers who were also arrested last night are also free. Thank you for all the support.
posted by argonauta at 10:14 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]




What did you guys want him to say, and how would it not have been turned by the press into "Angry Black Man Lectures Country On Race"

I'm not sure I understand why that would be such a bad thing? Not only will he never run for office again, but it's not like he expects to have any help whatsoever from Congress over the next 2 years in accomplishing anything.
posted by Asparagus at 10:15 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Uh, consensus? Talk about tone deaf.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:16 AM on August 14


As the executive under whom any investigation into either the circumstances of Michael Brown's death or the use of force by the Ferguson police will take place, I understand why Obama might not want to say that the response was unconstitutional or that Michael Brown's killing was unjustified. Statements like that can make the investigation seem unreliable.

That said, he could absolutely have said that the DOJ/FBI will be investigating the police response in Ferguson, and he could absolutely do something like call the reports from Ferguson "troubling." He could absolutely have questioned whether or not proliferation of military grade weaponry in civilian police departments is contributing to the problem.

That what I would like to have heard.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:16 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


He could have read the most milquetoast speech I could have managed to write and it would have been a hundred times more strident than what he said. If nothing else I would not have committed the sin of writing about a death at police hands in passive voice.

The distressing thing about it, from the transcript I have thus far, is that for it to be this bland tells me that it's written by someone who is not trying to keep any frustration or anger in check. That's what chaps my ass. I LIKE that Obama is a calm voice, but to not leak any aggravation leads me to draw conclusions about the people pulling the levers, and that bugs me.
posted by phearlez at 10:17 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I want to thank everyone in this thread for keeping it updated. I've been following this avidly the last couple days but I can't look at anything on my work computer, and the live-streaming sites don't usually work well on my phone. So thanks, everyone, for keeping me informed.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:18 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


What did you guys want him to say, and how would it not have been turned by the press into "Angry Black Man Lectures Country On Race"

I'm not sure I understand why that would be such a bad thing? Not only will he never run for office again, but it's not like he expects to have any help whatsoever from Congress over the next 2 years in accomplishing anything.


Not to mention that any midterm race that it matters in the Dem candidate is probably already trying to distance themselves from Obama in general...
posted by DynamiteToast at 10:18 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Chief of police: says there were bricks thrown, molotov cocktails, gunfire last night.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:18 AM on August 14


Hamas kills an Israeli: Unacceptable! Obama outraged!
US police kills a citizen: Ambiguous! Have you tried the milquetoast?
posted by crayz at 10:19 AM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Also says there were fire bombs thrown at police.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:19 AM on August 14



Chief of police: says there were bricks thrown, molotov cocktails, gunfire last night.



I for sure trust him as a reputable source of information at this point.
posted by stenseng at 10:20 AM on August 14 [21 favorites]


"Nobody has gotten injured or killed."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:21 AM on August 14


Brittany Noble is doing good liveblogging of the chief's press conference.
posted by desjardins at 10:21 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I don't know if that is a nationwide campaign, but would love to hear if it is.

Yes, nationwide - I have my red bandana at the ready for the vigil in Chicago tonight. I believe the hashtag is #NMOS14.
posted by misskaz at 10:21 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


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
posted by CancerMan at 10:21 AM on August 14


Again, the only people injured and killed have been at the hands of the police.
posted by empath at 10:21 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


When people say "let's start the healing process" they really mean "shut the fuck up."
posted by naju at 10:21 AM on August 14 [39 favorites]


When people say "let's start the healing process" they really mean "shut the fuck up."

Which they only have to keep saying long enough until they can switch to, "There's no use in re-litigating the past, the important thing is to move forward, so the nation can heal..."
posted by stenseng at 10:23 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


There is little margin to Obama going hard on #Ferguson. If he does, it becomes a partisan issue at a time when consensus is forming.

Yeah, agree with this. I don't know that this is Obama's reasoning, but for sure if he comes out swinging on it then all of the conservatives who are currently going 'wait this shit is fucked up' will pretty much be guaranteed to go 'wait I hate Obama and let's talk about how his response makes me angry instead of anything else'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:23 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


@xeni points out that clear pictures have emerged of the looters. Can you help identify any of the miscreants?
posted by straw at 10:23 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Well...I'm actually heading up to Florissant now, 'cause I've had a dentist's appointment scheduled for months. And a coworker is heading over to cover the protest. I'll let you know if I see anything interesting.

By the way, if anyone wants to send pizza to the protesters, I've been trying to keep this hashtag going: #PizzaforFerguson. If someone organizes it, I'll definitely send money to whomever. Now would be a good time to do this, but I can't be the point person on it.
posted by limeonaire at 10:25 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


"The media is not a target."

Oy.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:25 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]




There is little margin to Obama going hard on #Ferguson. If he does, it becomes a partisan issue at a time when consensus is forming.

Exactly my thoughts. I know what I wanted him to say, but the moment he says anything that can even be imagined to be slightly biased in some way means that the Ferguson narrative becomes Angry Black Man narrative. He was wise to stay bland, in the long term. This story needs to stay focused on the abuse and racism by the police and the inexplicable murder of a young man, not Obama.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:26 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


but I'm curious what people think he should've said?

That the wholesale murder of black men by police is reprehensible and is finished right this fucking instant.
That he has directed the Justice Department to conduct a thorough, transparent investigation of these homicides and that the criminals face justice.
That he has replaced the police in Ferguson with soldiers who will safeguard the citizens of Ferguson and protect their right to assemble peacefully, as well as quash opportunists and shit-stirrers.
That he realizes issuing police departments military equipment was a really bad idea and the feds are taking it all back.

Among other things....
posted by Pudhoho at 10:27 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]




A reporter just threw out another name that Anonymous leaked, and it seemed to me from the police chief's reaction that it might be right right name now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:28 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


In other words, Obama wasn't trying to make a speech that would satisfy me, he was trying to make a speech that would not derail the entire media apparatus into arguing about his speech.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:30 AM on August 14 [19 favorites]


DC's gathering for the National Moment of Silence will be at Malcolm X (a.k.a. Meridian Hill) park tonight at 7pm; the organizers for DC say "To show solidarity, please wear a red armband around your right arm and bring extra to share with fellow mourners if you can." I don't know if that is a nationwide campaign, but would love to hear if it is. There's a separate vigil planned at the White House on Saturday at 1pm (some info here). I'd bet there will be some buttons and armbands available at both events.

Thanks for this argonauta. I will be there.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:30 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"Police said asking for cooperation from protestors. If things get out of control chief said tatics units will be back"

So one out of three racist incompetent police forces have drawn back but they'll be starting another night of terror tonight anyway.

Useless, useless, useless fucking assholes from top to bottom and all around.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Chief of police: says there were bricks thrown, molotov cocktails, gunfire last night.

Let me just say, gunfire is really easy to hear when you're tuned/looking for it. You can hear it in all sorts of things. The gunfire thing /might/ not be intentional awful, might just be bunker mentality.
posted by corb at 10:33 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"Police said asking for cooperation from protestors. If things get out of control chief said tatics units will be back"

That's not good. That's very not good. Last night's "this is no longer a peaceful demonstration" police rampage was kicked off by one guy throwing a bottle, as far as I've been able to tell.


The National Moment of Silence in STL is 6:20 under the Arch... I think I have new plans for the evening, if I can get there on time.
posted by Foosnark at 10:34 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


What I would have liked: him beginning with Ferguson, rather than sending a message that domestic race relations are a "secondary" matter; spending at least as much time on Ferguson as on Iraq, rather than only half (6 paragraphs for Ferguson in the transcript vs 10 for Iraq); not describing the shooting of Michael Brown in passive voice; calling for DOJ investigation OF the local officials rather than WITH the local officials (he concluded with "I’ve asked that the attorney general and the U.S. attorney on the scene continue to work with local officials to move that process [open & transparent justice] forward"); unambiguously stating that he CONDEMNS excessive use of police force; calling for an investigation into the militarization of police generally; calling for legislative bodies to work with community groups to craft legislation (police cams, &c) that will ensure that the police use their power in a way that actually protects and serves the people; Q&A time rather than just issuing a statement & leaving the podium; &c, &c.

None of this is particularly partisan, and the fact that it could be spun into something partisan (or that people are worried it would be) is part of the problem.
posted by Westringia F. at 10:34 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


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”
Given what the chief of police just said, the cops certainly believe there really were Molotov cocktails in the crowd. Despite the fact that, ya know, no cops have been set on fire. He totally did say almost exactly that, CancerMan. Like almost word for word.

He also was asked why the cops were dressed as soldiers and said, paraphrasing, "They aren't. They're tactical officers. They're S.W.A.T. We're doing this in blue." He's like the Baghdad Bob of Ferguson.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:35 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


Wait, weren't there photos of Molotov cocktails but the Black Bloc'ers just couldn't get them up and running?
posted by corb at 10:36 AM on August 14


Maybe he's colorblind. Is blue-camouflage one of the variants?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:37 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


As an American living abroad who fears that my country will fall to pieces while I'm away, I want to echo skycrashesdown's thanks for keeping me informed. I also want to thank you for keeping me on the thin edge where sanity and outrage can coexist.

I have lots of hardworking and dedicated, progressive friends, people who spend all their spare time fighting for issues like voting rights, marriage equality, and gun control. But right now, on this situation, nobody seems to get it outside the blue.
posted by willb2 at 10:39 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


All I saw from the live feeds was one ineffectual 'Molotov cocktail' burn itself out on the roof of a car wash.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:39 AM on August 14


Is blue-camouflage one of the variants?

I've seen Navy in the blue variant, but I haven't see it as often as the other camouflage varieties. That's probably just me though.
posted by neitherly at 10:41 AM on August 14


We should start an organization that provides free use of those body video recorders (like police in some areas wear) to protesters in contested situations. I'd love to see what punks like St. Louis County PD said when there were 200+ videos documenting what actually happened in its entirety.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:42 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


We should start an organization that provides free use of those body video recorders (like police in some areas wear) to protesters in contested situations. I'd love to see what punks like St. Louis County PD said when there were 200+ videos documenting what actually happened in its entirety.

Call it iWitness - start a Kickstarter
posted by stenseng at 10:44 AM on August 14 [22 favorites]


Witness already exists.

Ironically, it was started in the wake of Rodney King.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


corb: “Wait, weren't there photos of Molotov cocktails but the Black Bloc'ers just couldn't get them up and running?”
What I've mostly seen are photos of people throwing back tear gas canisters captioned as people throwing Molotov cocktails.

There is one photo of people holding a lighter to a rag. One of the dudes in the photo is holding a spray can. It is not clear whether or not what they're doing is actually trying to light a Molotov cocktail because what's in their hands is not visible. However, as I said, no cops were set on fire.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:46 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


"There is little margin to Obama going hard on #Ferguson. If he does, it becomes a partisan issue at a time when consensus is forming."

I actually agree with this. I don't want to agree with it, because what I want is for the President to express the moral outrage that I and so many others feel.

But if I were in Obama's shoes, I would think very, very carefully about what is helpful right now, where lives are very much on the line, versus what's helpful in the longer-term national discourse sense of expressing that this situation is unacceptably fucked-up. Because it certainly is. But the President expressing that forcefully right at this moment could do more harm than good in the most immediate practical sense.

So, thinking about it, if I were President, I'd be very soothing or otherwise the opposite of inflammatory speaking publicly, but use all the practical resources available to get the police to stand-down, release information to the community, and some other things. Use the power of the office, one way or another, to change the conditions on the ground today. (Well, at least two days before today.)

Expressing outrage from the bully pulpit seems to me to be too likely to cause local authorities to entrench in defensiveness and not do what they need to do to de-escalate, and to also possibly encourage more protesters than just a few to be violent -- I think they're justified, personally, but it's destructive and basically exactly what the police and the other authorities clearly want, regardless of what they claim. I'd feel that my influence means that I'm responsible for any injuries and lives that might be harmed because people actually there felt that, fuck yeah, the President's pissed-off and so am I, fuck you! I mean, I can only speak for myself, but I think that's how I'd react to an angry President angrily endorsing my anger. It would encourage me to act upon it. And, again, I think it's justified for people to be angry and acting upon it, but those cops and their equipment are fucking out of control and as long as they are present facing protesters, we have a severe tragedy very much possible. It really needs to be people's first priority to avoid this.

And I think that means getting the police mostly off those streets. But this will seem like the exact wrong thing to do to a lot of people and so you'd very much not want to add to the already strong resistance for doing so.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:46 AM on August 14 [16 favorites]


The Vox article sort of underscores my issue with how the cops handle everything. The head for the last block says

Police chiefs who want to defuse the tension simply can't

Except that's not true. They can pack up their shit and go. "Can't" in this context means lacking the political will. It's within their ability to say "creating a line of scrimmage is making things worse so we're not going to do it anymore." Get out, disperse through the community, and respond to emergency calls as necessary.

The property damage done to this point doesn't even approach the cost of the human damage done, even if you only count it as medical care costs and not emotional ones. They're not preventing that from happening by being out there. They are arguably inciting it.

But even if they're not, why do they have to create a focal point for these incidents? Pure pride, plain and simple. A refusal to be the first to disperse.
posted by phearlez at 10:46 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


Paul Waldman: Obama weighs in on Ferguson, likely satisfying no one
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.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:48 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Nthing the thanks for y'all in this thread. It's about the only thing keeping me from exploding in incandescent rage.
posted by dogheart at 10:51 AM on August 14 [14 favorites]


My wife's brother is a Texas A&M Aggie, and his views generally line up with modern conservatism as espoused by Fox News and such: he's usually in favor of things like drug testing welfare recipients, diminishing the public school system via vouchers and privately run charter schools, deregulation, heavy-handed official responses to things like the Occupy movement, etc.

He has not previously shown any interest in events like the killing of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests and police reaction to the same.

But yesterday, he said on Facebook, "The Bill of Rights is still valid in St Louis, correct?"

That's one thin ray of hope I've found in all of this: even someone who differs sharply from me on every issue of social justice can't help but see how fucked up the authorities' response to the situation has been.

On a lighter note -- I'm in laugh to keep from crying mode here -- can I say how badly I want some of those rippies now? I'm a chip fiend, and I thought I had tried or was at least aware of most of the varieties out there, but I hadn't heard of rippies until this thread, and now I can't stop thinking about them.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:52 AM on August 14 [18 favorites]


“Things To Stop Being Distracted By When A Black Person Gets Murdered By Police,” Mia McKenzie, Black Girl Dangerous, 14 August 2014

“When Terror Wears a Badge,” Ryan Herring, Sojourners, 14 August 2014

“In Defense of the Ferguson Riots,” Robert Stephens II, Jacobin, 14 August 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 10:53 AM on August 14 [20 favorites]


I heard Al Jazeera asked the Chief of Police (or someone at that press conference) why they were attacked. Anyone know what the response was?
posted by CancerMan at 10:55 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


"There is little margin to Obama going hard on #Ferguson. If he does, it becomes a partisan issue at a time when consensus is forming."

Weasel words that paraphrase we're going to sweep all this under the rug and get away with it.

consensus = 'take it and like it chumps.'

He should have just showed up wearing khakis and a polo shirt.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:55 AM on August 14


I'd be careful driving around St. Louis for a while. It appears there could be a large surplus of angry traffic police in the area.

I'ts St. Louis. There's always a large surplus of angry traffic police.
posted by ryoshu at 10:56 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]




Mia McKenzie's article is great, although I would point out I think that MSM like Al Jazeera, Washington Post, HuffPo, MSNBC, for the most part is doing a decent job trying to cover this. When they can actually get a camera there. Without being arrested.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:57 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


It is so depressing that probably the biggest reason that Obama can't say too much about Ferguson is that he's black. This is just what I mean about damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't framing on protests. We actually live in a country where we expect the very people whose race subjects them to all kinds of social and literal violence to pretend that no, it's just some kind of abstract problem in civics, like whether we should hand out "I Voted" stickers or not. And if they act like it touches them at all, then they're being partisan.
posted by Frowner at 10:59 AM on August 14 [23 favorites]


Fox 2 Now have actually done an amazing job.

On the other hand CNN has spent more time on Patch Adams clips than Ferguson.
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"In other words, Obama wasn't trying to make a speech that would satisfy me, he was trying to make a speech that would not derail the entire media apparatus into arguing about his speech."

I don't agree with this line of argument, except insofar as that might mean that the transformed media discussion would adversely affect some improvement on the ground in Ferguson.

Yes, per my previous comment, I think an unambiguously strong statement right now would be counter-productive -- absolutely not because of the politics or the media response (except in the limited sense of my previous paragraph), but in the practical sense of what would help or hurt today, in Ferguson.

But with regard to the politics, I feel the opposite -- I think the politics in both the short-term and the long-term and the effect on the national discussion would all be improved by an unambiguous condemnation of what the police and authorities have done in Ferguson. I couldn't care less at this point about the press turning this into an Angry Black Man narrative about Obama; I think the benefits would outweigh the costs.

But those are the political and social benefits in the larger context.

What's most important, today, is to change what's happening in Ferguson today. I think that in that regard, in terms of the bully pulpit, almost anything Obama says won't really be helpful and would more likely be hurtful and that either silence or something anodyne would be best. But that's no excuse for inaction and this would need to be matched by extremely vigorous practical action by the executive, in all forms of power, explicit and implicit. I'd wait for practical improvement in Ferguson and then make a very strong speech.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:02 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


All hell has broken loose: When law enforcement is law and order’s biggest threat

Incidentally, are some people still finding that #Ferguson seems deactivated on Facebook? It's totally dropped out of my feed, and everything I've posted related to Ferguson seems to be going into a black hole.
posted by scody at 11:02 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


I am not caught up on comments here because I have been too busy finding and spreading info on Ferguson on Twitter and following my local news sources to come into the thread lately. So apologies if I am repeating some stuff that has already been said. But I just saw a press conference with the Ferguson police chief a little while ago and this lying lying liar said:

1.) That he was unaware of reports of media being teargassed, shot with rubber bullets, harassed and arrested by police last night, but he would "look into it."

2.) That the media were "not a target" of the police.

3.) That no protesters were seriously injured. That no one was really injured at all except for police.

4.) That "if anyone was arrested" it was because they were defying police orders to disperse.

When he knows DAMN WELL that there is video of media being deliberately teargassed and harassed by police behind media lines. When he knows DAMN WELL multiple protesters have been injured by tear gas and "non-lethal" rounds. When he knows DAMN WELL two reporters were arrested last night while they were trying to follow police directions to leave a restaurant, and knows DAMN WELL that St. Louis City Alderman Antonio French was DRAGGED FROM HIS CAR and arrested AFTER he went to his car when police gave the disperse order. This man cannot claim he does not know who was held last night in his OWN DAMN JAIL. No.
posted by BlueJae at 11:02 AM on August 14 [51 favorites]


"I call upon all parties to stop this violence in Ferguson. Now, watch this drive"
posted by crayz at 11:03 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


So, thinking about it, if I were President, I'd be very soothing or otherwise the opposite of inflammatory speaking publicly, but use all the practical resources available to get the police to stand-down, release information to the community, and some other things. Use the power of the office, one way or another, to change the conditions on the ground today. (Well, at least two days before today.)

Okay, so how can we alter his statements and still manage that?

Now, second, I want to address something that’s been in the news over the last couple of days, and that’s the last situation in Ferguson, Missouri. I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images we’ve seen in the heartland of our country as police have clashed with people protesting, today I’d like us all to take a step back and think about how we’re going to be moving forward.

This morning, I received a thorough update on the situation from Attorney General Eric Holder, who’s been following and been in communication with his team. I’ve already tasked ordered the Department of Justice and the FBI to independently investigate the death of Michael Brown, along with local officials on the ground. The Department of Justice is also consulting with local authorities about ways that they can maintain public safety without restricting the right of peaceful protest and while avoidingunnecessary escalation. I made clear to ordered the attorney general that we should do what is necessary to help determine exactly what happened and to see that justice is done.

I alsojust spoke with Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri. I expressed my concern over the violent turn that events have taken on the ground, and underscored that now’s the time for all of us to reflect on what’s happened and to find a way to come together going forward. He is going to be traveling to Ferguson. He is a good man and a fine governor, and I’m confident that working together, he’s going to be able to communicate his desire to make sure that justice is done and his desire to make sure that public safety is maintained in an appropriate way.

Of course, it’s important to remember how this started. We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. He was 18 years old, and his family will never hold Michael in their arms again. And when something like this happens, the local authorities, including the police, have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death and how they are protecting the people in their communities. There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force againstpeaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights. And here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground.

Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority. I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened. There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward. That’s part of our democracy. But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest, a reverence for the dignity of every single man, woman and child among us, and the need for accountability when it comes to our government.

So now is the time for healing. Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson. Now is the time for an open and transparent process to see that justice is done. And I’ve asked that the attorney general and the U.S. attorney on the scene continue to work with local officials to move that process forward. They will be reporting to me in the coming days about what’s being done to make sure that happens.


And that's just with weasel bullshit deletion. Didn't have to be strident or order anything, though I don't see how you Angry Black Man an unequivocal statement that violence and suppression of press freedom will be dealt with using every tool available. And if you do, fuck it, twisting something that basic in American law means they were going to find something to twist regardless. Giving rhetorical shelter to the most craven and obvious is pointless.
posted by phearlez at 11:04 AM on August 14 [11 favorites]


Maybe he's colorblind. Is blue-camouflage one of the variants?

Maybe the camo is working too well, and he can't see the camo'ed officers. That would explain why he thinks their response to the protests is reasonable, he's missing 95% of the police presence.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:04 AM on August 14 [20 favorites]


But I just saw a press conference with the Ferguson police chief a little while ago

I thought these clowns were reassigned already ...
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:07 AM on August 14


I thought these clowns were reassigned already ...

I believe St. Louis County PD and Ferguson PD are not one and the same.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:08 AM on August 14


Two one-ring circuses, at odds with each other...
posted by Pudhoho at 11:12 AM on August 14


Brilliance:
@SFTovarishch
#BREAKING NYC looters continue to defy rule of law, steal billions, leave thousands homeless. No arrests. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/YY57il750N
posted by desjardins at 11:14 AM on August 14 [33 favorites]


I keep thinking about Eisenhower's farewell address. He knew this was possible. He warned us, and we didn't take steps to stop it. Except his military-industrial complex is now the police-military-industrial complex.

"This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

"We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:17 AM on August 14 [16 favorites]


Fox 2 Now have actually done an amazing job.

When I was watching last night, they were licking the boots of the Ferguson PD chief for doing such a great job despite all the rowdy violent standing around holding their arms up that the crowd was doing. I closed that tab and went back to the KARG live feed where the cops were industriously gassing reporters and setting peoples' lawns on fire.
posted by Foosnark at 11:17 AM on August 14 [7 favorites]


It's odd that everyone's speculating on the strategy for why Obama is holding back in this one particular situation, as if it's unusual for him. I'm sorry but he's an apologist for White America. That's how he got his job, how he's run the country and how he intends to continue running it. From the beginning his racial message has been "everyone needs to just chill out, blacks and whites alike!" and this is just another example. He's a tool of the racist power structures, not the answer to them, and the sooner we accept that the sooner we can figure out how to affect change on our own rather than hoping he will and always being disappointed.
posted by naju at 11:18 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


"And that's just with weasel bullshit deletion."

Yeah, that's an improvement. But I think that even that would have still been very unsatisfying for most of us, and rightly so. The fundamental problem is that the situation calls for outrage and what is right and appropriate is for our President to express that outrage. I feel like anything less than that is gong to dissatisfy us because even if you could easily improve what he did say, as you just did, it's still a long way from what's right.

I mean, again, this looks like an occupying army. And a more aggressive occupying army than our actual occupying army. Nothing less than outrage would be right.

I really, really feel that those things need to be expressed and they need to be expressed by the President. But I feel that there's a fundamental practical problem with doing that at this precise moment in time. This is more like a hostage negotiation (with the protesters and people of Ferguson as the hostages and the police holding guns to their heads) today and that's the most important consideration today.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:18 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Winter in America

From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
Looking for the rain
Looking for the rain

Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
Living in a nation that just can't stand much more
Like the forest buried beneath the highway
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it's winter
Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the people know, the people know
It's winter
Winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
'Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Winter in America

The Constitution
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it's hoping
Hoping for some rain

And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow

And now it's winter
It's winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or been betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It's winter, Lord knows
It's winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America
posted by rocketman at 11:18 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


The Frontline Is Everywhere
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.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:19 AM on August 14


Apparently Nixon is considered a possible democratic presidential candidate, if you want extra vomit.
posted by Artw


Ahhh. So, President Obama says he'll speak at 12:15. But is late because he's on the phone with the potential next Democratic presidential candidate who also happens to have been mostly MIA in the entire debacle of the state he governs.

I wonder what happened on that phone call!
posted by jillithd at 11:20 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


2.) That the media were "not a target" of the police.

Isn't this the same police chief who was notified by an LA Times reporter about the arrest of a reporter from the WaPo and the HuffPo? Did he forget about that already? And has no one shown him or at least mentioned the existence of the footage of the Al Jazeera crew targeted with tear gas from cops?

Someone is really terrible at their job.
posted by rtha at 11:20 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


But I feel that there's a fundamental practical problem with doing that at this precise moment in time.

"Yes, just not right now" has been the bane of every civil rights improvement ever. I decided a few years ago I would no longer say it or excuse it.
posted by phearlez at 11:21 AM on August 14 [19 favorites]


From Artw's vox.com link above:

there are still multiple agencies currently working in Ferguson, and none of them is in charge

The rest of the article suggests that the police in Ferguson have implemented the NIMS National Incident Management System, and it sounds like as expected there was one incident commander at any given time, but that command changed periodically.

All that is fine. NIMS has been adopted as a standard because among other good reasons it is designed to scale as incidents get larger, to facilitate the interoperation of multiple agencies of multiple jurisdictions, to accomodate change of command as appropriate, and to maintain unity of command (all units reporting to exactly one commander at all times).

What I don't get is why these agencies have not been operating under a single higher command under NIMS. Is there no state agency that assumes command and coordinates lower level command changes between participating agencies? Maybe the state's DHS or some similar department?

NIMS events should, in my opinion, be on the public record with dates and times, for all incidents that use the system.
posted by maniabug at 11:23 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


From the beginning his racial message has been "everyone needs to just chill out, blacks and whites alike!" and this is just another example.

This is just like calling rape a "he-said/she-said" situation without acknowledging the gross imbalance of power.
posted by desjardins at 11:24 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, are some people still finding that #Ferguson seems deactivated on Facebook? It's totally dropped out of my feed, and everything I've posted related to Ferguson seems to be going into a black hole.

Same. Robin Williams and Dog the Bounty Hunter are the top trending topics. Anything I see related to Freguson is from a Facebook group I am part of. Facebook has been just useless for this. I considered posting a baby picture with Ferguson-related text photoshopped over, but decided against. But it's not just Facebook's algorithm... You can sort your feed by recent posts, and still nothing, and you can even do a Graph search for Ferguson, police, cops, etc. from My Friends and at least with me it returns very few posts. Facebook has trained us well (so maybe it is their algorithm after all.)
posted by AceRock at 11:24 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]




"Yes, just not right now" has been the bane of every civil rights improvement ever. I decided a few years ago I would no longer say it or excuse it.

Totally agree with this.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 11:28 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


"what your cameras aren't showing is gunfire is erupting all around."

"Well you gassed the cameraperson and chased away the news crews, so no, our cameras didn't show that. They couldn't show much after we were forced to pack them up and move them."

I mean, that is not ALL that is wrong with his bullshit statement, but that is certainly one of the most obvious problems with it.

What an asshole.
posted by emjaybee at 11:29 AM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Here's the deescalation we were promised by authorities: Sniper on the roof (I can't hear the audio so I have no idea what is being said)
posted by desjardins at 11:30 AM on August 14


My Facebook trending box from 11:30am pacific time.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:31 AM on August 14 [3 favorites]


wait, is the governor actually a serious veep candidate?
posted by corb at 11:31 AM on August 14


The audio is just someone saying to focus on a specific agenda/task for their gathering. I believe the man speaking (shown at the end of that video clip) is a lawyer that offered to represent those arrested during the protests.
posted by CancerMan at 11:32 AM on August 14


wait, is the governor actually a serious veep candidate?

Probably not for long.
posted by schmod at 11:35 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


"'Yes, just not right now' has been the bane of every civil rights improvement ever. I decided a few years ago I would no longer say it or excuse it."

My argument is the President not saying a particular thing today, but instead doing some particular things today, and then saying those particular things a few days later. Which is a very long way away from putting off civil rights.

Seriously, waiting a few days for the situation to become less weaponized to make a forceful political statement is absolutely not going to make a difference in securing civil rights. It very much could make a difference to actual people who are staring down the barrels of out-of-control police. But, you know, waiting disappoints you, so there's that to consider, too. That's pretty important.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:37 AM on August 14 [4 favorites]


NIMS is a structure developed by fire fighters, and adopted more recently through the emergency response and disaster relief communities, governmental and NGO alike. Police may or may not use it widely (yet). I have no idea if these forces are using it or not. Certainly, I know of a number of forces who have their own unique frameworks and agreements for interforce cooperation. This has historically, sometimes caused issues when they have to interact with structures using ICS in the field.

I wouldn't assume, unless it's been made stated such, that they're using NIMS. In fact, the concept of rotating commanders daily, as described in the vox.com article, isn't standard at all in ICS, and certainly hasn't been in the structures I've been part of in both the US and elsewhere. In fact, that goes against best practice, as I've been taught it and understand it, which emphasizes continuity of command, to avoid exactly these sorts of problems.
posted by bonehead at 11:39 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Rand Paul Blames Technology First and Racism Last
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.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:43 AM on August 14 [17 favorites]


It's more of a sideline topic and should be approached that way, but for the people wondering about Facebook feeds, here's a Medium piece on Ferguson and algorithmic filtering. Facebook definitely had some shenanigans going on - last night many friends were sharing and posting about Ferguson, but my news feed was showing me stories from 7-12 hours ago, then 1-2 days ago in an effort to avoid the topic. Really this is the point at which Facebook's filtering has been exposed as absolutely broken, when it actively hides the topics that are most important for me and most important for the country. I thought social media was about showing each person their customized interests, not actively, hatefully hiding it from them.
posted by naju at 11:44 AM on August 14 [17 favorites]




NYTimes: Standoff in Ferguson. 3 minutes of tightly edited documentary footage.
posted by Nelson at 11:44 AM on August 14 [12 favorites]


Yeah i guess I did jump to the conclusion they're using NIMS/ICS. The system does not specify how or when command should change, purposely leaving that open. Though we do agree there should have been better continuity here.
posted by maniabug at 11:45 AM on August 14


Rep. Steve King (R-IA):
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.
posted by crayz at 11:46 AM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Ferguson is not showing in my trending box, but posts are all over my page; but then, hardly anyone is bothering to tag them? Anyway, they are not being hidden but my FB friends are pretty much all liberalish types.
posted by emjaybee at 11:48 AM on August 14


"Police said asking for cooperation from protestors. If things get out of control chief said tatics units will be back"

How about a fucking strategy unit?
posted by ryoshu at 11:48 AM on August 14 [6 favorites]


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.

No, Steve King, you really should not.
posted by cjelli at 11:49 AM on August 14 [31 favorites]


A man is murdered and a town is held hostage and we all need to wait. We send hundreds of troops halfway around the world to combat terrorists threatening the citizens of Iraq, but when the terrorism happens in Ferguson, MO, it's gauche and unacceptable for the President of the United States to make too strong a statement about it, or God forbid, actually take action. What country are we living in? What year is it? Anyone with a television or a computer and the will to see could turn on last night and see what was happening in Ferguson, MO. Those citizens needed to be rescued. Those citizens needed to be protected. Where was the cavalry? The statement our President made today was that they don't matter and that he doesn't care. We will spend our blood and treasure protecting Iraqis but not black citizens of this country.
posted by kjh at 11:50 AM on August 14 [19 favorites]


I believe St. Louis County PD and Ferguson PD are not one and the same.

There's an interview with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief that shows the differences. St. Louis police chief says he does not support militarized tactics in Ferguson
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.
posted by gladly at 11:50 AM on August 14 [44 favorites]


Wow Steve King, being a contender for biggest piece of shit re: Ferguson right now is really quite an achievement. Congrats I suppose.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:51 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The best part is that in Steve King's head he thought "how do I put this delicately" and his head told him that.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:51 AM on August 14 [31 favorites]


probably should only use "single origin" if you're referring to coffee or chocolate
posted by desjardins at 11:52 AM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Steve King has himself in some long term moron fantasy league; I'm sure of it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:53 AM on August 14 [16 favorites]


I'm flashing back to a little more than a year ago when Reddit tried to "crowdsource" the manhunt for the Boston Bombers and wound up provoking some suicides, due to wrongful accusations.

Oh, did they ever figure out that he committed suicide after being accused? I thought he was missing for a month before the bombings. The Reddit accusations were terrible for the family, of course, but provoking suicide is another step entirely.
posted by smackfu at 11:54 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The system does not specify how or when command should change, purposely leaving that open. Though we do agree there should have been better continuity here.

You're absolutely correct, however, in every case I can think of, the OSC turnover is slower than just about every other position. It's very common, even on incidents larger and more complicated than this (forest fire seasons, hurricane response, big oil spills), to have a single commander on for the duration. This shuffle the deck every day approach is nuts. It speaks to how poorly prepared the authorities really were for a big incident.
posted by bonehead at 11:54 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Just FYI, St. Louis Metro Police are not the same as St. Louis County Police. Metro is downtown proper, county is the greater St. Louis area minus the city. The city cops are fine in my experience, whereas the county cops are…not as good.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:56 AM on August 14


This shuffle the deck every day approach is nuts.

You can't hold the incident commander responsible for last night if there is no incident commander. This is a feature.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:58 AM on August 14 [13 favorites]


Georgia Dem Rep Hank Johnson introduces bill to stop providing miltarized equipment to police departments.
posted by emjaybee at 11:58 AM on August 14 [41 favorites]


There's an interview with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief that shows the differences.

This guy sounds like he knows what he's talking about. I say put the Ferguson police chief on suspension immediately and have St. Louis Met. Police take over responsibility for Ferguson until a new chief is found.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:58 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Actually #MikeBrown leads my Facebook trending box, AceRock. Just subscribe/like to some anti-police groups listed here, that'll fix your news feed.

Rand Paul's oped focuses on the issues of militarization, and spending, about which his constituency cares most, tonycpsu. Absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Rand Paul has done far more than Obama to put pressure on the police. In fact, Rand Paul has even used stronger language than Obama in addressing the racial problem : "Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth."
posted by jeffburdges at 11:59 AM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Seriously, waiting a few days for the situation to become less weaponized to make a forceful political statement is absolutely not going to make a difference in securing civil rights. It very much could make a difference to actual people who are staring down the barrels of out-of-control police. But, you know, waiting disappoints you, so there's that to consider, too. That's pretty important.

Working backwards through this: guess which finger I'm holding up about your closing snark making this about me.

It's not about me, and pretending that the timing of when something is said is irrelevant while simultaneously saying that timing matters makes no sense. When the nation collectively is looking at a situation and expecting the President to make a statement that is a moment of opportunity. There are things that can be said and actions encouraged that will have a result now but won't later.

You want to assert that the risk is too great to do it now, knock yourself out. You're welcome to that opinion and I'm sticking with my opinion that it's a chickenshit play. I think that waiting for it to be less weaponized - assuming that it's possible to wait that out in modern policing - means, in my opinion, that the moment of attention has passed. and now it's just some dead black kid. Which we don't collectively give a fuck about any other day, so why would we in a week?

Those people out on the street know good and groddamned well that they're potentially in danger from those cops and they keep showing up anyway. They choose to keep putting themselves in harm's way because they believe the risk is worth it. In the face of that I unequivocally think it's a load of fucking nonsense for the President to avoid overtly saying don't shoot protestors and reporters because maybe that'll work up those cops even more.

I think it's patronizing and insulting nonsense for the President to avoid saying it because maybe it might work up those protestors to where they will incite the police to greater violence. If we can say it about people in Egypt without sweating what they might do and the results it will get then we can say it to our own citizens.
posted by phearlez at 12:02 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


I'm not entirely opposed to providing police with military equipment. What I'm primarily opposed to is the usage of such equipment in inappropriate situations, which Ferguson is a prime example of.
posted by CancerMan at 12:02 PM on August 14


Steve King has himself in some long term moron fantasy league; I'm sure of it.

Would absolutely join a "Congressperson says dumb shit fantasy league".
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:02 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Rand Paul has done far more than Obama to put pressure on the police.

Obama called the governor and put the FBI and DOJ on the case. Rand Paul wrote a strongly worded letter.
posted by vibrotronica at 12:02 PM on August 14 [35 favorites]


I mean who's your first round pick? Do you go with that consistent McCain or Graham, who puts up solid if unassuming numbers saying sorta dumb shit every Sunday on the Sunday news shows? Or do you bet the farm on King or Bachmann and just keep those fingers crossed every week for a blowout?
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:05 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I'd missed that, fair enough, well "said more" perhaps still holds depending on what one means by that. And I could replace Obama with most democrats easily enough.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:05 PM on August 14


Those... people... look like they come from some kind of continent.
posted by forgetful snow at 12:05 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


I'm not entirely opposed to providing police with military equipment. What I'm primarily opposed to is the usage of such equipment in inappropriate situations, which Ferguson is a prime example of.

Smoke em if you got em is an overwhelming impulse.
posted by phearlez at 12:07 PM on August 14 [13 favorites]


I'm not entirely opposed to providing police with military equipment. What I'm primarily opposed to is the usage of such equipment in inappropriate situations, which Ferguson is a prime example of.

I think the police have proven that when you give a cop an armored vehicle, everything looks like it needs to be blown up real good.
posted by emjaybee at 12:07 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


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.

Where precisely does he think everyone else came from?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:08 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I read that and wondered why there were so many French people involved.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:08 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


Obama called the governor and put the FBI and DOJ on the case. Rand Paul wrote a strongly worded letter.

Yeah, the Obama hate in this thread is astounding.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:09 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


vitreous Nordic spaceships
posted by The Whelk at 12:09 PM on August 14


I'm not entirely opposed to providing police with military equipment. What I'm primarily opposed to is the usage of such equipment in inappropriate situations, which Ferguson is a prime example of.

I'm completely opposed to it. We've had laws on the books for years prohibiting military forces acting as police on American soil exactly because it's always a bad idea and creates the wrong kind of relationship between police and the people they are charged with serving.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:09 PM on August 14 [32 favorites]


Um, Steve.... You don't exactly look like you're from this continent either.

Given that you represent a place named Sioux City, you might want to choose those words a bit more carefully...
posted by schmod at 12:10 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


We do need a metafilter congressperson says dumb shit fantasy league, but this requires rating dumbness, which sounds tricky. I donno if you can judge dumbness by twitter reaction, maybe meme photo reaction but that's still hard.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:10 PM on August 14


I mean, look at these pictures and ask yourself: Does it look like the police are serving and protecting the residents of Ferguson, or does it look like they are laying siege to them? What exactly did the people do wrong here? They are allowed to protest in their own town.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:11 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Yeah, the Obama hate in this thread is astounding.

Are you sure you're in the right thread? People expressing impatience and disappointment is not "hate." Like, people standing in a street with signs, chanting, are not a violent mob pitching bombs at cops.
posted by rtha at 12:12 PM on August 14 [27 favorites]


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.

Yes, you piece of shit. They're NORTH AMERICANS.
posted by winna at 12:14 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


State Senator Nadal (who represents Ferguson) on MSNBC. (She trashes the governor and has a few things to say about Obama.)
posted by nangar at 12:18 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Statement by Attorney General Eric Holder on Latest Developments in Ferguson, Missouri
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.”
posted by desjardins at 12:18 PM on August 14 [19 favorites]


Yeah, the Obama hate in this thread is astounding.

I don't see why anyone thinks many of us would like My Pet Goat any better 13 years later.
posted by phearlez at 12:22 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]


State Senator Nadal (who represents Ferguson) on MSNBC. (She trashes the governor and has a few things to say about Obama.)

Damn. This woman is awesome.
posted by naju at 12:25 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


willful efforts to antagonize law enforcement officers who are genuinely trying to protect the public

The police started it. What could be more antagonizing than the line of cops showing up to the vigil? I mean, aside from shooting a kid in the back from 10yards away.

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.

It's too bad that calling the cops out for having no clue is couched in this diplomatic muck.

I have hope that the fact that the DOJ has interviewed the witnesses today means there will be movement sooner than later.
posted by rhizome at 12:26 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


St. Louis police chief says he does not support militarized tactics in Ferguson

There has been some amount of talk about reunification of STL city and county to eliminate a lot of the waste and poor coordination. If that happens, I sure hope this guy is the one who gets to be chief cop.
posted by Foosnark at 12:27 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Honestly, absent actual physical assault, antagonizing cops should be totally legitimate. We're going to give you a gun and a badge, but it bothers you to have some people yelling "fuck the police" at you? Grow up.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:29 PM on August 14 [61 favorites]


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.

I take this as a sign that the Government has perfected time travel, because the STL cops seem to be stuck in 1954.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:29 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


^ Drafts Louie Gohmert for the win!!1
posted by maggieb at 12:30 PM on August 14


Missouri House leader calls for state of emergency, curfew

No. No no no no no. Maybe if you did that on Tuesday. Maybe if you did that on Wednesday, instead of a "we'd like to ask nicely that you conclude your protests well before sunset" (with its implied "or we're going to dress up like soldiers and stomp your ass").

But at this point? A curfew, and its enforcement by the Neanderthals in surplus military gear, is going to make things worse.
posted by Foosnark at 12:32 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Seattle's former police chief speaks out: "Had you set out to make matters worse, you couldn't have done a better job."
posted by komara at 12:33 PM on August 14 [45 favorites]


King then stated that he prefers to "reject race-based politics, identity politics" because "we're all God's children and we all should be held to the same standards and the same level of behavior."

Translation: Shut up. Acknowledging the reality of racism and its effects means I might actually have to do something hard, like recognizing that other people have experiences that are different from mine and yet they are real. Other people are real, even if they come from another continent, and they have rights! I can't handle it. Shut up.
posted by rtha at 12:34 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


"Rand Paul has done far more than Obama to put pressure on the police. In fact, Rand Paul has even used stronger language than Obama in addressing the racial problem..."

The latter is true, but I don't know whether the former is true. It may well be, if Obama hasn't actually done anything to put pressure on the local authorities. If action on his part amounts to this speech, then, yeah, it's pathetic.

But Rand Paul and Obama are inverted with regard to each other. Rand Paul has very little practical influence on the situation while almost anything he says opposing the police, no matter how forcefully, could only be positive. Meanwhile, Obama has considerable practical influence on the situation but almost anything he says, at this particular moment in time, would more likely than not have a negative practical influence on the situation. Obama's influence with regard to the situation on the ground, right now, is his actual direct influence via the executive branch and his direct influence in dealing with politicians who have clear local authority, one way or another, over the police.

Crucially, we don't know, other than his putting the DoJ and the FBI in action, that's he's actually done anything. And the DoJ and FBI may very well have no practical influence right now on the ground (although I feel like in an indirect way they could, by making it clear that officials and police are being scrutinized in a way that will have immediate legal consequences). So I'm not defending him on the basis of assuming he's actually doing something productive, but only that I think that the most practically productive things he could be doing right at this moment are things that don't include making speeches and, furthermore, making speeches right now is more likely to hurt than help.

But that's only mostly true about him. I very strongly agree that political leaders should be speaking up forcefully about this and in the same sense that Rand Paul is being productive, practically, right now, so can a whole lot of other people. More to the point, a lot of those people Obama has direct influence over. Some of them work for him. This is when presidential proxies are very useful. The VP is a common proxy in this kind of situation. Biden could make a forceful speech today and he should make a forceful speech today. Obama could be getting a number of people to say the things that he can't helpfully say. And, as I've argued, once the police aren't on the streets as if they were an occupying army, Obama himself can say those things as forcefully as possible.

I totally and completely agree with almost everything kjh wrote, even though he was forcefully arguing against what I wrote, because the only waiting I'm advocating for is the President himself saying something forceful but, otherwise, I'm very strongly in favor of Obama doing anything and everything that would actually improve the situation on the ground. And others can say the things that he can't say at this moment.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:36 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


State Senator Nadal (who represents Ferguson) on MSNBC. (She trashes the governor and has a few things to say about Obama.):
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.
I want to high-five this woman so bad right now
posted by crayz at 12:36 PM on August 14 [25 favorites]


Maybe when the State Senator asks if she's going to be tear gassed again, have a better answer than "I hope not"? The only worse answer is actively hoping she's gassed again.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:37 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


I think the Jacobin article ob1quixote posted is pretty critical for this discussion. The militarization stuff is scary and intimidating, but you can be intimidating with dogs and firehoses. What's truly frightening, as many have said, is that the defense of white supremacy and white institutions is as intense and all-encompassing as it was 60 years ago or 160 years ago.
posted by MetalFingerz at 12:39 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Holder coming through in the clutch - that's what I was hoping to hear from Obama. A clear course of action and a strong message, with it an implicit warning to local law enforcement - adult supervision is on its way.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:40 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


A little clarification about police departments around here, since there seems to have been some (understandable) confusion:

St. Louis City has its own police force.

St. Louis County is a separate political entity from St. Louis City, that also has its own police force.

Most of the minor municipalities in St. Louis County, including Ferguson, also have their own municipal police forces.

St. Louis County police are responsible for unincorporated areas of St. Louis County and areas that do not have their own municipal police force. However, they also frequently provide assistance to municipal forces on big cases, because our municipalities in the county are small (like 20,000 - 100,000 people each) and their police forces tend to also be small.

St. Louis City will occasionally ALSO assist the county, but only if a case affects both jurisdictions, or the county asks very very nicely.

St. Louis County police have been assisting Ferguson police with the protests. They have also received assistance from St. Charles County police (St. Charles is a neighboring county across the Missouri River) and many county municipal forces.

St. Louis County was initially nominally put in charge of the local police efforts surrounding both the shooting investigation and the protests to give an appearance of impartiality. However, Ferguson police have still been on the ground working the protests in Ferguson and the people arrested at the protests have been detained in the Ferguson jail.
posted by BlueJae at 12:41 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


(So the St. Louis City police chief criticizing this "crowd control" operation has not been involved with it, and is saying if he had been, he would have handled it a lot differently than County has.)
posted by BlueJae at 12:42 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Holder the anger translator?
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:43 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I am really looking forward to the National Police Reform Act which will be promised as a plank in the Democratic platform in 2016
posted by shothotbot at 12:43 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


DynamiteToast: "I mean who's your first round pick? Do you go with that consistent McCain or Graham, who puts up solid if unassuming numbers saying sorta dumb shit every Sunday on the Sunday news shows? Or do you bet the farm on King or Bachmann and just keep those fingers crossed every week for a blowout?"

Wait - can we do it like my 5th grade class had spelling baseball? We grade the force of the hit - so McCain or Graham, they'll be like 1, 2, 3 in line, ya know? A single, maybe a double. Save your Gohmert's and Bachmanns for like the heavy hitting. But - I guess the problem there is all these things are really asynchronous, there is no "season" and no set play times, so having an "order" to the players wouldn't really work, would it? I mean, unless I suppose you take statements from each member of your team, then sequentially order them as they came in. Maybe the value of each hitter is their insanity rank. McCain = 1; Gohmert = 4. How do you fail a hit though? I guess that's another question...
posted by symbioid at 12:45 PM on August 14


Bachmann is definitely your cleanup moron.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:46 PM on August 14 [15 favorites]


Pater Aletheias: "I keep thinking about Eisenhower's farewell address. He knew this was possible. He warned us, and we didn't take steps to stop it. Except his military-industrial complex is now the police-military-industrial complex.

Actually a common term among prison abolitionists (or even people who think we incarcerate too many people) is the Prison Industrial Complex. I suppose Police would be either a super or subset of that, depending on how you look at it. Trade shows happen where all sorts of tactical and riot and prison police gear get shown and sold. Lots of money in the drug wars and other wars we continue to push.
posted by symbioid at 12:49 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


Missouri House leader calls for state of emergency, curfew

*clicks article, reads*

House Majority Leader John Diehl, R-Town and Country

Okay, Charles Dickens, quit with the naming things in 2014. I don't know anything about Town and Country and I'm sure it's a lovely place, but on the heels of comments like that, it might as well read that the comments were made by Mr. W. Whiteman the mayor of Whitetown.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:50 PM on August 14 [33 favorites]


Town and Country is one of the whitest and wealthiest suburbs of St. Louis.
posted by Jacob G at 12:54 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Actually a common term among prison abolitionists (or even people who think we incarcerate too many people) is the Prison Industrial Complex. I suppose Police would be either a super or subset of that, depending on how you look at it.

There's plenty of negative repercussions to police action that don't result in prison time; the vast majority of criminal offenses, if I recall correctly, also include provisions for financial penalty. They also have their own loathsome revenue stream distinct from prisons (asset forfeiture vs prison labor outsourcing) so I think they deserve their distinct own Police Industrial Complex label.
posted by phearlez at 12:54 PM on August 14


Apparently Gov. Nixon is going to have another press conference.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:54 PM on August 14


Problem the first: that the DOJ and police departments need to have a Community Relations Service because the departments themselves are no longer comprised of members of the community they're designated to serve.

Second problem: when you're a "law enforcement officer" (note the terminology change we've seen lately - they're police officers and they sure aren't "peace officers") then everything you do is designed to enforce law and everyone you encounter must be breaking the law. Everyone is a 'perp'. It's just a lot easier for people who look like you to make you feel comfortable enough fast enough to accept they aren't during the first 3 seconds of your contact with them.

Third: every contact must be resolved. And if every contact is with a 'perp' then those can only be resolved in one way: arrest. So whatever happens next is going to escalate until you can arrest them, no matter what it takes. There's never an option to de-escalate down to just letting them walk (or even run!) away.

Fourth: we blindly and generally consider police heroes*. And heroes in American mythology don't let bad guys walk away. NEVER. Until we fundamentally shift some basic cultural mindsets we'll never change any of this.

* Because 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.
posted by marylynn at 12:54 PM on August 14 [17 favorites]


I don't know anything about Town and Country and I'm sure it's a lovely place, but on the heels of comments like that, it might as read that he was Mr. W. Whiteman the mayor of Whitetown.

That is exactly what Town and Country is.

T&C:

Population 11K.
88% white, 7.5% Asian, 2.6% African American
Mean household income: $134,387 (the highest in Missouri)

Ferguson:

Population 22K
52.5% African American, 44.75% white
Mean household income: $37,134
posted by Foosnark at 12:55 PM on August 14 [18 favorites]


I'd interpret a representatives name followed by R-MO-Town & Country to mean he was the representative Chrysler hired to help legislation benefit their Town & Country minivan line, MCMikeNamara.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:56 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


Paid my $5 after ten years of daily lurking because of this thread. Thanks, MetaFilter, for being the best place to be today.
posted by kelborel at 12:57 PM on August 14 [42 favorites]


...though there are whiter towns in Missouri. Memphis, where my grandmother-in-law lives, is a city of 1822 people -- and is 98.5% white. There are more Native Americans (0.5%) than African Americans (0.2%) there. (I actually find it kind of scary, and I'm white.)
posted by Foosnark at 12:57 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


King then stated that he prefers to "reject race-based politics, identity politics" because "we're all God's children and we all should be held to the same standards and the same level of behavior."

King doesn't see race. People tell him he's white, and he takes their word for it, because he's able to be a giant racist piece of shit and keeps getting re-elected, and his son hasn't been murdered for walking down the street.


/colbert
posted by stenseng at 12:58 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Okay, Charles Dickens, quit with the naming things in 2014. I don't know anything about Town and Country and I'm sure it's a lovely place, but on the heels of comments like that, it might as well read that the comments were made by Mr. W. Whiteman the mayor of Whitetown.

It's pronounced "Whitton."

Also, agree with marylynn in general, but especially on the "heroes" nonsense. Either the police are risking their lives to keep me safe, or "officer safety" is the most important thing in the world and it's worth putting me in danger, or just shooting me in the back to make sure the police can make it home to their families. You can't have it both ways.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:59 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]




It's pronounced "Whitton."

To really be a town in West County it should have a French name which is pronounced in a bizarre way, like Creve Couer, or Spoede, or Ladue.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:08 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


There's a town in north central Kansas named, "Athol", and I'm pretty sure I know how they don't pronounce it...
posted by Windopaene at 1:10 PM on August 14


(Which, for the non-locals, are pronounced as Creeve Core, Spade-Dee, and La-Doo.)
posted by BlueJae at 1:10 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


(Although I'm pretty sure Spoede is actually German.)
posted by BlueJae at 1:11 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Whatever, it's pronounced stupid.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:12 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


Holder coming through in the clutch - that's what I was hoping to hear from Obama. A clear course of action and a strong message, with it an implicit warning to local law enforcement - adult supervision is on its way.

You did hear it from Obama, Holder just said it. I very much doubt that Holder got up and said something, or did something, that had not been previously cleared with Obama, or was suggested by him. I would go so far as to say that this is a coordinated response (imagine that!).
posted by OmieWise at 1:13 PM on August 14 [19 favorites]


The governor is speaking, and noted that Michael Brown was not much younger than his own son. Good start. You see that often when officials talk about horrible cases, but a lot of times they don't do it when the person is black.
posted by cashman at 1:14 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Gov presser: Missouri Highway patrol will be directing team tonight for security.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:14 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I'm not entirely opposed to providing police with military equipment. What I'm primarily opposed to is the usage of such equipment in inappropriate situations, which Ferguson is a prime example of.

I'm foggy on the source but when Gabe Newell was making Half Life his game design strategy was "Don't show me a huge gun and not let me shoot it." 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.
posted by cmfletcher at 1:14 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


To really be a town in West County it should have a French name which is pronounced in a bizarre way, like Creve Couer, or Spoede, or Ladue.


Blancs-sur-Rivière, but with a really nasal a in "Blancs".
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:18 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Very different optics of this press conference, as Chris Hayes points out as well. Governor Nixon followed by Black law enforcement officers and community leaders.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:18 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Did Charlie Dooley just get cut?


edit nm streaming weirdness
posted by asockpuppet at 1:19 PM on August 14


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.”
One need only watch the video weston posted to see this in action. I've seen cabin raids at the LARP that were executed with more precision.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:20 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


The governor is rattling through this press conference like a Catholic priest at 11:30 Mass who's got a football game starting at noon.

It's hard to understand, but it also makes it sound insincere -- like he's reading something someone else wrote and just wants to get through it as fast as possible, not that he means what he's saying. I'm sure it's just his public-speaking style, but ughhhhh. Optics, man. Every little bit counts at this point.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:21 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Who is this speaking, who said he's going to appoint a blue-ribbon committee that involves citizens?
posted by cashman at 1:21 PM on August 14


cashman, I believe that is County Executive Dooley.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:24 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Because 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.

Police safety is the best it's been in decades.There's even a chart.
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.
There's an absolute number from that point in 2013 of just under 100 deaths. Compare it to a typical year for truck drivers of just under 1,000. In fact there's more dangerous jobs than truck driver. Want to guess where police fall on the line?
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.
Of course this doesn't measure the size of the population. Looking for number of truck drivers I come up with 1.7M but only about 800,000 law enforcement people with arrest powers. So you're really only 5 times as likely to die driving a truck as enforcing the law, not 10 times. There's 4.5M construction workers so they're only twice as likely to die. Manufacturing is even bigger. Pilots, on the other hand, at 73,000, means they're well more than 10 time more likely to die than cops. Odd that they only get to be heroes when they DON'T crash.

Also, while looking for the above stat I found one of Balko's old posts about officer strategy and safety.
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.
posted by phearlez at 1:25 PM on August 14 [38 favorites]


cashman it's Charlie Dooley
posted by asockpuppet at 1:25 PM on August 14


From Twitter user Dr. Goddess ‏@drgoddess:

Oh snap. Captain Ron Johnson, head of Highway Patrol, is a Black man who is from MO and was just appointed leader. Amen, Amen..
posted by emjaybee at 1:26 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I'm not entirely opposed to providing police with military equipment. What I'm primarily opposed to is the usage of such equipment in inappropriate situations

I am opposed to providing police with heavy military equipment because it almost guarantees that the equipment will be used inappropriately.

When local police are given MRAPs and tactical gear, we encourage departments to skip straight to a DEFCON 5 militarily response without even bothering to attempt pacifying, community-based, civilian approaches.

This is made worse by the fact that although we're showering local forces with military equipment, we're providing little to no training in how to responsibly deploy such equipment without escalating an already bad situation.

I think it's important that we maintain community-based, civilian law enforcement as our country's first line of response to unrest.

Are there situations where a heavier response is merited? Sure. That's why we maintain a regimented and well-trained National Guard.

Arming the police with military equipment can only alienate communities and blur the lines of command when shit goes wrong.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:27 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


Governor flubs response to first question.
posted by beagle at 1:27 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Reporter asks, "Who was in charge? (last night) Governor responds that he isn't looking back.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:30 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Governor flubs response to first question.

And is now just talking in businessy nonsense. Asked about the amazingly militarized response, he said "yesterday is yesterday, tonight is tonight, tomorrow is tomorrow" (a bunch of boardroom bs here) and then "I'm not going to look backward, I'm looking forward."

This is horrible.
posted by cashman at 1:30 PM on August 14 [8 favorites]


You did hear it from Obama, Holder just said it. I very much doubt that Holder got up and said something, or did something, that had not been previously cleared with Obama, or was suggested by him. I would go so far as to say that this is a coordinated response (imagine that!).

When the DoJ's drug enforcement policy starts staying in line with what Obama says I'll be willing to start giving them credit for intelligent coordination.
posted by phearlez at 1:31 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


"That was yesterday, this is today" and "I'm not looking backwards, I'm looking forwards," the governor says, when a British reporter asks him some real questions about why so much force was used against nonviolent protesters last night, who was in charge, and who should be held accountable. SIGH.
posted by BlueJae at 1:31 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Nixon says he has no idea who shot Michael Brown, but believes the name should be released "as expeditiously as possible."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:31 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


"I'm not going to look backward, I'm looking forward."

"...upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!"
posted by entropicamericana at 1:32 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


"This is not my first trip to St. Louis" Gov. Nixon says. WELL I SHOULD HOPE THE FUCK NOT. Head. Desk.

Hey, anyone want to elect me as Governor of Missouri?
posted by BlueJae at 1:32 PM on August 14 [18 favorites]


I think we need to start immediately catcalling or booing or something when a politician says they want to look forward not back. Fuck that noise. Its a way of saying that they won't actually fix anything but instead want us to just get over it and let it happen again and again.
posted by sotonohito at 1:33 PM on August 14 [22 favorites]


Hey, anyone want to elect me as Governor of Missouri?

How many trips have you made to St. Louis?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:33 PM on August 14 [13 favorites]


My honeymoon was in Las Vegas. Can I be Governor of Nevada?
posted by Foosnark at 1:34 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


If you refuse to "look backwards" and discuss how and why something happened, how can you possibly hope to prevent it happening again?
posted by jeather at 1:35 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Gov. repeats that there has been gunfire from "both sides." smh.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:35 PM on August 14 [9 favorites]


Hey, anyone want to elect me as Governor of Missouri?

Do you want to live in Jeff City for some reason?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 1:35 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


I'd also be interested in, beyond the militarization of the police via equipment, how much we're militarizing the police via ex-MPs who get of national military service and then use that experience to join their local police department.

We would be so much better off if instead of putting a bunch of jacked up bros with guns patrolling the streets we put out a bunch of MSWs who were kind of good at gym with holsters full of social welfare resources.
posted by marylynn at 1:36 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I'm in St. Louis RIGHT NOW, roomthreeseventeen. Surely that qualifies me.
posted by BlueJae at 1:36 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I once had a layover in St.Louis. #PartarioforMissouri2016

More seriously though, can anyone give me info on what's happening in NYC tonight? My friend and I have heard about a vigil in Morningside Park, a protest? at Union Square, and another at 135th and Malcom X. Who is who? Where should we go?
posted by Partario at 1:37 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


WATCH OUT WORLD HE'S FORMING A COMMITTEE.
posted by Justinian at 1:37 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to just look forward and not back? Isn't that how the saying goes? No? Who cares! That was the past. I'M STAYIN' POSITIVE, YO!
posted by stenseng at 1:38 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


BlueJae, please let me know where your PAC donation page is. If you're there now, that's enough for me.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:38 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Partario, I believe you are referring to this? National Moment of Silence For Victims of Police Brutality 2014 (NYC)
posted by coupdefoudre at 1:40 PM on August 14


Who has two thumbs and isn't going to vote for this guy again?

This chick.
posted by asockpuppet at 1:40 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


Governor responds that he isn't looking back.

My new response for literally every conflict for the rest of my life.

"why didn't you pay this outstanding visa balance"

"why have you embezzled all this money from our corporation"

"why have you been playing video games for 17 hours"

"why did you set that large wicker sculpture on fire stuffed with representative images of your enemies"
posted by elizardbits at 1:40 PM on August 14 [95 favorites]


Paraphrasing, but: "Any chance for a kinder gentler response?"

"We will definitely bring all of our resources to bear to reestablish the rule of law, and that's going to reestablish trust."

Fucking hell.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:41 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


When the DoJ's drug enforcement policy starts staying in line with what Obama says I'll be willing to start giving them credit for intelligent coordination.

Why do you think this isn't evidence of coordination? My point is that Obama's "voice" comes also through his actions and those of the Executive Branch. I work in an Executive Branch agency, not at the Federal level, and when out mayor support marijuana decriminalization, there was no choice but for all cabinet members to as well, along with their agencies.

As far as I'm concerned, if someone appointed by Obama says a thing, and keeps saying it, then it's his policy.
posted by OmieWise at 1:42 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


This Jay Nixon fellow is a buffoon, and I wish he would stop responding to questions soon because he isn't doing anyone any favors by continuing this bureaubabble.
posted by brina at 1:42 PM on August 14


"why did you break into that store and wake up surrounded by cheese and regrets"
posted by elizardbits at 1:42 PM on August 14 [12 favorites]




"why did you set that large wicker sculpture on fire stuffed with representative images of your enemies"

You shouldn't be looking back on that anyway. It's much cooler to walk directly away from the blaze without flinching, and preferably while wearing sunglasses. David Caruso taught me that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:43 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book! Stories from the militarization of the police, and how the courts have condemned all of us to living under an occupation army.
posted by dejah420 at 1:43 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


"We will definitely bring all of our resources to bear to reestablish the rule of law, and that's going to reestablish trust."

Fucking hell.


Surely he means replacing and/or arresting the police who have so blatantly violated the rule of law, right?

Right?

Why are you laughing?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:44 PM on August 14 [6 favorites]


Vox has a bit about how rubber bullets are simply unsafe. It's worth a look but the two things that stand out to me are (1) this is information we have now had for 40 years and (2) those stats on the number of cases where the rubber bullets penetrated the skin.

They don't do the math but I did. 78 out of 201. 39% of the time a rubber bullet penetrated the body. And we let them shoot these into crowds.
posted by phearlez at 1:44 PM on August 14 [10 favorites]


Christ on a crutch… somebody get the hook.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:46 PM on August 14




"They don't do the math but I did. 78 out of 201. 39% of the time a rubber bullet penetrated the body. And we let them shoot these into crowds."

They're no fucking joke. I got one in the back from a goodly distance (through several layers of clothing, and a leather jacket,) at the Seattle WTO protests in 99, and to this day I still have a numb spot in my shoulder blade where I was hit.
posted by stenseng at 1:48 PM on August 14 [7 favorites]


isn't doing anyone any favors by continuing this bureaubabble
I'd love to read a cultural history of police lingo. Which meat-headed early 20th century police commander stumbled into the idea of using jargony $5 words to sound authoritative?

Surely he means replacing and/or arresting the police who have so blatantly violated the rule of law, right?
Maybe one of the resources they'll bring to bear is their humanity! That would be swell.

Why are you laughing?
Because it's easier than crying.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 1:48 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Oh hey, here's an AME pastor who was shot with a rubber bullet while she was standing between protesters and police. (Warning: includes graphic photo of the wound. It was linked to above but did not identify the victim).

Non-lethal, my ass.
posted by argonauta at 1:49 PM on August 14


Kevin Johnson, the person in charge of the police tonight, is saying the same "we won't look back" crap. To his credit he did say he'll be on scene tonight trying to meet with protestors with the attitude being we're in this together.

We'll see what actually happens.
posted by cashman at 1:50 PM on August 14


Captain Johnson seems like a good dude. He concludes saying that before sending out officers tonight, he will be reading them letters from high school children about how they have felt the past few days.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:50 PM on August 14 [14 favorites]


Hey, a serious question for folks who know more of the situation on the ground - is the looting/burning of stores even taking place in the same location as the peaceful protests? Would it be possible to send the cops to where the stores are burning, etc, and away from the protests?
posted by corb at 1:54 PM on August 14


"Non-lethal" simply means, "It likely won't kill ya, but it'll probably maim ya."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:54 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


There was some kind of documentary about Northern Ireland I saw once, made sometime in the 70's, which had a clip of raw footage from some kind of a street protest where the RAF used rubber bullets and one went wild and flew through a window and hit a teenage girl in the face.

The camera crew was outside the house, but they caught the family hustling the girl out to the car to take her to the hospital - mom on one side of her, dad on the other - but the father saw the camera crew and dragged them over to the cameras, pulling the towel they had pressed to her face away and shouting, "have a look at that! Take a look at what a rubber bullet did, eh?" And the girl's face was just a huge blur of blood. Mom finally dragged them away after a couple seconds. Later the news crew learned that the girl was blinded.

I've been looking for that clip to have on hand in case anyone I run into anyone who thinks rubber bullets aren't a big deal.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:55 PM on August 14 [11 favorites]


roomthreeseventeen, where did you find that information? I'd love to read more about Captain Johnson.
posted by chatongriffes at 1:56 PM on August 14


chatongriffes, about the letters? He said it during the press conference. Hopefully a transcript will pop up.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:58 PM on August 14


I've been looking for that clip to have on hand in case anyone I run into anyone who thinks rubber bullets aren't a big deal.

You could tell also them the story of Victoria Snelgrove
posted by bowmaniac at 2:00 PM on August 14


where did you find that information? I'd love to read more about Captain Johnson.

He may be doing a press conference. Jon Swaine is tweeting about him, Ron Johnson, in charge of policing Ferguson tonight: "Before I came here I had all my officers take their teargas masks off their belt".
posted by gladly at 2:07 PM on August 14 [44 favorites]


From the Reddit live feed, apparently there's going to be a Cards game tonight in addition to the National Moment of Silence rally near the arch. Downtown is going to be an absolute madhouse, and already several office buildings there are locking their doors.

Please please please everything be peaceful tonight and nobody get hurt.
posted by Foosnark at 2:09 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


I'd love to read a cultural history of police lingo. Which meat-headed early 20th century police commander stumbled into the idea of using jargony $5 words to sound authoritative?

It's not as much the jargon as the general tone of institutional language that creates that effect-- passive voice, weasel words, and so on.
posted by empath at 2:09 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


If anyone here is in STL, and like me wondering what is helpful to do, I am planning on bringing some food by the food pantry at 33 North Clay Street after work, as they are still accepting donations. I would welcome any other ideas folks have for needs that can be met locally.
posted by likeatoaster at 2:09 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Ron Johnson, in charge of policing Ferguson tonight: "Before I came here I had all my officers take their teargas masks off their belt".

As many comments as I've favorited in this thread, I want to favorite that one again and again.
posted by Foosnark at 2:11 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


Elsewhere Thursday in the Show-Me state:

Springfield officer who shot unarmed panhandler resigns
posted by General Tonic at 2:11 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]






That "safety vests" pic is from downtown St. Louis. Hopefully they'll do the same in Ferguson.
posted by Foosnark at 2:19 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


The Onion does not disappoint:

How Many More Black Teenagers Have To Die Before Racism Just Sort Of Goes Away On Its Own?
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?
posted by scody at 2:20 PM on August 14 [33 favorites]


>Police assembling tonight.

>Hi-viz safety vests instead of war zone gear


I fear one of those stagings might just be for show, as the two photos appear to contradict one another.
posted by item at 2:22 PM on August 14


After all the empty "just tell us what we should do" rhetoric that came from the Ferguson PD, I'm having a good chuckle imagining it was sincere. Hopefully Captain Johnson's operation tonight induces a lot of "shit, why didn't we think of that" from them.
posted by DynamiteToast at 2:22 PM on August 14 [3 favorites]


item, one is in Ferguson and one in St. Louis.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:23 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


Don't know if this has been linked in thread yet, but here is a first hand video account of the fight as it is taking place. You can see the flashbangs and teargas canisters going off, and people screaming as the rubber bullets are hitting them.

If it weren't for the English narration of what is going on, this would look entirely too much like any overseas military firefight, except the fire is only coming from one direction.
posted by quin at 2:24 PM on August 14 [5 favorites]


I fear one of those stagings might just be for show, as the two photos appear to contradict one another.

To be fair, the "police assembling tonight" one looks like they are in typical state highway patrol uniforms, not full military camo+body armor. I even see some short sleeves in there I think.
posted by misskaz at 2:28 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


naw man steve king means they all look like north americans
posted by klangklangston at 2:29 PM on August 14


I just got this from the NAACP members email list:
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.

Thank you,

Cornell William Brooks
President and CEO
NAACP
posted by Jacqueline at 2:30 PM on August 14 [4 favorites]


"On a lighter note -- I'm in laugh to keep from crying mode here -- can I say how badly I want some of those rippies now? I'm a chip fiend, and I thought I had tried or was at least aware of most of the varieties out there, but I hadn't heard of rippies until this thread, and now I can't stop thinking about them."

Skittles for Trayvon, Rippies for Michael?
posted by klangklangston at 2:30 PM on August 14


"why did you break into that store and wake up surrounded by cheese and regrets"
posted by elizardbits at 3:42 PM


Those two words do not belong in the same sentence.
posted by symbioid at 2:30 PM on August 14 [1 favorite]


I doubt if it will surprise many people here, but i suspect the whole "This just shows government is too big" idea is just as clearly flawed as if Ryan had said "If only taxes were lower, this would never have happened."

The problem, as I see it, is more about American ill founded contempt for central government and a far exaggerated view of its flaws. It seems very reasonable to have evidence based guidelines for the training, equipment and tactics appropriate for various different municipalities and to have some sort of centralized group for those very rare instances where heavier firepower is called for.

Or in other words, how many people have been shot by police in EU countries this year versus the US?
posted by shothotbot at 2:34 PM on August 14 [2 favorites]


I doubt if it will surprise many people here, but i suspect the whole "This just shows government is too big" idea is just as clearly flawed as if Ryan had said "If only taxes were lower, this would never have happened."

IF anything, this is a clea