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Escalating Tensions in Ferguson, Missouri
August 18, 2014 11:45 PM   Subscribe

We are now entering day 10 of protests in Ferguson, MO, protesting the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by local law enforcement officer Darren Wilson on August 9th.

On August 15th, the Ferguson PD revealed the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown as Darren Wilson after much delay and demand, and released a surveillance video of someone they allege is Michael Brown involved in an altercation with a store clerk. The police initially claimed that this robbery to be the reason for the initial contact between police and Michael Brown. The Ferguson chief of police has since confirmed that Darren Wilson had no knowledge of the robbery prior to approaching Michael Brown, and later amended his statement to say that Wilson stopped Brown for blocking traffic. A lawyer representing the Ferguson market portrayed in the video has stated that the owner did not call the police. This video was released alongside a 16-page incident report of the robbery, against the advisement of the Department of Justice that it would incite further violence. The press conference also revealed that Darren Wilson had left the area 'days ago'.

An initial autopsy conducted of Michael Brown's body showed no sign of struggle, and six bullet wounds. Michael Brown's family has commissioned a second autopsy, citing a desire for independence and objectivity from the Ferguson police, and the Department of Justice will be conducting a third autopsy.

Amnesty International has sent in observers, marking the first time the human rights organization has deployed a team in the United States. The Washington Post has a good summary of how the rest of the world sees the crisis in Ferguson (thanks to naju for that link).

Part of the excessive militarization of the police is being attributed to military supply donations to the local police, which must be used within a year or else forfeit. "When more police departments get SWAT teams, they conduct more SWAT raids."

John Oliver has delivered a scathing take on the situation in Ferguson on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. (Fanfare thread.)

Governor Jay Nixon declared Ferguson an emergency state on Sunday, August 17th, and called for a curfew of 12 AM - 5 AM. However, police crackdown on Sunday began well before curfew, firing off tear gas and blaring LRAD at the protestors. (Tear gas, incidentally, is banned in international warfare under the Geneva convention.)

Barack Obama met with the Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss the situation, and gave a televised address to the nation on August 18th, confirming that Holder will be traveling to Missouri. Ezra Klein makes an argument for why a strong show of passion from the President would only make things worse. The FBI is now canvassing the neighbourhood, and the National Guard was deployed to Ferguson, but have largely been employed guarding the "command center" rather than engaging with protestors.

There has been an official petition on WhiteHouse.Gov to enact a Mike Brown law, requiring all state, county, and local police to wear a camera at all times. The petition has over 119K signatures so far, which means it will receive an official response from the white house. A similar law has seen great effectiveness in reducing police brutality in other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, protests have continued nightly, with escalating tension and use of force. Police have become increasingly hostile towards the media and even Amnesty International. Several journalists have been detained and subsequently released, including Getty photographer Scott Olson, who has been steadfastly documenting the events in Ferguson.

Other resources:
posted by Phire (3287 comments total) 272 users marked this as a favorite

 
My disclaimer in the other thread stands - I tried to cover the substantive points, but it's late and I'm tired and there's just been so damn much. Thanks to Shouraku, triggerfinger, and ob1quixote, all of whom I have shamelessly cribbed links from in the first FPP.
posted by Phire at 11:46 PM on August 18 [15 favorites]


Worth noting: still no evidence of Molotov cocktails or any other of the justifications cops are claiming
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:47 PM on August 18 [27 favorites]


Here is the deleted thread, which had some good links and commentary going.

(hope it's okay to post this)
posted by triggerfinger at 11:47 PM on August 18 [4 favorites]


As i said in the quickly blammed thread, what ever happened with that guy getting shot at the protest? Any more news on what was up with that?
posted by emptythought at 11:48 PM on August 18


People were starting to discuss molotov cocktails in the other thread, and I was about to post this NYT video, which had just shown up in my feed and has a shot of a protestor throwing what appears to be one (note: if true, this would be the first and only evidence I've seen of molotov cocktails).
posted by triggerfinger at 11:51 PM on August 18 [4 favorites]


.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:52 PM on August 18


I said this in chat, but I'll say it again here:

I would really like to request a different nightmare dystopian future.
posted by dogheart at 11:52 PM on August 18 [68 favorites]


The last ten days in Ferguson, Missouri have seen teenager Michael Brown killed by police, a peaceful protest met with dogs, a heavy handed crackdown, reporters arrested, some semblance of order restored, a return to chaos, a state of emergency declared and curfew imposed, the FBI canvassing the neighborhood, the activation of the National Guard, and more reporters threatened and arrested. Yet in all that's followed, one inevitable fact remains: 18-year-old Michael Brown is dead, and his parents must live through that.


P.S. Well done, Phire. Reproducing my inferior attempt that I quashed before even clicking post here in Take Two.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:53 PM on August 18 [18 favorites]


Not to derail the Ferguson-specific discussion which I am hoping will continue the excellent job done on the first discussion, but if any of you are, like me, more shocked than you were prepared to be to see the mask come off, and wondering what you can possibly do.. whatever the outcome of these protests these issues are not going away any time soon.

There are organizations out there that are not going to let this simply drop when the news cycle moves on to whatever's next. Direct your time, money, and resources where YOU think they will do the most good, but for your convenience:posted by Nerd of the North at 11:55 PM on August 18 [14 favorites]


so hey uh

remember how we all patted ourselves on the back about how Tiannenmen Square was a thing that couldn't happen in America
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:56 PM on August 18 [61 favorites]


I refrained from commenting in the first thread because I wasn't capable of anything more productive than a constant stream of expletives and GRAR. Here it is, ten days later, and while I'm not GRAR'ing at everything in my path, thanks to being able to talk it out with other MeFites, I can honestly say that I've had it. The killing of Michael Brown distilled everything that's currently wrong with law enforcement and race relations in our country to a single occurrence. I am profoundly sad for his family, and equally saddened and appalled for my country. I'm not sure that we can come out of this to any sense of normality in the near or even mid-future. These are some very dark times.

.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:57 PM on August 18 [12 favorites]


Many of don't use chat or have limited internet. So what happened in the last hour?
posted by futz at 11:58 PM on August 18


Teargassing journalists. Sealing off an entire street with concrete barricades.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:00 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


The richest and most privileged country in the world should not be doing shit that requires Amnesty International to take time out of their day to watch over us. We should be better than this, and they have other important work to do.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:00 AM on August 19 [96 favorites]


remember how we all patted ourselves on the back about how Tiannenmen Square was a thing that couldn't happen in America

Correct me if I am wrong, but the death toll in Ferguson stands squarely at 1.

I mean, yeah, a lot of bad shit is going down, but there's not a massacre happening.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 12:01 AM on August 19 [31 favorites]


As in, an entire neighbourhood is being teargassed. Check @Awkward_duck

Yet, NPB. Yet. One itchy trigger finger and everything goes (even more) pear-shaped.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:03 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


The death toll is 1 so far. Given all the gassing they've been doing after setting the media blackout in place, I'd be surprised if everyone survives through to tomorrow.

And even more surprised if those deaths are accurately reported by anyone in any position of authority.
posted by cmyk at 12:04 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Many of don't use chat or have limited internet. So what happened in the last hour?

Yeah, basically police throwing shitloads of tear gas at groups of people for apparently no other reason other than they were groups of people, that were....moving, I guess.

And barricading people/cars in with concrete blocks on every street blocking exits.

Oh, and Amnesty International got escorted out at gunpoint.

No real good news anywhere, really.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:05 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


This is what I saw earlier and mistook as "agitators"...the guys in the yellow shirts with "Observer" on them. Who thought rounding them up and booting them was a good idea?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:08 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I was watching the live feed from Vice for a while - who would've thought that they would now be one of our most hard-hitting news organizations today? - and livetweeted some of it, so let me see if I can sum up the gist: Tim Pool and his cameramen were pinned by live fire and then teargassed quite heavily, and subsequently all media was then told to disperse to the "designated staging area" or else risk arrest. The media, from what I understand it, were then subsequently kettled away from the initial location, while the SWAT apparently went from yard to yard "clearing houses". People were told to get off the street and keep moving or risk arrest - even standing on the sidewalk was apparently not okay. There were reports from people on the street that the police was telling them to go one way and SWAT another, and many protestors (including Wesley Lowery) had been having trouble escaping barricades that police set up in the neighbourhood - a driver offering a ride to protestors was stopped by the police, guns drawn. There are some terrifying of the police advancing on the crowd.

I haven't been listening/watching live feeds for about an hour because it's just way too much, so I don't know what the latest is. That's all the info I have as of about 1 AM Missouri time.
posted by Phire at 12:08 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Cops who don't want Amnesty International seeing the shit they're pulling, Ray.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:09 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


On the plus side, now Amnesty International gets to see who has been arrested.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:10 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


I'm gonna ask this in hopes that nobody presumes I'm trying to mitigate the shooting of Brown (let alone the aftermath). Lately I feel like anytime I question the relevance/import of even one facet of a story, I wind up with people assuming that I'm taking a position against the whole deal. Seems like I have to preface everything with a million conciliatory caveats that nobody's gonna care about, anyway. Still, here goes:

All of my (limited) firearms training, a blend of law-enforcement and Coast Guard shooting stuff, is 20 years old. Still, that training all basically sent the message that if you're gonna shoot, you shoot until the target/suspect falls down. That leads to firing multiple shots in quick succession, particularly since there's a general feeling that 9mm often won't put a person down immediately with one shot (so they are therefore still dangerous).

Does anyone know if that standard has changed over time at all? Has training or expectations changed somehow? Was it never really a broad standard as I understood it in the first place? I'd really like sources and/or professional knowledge, please.

Everything I was taught was weighed on whether you pull the trigger the first time (which, from everything I've seen on this case, shouldn't ever have happened). That tends to leave me feeling like the ever-present question of "how many times was X shot?" isn't all that relevant unless it's a truly ridiculous number. But, again, it's been a long time, and it's not like I was ever a sworn police officer.

Gah. Yeah. And now I feel like I should write some diatribe about how I feel like all of this is awful. But I guess "How do I discuss singular points of broad topics on the internet without causing a flame war?" is probably a question for another venue...
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:14 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Yeeks...kicking out Amnesty International? Isn't that the kind of thing you do to make U.N. troops appear on your doorstep?
posted by sexyrobot at 12:14 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Oh, and Amnesty International got escorted out at gunpoint.

On what grounds?! This is insane.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:14 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]


On what grounds?! This is insane.

On the grounds that this would all blow over if people didn't keep watching local law enforcement and seeing all of their bad tactics and huge mistakes, obviously.

Because that's working great so far.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:16 AM on August 19 [16 favorites]


And even more surprised if those deaths are accurately reported by anyone in any position of authority.

Covering up deaths is orders of magnitude more complicated than covering up the cause of one death which is what they're accused of doing so far.

In any case the death toll in Tiananmen Square could have been up to 1000. What's going on in Ferguson is very important but such a comparison just obscures the truth of things. The worth of a social movement is not determined by its death toll.
posted by Justinian at 12:16 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


On what grounds?!

I'm pretty sure it was so that AI didn't have a chance to observe the police abuses. Same reason the journalists were removed from the situation.
posted by el io at 12:17 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


If you have an idiot racist relative (don't so many of us?) I've found an effective tool is to say this:

"You think Ferguson is an isolated thing? You think trying to "contain" the people there with force instead of listening to them will work? Well, when [insert similar local neighborhood here] starts to realize what has to be done to get some justice, I hope you think your petty bullshit was worth it Tom!"

(You can remove the "Tom" part if you'd like)
posted by lattiboy at 12:18 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Two interesting links from filmmaker Michael Moore via Twitter.

This one regarding a nurse who was on-site after Brown was shot, and begged to check his vitals and attempt to revive him.

And this one, apparently a live-tweeting of the events moments after Brown's shooting.

I've tried to fact check these as rigorously as possible, but, like Phire, it's late and I'm tired.
posted by LoRichTimes at 12:19 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I mean, yeah, a lot of bad shit is going down, but there's not a massacre happening.

Yet.

I mean, if one did happen--say, some horrific number like 65 civilians killed with no injuries to speak of on the jackboot side--I am not at all confident that a significant number of Americans wouldn't just cackle and say "maybe this will send a message to those people that uppity doesn't pay!"

I mean that. Everything is so hateful right now. Maybe it has always been, and my white suburban upbringing (long time ago, now) shielded me from it, and it just seemed better because at least the people in power had to pretend like that wasn't the case, and mainstream journalists actually tried to do their jobs rather than provide PR for the police. Maybe the mask is off now, and we get to see the beast.

If that's the case, that's actually good at the same time it'd awful, because at least comfortable clinging-to-middle-class white people like me have to look into this particular abyss. I cannot look in there and do nothing about it, even if that's just sending a bit of money to people who may be able to do more.

It's funny how my go-to charities are the Red Cross, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the NAACP. All exist because the government won't do its job.
posted by maxwelton at 12:19 AM on August 19 [75 favorites]


From Metafilter's boyfriend, @craigyferg: "Ferguson family motto is "Dulcius ex Asperis" which means "Sweeter after Difficulties" I hope for the town of #Ferguson that this is true."
posted by orrnyereg at 12:19 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


An audio feed (not sure if it's archived) was reporting that they were hiding from police who were speeding all over town, firing multiple "five or six at a time" canisters of tear gas into any groups of people they found.

Once they got the media out of the way and set the roadblocks up, it's just... target practice.
posted by cmyk at 12:20 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


scaryblackdeath, there was a discussion around that in the last thread. I don't remember all of it the details but I'll try to find and link to the discussion.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:21 AM on August 19


Re: Amnesty, The police were ejecting anyone who did not have "media credentials", which almost included one of the VICE reporters until others stood up for them (his PRESS badge -- sewn on -- did not survive the encounter).

Anyway, per discussion in chat, @chriskingstl has posted a link to this: Meet Greg “Joey” Johnson, An Opportunistic Communist Revolutionary Agitating in Ferguson (Video)
posted by dhartung at 12:21 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


The press conference is starting and you can watch it here.

They are starting with a prayer and ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
posted by Phire at 12:22 AM on August 19 [32 favorites]


The National Bar Association has Filed a Lawsuit Against the City of Ferguson and the Ferguson Police Department Seeking Pertinent Information Related to the Shooting
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:22 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]


The richest and most privileged country in the world should not be doing shit that requires Amnesty International to take time out of their day to watch over us. We should be better than this, and they have other important work to do.

Sorry to say, we've being doing this kind of thing for a very long time, for decades (centuries, if you look at the bigger picture). When Amnesty International was founded in 1961, the equivalent police forces liked to use firehoses instead of LRAD.

I don't need to go over the percentages and sheer numbers of black and other minorities in our prisons now, how much of a prison state we are compared to even the worst regimes around the world.

The argument could be made that Amnesty should have been observing us all along.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:22 AM on August 19 [38 favorites]


This is the ex-law-student in me talking, but: Has anybody actually filed suit or stated intention to do so, so far? This is absolutely not to dismiss the impact of everything else going on, but it's something I haven't heard anything about, and I just keep thinking, do they realize that they're basically spending the city budget for the next five decades on this idiocy? I'm imagining that most of the suits are going to take awhile to start coming in, but where are the temporary restraining orders?

--and then cybercoitus interruptus posts as I'm typing, so I guess that's at least a start of an answer.
posted by Sequence at 12:23 AM on August 19


No. You do not get to stand in the middle of Ferguson wearing a police badge and pray for peace. Fucking no.
posted by cmyk at 12:23 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


Yet.

Sure, but that doesn't imply anything about the likelihood of a massacre which I think is clearly vanishingly low for anything that could reasonably be called a massacre. Just like the comparison to Tiannenmen Square this kind of thing doesn't shed any light on the very real issues that are actually being exposed..
posted by Justinian at 12:23 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


The National Bar Association has Filed a Lawsuit Against the City of Ferguson & Police Department.
posted by Phire at 12:24 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I read that as "National Rifle Association" and was very confused.
posted by Justinian at 12:25 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Note that the National Bar Association^ (black lawyers) is distinguished from the American Bar Association, which at one time did not admit anyone but whites.
posted by dhartung at 12:25 AM on August 19 [26 favorites]


Maxwelton, if people did get massacred, I'd go to Ferguson myself. I don't know what I would do or how I could help, but I wouldn't just watch it on television.

Part of me already wants to go, just to show support, but I'm not sure that would be wise, or even desired.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:26 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


triggerfinger: “People were starting to discuss molotov cocktails in the other thread, and I was about to post this NYT video, which had just shown up in my feed and has a shot of a protestor throwing what appears to be one (note: if true, this would be the first and only evidence I've seen of molotov cocktails).”
Yeah, although it looks like it goes out right before launch. Also the contents appear clear to me. I'd expect it to be more gasoline colored. Also, I think that was last Wednesday. There was also this AP photo from Wednesday night of a different guy.

I don't have a link, but I watched them take a bottle of clear liquid with a rag down the neck out of the back of that pickup that had all the people in it tonight live on television. I'm willing to accept that there have been Molotov cocktails present at the protests, for some value of Molotov cocktails that don't actually light anyone or anything on fire.

futz: “Many of don't use chat or have limited internet. So what happened in the last hour?”
In addition to everything above, the cops quite literally used tear gas to pin down Jacqueline Lee of The Belleville News-Democrat.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:27 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


"You think Ferguson is an isolated thing? You think trying to "contain" the people there with force instead of listening to them will work? Well, when [insert similar local neighborhood here] starts to realize what has to be done to get some justice, I hope you think your petty bullshit was worth it Tom!"

(You can remove the "Tom" part if you'd like)


No, it's Tom.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:28 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


I keep thinking all that money they've spent on those ridiculous armored battle vehicles and military gear - all the better places it could have gone. It was an insult to injury to have made such a display of intimidation and violations of rights (including the bullying and arrest of news reporters trying to cover what will probably turn out to be the national story of the year).

Watching the August 16 press conference, where an embattled Governor Nixon looked inadequately out of touch with the people's grievances, I felt I was watching something very rare. Here was the governor of the state of Missouri being questioned by his constituents - asked to act on their behalf to serve justice. Several times people asked Mr. Nixon to address the officer who murdered Mike Brown. Several times he sidestepped that line of questioning and left the podium to other officials to handle the angry, pained questions that community members wanted direct answers to.

It's an amazing video, really. Watching someone use dry, euphemistic rhetoric to address people who so clearly saw it for what it was and sometimes dared to cut through it... it was both heartbreaking and inspiring.

Example:

Governor Nixon: We can NOT have looting...crimes at night...we can't have people fearful...

[Woman in background]: We can't have police officers killing people!


This is what the protests are about. What the people want is accountability, and the ability to live without fear that a squad car pulling up is anything more than a public servant doing his duty to uphold lawful principles and protect the people from the kind of violence that would get people without badges life in prison (or worse) for carrying out.
posted by fantodstic at 12:28 AM on August 19 [77 favorites]


Captain Johnson in the press release claiming police officers acted with professionalism, asking protestors to protest "during daytime hours", and blames the media for making things worse because "they had to be repeatedly asked to return to the sidewalks". I can't.

No shots fired by police, apparently, but about a metric shit tonne (Official Scientific Measurement) of tear gas. What are the odds that that was a deliberate strategic decision?
posted by Phire at 12:30 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


This press conference makes me want to puke
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:32 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Sure, but that doesn't imply anything about the likelihood of a massacre which I think is clearly vanishingly low for anything that could reasonably be called a massacre.

It might not be likely to hit Tiananmen Square numbers, but we are well, well past the point of tensions escalated where they were on May 4, 1970. And I have walked past that memorial more times than I can count. Google's dictionary says a massacre is "an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people", which to my mind, May 4 was, because the important part of the May 4 shootings was that four students died, but it wasn't like anybody was controlling the situation such to make sure that only four students died. Those were white college kids, and they still fired live ammunition into a crowd because someone allegedly threw a rock. You think that can't happen again?

Part of me already wants to go, just to show support, but I'm not sure that would be wise, or even desired.

I said this in an Ask thread, but it still holds true here: Give money, not time, unless you have no money to give. To add to that, even if you have no money, give time locally if you can before going there, unless you have special useful skills. Groups that do real good in these situations never have enough budget but often have a surplus of volunteers, especially in the wake of big publicized events.
posted by Sequence at 12:32 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Johnson has a molotov cocktail at the conference that was allegedly thrown at police, but acknowledges that many people in the media and protestors have said that they cannot corroborate the presence of molotov cocktails. He also has guns/bullets allegedly fired by protestors last night.

No updates on the condition of the shooting victims.

A question asking about whether peaceful protestors are allowed to be here at night - "They have a right to be here, but I ask them to come during the daytime". Questions about curfew being dodged with "safety was a concern".

I don't know how much longer I can watch this bullshit.
posted by Phire at 12:33 AM on August 19


He's claiming that the violence "just happened to happen" around midnight, despite curfew - when, conveniently, is the time the police stirred the crowd up with the LRAD and bullhorn announcements that anyone sticking around was in danger of arrest.
posted by cmyk at 12:35 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Wasn't Johnson supposed to be the good guy?
posted by orrnyereg at 12:35 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


This press conference makes me want to puke

Officer Johnson is a cynical token brought in to give the white police a black face.
posted by anemone of the state at 12:36 AM on August 19 [26 favorites]


Depends on who he's being the good guy for.
posted by dhartung at 12:37 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I'm willing to accept that there have been Molotov cocktails present at the protests, for some value of Molotov cocktails that don't actually light anyone or anything on fire.

I agree. I'm not an expert on these kinds of things, but comparing the handful (?) of unlit molotov cocktails they've found with the seemingly indiscriminate amount of teargas and flashbangs being thrown along with house-to-house sweeps and everyfuckingthing else the police have been doing seems..........DISPROPORTIONATE.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:38 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Ugh. That press conference with Johnson was pretty terrible.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:38 AM on August 19


One of the things that's been going through my mind tonight is that keeping things in perspective, since even the notoriously-polite Canadian populace can begin looting and burning things in response to much milder things like disappointing hockey outcomes this really is in sum an emphatically peaceful protest against a police officer shooting someone to death and the subsequent outrageous actions of law enforcement.

Ray Walston, Luck Dragon: Part of me already wants to go, just to show support, but I'm not sure that would be wise, or even desired.

Relevant AskMe.
posted by XMLicious at 12:40 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Let's see...

- Claiming 'heavy gunfire' at cops, with no proof
- Claiming Molotov cocktails (plural), with no proof, just one that is let's just say suspiciously made
- Claiming the media made things worse
- Claiming violence spontaneously erupted and not in response to deliberate police provocation

I can't even continue I'm so angry
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:41 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


This just gets more upsetting each day. (I know that's a major understatement)
posted by SisterHavana at 12:42 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I really wonder who got to Captain Johnson, and how. His behaviour on the first night he was in Ferguson is so markedly different from how he's been the past few days and I have to have to believe that his strings are being pulled rather than that someone would turn on those he stood alongside so quickly and completely.
posted by Phire at 12:43 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


"We're gonna make this community whole" -- yep, metric fuckloads of tear gas, tanks, and massed guns pointing at unarmed civilians will make Ferguson whole right into the ground. Citizen! If you fail to submit to our making this community whole, you will be arrested or have other unnamed but threatening actions inflicted upon you!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:44 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Phire: “Johnson has a molotov cocktail at the conference that was allegedly thrown at police, but acknowledges that many people in the media and protestors have said that they cannot corroborate the presence of molotov cocktails.”
No, that's almost certainly the bottle I saw them take out of the back the pickup with all the people in it. One presumes all the occupants will be charged with conspiracy and possession of a weapon of mass destruction.

In all seriousness, as Bomani Jones said tonight, they need to pick up Darren Wilson, book him, mug shot him, hand him the check to bond out, put him on paid leave, then put it on the front page of the paper. That's got to be cheaper and easier than all of this mishegoss.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:46 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


He seemed sincere tonight. His voice was cracking and he was emotional. He described officers coming under gunfire, and I believe it from watching the Vice feed. He's saying that he doesn't want to see a single casualty and that he's taking steps to ensure that.

But here's the thing we all know, those of us who have been watching things go down on the livestreams: the people are amped up directly because your police are showing up in paramilitary gear, shutting down the town, confusing and yelling at the media and separating them from the protesters, shooting teargas at the slightest provocation (water bottles), blaring ear-piercing sonic torture devices. You're the ones angering the crowd. Deliberately. Don't get emotional and defend and justify police force, when the police have instigated this from the very beginning. You saw yourself how the community comes together when the police deescalates and supports the protesters, rather than treating them like cockroaches to be flushed out. You of all people should be aware of the reality of how to make things better.
posted by naju at 12:47 AM on August 19 [82 favorites]


Someone got to Captain Johnson, right? He seemed so sincere earlier days, talking about how he wasn't afraid of this community. That didn't seem like an act to me.

This creeping feeling that there is no good guy and no way to resolve this is the worst and scariest thing I've ever known.
posted by Pardon Our Dust at 12:47 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


There are lots of good guys. They're just protesting, not wearing uniforms.
posted by anemone of the state at 12:48 AM on August 19 [44 favorites]


I have to wonder what Wilson is thinking right now. Say he drove back tonight and turned himself in. Wouldn't that calm everything down pretty much immediately? One guy does the right thing and a dangerous situation would be defused.
posted by orrnyereg at 12:51 AM on August 19


"We're gonna make this community a whole"

Ftfw
posted by nathancaswell at 12:51 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Say he drove back tonight and turned himself in. Wouldn't that calm everything down pretty much immediately?

Turned himself in to what? He's not on the lam, he hasn't been charged with anything.
posted by Justinian at 12:55 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


One guy does the right thing and a dangerous situation would be defused.

I am quite sure he doesn't think he did anything wrong, and all of 'those people' who are protesting are getting too big for their britches.

Seriously.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:55 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]


he hasn't been charged with anything

AKA the root of the whole problem.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:57 AM on August 19 [30 favorites]


Which doesn't change the fact that there's no-one to whom Wilson can turn himself in at this point, which is all I was sayin'?
posted by Justinian at 1:00 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


He could easily do a press conference stating that he is aware of how his actions have caused pain for the community, and he is returning to the community to face the music.

But he's probably scared. Poor little guy.

*puke*
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:02 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Since I cant' find a way to get a time index or fast forward on Bomani Jones' video podcast, the gist of what he said is that the powers that be in Ferguson should just sacrifice Wilson and charge, arraign, and bond him out just to keep the peace.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:03 AM on August 19


Also because that would be the right thing to do.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:04 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


To face what music? The root of the problem is the complete lack of investigation into the shooting and the contradictory information provided by the police. Apparently the police didn't even interview the witnesses.
posted by I-baLL at 1:04 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


> the gist of what he said is that the powers that be in Ferguson should just sacrifice Wilson and charge, arraign, and bond him out just to keep the peace.

That would start a horrible precedent and would not solve any of the underlying causes of the problems with police corruption and police/community relations.
posted by I-baLL at 1:06 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Earlier in chat someone (sorry, I can't remember who), posted this instagram from the Ferguson Library, which might be my one of my favorite things I've seen lately.

The small bright spots in such a huge gulf of sadness. Libraries are a treasure.
posted by triggerfinger at 1:08 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


I-baLL: “That would start a horrible precedent and would not solve any of the underlying causes of the problems with police corruption and police/community relations.”
Oh, absolutely. On the other hand, how many more nights of this can the town really take? The only thing that hasn't brought the conflict to all-out war is the fact that while lots of leftists have Che Guevara t-shirts, not nearly as many have read his book.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:12 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


That would start a horrible precedent

Hmm, yes. Charging police who murder unarmed suspects would be a horrible precedent.

Doing so would, actually, start addressing those underlying causes of which you speak.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:12 AM on August 19 [24 favorites]


feckless: What do you expect them to do? Arrest him and....? I can just imagine the trial:

Prosecutor: The defendant has been charged with murder. However since there was no investigation whatsoever I'm going to sit back and cross my fingers.

You can't charge somebody without any investigation. The problem is that the local police haven't investigated anything. This is why people are up in arms.
posted by I-baLL at 1:18 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


"they need to pick up Darren Wilson, book him, mug shot him, hand him the check to bond out, put him on paid leave, then put it on the front page of the paper. That's got to be cheaper and easier than all of this mishegoss."

I'm pretty sure that the intent of the police isn't to bring peace to Ferguson. At this point they don't seem to be doing anything but contradicting everything they claim to be doing to help, out in the open while cameras are rolling, when they're not arresting journalists. All their actions seem to be speaking the naked language of brute power and suppression, while they do everything possible to inflame and incite the protesters and media. It seems very much like deliberate provocation, and I feel like they haven't gotten the violent response they wanted yet, the kind of thing that would justify a serious crackdown, but it's happening nonetheless.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:19 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


ob1quixote: "On the other hand, how many more nights of this can the town really take?"

People won't just go home because of an arrest. Hell, most of the folks are home. The cops are teargassing whole neighborhoods.
posted by I-baLL at 1:20 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Can anyone imagine the police leadership, prosecutor, and political leaders of Ferguson and Saint Louis County deciding to admit at this point that they were wrong and should have investigated diligently from the beginning?

No, of course you can't.

Regardless of whether they picked the right course of action they are, at this point, fully and irrevocably committed -- there can be no backing down for them on the issue of whether or not Officer Wilson should be charged.
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:20 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Earlier in chat someone (sorry, I can't remember who), posted this instagram from the Ferguson Library, which might be my one of my favorite things I've seen lately.

The small bright spots in such a huge gulf of sadness. Libraries are a treasure.


*Please watch closely for the removal of this sign.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:30 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


"they need to pick up Darren Wilson, book him, mug shot him, hand him the check to bond out, put him on paid leave, then put it on the front page of the paper. That's got to be cheaper and easier than all of this mishegoss."

At this point, even if they arrest, convict, and execute Wilson on the steps of the courthouse by having him torn apart by a horde of vicious rabid demon weasels in full view of the protestors, that not going to be enough.

The entire police force of Fergueson has been threatening, intimidating, manhandling, macing, LRADing, teargassing, and imprisoning these people - without any sort of reasonable cause - for more than a week. Wilson was only the trigger. It's bigger than Wilson now. They're all culpable.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 1:51 AM on August 19 [41 favorites]


[One comment deleted; hey, sorry, but we really can't have an I/P discussion in this thread, so maybe rephrase in a way that doesn't set off a huge derail? Thanks.]
posted by taz at 2:01 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


“An Open Letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson,” Chief Ed Delmore, Law Officer, 17 August 2014

“What's the Agenda in Ferguson?,” Lt. Jim Glennon, Law Officer, 18 August 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 2:18 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


The entire police force of Fergueson has been threatening, intimidating, manhandling, macing, LRADing, teargassing, and imprisoning these people - without any sort of reasonable cause - for more than a week. Wilson was only the trigger. It's bigger than Wilson now. They're all culpable.

No. This shit has been going on for years, decades, since it's founding. It's just that we have found out about it now. And check it out, the PD is still doing just fine.

It's fucked up when you have to turn down the news and turn up the Public Enemy just to lower your blood pressure.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:21 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]


I'm not sure why it matters that nobody else has been killed yet. Isn't the death of one young man enough? Isn't the community outrage that has been squashed every night by militarized police enough?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:23 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


#Ferguson Capt Johnson just said to @JakeTapper 'we didnt use tear gas, just smokebombs'.Tapper: 'Yes you did,we got gassed'.Capt: ok we did
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:24 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


ob1quixote: "“An Open Letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson,” Chief Ed Delmore, Law Officer, 17 August 2014

“What's the Agenda in Ferguson?,” Lt. Jim Glennon, Law Officer, 18 August 2014
"
Urgh.
posted by brokkr at 2:31 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


#Ferguson Capt Johnson just said to @JakeTapper 'we didnt use tear gas, just smokebombs'.Tapper: 'Yes you did,we got gassed'.Capt: ok we did

That is the sound of the last lingering threads of Johnson's credibility evaporating.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:35 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Setting him up to fail seems like it was the whole point.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:37 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


Holy shit that is cringey and embarrassing.

I'm really wondering what message they're trying to send here. Because the one coming through loud and clear is something to the effect of "All police are full of shit, but especially the ones who go out of there way to show you momentarily how much they aren't and how much they get it and can totally pal around and have your side".

Because every kid in this area whose old enough to remember this is never going to be convinced of anything but ACAB.
posted by emptythought at 2:38 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


ob1quixote: "“An Open Letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson,” Chief Ed Delmore, Law Officer, 17 August 2014

“What's the Agenda in Ferguson?,” Lt. Jim Glennon, Law Officer, 18 August 2014"


I guess I shouldn't be stunned at how differently they perceive these events but I am. Really? If there's a few troublemakers in a larger crowd the correct response is to tear gas the whole crowd? The correct response when an officer has shot a kid is to smear the kid sooner?

I guess everyone is guilty and deserving of punishment. Judge Dredd has arrived.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:42 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


...Law Officer...Law Officer...

To quote from their "about" page:
Featuring the best in tactics, technology and training for the law enforcement professional, Law Officer magazine provides the quality information needed to get the job done safely and effectively. Editorial content targets the needs of trainers, supervisors and middle managers ... important decision-makers and purchasing influencers.
Between that and the various equipment sections, the goal of the magazine seems to be to sell toys to cops via pushing thin blue line bullshit and fear.
posted by frimble at 2:55 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


ob1quixote: ““An Open Letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson,” Chief Ed Delmore, Law Officer, 17 August 2014

“What's the Agenda in Ferguson?,” Lt. Jim Glennon, Law Officer, 18 August 2014”
brokkr: “Urgh.”
Joey Michaels: “Judge Dredd has arrived.”
The worst part is only cops who take their profession seriously are likely to read the copy of Law Officer Magazine that's probably lying around the break room. I shudder to think what passes for analysis among those who wouldn't bother.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:56 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Just to be clear, I'm not criticising ob1quixote for posting the links, just saddened that "Be afraid, buy more stuff" is a line of advertisement to cops.
posted by frimble at 2:59 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


New Republic's Angela J Davis on Bob McCulloch the person who will decide on Michael Brown's death being investigated.
posted by viggorlijah at 3:05 AM on August 19


This, ladies and gentlemen, is our fabled molotov cocktail. Almost famous as evidence of it existing for the past three days has never been brought forth but here it is:

View it in all it's splendid, unlit, probably unlightable glory! We wanted proof. They gave us proof...of an unthrown, unlit, probably dud, probably fabricated molotov cocktail.
posted by lizarrd at 3:12 AM on August 19 [24 favorites]


A detail not entirely elucidated in this new FPP, my notes: The incident report and video released as mentioned in the first paragraph below the fold only cover the alleged robbery—not the fatal shooting, which is designated by the police as a separate incident. At the point the convenience store video was released the authorities were also already in possession of video of the shooting such as that of Piaget Crenshaw (via), but did not release it.

The ACLU sent a letter to the Police Department's Custodian of Records under the Missouri Sunshine Law reading in part,
This request is for the incident report only, which is defined as "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" Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.100.1(4). Unlike "investigative reports," which may be closed until the investigation becomes inactive, "[a]ll incident reports and arrest reports shall be open records." Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.100.2.
The Bureau of Central Police Records responded with a one-line print-out of a search result listing the shooting incident but added a hand-written note,
In ref to your request for incident report involving Michal [sic] Brown, This is an on-going investigation and we are not able to release a copy at this time.
The ACLU then filed a law suit (PDF, includes original letters) against both the Police Department and the County itself (who appear to be represented by the same lawyer) saying that Defendants' failure to produce the requested records is a purposeful, or, in the alternate, knowing violation of the Sunshine Law.

Yesterday Carlos Miller of Photography is Not a Crime said that PINAC had submitted its own Sunshine Law request for the incident report as well as coordinated more than a hundred other people submitting the same request by email, cc'ing a PINAC email address. But when he spoke with the police lieutenant at the records office, he was told that none of the emails had been received due to an email outage and that they had probably "disappeared." In the comments, hacking attempts are mentioned that may have disrupted email service to the police.
posted by XMLicious at 3:14 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


They are using the presence of unlit Molotov cocktails as evidence that its warfare out there yet nothing is on fire. Do black people not have lighters or something? BULLSHIT.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:24 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


> #Ferguson Capt Johnson just said to @JakeTapper 'we didnt use tear gas, just smokebombs'. Tapper: 'Yes you did,we got gassed'. Capt: ok we did

That is the sound of the last lingering threads of Johnson's credibility evaporating.

I saw this exchange between Johnson, Tapper, and Don Lemon around 2AM when it happened. It was preceded by an equally comical interlude in which they were initially interviewing him by phone, then one of them said something like "Hey - we can't be too far from each other, right?" and they went through the process of describing nearby landmarks and coordinating directions for several minutes, live on the air, with Tapper and Lemon occasionally glancing at the camera cringingly, until Johnson walked up out of the background to shake hands with them. I'm guessing you may not find a clip of that on CNN's video archive.
posted by XMLicious at 3:25 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


They are using the presence of unlit Molotov cocktails as evidence that its warfare out there yet nothing is on fire. Do black people not have lighters or something? BULLSHIT.
posted by Foam Pants at 5:24 AM on August 19


My favorite tweet about the "molotov cocktail" is this one.
posted by lizarrd at 3:32 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


lizarrd: "View it in all it's splendid, unlit, probably unlightable glory! We wanted proof. They gave us proof...of an unthrown, unlit, probably dud, probably fabricated molotov cocktail."
That looks like a plastic (PET) bottle to me, which would of course be near totally useless as a molotov. Anybody who knows Colt bottles who can elaborate?
posted by brokkr at 3:38 AM on August 19


"To protect and serve" seems more about protecting and serving the police department these days.

Those Law Officer editorials are a joke. If they seriously think some needs a hundred hours of ride alongside, plus various classes in order to be able to criticize police offers, that's idiotic.

You're supposed to be the professionals. Shooting an unarmed person doesn't sound professional.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:38 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Even if we were to assume for sake of argument that the Molotov cocktail is legit, the presence of a single Molotov cocktail does not justify all of this foofaraw. Indeed, the actions of Ferguson PD are exactly what create such things. It's telling that we had never seen such an object before, in these protests. Nobody had felt the need to make such a thing until after several days of rolling tanks.

Between the tear gassing and the LRADs and the concrete blockades and all the rest, it's not a surprise that, yes, much as in the sweaty-bed fantasies of the Second Amendment groupies, the citizens of Ferguson eventually felt the need to defend themselves from an occupying force. I do not endorse the creation of such devices. However, this is nonetheless the inevitable result of how Ferguson PD is failing its community.

I'm also a big fan of the baggied gun right next to it. Subtle, guys. If I didn't know any better, I would swear that you were cobbling together a post hoc justification for careening around like chickens with sparklers duct-taped to their heads.

In my fantasy world, they would just summarily fire the entire Ferguson PD. Or, assuming union objections, they could stay on at full pay, but only with Nerf swords, pantomime steeds, and mandatory boomboxes which play "Baby Elephant Walk". And if, instead of "hello", they could only say, "MAKE WAY FOR A VERY SPECIAL BOY!".
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:15 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


lizarrd: “This, ladies and gentlemen, is our fabled molotov cocktail. Almost famous as evidence of it existing for the past three days has never been brought forth but here it is:

View it in all it's splendid, unlit, probably unlightable glory! We wanted proof. They gave us proof...of an unthrown, unlit, probably dud, probably fabricated molotov cocktail.”
I absolutely agree that the police have overreacted to — well what haven't the overracted to in the last ten days? Anyway, all this talk of Molotov cocktails from the police seems a little overblown. What it looks like when people use Molotov cocktails is more like what you'd see in The Maidan.

However in the interest of fairness, at about 4:50 in this video from the live midnight Last Word you can pretty clearly see the guy in blue pull what appears to be the above "Molotov cocktail" out of the back of the pickup. You get a little bit better view of it as one of the tactical team tries to balance it on the hood of a nearby car a minute or two later.

As I said above, "I'm willing to accept that there have been Molotov cocktails present at the protests, for some value of Molotov cocktails that don't actually light anyone or anything on fire."
posted by ob1quixote at 4:17 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


That looks like a plastic (PET) bottle to me, which would of course be near totally useless as a molotov. Anybody who knows Colt bottles who can elaborate?

Looks like a glass bottle to me. The plastic 40s look VERY different, and lack that distinct 40oz shape.

In addition to this, colt 45 is not available in plastic bottles. Only millercoors brands do the "safety" 40s right now.

And that said, i'm totally about that tweet above. choosing a colt bottle for something that is likely a complete fabrication just screams dorky racist honky shit to me. "What bottle do you think a black guy would use?". It's like something the villain in a total satire blacksploitation movie like undercover brother would do.
posted by emptythought at 4:18 AM on August 19 [35 favorites]


Instead of their current manual (if such a thing even exists) they get printouts of Phillippe's greatest hits from Achewood. THIS IS YOUR ROLE MODEL NOW.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:18 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I was idly flipping around the high reaches of cable last night and came upon the episode of Parks and Recreation where Leslie is trying to get the retiring police chief to endorse her, and he talks about how her opponent gives a lot of money to the force, and Ben replies, "Mo money, mo problems, I always say," and the chief glares at him and says, "Or mo money, mo Kevlar vests that save lives," and I could barely keep myself from screaming "YOU WORK IN FUCKING PAWNEE IT IS NOT FALLUJAH" and I really should have gone to bed at that point but Louis CK was in that ep as well and I felt better.
posted by Etrigan at 4:21 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


So, did we do the part where it seems that the CCTV footage does not in fact show Brown shoplifting?
posted by ominous_paws at 4:26 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]


So, did we do the part where it seems that the CCTV footage does not in fact show Brown shoplifting?

Yea, and we did the part where that doesn't necessarily show him not. Yea, the first video painted it a very specific way they wanted to... But the general consensus reached in the ridiculously huge original thread was that it was an ID check type confrontation, which seemed to be supported by the fact that he apparently had no ID or drivers license and only an expired learners permit.

the "He goes in and tries to buy them, clerk says no, he throws the money on the counter and tries to just leave" routine seemed super reasonable and plausible to me when it got brought up then. That's exactly the kind of shit that me and my friends did when we were his age. Because hey, "it isn't stealing if you pay for it!" cocky teen boy logic.

They have to accept the sale or it's shoplifting, even if you leave the money there. It's very telling that the clerk never called the cops though, probably deeming it not even worth it because he left the money there and as mentioned in thread 1, it could open them up to licensing issues for "selling to minors" even if they sort of technically didn't.

I really wish there was some way to just block all future discussion of the shoplifting thing in the entire world though, and MIB neuralizer style erase it from everyones memory. Because as John Oliver said, it's fucking pointless. And even Ron Johnson, before he revealed himself as the neutered new-boss-same-as-old-boss directly stated that he was not suspected of being involved at the time he was stopped.
posted by emptythought at 4:33 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Maxwelton, if people did get massacred, I'd go to Ferguson myself. I don't know what I would do or how I could help, but I wouldn't just watch it on television.

What's stopping you now? Honestly, this will keep happening as long as it's only black people standing up. If you're white and genuinely want this to change, you need to join the protests, either in Ferguson or somewhere else.

Yesterday the police in Ferguson arrested a 90 year old woman for protesting. She's a Holocaust survivor. What are the rest of you doing?
posted by dry white toast at 4:38 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


That looks like a plastic (PET) bottle to me, which would of course be near totally useless as a molotov. Anybody who knows Colt bottles who can elaborate?

Yeah, Colt 45 bottles are glass.

And that said, i'm totally about that tweet above. choosing a colt bottle for something that is likely a complete fabrication just screams dorky racist honky shit to me. "What bottle do you think a black guy would use?". It's like something the villain in a total satire blacksploitation movie like undercover brother would do.

I hear you. That said, I don't see how the drink choice makes it any more or less likely to be a fabrication. It's not as if people (black and otherwise) don't drink Colt 45 in real life. It's also a pretty decent practical choice for a Molotov: just spacious enough, holdable and throwable, breaks upon impact.

If I were a corrupt cop who was manufacturing phony Molotovs, I would take a variety of beer/malt bottles and stuff them with rags. I wouldn't just hastily assemble one Colt 45 and hope people really respond to the stereotypical drink choice. I mean, if I'm already telling lies about the opposition, why only dip my toe in it? It would be trivial to assemble the ingredients.

The whole thing is still Ferguson PD's fault. And the "why not multiple bottles" angle cuts in the other direction as well: are they really trying to say that all of this apocalyptic horseshit was about a single unlit Molotov? A weapon which was only created in the wake of a days-long siege? It's like watching an idiot burn down his house, because a mouse might eventually get in.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:38 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


DemocracyNow is live in Ferguson from 8-9am EDT (via)
posted by jeffburdges at 4:40 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Some media company needs to put an armored truck full of running cameras in the middle of all this and just leave it there.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:40 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


ET - won't dwell on this if it's come up before. I appreciate your point about it not mattering in that sense, but to me it's still shocking that such a flagrant attempt at editing the footage was made. Which probably makes me hopelessly naive.
posted by ominous_paws at 4:42 AM on August 19


The President needs to invite Wilson and the parents of Michael Brown over for cocktails. That would end this whole mess.
posted by Renoroc at 4:43 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I really wonder who got to Captain Johnson, and how. His behaviour on the first night he was in Ferguson is so markedly different from how he's been the past few days and I have to have to believe that his strings are being pulled rather than that someone would turn on those he stood alongside so quickly and completely.

I'm not sure why everyone in the thread hating on the police thought that somehow a Captain from the Highway Patrol was going to make it all right, even if he is African American.
posted by OmieWise at 4:44 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


The world gets repeatedly told that Johnson is in charge, when clearly he's not deciding anything, he doesn't even know what's going on half the time, he just stands there in front of the cameras trying to figure out how to keep his pension
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:45 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure why everyone in the thread hating on the police thought that somehow a Captain from the Highway Patrol was going to make it all right, even if he is African American.

Whatever the first night he was in charge (Friday?) went so well, and peacefully. And he grew up around Ferguson. I think a lot of us were hopeful.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:48 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Yeah, Johnson legitimately seemed to get it on Friday night. I have no idea what to make of that in retrospect anymore.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:50 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I'm starting to see references to this tweet among conservatives:

Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop's version of events in shooting #Ferguson

That's from Christine Byers, crime reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. This is apparently the next step in the police PR response.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:50 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I guess it's just that the "Hah, see, he DIDN'T steal them!" narrative bugs me because it's also spin. It's reactionary spin, and spin we want to high five because it at face value seems to be scoring for our team... but it's still not really a seemingly accurate representation of what went on there that makes sense.

There's a lot of spin and bullshit coming from the cops side, but i don't think we're helping anything at all by just firing the same laser cannon straight back. Lead with the facts, not a questionable interpretation.

I also think we really need to bring back that big 20-ish item list from thread 1, it went(compiled from several posts). Let's try and check off what we can:

1. Darren Wilson's record from his years with the dissolved Jennings police department
2. Any of Wilson's disciplinary records that aren't in his Ferguson Police Department file
3. All video of the shooting from the cellphones that were confiscated by police
4. The police reports directly pertaining to the shooting of Mike Brown
5. The percentage of Ferguson police officers who actually live in Ferguson
6. What happened in the conversation leading up to the shoplifting incident
7. What tests the medical examiner did to find Mike Brown had marijuana in his body
8. Why purchased body cameras weren't in use in Ferguson, and when they will be
9. Why Darren Wilson hasn't been detained, and whether police know his whereabouts
10. Why no ambulance was called when Mike Brown was shot
11. Why a nurse on the scene was not allowed to help when Mike Brown was shot
12. Why Mike Brown's body was left on the scene for four hours after he was shot
13. What role Charter and AT&T had in censoring local cable and Internet last weekend
14. Who's astroturfing Twitter with "Michael Brown is GUILTY! Forget that thug and stop being bitches!"
15. Mike Brown's juvenile record (If it exists it will get out because the Gentle Giant thing has to be put to rest once and for all).
16. Darren Wilson's medical records for the "medical treatment" he got after the incident.
17. Who leaked the "traces of marijuana" result to the press?
18. Any proof that protesters actually did fire Molotov cocktails etc at the police.
19. Name of the officer who threatened he would shoot the reporter last night.
20. Why Chief Jackson released the video and other materials about the robbery when expressly asked not to by the DOJ and other parties.(and who FOIA'd it, if anyone)

As a random closing note, i was driving around tonight trying to pull some stupid coupon deal. I was listening to NPR, because there's rarely anything worth listening to on the radio and i had forgotten the cord for my phone. And oh hey, they're talking about Ferguson!

Less than 2 minutes in, they describe the convenience store alleged shoplifting as both a "alleged strong arm robbery" and, i shit you not, thuggish. It sounded shockingly fucking fox news to me.* I seriously had to just turn it off. It almost seemed like the person who was being interviewed was a bit off-put by that language too.

Stitcherbeast: I hear you. That said, I don't see how the drink choice makes it any more or less likely to be a fabrication. It's not as if people (black and otherwise) don't drink Colt 45 in real life. It's also a pretty decent practical choice for a Molotov: just spacious enough, holdable and throwable, breaks upon impact.

The thing is, colt is not the cheapest 40. Every time i see it around here it's sort of mid-priced as far as 40s go, since it's not made by millercoors who seem to make most 40s, but by pabst. It's like 50 cents or a buck more than say, olde english. Unless you just found it in the recycling, if you went and bought a 40 and some gas to make a molotov... why wouldn't you get the cheapest one? I also don't even see it around outside of a store almost ever because of that. If you're buying a 40, you're probably going to get pretty much the cheapest one that you don't hate. There's usually 2-3 around the cheapest price point(oe, mickeys, 211, etc). I'd see like, empty 211s and OE 40s all the time back before they banned them from sale in the main part of my city, but very rarely colt 45.

Combine that with the fact that it's associated with black people by disconnected-from-reality racist white people in the same way that watermelons, kool aid, and fried chicken are and it just makes me really skeptical and somehow sets off my bullshit alarm as a lazy frame job. It just feels like another element of the full court press to frame the entire town as being full of uppity negroes by out of touch racist white cops/good ol boy politicians.

*(i can't dig up the transcript right now, it wasn't this, it was a longer form piece slightly. I plugged in "npr ferguson transcript august 18th" and drew a blank besides that so idk)
posted by emptythought at 4:50 AM on August 19 [38 favorites]


Pater, exactly. This strikes me as awfully convenient timing. Let's see those witnesses.
posted by GrammarMoses at 4:55 AM on August 19


“An Open Letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson,” Chief Ed Delmore, Law Officer, 17 August 2014

This asshole compared Michael Brown's mindset at the time he encountered Officer Wilson to the mindsets of Ted Bundy, Timothy McVeigh, and Eric Rudolph. Because knowing you may have stolen rellos is equal to knowing you're a serial killer or terrorist on the lam who's facing the death penalty if caught.

Note that there is a comment section on that article...
posted by sallybrown at 4:56 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Yesterday the police in Ferguson arrested a 90 year old woman for protesting. She's a Holocaust survivor. What are the rest of you doing?

I'm gonna get some sleep after this last one, but it's not like this hasn't happened before at big protests, and it didn't push anyone over the edge then. Hell, they pepper sprayed and kicked a pregnant lady and no one really gave a shit.

It's egregious and fucked up, but i don't think it's as much of a yardstick or line in the sand to the general populace as we want it to be.

Maybe i just have care fatigue, but i feel like a lot of people on here are a bit pollyannaish about what will make the general American People sit up and take notice. This is getting some nice media coverage, but i still think it doesn't feel real to a hell of a lot of people because it's just on the tee-vee or the internet and they can switch it off whenever they feel like it. I feel like short of gunning down a huge crowd of people live on TV(or at least, live from the aftermath) will this ever really reach that point. That, and most of the discussion i've seen elsewhere is pretty disgusting and is already fairly sold on the "Oh, a thug got shot by the cops, hmm" narrative.

There was a good post in the last thread about the convenience store detail knocking the anger and fight out of a hell of a lot of even seemingly pretty decent people. And with that done, some far more egregious stuff is going to have to happen at the protests to really lock those people back in... and it just hasn't yet.
posted by emptythought at 5:06 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop's version of events in shooting #Ferguson

Yeah, right wing folks keep posting stuff like this, or stuff about how Wilson spent a day in the hospital to deal with facial injuries, and all this other bullshit, and I can't figure out where it's coming from originally. Have the police actually made any public statements like this?
posted by inigo2 at 5:07 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Bet you $20 it's seeded by that shady PR firm they hired that made claims about "seeding multiple creative stories and angles!" on their site. And if not them, then some PR within the local or state government.
posted by emptythought at 5:08 AM on August 19 [16 favorites]


Ugh. Ugh. Fuck.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:09 AM on August 19


Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop's version of events in shooting #Ferguson

If true, then it's worth asking why people got so upset.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:09 AM on August 19


"Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop's version of events in shooting #Ferguson"

Yeah, if this were true, police sources would be shouting it from the rooftops, not leaking it.
posted by klarck at 5:13 AM on August 19 [45 favorites]


Also, just in passing, because it's being discussed, and in no way to justify any action taken by the cops: I have seen a couple of photos of lit Molotov cocktails.

And then there's this, which makes me want to weep.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:14 AM on August 19


At this point, it's going to take some serious data/evidence before I believe anything from the cops there even if they're just claiming that, say, the sun rises in the east.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:14 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Also, just in passing, because it's being discussed, and in no way to justify any action taken by the cops: I have seen a couple of photos of lit Molotov cocktails.

Those are tear gas canisters.
posted by Metafilter Username at 5:16 AM on August 19 [47 favorites]


GrammarMoses, I'm pretty sure that first picture is a tear gas canister being thrown back at the police. If for no other reason that lighting and throwing a Molotov cocktail is the kind of thing you put your chips down for.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:16 AM on August 19 [37 favorites]


Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop's version of events in shooting

I find it very, VERY hard to believe that "more than a dozen people" were (a) there, (b) watching as the events unfolded and not just after shots were fired, and (c) willing to talk. And as klarck says, if this were true the police would be holding a press conference, not leaking it to Fox.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:16 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


CNN anchor wonders why police don't just use water cannons on Ferguson protestors: http://deadsp.in/RWjb2IQ http://twitter.com/Deadspin/status/501702758828109824/photo/1

The look on her co-anchor's face is ... I'm not sure...disgusted? Shocked? Basically his face says wtf.
posted by sio42 at 5:21 AM on August 19 [26 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos, point taken -- esp given the AP's caption. (D'oh!) But that second one is definitely a bottle. There's a series of photos of this vignette.

A note on my motives: I fucking hate these cops, and I think they should all be censured and fired. At the same time I think we (the actual and virtual protestors) can't afford to be wrong about small details, because those mistakes give Certain People a reason to write off the whole debacle (cf. cigar box).
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:24 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I think the molotov cocktails are a red herring here. They aren't, if they exist, coming from the local protestors, but fringe groups who should be dealt with without having to teargas the crowd.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:29 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


OK, with this glut of links and opinions I'm still confused about one thing: there was a big deal made about the state troopers and the national guard coming in to "restore order" in Ferguson, but everything I see still seems to talk about the local PD running amok. What exactly is going on with these three different orgs on the ground, is there any clash between them or are they all just continuing to attack protesters and observors?
posted by psoas at 5:31 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Perhaps we should compare the percentage of protestors who have Molotov cocktails with the percentage of Ferguson police who have shot Michael Brown.
posted by Metafilter Username at 5:32 AM on August 19 [36 favorites]


Related: Full text copy of Henry David Thoreau's 'On Civil Disobedience' (1848)
“If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."
posted by Fizz at 5:33 AM on August 19 [26 favorites]


Thanks for this, Phire. Excellent roundup.
posted by rtha at 5:34 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Captain Johnson in the press release claiming police officers acted with professionalism, asking protestors to protest "during daytime hours", and blames the media for making things worse because "they had to be repeatedly asked to return to the sidewalks".

Gah. Useless PR fuck.
posted by Artw at 5:35 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


huh. npr is saying that protestors picked up smoke bombs that were thrown at them and threw them back at police. and then the police are describing being under assault. yeah, you throw shit like that at me, damn straight my first impulse is gonna be to chuck it back.

i hope any St. Louis area PD requests for more federal funding to militarize the police are met with a FUCK NO forever and ever, but that's closing the barn door after the horse is out, I guess.
posted by angrycat at 5:35 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Perhaps we should compare the percentage of protestors who have Molotov cocktails with the percentage of Ferguson police who have shot Michael Brown.

OK, OK. Jeez. Sorry. Was just noting facts. I promise I won't bother in the future.

You might notice that I mentioned above my position on the issue.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:35 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


OK, with this glut of links and opinions I'm still confused about one thing: there was a big deal made about the state troopers and the national guard coming in to "restore order" in Ferguson, but everything I see still seems to talk about the local PD running amok. What exactly is going on with these three different orgs on the ground, is there any clash between them or are they all just continuing to attack protesters and observors?

Nobody seems to know? Like, Johnson of the Highway Patrol is ostensibly in command, but he keeps being caught flat-footed, not knowing what is going on. The cops tried to sweep the protesters out because they were afraid the protesters were going to "overrun" their HQ, so the National Guard comes to protect the HQ -- which frees up the cops to launch their biggest attempt yet. When people ask at the press conferences, who is in charge, they get told that Johnson is, or that decisions in the field are being made by the tactical commanders; so who knows?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:36 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


"I'm pretty sure it was so that AI didn't have a chance to observe the police abuses. Same reason the journalists were removed from the situation."

This attributes motive and organization to the police that I'm not sure is there; this is fucking amateur hour and these cops are flailing at almost total random. I suspect the motivation of individual officers is probably "make people leave" and are extra-focused on those they view as outsiders -- like the press and Amnesty -- because they're easy to identify and noticed as individuals outside the amorphous mass of protestors that the cops are dehumanizing into an amorphous mass.

It seems to me that they're following a mishmash of regulations and playbooks that have no application to the present situation; they're starting with things that are sort-of recognizable as "normal" ways to treat press coverage of protests or community events in completely different situations. Like, "Oh, sure, we'll just treat this like it's the press area at the local Air Show and we're just doing crowd control and first aid, not like we have a set of major protests and keep teargassing people." They keep doing things like you might do at a normal traffic stop (discourage press from recording private citizens being stopped by police, which might cause undue embarrassment) but you totally don't do at a protest. It's completely bizarre and there is just no strategy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:38 AM on August 19 [31 favorites]


Woo, states-and-counties-and-municipalities' rights!
posted by PMdixon at 5:42 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Grand jury "could" begin considering Brown shooting case tomorrow.
posted by scatter gather at 5:43 AM on August 19


OK, OK. Jeez. Sorry. Was just noting facts. I promise I won't bother in the future.

Maybe I missed something, but sounds like others are just making factual corrections to your points and/or questioning your framing based on facts. Telling you you got something wrong is not telling you to stop posting, it's helping stop the spread of misinformation, which is vital.

What exactly is going on with these three different orgs on the ground, is there any clash between them or are they all just continuing to attack protesters and observors?

The NG is coming in under the control of the highway police headed by Captain Johnson, although the extent to which he is really in control is an open question. NG is guarding the police's "command center" post - I don't believe we've seen any interaction between NG and civilians. Last night, it looked like the police on West Florissant were a mix of Ferguson police (blue shirts, I believe), St. Louis County PD (whom I've heard to referred as "county browns" due to their uniforms), and highway patrols (not sure what they wear).
posted by sallybrown at 5:44 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


When you're a person armed by the state and offered special legal authority to use force and detain people, "flailing at almost total random" because it's "amateur hour" isn't really an acceptable explanation.
posted by Metafilter Username at 5:44 AM on August 19 [23 favorites]


It's helping stop the spread of misinformation, which is vital.
I couldn't agree more completely.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:46 AM on August 19


The LA Times published a little thing about Michael-Brown-the-rapper.
posted by box at 5:57 AM on August 19


this is fucking amateur hour and these cops are flailing at almost total random

This. It's obvious that the police are being given conflicting (or no) instructions from state and local officials, who are clearly foundering and utterly failing to get out in front of the situation. It's a situation that screams for sending in officials from the federal Department of Justice to run things in the city for a while, but can you imagine the uproar from conservatives (even if such a thing was possible, which I'm not sure it is)?
posted by Dip Flash at 5:57 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


[A few comments deleted; please drop the 18-year-old is not a teen derail.]
posted by taz at 5:58 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


""flailing at almost total random" because it's "amateur hour" isn't really an acceptable explanation."

100% agree, it's completely inexcusable. This sort of situation calls for the best possible policing, not this nightmare clusterfuck.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:58 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


This is getting some nice media coverage, but i still think it doesn't feel real to a hell of a lot of people

What I've found is a lot of people are very unwilling to say "they cops are out of line." They tell themselves that if force is used, then it must be justified, even in the face if overwhelming evidence. Because the alternative is hard to accept.

This morning someone said, "well people were throwing rocks at Chris Hayes, so I guess I have no sympathy for them [the protestors]." I literally dragged them to my computer and made them look at all the images from the last few days. Not sure if I entirely changed his mind, be he's just been pretty quiet all morning. I understand that upending someone's entire worldview can be painful, but there's no excuse. I'm going to fight this attitude every way I can, even if I have to drag people kicking and screaming.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 5:59 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


Is the Major hiding out with Darren Wilson or something?
posted by Artw at 6:00 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Social Media and Political Activism in the Modern Era
posted by jeffburdges at 6:02 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Well thank goodness -- the singer from Disturbed (David Draiman) has weighed in:
THE MORE I HEAR/DISCOVER, THE MORE I'M STARTING TO CHANGE MY POSITION ON THIS MICHAEL BROWN INCIDENT... HE MAY HAVE GOTTEN WHAT HE DESERVED
posted by inigo2 at 6:03 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Reading that makes me feel sick to my stomach.
posted by h00py at 6:06 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Dogwhistles work.
posted by Artw at 6:07 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Here in Minneapolis, a fleet of 7 enormous black helicopters is buzzing downtown buildings a few hundred feet from the ground from dusk until past midnight. I was directly under one last night, it was terrifying. The police say it is a DoD training exercise but they didn't announce it in advance, they won't say when it ends, and they won't say who authorized it or what the purpose is. I can't help but conclude they're trying to intimidate people into not protesting.
posted by miyabo at 6:09 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


The police say it is a DoD training exercise but they didn't announce it in advance, they won't say when it ends, and they won't say who authorized it or what the purpose is. I can't help but conclude they're trying to intimidate people into not protesting.

That'd be about par for the course for the Minneapolis police.
posted by hoyland at 6:12 AM on August 19


We're beginning to seriously consider not going to a family wedding we're supposed to be attending soon, because we know that the entire parent/aunt/uncle generation of the family is going to be saying hideous crap about Michael Brown. Or, best/worst scenario, none of this is going to be on their radar at all because it's 'just Those People looting and getting what they deserve.'

Ugh. Everything is terrible, and I'm having a hard time staying as informed as I want to be, so thank you for this round-up, Phire.
posted by Stacey at 6:13 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


THE MORE I HEAR/DISCOVER, THE MORE I'M STARTING TO CHANGE MY POSITION ON THIS MICHAEL BROWN INCIDENT... HE MAY HAVE GOTTEN WHAT HE DESERVED

Awesome. Dude writes "Never Again" song about the Holocaust and then supports the slaughter and oppression of Palestinians in Gaza and blacks in the US. Way to be, asshole.
posted by crayz at 6:14 AM on August 19


The police say it is a DoD training exercise but they didn't announce it in advance, they won't say when it ends, and they won't say who authorized it or what the purpose is. I can't help but conclude they're trying to intimidate people into not protesting.

A derail but I kind of felt the same thing. I mean, in normal circumstances I wouldn't really overthink it, but given the last week in this country, the blanket helicopter patrols gave me a really totalitarian vibe.
posted by Think_Long at 6:16 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


We're beginning to seriously consider not going to a family wedding we're supposed to be attending soon

Oh boy. My father-in-law is coming up to visit this weekend. I really hope discussion doesn't get ugly. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue around him, but I don't think I can about this.
posted by Foosnark at 6:17 AM on August 19


I've been really appreciating Rafi DiAngelo's blog SoLet'sTalkAbout during this whole thing. I linked to it a couple times in the last thread.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:21 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Good morning, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:23 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Not sure if this was in the other thread, but I think it's important, from Wesley Lowery:

"Are you leaving? Please don't leave. PLEASE! What if they shoot us? You have to be here to tell people" she told me & a photog. On several nights that's been expressed to me: the desperate desire from residents who assume police will kill them for media to document. The fear and desperation in their voices is something I can't shake. Keeps me up, pacing, at night. Replaying in my head.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:25 AM on August 19 [53 favorites]


Here in Minneapolis, a fleet of 7 enormous black helicopters is buzzing downtown buildings a few hundred feet from the ground from dusk until past midnight. I was directly under one last night, it was terrifying. The police say it is a DoD training exercise but they didn't announce it in advance, they won't say when it ends, and they won't say who authorized it or what the purpose is. I can't help but conclude they're trying to intimidate people into not protesting.

Wow.

There have been a lot of "training exercises" in MPLS lately, as far as I can tell - we've had a bunch over at the UMN, although not in my part of campus.

I wonder what's going on over north - that was where the Michael Brown vigil was last week (where the cops arrested a young woman basically for stepping into the street, which tons of people do to cross that street), and people are meeting at the Urban League this week to talk about some kind of more sustained anti-police-brutality organizing. I am personally so ready to get involved - I did not sign up to live in a society run by a bunch of Jim Crow LARPers.

I feel like the way things work here, there isn't that much back channel communication between people (mostly black organizers) over north and white people who normally work on this kind of stuff over south - like, almost no one I knew from south even heard about the vigil, and when there was the big Trayvon Martin protest here, I only found out about it by coincidence. It really brings home how segregated this city is on every level - even more than in the nineties, I think, because I went to some anti-police-brutality stuff back then and it seemed like there was better communication between organizers over north and various groups in S MPLS. South Minneapolis isn't all white or anything, but because the city has done its level best to sequester and control the north, it seems like it works almost as though there were a strict racial divide on north-south lines even though there isn't.

I mean, obviously, in MPLS any anti-police-brutality work needs to be POC-centering and particularly center black leadership, since people of color, especially black Minneapolitans, are dramatically most affected. But in terms of sheer numbers and money, I think it's important for white people to get involved.

(On another note - what's been occurring to me about Ferguson is that it is absolutely going to escalate police response to protests everywhere in the US. Those jackasses are always looking for an excuse, and if Ferguson can use live ammunition and snipers and toss around tear gas cannisters like they're confetti, everyone else is going to step up what they do. On a purely selfish level, I keep thinking of the various protests that I go or have gone to, and how many of those were violent enough to be unpleasant, and I find myself wondering what is going to go down in the next few years. God help us if the cops start shooting people in Ferguson.)
posted by Frowner at 6:26 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


On another note - what's been occurring to me about Ferguson is that it is absolutely going to escalate police response to protests everywhere in the US. Those jackasses are always looking for an excuse, and if Ferguson can use live ammunition and snipers and toss around tear gas cannisters like they're confetti, everyone else is going to step up what they do.

With so much chaos, someone will do something stupid. And when they do, things will turn nasty.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:29 AM on August 19


THE MORE I HEAR/DISCOVER, THE MORE I'M STARTING TO CHANGE MY POSITION ON THIS MICHAEL BROWN INCIDENT... HE MAY HAVE GOTTEN WHAT HE DESERVED

>The Year Of Our Lord Two-Thousand and Four-of-Teens
>Being this down with the sickness
>Shiggity diggity dugong double-dungareeno
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:29 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


CNN is STILL reporting about the obviously prank phone call alleging that Brown charged Wilson and that's why he shot him. FFS.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:30 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I just also fucking wish that all this media coverage with the warzone pictures could somehow be a little more about how people, real people, are actually living in the middle of that. It's not a movie.
posted by Frowner at 6:30 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Good morning, y'all! What country did I wake up in today?
posted by desjardins at 6:30 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


What happened to the National Guard coming in?
posted by drezdn at 6:31 AM on August 19


What happened to the National Guard coming in?

They're apparently guarding the super important police command post while The rest of the police get their jollies using citizens for target practice.
posted by Artw at 6:33 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


They said the NG was only going to protect the police command center.

Dollars to donuts (heh) there'll be a press conference today where it's announced their role will be stepping up to actively patrolling.
posted by Foosnark at 6:35 AM on August 19



Policing by consent

posted by Foosnark at 6:39 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Because goodness knows the police need protection what with all the rubber bullets and teargas canisters they've so generously given the protestors.
posted by Westringia F. at 6:41 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Are you kidding? The cops need a ton of protection. Do you have any idea how many unarmed teenagers are in the area?
posted by shakespeherian at 6:44 AM on August 19 [35 favorites]


Good morning, y'all! What country did I wake up in today?

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
posted by Atreides at 6:44 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


@Nettaaaaaaaa, who was teargassed in Canfield last night, was alleging that there have been drones out every night - has that been substantiated by anyone else? You'd think that would be all over the media.
posted by desjardins at 6:44 AM on August 19


Actor Orlando Jones has taken a bucket challenge of his own:

Every shell casing in that bucket represents the life of someone who fought and died in the goal for civil rights and human dignity.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:44 AM on August 19 [52 favorites]


If you haven't been watching the Twitters - someone whose tumblr I look at (she's a great comics artist and zine writer) linked to this round-upy thing here.

Some of this feels so familiar, because it's just the same stuff they do at hippie protests but accelerated - more tear gas, a lot more; undercovers; and I know a couple of people who have had cops threaten to kill them when they were behaving non-violently and appropriately at protests. Part of me feels like "see, see, you didn't believe this when it was happening to hippies because the official narrative is always that we deserve what we get"...and then I realize that basically no one believes that it's happening in Ferguson either.

I've never been in a protest where wooden rounds were fired.

It's like I felt when one of my friends was held on the floor at gunpoint when the police broke up a media center; you know you're just one pumped-up idiot away from people being dead, and it's very very hard to believe and terrifying at the same time.
posted by Frowner at 6:45 AM on August 19 [30 favorites]


I've never been a reader of Vice and always kinda thought of them as the Jackass of news sites, like "Hi we're Vice and today we're going to North Korea!", but holy shit if they aren't the best thing going with their live streams. I finally watched one for a significant amount of time last night and caught the whole pinned down, then gassed, then escaping to the nice lady's front lawn and recovering. They should win some sort of award for this.
posted by DynamiteToast at 6:47 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


There's plenty of precedent for abuse of protesters (especially blacks), but is there a precedent in this country for this much control/abuse of the media?
posted by desjardins at 6:52 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I'm reading this thread when I should be doing database work, and every word and image is breaking my heart and inflaming my brain. Thanks for putting this together, Phires, this is all stuff that people need to see.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:53 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


The 9 principles of policing in the article foosnark posted are gold:

1. To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.

2. To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.

3. To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.

4. To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.

5. To seek and preserve public favour, not by pandering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to law, in complete independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance of individual laws, by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour, and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life.

6. To use physical force only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient to obtain public co-operation to an extent necessary to secure observance of law or to restore order, and to use only the minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for achieving a police objective.

7. To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

8. To recognise always the need for strict adherence to police-executive functions, and to refrain from even seeming to usurp the powers of the judiciary of avenging individuals or the State, and of authoritatively judging guilt and punishing the guilty.

9. To recognise always that the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.


That's from the 1800s. Victorians got this where politicians and police of 2014 apparently don't.
posted by Artw at 6:54 AM on August 19 [48 favorites]


Actor Orlando Jones has taken a bucket challenge of his own

Wow. Hard to watch. He notes in the video that he's a reserve sheriff and lifetime member of the NRA.
posted by sallybrown at 6:55 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank in Washington D.C., apologized for tweeting that Amnesty International should "suck it."
posted by argonauta at 6:56 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank in Washington D.C., apologized for tweeting that Amnesty International should "suck it."

Not The Onion, in case anyone else was wondering
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:58 AM on August 19 [45 favorites]


Last night, it looked like the police on West Florissant were a mix of Ferguson police (blue shirts, I believe), St. Louis County PD (whom I've heard to referred as "county browns" due to their uniforms), and highway patrols (not sure what they wear).

Ferguson seems to be dark blue pants, light blue shirt. County seems to be dark brown pants, Khaki/butternut shirt. Highway Patrol is pretty similar to Ferguson, but it looks like the shirts are lighter, and they also wear a diagonal belt across the chest. I know the Ferguson police commanders wear white shirts. And it looks like the Highway Patrol frequently have vests with "Trooper" written on them. Is this right?

When they're in body armor, it would be hard to tell, because it seems to vary quite a lot.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:59 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I suspect it started going all wrong -- this time, because it has gone wrong before -- when we declared a War On Drugs and then a War On Terror, two wars that know no boundaries or limits. There's been enough of that rhetoric that the police seem to believe they're at war with the people they were supposed to serve and protect.
posted by Foosnark at 7:02 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


Man if that stupid little CSIS thing doesn't drive home the connection between doing stupid violent shit abroad and stupid violent shit internally.
posted by PMdixon at 7:03 AM on August 19 [25 favorites]


Criticism of police tactics and intimidation against Ferguson protesters have led to an outcry, including from Iran's Supreme Leader, Egypt and China [emphasis mine] (via)
posted by desjardins at 7:05 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Criticism of police tactics and intimidation against Ferguson protesters have led to an outcry, including from Iran's Supreme Leader, Egypt and China

Thanks but no thanks.
posted by empath at 7:11 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


It seems noteworthy to me that any daylight protests, which the police are urging, would have less people; some would certainly be at school, work, or other responsibilities.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:11 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Ah, D.C., keeping it classy as always.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:13 AM on August 19


Iran, Egypt, China? Crocodile tears of the highest order.

There are so, so many credible sources pointing out the horrors of Ferguson. No need to give these leaders any attention. That said, of course the US loses its credibility whenever such crimes occur on its own turf. Even for just purely self-serving reasons, a neocon should be appalled that Ferguson is damaging our brand so much.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:14 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I thought I saw in the newspaper images posted upthread that school had been canceled for the week?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:15 AM on August 19


No need to give these leaders any attention.

I don't know, it's pretty bad when China is like, "Hey, your policing sucks." Not that they have any leg to stand on, but they're not wrong.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:17 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Ah, D.C., keeping it classy as always.

That's a thinktank in DC. That's not DC.
posted by inigo2 at 7:17 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


All schools in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be closed Tuesday, August 19 through Friday, August 22 due to continued unrest in and around Ferguson, Mo. This decision was made after much careful deliberation and consideration of input received from local law enforcement officials and District security staff.
posted by tivalasvegas at 7:18 AM on August 19


One thing I find relevant that isn't discussed much is that the use of tear gas against military targets is forbidden by the Geneva Convention. But it is both perfectly legal, and increasingly commonly, used against civilians.

I also have to question the viewpoint that a lot of people, not here, seem to take for granted: that there is an inherent need to disperse crowds. I find this especially puzzling because the right to come together and form a crowd is explicitly protected by the US Constitution, yet no one on the news seems to question the legitimacy, or even the purpose, of the police breaking up crowds.

As a dirty fucking hippie and liberal communazi I think I understand the reasoning, namely that it is for the police to assert dominance and to instill submission in the populace. But I don't think any of the talking heads on the news will admit that's the point in dispersing crowds, so I'd like to know what they think the purpose is?

What legitimate function of government is threatened when people get together in a group and walk in the same direction while chanting slogans? Why is this activity so threatening, so dangerous, and in need of immediate and forceful prevention that it is accepted by a broad swath of the US population that the use of tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, etc is viewed as valid and needed?

None of the people advocating the breaking up of crowds ever seems to explain why they think it is so urgently necessary, it's simply taken as a given that when people assemble to petition the government for a redress of grievances that this is very dangerous and must be stopped as quickly as possible.

More broadly, I think we're seeing the natural and inevitable reaction to the war that the government at all levels has waged against black people since the end of Reconstruction. The War On Drugs was explicitly formulated by Nixon as a war on blacks, and the result has been everything he could have dreamed. The police are militarized, and that military force is pointed straight at America's black population. It is only when it spills over a bit, as it inevitably will, and affects white people that it gets any attention.

Policing is tightly focused on black people, as evidenced that while only about 12.6% of drug users and dealers are black, over 80% of arrests for drug crimes are black, and over 90% of people serving prison sentences for drug crimes are black. This is a systemic effort to criminalize the black population and deny the vote to blacks by making a large number of blacks (mostly men) convicted felons.

The use of asset forfiture amounts to nothing more or less than sustained economic warfare against the black population. The police can simply take, on nothing more than suspicion of drug involvement or casual association with a known drug criminal, any economic gains made by black people. And they do. The popular picture of asset forfeiture is that of the police seizing Cadillacs and bars of gold from drug kingpins, but the reality is more the police seizing a used car from the estranged spouse/significant other of a petty corner dealer.

The simple fact is that the government of the USA is, and has been, working diligently to deny black people equal participation in society, to keep black people as a social and economic underclass, and generally to hold black people down. And it shows. The average black household with an income over $100,000/year lives in a house and neighborhood comparable to a white household with an income of around $30,000/year. The percentage of black Americans living in poverty is over twice that of white Americans living in poverty.

Ultimately that's what Ferguson is about. The death of yet another black man at the hands of the police was the catalyst, but protests of this nature don't happen in a vacuum. They happen as the result of a population who have been beaten down for generations finally have had enough and assert themselves as people and demand equal participation in society. When the consequences of doing that are judged to be lower than the consequences of simply accepting yet another humiliating reminder of their second class citizenship and kowtowing to the white authority in hopes of keeping what few gains they have made.

This is, from my dirty fucking hippie point of view, why the government at all levels is so desperate for a return to normalcy. Because normalcy means black Americans quietly submitting to their status as the designated victims of government and police, and eating the shit sandwich they've been given without complaint. Normalcy means going back to the people of Ferguson living with the police as an invading army who hates them and takes every opportunity to grind their faces in their subjugation.

And, to my dirty fucking hippie self, that's the real reason why the talking heads, and the government officials holding press conferences, and all the others work with the unspoken and never questioned assumption that breaking up the crowds and ending the demonstrations is an urgent necessity. Because if they can't do that, if the power of the government is demonstrated to be insufficient to shut up the people of Ferguson than it might make black people elsewhere in America more uppity. Hell, it might even shake up enough white voters that the system would have to change a bit.
posted by sotonohito at 7:18 AM on August 19 [206 favorites]


Once again I'm grateful to wake up and see no one else got killed in Ferguson. The police escalation there is just so dangerous, all those guns. The snipers are most disturbing to me because what, is a sniper really just going to gun someone down from 200' away in a big crowd? But this video of a police line marching, assault rifles and shotguns leveled at unarmed civilians, is also terribly frightening. Those men look like they are ready to kill people. Worse, they want to look like that.

I can't imagine what the police's endgame is here. When Johnson got put in charge a few days ago we all breathed a sigh of relief, finally someone compassionate who could calm things down. But then the next morning the Ferguson PD started leaking inflammatory info on Brown – the alleged shoplifting, the leaked autopsy. I fear that their goal is to provoke an actual massacre in Ferguson so in the cover of chaos they can say "see, these people are animals, our police was right in shooting Brown in the first place".

I'm also curious who all is protesting now. It feels like the protests have their own momentum, people there because they're angry in general and not specific to Brown's killing or local racial justice. Are there a bunch of black bloc mall anarchists on the scene? Random thugs showing up just because it's fun to be out at night challenging cops? Most big protests attract some of that, provocations that distract from the adults protesting meaningful problems. I've read precious little about who is out there protesting, and why, most of the national coverage is the paramilitary police.

The FAA has extended the flight ban for another week. As abridgments of civil liberties go this is relatively minor, but it has the effect of banning news helicopters from the scene. I can't think of a TFR being used this long before. Usually this kind of restriction is put in place over a fire, to prevent some civilian pilot from bumbling into a firefighting plane. Two weeks of military lockdown of a US city is very weird.
posted by Nelson at 7:18 AM on August 19 [23 favorites]


Omnivore has a round-up: The police presence in Ferguson

"From Charles E. Cobb Jr., on ‘the challenge of Ferguson’" - Cobb is the author of This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:18 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"Now I want you to look at what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri, in downtown America, okay? These are armed police, with — not machine guns — semi-automatic rifles, with batons, with shields, many of them dressed for combat. Now why they’re doing this? I don’t know. Because there is no threat going on here. None that merits this. There is none, okay? ...there is nothing going on on this street right now that merits this scene out of Bagram. Nothing."

-- Jake Tapper on CNN, last night
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:19 AM on August 19 [78 favorites]


Captain Johnson in a CNN interview last night insinuated that he may be losing respect with some of the officers due to his earlier lighter-touch approach (he described a situation in which he decided not to intervene in a store being looted) so he is probably feeling the pressure to conform to the law-enforcement zeitgeist/cargo cult.

And he certainly isn't making low-level tactical decisions or even coordinating the various groups if he has time to give a TV interview 30 minutes after the tear gassing started.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:21 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


He's clearly doing fuck all other than being an ill informed PR face.
posted by Artw at 7:24 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Michael Brown and the Danger of the Perfect Victim Frame: Today, if we are to believe law enforcement and personal responsibility-loving politicians such as President Obama, black victims of white racism must still, as Colvin put it, “fit the profile.” Their victimhood is only supposed to matter if their lives are pristine.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:26 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Ferguson and the Lessons of Conflict Zone Policing
From an academic standpoint, we can refer to the American dons of police studies: Bob Perito of the U.S. Institute of Peace and David Bayley of the State University of New York in Albany, who together authored The Police in War. Perito and Bayley categorize five levels of insecurity: war, insurgency, subversion, disorder, and normal crime. They also distinguish six types of police officers: uniformed general, non-uniformed criminal investigators, stability police, armed units, covert intelligence agents, and border police. They are very clear, based on their collective experience of study and practice, that stability police – police with masks, shields, batons, and other nonlethal weapons – should handle disorder and armed police – police with assault rifles, sniper rifles, and other lethal weapons – should handle subversion and insurgency. These conclusions relate directly to something well known to anyone in military studies: the principle of proportional response. If the people you want to control have guns, you respond with guns. If they have less-than-guns, you respond in kind. Using armed units against unarmed civilians violates the expectations that citizens have of their government, and not just in the United States. I have explained at Vox how I think the police should be handling this situation, but the core issue is that their failure to respond proportionally has become their single greatest reason for their failure to diffuse this situation. I encourage anyone interested in this phenomenon to read up on what happened in April 2003 with the 82d Airborne Division in Fallujah. These failures have long-lasting consequences.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:27 AM on August 19 [34 favorites]


And he certainly isn't making low-level tactical decisions or even coordinating the various groups if he has time to give a TV interview 30 minutes after the tear gassing started.

I feel for the guy. He's gotten little to no support from above, and he's got no support on the ground.

I don't think he is lying so much as he is being lied to and played.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:29 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Conor Friedersdorf has a good idea:

"So recall the mayor. Recall the city council. Elect new officials who will fire the police chief."
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:29 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


I don't know, it's pretty bad when China is like, "Hey, your policing sucks." Not that they have any leg to stand on, but they're not wrong.

It's actually because the party leadership over there just loves to rub it in whenever America makes any missteps, especially if they are missteps that America regularly criticizes China for making (which almost seems fair, in a way).
posted by obliterati at 7:30 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


To be honest, this doesn't remind me of Tiananmen Square as much as it does the Tunisian Revolution.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:30 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


It's obvious that the police are being given conflicting (or no) instructions from state and local officials, who are clearly foundering and utterly failing to get out in front of the situation

The authorities are playing "keep away" with the truth. Nobody knowing anything and autonomous actions appear to be the strategy at all levels. This, coupled with the dissemination of misinformation, preserves confusion and allows the authorities to control the narrative.

Huh, publicizing that China and Iran are also criticizing the Police. I'm sure Common Ground PR had nothing to do with that.

Now that reporters have acceded to the media pan, thus denying the possibility of citizen journalism, we see further splits there as people their press badges ripped off by cops, and meanwhile are kept from action anyway.

The police and government certainly want Darren Wilson to get off, not the least on the advice of their liability lawyers, and everything they are doing should be seen through that lens.
posted by rhizome at 7:32 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Ferguson made the front pages of these international newspapers (I don't speak most of these languages so I'm going by pictures): Venezuela, UAE, Spain, Slovenia, Japan (in English), Italy, Germany, Denmark, Canada (French), Canada (English), Austria.

Interestingly, most of the photos seem to be of protesters and not police, while US front pages seem to be mostly police (e.g. Boston Herald).
posted by desjardins at 7:33 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


I've lived here my whole life, and in my experience it is uncommon for people in the U.S. to regard "crowds" as anything other than a direct prelude to blue-collar crime and/or riots. Not to mention the tendency of conservatives and moderates to assume that any public displays of collective action will inevitably make life worse for them.
posted by IShouldBeStudyingRightNow at 7:33 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Jeffrey Smith, former state senator from the area (and white man), brings some additional context via The New Republic.
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:36 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


The FAA has extended the flight ban for another week. As abridgments of civil liberties go this is relatively minor, but it has the effect of banning news helicopters from the scene

But I've seen feeds from at least two news helicopters - FOX2 (local St Louis station) and CNN.
posted by desjardins at 7:36 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


That film with the police marching with guns drawn - frankly that scares the hell out of me. I just...that is just so non-standard for police repression in this country in the last twenty years. The rest of it is an intensification of stuff I've seen or friends have seen - I mean, I have seen people throw tear gas canisters back at police, I've seen lines of riot police; I've had friends who've gotten badly hurt by rubber bullets; I've been around when reporters were arrested and legal observers were beaten.

I know I'm sort of repeating myself here but my mind is just reeling.

I think what scares me most is the idea that if they do start shooting, no one will really care. If it's just a couple of dead kids, people will disbelieve it or forget it or decide that they deserved it, but it will be an absolute Rubicon for protest in the contemporary US, because if they can kill kids at a protest without consequence, that will be the new backstop for cop behavior at protests. It's not that it will happen all the time, but where "beat people and use tear gas and rubber bullets" has pretty much been the limit, the worst case for a while, the worst case will switch over to killing people.

And because this is a racist country, if it happens in Ferguson, people will disbelieve or ignore it because the victims will be black, and then in another ten years there will be slippage and people will disbelieve or ignore it whoever it is.

Sometimes I think that maybe even though this stuff is terrible, when it's finally in the open we can get the poison out, and the hatred of black people and disregard for black life is a poison that has always been running underground and sickening this country. I just feel like getting media on this stuff is kind of the last weapon - relying on the idea that if "everyone" knows about this stuff and sees it with photographic evidence then it will somehow be stopped. I find myself worrying that the last weapon is going to fail.

In theory, I believe that "everyone" is pretty useless and that power comes from organizing - that white people, for instance, are not as a category willing to inconvenience ourselves even trivially to diminish racism unless we're forced to do so, and that power comes from when marginalized people organize themselves to be able to force people. I basically believe that moral suasion isn't very important. And in theory I believe that the people united will never be defeated, and so on. In actual practice, I find myself horribly afraid that all that will happen, in the long run, is that people will try to organize and be brutally, repeatedly crushed down, and that the more violence is in the media, the more "everyone" will just get used to it and think it's perfectly okay.
posted by Frowner at 7:36 AM on August 19 [55 favorites]


Surprised that Putin hasn't stuck his oar in.
posted by Artw at 7:37 AM on August 19


Thank you for this, Phire.
posted by droplet at 7:37 AM on August 19


Not to mention the tendency of conservatives and moderates to assume that any public displays of collective action will inevitably make life worse for them.

Related to that, the MO RNC thinks setting up voter registration booths in Ferguson is "disgusting" and "inappropriate."
posted by almostmanda at 7:38 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Michael Brown and the Danger of the Perfect Victim Frame: Today, if we are to believe law enforcement and personal responsibility-loving politicians such as President Obama, black victims of white racism must still, as Colvin put it, “fit the profile.” Their victimhood is only supposed to matter if their lives are pristine.

Yep, I think one of the strongest arguments I've ever heard against capital punishment is even more applicable here. Even if we accept that the person involved is guilty as sin, the arbitrary and inconsistent application of lethal force violates the principle of equal protection. We object to that abuse of force, not because everyone abused is a saint, but because those abuses are differentially and arbitrarily applied on the basis of race, class, and disability.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:38 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Surprised that Putin hasn't stuck his oar in.

He's saving it for the next time the U.S. says anything about Ukraine. No need to remind the American public that he's sponsoring a civil war while they're distracted.
posted by Etrigan at 7:39 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


You can't charge somebody without any investigation. The problem is that the local police haven't investigated anything.

Good thing the FBI has been investigating then.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:39 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


These conclusions relate directly to something well known to anyone in military studies: the principle of proportional response. If the people you want to control have guns, you respond with guns. If they have less-than-guns, you respond in kind.

The way police are trained is not to respond proportionately, but to escalate. If they encounter resistance, they apply more force. More resistance? More force. Weapons? Bigger weapons. So long as that's the model they are given, this is how they will behave.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:40 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Ferguson and Patience for the Appalled by Stacia L. Brown.
posted by metaquarry at 7:40 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Report of "white anarchists" assaulting a protester and distributing explosives:
Please stand in solidarity with us even if just from your homes and computer screens. We are doing this for us.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:41 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


No need to remind the American public that he's sponsoring a civil war while they're distracted.

Fair point - WWIII almost kicked off on the border the other day and nobody noticed.
posted by Artw at 7:43 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


The most important measure of the effectiveness of a state is its control over and responsible exercise of its delegated monopoly on violence in service of the protection of all the citizens resident and present within its territory.

Framed this way — and I think this is a fundamentally useful framing, even though it makes me sound like a libertarian — when will the legitimate government of the territory in question emerge to defend Ferguson from the armed insurrection currently being undertaken by its local law enforcement agencies? Who does one appeal to? The state authorities who are currently backing the insurrection? The federal authorities who supplied arms to the insurrectionists?
posted by Vetinari at 7:44 AM on August 19


"I want to be able to do my job as a member of the media and not be arrested for just doing my job," he told Pancho Bernasconi, vice president of news at Getty Images.
Scott Olson and his Striking Photographs of Ferguson.
posted by Fizz at 7:44 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't take the ineffectiveness of Molotov cocktails as evidence that they were manufactured by the police. Even though they're in public consciousness a lot, I don't think most people actually know how to make them properly. It's more difficult than you would think.
posted by corb at 7:45 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Reparations for Ferguson (Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic)
posted by box at 7:45 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Audio of Elon James and others being teargassed

Elon James is facing some serious bullshit trolling on Twitter accusing him of fabricating police teargassing entire neighbourhoods as well as crowds. It's astounding to me that anyone can listen to that clip and think it was made up. The contortions we go to to maintain our illusions.

This is from Friday but I missed it at the time - a fantastic interactive from the NYT of the spread of military's surplus gear in the police force. (Fun exercise: filter by 'assault rifle' and see how it basically doesn't change.)
posted by Phire at 7:46 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Good thing the FBI has been investigating then.

I remember reading before that the federal government was limited to investigations of civil rights violations. Does the FBI have more leeway than the DoJ there? Who can do what here?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:46 AM on August 19


It's very disheartening how few people in my circles seem to care at all about this. It almost makes me wish my Facebook were filled with people trying to spread the "thug" narrative--because at least they'd be paying attention.
posted by sallybrown at 7:47 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I have no idea. All I know is the FBI was going door to door investigating the shooting, and dropping off cards virtually begging Ferguson residents to contact them with info.

Because the Ferguson PD wouldn't interview any witnesses.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:48 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


I saw on twitter and google news that people are now protesting in LA against the LAPD shooting of Ezell Ford.
posted by sio42 at 7:48 AM on August 19


Report of "white anarchists" assaulting a protester and distributing explosives....

Dear Black Bloc groups:

STOP BEING ON OUR SIDE YOU'RE MAKING OUR SIDE LOOK STUPID
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:49 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


Ferguson made the front pages of these international newspapers...

To the German papers, you can add Die Welt, Der Spiegel and, amazingly, Bild. Bild being both similar to the Sun, and the newspaper with the largest circulation in Europe.

Reporters from Die Welt and Bild got detained last night, with one still whereabouts unknown, so that likely also plays a role.
posted by frimble at 7:49 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


sallybrown - I wouldn't draw conclusions from Facebook. I haven't posted about it there at all but I've been closely following the developments (as you can see from my many comments).
posted by desjardins at 7:49 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't take the ineffectiveness of Molotov cocktails as evidence that they were manufactured by the police. Even though they're in public consciousness a lot, I don't think most people actually know how to make them properly. It's more difficult than you would think.

Just the same, "the protestors have Molotov cocktails, but none they can actually use" doesn't strike me as the vindication the crackdown is looking for.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:49 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I also appreciated this series of tweets from a law prof on Twitter Sam Bagenstos (@sbagen) about next steps for the DOJ.
posted by Phire at 7:50 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Related to that, the MO RNC thinks setting up voter registration booths in Ferguson is "disgusting" and "inappropriate."

“Injecting race into this conversation and into this tragedy, not only is not helpful, but it doesn’t help a continued conversation of justice and peace.”

It's incredible that someone actually said this.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:50 AM on August 19 [54 favorites]



Because the Ferguson PD wouldn't interview any witnesses.

Nonsense - they have DOZENS of witnesses who support the version the cop tells.

An they are all of unimpeachable skin color, unlike those looters who were actually there when it happened.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:52 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


I saw on twitter and google news that people are now protesting in LA against the LAPD shooting of Ezell Ford.

Good, now let's get NYC protesting about Garner. I'm sure there's probably a dozen cities that have had an unarmed black man murdered by cops recently, they should get on the protesting too.

Or, frankly, a national General Strike.

It's incredible that someone actually said this.

Incredible as in it shouldn't be believable? Because if it's coming from RNC, it's depressingly believable.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:53 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Sally brown, I too have disengaged from most social media, but it's not that I'm not paying attention. I disengaged during Gaza, and haven't gone back.
posted by dejah420 at 7:54 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


sallybrown, I posted on FB about this for the first time today, only to link this FPP. My Twitter's been lighting up about it for days. I rarely post about political things - or anything that means anything to me, really - on Facebook because I don't have the energy to worry about and monitor subsequent comment threads. I know more than a few people who feel the same way. There's a certain fucked-up facade of carefully disengaged Polyanna-ism in how Facebook feels to me; the context collapse from friends and coworkers and families is too much to negotiate and it's like we've all agreed to not remind each other of how much we differ. It's weird to have a social network I spend at least 15-20 minutes on every day not actually represent anything approaching my personal identity, but I guess that's not so different from the negotiations we do in real life every day.
posted by Phire at 7:55 AM on August 19 [20 favorites]


What is the rationale for closing the schools? I can't see what's gained; perhaps I'm wrong, but it does not seem to be too dangerous to travel between home & school, and the risk of having Unarmed Teens collected in a lunch hall seems no worse -- better, even -- than having Unarmed Teens on the streets. At the same time, there's a lot that's lost: the burden of canceling classes will fall disproportionately on poor working folks who will have to take time off or pay for childcare, and it sacrifices a brilliant "teachable moment" to discuss current events in the context of Civil Rights history.

I'm trying not to be cynical about it, but frankly it's hard not to read this as deliberately depriving people of education and trying to create an environment where young tempers are unsupervised and Something Happens. I'd love for there to be a better reason. Someone, please, explain to me why the kids aren't in school.
posted by Westringia F. at 7:59 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Facebook is also not displaying a lot of stuff in my news feed. My own boyfriend posted some of his thoughts about Ferguson on Facebook and I never saw his post, even in my special "Close Friends" list feed. I am not saying they're deliberately hiding Ferguson posts specifically, just that their news feed algorithm is so fundamentally broken that you shouldn't assume just because you're not seeing something that it doesn't exist.
posted by misskaz at 7:59 AM on August 19 [30 favorites]


(To my mind, there is at least a 50% possibility that the white "anarchists" are not actually anarchists - I think it's fairly possible that they're undercovers, since there are plenty of records of this kind of thing happening at protests run by actual white anarchists, and indeed, I've been in political milieux where there were very, very plausible white "anarchist" undercovers trying to get people to commit violence. I don't think there's any real way to figure out whether they're ringers or not at the moment, but I expect it will become clear in the longer term. One of the big problems with Black Bloc, IMO, is that it's this very loose collection of people and practices that is absolutely infiltrated and where people are very security conscious/not-sharing-information, and as a result, it's very difficult to say "hey, this fool racist thing that someone did - I think that might have been an undercover". I think at this point, actually, Black Bloc-style tactics should mostly be abandoned and discouraged - they've basically been discredited and infiltrated to the point of uselessness, and they attract amateurs and macho adventurer types. And of course, because it does attract, basically, macho assholes, that means that it is also plausible that it's not an undercover, just a macho racist asshole opportunist.

This is one reason that I personally want to get involved with whatever comes out of the Urban League-led stuff here - I feel like white anarchists need to prove that we can be reliable allies on this stuff and that we can compromise not our beliefs but our tactics, actions and language in the interest of organizing led by people of color.)
posted by Frowner at 7:59 AM on August 19 [23 favorites]


Ferguson made the front pages of these international newspapers (I don't speak most of these languages so I'm going by pictures): Venezuela, UAE, Spain, Slovenia, Japan (in English), Italy, Germany, Denmark, Canada (French), Canada (English), Austria.

Ferguson has been front page news in Canada (and in the rest of the world) since Michael Brown was shot.
posted by Nevin at 7:59 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I've been posting about it on my FB. A few others from the area, or formerly from the area, or who are generally dirty hippies like me have too.

Based on the patterns of likes and comments, I strongly suspect FB is not showing all my posts about it.

Overall, for every one post about Ferguson, I have seen about 100 each on Robin Williams or the ice bucket challenge thing.
posted by Foosnark at 7:59 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Tweet from The Nation (@thenation)
Between 2006 and 2012, white police officers killed a black person at least two times a week: http://thenat.in/1tgzKyi #Ferguson

posted by sio42 at 8:00 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


> It's incredible that someone actually said this.

It's straight out of their (incredibly depressing) playbook. It's incredible that anyone can take a statement like that seriously, and yet.
posted by rtha at 8:01 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


They make the same comments about "class warfare." "Oppressed people mentioning oppression are the real problem" is a depressingly common tactic for shutting people up. It happens on MeFi quite frequently. People have even quit the site because they believe it so strongly.
posted by OmieWise at 8:04 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


> ACLU donation link
> NAACP donation link

SPLC donation link [Southern Poverty Law Center]
posted by morganw at 8:04 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Related to that, the MO RNC thinks setting up voter registration booths in Ferguson is "disgusting" and "inappropriate."

Where can I donate to help setup voter registration booths in Ferguson?
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:04 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Holy shit that audio of Elon Jones being teargassed. Gripping. Terrifying.
posted by misskaz at 8:05 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


This is collective punishment, plain and simple.

This is about black people getting too "uppity" because a cop shot one of their kids.


Missouri Goddamn.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:06 AM on August 19 [18 favorites]


Good, now let's get NYC protesting about Garner.

I hear you, but the thing with NYC and Garner is that the powers that be are taking the incident much more seriously - De Blasio has denounced the incident, the police made no effort to hide the officer's name (Daniel Pantaleo) and there are talks of grand jury charges against him. The NYPD is also reviewing how officers are trained in public encounters. It's almost like New York and Ferguson are a Goofus-and-Gallant morality tale - they both fucked up, but the NYPD is handling it better.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:06 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


It's one level of insanity for the RNC to complain that the Dems are using this tragedy for political gain. It's an entirely different level of insanity for the RNC to look at what's going on and saying that it has nothing to do with race and that race shouldn't be injected into the conversation. Race is the conversation.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:07 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


remember how we all patted ourselves on the back about how Tiannenmen Square was a thing that couldn't happen in America

No.
posted by aught at 8:08 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


I'm gonna c&p this comment I made in the other, closed Ferguson thread from last night:

Unrelated to Ferguson, but somewhat relevant: When I was a teenager (okay, and in my 20's) and was out breaking all sorts of laws I remember thinking, "there'll probably be a day when I don't have to fear the police". I'm white and while not particularly clean cut, I've managed to stay low on the 5-0's radar. Now that I'm in my late 30's I fear the police as much as I ever did. I get a tingling in my spine whenever I see a cop car, or even when a table of cops is seated near me in a diner.

I worked as a doorman at a wannabe-posh nightclub for a couple of years a few years back. We hired uniformed off-duty cops to stand around in front and I ended up talking to them quite a bit (or rather, they talked to me quite a bit and I just smiled and nodded. Cops scared me then as they did when I was a teen). One time, one of the cops said, "hey man, wanna see something?" and he pulled a dime bag of weed out of his shoulder pocket. "Just in case someone pisses me off too much", he said. I have no idea why he trusted me with this information, and I had no idea how I could possibly report him to an 'honest' cop. This fucking haunted me and ratcheted up my nervousness around police 100x.

Thanks, police.
posted by item at 8:08 AM on August 19 [66 favorites]


More and more I am seeing incidents (like this one) which scare the shit out of me, because they indicate that this country is on the edge of exploding into violence not seen since the late 1960's, and maybe even not since the early 1860's.
posted by smoothvirus at 8:09 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Phire, thank you for posting this.

Overall, for every one post about Ferguson, I have seen about 100 each on Robin Williams or the ice bucket challenge thing.

It's fascinating to me what people focus on. My FB feed is filled pretty equally with posts about the situation in Ferguson, Israel/Gaza and the ALS ice bucket challenge. I've seen nothing on Robin Williams since last week.
posted by zarq at 8:09 AM on August 19


The elite in this country know exactly how much black people are mistreated, which is why they're so afraid of black people rioting. If the elite were just greedy and ignorant, they wouldn't be so afraid.
posted by miyabo at 8:09 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Just as a quick note, apparently the Amnesty International team (forced away from the scene at gunpoint last night) is all safe and accounted for.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:11 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I just watched the clip from Fox news where a protestor gave the reporter shit for referring to the protests at night as "child's play" and that all the "dignified protesters" had gone home.

The anchor back in the studio then went on to say it's the media's fault for being there because the media encourages people to put on a "show".

I had to stop watching.
posted by sio42 at 8:11 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Just as a quick note, apparently the Amnesty International team (forced away from the scene at gunpoint last night) is all safe and accounted for.

This sentence blows my mind on so many levels.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:13 AM on August 19 [25 favorites]


The richest and most privileged country in the world

You might want to check your figures. The U.S. isn't in the top five for wealth/capita on the IMF, World Bank, or CIA lists. See here.

Besides, thinking about the U.S. this way, even when criticizing it, is still indulging in "American exceptionalism" thinking.
posted by aught at 8:14 AM on August 19 [28 favorites]


Westringia F.: "What is the rationale for closing the schools? I can't see what's gained; perhaps I'm wrong, but it does not seem to be too dangerous to travel between home & school, and the risk of having Unarmed Teens collected in a lunch hall seems no worse -- better, even -- than having Unarmed Teens on the streets. At the same time, there's a lot that's lost: the burden of canceling classes will fall disproportionately on poor working folks who will have to take time off or pay for childcare, and it sacrifices a brilliant "teachable moment" to discuss current events in the context of Civil Rights history."

I hear you, but when it comes down to it...if I were a parent in Ferguson, I'm not sure I'd want to let my kid out of my sight. Honestly, with the way that the police lines have been trapping people while ordering them to disperse, I'd probably be a bit paranoid that a school full of children would "incidentally" wind up behind some sort of strategic line in the sand.
posted by desuetude at 8:15 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


More and more I am seeing incidents (like this one) which scare the shit out of me, because they indicate that this country is on the edge of exploding into violence not seen since the late 1960's, and maybe even not since the early 1860's.

"Democracy Now" played Nina Simone's blood-chilling 1965 reading of "Strange Fruit" as an interstitial in its coverage of Ferguson today - it felt perfectly appropriate.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:16 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


It's fascinating to me what people focus on. My FB feed is filled pretty equally with posts about the situation in Ferguson, Israel/Gaza and the ALS ice bucket challenge. I've seen nothing on Robin Williams since last week.

FB quickly becomes a self-selected echo chamber for a lot of people. Lately mine is a lot of Ferguson and some bits of "ice bucket challenge is a waste of clean water during a drought," but I'm a white liberal-ish in Seattle who grew up in LA.

I've got the problem that if I say something that does not adhere entirely to a given story, I get people who presume that I must be completely taking the other side. There are one or two points of the coverage of the Brown shooting that I question because I feel like it's incendiary reporting, and so naturally some friends freak out like I'm backing up the police there or something crazy. It's very frustrating. :(
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:16 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


if I were a parent in Ferguson, I'm not sure I'd want to let my kid out of my sight.

Triply so if I were a parent of colour. (I'm not sure if you're a person of colour so, sorry if that comes across wrong.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:18 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


> cops quite literally used tear gas to pin down Jacqueline Lee

And hit her with canisters.

Lee Han Yol, killed with a canister to the head, 1987
Kim Ju-yul, same, 1960
Bassem Ibrahim Abu-Rahma, CS canister to the chest, 2009

These are less lethal weapons, not non-lethal.
posted by morganw at 8:20 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


From Conor Friedersdorf's article:
My reading of the relevant Missouri law suggests the legal requirements could be met easily. Incompetence is grounds for recall. If city leaders in Ferguson don't now qualify as incompetents, who ever would? And as a Daily Kos author noted days ago, "Petitions must include the signatures of 25% of registered voters, which should not be too hard to do at this point." That would trigger a recall election. Turnout would presumably be high. Many blacks have been disenfranchised due to past convictions and attempts by GOP state legislators to depress voter turnout, but with this momentum, that obstacle isn't insurmountable.
This would be excellent.
posted by sallybrown at 8:20 AM on August 19 [27 favorites]


desuetude & feckless, I definitely get that fear, but keeping kids home can be the parents' choice -- it doesn't need to be imposed.
posted by Westringia F. at 8:20 AM on August 19


desuetude & feckless, I definitely get that fear, but keeping kids home can be the parents' choice -- it doesn't need to be imposed.

Well, okay, but why punish some children whose parents don't feel safe sending them?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:24 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Tweet from Antonio French (@AntonioFrench)
The white guy on the left is the one who was trying to incite a riot last night. He came here from Chicago. #Ferguson http://twitter.com/AntonioFrench/status/501748522996482048/photo/1

posted by sio42 at 8:24 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


I hear you, but when it comes down to it...if I were a parent in Ferguson, I'm not sure I'd want to let my kid out of my sight. Honestly, with the way that the police lines have been trapping people while ordering them to disperse, I'd probably be a bit paranoid that a school full of children would "incidentally" wind up behind some sort of strategic line in the sand.

The kids get "uppity" and conduct a student strike. That would basically be an even bigger clusterfuck. Normandy High School with 97.9% black student population? It would be a black Kent State.
posted by Talez at 8:24 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


desuetude & feckless, I definitely get that fear, but keeping kids home can be the parents' choice -- it doesn't need to be imposed

Schools are statutorily required to provide a given number of days. If they close, then those days can be made up, whereby if the parents keep the kids home, those days are lost.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:25 AM on August 19


Some bad weather is rolling in to the area -- thunderstorms potentially with hail.

There's also an "Excessive Heat Watch" for August 19-24 with heat indices expected to be around 105. This summer has been generally gentle, but low nighttime temperatures are now approaching what the highs were last week. That isn't going to be good for anyone's mood or health I expect.
posted by Foosnark at 8:25 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


It would be a black Kent State.

That already happened, in 1970.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:27 AM on August 19 [24 favorites]


I've got the problem that if I say something that does not adhere entirely to a given story, I get people who presume that I must be completely taking the other side. There are one or two points of the coverage of the Brown shooting that I question because I feel like it's incendiary reporting, and so naturally some friends freak out like I'm backing up the police there or something crazy. It's very frustrating. :(

*nod* I deal with a similar dynamic on FB with stories about Israel and Gaza. Family and a few friends are very aggressive about stomping on the slightest hint of potential dissent.
posted by zarq at 8:29 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Hands up, don't shoot.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:30 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


FWIW, Staten Island DA sending Eric Garner case to grand jury.

HEY FERGUSON PD....
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:32 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Regarding the Eric Garner case, "Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan announced Tuesday that an extra grand jury will be impaneled to hear evidence next month in the July 17 death of Eric Garner."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:32 AM on August 19


"What is the rationale for closing the schools? I can't see what's gained; perhaps I'm wrong, but it does not seem to be too dangerous to travel between home & school, and the risk of having Unarmed Teens collected in a lunch hall seems no worse -- better, even -- than having Unarmed Teens on the streets. At the same time, there's a lot that's lost: the burden of canceling classes will fall disproportionately on poor working folks who will have to take time off or pay for childcare, and it sacrifices a brilliant "teachable moment" to discuss current events in the context of Civil Rights history."

As a teacher: I can only imagine how hard it would be to conduct classes in the middle of all this. Yes, it's a teachable moment, and that should by all rights be seized upon. I'm the sort of teacher who prioritizes current events as matters for the classroom. Thing is, once you do that, you still have to move on to core curriculum stuff. You still have to put aside the madness endured by your city and your students and their families and teach math and grammar and cell structure. That is incredibly hard to do when your students are (justifiably!) worried about their family members being arrested while they're in school. You'd give the kids a place to talk about this and work out their feelings, but you could do that for only so long--and yet the kids would simply not have their minds on all the other things they'd need to do. Most "teachable moments" are just that: moments. Not ongoing crises with sirens stretching out over days and days.

Classroom management would be an issue. Kids would be upset. They'd be looking for an outlet for their anger. And the moment a teacher has to move from gentle corrections to something else, it could easily feel like a reflection of the oppression in the streets, and that's a feeling that could define the rest of the year in a classroom. Not at all the way I'd want to kick off my year.

And the little ones? K-3rd grade? Maybe even on up to 5th? I really can't imagine how they must be feeling right now. Maybe a lot of them could really use a teacher in addition to whatever family support they have. I don't know.

I don't pretend to know whether closing the schools is the right call or the wrong one, but barring some revelations of malfeasance, it's not something I'm going to condemn out of hand.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:33 AM on August 19 [20 favorites]


Here's an Amazon wishlist of supplies that the protestors on the ground in Ferguson are asking for.
posted by Phire at 8:33 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Now that I'm in my late 30's I fear the police as much as I ever did. I get a tingling in my spine whenever I see a cop car, or even when a table of cops is seated near me in a diner.

I have always been afraid of the cops, because I grew up in a small town where they were in fact more dangerous than the criminals we had. I have much the same reaction you do. This used to be positively hilarious to some of my friends.

The degree to which they find it humorously irrational has rapidly declined over the past couple of years.
posted by winna at 8:34 AM on August 19 [18 favorites]


if I say something that does not adhere entirely to a given story, I get people who presume that I must be completely taking the other side.

This. A result, to my way of thinking, of the ubiquitous, poisonous and relentless boiling down of every concept to an either/or dichotomy. It is all-pervasive. And it is destroying us.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:35 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


There's also an "Excessive Heat Watch" for August 19-24 with heat indices expected to be around 105.

That reminds me of a movie I saw one time...

Coconut Sid: It ain't safe in our own fucking neighborhood! Never was. Never will be.
Sweet Dick Willie: We ain't gonna stand for this shit no more, Sal. Ain't gonna stand for no fucking police, punk!
ML: It's as plain as day. They didn't have to kill the boy.
posted by desjardins at 8:35 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


You can totally work this into the core curriculum. Take this math word problem: If police fire three rubber bullets and throw five canisters of tear gas, how many peaceful protesters and journalists go to the hospital?

(Apologies for snark)
posted by C'est la D.C. at 8:37 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Regarding the school closings: It's mid-August. Don't they have summer vacations in MO?
posted by rocket88 at 8:37 AM on August 19


rocket88, a lot of Southern and Midwestern schools go back in the middle of the summer.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:38 AM on August 19


(concerning the voting registration efforts are disgusting comment) It's one level of insanity for the RNC to complain that the Dems are using this tragedy for political gain...

I think the thing that stands out is how blatantly Newspeaky, ignorance-is-strength the content of their complaint is... it's disgusting that more Americans might end up registered to vote. The formal affirmation of the franchise is a thing to loathe.

Some time in the last year I was flipping through the channels and hit Fox News to find a rebroadcast of a 1967 interview of Ronald Reagan by William F. Buckley, ass-kissingly commented upon in intermissions by Charles Krauthammer.

At one point Buckley and Reagan did this little bit about how absurd and contempt-worthy it was that as a consequence of political events everyone had more and more rights all the time, and I think it was Buckley who said something about what a terrible shame it was that he would die with more rights than he was born with.

what i can't even

If I have my timeline right this would have been around the point when Reagan pulled the "oops I was totally tricked into legalizing abortion in California" thing.
posted by XMLicious at 8:38 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


Regarding the school closings: It's mid-August. Don't they have summer vacations in MO?

August 14th was the first day of school for Ferguson-Florissant School District.
posted by Talez at 8:39 AM on August 19


Mayor Knowles on MSNBC says there is no racial divide. Tamron Hall asks him if he has been watching the news.
posted by mokeydraws at 8:39 AM on August 19 [32 favorites]


I've seen feeds from at least two news helicopters - FOX2 (local St Louis station) and CNN.

That's good to know. I wonder if they were filming from above 3000'? Or maybe they got permission from air traffic control to enter the TFR? It's probably at the local controller's discretion, although given the politics I'd be surprised if anyone stuck their neck out to help a news crew.

FWIW, here's a street map of Ferguson with the flight restriction overlaid on it. Derived from the FAA TFR, and while I could have screwed up the reprojection I think I got it right. It's 6 miles in diameter which covers quite a bit of ground. Only up to 3000', but I don't know if news cameras can operate at a longer distance than that. Eyeballing a comparison to this Reddit livefeed map, most of the activity is on W Florissant Ave. A mile east of that is clear of the TFR.
posted by Nelson at 8:40 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


> C'est la D.C, I think this is kind of what you're looking for.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:40 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


On an unrelated note he kind of reminds me of Jon Favreau.
posted by mokeydraws at 8:41 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Eyewitness testimony from Amnesty International observers.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:42 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


I'm seeing that August 12 was actually the first day of school last year (for the 2013–14 school year) in Ferguson-Florissant. I think we used to start at least a week or two later when I went there...but the weather was also a bit more predictable back then. This past winter, there were a lot of snow days, so I wonder whether that's part of why they start earlier now.
posted by limeonaire at 8:43 AM on August 19


Ferguson made the front pages of these international newspapers (I don't speak most of these languages so I'm going by pictures): Venezuela, UAE, Spain, Slovenia, Japan (in English), Italy, Germany, Denmark, Canada (French), Canada (English), Austria.

Interestingly, most of the photos seem to be of protesters and not police


This is what hurts me the most. There has been so much goodwill and international attention for one kid being shot by the police in Ferguson, Missouri. There is something very new about how this happened with social media and everything, and it seemed to me it maybe could be a turning point for organizing activist communities internationally against police brutality and the criminal mindset that infects so many police departments around the world, and other problems. It is beautiful to watch how the people of Ferguson support each other; praying together, barbecuing together, protesting together. What an amazing show of maturity and love.

But it will probably all get lost in the rioting and shooting and bomb throwing, much of it by white "anarchists." If these guys want to start anarchy, why can't they go back to their suburban white neighborhoods and firebomb their Whole Foods or something? What do they have against the people of Ferguson?

One thing that becomes more and more clear to me seeing this is how indispensable the black church must have been in forming the success of the civil rights movement - organizationally and morally.

Earlier in the night Ron Johnson looked to have done an amazing job at preventing a catastrophe when the Ferguson police where about to rain wooden bullets and tear gas down on a huge crowd of peaceful protesters for throwing water bottles. The way the community leaders, media, and highway patrol stepped in between the protesters and police-mob was amazing. They guy is in a tough spot, and I think he deserves a little more support. Apparently in the area where things went really badly this buffer between the police and violent agitators didn't exist.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:43 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Here's an Amazon wishlist of supplies that the protesters on the ground in Ferguson are asking for.

Thanks for that Phire!
posted by Foosnark at 8:44 AM on August 19


The way the police are selectively, anonymously leaking information to support "their side" of this is just sickening. They are public officials. They can and should speak in public in an official capacity, on the record, and give a full accounting of what is known without prejudice. But these propagandist anonymous phone calls and leaks are obscene and if they aren't illegal, should be.
posted by crayz at 8:44 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Officers on the daytime shift pleasant. Just watched Officer Christianson (Hwy Patrol) joking around with some local kids - all smiles
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:45 AM on August 19


It seems noteworthy to me that any daylight protests, which the police are urging, would have less people; some would certainly be at school, work, or other responsibilities.

Not to mention making the protesters keep moving means that a lot of older and physically challenged people can't participate. It's not a coincidence; they are trying to reduce the number of people they perceive might be more sympathetic to outsiders watching, especially when any of them become victims of police force.

And I know the "hands up" approach is self-imposed, but just try keeping your hands raised above your head for five minutes. Or three. Or one.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:46 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Children carrying signs that say "I am American" in #Ferguson. There are no words. #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter - Jasmine M Heiss
posted by crayz at 8:46 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


per discussion in chat, @chriskingstl has posted a link to this: Meet Greg “Joey” Johnson, An Opportunistic Communist Revolutionary Agitating in Ferguson (Video)

Antonio French is tweeting pictures of him, too.
posted by mediareport at 8:46 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


I feel like I need be sick *kof kof* so I can stay home and really pay attention to all of this without work getting in the way. Or at least so I can stay up late watching live streams just so there's one more witness.
posted by sio42 at 8:47 AM on August 19


I think the thing that stands out is how blatantly Newspeaky, ignorance-is-strength the content of their complaint is... it's disgusting that more Americans might end up registered to vote. The formal affirmation of the franchise is a thing to loathe.

The concern, expressed both in the article and in the comments, is that the Democrats are taking a tragedy and politicizing it. Many of us had the same exact complaint about Republicans after 9/11, which they used to fearmonger their way into a second Bush term. And two wars. And to lock up brown people and dissenters. Etc.

The GOP does not want minorities to vote, yes. This much is obvious. But there are precedents to their complaint. And under different circumstances, many of us, myself included, have raised similar objections.
posted by zarq at 8:47 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Again, the conservative media hate black people. The picture accompanying the headline "RIOTERS THROW MOLOTOV COCKTAILS AT POLICE IN FERGUSON -- AGAIN" is a picture of someone throwing a tear gas canister back at cops.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2014/08/17/Breaking-Molotov-Cocktails-Again-Being-Thrown-at-Police-in-Ferguson
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:48 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Earlier in the night Ron Johnson looked to have done an amazing job preventing catastrophe when the Ferguson police where about to rain wooden bullets and tear gas down on a huge crowd of peaceful protesters for throwing water bottles. The way the community leaders, media, and highway patrol stepped in between the protesters and police-mob was amazing. They guy is in a tough spot, and I think he deserves a little more support. Apparently in the area where things went really badly this buffer between the police and violent agitators didn't exist.

I am not ready to call Johnson an establishment tool yet. He is in an incredibly tough spot. There's not a doubt in my mind that the local & county police resent the living fuck out of his presence and will do everything they can to undermine him. I'm willing to bet he has very little actual power to correct them--he probably can't hand out suspensions or fire anyone--and he has to try to maintain some level of cohesion, even while being sabotaged.

And, yes, people have broken into a store here or thrown objects there. He's a cop. I'm not surprised he reacted to that. I'm not surprised he has made mistakes. I won't condone the gassing and the military tactics (which even the military doesn't even use). They're plainly a mistake. Johnson is starting to seem like another big mistake, and it's not a mistake of his doing; it's the mistake of whoever put him there without really giving him the authority and back-up that he needs.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:49 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]


Man, if I didn't have a big release today I would totally be calling in sick. I'm going to have to turn on all of my various internet blocking things to get any work done today.
posted by Phire at 8:49 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Don't dox.
posted by OmieWise at 8:49 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


????
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:50 AM on August 19


God forbid we don't fear-monger our way into more people voting.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:51 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Egypt urges U.S. to show restraint in "American Spring"
posted by Nevin at 8:51 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


per discussion in chat, @chriskingstl has posted a link to this: Meet Greg “Joey” Johnson, An Opportunistic Communist Revolutionary Agitating in Ferguson (Video)

Wow. Did anyone realize the aging communist stirring up riots in Ferguson is the same dude who took flag-burning to the Supreme Court? What an odd world
posted by crayz at 8:53 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Many of us had the same exact complaint about Republicans after 9/11, which they used to fearmonger their way into a second Bush term. And two wars.

When Dems politicize something, it leads to more voting.

When Repubs politicize somethng, it leads to more dying.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:53 AM on August 19 [37 favorites]


http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2014/08/17/Breaking-Molotov-Cocktails-Again-Being-Thrown-at-Police-in-Ferguson

I know we shouldn't ever read the comments, but holy shit they're really, really racist and horrible. Fucking hell.
posted by zarq at 8:53 AM on August 19


No shots fired by police, apparently, but about a metric shit tonne (Official Scientific Measurement) of tear gas. What are the odds that that was a deliberate strategic decision?

It's completely bizarre and there is just no strategy.

wouldn't that be "to pick up Darren Wilson, book him..."?

re: tienanmen (or maidan, the arab spring, 1776, etc.) to the extent that all revolutionary movements are against (some perceived) injustice, the level of violence so far has thankfully been minimal so far, esp against the scale of injustice, but what hasn't and i think is notable is the social media response for social justice (that's also a thing in china) that people (and gov't) are still getting used to in terms of the (meta-)messaging shaping the debate (and this itself being part of the meta-narrative of how the re-public views itself; i just keep seeing 'the happening world'...)

do you hear the people sing...
posted by kliuless at 8:55 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Think Tank Blames Intern For Tweet Telling Amnesty International To “Suck It"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:57 AM on August 19


Of course they do.
posted by rtha at 8:59 AM on August 19 [33 favorites]


God forbid we don't fear-monger our way into more people voting.

The Republicans scared the shit out of Americans with outright lies and false "terror alerts" for years after 9/11 to keep their asses in authority. You're damned right we shouldn't tolerate fearmongering to scare people into voting. It's an abuse of power.

That said, I don't think setting up a voter registration booth when the target audience can actually see, unfiltered, the police abusing their authority and attacking unarmed civilians can be considered fearmongering. At that point, it's a goddamned practicality.
posted by zarq at 9:00 AM on August 19 [25 favorites]


I like how seemingly one lone Breitbart reader comments:
You are racist. Calling black people an ape/savage? There is this thing in our country called justice. Everyone gets a fair trial. It doesn't matter how thugged out you look or if you just robbed a store. You get a fair trial. It is called America.
He got 10 likes compared to hundreds for the "big ape"/"plantation"/"savages" comments. I wonder if this is the moment that guy realizes the kind of company he's keeping.
posted by crayz at 9:00 AM on August 19 [40 favorites]


I've decided I'm tired of not seeing much on Facebook on this and I'm going to be the change I want to see on the web. I'm linking an image - which is free to share & use - so FB will automagic it into visibility and posting the following text:
People are being tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets in Ferguson MO because they want to stand up in their own neighborhoods and make their voices heard.

Whether you think Mike Brown's shooting was valid or not, whether there are violent cranks in those crowds or not, the majority of those people in that crowd are law-abiding citizens. They have a constitutional right to assemble. To use painful crowd control methods against people because they choose to stand in their own streets is UnAmerican and not okay.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3a/Occupy_Oakland_Nov_12_2011_PM_57.jpg

I encourage you to copy & paste this and share it as your own status if you agree.
I'm not bothering to talk about what I feel is the gross injustice for MB or a million other things, or mention the LRAD (which people may now know about and explaining it seems a diversion from basic issues) - sticking with what I know my friends across all the political spectrum believe in being right for themselves. I am narrowly resisting ranting about how nobody would bother my pasty white ass if I wanted to go out and harangue people in the public square.

Help yourself if you like.
posted by phearlez at 9:02 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


"What is the rationale for closing the schools? I can't see what's gained; perhaps I'm wrong, but it does not seem to be too dangerous to travel between home & school, and the risk of having Unarmed Teens collected in a lunch hall seems no worse -- better, even -- than having Unarmed Teens on the streets. "

What I'm hearing is:
1) Uncertain bus access, due to police road blocks and road closures;
2) Desire to increase building security for the children;
3) Concern about older students (high school students) whose emotions are running very high having fights at school about the issue (this is a thing that actually happens, not overblown);
4) Concern about high school students many of whom actually knew Michael Brown who are in grief and shock;
5) Lack of available resources like grief counselors to support regular school staff, because those community resources are currently taxed to the limit;
6) Parental concern about safety of their children and the number of parents who have informed school officials they want to keep their children home until things calm down (this is probably an overblown concern; they are almost certainly safe at school; but it's understandable why parents would feel this way, and they do have the right to keep children home);
7) The number of families who have evacuated the affected neighborhoods to stay in hotels or with family until things calm down, whose children won't be available for school until the families return;
8) Concern about excessive or intrusive media coverage of children at schools, especially the high school, where the large gathering of children who actually knew Michael Brown will be an irresistible target for journalists as they enter and leave schools, which may be both traumatic for the children and is likely to present an actual traffic safety hazard with large numbers of children, cars, and buses all in one place at one time already typically straining local transportation infrastructure when school starts and ends.

By cancelling days now and adding them to the end of the year, they provide predictability for families (instead of cancelling one day at a time, requiring scrambling every day for child care arrangements) and ensure all students can get to school on those days. The schools are using the extra days to review building security and to coordinate grief counseling services and provide staff with resources/training on grief, racism, etc., for their students.

I'm sure it also has to do with it being the beginning of the school year; if it were mid-year and students and teachers were already in a groove, it is easier to handle this sort of disruption, and I think they'd be less-likely to cancel ... but bus access is frequently the deciding factor since so many student require buses.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:03 AM on August 19 [25 favorites]


Facebook is also not displaying a lot of stuff in my news feed.

Well, if you look at the front page of MetaFilter, there is only one (just one!) post devoted to Ferguson. And there aren't any AskMe's devoted to Ferguson that I can tell...

In other words, people are thinking about it and discussing Ferguson. But, like on MeFi, life goes on.
posted by Nevin at 9:05 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


It feels like it shouldn't.
posted by sio42 at 9:07 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Well, if you look at the front page of MetaFilter, there is only one (just one!) post devoted to Ferguson.

This is a feature, not a bug.
posted by nathancaswell at 9:07 AM on August 19 [30 favorites]


But, like on MeFi, life goes on.

Well, this thread has crashed Metafilter several times, and there is a very noticeable lack of other threads.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:09 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Westringia F.: "desuetude & feckless, I definitely get that fear, but keeping kids home can be the parents' choice -- it doesn't need to be imposed."

Attendance records are used in all kinds of ways. "Success rate" of schools. "Effort" of student. "Parental concern" for child's education. Truancy.
posted by desuetude at 9:09 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Here's an Amazon wishlist of supplies that the protestors on the ground in Ferguson are asking for.
posted by Phire


Thanks so much for that link Phire! Really awesome. Lots and lots of ways to help in that blog post. More than just the Amazon wishlist, including helping Michael Brown's family also.

It's good to be able to feel like there's something you can do, no matter how small. Instead of just sitting paralyzed and numbed watching the same dispiriting clips over and over.
posted by marsha56 at 9:09 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Officers on the daytime shift pleasant. Just watched Officer Christianson (Hwy Patrol) joking around with some local kids - all smiles

Oh my God, this wrecked me. I...just lost it for a minute. There's no picture, and the name isn't spelled the same (might just be a misspelling?), but that could potentially be one of my oldest friends from Florissant, who's now a Missouri Highway Patrol officer. I haven't seen him since college. I'm simultaneously hoping it is him—because that sounds totally like him, and I trust him, and I trust that he'll do the right thing in our hometown if it's at all within his power, and I know he has a disarming sense of humor that we desperately need right now—and that it isn't him, because now my abstract worry about him being called in on this is concrete.
posted by limeonaire at 9:11 AM on August 19 [29 favorites]


Concern about older students (high school students) whose emotions are running very high having fights at school about the issue (this is a thing that actually happens, not overblown)

I was in 8th grade during the OJ verdict, and there were two guys in my orchestra class, cellists, who were best, best friends. One was black and one was white. The day after the verdict, the two of them got into a fist fight in front of the whole class. I don't doubt it actually happens.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:14 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


The white guy on the left is the one who was trying to incite a riot last night. He came here from Chicago.

That looks like a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. They're a Maoist group that was much larger back in the day (70s). Today they seem to specialize in obnoxiously showing up to protests and trying to lead them in the most "revolutionary" direction possible (whatever that means -- sometimes it's confrontational, other times not). For instance, after the Trayvon Martin shooting, they would call for an RCP-led protest at the same time in place where a community protest was already announced, in order to both attempt to show that they had large numbers at their actions and attempt to co-opt demonstrators.

I've heard a bunch of other talk about "anarchists" or "outside agitators" (CNN? Amnesty International? Nelly?) or "provocateurs" or whatnot, but I think these people are who most are referring to, and I'm going to keep thinking that until proven otherwise. Someone in chat last night said something like the most dangerous thing an anarchist would do is offering people dumpster dived vegan cronuts.

That being said, and as much as I find RCP's ideology and practice distasteful, I have real reservations about turning anyone in a protest movement over to the police. Antonio French is more than just tweeting pictures of RCP members; he's shoving them around at protests.

I'm sure there are people who want to loot or fight the cops or engage in other activity that Antonio French et al find unproductive. They don't need the RCP to do that -- in fact, they have been doing that already. I find narratives that counterpose a pure, nonviolent, black, local "community" or "people" to foreign, white, troublesome, violent "outsiders" very unconvincing (there are black RCP members, btw). In fact, this would seem to be a perfect line that police and their supporters would want to propagate, and it often is. It narrows down the number of "legitimate protesters" down to a minimum, and excludes more radical elements, or any outside help. (Mind you, I'm not arguing the RCP, in particular, is helping anyone.)

There's a lot of anger out on the streets, many people from within and without the "community" (whatever that is) who are trying to turn the protests in a direction they deem productive, some more agitational than others. Big political events are complicated. And all developments within the protest movement that one finds unfavorable can't be blamed on the RCP bogeyman.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:16 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


You're damned right we shouldn't tolerate fearmongering to scare people into voting. It's an abuse of power.

True fear is a gift. You're darn right fear of police brutality and voter disenfranchisement should not only be tolerated but celebrated.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:16 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


The concern, expressed both in the article and in the comments, is that the Democrats are taking a tragedy and politicizing it.

Yeah, they're undoubtedly accruing political benefit from those sorts of actions, but they're doing so by encouraging people to increase their participation in their representative government to redress their grievances in a peaceful manner through the institutions and rule of law we all commonly benefit from - something that should be a fairly neutral act like state and municipal support of primary election operations is, since those registering to vote can use that vote any way they want. It's only because the 21st-century Republican party would never intentionally redress the grievances involved here that the benefit of greater voter registration will devolve on only one party.

It's like, yes evangelism is a motivation of and component in Christian missionary work, but if Richard Dawkins or someone of his ilk were to call no-strings-attached digging of wells or feeding of orphans or washing the feet of lepers by missionaries "disgusting" and portray it as a terrible unjust tragedy that the world would be far better off without, even though I'm an atheist myself I'd regard that as unmitigated bullshit.

On preview, you express a similar notion I think about the voter registration booths.
posted by XMLicious at 9:17 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Thanks scaryblackdeath, Eyebrows McGee, desuetude, & others for answering my question about the rationale for closing the schools! I'm still saddened by it, but less cynical about the reasoning.

(I was going to type "it makes sense to me now," but no: none of this makes ANY sense.)
posted by Westringia F. at 9:19 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Hell, I feel like getting in a fist fight over some of this, and I'm 44, and I'm only coming across the horribleness of this via metafilter, John Oliver, and NPR. If I was in high school, forget about it, I'd be on hair trigger.
posted by angrycat at 9:20 AM on August 19 [18 favorites]


Well, this thread has crashed Metafilter several times, and there is a very noticeable lack of other threads.

Maybe this was said elsewhere and I missed it, but I'm curious, do we know how many people were trying to access the thread at once when it collapsed?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 9:20 AM on August 19


There was a list of questions in the last thread and I think copied to this one. I noted when I read them that something about many of them bothered me and I think I can express it.

It's wrong to focus on Darren Wilson. His past behavior as an officer while not exactly irrelevant is less relevant than the structure around him. To look so hard for evidence that he was a bad cop is to ignore that the system tolerates (even rewards) bad decision making while ignorin subtle (and less so) prejudices. Darren Wilson could be Boy Scout, so to speak, whose never been in trouble. That doesn't mean he couldn't let societally normally prejudice about the "dangers of black men" cause him to over-react. It's less a problem to me that one cop screws up. It's a greater problem that the system is setup to let them off and pretend like there's nothing we can do.

I see this as parallel to the "good kid" meme about Mike Brown. It doesn't matter that he was or wasn't a good kid. His actions (for good or ill) were likely irrelevant to his death. That cop could still have overreacted if he were Jesus himself. Digging into the cop's past to see what else he's done wrong tells us nothing about this incident so much as what it tells us about the system and how much it encourages treating black people as lessor.
posted by R343L at 9:23 AM on August 19 [27 favorites]


Of course I realize I didn't make the final point: to care too much about the cop's past behavior is to let the authorities and our society off the hook. If he's a bad cop we can't just wash our hands of it, just as if Brown really had been a criminal it wouldn't be okay for him to be shot in the street like that.
posted by R343L at 9:25 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


It's wrong to focus on Darren Wilson.

In what sense though? These protests are going to happen every night until he's arrested, I think.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:26 AM on August 19


That looks like a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. They're a Maoist group that was much larger back in the day (70s). Today they seem to specialize in obnoxiously showing up to protests and trying to lead them in the most "revolutionary" direction possible (whatever that means -- sometimes it's confrontational, other times not)

Oh god, the RCP is there? Fuuuuuuuuck.

I have personal experience with this group - they had a nasty habit of showing up to peaceful anti war veteran protests and telling everyone who could hear that the veterans were going to be the vanguard of the revolution shooting the enemies of the state and/or telling veterans that the cops were coming to kill us. I was so glad that the shield of our veteran perception was stronger than the antagonizing the RCP were trying to do. I am really sadly unsurprised that they are showing up in Ferguson like the vultures they are.
posted by corb at 9:27 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


It's wrong to focus on Darren Wilson.

Yeah, no. We absolutely should focus on the cop who murdered an unarmed kid.

We should also focus on the rampant institutional racism that enabled it to happen.

These are not mutually exclusive, and what you are saying comes perilously close to excusing Darren Wilson for murdering an unarmed 18 year old.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:28 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


the gist of what he said is that the powers that be in Ferguson should just sacrifice Wilson and charge, arraign, and bond him out just to keep the peace.

That would start a horrible precedent and would not solve any of the underlying causes of the problems with police corruption and police/community relations.


My instinct is to snark, as others have done, yes, wouldn't it be awful to set the precedent that when a cop shoots someone in less than clear circumstances that they get treated marginally like everyone else does. But one of my friends, who has defended capital cases, commented on Facebook about this far better than I could and she has said it's fine for me to share those bits here.

She was responding in a thread where she's posted a New Republic article about Bob McCulloch's discretion in charging the officer and getting justice for Mike Brown. Someone else suggested it was too soon for the facts and she responded:
It'd be nice if every person charged with murder had the benefit of thorough investigation by the police and the prosecutor before being charged. But our adversarial system doesn't give that benefit to citizens, even those who vehemently claim self-defense in their voluntary statements to the police. I know, I've represented those battered women who killed and were immediately charged, jailed, held, had to make bond, lost their jobs, only for the machinery to spit out a not guilty. If the system is a good one, it should work the same way for everyone.
Another defense attorney chimed in, agreeing, "With my client armed, the deceased not, and eyewitnesses, I don't recall prosecutors ever mulling for weeks over whether to charge my guys."

The apologia brigade was undeterred, with another person saying "How about if we allow the process to play out and find the facts" so my friend added:
Unless police officers have a specific statutory privilege that entitles them to more investigation when their conduct (actus reus) demonstrates a provable murder case (with all the inferences which the govt. enjoys from the use of a deadly weapon in that prosecution), then the process is not playing out in a regular manner. Self-defense is an affirmative defense that must be raised by the defendant. The officer here is being treated differently from any other person who shot and killed someone. Put more bluntly, if you shot someone 6'2", 290 lbs., Linda you'd be charged with murder. (In which case, you should call me.) And I would raise your self-defense claim and the jury would assess these facts. You would not be given the benefit of the doubt in the charging and the investigation in my experience. The machinery of the executive would begin to work almost immediately to gather facts and evidence to prove your guilt. And we have an adversarial system, and that's a part of it. This officer is being treated like he's in the France, with an inquisitorial system. Both have strengths and weaknesses. If many of my clients had enjoyed the depth of objective, even suspect-oriented investigation that this officer is getting, I would have never been appointed, fewer tax dollars would have been spent, juries wouldn't have been in service for days, etc.
It's very clear where my sympathies lie, but as far as I'm concerned I'm all for charging cops (and anyone) in a case that looks that cloudy. The idea that it's going to stop them from acting in their own self preservation is idiocy, and knowledge that a less than obviously clear circumstance will result in a charge seems to me to be a GREAT way to cut down on insanely troublesome actions. When I was a youngish man in Miami there was a notorious death where an officer walked into the path of a speeding motorcycle (over a traffic infraction) and shot... and leaned on the fact that he feared for his life.

If cops start thinking about their chain of actions as ones that can get them cuffed I don't see that as anything but a good thing.
posted by phearlez at 9:28 AM on August 19 [86 favorites]


npr is saying that protestors picked up smoke bombs that were thrown at them and threw them back at police. and then the police are describing being under assault.

If the protestors start bleeding on police uniforms then they're going to be in real trouble.
posted by homunculus at 9:32 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


alleging that there have been drones out every night - has that been substantiated by anyone else? You'd think that would be all over the media.
You'd think that would be the media. "We can't get any more helicopter shots due to the flight restrictions, but lookee here at the exclusive quadcopter footage an anonymous source just sent us. We need to reiterate that we do not support violations of FAA rules, and that these unknown persons with suspiciously expensive high quality aerial photography gear should keep it all grounded."

Too implausible still? Give it time; the expensive gear keeps getting less expensive. I wonder what the police reaction will be when any big event on the streets is surrounded by drones watching the "fireworks" without regard to legality.
posted by roystgnr at 9:32 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


That looks like a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. They're a Maoist group that was much larger back in the day (70s). Today they seem to specialize in obnoxiously showing up to protests and trying to lead them in the most "revolutionary" direction possible (whatever that means -- sometimes it's confrontational, other times not)

See, I was attributing the stories of "outside agitators" to Black Bloc groups, who also seem to show up at protests and - well, as far as I can tell, the logic behind things is somewhat similar to the RCP, but they don't talk about it so much as they just get around to starting shit.

(Admitting I have a bit of a bias; I think I mentioned getting caught up in the chaos from a Black block group action during one of the marches during the 2004 Republican Convention, and I've had a wee grudge ever since.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:33 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


My biggest doubt about it being anarchist kids is they're usually so loud about doing dumb things - they certainly wouldn't shy away from being on camera. Punching fellow protestors sounds out of character too.
posted by Artw at 9:36 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


These are not mutually exclusive, and what you are saying comes perilously close to excusing Darren Wilson for murdering an unarmed 18 year old.

When I think of this, I think a lot about a friend of mine from the Army. We'll call him Joe, though that is not nor has ever been his name. Joe was a really good guy - sweet and thoughtful and compassionate. Then Joe got deployed to a unit where the commander and the rest of the command staff really, really hated Iraqi insurgents and made it patently clear. They spent every day talking about how terrible they were, all the terrible things they would do, dwelling on the women and children who suffered under the insurgents. It culminated in the commander offering a four-day pass and an 'Attaboy' to anyone who killed an insurgent with a knife.

My friend Joe stabbed an insurgent to death with a knife for a four day pass and the approbation of his comrades. It was not until I talked to him about it, later, that he even knew it was wrong. How could it be wrong, if his commander, who taught him all the rules and what to do, said it was right? How could it be wrong if all his brothers-in-arms with more experience said it was right and that he acted rightly?

I think of that, of Joe, when I think of Darren Wilson. I wonder what the command climate of the police station in Ferguson was, a police station that we've already heard racist language coming out of, that we've already heard an us-vs-them mentality from. I don't think it excuses Wilson, but I wonder what he had been told, about how to react to someone who strikes or struggles with a police officer. I wonder what he thought was the correct thing to do, from the police department and fellow officers he worked with. And I wonder, if that is the case, if it can be considered the right thing to do to charge Wilson and leave his command untouched.

In the military, we have a concept called command responsibility. You are responsible for the climate you allow under your command, and you are responsible for the orders you give. If you gave unclear or illegal orders, and someone else physically committed them, you are equally as responsible as if you had done them yourself. Yours was the order, yours was the command, yours was the culpability.

I don't know if we have anything like that in the civilian world, or in the police structure. But by god, I really think that we should. The idea of this police department being able to escape by ultimately throwing Wilson out as a bone and going on blithely really bothers me.
posted by corb at 9:38 AM on August 19 [77 favorites]


These are not mutually exclusive, and what you are saying comes perilously close to excusing Darren Wilson for murdering an unarmed 18 year old.

As I read it R343L was saying no such thing, but rather making an excellent point about scapegoating behavior on both sides. Obviously the militarized power structure is horrific here, Darren Wilson is just the face of it at the moment. There will be other faces, equally loathsome, and nothing will change if we focus rage on them individually in succession.
posted by Bistle at 9:38 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I don't even know anymore.

"I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me."
posted by lizarrd at 9:39 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


I put together that initial list, and I know what you mean, R343L. By way of background, I was mostly just making a list of the things that I thought a lot of people wanted to see that I worried might get forgotten or lost in the shuffle—in situations like this, it has in the past felt like we discuss a lot of things here on MetaFilter that never get brought up in subsequent media coverage or prosecution, or that we ourselves move on from in discussion and never get back to. So I wanted the list there as both a starting point for further discussion and as a waypost, too, so that when we look back at this point later, we'll remember how opaque things have been. People are protesting not just for justice, but because transparency has been sorely lacking, so releasing more of this info that people have been calling for from the beginning (and that multiple organizations are now suing for) might also help in that regard.

And as I also realized after I threw it out there, a lot of those pieces of information would've been more useful than the video that the Ferguson police did release. So for me, it turned into sort of a "Hey, while CNN is endlessly showing the same three seconds of video, don't forget about these things" kind of effort.

But of course there's no guarantee that any of it will help or that all of it's relevant. You're right—it doesn't necessarily matter if Wilson had a previous record, and there is a parallel there to the "good kid" argument. But would I like to know? Of course! And is there a chance that, due to bureaucratic shuffling over the years in three different police departments (Jennings, Ferguson, and the St. Louis County), any info in that did exist in that regard might have been lost or be in the process of being "lost"? Yep. So that's why I included that in the list.
posted by limeonaire at 9:40 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


That looks like a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. They're a Maoist group that was much larger back in the day (70s). Today they seem to specialize in obnoxiously showing up to protests and trying to lead them in the most "revolutionary" direction possible (whatever that means -- sometimes it's confrontational, other times not)

I wonder if that's who I saw leading a protest in downtown Oakland last night. It was a small group, and several of them had "Revolution" t-shirts on.
posted by suelac at 9:41 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Holy balls. From lizzard's link: Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

How difficult is it for you to leave people the fuck alone? (Sorry.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:42 AM on August 19 [18 favorites]


There's no picture, and the name isn't spelled the same (might just be a misspelling?),

Incredibly common to misspell Scandinavian names, because there are so many identically pronounced variants.
posted by eriko at 9:43 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


The road to actually charging police when they murder black men starts with a single policeman.
posted by Artw at 9:43 AM on August 19 [17 favorites]


I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me."

LAPD officer. See the discussion about command responsibility above.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:44 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


What's the plausible endgame here? Given other similar events, how is this likely to end? How do we step back from whatever abyss we're staring into? (Short term, as in Ferguson and police and protests; not as in How to stop systemic class and race problems in the US.)
posted by troyer at 9:45 AM on August 19


In the military, we have a concept called command responsibility. You are responsible for the climate you allow under your command, and you are responsible for the orders you give. If you gave unclear or illegal orders, and someone else physically committed them, you are equally as responsible as if you had done them yourself.

Corb, what happened to your friend's commander—the one who offered a 4-day pass to anyone who stabbed an enemy combatant to death—was he/she ever punished by the Army?
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:45 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

The latter part of that sentence sounds like a litany of things the officer is tired of hearing, rather than any sort of justification for the actions he suggests in the former part of the sentence. But unfortunately, he seems to think otherwise.
posted by limeonaire at 9:45 AM on August 19 [20 favorites]


The Court of Military Appeals held that "the justification for acts done pursuant to orders does not exist if the order was of such a nature that a man of ordinary sense and understanding would know it to be illegal."

I'm all for assigning culpability to the higher-ups who create a culture that creates this shit. But regardless of his command culture, charging him for ending someone's life unnecessarily because he used inappropriate force would never be throwing Wilson out as a bone.

And seriously corb, if you don't recognize how insulting and incendiary that phrasing is then you really need to take a moment and think about how you communicate your thoughts.
posted by phearlez at 9:47 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?

He does go on to say:
I also believe every cop should use a body camera to record interactions with the community at all times. Every police car should have a video recorder.

...

And you don’t have to submit to an illegal stop or search. You can refuse consent to search your car or home if there’s no warrant (though a pat-down is still allowed if there is cause for suspicion). Always ask the officer whether you are under detention or are free to leave. Unless the officer has a legal basis to stop and search you, he or she must let you go.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:48 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


WRT Facebook and visibility: what you post and what you comment on affects what you see. I'm posting a lot about Ferguson, and I'm seeing a lot about Ferguson.

But what I think is also affecting my own FB feed is the fact that I'm FB friends with the pastors at my church. My church is extremely progressive, noteworthily so even within its extremely progressive denomination (UCC), and the congregation is almost exclusively white -- but one of our pastors is a black woman who is a single mother to a 5 year old son, who is also black. She has been extremely forthright about this issue, and has been speaking directly to her congregants as well as to white people in general, encouraging us to talk to one another, to talk about this to our liberal white friends, to talk about this with our children. "I had to start teaching my son about racism when he was three, for his own safety," she said. "White people, teach your children, too. Don't make my son bear this burden alone." I think her very vocal leadership on the issue is provoking a lot of the church membership, many of whom I'm also FB friends with, to post more, to discuss more.
posted by KathrynT at 9:49 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


My friend Joe stabbed an insurgent to death with a knife for a four day pass and the approbation of his comrades. It was not until I talked to him about it, later, that he even knew it was wrong.

There is literally nothing in either one of these sentences that is believable.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:49 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


But regardless of his command culture, charging him for ending someone's life unnecessarily because he used inappropriate force would never be throwing Wilson out as a bone.

My apologies for being unclear: what I was trying to say is that this police department, if it offered Wilson up and stopped defending him, would probably be acting on that, not that charging him would necessarily be so. I cannot possibly imagine a circumstance in which this police department would do so purely on principle alone, and have seen literally nothing from this police department to suggest that it is not the hell-enclave I imagine.
posted by corb at 9:51 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I wonder if that's who I saw leading a protest in downtown Oakland last night. It was a small group, and several of them had "Revolution" t-shirts on.

Yeah, probably. They have a recognizable aesthetic, with the (I feel dirty for linking to this right-wing website, but whatever) black tshirts with red and yellow lettering. Also they're usually handing out their Revolution newspaper.

If you're in Oakland, they also have a bookstore in the East Bay that you can visit! (They have these bookstores all over the country.)

But AFAICT the RCP isn't particularly strong in Oakland. And lord knows there's plenty of other people in Oakland that would be protesting this stuff...
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:51 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


The concern, expressed both in the article and in the comments, is that the Democrats are taking a tragedy and politicizing it. Many of us had the same exact complaint about Republicans after 9/11, which they used to fearmonger their way into a second Bush term. And two wars. And to lock up brown people and dissenters. Etc.

Who are the Democrats politicizing this tragedy? So many of them haven't even bothered to discuss this that it's creepy. Those that have are taking the exact same direct action (demilitarizing the police, investigations into police procedures, etc) that many on both sides seem to want.

The GOP does not want minorities to vote, yes. This much is obvious. But there are precedents to their complaint. And under different circumstances, many of us, myself included, have raised similar objections.

This is some horrifyingly wrong "both sides do it" BS that I frankly didn't expect to see here. More people are hit by lightning or claim they've had alien encounters than there are verifiable instances of voter fraud. There is copious evidence that nearly every single voter suppression law is intended to be discriminatory, usually across racial lines, and shockingly often that intent is stated outright. I have no idea what "different circumstances" you have raised similar objections over, but I sincerely hope that, at worst, you greatly misunderstand the actual circumstances and objections of the wave of voter suppression laws.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:52 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


That WaPo editorial is disgusting. Disgusting.
posted by sallybrown at 9:53 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


I don't know how to reconcile "if you don't want to get shot [...] just do what I tell you" with "you can refuse consent to search" and "always ask the officer whether you [...] are free to leave".

Nah, I'm just playing, I know exactly how to reconcile it. He's lying about the last two things.
posted by penduluum at 9:53 AM on August 19 [37 favorites]


is there a precedent in this country for this much control/abuse of the media?

Short form - yes.

Longer form:
Books like The mighty Wurlitzer, findings in the Church Commission, Cass Sunstine and the electronic media infiltration comments, The Guardian newspaper sidewalk fixing after Snowden, et al.

Where does one wish to draw the line?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:54 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


So...this cop. He shot this kid because....jay-walking? Do I have this right?
posted by Hoopo at 9:55 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


That WaPo editorial is disgusting. Disgusting.

It is literally the most offensive thing I have read about policing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:56 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


I'm having trouble donating to the ACLU... says (both) my credit cards have been declined. Neither is a Visa, which is sometimes the issue, but ACLU doesn't specify what card types they take. Anyways, someone should try to donate and tell me if they're successful ;)
posted by Strass at 9:57 AM on August 19


I post a lot of political stuff on Facebook; at this point I assume people either ignore me or block me or just wait for me to post something about kittens to comment. Since I still get comments on kitten posts or I-got-a-haircut posts, I know people are out there. I don't know what they think. I guess I'm grateful they aren't coming over and being racist on my posts, but it is hard to parse what they are actually thinking.

Still, I feel like I have to post. If only to let myself know, I am not shutting up. I am not turning away.
posted by emjaybee at 9:59 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


> Anyways, someone should try to donate and tell me if they're successful

I set up a monthly donation with the ACLU in response to this a few days ago, and it went through just fine.
posted by gilrain at 10:01 AM on August 19


I was unclear. I don't mean Darren Wilson shouldn't face trial etc. of course he should. I meant that it's will be all too easy for our society to decide that once he's punished, everything is fine. After all, he was clearly a bad cop - the system works! For what it's worth, it's pretty clear the protestor largely understand this: the words I've heard are most angry that a cop yet again killed someone unjustly and the authorities tried to ignore it. So when I said it was wrong to focus too much on Wilson I meant it was wrong for the talking heads and the public discussion away from the town to care too much abut Wilson's past because that tends to lead to pretending it is an isolated incident, just one bad cop.
posted by R343L at 10:06 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Too implausible still? Give it time; the expensive gear keeps getting less expensive. I wonder what the police reaction will be when any big event on the streets is surrounded by drones watching the "fireworks" without regard to legality.

There are already hobbyist drones (small FPV airplanes) that could be launched from a couple of miles away and loiter over the protest area shooting video for 30 minutes without too much issue at all. The cost of putting one together is around $1000 right now, it will probably be cheaper next year though. Right now there is not an "out-of-the-box" solution, you'd need someone with the expertise in putting all the parts together.

I do need to make abundantly clear that I would NOT consider using an FPV model aircraft to shoot video of protests in Ferguson to be "hobbyist activity". Social activism or guerrilla journalism perhaps, but not a "hobby" activity.
posted by smoothvirus at 10:08 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Related to that, the MO RNC thinks setting up voter registration booths in Ferguson is "disgusting" and "inappropriate."

A far more profitable way of looking at the situation would be to say that this current civil unrest is a direct and very predictable result of the Republican Party's long-term strategy to disenfranchise black and other minority voters.

Just two specific relevant examples that bear directly on Ferguson: #1. Missouri recently passed statewide voter id requirements. #2. Ferguson, like many Missouri communities, has off-cycle municipal voting and a system of half in-district, half at-large city council members that virtually guarantees that minority populations will be underrepresented.

The political geniuses who set these type of systems up obviously think highly of them, but the inevitable result is that problems in our communities cannot be worked out through the political system (painful though that is, at times) but rather smolder underground until they erupt in protests like we are seeing in Ferguson, or worse.

By far the most productive way to deal with these issues will be to get these previously underrepresented communities involved and active in the political process--by, for example, registering unregistered people to vote, by working hard to actually get out the vote in the communities in (for example) municipal elections, and by working to cultivate political organization, leadership, and viable candidates from the previously neglected communities.

If what is happening now in Ferguson results in an organized and politically active black community in Ferguson, you could easily see them taking half or more of the available City Council seats in Ferguson next April.

That would change the balance of power in the city dramatically, and lead to some real thoroughgoing change in, for example, the police force and its policies.

If we can't (or won't even try) to solve the problem that way, I fear greatly for the what the next inevitable step will be.
posted by flug at 10:08 AM on August 19 [23 favorites]


FWIW, here's a street map of Ferguson with the flight restriction overlaid on it.

Looking at the new TFR. It's wider (3nm from the center,) unlike the first one, the requesting authority is the Officer of the Governor of Missouri, and answering a question I had about "how is this not fucking with Lambert?", arriving and departing traffic for STL are explicitly exempted from the TFR, so for them, it doesn't exist.

Also, the area is in the Class B airspace for STL, so operations are already restricted. This is in the lowest part of the Class B airspace, which is generally 6nm from the CSX, the VOR-DME navigational beacon located at the airport. Everything between 8000' and the surface has to be in contact with STL ATC and given clearance to enter.

Diagram here I hope. The class B is the nested roughly circular areas around STL. The altitudes for each section are written as HI/LO, so 80/30 means between 8000 and 3000 is the class B in that section.* Be carful if you zoom out, because it'll switch from the VFR chart to the WAC chart, which has less detail. In particular, you'll only see the outermost line of the Class B.

Note that Ferguson is in the 80/SFC section, which means below 8000 all the way to the ground.
posted by eriko at 10:08 AM on August 19


It is literally the most offensive thing I have read about policing.

It's offensive, but I also think it's illuminating. The officer says:

"Working the street, I can’t even count how many times I withstood curses, screaming tantrums, aggressive and menacing encroachments on my safety zone, and outright challenges to my authority."

In which we learn that the worst thing he can imagine is challenges to his authority.

"if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you."

In which we learn that he thinks it is completely acceptable to shoot someone for not doing as they're told.

"Unless the officer has a legal basis to stop and search you, he or she must let you go. Finally, cops are legally prohibited from using excessive force: The moment a suspect submits and stops resisting, the officers must cease use of force."

In which we learn that he's a credulous idiot or pretending to be one.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:08 AM on August 19 [92 favorites]


Y'know, every interview I see with an actual Ferguson resident indicates that there are a number of violent protesters attacking the police and that those people are not locals. Several residents have said that on air, especially at the beginning of the week. They've come to join the riots. If I were a Ferguson community leader I'd make it mission one to corral those people, if you can, I know people like that and they're fanatics too.

Going to Ferguson to peacefully protest in solidarity with the locals is great. But even on this thread there are people who want to go help fight the pigs. It doesnt help and personally I think hiding behind peaceful protesters while you throw rocks at the police is despicable. The people of Ferguson have a voice but it's being pretty thoroughly lost in the shouts of others from what I can see.

I also think this is why Johnson can't get a handle on anything.
posted by fshgrl at 10:08 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Officer Darren Wilson’s Online Support Group Is As Classy As You’d Expect
They wish this situation wasn't racialized. "Al and Jesse would never come out from cowardly hiding if it were a black cop and white offender," says one organizer, very un-racist-ly.
...
posted by tonycpsu at 10:09 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I don't even know anymore.

"I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me."


On some level, he's right. If you're the kind of person that only has infrequent, rather perfunctory, interactions with cops, it's not worth getting tased over a speed trap. Just be polite, follow directions, pay the stupid ticket and get on with your life.

But there are huge swaths of the population that are essentially under the thumbs of an oppressive and abusive police force, and giving them the same advice is tantamount to telling them to abandon their desire to live as a human being in a free society. If you live in a jurisdiction where the cops feel comfortable yelling at you: "Get the fuck on the sidewalk!", you're not in a place were police officers have earned any respect or deference, IMO.
posted by empath at 10:09 AM on August 19 [35 favorites]


it's not worth getting tased over a speed trap. Just be polite, follow directions, pay the stupid ticket and get on with your life.

What if I did nothing wrong, and they claim that I did because of the color of my skin?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:11 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


emjaybee: I post a lot of political stuff on Facebook; at this point I assume people either ignore me or block me or just wait for me to post something about kittens to comment. Since I still get comments on kitten posts or I-got-a-haircut posts, I know people are out there.

I can't tell for sure if you're being knowingly ironic here, but in case not: you get that Facebook is likely not showing any of them your political posts, right? That they're literally not seeing them?
posted by nobody at 10:11 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent; if a cop can do his or her job unmolested, that system can run its course. Later, you can ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated.

Pull the other leg, that one's long enough already.
posted by phearlez at 10:12 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Maybe that's what we could be doing if we're feeling helpless about this situation - writing to WaPo and expressing our disgust about that oped in the form of a letter to the editor.

Let that officer see the overwhelming majority is against him.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:13 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


There's nothing I can say that hasn't already been said by wiser, more collected, more intelligent voices upthread, and nothing I can do except throw more money at the ACLU and the folks who are out there fighting the good fight -- but that WaPo link? Holy shit.

I'm a nominally Buddhist, peace-and-love-oriented, perpetually hopeful, painfully earnest hippie-type person, but oh my god in heaven, I hate police. I hate them with such a passion that stories like this make me turn off the outside world altogether. I've hated them this much since I was a very small child, and only partially because my dad is a dark-skinned dude with multiple felony convictions. I have never, not once, found myself in a situation where a visible police presence has helped more than it has harmed.

I'm 5'3" and ~110# and I've been handcuffed at a routine traffic stop because I didn't know my rights. They pulled me out of the car and put me face down on the ground when I asked why they were pulling me over... a burned-out tail light, as it turned out. But apparently I was just too uppity with my questioning! Because one of the officers laughed and said, "Stop struggling" -- laughed because I wasn't struggling at all -- before putting his boot on my neck, presumably as a display for the trainee who was along for the ride. I hate police. They are desperate, craven, positively slavering for the citizenry to react with anything except cowed and unequivocal acquiescence. They are looking for absolutely any excuse -- any word, any look, any gesture, any question, anything they can spiff up and prop up as a justification to, very literally, take you down. I expect absolutely nothing from any LEO on the planet except unambiguous escalation, violence, and inter-officer collusion/cover-up.

But that WaPo link made me realize I had no idea what hating police felt like before now.

Holy shit.
posted by divined by radio at 10:13 AM on August 19 [121 favorites]


Let that officer see the overwhelming majority is against him.

Sadly, I think the overwhelming majority are in favor of cops beating black people.
posted by empath at 10:14 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


I made the mistake of posting the WaPo article to Facebook, and now I have the cop defenders coming out of the woodwork.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:14 AM on August 19


The whole "look, we found a Molotov cocktail" thing strikes me as similar to the "he was a suspect in a robbery" thing. Oh, hey, look, he was a suspect in a robbery. What's that you ask? Did the cop who shot him have any idea that he was a suspect in a robbery? Well, ha, funny thing, no, he had no idea. What? You want to know what it has to do with anything then? Well, it's funny you should ask, and it all makes total sense, because - oh, hey, look, a Molotov cocktail. What's that you ask? Haven't we been gassing people for days before finding this Molotov cocktail that we're using as justification for gassing people? Well, about that, the thing is - hey! Look! A bunny rabbit! Isn't it a cute bunny rabbit?
posted by Flunkie at 10:15 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Regarding school closings: Here are two uplifting photos from local teachers: "School Closed? Bring Your Students Here", and "Teachers, Here to Teach".

Seems like the "thin blue educational line" has its soldiers on the front line, holding it down. School or no school, the children of Ferguson are learning a ton this past week. I weep for what they've learned. But something about the three women in the above pictures gives me some hope.

I'm heading up to Ferguson right now, actually. And if I see them I'll gladly learn from them or their students anything they'd like to teach me.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:15 AM on August 19 [16 favorites]


Is there any reliable information anywhere regarding the amount of violence the authorities are having to deal with? The media has molotov cocktails and gunshots sourced from protesters almost every where I look and I am having a hard time believing one word of it. Assaulting a police officer is suicidal. Why do we have all this media bullshit about suicidal protesters?

If I was a suicidal protester I think I would use a bomb.
posted by bukvich at 10:15 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


nobody, some of them are seeing the (I get occasional likes) but I don't know who. And yes, FB has their fucky algorithms that mean I never know when I am shouting into the void.

How do we step back from whatever abyss we're staring into?

We are already in the abyss. The question is whether we will leave it.
posted by emjaybee at 10:16 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


But there are huge swaths of the population that are essentially under the thumbs of an oppressive and abusive police force, and giving them the same advice is tantamount to telling them to abandon their desire to live as a human being in a free society.

Earlier on after Mike Brown's murder I heard on interview on NPR with an African-American father of a pre-teen boy (from Ferguson I believe) talking about how he had had run-ins with the police when he was younger. That didn't seem to scare him so much, but now it had hit him like a brick that his son will inevitably have to interact with police officers, and it scarred him to death. He talked about how he was hammering home to his son all the things he had learned about how to be polite to police officers and avoid being hurt by them. He was so scarred that his son could be beaten or worse by police as he transitioned into adulthood. The guy just wanted his son to do good in school and get into college just like practically every other father. The fact that he has to be legitimately concerned about his son being beaten or falsely arrested is chilling.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:17 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


Sadly, I think the overwhelming majority are in favor of cops beating black people.

Well, let's see about that.

I'm going to be writing the WaPo editor when I get home about that very Op Ed. Anyone else?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:17 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Tear Gas Is A Banned Chemical Weapon, But US Lobbying Made It Okay For Domestic Use... And, Boy, Do We Use It
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:17 AM on August 19 [15 favorites]


It's wrong to focus on Darren Wilson.

Say rather: it is not enough to focus on Darren Wilson. There are at least three things that have to be done:

- Justice for Mike Brown.
- Address issues of racial tension and imbalance of power both locally and nationally.
- Address the issues of overequipping and undertraining/mistraining of police officers.

Approximately in that order.
posted by Foosnark at 10:18 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


Folks on Tumblr/Twitter are pointing out that you can't even get glass 40s in Missouri. Don't know if that's true, but kinda damning if it is.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:22 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Or it's from out-of-town black bloc/RCPers, ruining shit as ever. Honestly, this sort of...how do you say it, like riot protest tourism? has been getting really bad in recent years, and I think it's even more gross when people who generally live in privileged areas are bringing it to Ferguson. The Ferguson residents have to live with the shitty stuff the black bloc'ers are creating and will not be able to leave when the riot cycle is done.
posted by corb at 10:24 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Folks on Tumblr/Twitter are pointing out that you can't even get glass 40s in Missouri. Don't know if that's true, but kinda damning if it is.

Looks like they may be banned in St Louis
posted by crayz at 10:26 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


From the WaPo op-ed: Working the street, I can’t even count how many times I withstood curses, screaming tantrums, aggressive and menacing encroachments on my safety zone, and outright challenges to my authority.

MY AU. THOR. IT. TAY.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 10:26 AM on August 19 [45 favorites]


"you can't buy 40 oz malt liquor in Missouri. It's a huge bummer. If you go to the Kansas side to get one, you'll have to go to a liquor store"
posted by crayz at 10:27 AM on August 19


Are they legal in Illinois? East St. Louis is just across the river, and going to Illinois to do things that are illegal in Missouri is a St. Louis tradition.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:30 AM on August 19 [10 favorites]


That WaPo op-ed just leaves me speechless.
posted by rtha at 10:33 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


To my mind, there is at least a 50% possibility that the white "anarchists" are not actually anarchists - I think it's fairly possible that they're undercovers, since there are plenty of records of this kind of thing happening at protests run by actual white anarchists, and indeed, I've been in political milieux where there were very, very plausible white "anarchist" undercovers trying to get people to commit violence.

I've seen this personally in Seattle.

I went to the May Day protests this year, but mainly walked on the sidewalk, away from the bulk of the crowd. Once we got to downtown, the police presence was so heavy and crowded that I ended up ducking into a back alley. What did I find? An unmarked black van, with a bunch of burly 30 to 40 somethings wearing and putting on Black Bloc gear. They also looked quite startled when I stumbled upon them, but being a small woman wearing a nice shirt and jeans and a headscarf, I posed no threat to them, and they then ignored me as I walked past, doing the same to them.

The 'anarchists' and Black Bloc people I actually know in Seattle? Skinny kids and 20 somethings, who don't have the money for shiny tactical boots, and definitely don't have the money for a black van. It was pretty obvious these guys were undercovers of some type.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:35 AM on August 19 [56 favorites]


Honestly, this sort of...how do you say it, like riot protest tourism?

Yeah. These people, and I've met a few, are every bit as bad as the worst of the cops. All they want to do is fight and they love mayhem and don't care who gets hurt.

I remember trying to talk to some.moron who'd claimed she'd released a bunch of animals from a lab. Non native, unhealthy animals. Trying to tell her that was a bad idea. All she cared about was that she'd been on tv. Now she middle aged, middle class, married with 2 kids and a mortgage and a nice white collar job. It really is a disgusting form of poverty tourism.

Spinfexw has a good point too, but I don't know of the Ferguson police are that organized. That's something you see more at pre arranged protests like GTO.
posted by fshgrl at 10:36 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


We Are All Complicit, " And we all have a duty—not just to another young, dead black man, and not just to a town in the middle of our country full of frustrated Americans, fed up with being beaten down for the color of their skin or the contents of their bank account—to fix it."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:37 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Here in Minneapolis, a fleet of 7 enormous black helicopters is buzzing downtown buildings a few hundred feet from the ground from dusk until past midnight. I was directly under one last night, it was terrifying. The police say it is a DoD training exercise but they didn't announce it in advance, they won't say when it ends, and they won't say who authorized it or what the purpose is. I can't help but conclude they're trying to intimidate people into not protesting.

Just to touch on this for a sec, my neighborhood page on facebook was discussing this last night and a few people said that they've carried out the same exercises every year for the last couple of years. Some of the locals are using the hashtag #MSPinvasion if you want to follow on twitter.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:37 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Ugh. Fuck RCP and the Avakianites. Have they ever done anything besides stir up shit and mug for the cameras?
posted by PMdixon at 10:39 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon: "From the WaPo op-ed: Working the street, I can’t even count how many times I withstood curses, screaming tantrums, aggressive and menacing encroachments on my safety zone, and outright challenges to my authority.

MY AU. THOR. IT. TAY.
"

It's not even THEIR authority - it's the State's Authority. They're just leasing it to them for bragging rights or something.
posted by symbioid at 10:39 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


> Folks on Tumblr/Twitter are pointing out that you can't even get glass 40s in Missouri. Don't know if that's true, but kinda damning if it is.
There's a kernel of truth to that. But it's not "in Missouri", it's in STL City (and in a defacto sense, also the county).

They were banned under the Bosley Jr. administration in 1994:
In 1994, with the backing of then-Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr., the beer industry, package liquor stores and neighborhood groups, City Excise Commissioner Bob Kraiberg issued an administrative order banning retailers from selling 40-ounce bottles of beer below room temperature. Which is to say: No more cold Forties. In a reciprocal concession to the liquor industry, Kraiberg made legal the sale of single 16-, 24- and 32-ounce cans, which previously had to be sold in packages of at least three. The rationale cited for these measures was simple: too damn many Forties failed to find their way into trash cans, instead assailing the city's streets with shattered glass. -- From RFT
Now, all that said, since there's no market for un-refrigerated 40s, and I haven't seen a glass 40oz in STL in over a decade. I spend most of my time in the City, but have never seen 40s in the County, either.

Cf. this reddit thread, where somebody asks "where can I find 40s"? and /r/StLouis collectively says "I dunno, dude. I haven't seen them anywhere".

So... they're available in St Chas Co., in JeffCo, in Franklin, and across the river. It's not like you can't bring them here. It's just that you don't see them often here. STL is a tallboy town. source: I hang out with a tallboy/40oz crowd.
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:39 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Hot damn! It looks like it might be true that you can't get 40oz beers in Missouri.

However, I can't find a legal citation for this. This news story from this year seems to indicate that 40oz bottles of beer are, indeed, for sale. Of course, malt liquor isn't beer, but nothing in the statutes seems to draw a distinction on the packaging point.

I also have no idea what I'm doing, so.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:41 AM on August 19


And we all have a duty—not just to another young, dead black man, and not just to a town in the middle of our country full of frustrated Americans, fed up with being beaten down for the color of their skin or the contents of their bank account—to fix it."

That's a great article. Focusing on the street fighting is a good way to avoid the real issue. I feel more and more like the feds need to step in but I wonder if that would even help.
posted by fshgrl at 10:41 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


If I were a Ferguson community leader I'd make it mission one to corral those people, if you can, I know people like that and they're fanatics too.

This is exactly what was happening on the live feed last night, to the best of their ability. Antonio French made like a linebacker and pushed one out of the crowd.
posted by desjardins at 10:42 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


There's only so much he can do but yeah I saw that. It must be so frustrating for the community leaders watching this all go down.
posted by fshgrl at 10:44 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I am just stunned by that WaPo oped. That may be the worst thing I've ever read in a supposedly-credible news outlet. I can't believe my hero Wesley works for the same paper.
posted by desjardins at 10:49 AM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Speaking of Wesley, he just confirmed that the guy on the scene is a different Officer Christensen (likely this guy, I'm thinking) than my friend growing up, so I'm definitely relieved! Though apparently police from where my friend is currently an officer (sounds like he's not with the highway patrol anymore) have been called in at various points, so I still worry for him.
posted by limeonaire at 10:52 AM on August 19


problems in our communities cannot be worked out through the political system (painful though that is, at times) but rather smolder underground until they erupt in protests

that could be one of the 'feature, not a bug' things that 'alphas and betas' put in place to maintain systems of control, but rather than 'smash the system' you could, like florida just did, try to uphold principle-based law:
...a circuit court judge in Florida voided the state's congressional map, citing a "secret, organized campaign" by Republican operatives that "made a mockery of the Legislature's transparent and open process of redistricting." The ruling concluded that District 5, held by Democrat Corrine Brown, and District 10, held by Republican Dan Webster, will need to be redrawn. From a purely practical standpoint, this means redrawing any surrounding districts as well, and possibly many of the state's 27 districts overall. "If one or more districts do not meet constitutional muster, then the entire act is unconstitutional," Judge Terry Lewis wrote.

The ruling is something of a barn-burner, and well worth a read. Lewis opens it up with a quote from George Washington warning of "cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men" who will "subvert the power of the people" and "usurp for themselves the reins of government."
and from there you could maybe try stuff like:
-Race-blind affirmative action: Identifying the disadvantaged
-An Idea For Decreasing Income Segregation And Increasing Economic Mobility

but that is for another day...
posted by kliuless at 10:55 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I'm frankly terrified that if they submit the Darren Wilson murder charges to the grand jury tomorrow, it'll be because the prosecutor's put together an intentionally half-assed case and wants to tank the indictment.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:58 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Looks like they may be banned in St Louis

They're banned in St. Louis City and Kansas City, MO. They may be banned in other communities, but it is not a statewide law.

The main reason was litter, and the response was 24oz cans, so the idea of someone driving a long way to get an actual 40oz is sort of inane. There are plenty of large glass bottles available locally, obviously -- wine, Schalfly bombers, etc.

I do not know about the County, or about various communities within the county. Remember: St. Louis City, politically speaking, has literally nothing to do with St. Louis County. Laws in the city do not apply to the county, and laws in the county do not apply to the city.

The STL city ban was incredibly popular across the entire city. The drinking outside didn't bother people nearly as much as all the glass lying around. Rules on individual sale were changed to allow single sales of 24oz and quart cans at the same time, and STL just moved onto cans. The glass got swept up and stayed swept up.

A new MO law allows individual 12oz beer sales, those are in glass, but I'll bet a million dollars if they start showing up in the street, STL will ban those as well. STL is a drinking town -- there's no law against public intoxication* and it is explicitly legal to drink in public parks if you're on the grass, but anybody who remembers pre 1994 and all the glass will be onboard a new law if the glass gets out of hand like it was before 1994.


* Indeed, Missouri is one of six states where this is true, and Missouri explicitly bars localities from outlawing public intoxication. You can outlaw public consumption (and most do) and you can outlaw drinking and driving, but walking out of a bar three sheets to the wind is explicitly legal is Missouri.

Puking on the cops shoes, however, remains dumb. Get drunk with dignity.
posted by eriko at 10:58 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


it'll be because the prosecutor's put together an intentionally half-assed case and wants to tank the indictment.

The grand jury has to be drawn locally, right?
posted by corb at 10:59 AM on August 19


Honestly, when I think about the lives these people have and the neighborhoods they live in, the fact they aren't in downtown STL burning things to the ground is astonishing. They are goddamn saints.
posted by lattiboy at 11:00 AM on August 19 [16 favorites]


Ferguson calls for 'nighttime quiet and reconciliation,' pledges dash and vest cameras

The city has pledged to help increase black applicants to the county's police academy, raise funds to secure dash and vest cameras, develop programs and incentives to encourage residency of police officers in Ferguson, work with schools to engage young people and provide resources for growth, and rebuild the West Florissant business district.
posted by Foosnark at 11:01 AM on August 19 [11 favorites]


Ray Kelly Thinks Ferguson Police In Ferguson Are Out Of Hand

This is the same guy who wanted stop-and-frisk to instill fear in minorities.
posted by homunculus at 11:02 AM on August 19 [12 favorites]


I'm frankly terrified that if they submit the Darren Wilson murder charges to the grand jury tomorrow, it'll be because the prosecutor's put together an intentionally half-assed case and wants to tank the indictment.

I was tempted to make the usual grand jury joke and say I'm not sure Forrest Gump could put together a case that half-assed, but then it's a cop violence case and an officer actually wrote that WaPo piece and attached his real name to it.
posted by phearlez at 11:02 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Are we talking Bob McCulloch, who was outraged when the teargassing stopped for all of one night? Yeah, I would not hold out any hopes for anything useful coming from him whatsoever.
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I feel like today's L.A. Times editorial "Ferguson's police force can learn from LAPD" is an unfortunate companion to the WashPost article. Either way, I'm feeling less awesome about this town now. (Though this one, about a different police force in LA, is more optimistic LAUSD to decriminalize student fights, petty thefts and minor offenses.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:02 AM on August 19


I love that Op-Ed. There have been massive resources devoted over the past few decades to making it less obvious that police can and do think like Judge Dredd. He just puts it out there in WaPo, where the National Review and their ilk can't pretend that local law enforcement is ethical by definition. Also the unstated assumption that a police officer is obligated to view the public as a safety hazard.
posted by IShouldBeStudyingRightNow at 11:03 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Wait, the LAPD has the fucking colossal gall to argue that they are a model of community trust?
posted by corb at 11:04 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


True fear is a gift.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:16 PM on August 19


We need someone to write The Gift of Fear: Dealing with the American Police edition
posted by magstheaxe at 11:05 AM on August 19 [21 favorites]


The city has pledged to help increase black applicants to the county's police academy, raise funds to secure dash and vest cameras, develop programs and incentives to encourage residency of police officers in Ferguson, work with schools to engage young people and provide resources for growth, and rebuild the West Florissant business district.
Wow, some of those would have been decent responses a week ago, some of those are good ideas that probably should have been in places years ago, and yet I'm still not seeing a "working on community relations by not threatening them with guns" or "not tear gassing and restricting the movement of the media" in there.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:05 AM on August 19 [14 favorites]


Honestly, when I think about the lives these people have and the neighborhoods they live in, the fact they aren't in downtown STL burning things to the ground is astonishing. They are goddamn saints.

I think this is why a lot of white people (not you) downplay or disbelieve racism; if we were subject to the same injustices, we'd be furious. It's hard to understand why there isn't constant rioting, so the cognitive dissonance is resolved by saying "it must not be as bad as what they are claiming."
posted by desjardins at 11:07 AM on August 19 [53 favorites]


This song (released almost eight years ago) should be the anthem of this whole thing. It's a true masterpiece of a song, I'm shocked it isn't more widely known.
posted by lattiboy at 11:07 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


From Antonio French's twitter:

We've had an officer involved shooting in St. Louis City. Here at the scene to keep the crowd calm & find out exactly what happened. #peace
posted by spinifex23 at 11:08 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


raise funds to secure dash and vest cameras

They could sell some of their excess equipment, and maybe some cupcakes!
posted by rtha at 11:08 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


corb, no one would devalue human life like the LAPD unless they had no doubt it was ethical and virtuous in context. They honestly believe their talking points.
posted by IShouldBeStudyingRightNow at 11:08 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


That WaPo thing. Ugh. It's almost like ignorant privilege (let's pretend this guy is honorable and noble), just the first few paragraphs strike me as the sort of thing that a white guy says when he says *I don't say the N-Word, therefore it doesn't exist.*

I was this way, when I was utterly shocked to see my dear friend assaulted by a guy she was giving a hug goodbye to as he grabbed her breast. It shook me to my core. She told me this is how it often is for Women.

The "good cops" are naive or complicit.

If this guy is truly as outstanding a cop as he claims he is, it doesn't mean shit when there ARE bad cops out there. And if he continues to act as if all police are all good and all right and there's never a case where a cop does something not just by making a bad call or a judgement in error, but outright maliciously acts based upon their prejudices, then he's not as good a cop as he thinks he is, because his very act of ignorance (purposeful or not) means he's in on the fix, no matter how much he justifies his righteousness to himself.

I wonder what he thinks of a guy like Serpico, or any other whistle-blowing cop that actually IS a good cop who WILL put their whole livelihood and even, potentially, their lives on the line for standing up against corruption in their own ranks.

And this is where we get into the myth of just the "single bad cop" vs the institutions that enable them to keep perpetrating their badness, while all the so-called "good cops" let this shit happen day in and day out, and all the fucking apologists jump on board and so everything they can to demonize the victims of police brutality and lionize the officer for doing such shameful deeds. Or, rather, they SHOULD be shameful, and they are to those of us with a sense of humanity and obligation to our fellow citizens. But apparently, not to those boys (and girls) in blue.
posted by symbioid at 11:09 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


outside agitators .... riot tourists ..... An unmarked black van, with a bunch of burly 30 to 40 somethings wearing and putting on Black Bloc gear.

Facial recognition isn't just a tool for the State. The access to commercial facial databases can be rented by non-State actors.

Eye holes in a face mask it seems are good enough to get ID with the systems it seems. Too bad the old butyl mercaptin anti-rape kits were no longer being sold because it would make for a smelly tagging of the Black Blockers.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:09 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


From foosnark's link
Johnson also lectured reporters at the scene, telling them they were interfering with police and putting themselves in danger by failing to immediately clear areas when asked to by officers. He also implored reporters to “not glamorize the acts of criminals.”


I don't think the cops have come off as glamorous.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:11 AM on August 19 [16 favorites]


There's one thing here that is really striking to me (and that's saying something giving the events that we have seen unfold) and that is the utter lack of leadership on the political level from federal on down to the local level. I mean if yesterday's press conference doesn't show that the POTUS has already checked out, I don't know what will.
posted by RedShrek at 11:11 AM on August 19 [9 favorites]


What I don't understand is, beyond monetary concerns, why the Ferguson department only bought two dashboard cameras and two wearable cameras and didn't use them. It just seems like a terrible series of half-measures.

On preview, oh wow. Here's more info on the officer-involved shooting in north St. Louis (under an incredibly poorly spelled headline, "St. Louis City offer shoots, kills knife-weilding suspect").
posted by limeonaire at 11:12 AM on August 19


From Antonio French's twitter:

We've had an officer involved shooting in St. Louis City. Here at the scene to keep the crowd calm & find out exactly what happened. #peace


Wait what

Another one?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:13 AM on August 19


Wait what

Another one?


I don't know. If a guy tried to attack the police with a knife... that probably justifiable, no?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:15 AM on August 19


Assuming he did in fact try to attack the police with a knife, which I'm going to need more than the shooter's word on.

At least it doesn't seem related to Ferguson.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:16 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Wait, the LAPD has the fucking colossal gall to argue that they are a model of community trust?

It's probably safe to say that the LAPD's ability to earn the trust of the community is far better than their ability to identify pickup trucks or to distinguish colors.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:17 AM on August 19 [23 favorites]


I think this is why a lot of white people (not you) downplay or disbelieve racism; if we were subject to the same injustices, we'd be furious. It's hard to understand why there isn't constant rioting, so the cognitive dissonance is resolved by saying "it must not be as bad as what they are claiming."

I think it's more than that. I think, for your average white middle class person and/or community, they have a lot more resources than your average low-income black community. It would never get to that point, because there's a lot more political influence. When there's even a mild mannered outcry, there are usually results. Lawsuits are well funded and have community pillars backing them. There aren't riots, because riots come with a sense of frustration and helplessness.

So I think there's this sense of "Why don't they just calm down and wait for the political influence to take hold and punish the guilty?" without the realization that there is no political influence, that this is not fixable with the resources the community has at its disposal.

Then again, I'm not white, so I may be completely wrong on that.
posted by corb at 11:18 AM on August 19 [23 favorites]


The Guardian have started liveblogging Ferguson, and seem to be getting their information from a lot of the same sources that show up in this thread. Might be a good place to check for links that might get lost if you're trying to keep up with the frequent updates here.
posted by harujion at 11:19 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Wait what

Another one?


1) This is St. Louis City PD, and presumably this occurred in the city.

2) We literally know nothing about this except what Antonio French posted, and his followup: "Crowd forming around crime scene. @ChrisCarter3 and Chris Carter, Sr. also here. #peace"

Antonio French is the 22nd Ward Alderman in the City of St. Louis.
posted by eriko at 11:22 AM on August 19


New essay from Brittney Cooper (previously: In Defense of Black Rage): America's New Racial Low Point:
I’m tired of journalists being bullied for trying to tell the truth. I’m tired of explaining to white people why our anger is justified, why looting, which is a property crime, should not even be part of a conversation about the killing of a teenager, why the alleged shoplifting of cigarettes is not a capital offense, why the police officer who killed Mike for the crime of walking in the street is the real thug.

White racism and white privilege continue a bad cop-good cop routine with black America that is utterly exhausting. Just when we think we are making headway, a well-meaning white person asks “but can’t we condemn the looting too?” The question is: Have you condemned the killing? Or have you tried to explain it away? To justify it?

I will not engage in a condemnation quid pro quo with trolls, well-meaning white citizens or respectable black ones, “Brand New Negroes” I call them, in the tradition of the famous text from Harlem Renaissance philosopher Alain Locke. I will not concede that destruction of property is equal to the taking of life. I will not answer calls to be reasonable in the face of unreasonable, unjustifiable black death.
posted by scody at 11:24 AM on August 19 [65 favorites]


eriko, as I posted above: Here's more info on the officer-involved shooting in north St. Louis. Here's the Post-Dispatch story stub, too, which presumably will get more info added.
posted by limeonaire at 11:25 AM on August 19


What would you prefer to call a shooting of an unarmed kid in broad daylight?

Shooting. Killing. Not murder, until it's shown to be murder.
posted by in278s at 11:26 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


"Police come under 'heavy gunfire' in Ferguson, arrest 31 people"

They're saying that two people in the crowd were shot, but not by police, and the people were taken to the hospital. Any word on who/what/why?
posted by corb at 11:27 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Scott Greenfield responds to the WaPo nightmare of an oped
Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
This is where we, sadly, part ways. When you use the word “cooperate,” you do so applying the cop definition. We, non-cops, are to cooperate with you, cop. We, as you’ve already told us, are to do as you say. Your idea of cooperation has nothing whatsoever to do with cooperation. It’s just a much better word than “comply or I will inflict pain, perhaps even death.” If they put “comply” on the side of a cruiser, it would really suck as marketing, so you call it “cooperation,” which sounds all warm and fuzzy, much as “stop resisting” sounds reasonable as you pound your baton into an unconscious person’s skull. That only happens rarely too.
posted by phearlez at 11:27 AM on August 19 [43 favorites]


Any speculation on why there aren't more people protesting in Ferguson? The crowds I've seen in pictures/on the live feeds (day or night) look like several hundred, definitely less than a thousand protesters (I'm not including media, obvs). Yet there have been thousands in other cities. Are my numbers that far off? Given all the attention, I would think the streets would be packed constantly.
posted by desjardins at 11:28 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Maybe the police teargassing people is keeping crowd numbers down? That is the point of teargassing them, after all.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:31 AM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Shooting. Killing. Not murder, until it's shown to be murder.

Homicide work for you?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:31 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I don't know for sure, but I suspect part of it is because the protests are spread out a bit. There have definitely been a few times where, for instance, there were protesters at the QT, across from the Ferguson PD, at the county police headquarters over in Clayton, and up and down West Florissant Ave.

Also, this has been going on for more than a week now, and few people can spend 100% of their time out there.
posted by Foosnark at 11:32 AM on August 19


I think this is why a lot of white people (not you) downplay or disbelieve racism; if we were subject to the same injustices, we'd be furious. It's hard to understand why there isn't constant rioting, so the cognitive dissonance is resolved by saying "it must not be as bad as what they are claiming.

White people would be, and have gotten, furious and have rioted over much smaller things. Isabel Wilkerson writes about the Cicero Race Riot of 1951 in her book The Warmth of Other Suns. This occurred when this young black couple tried to move to Cicero, IL, a Chicago suburb.

4,000 whites attacked the building that the couple, the Clarks, were moving into. The 60 police officers sent to control the situation did not do so. In fact the police chief told the Clarks "You should know better. Get out of here fast. There will be no moving into that building".

The rioters threw rocks, destroyed the building, set fire to it. Firefighters called to the scene were met with bricks and stones by the mob. The Illinois National Guard moved in, and rioters fought with them. This went on for 3 days after $20,000 (in 1951 money) was done to the building. Cruelly, the rioters threw a piano, which Mr. Clark had save for for years for his kids, out the window, destroying it.

The riot was front-page news in Asia and attracted worldwide attention. The Cook County grand jury did not indict a single rioter. Incredibly, the Clark's attorney from the NAACP, the owners of the building, and the rental agent, were indicted on charges of inciting a riot and conspiracy to damage property (though the charges were dropped after widespread criticism).
posted by AceRock at 11:32 AM on August 19 [106 favorites]


"One of the oldest African-American bar associations in the country is calling on the Missouri prosecutor who is overseeing an investigation into the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown to recuse himself.

The Mound City Bar Association is concerned that St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch's family ties with St. Louis' police department may impact his ability to conduct an impartial investigation. The prosecutor's father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin have all worked for the department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect, according to CBS News."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:32 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


(Add to that, as well as the National Moment of Silence event in downtown STL.)
posted by Foosnark at 11:32 AM on August 19


I am so unbearably overwhelmed by all of this. I just sent a shitload of stuff from the Amazon page. I feel as though I have lost faith in our nation's ability to live with one another. We are all standing so far apart...as if we will never come together.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:34 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Arresting people for jaywalking makes profits for Ferguson/Florissant. Daily Kos, with a paper written by ArchCity Defenders.

I feel sick.
posted by mgrrl at 11:34 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"Police come under 'heavy gunfire' in Ferguson, arrest 31 people"

They're saying that two people in the crowd were shot, but not by police, and the people were taken to the hospital. Any word on who/what/why?


corb, that story's from first thing this morning, reporting on what happened overnight. And apparently the figure police gave is incorrect. It seems 78 were arrested overnight, not a mere 31 people.
posted by limeonaire at 11:36 AM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Best of all, there was no such thing as jaywalking until the 1920s. Streets were for *people* before that... For bicycling, walking, and gosh, even protesting.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:38 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


Arresting people for jaywalking makes profits for Ferguson/Florissant.

From what I've seen, this is extremely common in Smalltown, USA. There is a fix that works: fines go to general revenues, police services get paid solely from a single budget appropriation at the municipal or state level.

Making the police entrepreneurial and self-funded downloads taxes from the rich to fines on the poor. They become occupiers and harassers, rather than protectors.
posted by bonehead at 11:39 AM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Bicycling?! That's insane.
posted by mlis at 11:39 AM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Also, this has been going on for more than a week now, and few people can spend 100% of their time out there.

Exactly. Protesting is fucking exhausting. You're in public, you are standing the whole time, it's hot, there's no shelter, there's inadequate food and water and bathroom access. And this is setting aside the fact that people are facing down a militarized police presence that is literally more heavily armed than the actual army during an actual war. Now, multiply that by 10 days.

The fact that there are still hundreds of people out there despite all of this is fucking heroic, not an indictment of the lack of willpower or commitment of the people of Ferguson.
posted by scody at 11:40 AM on August 19 [53 favorites]


Police arrested 78 people in Ferguson during the most recent overnight protests, according to NBC News and local St Louis news channel KSDK, which published a list reportedly from St Louis Justice Services.

Only four people arrested are residents of Ferguson, 50 are residents of the St Louis area and 19 are out-of-state residents. The remaining five are from other parts of Missouri.

Of those arrests, 75 were for failure to disperse, two were for unlawful use of a weapon and one person, from Illinois, was arrested for interfering with an officer.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:41 AM on August 19 [4 favorites]


You would think the police would want the media around to capture this "heavy gunfire" on camera.
posted by inigo2 at 11:42 AM on August 19 [18 favorites]


Anyone else having problems working today. I sure am. It's not just getting distracted by wanting to keep up with what's going on but with things here just seeming so superficial. One of my colleagues was freaking out about some piece of paper getting misplaced and I had to work at acting like I cared.

thank you for this thread it's keeping me sane.
posted by Jalliah at 11:45 AM on August 19 [22 favorites]


To be clear, I didn't mean to criticize the people of Ferguson for their "lack of commitment" or whatever although I see how that's the way it came across.
posted by desjardins at 11:46 AM on August 19 [1 favorite]


You would think the police would want the media around to capture this "heavy gunfire" on camera.

Everyone in the world has a camera phone now. We don't even need the media to capture it. If it was happening, it would be all over YouTube.

I'm sure guns have been fired but the photos of the police look exactly like soldiers. It's scary.
posted by fshgrl at 11:47 AM on August 19


Twitter @Awkward_Duck: We are meeting at County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s office (at 100 S Central Ave, Clayton MO 63105) TODAY at 3PM
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:48 AM on August 19


Jalliah: Anyone else having problems working today. I sure am.

Yeah. I've been mulling cancelling a therapy appointment because I so do not want to spend an hour thoughtfully discussing how yes, I'm still having persistent negative thoughts like I have been all summer but no, I don't really want to work on thoughtfully picking them apart and challenging my own assumptions about how shitty life is right this minute.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:52 AM on August 19


Everyone in the world has a camera phone now. We don't even need the media to capture it. If it was happening, it would be all over YouTube.

Yeah, that's why I'm curious about the two people they say were taken to the hospital for gunshots.
posted by corb at 11:52 AM on August 19


Cameras are cheap nowadays. If you're running a police department, and you don't have all your cruisers equipped with dashcams, you've made a conscious decision and we're entitled to draw inferences from that. The same goes in those situations where bystanders get in trouble for grabbing video of an incident. When the cops are doing their job the right way, the video will back them up. When the cops don't want video, they know their conduct won't stand up to public scrutiny.
posted by in278s at 11:52 AM on August 19 [13 favorites]


they HAVE dashcams and bodycams in ferguson. Lying around, gathering dust, unused.
posted by KathrynT at 11:54 AM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Post-Dispatch reporting a funeral and public memorial for Michael Brown will take place Monday.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:54 AM on August 19


Yeah, that's why I'm curious about the two people they say were taken to the hospital for gunshots.


http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/injured-and-shooting-victims-might-be-higher-than-reported/article_4b45633f-c026-5e77-9b4b-37c991b2de73.html

posted by asockpuppet at 11:55 AM on August 19


We do not do justice in America on the streets. We have legal processes that are set in motion, that are designed after centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence tradition. They’re designed to protect the rights and liberties of everyone involved. That includes the Brown family; for justice for them and the community. It also includes the officer not yet been charged.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:55 AM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Ferguson teacher requesting help with school supplies for when schools do reopen:

http://www.donorschoose.org/project/history-is-our-story-part-ii/1287920/

and Florissant:

http://www.donorschoose.org/project/easing-into-kindergarten-with-a-new-ease/1287529/
http://www.donorschoose.org/project/sensational-science-and-nail-biting-news/1246994/
posted by shattersock at 12:00 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Also, these threads have been so good, but as they get long and I'm scrolling and ctrl-F-ing back and forth to find things like the links to ways to help, live feeds, etc, I really wish they had an accompanying wiki. Phire did yeoman's work last night pulling all those links together, but the inherent structure of Metafilter makes keeping track of current resources hard.
posted by deludingmyself at 12:01 PM on August 19


Roomthreeseventeen: We do not do justice in America on the streets.

Fixed that for the Lt. Governor.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:02 PM on August 19


From asockpuppet's link:

But the public won't hear about Britton's condition from hospital officials. And the public may not be hearing about other gunshot victims or the full scope of injured individuals because of the hospitals' concerns about privacy issues.

St. Louis area hospital officials say once someone has been identified as a “victim of violence” they cannot share any information regarding that individual.

Gunshot victims are routinely identified as “victims of violence,” hospital spokesmen say.

[....]

Unless Britton's family shares news of his condition, the public will have to rely on St. Louis County police to provide status updates.


So we're stuck waiting on the police to let us know if they've seriously wounded anyone else? Realistically, considering the tear gas last night, people got seriously hurt. By the police. But it's nothing we'll hear about.
posted by cmyk at 12:03 PM on August 19


police shot and killed a man in St. Louis.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:04 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


White people would be, and have gotten, furious and have rioted over much smaller things

Well, that's kind of my point. White people riot when their hockey team loses. Black people aren't rioting, so I guess racism can't be that bad, right?
posted by desjardins at 12:05 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


cnn link here: Man dead after officer-involved shooting in St. Louis
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:05 PM on August 19


Twitter @ReporterFaith Chief: Two officers fired shots killing 23-year-old suspect.

Twitter @ReporterFaith: Chief: suspect had a knife within 3-4ft of officer. #officerInvolvedShooting
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:06 PM on August 19


Also, these threads have been so good, but as they get long and I'm scrolling and ctrl-F-ing back and forth to find things like the links to ways to help, live feeds, etc, I really wish they had an accompanying wiki. Phire did yeoman's work last night pulling all those links together, but the inherent structure of Metafilter makes keeping track of current resources hard.

I'm not sure the Metafilter wiki would be ideal for that sort of "breaking news" page. We could however, create a free-form publicly-editable google doc for people to add to. That wouldn't be hard to set up and keep organized.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


they HAVE dashcams and bodycams in ferguson. Lying around, gathering dust, unused.

They only have 2, though that's 2 more than they have deployed.

There's a legitimate issue with cams in that dealing with the footage is a challenge. In even a small police force it could get big quick, and that's been discussed in articles. However that overlooks a very simple method of physically handling the records: just use a new memory card every day. The devices sold by DashCamDiaries (I don't get kickbacks; I just remember them from the Flex Your Rights contest) say they'll do 16h of recording on a 32g card.

Those cards are around $17 online; I imagine there's a small discount you could get if you were buying hundreds. Officers on duty could turn in a card at the end of the day and it could get tossed in an envelope with the date marked on it. Tomorrow is a new day and a new card, at a cost less than 1 hour's salary for the officer.
posted by phearlez at 12:09 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Well fuck: St. Louis police fatally shoot man who brandished knife
posted by Phire at 12:10 PM on August 19


(CNN) -- A police officer was involved in a shooting in St. Louis on Tuesday, and a man was pronounced dead in the incident, authorities said.

...

It was not immediately clear whether the officer killed him. The investigation is ongoing.


Oh, come on.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:10 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


deludingmyself: For example, something like this.
posted by zarq at 12:11 PM on August 19


zarq, I'm gonna memail you a question that is relevant to this situation but a complete derail in this thread.
posted by KathrynT at 12:13 PM on August 19


Vox: Police are operating with total impunity in Ferguson: "And what's particularly shocking about this form of evasion [policing without a nametag] is how shallow it is. I can't identify the officers in that photograph. But the faces are clearly visible. The brass at the Ferguson Police Department, Saint Louis County Police Department, and Missouri Highway Patrol should be able to easily identify the two officers who are out improperly arresting photographers. By the same token, video taken at the Lowery and Reilly arrests should allow for the same to be done in that case. Policing without a nametag can help you avoid accountability from the press or from citizens, but it can't possibly help you avoid accountability from the bosses. For that you have to count on an atmosphere of utter impunity. It's a bet many cops operating in Ferguson are making, and it seems to be a winning bet."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:16 PM on August 19 [47 favorites]


Speaking of Google Docs, Joanne (@sabzbrach) tweets "Data is fun: here is the sheet @caulkthewagon and I are using to track less-lethals deployed in Ferguson: https://t.co/WaAFUiGXbS"
posted by zix at 12:16 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Hedy Epstein, the 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who was arrested in #Ferguson, wore a shirt that read "Stay Human"
posted by jeffburdges at 12:17 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


They're saying knife guy did that suicide by police thing. They being the police.
posted by sio42 at 12:17 PM on August 19


From the Guardian:
The victim had stolen two energy drinks from a convenience store and was wielding a knife and acting erratically, said Dotson.

Dotson said witnesses could hear the man saying: “shoot me now, kill me now.”

He said the man did not respond to demands to drop his weapon as he approached the officers, carrying the knife with an overhand gesture. The man was within three to four feet of the officers when they shot him.

“I think officer safety is the number one issue,” Dotson said.
What the actual fuck? They are armed to the teeth with non-lethal weaponry and they can't handle a guy with a knife? This is out of control.
posted by Acey at 12:18 PM on August 19 [21 favorites]


they HAVE dashcams and bodycams in ferguson. Lying around, gathering dust, unused.

Right, as linked above, as reported by CNN, they apparently only have two of each. That's just bizarre.
posted by limeonaire at 12:18 PM on August 19


Dotson said witnesses could hear the man saying: “shoot me now, kill me now.”

Normally I would think that would be suicide by cop, but in light of Ferguson I wonder maybe he was trying to say something about excessive use of force?
posted by corb at 12:19 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


The cops all took their name tags off in Toronto during the last G20 debacle. About 90 of them were docked a day's pay, and I'm sure all of them thought it was money well spent for a chance to beat people up all weekend long.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:21 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


What the actual fuck? They are armed to the teeth with non-lethal weaponry and they can't handle a guy with a knife? This is out of control.

"You got pissed that we're shooting black people and now you're pissed we're shooting crazies? Where the fuck does it end with you bleeding heart libruls? Who the hell can we shoot? White people?"
posted by Talez at 12:21 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Something I've wondered for a long time: why isn't there a priority on keeping people alive when it comes to police confrontation? There are ways to 'subdue' people, even suicide-by-cop determined people (assuming that's even true, which I doubt), without killing them. I'd like to see a focus on police reducing lethal force and instead working on Bringing 'Em Downtown, or wherever, alive. But then I also want that pony I asked Santa for when I was eleven.

On preview: corb makes a really good point there.

Probably irrelevant: I wonder if Hedy Epstein is a Michael Franti fan.
posted by cmyk at 12:21 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I mean, a guy in London went berserk with a machete and they still took him alive. This is insane.
posted by Acey at 12:22 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Can anyone better versed in media speak to the sudden cluster of sites claiming that Darren Wilson suffered an "orbital blowout fracture" during his encounter with Mike Brown?

I mean, I know that it's bullshit and that you shouldn't trust Free Republic any further than you can throw it, but how does this sort of thing crop up and how can you combat it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:23 PM on August 19


Chris Hayes is tweeting that the guy with the knife may have been mentally challenged.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:24 PM on August 19


I mean, a guy in London went berserk with a machete and they still took him alive. This is insane.

Every other mother fucking country in the world takes their batshit crazy people alive. This isn't a UK is civilized thing. This is a "US local cops are fucking brutal" thing.
posted by Talez at 12:24 PM on August 19 [35 favorites]


Something I've wondered for a long time: why isn't there a priority on keeping people alive when it comes to police confrontation?

There is. Specifically, the police people. Like the St. Louis police chief said in reference to this very incident, "I think officer safety is the number one issue."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:25 PM on August 19 [14 favorites]


I think it's safe to say that police officers in almost every other country are better trained to deal with assailants in a non-lethal manner. Not because they have better officers, but because they have better training policies and protocols for situations like that. It's really sad and it just leads to worse outcomes.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:25 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I also don't believe a word the cops are saying.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:26 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Oh, come on.

If the CNN reporter has one person saying the policeman shot the person, and another saying another person shot the person, then this is the correct thing to say. We now have a report where STL police state that they did shoot, so the CNN report *now* is nonsensical, but 15 minutes ago? It may well have been two conflicting stories.

In a rational world, this story would be vetted for a couple of hours before it went out so conflicting information could be resolved. But we don't live in that world. Indeed, with Twitter in play, stories are publicized seconds after an event, and there is no fact checking in the initial stages.

I think this is actually a very bad thing, but between everyone online, instant amplification, and the 24 hour news stations desperately trying to fill their hourly quota of the word "breaking", I don't see how we go back to the days of responsible journalism.

You can say, "Well, if a person saw it, it must be true, why not let them tweet?" In fact, eyewitness testimony is horrifically flawed. We don't impartially see images. Our eyes take in photons, and our minds create images, and even then, we are fitting that image within our world views, and those worldviews have a real influence on what you perceive.

I'm not saying don't let them tweet. I'm saying I miss the days when you could take until press time to gather different reports, collate them and corroborate them, and look at the larger pictures and how what found out today fits into that, then write the story.

Now, it's GET IT ON THE AIR and GET IT ON THE WEBS and we hope we can sort it out later, except, of course, we often never do, because the next thousand breaking stories are already on the way.

I'm wondering what reports will have come out on this in the time it took me to type this? I know very little, but I know this -- the story when I started typing this post is not the same as the story when I finished typing this post.
posted by eriko at 12:26 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Antonio French is more than just tweeting pictures of RCP members; he's shoving them around at protests.


Good for him. Those RCP scumbags are damned near the Westboro church of the Left. They're gonna get people killed - people who have a legitimate grievance and right to peacefully protest. Fuck those assholes.
posted by stenseng at 12:27 PM on August 19 [21 favorites]


Back home we had a naked guy on a billboard with a pistol and they took him alive! Using a god damned cherry picker!
posted by Talez at 12:27 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I'm not exactly thrilled with the way US cops have become utterly incapable of dealing with threats any other way than guns (cops all over the UK manage to deal with kids with knives with a baton and a stab vest, for example) but if the guy was genuinely within a yard or so with a wielded knife it wasn't an illegitimate shooting. Note the if, of course; I haven't heard any witnesses saying contrary, but with cops these days I always reserve judgement.
posted by tavella at 12:28 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that first picture is a tear gas canister being thrown back at the police

No, he was throwing it away from kids and not at police.
posted by soelo at 12:28 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Corb, are you saying he might be Ferguson's equivalent of the self-immolating monk?

On a potentially related note, given the notorious issues with police handling mental disabilities in the best of circumstances, I'm really praying that everyone there has at least someone looking out for them.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 12:28 PM on August 19


I don't think I've seen this linked yet: Actor Jesse Williams: We Are Not Treated Like Human Beings:
"There’s a complete double standard and a complete different experience that a certain element of this country has the privilege of being treated like human beings, and the rest of us are not treated like human beings, period. That needs to be discussed, that’s the story. That’s what gets frustrating for people — because you don’t know five black folks, five black men in particular, that have not been harassed and felt threatened by police officers. You can’t throw a rock and find five of them. We’re not making this up."
posted by Phire at 12:29 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


I'm a fan of reddit, but it's complete and blinding whiteness is on full display right now. Yes, there are some Ferguson mega threads with thousands of comments (half of which are Free Republic level bad), but the number one thing right now?

A new still from ANT-MAN staring Paul Rudd!

Literally nothing about what is happening at Ferguson on the first three pages of "hot" posts. You have to go to number twenty for "top" from the last week.

It is pathetic.
posted by lattiboy at 12:29 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I mean, a guy in London went berserk with a machete and they still took him alive. This is insane.

It's not as though we have well funded psychiatric care available for people. So, you see, in America if you arrest the crazy guy, he's out in a few hours/days and then you have to deal with crazy guy again and/or answer questions as to why he wasn't still locked up the next time he gets into trouble.

There's a lot of incentives built into the system, most of them perverse.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:30 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


They have no doubt received training on dealing with this exact situation in a non-lethal manner. The man was not brandishing the knife at them and rushing, he was holding it in an overhand gesture three or four feet away. They were in full protection. It should've been easy to disarm him without a casualty. This is another fucking unjustified killing from where I'm standing. These aren't police operating under standard protocol, they're tyrants with itchy trigger fingers.
posted by naju at 12:30 PM on August 19 [20 favorites]


If the CNN reporter has one person saying the policeman shot the person, and another saying another person shot the person, then this is the correct thing to say.

Unfortunately, CNN is doing invisible edits, so it's impossible to prove otherwise.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:31 PM on August 19


Small-town police in Canada were able to take a guy alive who had just shot 5 of their colleagues. You can do better, America.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:32 PM on August 19 [28 favorites]


Literally nothing about what is happening at Ferguson on the first three pages of "hot" posts.

Fifth link

It does vary depending on your subscribed subs, but if you unsubscribed r/politics I don't know what to tell you.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:34 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Our eyes take in photons, and our minds create images,

LIke the rubber bullets?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:34 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


It just occurred to me. They like riots. Not just because the testosterone fueled violence that lets the cops exert their "authoritay", but because if you're out in the streets protesting, it means you're not inside stealthy and organized for something much larger. It keeps you focused on the immediate tactical actions not the larger strategic issues.

So here I ask: What's next? What is the strategic move? Our eyes are on the battle, what about the war? Lawyers are being called in for this issue, and the DOJ is looking into things, and politically, we have a lame duck president who doesn't (and ostensibly, can't) rock the boat.

Someone pointed out in one of these threads that Bush Sr. was able to say more against police violence than Obama is allowed to... Do we need to have a Nixon goes to China moment?

Is working towards undoing the war on Marijuana (and hopefully the larger war on drugs, someday) part of the larger war? If we get one white dude who speaks out against police violence, but doesn't address these larger issues, are we really helping anything?

So all eyes on the frontlines, racist spewing hatred on the sidelines, and the masterminds at the rear planning the next moves, for and against. Lawyers, juries, politicians, community activists, mothers of dead children writing letters and demanding change. Opportunists ready to make a name for themselves and make some money on the way exploiting either side of the issue.

Christ.
posted by symbioid at 12:35 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


LIke the rubber bullets?

I know, that reporter screwed up, we'd better follow the #tcot people and turn that into the story. Obviously this means the police aren't using rubber bullets.
posted by inigo2 at 12:36 PM on August 19


No, that's your "Frontpage" link which is just your subscriptions. To see actual top votes you have to go to all as the subreddit.

See here:

http://www.reddit.com/r/all/top/?sort=top&t=week
posted by lattiboy at 12:37 PM on August 19


> Small-town police in Canada were able to take a guy alive who had just shot 5 of their colleagues. You can do better, America.

On the other hand.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:37 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


but if the guy was genuinely within a yard or so with a wielded knife it wasn't an illegitimate shooting.

The problem with this thinking is similar to the problem with the police presence in Ferguson: WHY are they within a yard or so in the first place? To what extent is their presence/position the precipitating/enabling factor?

Upthread I mentioned the Lozano shooting in Miami *cough* years ago. There's no question that being in the path of a speeding motorcycle is a hazard to your health. But he put himself there. Why were those cops within a yard of the knife-wielding dude? Were they unable to retreat?

At a more forgiving time in my life I would have assumed they were trying to keep citizens safe and drawing his attention but encounter after encounter show police unwilling to choose life over ego and de-escalate a situation with a person with a hand-melee weapon.
posted by phearlez at 12:38 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


The guy who shot Sammy Yatim just got charged with second-degree murder.

It took a while, but that's something.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:39 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


> On the other hand

But on the other hand...
posted by anthill at 12:39 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


No, that's your "Frontpage" link which is just your subscriptions. To see actual top votes you have to go to all as the subreddit.

A moment ago I would have said nobody browses reddit that way. Live and learn.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:39 PM on August 19


Vancouver police take down a guy waving a syringe around. They disarmed a guy with a sword a couple of years ago similarly, but there's no video of it.
posted by bonehead at 12:40 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Slight derail, but police in Britain do also shoot to kill first, ask questions later.
posted by vickyverky at 12:40 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this "My country's police were able to do X without killing anybody in X instance" is not very helpful though I'm sure it makes you feel great.
posted by pineappleheart at 12:42 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Not 100% relevant, but this sums up something I've been thinking about recently:

It takes a bigger man to walk away
The purpose of Krav Maga is self-preservation and defense of others. ... And although we spend a lot of time training how to escape from worse case situations (being held at gun point, stabbed with a knife, pinned and choked against the ground, just to name a few), one element that is often overlooked is avoidance of conflict altogether.

...

And it even takes a bigger man/woman to know when to use these skills and when to restrain from doing so, even if deep inside you really wish you can teach these people a lesson or two about manners. Imi Lichtenfeld created Krav Maga so “one may walk in peace”. Knowing that you have an arsenal of tools to handle most violent confrontations gives you the peace of mind and the confidence to not be effected by needless provocations and allows you to be that bigger man.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 12:43 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Regarding reddit - which I rarely go to and have not customized. #7 item in votes on my screen is Klein's "if this is how police treat journos..." article.
posted by phearlez at 12:43 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


It just occurred to me. They like riots.

Yes. Because the police are trained to handle physical confrontation and LIKE it when they can escalate. Traffic stop for a light becomes a drug search. You talking with a cop, they raise their voice you raise yours and now it is a confrontation.

Change the field of battle. Change up the "rules". Walking into the Grand Jury room with criminal complaints is effectively what nailed Gov. Perry. The Rule of Law Radio folks talk about how it is done in Texas.

If your State lets you, the citizen, submit criminal complaints directly to Grand Jury members then why not do that? Most States seem to have some way to bypass the DA to get a criminal complaint filed. Start looking into that more direct method.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:43 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


There's one thing here that is really striking to me (and that's saying something giving the events that we have seen unfold) and that is the utter lack of leadership on the political level from federal on down to the local level. I mean if yesterday's press conference doesn't show that the POTUS has already checked out, I don't know what will.


Yup. I took the time this morning to call my Rep and Senators. I was apparently the first person in Mpls (Rep. Ellison) to inquire about this. Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Franken staff didn't know if others had inquired, but were willing to assure me that Sen. Klobuchar "supports civil rights." I'd urge everyone to take a few minutes and call their electeds and ask why the fuck they aren't saying or doing something - anything! - about this.
posted by MetalFingerz at 12:44 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I read it as less about "hey look at us", more as calling the police on their bullshit. Non-lethal takedowns can be done with the right protocols. Deadly force should be a last option. That they say it can't is crap.
posted by bonehead at 12:45 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


You wanna talk about dehumanization?

Dehumanization is saying it is acceptable to take another's life off of the "things that matter" list.
posted by PMdixon at 12:45 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this "My country's police were able to do X without killing anybody in X instance" is not very helpful though I'm sure it makes you feel great.

It's not a competition. The point is, killing someone has to be a last resort, particularly when the situation is this tense. I'm in disbelief.
posted by Acey at 12:45 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Slight derail, but police in Britain do also shoot to kill first, ask questions later.

It's also so god damned infrequent that it was a Huge Fucking Deal™ in the UK.

Here's some UK statistics on how often weapons are fired. Pay attention in particular to table 4. The part where in a single year the police have discharged their weapons no more than ten fucking times across the entire UK.

Police in the US have itchy trigger fingers. They should aspire to be more like police in the UK where police killings are so bloody infrequent and generate untold amounts of outrage that you can't help but have a massive shitshow of an investigation.
posted by Talez at 12:45 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


If police are able, per that use of force document cited in the other mondo thread, to shoot anyone to stop them from committing a felony and/or escaping, and assault on a police officer - which includes menacing - is a felony - then they are able to shoot anyone who attacks them or looks like they might be attacking them or says they are going to attack them, regardless of the likelihood of success.

If this is not something you want, then maybe the entire use of force doctrine should be looked at, and/or what we expect of police officers.
posted by corb at 12:46 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Ferguson Mayor: 'There's Not A Racial Divide In Ferguson': "The city of Ferguson has been a model for the region about how we transition from a community that was predominantly white middle class to a community that is predominantly African-American middle class." (2:26)
posted by scody at 12:47 PM on August 19


Every other mother fucking country in the world takes their batshit crazy people alive. This isn't a UK is civilized thing. This is a "US local cops are fucking brutal" thing.

No, it's a race thing. Some white dude lured firefighters and other rescue personnel into a fucking trap with a fake 911 call and opened fire on them and was still taken in alive.

In motherfucking TEXAS. The most highly armed state in the union. This is a "US cops will do whatever they can to execute black people for the crime of being black" thing.
posted by elizardbits at 12:47 PM on August 19 [122 favorites]


So here I ask: What's next? What is the strategic move? Our eyes are on the battle, what about the war?

I still like the recall election idea Conor Friedersdorf floated. It's hard to organize from a distance but it seems fairly simple given the number of people gathered in Ferguson right now.
posted by sallybrown at 12:47 PM on August 19


If this is not something you want, then maybe the entire use of force doctrine should be looked at, and/or what we expect of police officers.

Ya think?
posted by PMdixon at 12:48 PM on August 19


"My country's police were able to do X without killing anybody in X instance" is not very helpful

Much of the discussion about Ferguson concerns the militarization of the police, a theme about which the UK has traditionally been following a different track.

It is fair to note that Lee Rigby was a serving soldier who was run over and then hacked to death with cleavers on a London street, but the UK police successfully disarmed and arrested his killers to face proper justice without punishing anyone's community.
posted by colie at 12:48 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


It's not a competition. The point is, killing someone has to be a last resort, particularly when the situation is this tense. I'm in disbelief.

I agree it's not a competition. That's why I don't like the whole "MY country is better at this" stuff.
posted by pineappleheart at 12:48 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


What the actual fuck? They are armed to the teeth with non-lethal weaponry and they can't handle a guy with a knife? This is out of control.

This really bothers me. Why the hell even buy and train them on the damn things if they aren't going to be used in a textbook case where non-lethal weapons are called for?

Well, I guess I know the answer. The answer is torture. Non-lethal weapons are to be used to torture the non-compliant but unarmed into submission, that's apparently their only purpose. They need to be outlawed if they're not going to be used to preserve human life.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:49 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


If this is not something you want, then maybe the entire use of force doctrine should be looked at, and/or what we expect of police officers.

Well, that use-of-force guide is unconstitutional on its face and should fall over like an Italian soccer player the first time it's challenged, but the mentality is still there.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:49 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


This is a "US cops will do whatever they can to execute black people" thing.

As I said in the other thread, it's not so much that want to kill black people as it is that they're not willing to expend any effort to avoid killing them. There's always a reason. It's just that in the same sort of interaction with a white guy, the white guy somehow doesn't end up dead.
posted by empath at 12:49 PM on August 19 [27 favorites]


I feel like today's L.A. Times editorial "Ferguson's police force can learn from LAPD" is an unfortunate companion to the WashPost article.

I saw that op-ed. Where do you think they learned this from? LAPD basically invented the SWAT team. After the Watts Riots, LAPD wanted to upgrade their heavy tactical response. They even bought an armored car with a battering ram but they mostly used it during drug raids.

The LAPD is not a model for urban pacification. The LAPD is widely blamed for not intervening early in the Rodney King Riots. They just cordoned off the flash point, and stood back while the mayhem started. They let hapless bystanders like Reginald Denny wander right into the center.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:50 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this "My country's police were able to do X without killing anybody in X instance" is not very helpful

Sorry, but it's 100% completely and totally helpful to be reminded in the USA that cops do not HAVE to kill as many people as they do in the USA.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:50 PM on August 19 [26 favorites]


It's not glee. This fucking situation fills me with sadness. It is showing that, even in a country that nominally shares a similar legal and policing tradition, there is another viable way to do things.
posted by forgetful snow at 12:51 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


As I said in the other thread, it's not so much that want to kill black people as it is that they're not willing to expend any effort to avoid killing them.

Wilson's gun didn't aim itself and force him to make the choice as to whether to expend any effort to prevent it from firing.
posted by Etrigan at 12:52 PM on August 19


Look, I get and can accept that Barack Obama is too polarizing to really help by taking more extreme action (like a strongly worded letter). But where is Hillary Clinton? Does she have a National Police Reform plan? She is taking every black vote in America for granted.
posted by shothotbot at 12:52 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


If this is not something you want, then maybe the entire use of force doctrine should be looked at, and/or what we expect of police officers.

yes this is what i want

this exactly
posted by desjardins at 12:53 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


What the actual fuck? They are armed to the teeth with non-lethal weaponry and they can't handle a guy with a knife?

Meanwhile the RCMP took in that machete-wielding bus cannibal with a taser.
posted by elizardbits at 12:53 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Well, that use-of-force guide is unconstitutional on its face and should fall over like an Italian soccer player the first time it's challenged, but the mentality is still there.

I seem to recall that being the federal standard? I mean, I hope I'm wrong, but that's what my recollection is telling me. Basically what I'm saying is that to stop this, the entire concept of policing needs to be re-examined. Which I am for.

...well, actually I'm for eliminating the police entirely as an institution of people with special powers whose word and power carries more weight than citizens, but the former is my reform position.
posted by corb at 12:55 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Wilson's gun didn't aim itself and force him to make the choice as to whether to expend any effort to prevent it from firing

I am guessing that Wilson policed as he was trained to police. Throw him in jail if you can (unlikely) but the problem is much bigger. The talk about the UK (or Germany or Japan or ...) is more to remind us that there are other actual, working models of police forces which are working today in the real world.
posted by shothotbot at 12:55 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


If police are able, per that use of force document cited in the other mondo thread, to shoot anyone to stop them from committing a felony

A felony you say?

943.201  Unauthorized use of an individual's personal identifying information or documents.
(b) "Personal identifying information" means any of the following information:
1. An individual's name.
(2) Whoever, for any of the following purposes, intentionally uses, attempts to use, or possesses with intent to use any personal identifying information or personal identification document of an individual, including a deceased individual, without the authorization or consent of the individual and by representing that he or she is the individual, that he or she is acting with the authorization or consent of the individual, or that the information or document belongs to him or her is guilty of a Class H felony:

So that fake name/famous dead person you use on twitter/facebook - should you be shot to stop you from using that?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:55 PM on August 19


Chris Hayes reports that cops on scene don't have tasers and they are not standard issue.
posted by desjardins at 12:56 PM on August 19


I think it's safe to say that police officers in almost every other country are better trained to deal with assailants in a non-lethal manner.

American cops kill about 400 people a year. UN statistics say that world wide, police killed about 21,000 in 2011. So US police account for maybe 2% of police caused death. Maybe 4.4% of the world lives in America.

We just get on the news more often.

(Obligatory disclaimer - yes, of course we can do better.)
posted by IndigoJones at 12:56 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


As far as I know the standard the Supreme Court set down in Tennessee v. Garner, which says lethal force is only justified when there is "a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others," is still the law. The standard in play in Ferguson is way way way way below that bar.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:57 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


There's a decades long conversation of what we expect of police officers, foremost of which is their recognition of cultural and institutional racism and its effect on their actions. This conversation never goes anywhere because officials like Nixon and the government of Ferguson absolutely refuse to talk about racism.
posted by audi alteram partem at 12:57 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Oh man, don't get me fucking STARTED on the Democrats. Just the biggest bunch of useless sacks of blood I've ever seen. A "review" of possibly de-militarizing the police?!?! You know, to look at why they voted down the Grayson amendment to do this last year!

Hillary hasn't so much as tweeted about this, and she won't, because she needs bigoted white women to vote for her. Our politics is so poisonous.
posted by lattiboy at 12:57 PM on August 19 [25 favorites]


Surprise, surprise! The journalist who claimed there were 12 witnesses backing up the police's account of the shooting (what account? where is the incident report???) has been on medical leave since March and her tweets are personal, not publication-ready.
posted by sallybrown at 12:59 PM on August 19 [25 favorites]


But where is Hillary Clinton? Does she have a National Police Reform plan? She is taking every black vote in America for granted.

Are you kidding me? The last major political move Clinton took in recent memory was to distance herself from Obama's less hawkish foreign policy record and declare her plans to be far more hawkish on foreign policy than Obama (and more closely allied with Israel). She's more likely to take whichever side is wielding the big guns and body armor, I'm pretty sure.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:00 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


As far as I know the standard the Supreme Court set down in Tennessee v. Garner, which says lethal force is only justified when there is "a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others," is still the law. The standard in play in Ferguson is way way way way below that bar.

Ah okay, thanks. I'm not sure where I got the idea that it was to stop a felony! Maybe I was just remembering the pre-Garner standard - which apparently just changed in the 1980s, so it's possible that it hasn't fully spread to all the other police departments (though should)
posted by corb at 1:00 PM on August 19


Best of all, there was no such thing as jaywalking until the 1920s. Streets were for *people* before that... For bicycling, walking, and gosh, even protesting.

Don't let the Pinkertons hear you say that!
posted by aught at 1:01 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Televison station KCTV reported on Monday that Kansas City Police Department Officer Marc Catron posted a picture to his Facebook page along with this caption: "I'm sure young Michael Brown is innocent and just misunderstood. I'm sure he is a pillar of the Ferguson community."

The photo depicted a black man with a wad of money in his mouth, pointing a gun at the camera. But the photo wasn't of Brown at all. It was of a man in Oregon accused of murder.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:01 PM on August 19 [30 favorites]


Meanwhile the RCMP took in that machete-wielding bus cannibal with a taser.

Not that people are such fans of tazers either.
posted by smackfu at 1:01 PM on August 19


It is fair to note that Lee Rigby was a serving soldier who was run over and then hacked to death with cleavers on a London street, but the UK police successfully disarmed and arrested his killers to face proper justice without punishing anyone's community.

Actually, the UK is a pretty bad example because they had a massive outbreak of rioting nation-wide over a police killing just a few years ago that has very disturbing parallels to the current situation.
posted by srboisvert at 1:03 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


which says lethal force is only justified when there is "a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others," is still the law.

Isn't this where the "he was going for my gun" defense comes from?
posted by smackfu at 1:03 PM on August 19


American cops kill about 400 people a year. UN statistics say that world wide, police killed about 21,000 in 2011. So US police account for maybe 2% of police caused death. Maybe 4.4% of the world lives in America.

Australia killed 7 that same year. So you guys kill four times as many people per capita.

I'm not sure why the response to other civilized countries being fucking aghast at the massive faility rate of your cops (and justice system for that matter) is always "WELL AT LEAST WE'RE BETTER THAN THE AVERAGE WHICH IS WEIGHED DOWN BY AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES" but it just makes Americans look like even more ignorant anti-intellectual neanderthals that just want open hunting season on black people.
posted by Talez at 1:05 PM on August 19 [25 favorites]


Isn't this where the "he was going for my gun" defense comes from?

In general yes, but Brown was shot when he was 30-35 feet from Wilson's gun, so that story isn't enough on its own. Thus the argument that he was secretly an enraged bison.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:05 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


Not that people are such fans of tazers either.

That's because in the US tasers are for forcing compliance from elementary school kids, not for subduing dangerous people.
posted by empath at 1:06 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile the RCMP took in that machete-wielding bus cannibal with a taser.

Not that people are such fans of tazers either.


Less lethal force is great when it's a substitute for lethal force. It tends, in the US, to be a substitute for non-lethal force, or shouting, or just not using any kind of force and letting non-violent protesters go about their day.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:06 PM on August 19 [24 favorites]


"The cops all took their name tags off in Toronto during the last G20 debacle. About 90 of them were docked a day's pay, and I'm sure all of them thought it was money well spent for a chance to beat people up all weekend long."

Any cop without a nametag on shouldn't be protected by police immunity — he or she should be regarded by the law as a private citizen who, by striking another citizen, is committing assault and should be prosecuted.

That's the balance — if you want to have a monopoly on legitimate force, you need to be accountable at all times.
posted by klangklangston at 1:07 PM on August 19 [89 favorites]


"you need to be accountable at all times"

with football-style jerseys with big names and numbers on the back, if I had my way.
posted by komara at 1:08 PM on August 19 [24 favorites]


Any cop without a nametag on shouldn't be protected by police immunity — he or she should be regarded by the law as a private citizen who, by striking another citizen, is committing assault and should be prosecuted.


The Bush administration liked to point out that the Taliban lost Geneva convention protections because they didn't wear uniforms. I don't see why cops should be different.
posted by empath at 1:09 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


[Gungho, if you want to talk about the post's framing, you can use the contact form or MetaTalk. It doesn't go here. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad at 1:09 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Nurses have to wear things on their body at all times when they are on duty in a hospital to track where they are. Why not cops?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:09 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Any cop without a nametag on shouldn't be protected by police immunity — he or she should be regarded by the law as a private citizen who, by striking another citizen, is committing assault and should be prosecuted.

I LOVE this idea.
posted by KathrynT at 1:10 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


There's a reason why authoritarian regimes employ "secret police"; without being able to hold the police, including individual officers, accountable, there's no way to check their power, even if the structures exist in theory.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:11 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


@elonjames: If the safety (or perception thereof) of the police officer outweighs the safety of the citizen then we need a new system. Not compliance.
posted by audi alteram partem at 1:17 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


"Looter steals rose from florist and tries to cut police officer's fingers on the thorns"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:17 PM on August 19 [22 favorites]


That's because in the US tasers are for forcing compliance from elementary school kids, not for subduing dangerous people.

Nah, tasers are useful in general policing. Over and over and over again.
posted by phearlez at 1:17 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Any cop without a nametag on shouldn't be protected by police immunity — he or she should be regarded by the law as a private citizen who, by striking another citizen, is committing assault and should be prosecuted.

Any person who wears a police-type uniform and attempts to perform police-type actions without wearing a clearly visible nametag is impersonating a police officer as far as I'm concerned, and should be charged as such, even if they commit no other crimes.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:17 PM on August 19 [33 favorites]


“Cornel West on Missouri: "Obama reeks of political calculation not moral conviction",”BBC Newsnight, 18 August 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 1:19 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Are we absolutely certain that WaPo piece wasn't ghostwritten by Paul Verhoeven?
posted by brundlefly at 1:22 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Oh man, don't get me fucking STARTED on the Democrats. Just the biggest bunch of useless sacks of blood I've ever seen. A "review" of possibly de-militarizing the police?!?! You know, to look at why they voted down the Grayson amendment to do this last year!

Hillary hasn't so much as tweeted about this, and she won't, because she needs bigoted white women to vote for her. Our politics is so poisonous.


Yah, my congresswoman finally said something about this on twitter last night, nine days in. And she's a ten term incumbent in a gerrymandered Texas district that is full of not white people who would love for her to get vocal about it. I mean it makes me sick when I know that Hilary's not saying shit because she doesn't want to scare off any potential white voters or whatever, but my congresswoman is black and doesn't have to worry about that at all, what took so long?
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:23 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


The photo depicted a black man with a wad of money in his mouth, pointing a gun at the camera. But the photo wasn't of Brown at all. It was of a man in Oregon accused of murder.

I hate people.
posted by Phire at 1:23 PM on August 19 [27 favorites]


Can anyone better versed in media speak to the sudden cluster of sites claiming that Darren Wilson suffered an "orbital blowout fracture" during his encounter with Mike Brown?

I can't speak to that particularly, but I can say that the orbital fracture was part of the story (previously mentioned) that I heard from a St Louis area friend last week who heard it through the grapevine going back ultimately to people connected with the police, who were making a good deal of effort to spread the 'real story' to everyone they knew.

So basically and in short, this is the police protecting their own through leaks, spreading the 'real story' through the rumor mill, etc etc etc.

These details may or may not be true but they are very certainly the result of friends/supporters of the officer try to shape the media & online narrative in order to protect their friend and fellow officer.

I'll try to avoid injecting my own opinions too much here, but I'll make one point: This is exactly why you can't have the police investigating themselves. There must be some kind of outside, independent investigator for all incidents involving police injuring or killing someone. Their natural human instinct is to protect their own, that's exactly what they are trying to do by releasing this type of information anonymously. It's exactly what the Ferguson Police Chief was doing when he released the videotape of Brown.

And that same impulse that impels them to defend the officer, also makes them completely unsuitable for investigating these incidents in a neutral way. An outside, independent investigation is absolutely required if we want to reduce the numbers of these types of incidents.

posted by flug at 1:24 PM on August 19


Of the Donors Choose links posted above only this one still needs funding. Let's get it done for this Florissant kindergarden class.
posted by phearlez at 1:25 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Daily Kos Diary, so obviously with a grain of salt, but seems reasonable to me:

Autopsy suggests Mike Brown DID have arms in "surrender" pose when Darren Wilson killed him
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:28 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


This link collects in one place five eyewitness accounts of the shooting.
posted by prefpara at 1:28 PM on August 19 [22 favorites]


BBC: Three fatal minutes, several versions
posted by rosswald at 1:32 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Also while we're talking about being disappointed, does NPR not have a station local to St. Louis? I can't remember the last time there wasn't some minor national story that they didn't get a local correspondent to talk about on ATC or Morning Edition within like 3 days tops.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:32 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


St. Louis Public Radio
posted by zarq at 1:33 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Also while we're talking about being disappointed, does NPR not have a station local to St. Louis? I can't remember the last time there wasn't some minor national story that they didn't get a local correspondent to talk about on ATC or Morning Edition within like 3 days tops.

KWMU

Live updates from their staff here
posted by asockpuppet at 1:34 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


That link with the five eyewitnesses is short and damning.

I've been following this since it's happened but seeing them together like that....just wow. How was Wilson allowed to leave? Why?
posted by sio42 at 1:38 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


ob1quixote: "“Cornel West on Missouri: "Obama reeks of political calculation not moral conviction",” BBC Newsnight, 18 August 2014"

Ooh did he just sorta diss Sharpton. Oh hell yeah, he did! Literally by name. <3 Cornell!
posted by symbioid at 1:38 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]



This link collects in one place five eyewitness accounts of the shooting.


There is a remarkable agreement between them. It's very damning.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:39 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


Somewhere back in the beginning of time, this district had itself a civic dilemma of epic proportions. The city council had just passed a law that forbade alcoholic consumption in public areas; on the streets and on the corners. But the corner is, it was and it always will be the poorman's lounge. It's where a man wants to be on a hot summer's night. It's cheaper than a bar. Catch a nice breeze and watch the girls go on by.

But the law is the law so what are the western cops gonna do? They arrest every dude for tipping back a High Life, there'd be no time for any other kind of police work. And if they look the other way, they open themselves up to all kinds of flaunting, all kinds of disrespect.

Now, this is before my time but somewhere back in the 50's or the 60's, there was a moment of goddamn genius by some nameless smokehound who comes out the Cut-Rate one day and on his way to the corner he slips that just bought pint of elderberry into a paper bag. A great moment of civic compromise.

That small wrinkled ass paper bag allowed the corner boys to have their drink in peace and gave us permission to go and do police work. The kind of police work that's actually worth the effort, that's actually worth taking a bullet for.
This is a parable from The Wire, told by Bunny Colvin in Season 3, to his officers. I loved it at the time, but now see it as naive, perhaps delusional. This kind of civic compromise requires some shared ground, some common interest, between citizens and police. Some mutual respect. The events in Ferguson are showing us that, in many parts of this country, there is no common ground, no shared interest. "Go and do police work". Ha. It is becoming clear what "police work" really means to the cops in Ferguson.
posted by AceRock at 1:40 PM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Yeah, I don't know about the "orbital blowout fracture" thing. I suppose if it happened, this would have happened when the cop grabbed the guy by the neck and pulled him into the car? Seems totally irrelevant given the other details the witnesses have described. Getting punched in the face doesn't mean you get to shoot an unarmed guy who has his hands up and is already bleeding from several gunshot wounds. There's no threat there. That's murder.
posted by Hoopo at 1:40 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


There is a remarkable agreement between them. It's very damning.

The problem is going to be that those accounts were told sequentially in the media. So they've been tainted. I'm not saying they aren't true, I'm saying that a defense attorney is going to eat them up.
posted by Justinian at 1:43 PM on August 19


Here's an interesting visual. (Right now at Clayton)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:47 PM on August 19


Yeah, I don't know about the "orbital blowout fracture" thing. I suppose if it happened, this would have happened when the cop grabbed the guy by the neck and pulled him into the car?

Re: the supposed orbital blowout fracture or any other facial injury Wilson had, it definitely immediately occurred to me, perhaps uncharitably, that the dude probably banged his own damn face into his car door while making the stupid move of trying to pull Brown in by his elbow. It seems about as likely as any other explanation that's been put forth. I can't be the only person who thinks this.
posted by limeonaire at 1:48 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Regarding the orbital fracture:

1) Combined with the autopsy report that Brown's body lacked signs of a struggle, that seems to back the friend's account of the door bouncing off Brown and slamming back into Officer Wilson. You don't punch a guy hard enough to break part of his skull and not leave "signs of a struggle" on your knuckles.

2) The site reporting on this is also crediting Christine Byers as if she were an active reporter and not a person who's on leave from her job and who thus isn't holding to any publication standard, which is what she is. So I'm not inclined to trust their fact checking.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:48 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


The problem is going to be that those accounts were told sequentially in the media. So they've been tainted. I'm not saying they aren't true, I'm saying that a defense attorney is going to eat them up.

Well, maybe. I assume that those accounts don't differ substantially from what the witnesses told the various police and if they testify under oath, then well.

I agree, though, that it is a long shot getting any amount of justice out of this situation.

All of that said, it does sort of explain the disarray at the PD over this - they have to know the cop really shit the bed and they've been working overtime to try and cover up the shit, and the smell of it surrounds them.

They could come clean, but Pigs in Zen.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:49 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


State prosecutors to present evidence in Michael Brown case to grand jury
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:49 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


State prosecutors to present evidence in Michael Brown case to grand jury

This is Bob McCulloch's office, so don't get your hopes up too high about anything because it's probably just going through the motions.
posted by Artw at 1:54 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Charles Pierce: The Limits Of Everything

To Be Wrong Or To Be Chicken

On Weariness
posted by homunculus at 1:59 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


meta
posted by twist my arm at 1:59 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Well, maybe. I assume that those accounts don't differ substantially from what the witnesses told the various police and if they testify under oath, then well.

Ah. See, I'm not sure that they did tell the police their stories before those media accounts. If you're right and they did give on the record statements then that's a different story. But I'm realllllly not sure that they did?
posted by Justinian at 2:02 PM on August 19


Yeah, the police would have had to ask.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:03 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Ah. See, I'm not sure that they did tell the police their stories before those media accounts. If you're right and they did give on the record statements then that's a different story. But I'm realllllly not sure that they did?

Some of the statements were made immediately after the shooting -- Dorian Johnson, Emmanuel Freeman, Piaget Crenshaw. All were made before the autopsy results were released. They may not have been made to police, but they were made on contemporaneous video or time-stamped twitter.
posted by KathrynT at 2:06 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Exactly. Having the police make a case against the police is extremely problematic.
posted by Justinian at 2:07 PM on August 19


Yeah, you can't just go down and demand that police write your version of something that they don't even consider a crime.
posted by 23skidoo at 2:08 PM on August 19


Didn't it take a couple of days before the police talked to Dorian Johnson?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:08 PM on August 19


Can a grand jury verdict be appealed? What if Holder recommends that McCulloch recuse himself and he refuses to? Is there anyway the people of Ferguson can file again without going through McCulloch?
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:08 PM on August 19


From that awful cop-written WaPo editorial linked above:

here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.

No. Absolutely not. I refuse to recognize the legitimacy of any police force that says this. My rights aren't niceties too delicate for the real world. The right of the citizens of Ferguson to assemble is not something the police or anyone else has the authority to revoke arbitrarily, either.

But this is the conventional wisdom right now, and it's deeply, irreparably pathological. This is antithetical to a free society, it's morally indefensible, and as we know, even complete, humiliating submission to a thug with a badge doesn't guarantee a goddamn thing about my safety, or yours, or anyone's.

The police in America have always brutalized Black people and non-Whites disproportionately, and they've always brutalized some White people. But since the federal military surplus program started in the 90's, and especially after 9/11, they've become ever more paranoid, violent, lawless, and have replaced their imperative to serve and protect citizens with a mission to viciously stamp out any and all perceived disobedience, no matter how unthreatening or justified it may be, to state authority. This is the mentality of the authoritarian state. This is the police state. We can stop dreading its arrival because it's here. Now let's do something about it.
posted by clockzero at 2:08 PM on August 19 [69 favorites]



Didn't it take a couple of days before the police talked to Dorian Johnson?


Yeah, but... Piaget, I think had given a statement and had her phone confiscated basically immediately.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:09 PM on August 19


AG Holder was briefed by phone on the preliminary findings of the federal autopsy on Michael Brown this afternoon.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:11 PM on August 19


So, I have a friend who works as a firefighter for the city of St. Louis (yes, city, not county very much a difference) and he has posted on Facebook that apparently yes, medics were there and that they did indeed transport Officer Wilson who did suffer facial fractures. How he does not say nor did he personally respond to the call. He says lots of facts are being missed because of little to no facts being released to us (unclear if it is FIRE/EMS or public in this case.)

Take with whatever grain of salt, you'd like.

I'm not sure what to make of it other than, well, if Officer Wilson did suffer injuries why not post pictures? Release that information? If he had fractures, I assume X-rays were necessary of some form?
posted by lizarrd at 2:11 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


A message to the people of Ferguson, Eric H. Holder Jr.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:12 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


"So that fake name/famous dead person you use on twitter/facebook - should you be shot to stop you from using that?"

FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK, Peoria is being sued by the ACLU for having a SWAT-type raid on a guy with an anonymous twitter account pretending to be the mayor -- bulletproof vests, helmets, guns drawn, door kicked in, the whole bit. Seven cops to bust down this guy's door. SEVEN. Drawn weapons in case he, I don't know, POSTED A HUNDRED AND FORTY MORE CHARACTERS TO TWITTER while they were arresting him.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:13 PM on August 19 [61 favorites]


Now let's do something about it.

It seems so hopeless when so many people look at what is happening in Ferguson as not going far enough. There's a significant number of americans that would have been happy to see dogs, real bullets and firehoses.
posted by empath at 2:14 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


"I urge the citizens of Ferguson who have been peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights to join with law enforcement in condemning the actions of looters, vandals and others seeking to inflame tensions and sow discord." - Eric Holder

Which they have been doing but I guess Iraq and stuff.
posted by RedShrek at 2:16 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


FUNNY YOU SHOULD ASK, Peoria is being sued by the ACLU for having a SWAT-type raid on a guy with an anonymous twitter account pretending to be the mayor -- bulletproof vests, helmets, guns drawn, door kicked in, the whole bit. Seven cops to bust down this guy's door. SEVEN. Drawn weapons in case he, I don't know, POSTED A HUNDRED AND FORTY MORE CHARACTERS TO TWITTER while they were arresting him.

And now they have his computers and plenty of time to dig through his email, etc. Hope he wasn't cheating on his wife or buying pot, or talking shit about his boss, etc.
posted by empath at 2:17 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


pineappleheart: "Yeah, this "My country's police were able to do X without killing anybody in X instance" is not very helpful though I'm sure it makes you feel great."

It is precisely helpful for comparing and contrasting: If the Lieutenant Governor of the state says that "We have legal processes that are (...) designed after centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence tradition.” it is worthwhile to see how those processes compare to the model. It is useful to see how we diverge from the model, and what advantages and disadvantages there are between the two.
posted by boo_radley at 2:17 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Hope he wasn't cheating on his wife or buying pot, or talking shit about his boss, etc

His roomate was arrested for possession, but IIRC, it's been thrown out already because the original warrant was bullshit, and so fruit of the poison tree and all that.

Ars has more.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:20 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


An unmarked black van, with a bunch of burly 30 to 40 somethings wearing and putting on Black Bloc gear.

This is from way, way upthread, but if you see something like this, those people are not anarchists, they are not Black Bloc, they are cops. I know from Black Bloc, I used to run around in that kind of crowd in the late nineties/early 2000s and I am still in a milieu where some people do Black Bloc stuff. I will be glad to discuss in more detail based on experience why I am sure that those people are not Black Bloc via memail, but suffice it to say that people who are doing Black Bloc do not show up en masse, will not be pulling on their black clothes in a van, are very unlikely to be driving an unmarked black van (which would be a total fucking cop magnet)...And what's more, you rarely find "burly" Black Bloc-ers - small but spirited, more like, because they are a bunch of punk kids. And last, not to put down people of my own age or anything, but there just aren't significant quantities of 30 to 40-year old people doing militant protest. The last time I went to anything really militant, I was 34, and I was the eminence grise of the demo.

You know who are burly 30-40somethings who show up in a group in an unmarked van? Fucking agents provocateurs. Maybe cops, maybe freelance, maybe feds.

Clearly, their purpose is to stir shit up so that people get beaten and to give the impression that a bunch of militant whites are coming in and fucking with people. This has the effect of helping to delegitimatize the protests to outsiders and it has the effect of sowing distrust among the actual protesters and causing people to waste a lot of time.

There are two kinds of agents provocateurs - the ones who are actually seriously undercover, who will resemble the targets (ie, if they're infiltrating hippies, they will look like hippies; if punks, then punks, etc) and who are relatively few because they are more difficult to find and recruit; and the ones needed in large numbers on an ad hoc basis. The ones needed in large numbers on an ad hoc basis will not look much like the target group, because they will mostly be off-duty cops. They'll be big, they'll be burly/pudgy, they'll be older, they will be manifestly "in costume".
posted by Frowner at 2:20 PM on August 19 [71 favorites]


You know who are burly 30-40somethings who show up in a group in an unmarked van? Fucking agents provocateurs. Maybe cops, maybe freelance, maybe feds.

Frowner, I got the implication that this is exactly what spinifex was trying to say with that story.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:29 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


I think Frowner is probably right re those guys in the van being cops, but I would caution against assuming burly 30-40 year olds doing militant protest are necessarily cops. My experience has been that a lot of veterans back from Iraq and Afghanistan are coming back angry and fit that age bracket.
posted by corb at 2:33 PM on August 19


> There's plenty of precedent for abuse of protesters (especially blacks), but is there a precedent in this country for this much control/abuse of the media

Apologies if this is already covered in this fast-moving thread, but yes, certainly, under various sedition laws.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:33 PM on August 19


I've got the problem that if I say something that does not adhere entirely to a given story, I get people who presume that I must be completely taking the other side. There are one or two points of the coverage of the Brown shooting that I question because I feel like it's incendiary reporting, and so naturally some friends freak out like I'm backing up the police there or something crazy. It's very frustrating. :(

This has gotten several replies and a few "yea reallys", but after some thought on it when i was going to initially wholeheartedly agree...


What you're saying there, is a point i've seen mainly brought up by concern trolls. I'm not saying you are one, but whenever you feel like you need to add this disclaimer the shore of that island is within sight. I always try and keep that in mind.

I don't think the pushback of this is entirely kneejerk and pointless, i think it's a conscious reaction to very similar language you see in the objections and interjections of people attempting to derail progressive discourse.

I hear where you're coming from, and i think your post was legit. But i really don't think this thread is a place to high five and commiserate over being "silenced all my life!" in that way. And i sort of saw that starting to happen. And it bugged the shit out of me.

There isn't some super complicated point i have here. Just that when you get that kind of pushback, you should take more than a second to reflect on why and not just settle on "i'm not staying 100% on message so they're forming a circular firing squad!". That situation exists, but this isn't exactly a shining example of it.
posted by emptythought at 2:36 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I just thought of something! Remember how one of the witnesses said that the cop tried to open the door, but it bounced back against the cop because Brown was standing there and didn't get out of the way? Would it be possible for that to have happened with enough force to produce the orbital fracture?
posted by corb at 2:36 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


I think Frowner is probably right re those guys in the van being cops, but I would caution against assuming burly 30-40 year olds doing militant protest are necessarily cops. My experience has been that a lot of veterans back from Iraq and Afghanistan are coming back angry and fit that age bracket.

True enough, but I would bet that anyone with a little common sense could pick them out from cops...it's sort of a cop gestalt, if you will, and one gets used to it.
posted by Frowner at 2:37 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


MSNBC article about the First Amendment violations happening in Ferguson.
posted by lizarrd at 2:38 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


roystgnr: Too implausible still? Give it time; the expensive gear keeps getting less expensive. I wonder what the police reaction will be when any big event on the streets is surrounded by drones watching the "fireworks" without regard to legality.

That sort of thing is sub $500 now for the solidly decent stuff, and you can get one pre equipped with a camera that record to a memory card for like, under $70. Not one that can hold position on its own or be flown with remote vision/POV or anything, but still, it would fly and record video.

I have no idea why vice or someone didn't bring several with them. Who cares if the cops shoot them out of the sky? That just makes for a better video.
posted by emptythought at 2:39 PM on August 19


Would it be possible for that to have happened with enough force to produce the orbital fracture?

Easily. Same could happen if he kicked it open hard enough and bounced back.

Or forgot to undo his seatbelt and hit his head on the roof. not that I've ever done that

His getting punched in the face doesn't seem likely. Hard to get a good swing. Maybe an elbow or something.

But anyway, it's sort of bullshit to shoot a guy for it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:39 PM on August 19


I wouldn't be surprised, corb.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:40 PM on August 19


You know who are burly 30-40somethings who show up in a group in an unmarked van? Fucking agents provocateurs. Maybe cops, maybe freelance, maybe feds.

At the North American summit in Montebello, Quebec in 2007, attentive viewers noted that the footage of "masked anarchists" arrested by police showed that the anarchists all had matching boots identical to the arresting officers'. On August 22, Quebec police denied that the anarchists were plants, and on August 23 confirmed that they were.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:41 PM on August 19 [65 favorites]


but I would caution against assuming burly 30-40 year olds doing militant protest are necessarily cops. My experience has been that a lot of veterans back from Iraq and Afghanistan are coming back angry and fit that age bracket.

These alley van people? Definitely cops. They might as well have been wearing signs to that effect.

There are plenty of 30+ aged people at these anarchist protests, certainly. I'm one of them. However, for the most part, we're not the ones in specifically Black Bloc gear, doing Black Bloc activities. Instead, we're the ones marching alongside them, or in the side/back, providing support during the march (like medic, NLG observers, handing out leaflets, carrying signs, etc.), or providing support in planning for the march. Like, ferrying supplies back and forth. Buying supplies to be ferried. Providing rides, etc.

Us Olds are definitely fed up and angry, though. Oh yes.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:41 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I just thought of something! Remember how one of the witnesses said that the cop tried to open the door, but it bounced back against the cop because Brown was standing there and didn't get out of the way? Would it be possible for that to have happened with enough force to produce the orbital fracture?

Corb that's a really good observation. I've seen people get seriously fucked up by car doors in situations where it seemed like not that much force was involve. They're metal, heavy, have a surprising amount of momentum and can act as force multipliers depending on who is pulling on them where. I've seen solid metal cameras you could seemingly run over with the car get seriously smashed up by doors. And people, and fingers/arms. And yes, on the outside with it opening towards them too.

Good luck ever seeing that story in the media though. Because they want it to be implicit that the injuries were caused by him getting punched with superhuman giant negro strength or something.
posted by emptythought at 2:42 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I just thought of something! Remember how one of the witnesses said that the cop tried to open the door, but it bounced back against the cop because Brown was standing there and didn't get out of the way? Would it be possible for that to have happened with enough force to produce the orbital fracture?

I park near a small support pole that's sort of camoflaged and I have done this to myself hard enough to raise a HUGE bump on my forehead and open a large and scary-looking cut on myself-- and I had the presence of mind to jerk out of the way, mostly. I could EASILY fracture my own skull like that.
posted by WidgetAlley at 2:44 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


> You know who are burly 30-40somethings who show up in a group in an unmarked van? Fucking agents provocateurs. Maybe cops, maybe freelance, maybe feds.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Seattle? The arrest of puppetistias with million-dollar bail for possession of turpentine and palm pilots? Mysterious "anarchists" crashing G8 protests in Italy wearing police-issue boots, eventually disappearing into the back-doors of local police stations? All of which were connected to international police training exercises run out of retooled schools for anti-Communist thugs?
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:45 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


About the orbital fractures: I've had severe orbital fractures, and I've shot my share of handguns. If dude had a fracture or 'blowout' or whatever to the orbital floor, and still managed to put half a dozen rounds into a pretty tight group from 30+ feet without spraying up the entire street, he is an amazing marksman; orbital fractures, in my experience, immediately make you pretty damn blind--or at least very very teary eyed--for at least a few minutes. I don't believe for a second that the cop sustained any orbital fractures prior to the shooting.
posted by still bill at 2:47 PM on August 19 [28 favorites]


I don't know if we have anything like that in the civilian world, or in the police structure. But by god, I really think that we should. The idea of this police department being able to escape by ultimately throwing Wilson out as a bone and going on blithely really bothers me.

Wow, the people who said this was inflammatory as hell(that you didn't respond to at all, and just moved on from) were on point. Nice shoot and scoot.

I struggled for a bit to come up with a good analogy, but the best i could was the people whose response to legalizing gay marriage was "Well, why don't we just get rid of marriage altogether as a legal thing?"

Why is punishing the department and command structure mutually exclusive to punishing the officer? What's the motivation to constantly try and pan the camera out to wide angle? This isn't the first time you've approached this situation that way.
posted by emptythought at 2:52 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


"orbital fractures, in my experience, immediately make you pretty damn blind--or at least very very teary eyed--for at least a few minutes. I don't believe for a second that the cop sustained any orbital fractures prior to the shooting."

But that's the new narrative - the officer's vision was impaired and he thought Brown grew a gun and turned around to fire.

... shit. I thought this was a joke comment when I started writing it.
posted by komara at 2:53 PM on August 19 [33 favorites]


I just thought of something! Remember how one of the witnesses said that the cop tried to open the door, but it bounced back against the cop because Brown was standing there and didn't get out of the way? Would it be possible for that to have happened with enough force to produce the orbital fracture?

I don't think here, but I've seen discussion along those lines for a week. There are also claims the officer had a leg injury, which also seems more likely to have been the fault of the door than of someone reaching through the window to attack him, and also the theory that the door "bouncing" as Dorian Johnson described led Officer Wilson to assume he was being deliberately physically assaulted. (As we've seen in the 2009 case, any injury or damage that occurs can end up being attributed to the actions of the attacked, so it may merely be cop semantics that a door bouncing off a suspect was interpreted as an attack on his person.)
posted by dhartung at 2:54 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I thought corb was arguing for Wilson's superiors to be held accountable in addition to him, not instead of. Maybe I'm wrong.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:55 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


I thought corb was arguing for Wilson's superiors to be held accountable in addition to him, not instead of. Maybe I'm wrong.

That's the way I read her comment. Her intent appears crystal-clear to me.
posted by Pudhoho at 2:59 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


so back around the time I left small town New Mexico for college there was an incident where city PD had a "man down" called in and responded in force and it turned out he had shot himself in the foot

this is that but a million times worse isn't it

posted by PMdixon at 2:59 PM on August 19


What a shitty day. In addition to this, ISIL beheaded James Foley and are threatening to behead Steve Sotloff if Obama doesn't accede to their demands.

I feel complete despair right now. This has been one hell of a difficult summer.
posted by sallybrown at 3:00 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


(It's kind of a moot point; even if it turns out that Brown was, against all logic and reason, trying to kill a police officer on a residential street in broad daylight, the city's handling of the case and protests is so unbelievably horrible that the entire command structure still needs to be removed root and branch.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:00 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


I just wrote my:

City Councilmember
County Supervisor
State Senator
State Assemblymember
Lt. Governor
State Attorney General

to encourage mandatory cameras on cops. Got some affirmative sounds, but nobody knows if there's a bill that does that yet. It's late in the legislative cycle, so it's a bit tougher to introduce something now, but that's what our glorious gut-and-amend process is for. I'm going to write to my Gov. too, and then to some c4s who do similar work (since in my experience, bills are often "sponsored" by the orgs that really wrote them).

My advice for other folks who want to use this to get a more accountable constabulary out of it is to start at the lowest level, since they usually get fewer calls and often have more of an ability to get things done where you are, then move up. Call them, don't email them (I emailed a couple because I'm a hypocrite, but also because I'm at work and was on a dumb conference call), and they'll be more responsive and will feel more pressure to give you an answer right then.

Whether or not Mike Brown was secretly Bin Laden or Fred Hampton, a lot of damage could have been prevented by having this taped to begin with.
posted by klangklangston at 3:01 PM on August 19 [24 favorites]


The more things change, the more they stay the same. Seattle? The arrest of puppetistias with million-dollar bail for possession of turpentine and palm pilots? Mysterious "anarchists" crashing G8 protests in Italy wearing police-issue boots, eventually disappearing into the back-doors of local police stations?

Yes. There really needs to be a How Political Protests Work FAQ someplace so that we can just stop retreading these interminable discussions about the supposed "black bloc opportunists" and "white anarchists" and "revolutionaries" who invariably turn out to be cops and provocateur thugs, using the one traveling schlemihl ideologue who showed up from RCP or whatever fringe group as their cover. The whole thing is just a right-wing reframe of the discussion around any and every mass protest, a way of looking at a mass protest that is deliberately designed to split keep-the-peace moderate liberals from radicals — and it seems still to work, way too fucking well, every time it comes out. (Remember the Occupy threads right here on MeFi?) This really needs to be on an Internet lefty bingo card or something.
posted by RogerB at 3:03 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


I've had severe orbital fractures, and I've shot my share of handguns. If dude had a fracture or 'blowout' or whatever to the orbital floor, and still managed to put half a dozen rounds into a pretty tight group from 30+ feet without spraying up the entire street, he is an amazing marksman;

Yeah, which is why I'm inclined to blame it on a fellow cop telling him "You fucked up, bro. Now hold still while I apply your alibi."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:07 PM on August 19 [29 favorites]


SD Police Say Tazing 8-Year-Old Native Girl Was Justified, Family Sues
posted by Artw at 3:08 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Honestly, the cop getting hit in the face (not necessarily 'orbital fracture' level) is the one bit of the cop story that I could see as true. Darren Wilson is driving down the street, yells out the window for them to get out of the road. One of them responds that they are nearly home, and now the cop is pissed because they didn't respect his author-it-tah. Pulls up closer, maybe opens the door into him, maybe yanks Brown down to do the 'you little shit, you get out of the road when I say jump' routine. Gets smacked in the face, maybe deliberately, maybe by the car door bouncing back, maybe because he just pulled Brown offbalance into a car window and he's trying to stand up. Now the cop's author-it-tah has really been disrespected, and he has a gun and he's going to make sure they pay.

I don't know that it has to be part of it -- you get psychopath cops like Johannes Mehserle who kill kids just because they have the impulse and a moment of irritation -- but it does make the escalation from yelling out of a car window to six shots in the head and chest fit better. At least in the world of American cops, where even touching a cop is considered justification for killing someone.
posted by tavella at 3:08 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Does attempting to detain a subject by force through a car window even meet the Peace Officer Standards and Training for the Ferg. P.D.?
posted by morganw at 3:08 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Shooting some dude 6 times including in the face is just what cops do when they stub their toes or whatever.
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


a SWAT-type raid on a guy with an anonymous twitter account pretending to be the mayor

I thought you needed a thicker skin than this to get anywhere in politics.
posted by fivebells at 3:10 PM on August 19


RE: Drones

I have no idea why vice or someone didn't bring several with them.

Battery life. You have a good position where you can wait and then deploy something, great. You want a scan over the crowd for a few minutes, you can do it. In an evolving situation like this? I don't see that your 10-15 minute drone is something you want to deploy. Yeah, maybe it's there when something is going on, but likely not. And then you have a thousand dollar anchor to schlep around till you can charge it up. And they're going to hustle you out of the McDs before you can charge your phone and shoulder-mounted camera, much less your drone.

And that puts aside the issue of the cops flipping their shit over it. Considering the way they have reacted to a plastic bottle being thrown I sure as shit wouldn't want them to figure out I was the person driving the buzzing overhead accountability device.
posted by phearlez at 3:10 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Wasn't Johannes Mehserle suspected of steroid abuse? Could that be a factor here?
posted by Artw at 3:18 PM on August 19


I thought corb was arguing for Wilson's superiors to be held accountable in addition to him, not instead of. Maybe I'm wrong.

My apologies, I thought that was clear, but I may not have been - I think that the officer and superiors/institution should both be held accountable for what they have done/continue to do in the case of the FPD.
posted by corb at 3:18 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Battery life. You have a good position where you can wait and then deploy something, great. You want a scan over the crowd for a few minutes, you can do it. In an evolving situation like this? I don't see that your 10-15 minute drone is something you want to deploy. Yeah, maybe it's there when something is going on, but likely not. And then you have a thousand dollar anchor to schlep around till you can charge it up. And they're going to hustle you out of the McDs before you can charge your phone and shoulder-mounted camera, much less your drone.

Your ending paragraph is a solid point, but i have one of these quadcopters. The batteries on every model i've ever seen, commercial or home built from components could be swapped in seconds. The batteries are small and it's easy to carry a lot of them.(the ones for mine are like, bic lighter sized. but even big camera-haulers only take maybe snickers bar sized batteries). They stay charged pretty much indefinitely on their own. You could easily have a fanny pack or backpack pouch stuffed with 20 of them and fly for hours and hours. I've done that noodling around just for the sake of flying because it's fun.

I've seen them used to cover protests that were fairly violent in other countries where the security forces were cracking down. It just confuses me that they aren't here.

I thought you needed a thicker skin than this to get anywhere in politics.

I've never been able to find it lately, but where's that old mefi post about the kid who pissed off the local PD, so they executed a dawn raid on his parents house, trashed everything, and then made up a bunch of lies and trashed his rep locally and it stopped him from getting into college or something? because yea, pretty similar story.

It's weird how google turned up nothing. The blog post about it was really good, and it had in big bold text as it's own line "they executed a dawn raid", and i think that was in the fpp. Weird.
posted by emptythought at 3:19 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Does attempting to detain a subject by force through a car window even meet the Peace Officer Standards and Training for the Ferg. P.D.?

And remember Mike Brown was a drug crazed giant who just, literally, knocked over a convenience store and beat the clerk.

So, this was clearly a very dangerous situation - and, the officer didn't call for backup. He didn't even call to tell them what he found. He didn't even get out of the car. So, he then tries to apprehend the guy through a car window, like it's the drive through at Dunkin Donuts.

He shoots the kid, and he doesn't call it in.

This is all very bizarre, even if you take the cops word at it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:20 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


the seemingly indiscriminate amount of teargas and flashbangs being thrown along with house-to-house sweeps and everyfuckingthing else the police have been doing seems..........DISPROPORTIONATE.

The drug war means never having to say you’re sorry
posted by homunculus at 3:24 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


I hope the teams of lawyers for the media organizations are working overtime crafting their lawsuits against the police.

In the end, of course, it is the taxpayers who will do the pay-outs, not those responsible.
posted by el io at 3:25 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Lately, I've been working on a DIY astrophotography setup which consists of a Raspberry Pi, the official camera module, and some styrofoam. It's surprisingly easy to program the camera.

I've been thinking that pretty much the only thing I could do in this situation that would actually help is to use what I've learned building that to help develop plans for something that could be assembled relatively cheaply (~$100 buying the pieces at hobbyist retail prices, substantially less as raw components) and handed out by organizations like the ACLU or Amnesty International.

The goal would be basically to continuously stream a series of still photos back to a central aggregation point to create something like an "official" record of the event from as many angles as possible. I think it would be possible, with sufficient numbers of them in the crowd, to do something like create PhotoSynth snapshots of a given moment in time.

Additionally, I think it would be possible to rig something like this up so that the only visible component is the camera lens, which is easy to obscure, while the rest of it remains sewn into a vest or something along those lines.

If you are a technical person, think about how your skills might be used to make it so that in the future there is no effective difference between a protest and a gathering of the press.

When the riot line advances into the crowd, we have to make them look the world in the eye.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:29 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


I don't see that your 10-15 minute drone is something you want to deploy [...] Considering the way they have reacted to a plastic bottle being thrown I sure as shit wouldn't want them to figure out I was the person driving the buzzing overhead accountability device.

There's no reason it would have to be a dumb little quadrotor. A fixed wing aircraft is probably better suited to loitering on target anyway, the endurance will be much greater. Maybe an R/C sailplane outfitted with a stabilized, downward-looking camera and a small folding prop.
posted by indubitable at 3:36 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


[T]he considered point of view of segregationists during the civil rights era was that 'their' African Americans were either content or too dumb to rebel by themselves, and that therefore if there was unrest it was the fault of the Jewish outsiders and their 'freedom rides' and connections to the global red conspiracy. The obvious liberal response to this sort of line was that injustice anywhere was a problem everywhere, that all citizens had moral agency and a stake in freedom, that there is nothing sacrosanct about 'the local' (and appeals to it are usually reactionary), and that red-baiting had proved itself to be an attack on all democratic forces. At least since Massive Resistance, that was the obvious liberal response. And it took no time at all to think it up, everyone already knew the lines.

So what does it say that a great many of today's liberals unthinkingly regurgitate the stuff about 'outside agitators' in Missouri?
Richard Seymour: What is an 'outside agitator'?
posted by RogerB at 3:37 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


For the record, it's not lost on me that I'm basically describing the cameras the police should be wearing.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:37 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


emptythought, I didn't believe that was ever on Metafilter but I found it on reddit.

Redditor bails out student and the article from LA Weekly.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 3:38 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


The goal would be basically to continuously stream a series of still photos
Additionally, I think it would be possible to rig something like this up so that the only visible component is the camera lens


Pivothead has a $200 8gig glasses - no streaming. Still photos can go at a certain per second rate. The newer Pivothead looks like you could do what you are looking to do.

under $10 gets plastic pocketclips for your cell phone so the camera lens pokes out the front of the shirtpocket - streaming via apps like qix or ipsquick.

The downside to relying on streaming is what happens when cell coverage is stopped or a WiFi blocker is used?
posted by rough ashlar at 3:39 PM on August 19


This is a project I worked on last year using drones to record police misconduct during protests: http://www.civileyes.me/. I didn't complete it, but the ideas are basically sound modulo choice of exact platform, etc.
posted by jjwiseman at 3:42 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I wonder what the police reaction will be when any big event on the streets is surrounded by drones watching the "fireworks" without regard to legality.

From yesterday: LAPD Tells Drone Operator Not To Fly Over Ezell Ford Protest
posted by Room 641-A at 3:42 PM on August 19


This is a must read: journalist Ryan Deveraux's account of his arrest last night (and being shot with a rubber bullet). Parts of it read like dispatches from a war correspondent. (Well...)
Between the gaps in the houses we could see the armored vehicles quickly moving up and down W. Florissant, parallel to us. Two turns and the police would find us off that main road and, potentially, shoot at us. We took cover behind a large tree in case the firing started again.

It was then that one of the armored vehicles entered the neighborhood once more, this time ahead of us, slowly moving in the direction we were walking. With their high-powered lights scanning the neighborhood, the only option we had was to announce ourselves as members of the press and hope they wouldn’t shoot. We stepped out of the shadows, our hands in the air, and began yelling, “Press!” and “Journalists!” and “We’re media!” over and over. An officer on top of the vehicle turned his light on us. After a pause, he beckoned us forward. We continued walking, our hands still in the air, still shouting that we were journalists.

With rifles trained on us, we turned right on Highmunt Dr., in the direction of W. Florissant and toward another police vehicle, which had more guns pointed at us. As we made our way forward, I heard a pop and felt a stinging in my lower back. I jumped up instinctively, and realized that the officers behind us, the ones who had asked us to move forward, had shot us with what I believe were rubber bullets. I was hit once and Hermsmeier was hit twice.
posted by desjardins at 3:54 PM on August 19 [38 favorites]


Now: Shots fired on Halls Ferry between Jennings Station and the "Circle" - Scanner
via http://www.reddit.com/live/tdrph3y49ftn/
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 3:54 PM on August 19


You know, I'm sensing a pattern in these 'cop kills unarmed [black] man' stories. The cop inevitably claims that the victim was 'reaching for the cop's gun'.

My solution: Cops don't have guns. Sounds silly perhaps, but the UK makes it work (they just call for backup when needed - the backup cops have guns if the situation warrants).

Sure, the cop will be saying 'he reached for my tazer', but then we'll only have tazed unarmed victims, not murdered ones.
posted by el io at 3:55 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


The thing that keeps coming back to me with this is that it just seems like the Confederacy riding again…
posted by klangklangston at 3:56 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I jumped up instinctively, and realized that the officers behind us, the ones who had asked us to move forward, had shot us with what I believe were rubber bullets. I was hit once and Hermsmeier was hit twice.

Ugh, I hope they sue the police department into bankruptcy...
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 4:00 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


So here is my take on best possible read for the cop on what happened.

He yells at the kid, the kid mouths off to him, the cop opens the door quickly, it bounces back and hits him in the eye, causing the fracture. Delirious, half blind and in extreme pain, he draws down on the kid that's running away. Maybe he fires once accidentally, hitting the kid. The kid turns around to surrender, the cop, high on adrenaline and barely able to see, opens up on him.

Maybe he gets manslaughter if that's his story.
posted by empath at 4:01 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


RogerB: Yes. There really needs to be a How Political Protests Work FAQ someplace so that we can just stop retreading these interminable discussions about the supposed "black bloc opportunists" and "white anarchists" and "revolutionaries" who invariably turn out to be cops and provocateur thugs, using the one traveling schlemihl ideologue who showed up from RCP or whatever fringe group as their cover. The whole thing is just a right-wing reframe of the discussion around any and every mass protest, a way of looking at a mass protest that is deliberately designed to split keep-the-peace moderate liberals from radicals — and it seems still to work, way too fucking well, every time it comes out. (Remember the Occupy threads right here on MeFi?) This really needs to be on an Internet lefty bingo card or something.

I agree, but beyond that, I think there's a revolving door of wonks whose experience in monkewrenching foreign politics eventually came home under a rationalization of pragmatism and security. I suspect this goes well back into the cold war. Regardless, it wouldn't surprise me if some of the leading experts in tactics for disruptive protest have a secret resume in teaching waterboarding, buggery, and extrajudicial rendition.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:02 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Ugh, I hope they sue the police department into bankruptcy...

To do that they'd have to sue the town into bankruptcy.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:02 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


The whole "outside agitators' bit is actually brilliant propaganda, whoever first put that in the playbook knew what the hell they were doing.

a) Ofttimes, as Frowner says, there really are 'outside agitators' who are either embedded/undercover feds trying to instigate violence, or ringer cops who actually do the violent crap at protests.

Which obviously justifies massive police violence in retaliation

b) and it does, as sagaciously pointed out above, drive a wedge between indigenous moderates and people who are actually being radicalized, or who have those tendencies already. Plus

c) thereby it delegitimizes what to my mind is a perfectly legitimate response to police violence, and shows the outside world that no matter how much protest might be justified, nobody local is really that angry, and the heads the cops are breaking are therefore those of outside troublemakers who shouldn't have been there to begin with.

On the other hand, the cops there don't seem to be doing anything else right, so any efficacy in the messaging here is probably basically accidental.
posted by hap_hazard at 4:05 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


It sure seems like the whole department is rotten to the core. Every last one of them should be fired (at least) and the department rebuilt from the ground up with stricter standards for candidates. In the meantime, maybe federal marshals could do the regular police work for the area?
posted by Flunkie at 4:05 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Fox2News has now joined the ranks of the people that insisted the video proved a different viewpoint aka the really blurry can't really make out audio from that video.

They also helpfully added captioning so that you can accurately hear what they're saying and not at all influencing you to hear that as you read it.
posted by lizarrd at 4:06 PM on August 19


looking into the future, i think bankruptcy for ferguson is very likely for one reason or another - the biggest irony is that by acting the way they have, the ferguson police have guaranteed that the tax base will shrink, liabilities will go up and many of them will be laid off
posted by pyramid termite at 4:06 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Maybe he gets manslaughter if that's his story.

lbr he's not ever going to be charged with anything, not ever.
posted by elizardbits at 4:06 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


""WAR" in Ferguson: (You better listen)

It's not a joke. It's not a game. If anyone says to you "come see the protest" you need to say "NO!" There's a lot of people out there playing "journalist." I was one of those fools playing "journalist." I will confess that this was the dumbest thing I've ever done in my life. The over-saturation of media is not helping the cause. We were filming at the burned down QT on West Florissant when a protester threw a glass bottle at the police. The crowd was asked by police to disburse over and over again. Those warnings fell on deaf ear's. The police department yelled repeatedly over the loud speaker for the media to separate from the protesters. The "media" understood the level of sincerity when the audible sound of weapons being charged echoed loudly over the chanting demonstrators. A police officer in riot gear invited me to hide behind his armored vehicle. I chose a spot off of the road close to fellow photographer Michael Thomas. The police released a few smoke canisters and then deployed chemicals. I started to choke when an all too familiar sound filled the air. Actual gunfire. This is an unmistakable sound. We heard it during night infiltration in the U.S. Army. I will never forget the sound of gunfire coming my way. The crazy part is that it was a welcome sound. If you heard it....that means that you're still alive. Bullets (unless subsonic) travel faster than the speed of sound. If you heard it...you're alive. The police descended on our position while screaming "Get the fuck out of here!" We were confused as to where he wanted us to go. I remember screaming "WHERE", but I don't remember hearing a direction to run. Still choking from the CS canisters....I took off and ran as fast as I could. All of this was captured on high definition video. I will happily supply is to any media outlet who requests a copy. If you share or redistribute this video on social media or television then you MUST credit Karl Lund for capturing it. Heed my warning. Ferguson is nothing short of a war zone. I will not be able to sleep tonight. I pray that all of my fellow photographer's, police officer friends and ALL of the protesters get home safe. I can't believe that this is happening in our city. I' God be with each of you.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203577869121821
"

http://www.reddit.com/live/tdrph3y49ftn/
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:07 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


The thing that keeps coming back to me with this is that it just seems like the Confederacy riding again…

Missouri was the base of operations for both the pro-slavery Border Ruffians in 'Bleeding Kansas' and the most (in)famous of the bushwhackers, guerillas and partisan raiders in the American Civil War.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:08 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


He yells at the kid, the kid mouths off to him, the cop opens the door quickly, it bounces back and hits him in the eye, causing the fracture. Delirious, half blind and in extreme pain, he draws down on the kid that's running away. Maybe he fires once accidentally, hitting the kid. The kid turns around to surrender, the cop, high on adrenaline and barely able to see, opens up on him.

You know, if they had lead with this story then maybe i would be willing to believe it. "I thought he intentionally hit me in the face with the door, and i was injured, and..."

The thing is, where's the eye witness accounts to corroborate that? Why not just lead with it if it was the truth?

Everything that's happened so far leads me to believe there can't be even this "reasonable" of an explanation.

Why would they be this defensive if it wasn't a "how dare you not bow to my authority you fucking kid" situation? These aren't little kids afraid of getting busted stealing pudding from the fridge after bed time. Cops get away with shit, especially when they have a semi-plausible story like that. Something much worse happened here.
posted by emptythought at 4:09 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


it's odd how a few random hoodlums beefing with each other are fairly good shots but the minute they try to shoot at the police, they're lousy shots

i'm really not sure how seriously to take these stories
posted by pyramid termite at 4:10 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Elon James is tweeting Instagram videos of the current protests. This one shows you the banners and signs they're carrying, but the people in this one holding flowers (roses?) over their heads and chanting Mike Brown's name are amazing.

no YOU'RE tearing up
posted by Phire at 4:10 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Maybe he fires once accidentally, hitting the kid. The kid turns around to surrender, the cop, high on adrenaline and barely able to see, opens up on him.

IANAL, but that's still murder, no?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:10 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


looking into the future, i think bankruptcy for ferguson is very likely for one reason or another - the biggest irony is that by acting the way they have, the ferguson police have guaranteed that the tax base will shrink, liabilities will go up and many of them will be laid off

Have you ever seen a police officer take an action that seemed like there was forethought involved in it that went more than 20 minutes into the future? Because i've seen plenty of examples of stuff that blatantly didn't, and barring some of the brief moments of Ron Johnson being ok in this, nothing really to the contrary in or outside this story.
posted by emptythought at 4:12 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Wasn't there a photo taken by a witness of two police (one being Wilson) standing over Michael Brown's body? Would that show any sign of an orbital fracture?
posted by perhapses at 4:14 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


So what does it say that a great many of today's liberals unthinkingly regurgitate the stuff about 'outside agitators' in Missouri?

See...I've seen reports whose veracity I believe, some from Antonio French and Chris King, among others, of "agitators" and/or "instigators": people who arrive ready for a fight, rather than a protest; a few bandana-wearing white dudes throwing bricks or rocks at the cops; a few dudes who've gotten drunk on-site; and equal-opportunity provocation by white dudes and black dudes getting on megaphones and baiting police and demonstrators. Some of these people are not from around here. Some of them are from around here. They may or may not be from the "outside," whatever that means. But regardless of where they're from, their presence makes it difficult for cooler heads to prevail, and they are real.

Then there are people I'd truly consider outside agitators appearing on the scene—like the KKK, which several people have witnessed members of on the ground, and like Westboro Baptist Church, members of which are apparently heading to Ferguson, too.

So no, I don't agree that the notion of "outside agitators" is a false one here. There genuinely are people who don't have the best interests of those in the community at heart who are starting stuff in Ferguson.
posted by limeonaire at 4:15 PM on August 19 [14 favorites]


What ever story they come out with, even if it has to a hugely unlikely one to achieve this, will completly absolve him of ALL wrongdoing. They can't give on this, not even a little bit.
posted by Artw at 4:17 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


The piece in Die Welt was titled "The day the US police became my enemy".

Ansgar Graw wrote:

Für mich ist das alles eine neue Erfahrung. Ich war in etlichen Krisengebieten, ich war in Bürgerkriegsregionen in Georgien, im Gazastreifen, illegal im Kaliningrader Gebiet, als die damalige Sowjetunion westlichen Reisenden den Zugang noch streng verwehrte, ich war in Afghanistan, im Irak, in Vietnam und in China, ich habe heimlich Dissidenten auf Kuba getroffen. Aber um mich von Polizisten fesseln und rüde anschnauzen zu lassen und ein Gefängnis von innen zu sehen, musste ich nach Ferguson und St. Louis in Missouri in den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika reisen.

which translates to

For me this is all a new experience. I was in several conflict zones, I was in civil war regions in Georgia, in Gaza, illegal in the Kaliningrad region, when the then Soviet Union Western travelers access yet strictly refused, I was in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Vietnam and in China, I secretly met dissidents in Cuba. But to get detained by the police, get rudely yelled at, and see the inside of a prison, I had to travel to Ferguson and St. Louis, in Missouri, in the United States of America.
posted by adamvasco at 4:21 PM on August 19 [43 favorites]


The heat index is currently 94 degrees there. The dew point is 74. I wouldn't last 5 minutes outside. Those protesters are dedicated.
posted by desjardins at 4:22 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


"Black people have a right to rebel, have a right to resist police brutality, have a right to fight the cops and the entire power structure in the streets if need be. We are an oppressed people, and the state polices us with vicious police force today in cities all over the country. We were enslaved, put in prison as Southern peons, forced onto ghettos in major cities, systematically discriminated in any and all oppressive fashion under this capitalist system. The police in Black, POC and poor communities have always been an occupying army, now this U.S. capitalist state is openly at war with them, and has armed its cops with advanced military weaponry to destroy our communities in the cities. Instead of the New BPP movement playing a new role as an advanced revolutionary detachment, they have instead acted as a minstrel sideshow in Black fatigues. Since the original BPP was destroyed, there has been a massive rise in violent police crimes, which have been unchecked. Tens of thousands of young Black people, and all manner of civilians of color, poor white workers, and all kinds of people have been killed by the police in cities, towns and villages all over the USA, and their deaths have been swept under the rug. We need a mass movement which can organize the youth and the community to fightback, not just in an unfocused act of rage, but a disciplined community based massed militia, and grassroots movement that understands we need to use any means necessary to bring an end to police terrorism. We need to drive the police out of Ferguson, MO. and many other Black and poor communities. We need to demand the demilitarization of the police, and demand that they be put under community control. This is why we cannot accept a bogus organization like the NBPP, which is on the scene in Ferguson, MO. site of a massive rebellion, but totally shirking their duties in organizing resistance. If they are on the scene, and are there asking for the people's surrender, rather than that of the cops, and contributing to the delay or denying of justice in the case of Michael Brown, along with the cops, they are a total sellout organization, a bogus government controlled "new BPP" that must be exposed for the harm it has been doing, and then have the masses of people shut them down."
Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin (public post)

"Can you believe that they are back to the stupid arguments from the 1960's about "outside agitators" and "damn Anarchists spreading trouble", and now they claim that the people in Ferguson are not fighting, just a "hardcore gang from outside". Well, remember this: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Dr. M.L. King."
Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin (public post)

Just adding some voices to the conversation.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:22 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


looking into the future, i think bankruptcy for ferguson is very likely for one reason or another - the biggest irony is that by acting the way they have, the ferguson police have guaranteed that the tax base will shrink, liabilities will go up and many of them will be laid off

Ferguson have 50-something sworn officers which cost just under $5 million a year. A trial is probably going to bankrupt the city. Any judgement will probably see them scrap the department and have it annexed by the county which has a much larger budget to absorb lawsuits for shitheaddery.
posted by Talez at 4:23 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


What about their pension fund? That'd be hitting them where it hurts.
posted by Artw at 4:26 PM on August 19


Wasn't there a photo taken by a witness of two police (one being Wilson) standing over Michael Brown's body? Would that show any sign of an orbital fracture?

I just spent a lot of time looking at those immediate aftermath photos, and I can't see any sign of major swelling or discoloration. However, the photos are mostly crappy cell phone photos and the picture quality is pretty bad; there would have to be a LOT of swelling and discoloration to be unambiguously visible.
posted by KathrynT at 4:27 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


What about their pension fund? That'd be hitting them where it hurts.

I think we don't want to start a precedent of counting the pension fund of former employees as assets of an institution. Think of the first time a department of education had to settle a lawsuit for discrimination and decided to take it out of teacher retirement, for example.
posted by corb at 4:28 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


Then there are people I'd truly consider outside agitators appearing on the scene—like the KKK, which several people have witnessed members of on the ground, and like Westboro Baptist Church, members of which are apparently heading to Ferguson, too.


Jesus, that'll help. And if this drags on that will undoubtedly only get worse.

On the other hand, what I wish would happen is for rented buses full of polite, angry-but-peaceful, nicely-dressed church people to show up to protest. I am sure there are good reasons if that's not happening- not wanting to usurp the voices of people who live there, people have jobs and stuff, maybe there's no place to stay, maybe people think it wouldn't help. But I still find myself wishing that would happen.
posted by hap_hazard at 4:29 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


It seems to me like this is going to continue at least until next Monday, when it might hit a new peak, because that's the day of Michael Brown's funeral and public memorial service.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:30 PM on August 19


Graw took the pictures walking around in small circles in an attempt to assuage the officer, but was then cuffed in zip ties anyway. The officer gave his name as Donald Duck.

That last sentence - this is just really bleak satire right
posted by naju at 4:31 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Swat team targets T-Shirt maker?
For his troubles, his house (near, but not in Ferguson) got raided by SWAT team in full riot gear. They took a bunch of his stuff, detained him for awhile, eventually released without charges.
Sourcing on this isn't solid, and I hope to see updates to the story with better sourcing.
posted by el io at 4:31 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Wasn't there a photo taken by a witness of two police (one being Wilson) standing over Michael Brown's body? Would that show any sign of an orbital fracture?

There's video of Wilson walking back and forth around Mike Brown's body. There's no closeup of Wilson's face, though from a distance there doesn't appear to be any injury, and he sure doesn't behave as if he's been injured -- no hand to his face or eye, no indication from the other officer that he's injured, etc.
posted by scody at 4:31 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


Armed thugs are terrorizing Ferguson. And the national guard is there protecting... The police command center. What the holy fuck.
posted by el io at 4:32 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


corb: I think we don't want to start a precedent of counting the pension fund of former employees as assets of an institution.

To some extent, this would just be continuing the existing precedent, as public retiree pensions seem to always be on the table when municipal bankruptcies occur. Doing it as a means to punish the institution rather than fix holes in a city budget may in fact be a new wrinkle, but honestly, let's not pretend many people (particularly those of the anti-union persuasion) haven't tried to go after municipal pensions.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:36 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


^"Surprise, surprise! The journalist who claimed there were 12 witnesses backing up the police's account of the shooting (what account? where is the incident report???) has been on medical leave since March and her tweets are personal, not publication-ready."

Another huge surprise is that a quick skim through her twitter feed shows some pretty, shall we say, *interesting* insight into her personal ideology. I'm wondering who exactly fed her those claims to begin with. Did someone here already post her supposed source?

P.S. To be honest over time I'd felt like metafilter had become a fairly unwelcoming place for me to spend time. My own ideologies felt frustratingly out of step with the majority of members here, and it certainly wasn't making my days any better to read discussion threads on issues I cared deeply about or had direct experience with. But the last few days I've been really, *really* thankful for having these Ferguson threads as a sane refuge from so much of the appalling coverage and commentary that's out there. Thanks everyone for your smart, empathetic, and informative posts.
posted by stagewhisper at 4:36 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


we can fix these problems without stealing people's retirement funds. taking pensions en-mass should always be off the table.
posted by el io at 4:39 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


I just read Kareem Abdul-Jamar's commentary on Ferguson being about class warfare rather than racial tension. Oh Kareem. What the everloving hell:

Then we’ll start debating whether or not the police in America are themselves an endangered minority who are also discriminated against based on their color—blue.
posted by Phire at 4:41 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Man, I'm starting to think that the only police I can respect these days are the Dog Police.
posted by porn in the woods at 4:42 PM on August 19



Are any of the live streams up again? I didn't save the addresses last night and am failing to find them again.
posted by Jalliah at 4:44 PM on August 19



ack never mind. The OP... duh
posted by Jalliah at 4:45 PM on August 19


Wasn't there a photo taken by a witness of two police (one being Wilson) standing over Michael Brown's body? Would that show any sign of an orbital fracture?

Not necessarily. They could be hairline fractures.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:49 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Amanda Terkel ‏@aterkel 3m
Elad Gross, 36, handing out free water and voter registration forms #Ferguson
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:54 PM on August 19


That police in Ferguson are targeting journalists so openly and aggressively is an appalling affront to basic media freedoms, but it is far scarier for what it suggests about how the police treat everyone else — and should tell us much about why Ferguson's residents are so fed up. When police in Ferguson are willing to rough up and arbitrarily arrest a Washington Post reporter just for being in a McDonald's, you have to wonder how those police treat the local citizens, who don't have the shield of a press pass.
If police in Ferguson treat journalists like this, imagine how they treat residents
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:58 PM on August 19 [20 favorites]


we can fix these problems without stealing people's retirement funds.

Yes, just stop shooting unarmed people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:58 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


In the cell phone footage taken right after the shooting, Wilson didn't look to me like a guy who just got his facebone fractured. On the other hand, he may well have been in shock and not feeling much.
posted by uosuaq at 4:58 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


So if Wilson actually was injured, and we add that to the testimony of the five witnesses, who are all in basic agreement, we get something like:

"We scuffled, and I received an orbital fracture. Brown ran from the scene. I followed him, shooting as I ran. He was wounded. He turned around and, hands over his head, yelled 'Okay! Okay! Okay! Hands up! Don't shoot! I don't have a gun!' I then shot him several more times, including twice to the head, until it was clear he was dead."

I don't think that really sounds any better.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:03 PM on August 19 [34 favorites]


I'm waiting for those fracture rumors to be substantiated by an actual news source (so, something outside of the U.S.), but with the way that department is behaving their actions up till this point I have extreme doubts that any injury wasn't delivered post shooting by another cop as a means of cover-up. That sort of evidence would have changed the way this played out from the start, and their coyness in releasing it a week after the fact is either mind boggling or highly suspicious.
posted by codacorolla at 5:04 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Yeah, many of us well remember how photographs of George Zimmerman with blood on him fed into his self-defense narrative, and wouldn't any on-the-job injury necessarily involve photography, x-rays, MRIs, not to mention DNA samples? It was really strange that the guy's own chief brought it up, defensively, at the (first?) press conference and doing so, held his hand to his face as illustration -- then apologetically said he didn't actually know which side of the officer's face had been injured. Quite odd, really.
posted by dhartung at 5:09 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Dept's reaction says that there is no defense.
posted by PMdixon at 5:12 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Regarding the comments upthread that there may have been undercover officers posing as anarchists in the crowd last night: I have heard this same speculation from people who were actually on the street. There is nothing I've seen yet that really confirms it for me, but I think it's a reasonable question to explore. I was actually witness in 2008, to a police-provoked riot at the Democratic National Convention.
posted by BlueJae at 5:13 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I think Betsy Phillips (Tiny Cat Pants) has a good take:

I think the thing I find most interesting about this is just watching how the racial attitudes I grew up surrounded by and the racial assumptions of the power structures in those places sound to outsiders....I grew up in towns where it was just assumed that black people, except the “good” ones, were more dangerous than white people (even the “trash”) and that they had to be constantly surveilled by the police if and when they were around because, well, “you know how they are.” And everyone nods along, with rare exceptions.

I can see this same attitude in the Ferguson and county police, who keep trying to trigger the “and everyone nods along” portion of the event. Everything they’ve released is about trying to show that Brown is not “one of the good ones,” and therefore, whatever happens to him, it’s not really important for “good” people to bother themselves with.

That they cannot force this dynamic to play out with this individual seems to have caused them to try to escalate things in Ferguson so that they can try to trigger it at a community level–these are all “bad” ones because they’re outside when they’re told not to be, because they don’t respect the authority of the police, etc.–so that they can be vindicated in their treatment of the community and therefore of Brown.


I hadn't thought of the escalation as "trying to force everyone to agree this kid was a bad person" but it makes as much sense as anything else.
posted by emjaybee at 5:14 PM on August 19 [46 favorites]


This afternoon, DA McCulloch agreed that the Governor has the power to replace him on the case, but he has no plans to do so; the Governor issued a mealy-mouthed statement that both McCulloch and Holder "each have a job to do", calling on them to "meet expectations", of all the dumbest, lowest-bar things to say at this moment.
posted by dhartung at 5:18 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


The governor certainly appears to be the Peter Principle at work. Hope he doesn't have any higher political ambitions 'cause he's showing himself unable to cope.
posted by Justinian at 5:26 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Oh, I absolutely agree with Betsy Phillips. It's clear to me that the cops are very deliberately trying to make sure there is chaos. There's a curfew, and protest leaders have spent all day trying to make sure people respect it? Start attacking people hours before the curfew starts. There's supposedly shots fired? Don't hunt for the shooters, instead drive around neighborhoods and gas anyone you see. (And that's being generous and assuming that the mysterious shots that were from non-visible shooters, that hit no one, and resulted in cops attacking protestors who clearly were not shooters, were not from the police themselves as an excuse.)

This isn't overwhelmed cops, this is deliberate provocation.
posted by tavella at 5:27 PM on August 19 [23 favorites]


Small-town police in Canada were able to take a guy alive who had just shot 5 of their colleagues.

Not strictly accurate. The City of Moncton, like many Municipalities, Provinces and Territories in Canada, contracts out its policing to the RCMP.

The RCMP are not a recently militarized police force; the RCMP have been explicitly paramilitary from their inception. When they were first formed to pacify the western frontier of Canada, American officials publicly expressed concern that this was the start of a military buildup. The Mounties' identity was in large part forged in the North West Rebellion, when they broke the back of an alliance of uppity indigenous peoples who didn't like that they were being swept off their land to make way for colonists.

For Americans, probably the best way to picture the RCMP is if the US Army Cavalry that "won the West" stuck around after the Indian Wars were over. Now imagine that most states, counties and municipalities west of the Mississippi don't bother with having their own state troopers or sheriff's departments or municipal police, but instead just contract out to the Cavalry. They look mostly like police now, but they still have the crossed sabres on their service caps.

The RCMP is in many ways still like an occupying army in lots of Canada, especially in the North, where their role in clearing First Nations off the land isn't forgotten. The RCMP is not very popular in lots of Canada, and many view them as a belligerent and unaccountable organization in desperate need of reform. For one, they are also not without their own incidents, especially suspicious deaths of people in their custody. Because Mounties come from all over Canada and can be stationed anywhere, often half a continent away from home, they are pretty much the antithesis of community policing. Lots of people think they need to go away, and I'm one of them.

If Justin Bourque hadn't been white, I wouldn't bet money on him being alive today.

That said, the RCMP suffered the loss of 4 officers ambushed on a farm in Alberta less than a decade ago. The shooter died after exchanging fire with two other officers. It was the worsts one-day loss of life for the RCMP in 100 years.

Yet despite that recent history, they were successful in taking the Justin Bourque alive after he shot 5 officers, three fatally. That definitely takes much better training and so much more restraint than the ostensibly civilian police in the US seem to display.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 5:33 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


There's supposedly shots fired?

That's been bothering me a lot. Does anyone believe that there's been a gun so much as brandished around a cop there, or a shot fired anywhere near them, without massive return fire? I'd really want to see any evidence whatsoever of that, and I'd think they'd want journalists around to provide it.
posted by hap_hazard at 5:34 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Amid the turmoil tearing through this small Missouri town, a high school team prepares for its season opener, and a coach helps his players make sense of the madness around them. The first game is scheduled for Friday
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:38 PM on August 19


Elise Hu ‏@elisewho 3m

Demonstrators at the #STL store shooting site change the #Ferguson chant of 'hands up, don't shoot' to 'hands up, shoot back'
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:42 PM on August 19


brokkr: "That looks like a plastic (PET) bottle to me, which would of course be near totally useless as a molotov. Anybody who knows Colt bottles who can elaborate?"

PET bottles can have their place as smoke generators and fire wall generators but ya are mostly useless for Molotov Cocktails unless the contained material can generate enough pressure to rupture the bottle.

>: ""What bottle do you think a black guy would use?""

Your smart Molotov Cocktail builder uses a Starbucks Frappicino bottle. Small and easily concealable the thin glass and non cylindrical shape greatly increase the chances of breakage. And the screw on top is large allowing for easy addition of rigid thickening agents like polystyrene insulation to your preferred flammable liquid whether that is gasoline, diesel, tar, alcohol or combination thereof. Finally the size allows for a firm grip in a single hand and the mass is similar to that of a fastball/baseball increasing the chances that a lobber unfamiliar with his weapon will strike in the vicinity of his target.
posted by Mitheral at 5:44 PM on August 19 [28 favorites]


"a high school team prepares for its season opener"

Because god forbid we let anything get in the way of FOOTBALL even when schools are closed.
posted by Tknophobia at 5:46 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Because god forbid we let anything get in the way of FOOTBALL even when schools are closed.

The Ferguson cops have demonstrated their willingness to murder unarmed black teen boys that look like football players.

I would rather those boys were on the pitch than on the streets right now, for their own safety.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:50 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Or so you've heard, Mitheral?
posted by uosuaq at 5:50 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Mitheral: I think you know a little bit too much about the construction of optimally designed Molotov Cocktails.
posted by el io at 5:52 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I actually think the football article is great. Especially this:

He boiled inside. He wanted to join the protests during the day, to be one more voice for peace and resolution. On Saturday a distraction arrived. The St. Louis Rams offered the football teams at McCluer, McCluer North and McCluer South free tickets to their Saturday preseason game. Raequan obsesses over Rams slot receiver Tavon Austin; he’s got Austin’s YouTube highlights burned into his retinas. This would be Raequan’s first NFL game.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:52 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


“Blue porch lights, Darren Wilson T-shirts part of growing support for Ferguson officer,” Jason Sickles, Yahoo, 19 August 2014
“I Support Officer Wilson” surpassed 39,000 Facebook likes Tuesday afternoon. The page was launched by the wife of a Missouri police officer who said it could have been her husband or any other officer instead of Wilson.

“I put myself in that family’s shoes,” she said. “I would want to know that not everyone hated me for doing my job.”

The 33-year-old woman, who has no ties to Wilson or the case, asked that Yahoo News not identify her by name due to the violence and hatred displayed in the St. Louis area since the 18-year-old’s death.

“I’m not scared,” she said. “If I wasn’t concerned about what could happen to me and my family, I would absolutely stand proud and say who I was.”
posted by ob1quixote at 6:00 PM on August 19


Buzzfeed: How Ferguson exposed Facebook's breaking news problem.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:00 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


I don't mean to discount the Rams reaching out doing a good thing, and the boys being almost certainly safer on the field than the streets, but it just kind of seems to play into America's fetishization of the game, which has its own cultural problems based around hypermasculinity and violence (concussions, stuff like Ray Rice's domestic violence suspension, etc), while at the same time we're talking about police culture and escalation of force.
posted by Tknophobia at 6:00 PM on August 19


“I’m not scared,” she said. “If I wasn’t concerned about what could happen to me and my family, I would absolutely stand proud and say who I was.”

So then what you're saying is... you are scared.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:02 PM on August 19 [46 favorites]


Your smart Molotov Cocktail builder uses a Starbucks Frappicino bottle.

I learn so much on Metafilter!
posted by orrnyereg at 6:02 PM on August 19 [22 favorites]


I could see someone saying at best "I'm not prepared to condemn Wilson until we at least hear his side of the story". At best. But where does "I Support Officer Wilson" come from? We haven't heard from him. We haven't seen the results of any investigating.

The only way that makes sense is if you think a cop who shoots a black guy is automatically in the right. Which is an awful thing to believe.
posted by Justinian at 6:05 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


yuppies and their damned starbucks molotov cocktails - next, we'll have hipsters slinging PBR 40s
posted by pyramid termite at 6:05 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


"I Support Officer Wilson” surpassed 39,000 Facebook likes Tuesday afternoon.

Don't read this page. I took a look at it for about 6 seconds, and now I am nauseous.

The only way that makes sense is if you think a cop who shoots a black guy is automatically in the right.

That is exactly what it says on that page.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:06 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


I could see someone saying at best "I'm not prepared to condemn Wilson until we at least hear his side of the story"

they're making it up for him as fast as they can
posted by pyramid termite at 6:06 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


the mass is similar to that of a fastball/baseball

A few weeks ago, I was watching a news video that showed Ukrainians hurling curbstones and Molotov cocktails, which they were doing with varying degrees of success. It occurred to me that baseball has trained generations of Americans to throw overhand, and fast, and with great accuracy. And if throwing isn't your thing, the sport has equipped millions of American homes with wooden and metal clubs.

For a pastime that involves a lot of aimless standing and lounging around, baseball sure does lend itself to street-to-street combat.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:07 PM on August 19 [18 favorites]


I've been glued to this and the previous thread for the past several days, and I'm very grateful for the level of sanity that I can always count on Metafilter for.

I don't know how much longer I can put up with the frustration and sadness that simply worsens with each new headline.

It's like America is slowly turning into some libertarian fantasy land where "Fuck you, I'm gettin mine" is the rule of law, and whoever is more equipped for self-preservation is within their right to straight up murder anyone who threatens that self-preservation. Even ignoring the whole racism element, the far-right seem to accept this as a perfectly legitimate form of justice, side stepping the need for all the tax dollars and govt red tape of prosecuting people. This mindset will destroy society as a cohesive social entity, which they are either ignorant of, or perfectly happy with.

WTF USA? Get your shit together.
posted by p3t3 at 6:07 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


The only way that makes sense is if you think a cop who shoots a black guy is automatically in the right.

An awful lot of Americans believe exactly that.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:08 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Wow, WaPo is all up in arms today: "As I wrote then, some folks won’t be satisfied, it seems, until he bursts into the East Room clad in Kente cloth and brandishing a definable “black agenda”or whatever else so many blacks seem to want from him to prove that he cares."
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:10 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


p3t3: actually, the libertarians are (generally) on the same side as progressives in regards to this event: We need to stop the militarization of the police (stop transferring weapons to them, stop giving them military tools to deal with domestic police issues, stop tear-gassing our own populace).

There certainly is a far-right (partially authoritarian, partially racist) reaction that is disgusting to this whole thing, but the libertarians are allies (at the moment, on this issue).
posted by el io at 6:11 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


“Different Rules Apply,” Matt Zoller Seitz, MZS. Blog, 19 August 2014
I believe that there's a difference between knowing something and understanding it. You know how you'll try to communicate something very important to you to another person and sometimes they'll wave you off with an impatient, "I know, I know"? That's knowing: I got the gist, filed it away, I don't need to think about it again. Knowing is comprehension; understanding is deeper because it comes from empathy or identification.

All of which is a wind-up to say: having grown up in a mostly black neighborhood near Love Field airport in Dallas, and having been a diligent liberal for most of my adult life, I already knew there was such a thing as white privilege, and was properly horrified by it, but I didn't truly understand what it meant, on a deep level, until one summer night in 2006, when I was spared arrest or worse thanks to the color of my skin.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:14 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


but the libertarians are allies (at the moment, on this issue)

Yet in the polarized If you are not 100% with me you are against me way things are done in many political circles common ground is not a place to stand on, its the leverage point to toss the other off your little island.

(LP.org's press release starts with police should stand down, then launches into failed drug war position that really doesn't seem to matter unless the failure is someone was on 'roids and 'roid raged here and would fail their drug test if placed in the public spotlight.)
posted by rough ashlar at 6:17 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Argh. Listening to the Fox2 livestream, talking about today's shooting. Paraphrase: obviously all the stations would be covering it anyways, but with the rioting and looting that has the town of Ferguson on edge, blah blah blah - the police will conduct a full investigation, as they always do when there's a shooting.

Digs on both ends. Fuckers.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:19 PM on August 19


So I'm skimming the MeFi front page and exclaim: "oh god, they beheaded a journalist!"

My husband replies: "Middle East, or Ferguson?"

Sad part: I had to go back and rescan the page. That is not what I should have had to do, America.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:24 PM on August 19 [76 favorites]


Ferguson have 50-something sworn officers which cost just under $5 million a year. A trial is probably going to bankrupt the city.

A lot of municipalities actually have liability insurance that steps up in the event of claims against the police, and the insurers would defend the claim. The defense itself could be expensive, but the damages/penalty could potentially be paid out by the insurance company
posted by Hoopo at 6:26 PM on August 19


fox2now has a live stream - the protesters, for the first time, are across the street from the police station
posted by pyramid termite at 6:26 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


And I have never seen a Fox reporter that nervous.
posted by E. Whitehall at 6:30 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I think the Drug War is relevant to the extent that it drives a lot of the militarization of the police, along with contributing to bad relationship between police and local communities. No knock SWAT raids, stop and frisk, and the like are, to a significant degree, justified by the drug war.

That said, that's not really the conversation to have right now.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:31 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


(Right)Libertarians are not entirely on (for lack of a more nuanced way to say it) the right side in this, as a quick scan of any of the big reddit threads on the topic will show. Right-leaning libertarians (those who base their position on the sanctity of property and take-all-comers individual liberty) are, at best, concerned about militarization of local police forces. Just like Balko, they tend to find the roots of their argument in the idea that the institution of Police has been corrupted and spoiled by big guns and big federal dollars, ignoring the entire history of police oppression and violence prior to the late 1980s and the start of serious technological militarization.

Sure, they are allies in the sense that they share in the feeling of revulsion at watching a militarized police force suppress dissent, but more often than not, they seem fine with it as long as it's clubs, gas, shields, and pistols and not MRAPs, APCs, ARs, and LRAD. Consider the (correct) reaction libertarian rightists have to police killing dogs, and then consider the rightist libertarian reaction to the murder of Mike Brown.
posted by still bill at 6:33 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Here's a livestream from some guy who's right in the middle of everything. (Right now the protesters are having a prayer circle.)
posted by desjardins at 6:36 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"The heat index is currently 94 degrees there. The dew point is 74."

I'm 100 miles further north, but in the same weather system (so usually about 5 degrees cooler than St. Louis), and it is fuckin' hot out there. It was NASTY when I walked to get my kid at school at 3:30, brutal sun and crazy humid. I had to change when I got home. There were thunderstorms (pretty impressive ones) earlier in the day but they didn't take much humidity out of the air.

"Because god forbid we let anything get in the way of FOOTBALL even when schools are closed."

Look, football is a big sport, not in the revenue sense but in the participation sense. You can have rosters of 60 or 80 or 100 students -- basketball you can have 12 or 15; baseball you can have 20 or 30. Good coaches have a lot of moral authority with students, and for many male students who are not very engaged in school -- who are a particularly difficult group to reach -- sports keeps them engaged and keeps their grades up. And while it isn't really my thing, high school sports can be an important healing force for a community after a disaster -- football was for Washington, Illinois, after the tornado -- because it provides a visible example of children growing to adulthood, young people working hard, and a community that (through its schools) continues to function -- the most important ways for a community to keep working, serving and educating its children and providing a future. Sports also provides a really important avenue for citizens and nearby communities to provide visible support, friendship, and sportsmanship to affected town -- Washington's opponents provided their bus transportation (and for fans and parents), their food, and their hotel lodgings after the tornado, and turned the game into a fundraiser.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:37 PM on August 19 [17 favorites]


When people want me to take their side of the story into account one thing that can help is to tell it to me.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:38 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


So, inspired by limonaire's comment that the Westboro Baptist Church had said they were going to Ferguson, I made the mistake of actually trying to find out what was up, I tell you this so you don't have to do the same.

I thought, wow,what's their angle? Because if it's God Hates Cops, I'm going to have to be impressed because probably they'll get teargassed for it or something. But no. But as a matter of fact, what they did have to say (and I'm going by what appears to be their twitter account, which doesn't seem clever enough to be fake) they think that God Hates Missouri. Which is a wonderfully inclusive message.

But God also hates Michael Brown. But also, the protestors are the least to blame for the trouble there. But that's only because God really hates Jay Nixon, for his support of "beastialty and sodomy." (also hated: Katy Perry and Robin Williams, in case you're wondering.)

Man, those guys are worse than Occupy! Pick a message, dudes!

Also, the vines linked on their twitter seem to show a total of 2 WBC people with signs. Which makes me fairly hopeful that they won't cause much actual trouble.

So, actually... that was comforting in a way. But I still feel kind of stupid for even having looked.
posted by hap_hazard at 6:39 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


The libertarians in my office that like to have discussions in hushed tones by my desk were talking about Ferguson the other day - their conclusion was We Just Don't Know and that it's Too Early To Tell but that people should really stop making a fuss and breaking things.

I wouldn't count on much from Libertarians on this.
posted by Artw at 6:43 PM on August 19 [17 favorites]


Under normal circumstances I suspect the grifters at WBC would be happy to be tear gassed by the police (so they could sue them) but I suspect they realize that department is going to have a lot of claims against it in the coming says.
posted by phearlez at 6:44 PM on August 19


Okay, I've been thinking about this - they were firing live ammo last night, but at what? Why? There's nothing documented about anyone shooting at them, despite various rumors, and certainly no sign that there was any significant gunfire aimed at them. So they weren't returning fire. Why were they shooting in the first place? I know "what were they thinking" isn't really a useful question, but still it seems stupid to the point of brainlessness, because if you just start flailing away with the live ammo, you run the risk of hitting someone on pure accident, and while you can spin a story if they actually had a gun, it would be a giant media disaster if they shot, say, a reporter or a little kid or accidentally shot into someone's living room and killed a person that way. I grasp that this is about state violence and intimidation, but the fact that it's such risky intimidation seems alternately bizarre and really scary.

Night time protests are scary at the absolute best of times, or they're scary to me anyway. Everything feels amped up at even small events.

The weirdest thing IME of one big ongoing unrest scenario (which looks very lightweight compared to Ferguson) was how uneven it was. You'd be on one block and everything is basically normal, and then you'd be on another block and cops are teargassing people and then on another block some other totally peaceful protest is going on. Or you'll be walking around in a normal area and you'll see troops and troops of riot cops. People sell water and soda at these things during the not-actually-dangerous parts because everyone is sitting out in the hot sun for hours. And it can be temporally uneven, too, where everything just ticks along and ticks along and nothing happens and then bam, tear gas. Or you can be just sitting around on some grass and then tons of cops roll up. It just got really surreal for me after a while, and I get a little bit of that feeling watching the different things going on in Ferguson. What I remember is basically walking up the hill out of downtown away from all the stuff that had been going on all day and turning around and looking back and realizing that I expected to see smoke rising up, because there was supposed to be some visible marker of what had happened.

I bet it would be worthwhile to raise funds for therapy stuff for people. (In addition to all the other needs, of course.) I know that people's daily lives in Ferguson are much harder than my daily life, but I did find that after the last big protest that I was freaked out and stressed by it for a long time, even though nothing bad happened to me and I didn't even witness anything worse than tear gas. And I'd be surprised if some of the people who are in the midst of all this shit aren't going to come out of it with serious PTSD.
posted by Frowner at 6:44 PM on August 19 [9 favorites]


"God Hates Missouri"

Well the WBC are from Kansas.
posted by BlueJae at 6:46 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


"Representatives from local civil rights organizations have protested that officers had no legal grounds to search the vehicle, but they ceded the point when reminded by Secret Police officials that our backwards court system will uphold any old authoritarian rule made up on the fly by unsupervised gun-carrying thugs of a shadow government."
- Welcome to Night Vale [episode 2]
posted by komara at 6:48 PM on August 19 [21 favorites]


Huh. Via twitter, according to the cops, 93% of (presumably last night's) people arrested were not from Ferguson, and 27% not from Missouri.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:48 PM on August 19


"God Hates Missouri"

Would be nice to stand next to them with a sign reading "God Hates Misery".
posted by honestcoyote at 6:49 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Here are the arrest numbers in Ferguson from last night according to STL Public Radio.
posted by BlueJae at 6:58 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Anyone have a link handy to the Argus and Vice feeds?
posted by rollbiz at 6:59 PM on August 19


Argus feed
posted by Weeping_angel at 7:00 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


here's what seems like a current list of live feeds (I've tried a few, for accuracy)
posted by desjardins at 7:01 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


And, Vice.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:01 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Appreciate that!
posted by rollbiz at 7:02 PM on August 19


Is that Vice link to yesterday? Maybe I am misunderstanding something.
posted by prefpara at 7:03 PM on August 19


Vice isn't up yet. IIRC they're getting geared up.
posted by E. Whitehall at 7:04 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Protest march arriving on the Argus feed.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:05 PM on August 19


Right-leaning libertarians (those who base their position on the sanctity of property and take-all-comers individual liberty) are, at best, concerned about militarization of local police forces.

I really hope this isn't a suggestion that we shouldn't to meet libertarians where they're at and embrace the concerns they share until they've also checked off all the boxes that all the Right-Thinking People have.

Somebody's concerned about police militarization, the right to film, revision of use-of-force doctrines, I want all the help they're willing to offer.
posted by weston at 7:08 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Is the rule that they have to keep walking constitutional? It seems like that would mean that a lot of people who couldn't walk long distances wouldn't be able to participate. And the heat can't be helping.
posted by Weeping_angel at 7:08 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Yeah, that's what I just asked on Twitter: Don't "keep marching" rules at this week's protests abridge the rights of the disabled? And why aren't more people talking about this?

Is anyone keeping a running list of human-rights and/or constitutional-rights violations in the past 10 days?
posted by limeonaire at 7:10 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


What Happens When Police Officers Wear Body Cameras
In the first year after the cameras' introduction, the use of force by officers declined 60%, and citizen complaints against police fell 88%.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:10 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


Is the rule that they have to keep walking constitutional?

Does such matter anymore? If it is not, who has the money and will to have that fight?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:11 PM on August 19


seems a lot more peaceful tonight - cars driving by, people not strictly being kept to the sidewalk. I barely see any cops in the Argus feed.
posted by desjardins at 7:12 PM on August 19


Via twitter, according to the cops, 93% of (presumably last night's) people arrested were not from Ferguson, and 27% not from Missouri.

Assuming the police are telling the truth, which is a stretch, how many of them were journalists?
posted by anemone of the state at 7:13 PM on August 19


seems a lot more peaceful tonight - cars driving by, people not strictly being kept to the sidewalk. I barely see any cops in the Argus feed.

Highway Patrol is on the scene. However, they seem to be playing nice. "Please walk on the sidewalk, for your own safety. There is vehicle traffic on the roadway. Please walk on the sidewalk".

No demands, no threats.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:14 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Awkward: Why Isn't the NRA Defending Ferguson’s Blacks?
posted by monospace at 7:14 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Regarding the alleged orbital blowout fracture, LGF of all sites is pointing out that the x-ray which is being circulated by right-wing sources alleging to show Darren Wilson's orbital fracture is a pathetic fake.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:15 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


Awkward: Why Isn't the NRA Defending Ferguson’s Blacks?

The Guns of Ferguson: When Tyranny Really Comes into Town, the NRA Goes into Hiding
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:17 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


The 10 Kinds of Trolls You Will Encounter Online (and Offline) When Talking About Michael Brown
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:17 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Awkward: Why Isn't the NRA Defending Ferguson’s Blacks?

Because no one is taking away gun rights of the folks in Ferguson? It's outside of their mandate? Gun rights have no bearing on whats going on? Look, I have a hate on for the NRA as much as the next person, but I don't see the point in that discussion.

The question reminds me of 'why doesn't the ACLU stand up for gun rights'. Um, others are doing that fine, it's outside of the ACLU mandate.
posted by el io at 7:19 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


A pathetic fake perpetrated my one of the nastiest, sketchiest, least-responsible conservative bloggers in St. Louis, Pope Guilty. (Trust me. I've met the man.) Figures.
posted by BlueJae at 7:20 PM on August 19


That Matt Zoller Seitz piece that ob1quixote links is excellent. Don't miss it.

I slept about three hours last night and just finished work, so I will probably have to sit tonight out, much as I hate to look away - today's shooting will no doubt mean even worse behaviour tonight. The country had better still be standing when I wake up, America.
posted by Phire at 7:21 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


A statement from Governor Nixon.
posted by BlueJae at 7:21 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


What Happens When Police Officers Wear Body Cameras

A somewhat older but IMHO better article on body cameras for police.
posted by rollbiz at 7:22 PM on August 19


Is anyone keeping a running list of human-rights and/or constitutional-rights violations in the past 10 days?

I think maybe the cops are, with basically all of them on it, and on the top is written "To Do"
posted by NoraReed at 7:23 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


On the guns in Ferguson... The populace there realizes that the cops will gun down unarmed folks... They are smart enough not to confront the cops with actual weapons - they'll be gunned down and the media won't give a shit.
posted by el io at 7:23 PM on August 19


You know 'Brutal and Negligent Cops Drove [Point Marion]'s Police Department Out of Business', Hoopo and Talez, because those cops behavior increased the insurance premiums too much. I'd hope the damages for the Ferguson PD both exceed their insurance coverage limitations, thus making the city itself pay up, and also make the police force uninsurable.

Imho, we need a serious actuarial discussion about the potential damages from police misconduct now that police are so wrongly trained, psychologically damaged, etc. I believe this discussion should cover several points : First, American cops are now committing murder an torture with increasing frequency. Second, there isn't necessarily any limit to damages for torture, given its special status. Third, there is a correlation between use of force and various issues seen here, like SWAT teams, racism, etc.

It's therefore a sound actuarial decision to impose stricter limitations on coverage, and significantly increase premiums, especially when the department has a SWAT team, armored vehicles, a history of violence, racism, no body cameras, etc. And incidentally we'd make it spectacularly more expensive to run a police force so badly.

Are there any "anarchist actuaries" here who could explain how to convince the actuarial community that they should take a specific risk more seriously? Do you guys write journal articles for one another an talk at conferences?
posted by jeffburdges at 7:24 PM on August 19 [20 favorites]


A statement from Governor Nixon.

I got to the part about "acts of tremendous grace" and shut it off. Let me know if its worth watching past this. Nixon dropped the ball at the ten yard line on the first down and wants it back again now that we're third and long. Forgive me for hearing nothing but "I am a self serving weasel" in his speech.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:25 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Regarding the rule (first instituted last night) that protesters must keep moving and may not stand still: I cannot see ANY legitimate reason why the police are ordering this. Their supposed justification, as I've heard it, is that this rule will somehow help them tell the difference between peaceful protesters and looters. Excuse me: since when do looters stand still? Protesters on the ground I've spoken with think this tactic is meant to make protesting more physically grueling, so that the protesters will tire out more quickly and will leave more quickly. It's absolutely discriminatory against people with disabilities; it also helped increase confusion on the ground and provided police with plenty of extra excuses to harass and arrest people last night.
posted by BlueJae at 7:28 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


For a pastime that involves a lot of aimless standing and lounging around, baseball sure does lend itself to street-to-street combat.

I bet you could launch a wide variety of stuff out of one of those t-shirt cannons.
posted by rifflesby at 7:29 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"I really hope this isn't a suggestion that we shouldn't to meet libertarians where they're at and embrace the concerns they share until they've also checked off all the boxes that all the Right-Thinking People have."


No, not exactly that. I think it's hugely important to recognize and respect the critiques that libertarianism (mainstream and rightist) brings to the table, and to embrace libertarians when possible. I do, though, think that the unending libertarian focus on police militarization (especially in light of Ferguson) is a mistake, and I elaborated on that in a comment in the other thread. My concern is 2 fold; first, I worry that focusing so acutely on militarization advances a reform position in that it allows for 'old fashioned' police violence as an acceptable alternative to technologically militarized police violence. Secondly, I feel like militarization arguments tend to erase the violent history of American Police prior to overt technological militarization. On top of that, it seems clear to me--both historically and theoretically--that Police and the military have always been fused in tactics, technologies, and philosophy, and that both have always been given carte blanche to oppress, torture, and kill poor and POC communities around the world. My issue with the right libertarian critique is that it only identifies militarization as a problem when it knocks on the doors of white property owning men, and only because it's a sign of federal power, not racist and classist police power.

Again, think back on the libertarian response to the recent trend of police killing dogs. It was the correct reaction: anger and disgust at the police action. Now consider the common libertarian reaction to the killing of Mike Brown and the events that followed: lots of concern for the property of merchants (perhaps rightly so), and lots of halfassed justification for the murder of Brown following the release of the bogus 'strong arm robbery' tape (again, property and capitalism above all else). What matters over all else to rightist libertarians, all too often, is property. I'm not sure that I can trust that a rightist libertarian critique of militarization comes from anything other than a property fetish and a feeling that militarized police are another social program gone awry because of too much fed money.
posted by still bill at 7:29 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


I tried to avoid other news because this is all I can handle right now.

I didn't know a journalist was beheaded until bitter-girl's comment.

Maybe that's why Obama is so tired.

Ferguson may not be too far off from killing members of the press. Who may or may not be US citizens.

What kind of clusterfuck would that be.

Side note: clusterfuck is now in my phone's spelling dictionary and takes less taps to spell.
posted by sio42 at 7:29 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Awkward: Why Isn't the NRA Defending Ferguson’s Blacks? .... The Guns of Ferguson: When Tyranny Really Comes into Town, the NRA Goes into Hiding

The Gun Owners of America have been quiet and GOA is usually making noise when the NRA is silent, but Jews for the Preservation of Firearms have an opinion. Given the JPFO's video "No Guns for Negros" position - if that was being followed there would be a radically different and far more blood soaked narrative at this point.

The gunfire sounds being reported upthread along with the comments about the bullets coming down ARE a good point to be asking.

Imho, we need a serious actuarial discussion about the potential damages from police misconduct

Why? How often does a case get carried TO a lawsuit let alone to the point of a high dollar settlement? Cases can get tossed, lawyers don't want to take the time to walk the case through the court system VS a quick payout for doing little and then the matter gets a gag on it as part of the settlement.

Yea, plenty of items that could result in damages but few will take things that far along in the justice system.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:31 PM on August 19


It would be great if we could not catastrophize things beyond the catastrophe we already have. There isn't going to be a massacre, members of the press are not going to be murdered. Things are bad enough without freaking like V is about to swoop down and blow up Parliament.
posted by Justinian at 7:33 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Awkward: Why Isn't the NRA Defending Ferguson’s Blacks?

Because they're a bunch of racist nuts who are happy to see black people die and be beaten.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:33 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


The question reminds me of 'why doesn't the ACLU stand up for gun rights'. Um, others are doing that fine, it's outside of the ACLU mandate.

I work for the ACLU (MA affiliate). Thank you for saying this, it (plus the fact that we already have pleeeenty to do) sums up pretty well why we're not really touching the issue, at least at my affiliate. "Where are others already doing a good job on an issue?" is one of the factors I really appreciate our local leadership seriously considering.

We defend sex offenders and white supremacists, so I promise you the reason we're not taking it on is not because we think it's unpopular or divisive. :)
posted by rollbiz at 7:35 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


The ustream for panda someone linked above is good.he's talking with people. You can feel the buzz in the air. In a good way. People seem positive even after all this.

They are amazing to me.
posted by sio42 at 7:36 PM on August 19


Protesters on the ground I've spoken with think this tactic is meant to make protesting more physically grueling, so that the protesters will tire out more quickly and will leave more quickly.

Yup. It's all of this, and additionally that it makes it more difficult to form a cohesive crowd if you can't ever stop and let it pool a bit.

It's one of the things my city's police department is notorious for telling people who don't know better than to challenge their notion of the law, and it's one of the top things I cover in Know Your Rights trainings I do, especially when I am giving them with people who protest a lot.
posted by rollbiz at 7:39 PM on August 19


Why? How often does a case get carried TO a lawsuit let alone to the point of a high dollar settlement?

I bet their insurers could tell us, and I bet there's not a huge pool of companies that insure police departments. A quick google told me that just the Oakland, CA PD has lost $74 million since 1990 to brutality, misconduct, and civil rights lawsuits. The settlement data appears to be available for download here. Their abuse of a single Occupy protester is costing them $4.5, and his case isn't the only one resulting in a significant payout.
posted by rtha at 7:41 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


[OAKLAND]ASM:Here's what Ferguson might look like if Molotovs were actually being used.
posted by yertledaturtle at 7:41 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


David Simon writes about the blatant lie of preserving anonymity for the safety of the officer. Written before his identity was revealed, but presented as an argument for the mendacity of the Ferguson PD
The decision of a police agency to hide the identities of its officers behind a veil of secrecy, while asking the public at large to risk all in open court, is not mere hypocrisy. It is cowardice. It is an abdication of your professional role and your basic integrity. Your actions, sir, stand not merely in support of your rank-and-file, or in defiance of a mob; that’s how you wish to be seen, and likely, it is how many will view you within the cloistered culture of the roll-call room. But to the greater public that you serve, your decision is, again, void of all honor or courage.
posted by codacorolla at 7:43 PM on August 19 [14 favorites]


Lil Boosie - Fuck the Police Ft. Webbie
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 7:44 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


WaPo: Why am I being arrested for sitting in my aunt's driveway?
posted by BlueJae at 7:45 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


“I Support Officer Wilson” surpassed 39,000 Facebook likes Tuesday afternoon.

Well, at least that's a convenient list of 39 000 racists.

It's therefore a sound actuarial decision to impose stricter limitations on coverage, and significantly increase premiums, especially when the department has a SWAT team, armored vehicles, a history of violence, racism, no body cameras, etc

There is a deep, dark irony in the idea that forcing cops to wear cameras may come at the demands of insurance companies and not legislation.

On the other hand, that may also be the only way to make it happen.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:47 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


Also, there aren't really forward looking, progressive, and/or effective interpretations for the 2nd Amendment, el lo and rollbiz, which makes it rather useless for the ACLU. How do you make the world a better place with ordinary guns while the government owns machines guns, tanks, etc.? Just silly.

What would a future sensitive 2nd Amendment actually say? Just some thoughts :

(1) Law enforcement is not permitted to use any weapons denied to ordinary citizens unless granted permission by a judge on a case by case basis.

(2) Congress shall make no law restricting what an individual can build for their own personal use, excepting weapons of mass destruction.

I could imagine the ACLU defending either clause quite vehemently.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:47 PM on August 19


Twitter @BaburRealer: @mollycrabapple #Ferguson has reached Istanbul. This is during a soccer match in Istanbul, Turkey
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:49 PM on August 19 [13 favorites]


I don't know- a lot of the rightist libertarians I've been seeing are oscillating so quickly between "See what we told you? FEMA camps!" and "Well, he probably shouldn't have beat up that shopkeeper and stolen those cigars, then." that it's starting to fuck up the tides.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:51 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


jeffburdges: The ACLU's job isn't there to advance progressive causes. It's there to protect the constitution, specifically civil liberties.

If the ACLU was focused on progressive causes, it wouldn't protect the free speech rights of racists/KKK.
posted by el io at 7:53 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Don't forget "this has nothing to do with race! It's all about militarization, and those damn race-baiters are injecting their pet issue!"

Aaaaaaargh.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:53 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


I wish I could stand vigil stand watch thru the webs. I feel I'm part of something extraordinary to have this technology to be able to see something so awful, just so that I can say, yes it's happening, I saw. It sits strange. But I am glad to have seen and will continue as much as I can because it's all I am able to do right now.
posted by sio42 at 7:54 PM on August 19


“I Support Officer Wilson” surpassed 39,000 Facebook likes Tuesday afternoon.

Well, at least that's a convenient list of 39 000 racists.


I'm happy to see that as obnoxious as some of my Facebook friends have been in the last couple days, none of them pop up in the search "Friends who like I Support Officer Wilson." But sickeningly, when I search for "Friends of my friends who like I Support Officer Wilson," the list just keeps scrolling and scrolling...
posted by limeonaire at 7:54 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


el io: Because no one is taking away gun rights of the folks in Ferguson? It's outside of their mandate? Gun rights have no bearing on whats going on? Look, I have a hate on for the NRA as much as the next person, but I don't see the point in that discussion.

The NRA doesn't just speak when gun rights are actively being restricted, and they don't restrict themselves to talking about the legal status of firearms. They talk plenty about the freedoms that guns are supposed to defend, so it's actually quite relevant that they're so quiet on this issue where a militarized police force is restricting the First Amendment and many other liberties.

Talking about them as if they're just a one-dimensional lobby is silly.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:56 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


from the reddit live feed
"Male in all black, made a threat he had 'all he needed in his pants,' making his way to McDonald's." - scanner
ahahahaha
posted by desjardins at 7:57 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


desjardins: his wallet?
posted by el io at 7:58 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


.....sure.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:01 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Can I be a "Stop abusing the word 'Troll' Troll"???

People are assholes, they say evil nasty things online, some of these people are just dumbfucks and they are merely speaking their mind the same as you or I do. Not all people who speak their mind (stupid and ignorant as it may be) are "trolls". How do you discern who's "legimitately" expressing their thoughts and who's a troll (i.e. don't actually believe what they're saying or pushing the envelope just to get a rise out of you instead of sincerely debating or arguing or expressing their opinion)? It seems to me, I've noticed this more and more, that the term "troll" merely means "someone whose opinions I don't agree with and they're arguing with me so therefore, they are a troll because they won't shut up and do what I say."

Sorry. I just, that "troll" link annoyed me.
posted by symbioid at 8:01 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


The NRA is all "tool up for race war, motherfuckers!", but only when it's the right race.
posted by Artw at 8:04 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I wish I could stand vigil stand watch thru the webs.

Depending on the recording laws in your location and location being recorded one might be able to do just that by creating text to index audio/video so others could then look at the "interesting bits".

All the software to do such exists, it would just need integration and people management for the things to get looked at/commented on.

Its not a bad idea, but would take more work than 1 person could toss together and some 2 party consent states would create a problem. There are stabs at such with various copwatch programs.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:05 PM on August 19


But racism is dead in America, right CJ Roberts?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:08 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"Film The Police"- B. Dolan ft. Toki Wright, Jasiri X, Buddy Peace, Sage Francis
posted by rollbiz at 8:11 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Anyone have a good livestream with someone who isn't standing still in a press pool?
posted by rollbiz at 8:12 PM on August 19


Vice seems to have changed their link: new one.

Nothing seems to be happening yet, they're trying to sort out some audio channel issues.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:14 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Elon James/ TWIB, rollbiz, I think.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:17 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


The DA and the governor are playing PASS THE HOT POTATO with this. Each of them is pointing at the other guy as the one who can get another prosecutor in there.
posted by Justinian at 8:19 PM on August 19


Ferguson, Missouri

see that line of men that’s marching down the street
carrying automatic weapons,
combat boots on their feet
got to wonder what kind of enemy
they expect to meet
over in Ferguson,
Ferguson Missouri

tanks and armored cars roll down the way
see ‘em firing off that tear gas
all throughout the day
rubber bullets flying, man
gonna be hell to pay
over in Ferguson,
Ferguson Missouri

these police seem to be at war
their trigger fingers ready
snipers on the rooftop ready to fire
their aim is steady
over in Ferguson,
Ferguson Missouri

this ain’t protect and serve,
this is armed attack
these cops are all too ready to kill,
especially if you’re black
but we’re all of us in danger now,
we need to take our freedom back
over in Ferguson,
Ferguson Missouri

people are angry,
they got plenty of reasons to be
every day the police in some new atrocity
from the streets of Staten Island
to the sidewalks of Seattle
peaceful citizens victimized
by cops intent on battle
over in Ferguson,
over in Ferguson,
Ferguson Missouri
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:21 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


Bipartisan Report ‏@Bipartisanism 2 hrs
Police are setting up decontamination showers at the command center in #Ferguson in case they're exposed to toxic chemicals tonight (source)
I can't even
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:22 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


the protesters have toxic chemicals?

oh wait... fuck.
posted by el io at 8:23 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


If only that were somehow within their control!
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:23 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


BBC is reporting that the man shot earlier today by the cops "was mentally challanged and holding a butter knife"
posted by futz at 8:27 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


According to witnesses I should have said...
posted by futz at 8:29 PM on August 19


feloniousmonk: "The goal would be basically to continuously stream a series of still photos back to a central aggregation point to create something like an "official" record of the event from as many angles as possible. I think it would be possible, with sufficient numbers of them in the crowd, to do something like create PhotoSynth snapshots of a given moment in time. "

PLEASE somebody make this. This concept is utterly amazing. Snapshots in time every few seconds from angles angles angles. Panopticon Gaze right back at them, no where to run, no where to hide - the safety in numbers of the people cannot be defeated when they all seeing gaze looks down upon those who perpetrate violence against the citizens.

And if, of course, if there really is a crime happening in the events, then SURELY the PoPo would want such a technology spread wide and far, right? RIGHT? (Why do I have a feeling they might not like such a technology to be in effect).

Damn this is beautiful, so fucking beautiful. Please please work with someone on making this happen. We have little mini-camera technology (I think it might have even been mentioned in the previous thread) but the idea of combining it all into one "space" to reconstruct 3D serial moments in time, that is abso-fuckin-lutely genius and a game changer.
posted by symbioid at 8:30 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


futz: "BBC is reporting that the man shot earlier today by the cops "was mentally challanged and holding a butter knife""

Oh good christ. What the fuck is it going to take to put an end to this insane police state?
posted by dejah420 at 8:31 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


To be fair, butter knives are almost as scary as empty water bottles. /gallows.

I shudder to think what's going to happen when that becomes more public. Got a link, futz?

And weird as this may seem, suddenly Google Glass is a really good idea for protests...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:31 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Police are setting up decontamination showers at the command center in #Ferguson in case they're exposed to toxic chemicals tonight

Yeah, see, I just tweeted about some of those toxic chemicals. There are lots of concern trolls out there right now saying pregnant women shouldn't be protesting, framing the fact that they might get gassed (and thus be exposed to miscarriage-producing gases) or pushed onto their stomachs while being arrested for peacefully protesting as some sort of personal-responsibility issue. I'd say it's more of an issue of the police's responsibility to the public, as well as a constitutional-rights issue—safe space needs to be provided for peaceful protest by people with disabilities, health conditions, etc. And there perhaps we agree to disagree.

But what the hell are you even supposed to do if you're pregnant, you live in Ferguson, and you have nowhere else to go? The concern trolls tell pregnant protesters to "go home"—but many people have reported tear gas seeping in through their windows and air-conditioning units. This is not OK. Use of tear gas in Ferguson is a huge public-health and human-rights issue.
posted by limeonaire at 8:31 PM on August 19 [19 favorites]


Vice just interviewed the dude who has the Thomas the Tank Engine vehicle, quite possibly winning all lifestreams for the night.
posted by rollbiz at 8:32 PM on August 19 [11 favorites]


I hated the I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN chant during the World Cup (so unwieldy), but I loved hearing it roll down West Florissant tonight on the Argus cam. Keep it loud and proud!

HANDS UP DON'T SHOOT is still #1, though.
posted by sallybrown at 8:34 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Know Your Rights
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:34 PM on August 19


No link. Just heard it on the radio from a reporter on the scene.
posted by futz at 8:34 PM on August 19


Bipartisan Report ‏@Bipartisanism 4 mins
A member of the National Guard told @CNN producer in #Ferguson last night that "You want to get out of here because you're white...." .
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:38 PM on August 19


And if any of you don't know what Photosynth is, it's a project from Microsoft that reconstructs a space/place from multiple photographs. It can search flickr for a keyword and find pictures from the same location and give a sort of virtual larger image threaded from all the various smaller images and angles.

Here's a site for you to see just what this tech is and how amazing this concept could be.
posted by symbioid at 8:39 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


WaPo: Why am I being arrested for sitting in my aunt's driveway?

When I read this a couple days ago my first thought was: They can order you to "disperse" from private property you have permission to be on? What??!?
posted by rtha at 8:40 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


How is it that only the Vice guys have the balls to be outside the "reporter pen"? I mean, yay on them, that's bloody awesome. They've gotten some of the most amazing footage of the events. But seriously, don't we have some war correspondents at some of these major networks?
posted by dejah420 at 8:43 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


Useful list of Ferguson Twitter feeds
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:44 PM on August 19


The concern trolls tell pregnant protesters to "go home"—but many people have reported tear gas seeping in through their windows and air-conditioning units.

It's crazy pervasive stuff. I was four during the Mount Pleasant riot in D.C. (in fact, another riot where a shooting by an officer exacerbated and highlighted rising racial tensions in an area.) Our house was on a terrace forty feet above the street, and down a block from any action. The stuff still came in the vents and windows, my parents said. They couldn't leave- where could they go? Who would have paid for the hotel, for the childcare? There really was no escape. What are the people of Ferguson supposed to do-- leave? Who will pay for their hotels, for their food? Over two decades later, and this is still the best we've got?
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:49 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


(I also feel so terribly for the kids in Ferguson: the riot, the arrests, the sounds-- it's never going to leave them. Their parents won't forget either. Let alone the presumably continuing threats of police issues and racial inequality in America anyway.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:52 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Oh, Jake Tapper.

Is it just me or does the Vice guy sound kind of ...bored? Not quite bored. A mix of relieved, tired, and bored.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:53 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


With Holder arriving tomorrow, I think the police are on their best behavior. What's going on with the National Guard? Are they still holed up at the command post?
posted by Weeping_angel at 8:58 PM on August 19


I've been expecting this story and here it is [Slate]:

The World's Dictators Love the Unrest in Ferguson

Sample quote:
Russia’s foreign ministry has urged “our American partners to pay more attention to restoring order in their own country before imposing their dubious experience on other nations.”
I'd say "ooo, ice burn" or something but it's really not funny. The LA Times story linked in that quote is actually more informative than this Slate thinkpiece which seemingly all gets its actual facts from it. But the Slate piece has the nice punchy headline.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:59 PM on August 19


Weeping angel: Not holed up, protecting it. They aren't there to restore the peace, they are there to ensure the war headquarters of the local military state are not threatened.
posted by el io at 9:00 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


livestream now: "Who do you serve? Who do you protect?"
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 9:03 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


VICE Live Feed
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:04 PM on August 19


Of course, after I mention that Vice is bored because nothing much is happening...the cops come by and start ordering people around, now it's getting agitated. Good work guys.

I do love the guy yelling "it's a TRAP" though.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:06 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


per @wesleylowery and @awkward_duck, helicopters are starting to spotlight, protesters are being herded out of parking lots and into the street.

WTF? I thought being on the street was a bad thing, last night?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:08 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


fffm, I think they're herding them out of the parking lot, but also telling them not to spill onto the street. So a parking lot full of people needs to all squeeze onto the sidewalk.
posted by Weeping_angel at 9:10 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


ah, that wasn't clear.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:10 PM on August 19


Who do you serve, who do you protect?
posted by klue at 9:11 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Police forcing everyone out of the strip mall parking lot for no reason, and also keeping them from the street. People were peaceful, and now they're getting more agitated due to more arbitrary orders. One of the leaders telling people to keep moving and, commenting on this latest command, "It's a trap!".

Now people are all riled up and there's some extreme tension between cops and protestors. Rifles are out. Great fucking job, "peace officers".
posted by rollbiz at 9:11 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Those lime green hats are National Lawyers Guild legal observers.
posted by rollbiz at 9:13 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


These Peacekeeper guys are doing great work keeping the crowd calm.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:14 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Police claiming they moved everyone to 'protect' McD's property per @wesleylowery
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:15 PM on August 19


These Peacekeeper guys

and women!
posted by rollbiz at 9:15 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I do love the Peace Train. It's like a little taste of Burningman in the middle of Fergustan.
posted by uosuaq at 9:16 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Okay, was the song that the "peace train" playing Make Me Wanna Holler?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:16 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


These Peacekeeper guys

and women!


Yes, sorry. The Peacekeepers are pretty awesome.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:17 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


The song playing on the Peace Train's last pass by the Vice camera was Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues."
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:20 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


HERE COMES THE PEACE TRAIN
posted by rollbiz at 9:22 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


The policeman sure have a lot of zip ties hanging off them.
posted by unliteral at 9:23 PM on August 19


Thomas rolls again!
posted by Artw at 9:24 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


looks like the trooper told the peace train that it needed to leave. :(
posted by el io at 9:24 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Seems like the Peace Train did a good job of being a peace train.
posted by E. Whitehall at 9:26 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Oh, trooper - why do you hate fun?
posted by spinifex23 at 9:26 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


That's a pretty pithy summary of the past week, el io.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:26 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


Text on the orange gun on the Vice feed says "LESS LETHAL"

This does not inspire confidence.
posted by E. Whitehall at 9:28 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Why these guys have the rifles painted camouflage is beyond me. You are not staging for FIBUA.
posted by RedShrek at 9:28 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"Excuse me officer? Can you tell me if any of these guns are armed with live ammunition?"
-Tim Pool of Vice, just now
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 9:30 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


Why these guys have the rifles painted camouflage is beyond me.

Surplus military stock?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:30 PM on August 19


Can I get a definitive ruling on whether the Peace Train is The Little Engine That Could or Thomas the Tank Engine?
posted by sallybrown at 9:31 PM on August 19


"Excuse me officer? Can you tell me if any of these guns are armed with live ammunition?"
-Vice, just now
(paraphrase): "you'll need to talk to the public affairs officer for an answer to that"
posted by el io at 9:32 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Can I get a definitive ruling on whether the Peace Train is The Little Engine That Could or Thomas the Tank Engine?

Looks like a knock-off Thomas.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:32 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Nah, the rifle looked like it had what looked like custom optics which don't come standard with AR variants. Plus the military pretty much gives them plain old rifles. The customization (paint jobs) is pretty much post-issue.
posted by RedShrek at 9:33 PM on August 19


Wesley Lowery ‏@WesleyLowery 3 mins
Organizers requested to be allowed to gather people for a prayer to end protest. Man on police radio: "and I told them absolutely not"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:34 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


Why these guys have the rifles painted camouflage is beyond me.

I thought it was common knowledge that Missouri is about 95% dense tropical rainforest.
posted by item at 9:37 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


The customization (paint jobs) is pretty much post-issue.

But...why? It's not like they need to hide from the Viet Cong.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:37 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


You see these types of customizations in mostly military units in general and SOF specifically. I just think it's stupid for Police and lends itself to the whole militarization debate.
posted by RedShrek at 9:38 PM on August 19


Vice stream is back up.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 9:39 PM on August 19


Because all the badass dudes use camo. Sigh.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:39 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


For the same reason Call of Duty or Battlefield let you custom camo your weapon; it makes it more fun when you shoot people.
posted by Justinian at 9:39 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Tear gas does seem to be related to miscarriages, by the way. Nice little dig by Michelle Goldberg: Tear Gas Is an Abortifacient. Why Won’t the Anti-Abortion Movement Oppose It?
posted by emjaybee at 9:44 PM on August 19 [15 favorites]


Robert Klemko ‏@RobertKlemko 4 mins
Giant prayer circle now in Ferguson on Florissant. I cant stress enough the unpredictable nature of this whole thing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:45 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Best line in the Vice live-cast. Regarding the Peace Train:

"He told us earlier that .. he's not street legal."

OMG.
posted by Lemurrhea at 9:45 PM on August 19 [12 favorites]


One more thing to consider in the whole "why are the police escalating things?" discussion besides all of the stuff I feel like has already been talking about is that as you watch these feeds night after night, consider that the vast majority of these officers are raking in OT. Many will have their best pay year ever, I'd guess...
posted by rollbiz at 9:46 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


I think John Oliver put it best when he said, "Why, in this photo from Ferguson, are [the police] wearing fucking camo? They are northwest of St. Louis, not northwest of the Amazon. If they want to blend in with their surroundings, they should be dressed as a dollar store".
posted by item at 9:47 PM on August 19 [15 favorites]


(Actually, as much of an atheist as I may be, the prayer circle thing is a brilliant tactic. Occupy the street, praying. Even the most hardcore police-boner types would die of the cognitive dissonance required to continue supporting police brutality against people praying.

I hope.)

consider that the vast majority of these officers are raking in OT

Every time I think this situation couldn't be more gross...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:48 PM on August 19


Why do they even need rifles?

This police escalation is interesting from a game theory standpoint, because it seems counter-productive at face value. It seems bound to radicalize an entire generation in (and outside) Ferguson, and would only make sense if they actually planned on using those rifles, which would (hopefully, right?) mean hell to pay.

So why would they do this? Do they want to shift the Overton window solidly in favor of waving military weapons at protestors, so they might be able to massacre them in the future? Because with all the totalitarian creep the USA has been showing over the past 10 years, that's the way it seems to be headed.
posted by anemone of the state at 9:49 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


So why would they do this?

I don't think there's a plan (which is not to say there isn't a pattern of increasing militarization, etc.) -- the police are winging it day by day and minute by minute with loaded weapons, canisters of tear gas and twitchy fingers.
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:53 PM on August 19


Wesley Lowery ‏@WesleyLowery 13 secs
Oh no
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:54 PM on August 19


A protestor just threw a water bottle... cops running in! (Vice feed)
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:55 PM on August 19


Matt Pearce ‏@mattdpearce 7 secs
Okay, everybody is moving now. Cops came running up. Young guys running way. Cops shouting OUT OF THE STREETS!
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:55 PM on August 19


What do the cops think would happen if they just didn't show up one night?
posted by wabbittwax at 9:56 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Matt Pearce ‏@mattdpearce 16 secs
Now comes the police bullhorn: "YOU NEED TO STOP THROWING OBJECTS AND DISPERSE IMMEDIATELY!"
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:59 PM on August 19


What do the cops think would happen if they just didn't show up one night?

I have been thinking about that, although it'd probably never happen because it'd play as weak in the hinterlands or suburbs or whatever.

But- what I think they think would happen- mass chaos, looting, rioting, bedlam, people begging the cops to come back, and greeting them as liberators when they do.

What I think would actually happen- it'd be safer than it is right now.
posted by hap_hazard at 9:59 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Is it just me or does the Vice guy sound kind of ...bored? Not quite bored. A mix of relieved, tired, and bored.

I'm betting he's exhausted.
How many nights has he been out reporting from those chaotic streets? On the move, operating constantly under the real possibility of harm or arrest the entire night:
dodging cops poised with guns and clubs and firing rubber bullets; wading through clouds of tear gas... Dealing with all the mundane energy-sapping stress caused by equipment failures and technical difficulties.
Add to all that a fuckedup sleep schedule - lord knows where he's laying his head when he finally gets to sleep - and the inevitably sub-par diet you wind up subsisting upon when you're living essential nowhere.
I'm willing to bet heavily that there's no green room waiting for him and his crew, and no deliriously fabulous after-parties.
Flat-out exhaustion, along with the near guarantee of broken, damaged or lost equipment are the only riders written into this gig.

The fact that he's still on post, displaying genuine enthusiasm, is a testament to his fortitude and character.

The men and women who've reported from the front edge of this story have provided us an eye-witness view we would otherwise have been denied.

We owe these people - big time.
posted by Pudhoho at 9:59 PM on August 19 [29 favorites]


sounds like live gunshots right now on the vice feed
posted by zug at 10:00 PM on August 19


'all the media need to get back into the designated media area now'
posted by el io at 10:00 PM on August 19


"ALL CREDENTIALED MEDIA NEED TO EVACUATE THE THE DESIGNATED MEDIA. DO IT NOW."
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:01 PM on August 19


Apologies if I've missed this upthread, but are there any links with more info about the peace train? Because it seems awesome.
posted by TwoStride at 10:01 PM on August 19


Who is the incredibly creepy sounding police announcer?
posted by monospace at 10:01 PM on August 19


Fucking hell. And it looked that it would be so peaceful tonight.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:01 PM on August 19


Rubber bullets, media being ordered away.

It's about to get really ugly.

zug, @mattdpearce said didn't sound quite like gunshots
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:02 PM on August 19


Some creepy policeman. He sounds like a snotty hall monitor.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:02 PM on August 19


Twitter reports of police dogs on scene are rolling in. Because this didn't look enough like the 60's. Unconfirmed, hope they're wrong.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:02 PM on August 19


anemone of the state: "So why would they do this? Do they want to shift the Overton window solidly in favor of waving military weapons at protestors, so they might be able to massacre them in the future? Because with all the totalitarian creep the USA has been showing over the past 10 years, that's the way it seems to be headed."

I have a friend who wrote the following, elsewhere:
The next time this happens, the militarized police response, the almost inevitable murder of demonstrators, will be routine. That's how it works. That's why it's happening now, unfolding in the way it is; to pave the way for the new normal.
It's sad, really. I don't really want to believe it, but what the fuck else is possible? The "liberal" president can't say or do shit cuz he's black and doesn't wanna anger those old white racist fuckers (and young white racist fuckers... let's not kid ourselves... We like to think it's just a generational thing, to make our post-boomer-selves (well I know there's plenty of boomers on here, too :)) feel better, but fact is, racism is ugly and it exists in old and young alike. I *hope* that it's less so in the younger generation, but fact is it's still there. This disgusting sort of white-moralism/blame "black culture" attitude). The right-wing is full of hate. The libertarians are slowly starting to grok that the racism card isn't serving them well so are trying to jettison it or well - use it for their advantage (hey! See police state is racist, liberals, join us in dismantling ALL the state while you're at it!)

ISIS beheads a news reporter, further enflaming bigoted attitudes towards Muslims, AND further entrenching measures against the ever so wonderfully loosely defined "Terror".
posted by symbioid at 10:02 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Dumbass trying to start things.
posted by RedShrek at 10:02 PM on August 19


The peacekeepers are so brave.
posted by E. Whitehall at 10:04 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Twitter reports of police dogs on scene are rolling in.

Was reported two or three hours ago by Elon I think.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:04 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"Shots have been fired. There is a man down. We are LIVE on the air now! #Ferguson #KMOV"

Tweet by KMOV.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:04 PM on August 19


The next time this happens, the militarized police response, the almost inevitable murder of demonstrators, will be routine. That's how it works. That's why it's happening now, unfolding in the way it is; to pave the way for the new normal.
It already is routine. See Battle of Seattle, DNC, RNC, Occupy... Only the Bundy Ranch Standoff deviated from the playbook, really.
posted by el io at 10:05 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


wrong sorry, @Bipartisanreport Dogs being used for crowd control
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:05 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Is it animal cruelty if you kill a police dog attacking people?
posted by anemone of the state at 10:09 PM on August 19


KMOV is live right now: http://www.kmov.com/home/KMOV-Live-Stream-129813793.html
posted by zug at 10:10 PM on August 19


Vice is back.
posted by E. Whitehall at 10:16 PM on August 19


Vice is back up. Vice.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:16 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"Keep your hands up or I wil blow your brains out" is what I was just told by police, @TalibKweli
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:18 PM on August 19 [10 favorites]


Surrounded the press!
posted by unliteral at 10:18 PM on August 19


For others, like me, who might need it right now. Pete Seeger, "We Shall Overcome".
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:20 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


officers storm media area to arrest teen
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:21 PM on August 19


Press ordered to a lot, the lot was advanced on by lines of police, press now being told to return to the command post.
posted by rollbiz at 10:21 PM on August 19


Wesley Lowery ‏@WesleyLowery 19 secs
Officer shoves reporter.
"Get that camera out of my face."
Reporter asks for his name
"Go fuck yourself," officer responds
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:23 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


The Ferguson police get so worked up when water is thrown at them. Perhaps they are witches, afraid of melting.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:28 PM on August 19 [25 favorites]


I hope that guy (from the Vice feed) gets a ride back to his car.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:28 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Capt. Johnson not answering direct questions from VICE reporter, fat white guy yelling threats at said journalist in front of Capt. Johnson instead.

Fuck this.
posted by rollbiz at 10:28 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


"Move your ass and get over to that sidewalk", he said.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:29 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Wesley Lowery ‏@WesleyLowery 43 secs
Reporter face down in road being arrested. Tried to take picture. Officer shoves me
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:31 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


"Move your ass and get over to that sidewalk", he said.

Yes, and it seems like it might be the chief of St. Louis County forces that said that.
posted by rollbiz at 10:32 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


"i try to avoid a crowd if it's primarily journalists"
posted by el io at 10:32 PM on August 19


At least Peter Kinder, the Lt. Governor of MO is not in charge. If he was, all these protestors would be enjoying a dose of that lovely "Anglo-American justice".
posted by RedShrek at 10:35 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


How much more of this can Ferguson possibly take? How much more can it give?
posted by goofyfoot at 10:36 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Elon James White has apparently spoken with organizers; they "can't keep doing this every night."

Cops are winning.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:38 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Vice just reported the remaining Amnesty observers are pulling out (for the night?)
posted by E. Whitehall at 10:39 PM on August 19


(source)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:40 PM on August 19


Observers aren't leaving, but hanging WAY back and also all in one big pack.

Having done a fair bit of legal observing, this seems weird. You've got a dozen plus people but if you're all shoulder to shoulder, you're all going to see the same thing.

It may lessen the chances of being arrested or shot though, I will grant that possibility.
posted by rollbiz at 10:41 PM on August 19


Another live stream still running
posted by yertledaturtle at 10:43 PM on August 19


el io: "
The next time this happens, the militarized police response, the almost inevitable murder of demonstrators, will be routine. That's how it works. That's why it's happening now, unfolding in the way it is; to pave the way for the new normal.
It already is routine. See Battle of Seattle, DNC, RNC, Occupy... Only the Bundy Ranch Standoff deviated from the playbook, really.
"

Actually, the paragraph before that actually digresses into how that WAS the norm:
The first time many people have seen the active deployment of police outfitted with military gear. (Unless you've been at a protest in the past twenty years. Or you're not white.) (emphasis mine/symbioid's) The first time it's not just televised, but livestreamed, tweeted, reblogged. The first time people have been able to hold out long enough without being crushed to get it into the news cycle. Among the first times the citizen media has been able to loudly counter the mainstream narrative. But beyond the technological angle, it's not shocking or surprising or any sort of historical aberration; if anything, the aberration is the aforementioned few decades (her previous paragraph) where speaking truth to power actually had an effect.
But I guess I mentioned it because "The inevitable murder of demonstrators will be routine", in particular, re: anemone's comment
"so they might be able to massacre them in the future? Because with all the totalitarian creep the USA has been showing over the past 10 years, that's the way it seems to be headed."
I mean, Kent State we had. And as Kareem's editorial pointed out Jackson State Massacre... But in terms of pure unadulterated slaughter and murder of a protesting population in America, I think you really have to go back to the early part of the 1900s (which I think was my friends point, without specifically mentioning any particular incident)... Ludlow Massacre or the Battle of Matewan... Or hell, any of these Anti-Union Violence incidents listed on Wikipedia.

I'm depressed, because on the one hand there clearly is a racial issue here, but we also need to counteract that with and understanding of class. I keep singing to myself, even though I am not black, but in my heart I stand in solidarity with the Brothers and Sisters who face the struggle every day of their lives, (but I really need to stand more than just in my heart....) But I sing Run DMC's classic Proud to be Black. It's why I want Huey P Newton tattooed on my arm, because he knew about the class and race struggle combined (before COINTELPRO threw the Panthers off the track of their original noble goal).

I guess it scares me because I think this IS the new normal - the trend is steadily growing (as it always has been, since Daryl Gates and the SWAT teams, the militarization in the 90s and post-9/11 of the police, the Drug War in general)... But it seems that we're on the cusp of something much more brutal and dark than we have experienced in our lives so far.

In a sense, though, this is my privilege being torn away. It is precisely the suffering of the black community staring back at me, and that stark division and reality glaring brighter than it's ever glared at me before.

Barking orders to be subservient, to submit. I think maybe it's so much more terrifying and real to me, not just because it's so raw and brutal and scary, but because it's mundane. Because it IS personal. It's not the "political". It's not abstracted out into a protest against some vague 1% or the WTO or World Bank or the Bilderberg Conference. Or even corporate institutions like Monsanto... This is the real raw fresh and all too personal reality. It's not a system or a corporate body or a government institution. It is a young, unarmed man being murdered. And not just any young unarmed man, but one every 28 hours. And all because of the color of their skin, while so many so called "fellow" countrymen (and women) justify it all the while proclaiming that racism doesn't exist and how dare you try to express such a sentiment, you reverse-racist.

It's real it's raw and it's personal. Why is it THIS protest? Why is it Michael Brown? Why does this particular incident seem to be such a sharp point in history whereas even other fairly recent events do not have such an intense power on us. Trayvon had some, but there was no massive build up against people in their own community who are merely striving for Justice. Or did I already forget? Was there such an outpour? Sure there's some, and maybe I just... I get outrage fatigue and I overlook the intensity of various conflicts, but for some reason.

This time really does seem different. And maybe it's that idea - that the sheer brutality of the state, maybe not this particular time, but the next time or certainly soon enough... It will be revealed in a way that will shock us. We've been safe for so long. We've been lucky... At least in America. In Italy and Greece these global protests have had young people dying...

I think I have a lot of thinking to do about my own naivete, about my own privilege and what the personal and political mean to me, and what it means to confront institutions while feeling so powerless to stop it. What do I mean when I say this feels so much more personal vs an abstraction like the "1%". Why does it feel personal, now? It's not as if this isn't just reflective of that abstract institutional racism that is perpetrated everywhere... It absolutely is.

These are ruptures. Percolating to the surface. That's it. These peaks of agitation of crumbling. The 1% issue surfacing in the 2007 crash... All these are intimations of something starker and more desperate to come.

And yet, we remind ourselves "same as it ever was... same as it ever was..."
posted by symbioid at 10:43 PM on August 19 [25 favorites]


Apparently Wilson is testifying at a grand jury tomorrow which is pretty unusual. Usually you would avoid doing that like the plague if you think an indictment will be handed down. The only reason to testify is if you think there is a good chance of preventing an indictment.
posted by Justinian at 10:44 PM on August 19


I think it's less that the cops are winning, and more that the protesters have succeeded in attracting widespread attention to how utterly fucked up the policing there is — which was all along one of their major goals.

I am 100% ok with them declaring victory and getting a decent night's sleep rather than going out every night indefinitely to get tear-gassed over and over again.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:44 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


NLG observer being arrested right now.
posted by rollbiz at 10:44 PM on August 19


And one of the people from the National Lawyers Guild has just been arrested.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:44 PM on August 19


Fuck :( I really don't want the cops to win. I wish I could be there :(
posted by Strass at 10:44 PM on August 19


Arrests being made now. 4 so far.
posted by unliteral at 10:44 PM on August 19


Whoops, he has been offered the chance to testify. So that doesn't mean he will do so. Whether or not he does should be a good barometer on how strong his lawyer thinks the case against him will be.
posted by Justinian at 10:45 PM on August 19


sorry, nebulawindphone, I didn't mean to imply the protesters shouldn't be doing whatever is best for their physical and mental health. If it came across that way it wasn't my intention and I apologize. Those people have more bravery in their little fingers than I have in my entire body.

It does still mean the cops are winning, though. That's the sad part.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:47 PM on August 19


KARG just came back on the air, said they reset three times but no dice. But that once they left the area their signal came back. And now they're signing off.
posted by tychotesla at 10:48 PM on August 19


another good feed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHfVrTl62m0&feature=youtu.be
posted by ghostbikes at 10:49 PM on August 19


ah of course it goes down as soon as i post it
posted by ghostbikes at 10:49 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


FOX2now ‏@FOX2now 5 mins
Police arresting a woman. Guns drawn. They’re telling people to, “Go home.” #Ferguson

Ryan J. Reilly ‏@ryanjreilly 3 mins
"We're gonna start with you guys first." -- officer to reporter on arrests #Ferguson

Matt Pearce ‏@mattdpearce 2 mins
Police: "MEDIA, GET OUT OF THE WAY!"
Young guy: "MEDIA, STAND WITH US."
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:51 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


@RobertKlemko: Protesters spotted a fair-skinned man about to throw a brick, grabbed him and tossed him. They're screaming WHERE YOU FROM at him.
posted by Artw at 10:56 PM on August 19 [22 favorites]


It does still mean the cops are winning, though. That's the sad part.

The events in Ferguson are a symptom, like fever and phlegm, of a greater underlying issue.

I agree this is distressing to witness. But don't get too discouraged or lose heart, because there are a lot more battles ahead.

Ultimately it is our actions, or lack of will, that determines what occurs next.
posted by Pudhoho at 11:01 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


I do think it's fundamentally a rehearsal, yes. As the middle-class disappears and we head further and further towards the world of 1 percent masters and 99 percent serfs, there's going to be at least a few groups that try to protest it. There's a class of people who are eager to be the masters' palace guards and get paid to put the boot in, and they are demonstrating that they can treat citizens in their own town as enemy combatants, gas and shoot them, barrage them with whatever new 'crowd control' technology they want (no doubt the pain projector will be following the LRAD into service), beat and detain journalists or simply forbid them from covering the protests, and no one will stop them.
posted by tavella at 11:02 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


If you rough up a police planted agent provocateur, can you be charged with assaulting an officer performing his duty?
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:03 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


I think the war was lost a long time ago. This is just injury management at this point.
posted by RedShrek at 11:03 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


If you rough up a police planted agent provocateur, can you be charged with assaulting an officer performing his duty?

If they successfully IDed the fuck it would be amazing.

Of course it could just be some rando.
posted by Artw at 11:05 PM on August 19


If you rough up a police planted agent provocateur, can you be charged with assaulting an officer performing his duty?

I can't imagine they'd ever admit to installing provocateurs, would they? It'd be a "The secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions" situation, surely.
posted by rifflesby at 11:06 PM on August 19


You probably can, Joey Michaels. But even with the idiocy of cops on display here, I don't think any would be stupid enough to bring that charge, because it would provide solid, you-are-totally-fucked-now evidence against the cops.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:06 PM on August 19


I very much hope someone took his picture.
posted by Artw at 11:06 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Oh, this isn't good at all.

From the Chicago Tribune: A 21-year-old man was fatally shot by police on the Far South Side on Tuesday night, authorities said.
posted by tivalasvegas at 11:06 PM on August 19


ArtW: Your wish is my command
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:07 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Cops really are winning:

Matt Pearce ‏@mattdpearce 2 mins
.@trymainelee says, and I agree, that media has become an accelerant at this point.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:10 PM on August 19


it'll be a cold day in hell if these things ever work, but here is this petition anyway: http://linkis.com/whitehouse.gov/sLNAS
posted by ghostbikes at 11:13 PM on August 19


http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:15 PM on August 19


sorry, nebulawindphone, I didn't mean to imply the protesters shouldn't be doing whatever is best for their physical and mental health. If it came across that way it wasn't my intention and I apologize. Those people have more bravery in their little fingers than I have in my entire body.

It does still mean the cops are winning, though. That's the sad part.


Well, I don't just mean the protesters should be taking care of themselves (though they should). I also mean that it's up to them to decide what their objectives are and what counts as victory.

I think this tweet from Elon White sums it up: "I can get gassed & rubber bulleted every night for the next month and what will you learn that you don't know right now?" His goal was to draw attention to the behavior of the police there. He has succeeded in that goal. People are paying the fuck attention. They've seen everything that a reasonable person would need to see about the situation there. (Of course, not everyone is a reasonable person — but continued protesting, on its own, is not likely to solve that problem.)

On those terms, measured against those objectives, he has clearly won and the police — to the extent that they were interested in covering their shit up — have clearly lost.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:16 PM on August 19 [4 favorites]


Sorry if I'm not with the militant side here, but I think this is dangerous, exhausting, and accomplishes very little. I know people don't want the issue to disappear, but I'm not even sure what macro thing people want. Cameras is a possibility at a national level (although it's much more likely that the feds would fund camera equipment -- a lot is already bought with DOJ grants -- versus requiring it). I don't think a broader police "reform" bill is something that would fly with this divided Congress, and if anything, the establishment point of view has been further reinforced on giving out milspec equipment.

From what I know about the ACRM, King and others were particularly concerned with creating workable and achievable goals that public action like marches and strikes had a reasonable chance of bringing about. I don't know that this movement right now has a lot of coherent goals and I think the multiplicity of complaints that are being bundled up in it has only the prospect of fragmenting and dissipating the effectiveness.

For Ferguson specifically I think the intentional community that I see forming, the networking with Greater St. Louis activists, and the emergence of a tiny voter registration drive are the most important accomplishments that have come indirectly. There's simply no way that a 67% black community should be run with 17% black representation, and I maintain that had Chief Jackson had to report to a majority black council at some point since 2000 (the first census over 50%, I'm told), he and his officers might already be singing a different tune and this might not ever have happened. (Whether they can hire black officers is, as I've said, a potential challenge, but they can certainly move to a community policing model where there is much greater interaction and understanding between the people and the cops.) Certainly we wouldn't have dumb-as-fuck white-as-milk mayor-man showing up on one of the most right-wing outlets there is to claim "Oh, gosh, no race problems here." And they wouldn't be so lacking in atomic-level elements of common sense as to hire a PR firm made up entirely of white yupsters rather than a community mediation consultant and a city-wide sit-down with stakeholders (like the awesome AME pastor).

But getting to that point by ... what? Do people think they're going to beat the police at this game one night? Or god forbid they hope that someone will suffer serious injury or death as a martyr to the cause, finally (seriously?) showing America what cops are really like? As the Pew poll showed most whites, even liberal whites, just have no idea what it's like on the other side of the color line and they're not going to be any more than reluctant allies.

Meanwhile, and I know that right wing concern trolls have been pushing this line out there already, but it's pretty real -- getting investment back into this broke community that depends on fines and citations which fall (you know they do) most heavily on its poorest and blackest members is going to be a rough road. (I live in a neighborhood that just has a high rate of crime merely relative to the rest of town and I've heard that: "Walgreen's moved a mile west because they were sick of getting robbed! You're crazy if you think you can get a grocery store to build downtown." And we never had riots.) There's probably already a sort of redline to the way city development projects work (Florissant Rd. vs. West Florissant Ave., which is also the worst sort of anti-community STROAD imaginable). That's going to get worse unless the electoral dynamics change.

I did verify that at least Missouri is not a state that disenfranchises felons after the end of their sentence/probation. So there is probably no reason other than ... habit? culture? that the 9000 or so black adults are not participating in local politics and elections. I really hope (as a member of my own state/local party) that that changes. I don't see many of the other things that need to change happening until it does.
posted by dhartung at 11:18 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]


If the police are succeeding in intimidating people from lawful protesting, everyone loses, is where I'm coming from.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:19 PM on August 19 [16 favorites]


“Op-Ed: Killer Mike on the Problems Underlying the Chaos in Ferguson,” Killer Mike, BillboardBiz, 19 August 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 11:19 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]


Never mind, globalrevolution signing off.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:20 PM on August 19


wow, this
posted by ghostbikes at 11:25 PM on August 19 [7 favorites]


These guys, who are the ones doing the Argus livecast, say that at some point when agitation started this evening, and people were running from the cops, everyone in the area lost internet, and as soon as they were out of that area, they had access again.

Hasn't jamming been ruled illegal by the circuit court?
posted by dejah420 at 11:36 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


Someone was claiming on twitter that cops were using jammers as well... while people were livetweeting from the area. So..
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:38 PM on August 19


I can tell you one end game that I as an outsider 500 miles away would like to see: Federal supervision of the Ferguson, St. Louis County, and any other police department that participated in this fiasco.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:38 PM on August 19 [15 favorites]


You probably can, Joey Michaels. But even with the idiocy of cops on display here, I don't think any would be stupid enough to bring that charge, because it would provide solid, you-are-totally-fucked-now evidence against the cops.

Do you really think that they care? They're threatening to shoot reporters. On camera.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:40 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]


I dunno, to be honest.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:43 PM on August 19


I'm not even sure what macro thing people want.

By all existing accounts, a police officer executed a teenager in the middle of a street in broad daylight and is now skipping town on a paid vacation. I'm not really sure what's unclear about this.

However, it seems the Mayor and Governor are either getting played by, or are afraid of, the police chiefs. Darren Wilson benefits from this, and by extension the racist law enforcement community, so it's going to be dragged out as long as possible.
posted by rhizome at 11:54 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]


I can tell you one end game that I as an outsider 500 miles away would like to see: Federal supervision of the Ferguson, St. Louis County, and any other police department that participated in this fiasco.

As an outsider 900 miles away, I would add that, over the long-term, I'd like to see a sea change toward communtiy-based policing, and rigorous efforts toward eliminating racist policies and policework.

And I'd like to witness that change both in St. Louis County and in jurisdictions across the country—including my own.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:54 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]


From the Chicago Tribune: A 21-year-old man was fatally shot by police on the Far South Side on Tuesday night, authorities said.

From the article:

Officers from a Calumet District tactical team had tried to stop the man for questioning when they saw him riding a bicycle in the 13300 block of South Forrestville Avenue about 9:45 p.m., according to Pat Camden, a police union spokesman.

When officers trained a spotlight on the man, the man pointed a gun at the unmarked squad car, Camden said.


An officer jumped out of the squad car and gave chase on foot as the 21-year-old, now on foot as well, tried to flee, Camden said. When the man pointed the gun in the officer's direction, the officer opened fire, said Camden, whose account was corroborated by police.


Now that's journalism. Getting all sides of the story. The police union, the police. The policeman's benevolent association maybe if you need extra verification.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:59 PM on August 19 [27 favorites]


But getting to that point by ... what? Do people think they're going to beat the police at this game one night?

I think people were holding out for the cavalry, waiting for the state and federal administrations to be embarrassed into coming in and relieving the local imbeciles of duty. Even though everyone up to the President is aware and has commented on the situation, apparently that is not going to happen. Apparently they're all fine with this continuing indefinitely. No one is bending.
posted by forgetful snow at 11:59 PM on August 19 [5 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: "Do you really think that they care? They're threatening to shoot reporters. On camera."

Threatening hell, they've done it at least twice. Granted, it was rubber bullets or beanbags, but in full goddamn view of the world, they've fired on and hit journalists. As well as arrested them on camera, destroyed their equipment on camera...they've done all the crap they've done with full knowledge that cameras are rolling.

They. don't. give. a. flying. fuck. Why? Because they've had 10 days to prove that there's nothing any of us can do to stop them.

President isn't going to act.

Congress couldn't find their ass with a map, they sure as hell couldn't find political will to do something about this.

Governor acted; sent the National Guard to protect the police.

Police acted, firing tear gas and sonic weapons in neighborhoods full of children with no regard for civilian safety. They've pointed loaded weapons at unarmed citizens. They have acted like ever b-movie bad invader army you can imagine, short of raping the sheep and slaughtering the women...and they're making huge bank in overtime, while getting to rub their erections all over the weapons they get to use on the protestors.

We're fucked people. We're just fucked. Ferguson can't, and shouldn't have to keep protesting just to prove that the president is powerless, the congress is useless, and we have no choice but to "obey if we don't want to get hurt."

My stomach hurts, my head hurts, my heart hurts. I weep for the dreams this country destroyed by laying siege to an unarmed American city for the crime of thinking they had rights. Ferguson proved that the police state is here, and it's here to stay. I've never felt so demoralized and hopeless about our future.

The revolution will not be televised. There will be no revolution. We've already lost.


Oh, and I on the Argus livestream, the cops are setting up some sort of display table with a bunch of guns(?) in boxes, probably going to call it evidence...but all the guns are the same, and I don't know if they're real guns or some sort of toy. Press conference incoming, looks like.
posted by dejah420 at 12:03 AM on August 20 [25 favorites]


rhizome, c'mon, I'm getting sick of this treatment. I wrote a long, heartfelt post and you're sneering condescendingly. I haven't attacked you and I have shown my commitment to this issue by my participation for days on end. Engage me honestly or not at all.

Yes, people want Officer Wilson charged. I don't know if that's possible. A civil rights prosecution is also, despite sentiments (I'm in favor), not necessarily something that is realistically going to happen (and then, it's a trial and acquittal is a possibility).

But even right here in this thread there are people who practically want to smash the power of the state or at least the cops as a "macro thing". There's very little prospect for meaningful change on the federal level, and I don't see much interest in engaging Jay Nixon, but with Chapelle-Nadal and Jamilah Nasheed on the ground there might be something that could go forward at the state legislative level, but you're still looking at entrenched (and still very white) caucuses and strong sympathies for law enforcement. I focused on the local level because I think that's the brightest route for change, but it's going to take some very focused organizing and relentless work to bring new voices into the city government.

Other things that people -- here and some on the ground in Ferguson -- seem to want are just not realistic or not part of an achievable process. Have the National Guard come out and "protect the people" against rogue police? However good it sounds as a moral proposition it belies a serious misunderstanding of how power structures work and what sorts of levers there are to move them. There is virtually no chance that any level of law enforcement, even if it's right-color, right-home-town Captain Johnson, will do anything but take an "anti-riot" position. So what exactly are you trying to achieve by going there night after night and getting tear-gassed, arrested, or hopefully not worse? I sort of need to ask if you're actually from my planet at that point.
posted by dhartung at 12:08 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


So what exactly are you trying to achieve by going there night after night and getting tear-gassed, arrested, or hopefully not worse? I sort of need to ask if you're actually from my planet at that point.

They are communicating their dissatisfaction (that a cop murdered an unarmed teenager and faces no consequences). That is what protesting is.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:15 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


Capt. Johnson press conference is starting. With a prayer, those fucking hypocrites.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:16 AM on August 20


"Dear god, please don't let these people catch me in my lies", ad libs the livestream guy, sotto voice.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:17 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


What the holy fuck? The press conference is starting with a prayer. A prayer. By a cop. A publicly paid person who works as a member of government.
posted by dejah420 at 12:17 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


What the holy fuck? The press conference is starting with a prayer. A prayer. By a cop. A publicly paid person who works as a member of government.

Ha. I didn't even think about that. I was more appalled that the cops are praying for peace, as if 'peace' was some nebulous force that was out of their control, and not something they were deliberately and consciously shattering with their brutal ham-handed 'tactics'.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:20 AM on August 20 [15 favorites]


They also prayed before the press conference yesterday.
posted by frimble at 12:21 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


"Hey, go us! We didn't fire any bullets!"

"In the last 10 days, the residents and police have gotten to know each other so much better" DIRECT QUOTE

Ok, y'all. I've obviously just crossed into some really fucked up reality. It's like that Montel Williams show, where they've got footage of the guy cheating, but he keeps denying it and saying, "Who you going to believe baby, me or your lying eyes?"
posted by dejah420 at 12:22 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Maybe if the protesters put on white face and dressed like the Clive Bundy protesters the police would all leave.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:23 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Maybe if the protesters put on white face and dressed like the Clive Bundy protesters the police would all leave.

Pretty much. Look at the police 'presence' at the pro-Darren Wilson protests.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:26 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


The prayer is the key to why they will win. Because a lot of people turn off their brains when the "god" thing is invoked, authority and obedience is part-and-parcel of their religion, and if the men in power are "men of god" that's good enough for them.
posted by maxwelton at 12:27 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


a lot of people turn off their brains when the "god" thing is invoked, authority and obedience is part-and-parcel of their religion

*tips fedora*
posted by hellojed at 12:31 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


"Keep your hands up or I wil blow your brains out" is what I was just told by police, @TalibKweli

The crazy thing is that this sort of thing is being said at the very time they are trying to claim one of their officers didn't unneccesarily shoot someone.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:41 AM on August 20 [18 favorites]


Yeah it's unbelievable. "Hands up or I'll shoot"? I thought the Ferguson policy was "Hands up and I shoot".
posted by forgetful snow at 12:45 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Pretty much. Look at the police 'presence' at the pro-Darren Wilson protests.

That's just infuriating. When black people protest, they are met with armored tanks, attack dogs, tear gas, guns pointed at them, police in full riot gear. They are maced, cuffed, arrested, jailed, forced to march and move over and over from one area to another with orders barked at them, violent threats made.

But when white people demonstrate, it's Officer Friendly in shorts on his bike. They are allowed to stand, aren't forced to march. No arrests. No threats.

Just sickening.
posted by marsha56 at 12:48 AM on August 20 [16 favorites]


To be fair, black people demonstrating in favor of not holding cops accountable for shooting unarmed black teenagers would probably also get a friendlier reception from the cops.
posted by JiBB at 1:03 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


"In the last 10 days, the residents and police have gotten to know each other so much better"

Pretty much a one-way class, there. It amounts to, "You thought slaughtering a black kid was bad? Check out all of the institutional support we have for that kind of thing, and here's some tear gas for your tears in case you don't get it."

I really don't get where all of this amounts to "smashing the power of the state," dhartung, there is no wallowing in abstraction as far as I can see. I can see the state acting in confusing and self-contradictory ways, but the facts remain. I don't think it's helpful to say that $big_thing is undefined so what's the point of $small_thing, because in this case, registering disapproval with the situation at hand carries more than enough meaning. When the state is saying loud and clear that the response to Mike Brown's killing and the apparent free-reign that police have to wield violence for whatever reason is to let the police do whatever they want, I dunno, man. Are you saying they should be hiring lobbyists?

I saw some commentary about dissolving the Ferguson PD and folding it into the greater St. Louis PD, but who knows. I think it's a reasonably focused idea that the current Ferguson PD be scrapped. As for the ability of the current Ferguson PD to hire black officers goes, I wouldn't be surprised if the hiring process was stacked against them from multiple directions.

There are major affronts and civil rights violations happening here, and even those appear not to allow for recourse. Meanwhile, it even remains to be seen whether this affects Jay Nixon's political ambitions. Why? Because things really are that bad and he was elected on a foundation of the way things are.

But let's get real: what's with all the armor? What is it really protecting against? There's a macro for you. The police are the proximate cause of all of the violence so far, as they usually do at protests these days. Police rioting? Seems to be legal, and that's another problem beyond individual acts. The most peaceful night was when the people thought law enforcement gave a shit, but apparently that was too much so the aggro-bros had to re-assert themselves. Can't be letting people think they're more important than societal control. In that way, perhaps there is a little bit of the smash-the-state, but if creating a responsive and representative law enforcement community qualifies as a smashing, then I perhaps the state deserves it.
posted by rhizome at 1:34 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


The grand jury is, so far as I am aware, being empaneled today. It would be pretty shocking if we didn't get transcripts of the proceedings although I don't know if that will happen until after the grand jury either returns an indictment or declines to do so. It would probably help matters if they released transcripts right away so that we could see the wheels of justice churning so I expect they will not do so. Because they taking the opposite approach to what would help.
posted by Justinian at 2:00 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


(they are taking)
posted by Justinian at 2:06 AM on August 20


From the CBC:
Missouri's governor said he would not seek the removal of the county prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the fatal police shooting of the teenager by a white police officer.

A grand jury was expected to begin a criminal inquiry into shooting on Wednesday.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch's deep family connections to police have been cited by some black leaders who question his ability to be impartial. McCullouch's father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin all worked for the St. Louis Police Department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.

Gov. Jay Nixon said Tuesday he would not ask McCulloch to leave the case, citing the "well-established process" by which prosecutors can recuse themselves from pending investigations to make way for a special prosecutor.

Departing from that process, Nixon said in a statement, "could unnecessarily inject legal uncertainty into this matter and potentially jeopardize the prosecution."
posted by frimble at 2:08 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


So why would they do this?

Maybe it's excessively cynical of me, but I just keep picturing these jackasses high-fiving each other, grinning, and yelling "RaHoWa!" as they load their semiautomatic weapons and strap into their body armor at the start of their shifts.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 2:12 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


"Because no one is taking away gun rights of the folks in Ferguson? It's outside of their mandate? Gun rights have no bearing on whats going on? Look, I have a hate on for the NRA as much as the next person, but I don't see the point in that discussion."
One of the primary examples the NRA provides when asked what exactly they have in mind for the uses of gun rights is the Battle of Athens, Tennessee in 1946. Dirty cops in the town of Athens ruled the county with an iron fist by rigging elections, imposing arbitrary fines, shaking down travelers, getting paid by the state per arrest, and arresting anyone who objected. Things came to a head when GIs returned from the war and organized an opposition candidate who lost despite overwhelming popular support due to obvious fraud. This resulted in The Battle of Athens when those GIs took up arms and chased out the county government by force and held new free and fair elections protected by the power of their citizen held arms.

Clearly neither the city nor county governments of Ferguson continue to have the support of the people of Ferguson and, if the right to bear arms in the way they were borne in Athens means anything, surely an armed response by the people of Ferguson would be the answer here. Right?
posted by Blasdelb at 2:19 AM on August 20 [22 favorites]


If the goal is to get them all killed, sure.
posted by Justinian at 2:24 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


This resulted in The Battle of Athens when those GIs took up arms and chased out the county government by force and held new free and fair elections protected by the power of their citizen held arms.

As an aside, per this Wikipedia citation the GIs took up arms from a nearby National Guard Armory. So although this incident is cited as a rationale for private ownership of firearms, it actually didn't involve privately-owned firearms. Just the ones possessed by the well-regulated militia.

But yeah, to Blasdelb's overall point, it's pretty conspicuous and disgusting how abruptly it happens that rising up against tyranny ceases to be a poignant and noble endeavor and watering the Tree of Liberty is suddenly not so important to some people, when it's black people doing it.
posted by XMLicious at 3:10 AM on August 20 [26 favorites]


Sorry if I'm not with the militant side here, but I think this is dangerous, exhausting, and accomplishes very little. I know people don't want the issue to disappear, but I'm not even sure what macro thing people want.

The resignation of Chief of Police Tom Jackson, followed by the dissolution of the Ferguson Police Department, would be a start. Justice for Mike Brown would be a start. But I worry now that even that first hoped-for outcome will never come to pass—or that if it does, as others have mentioned, the department's files would just merge into St. Louis County's, like the Jennings police department's files did, and be buried deep. And it's not like the county police are winning over a lot of hearts and minds in Ferguson right now.

But don't forget, beyond those larger goals, there are still at least 20 pieces of information we don't have. Getting some of this released would also be a good medium-term goal. Here's the list from our discussion in the earlier thread:

1. Darren Wilson's record from his years with the dissolved Jennings police department
2. Any of Wilson's disciplinary records that aren't in his Ferguson Police Department file
3. All video of the shooting from the cellphones that were confiscated by police
4. The police reports directly pertaining to the shooting of Mike Brown
5. The percentage of Ferguson police officers who actually live in Ferguson
6. What happened in the conversation leading up to the shoplifting incident
7. What tests the medical examiner did to find Mike Brown had marijuana in his body
8. Why purchased body and dash cameras weren't in use, and when they will be
9. Why Darren Wilson hasn't been detained—and whether police know his whereabouts
10. Why no ambulance was called when Mike Brown was shot
11. Why a nurse on the scene was not allowed to help when Mike Brown was shot
12. Why Mike Brown's body was left on the scene for four hours after he was shot—and what else was found there
13. What role Charter and AT&T had in censoring local cable and Internet last weekend during initial protests
14. Who's astroturfing Twitter with "Michael Brown is GUILTY! Forget that thug and stop being bitches!"
15. Darren Wilson's medical records for any medical treatment he got after the incident
16. Who leaked the "traces of marijuana" result to the press
17. Any definitive evidence that protesters actually did throw Molotov cocktails at police
18. The names of the officers who've threatened they would shoot reporters each night
19. Accounts of what happened in the convenience store from customers or employees present
20. Any evidence that shoplifting video was in fact released in response to a FOIA request

Right now, we only have info re: No. 8 that there were in fact just two body cameras and two dash cameras collecting dust (so the department will have to buy more, you know, sometime); a partial answer to the first part of No. 9 (St. Louis Public Radio says police don't have to arrest Wilson—um, great reporting?); some vague claims I've seen from people on Facebook re: No. 10 (that an ambulance did come, but apparently no one saw it?); and some tiny bullshit on No. 17 (there's like one New York Times video showing a seeming Molotov cocktail and one questionable St. Louis County police photo that's been tweeted).

We need more info. Is there anything else we should add to the list now? We need to put the pressure on now, or we may never see some of this stuff. Those are some things to tweet about when everyone wakes up this morning.
posted by limeonaire at 3:21 AM on August 20 [24 favorites]


Via Longreads, Harpers, March 2010, on "non-lethal" weaponry and its use both within the US and abroad.
“Non-lethal” is the Pentagon’s approved term for these weapons, but their manufacturers also use the terms “soft kill,” “less-lethal,” “limited effects,” “low collateral damage,” and “compliance.” The weapons are intended primarily for use against unarmed or primitively armed civilians; they are designed to control crowds, clear buildings and streets, subdue and restrain individuals, and secure borders. The result is what appears to be the first arms race in which the opponent is the general population.
posted by frimble at 3:34 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Officer points gun at me and other media on W. Florissant #ferguson
"What's your name sir?"
"Go fuck yourself."

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:05 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


Musician Talib Kweli and activist Rosa Clemente have both reported on Twitter about being held at gunpoint, with an officer threatening to shoot another detainee who was struggling to stay still because unable to breathe.

Is it me, or does respiratory illness seem to drive cops into a murderous frenzy?

"Keep your hands up or I will blow your brains out is what I was just told by police." Kweli also says that the riot police had formed up and were preparing to rush the crowd before the bottle of water was thrown.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:07 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


That's some crazy video.
posted by OmieWise at 5:09 AM on August 20


In which the CBC writes a disappointing and terrible article. Deplores two "black-on-white" thefts that he sees, and argues that since we don't have any evidence, we can't assume it was a racially motivated killing.

And that segment on Johnson falls into some weird racial stereotypes. Why does every black person who talks eloquently "sound like a preacher"?
posted by Lemurrhea at 5:10 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Missouri School Kids Chant 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot!'
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:13 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Guardian: - Norm Stamper was Seattle police chief from 1994 - 2000
Nothing works in Ferguson. Here's how to fix a police force – and punish cops
posted by adamvasco at 5:14 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


@onekade said recently: "Wow if you think this isn't a police state take a look at what's been built in the shadows of even our small cities, waiting for dissent."

The problem is that a lot of voting Americans don't care about Ferguson, because they don't think that they, themselves are impacted by racism or even police militarization. They're white, they're middle-class, and they probably have an OK job that pulls in enough to pay for a couple cars and a house in the suburbs. It might not seem like a ton to them, but it's really quite a life of privilege.

And even though they may very well end up on the other side of that line, what with growing inequality and the increasingly totalitarian nature of the United States (has the NSA been reined in yet? Yeah right.), they don't want to think about it. Compare them to the poor people who don't want to tax the rich because one day they might be rich: They're banking on the police state wanting them to be their lackeys.

This works, as long as the powers care to give them bread and circuses. It needs to be made amply clear to them that the state may one day not need them, and the power that they allowed to accumulate can be turned upon them.
posted by anemone of the state at 5:16 AM on August 20 [9 favorites]


I drove to work today instead of walk because I have somewhere to be right after work. NPR is the default station so I left it.

They did a bit about Chris Christie saying the media was causing the "spectacle". And the next bit was a local piece about some damn new park with an ice skating rink near Philadelphia.

I suddenly understood those movies and books where the hero is fighting this enemy and its atrocities that the world at large refuses to see, no matter what they actually see.

I just sat thinking "people are being tear gassed repeatedly in a small town in THIS country and you think I care about some damn PARK with a skating rink?"

Ugh. No wonder no one cares. Ferguson is soundbites between McDonald's commercials and community improvements notices. Nightvale indeed.

City Council would like to remind everyone to not go near Ferguson. Do not talk about Ferguson, do not talk to shadowy figures near Ferguson.

Ugh.
posted by sio42 at 5:25 AM on August 20 [18 favorites]


I'd like to point out again, as I have before, anemone of the state, that Ferguson IS an ordinary suburb. It's a lower middle class and working poor suburb. But people DO own houses and cars there. The crime rate is average for a heavily populated area in MO, not high.

The only real difference between Ferguson and your average American suburb is that a majority of the people in Ferguson are black.

(And even so, a number of white people and people of other races also live there. And I'm heartened to say, many of them have been out on the streets during these protests.)
posted by BlueJae at 5:29 AM on August 20 [24 favorites]


I'm just now listening to Monday's Diane Rehm broadcast on this. And wow, the police-are-never-wrong shill is an obnoxious, lying little shit.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:31 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Expect that from the MSM shitbirds.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:35 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Ferguson IS an ordinary suburb

Indeed. But the white people, in the white suburbs, don't seem to care because they think it's not their problem because they're middle-class and white. The way to shake them on that is with the police militarization angle. Militarized police means more cops shooting people, everywhere.
posted by anemone of the state at 5:36 AM on August 20


I think it's time to party like it's 1776.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:41 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Here is more video of Officer Go Fuck Yourself.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:41 AM on August 20 [15 favorites]


On that note... US police given billions from Homeland Security for 'tactical' equipment (from The Guardian). Long story short, the police are seduced by these needlessly dangerous toys, but they are also mandated:
Under a 2007 law, the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act, “not less than 25%” of the total money for the two programs must be “used for law enforcement terrorism prevention activities”.

There are few other restrictions. State and local authorities are not supposed to use the money to buy land or construct buildings, but the law provides for exceptions. “Not more than 25%” of money under the two grant programs can be spent on “overtime and backfill costs” or other personnel affairs.
The point being they are "forced" to use this excessive military grade equipment even in small towns. And they're not allowed to buy land or construct buildings—things that may actually serve and protect the community. So, quite the incentive to constantly purchase equipment that will send the wrong person on an addictive power trip. The police state is written right into the law, and they expect human nature to take care of the rest, it seems.
posted by Johann Georg Faust at 5:43 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


The British are coming! The British are coming!

Help! Police!
posted by Pudhoho at 5:43 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


An hour ago, Jessica Care Moore, Talib Kweli, folks from the Fellowship of Reconcillation, Philp Agnew of Dream Defenders, Bgyrl ForLife, Malik from Occupy the Hood and Trymaine Lee from MSNBC and many others were chased like animals by the cops. We ran to get away and were surrounded on a small path on bridge, surrounded by all types of police and told to lie down and put our hands up. We complied and we were told if we did not stop moving we would be shot.

We were breathing. The young brother lying on my feet as I was holding him was not able to control his breathing he said "I'm choking" the cop told him to stop or he would shoot him. I told him "try not to move, just lay still I got you." The gun was at his chest. I looked at the cop and said "please, he is not doing anything" I tried to record but the cop had his finger on the trigger. I could feel Talib's hand on my back and Jessica behind me. We laid there until one Black officer said "Let them go, we got who we wanted."

In all my life I have never been so terrified. The young brother Devin said thank you I think you saved my life.

What is going down here in #ferguson in all my years of activism, organizing, I have never seen. This is a war zone, a military occupation

Rosa Clemente
posted by crayz at 5:57 AM on August 20 [44 favorites]


Officer shoves reporter.
"Get that camera out of my face."
Reporter asks for his name
"Go fuck yourself," officer responds


OMG! IT'S DICK CHENEY!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:00 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


There was a rally to support the residents of Ferguson in my city yesterday.

As I was riding the bus this morning to work this little old white woman was complaining about the traffic yesterday. She blamed it on the protests and said "I wished I had known about it before hand..", I steeled myself, "because I really hate it when there's injustice in the world." That made my morning. The woman she was talking to didn't seem interesting in engaging her in the conversation though.

Also, small thing, limeonaire, item 15 (sometimes 16) in your list has the officer's name misspelled as 'Darrell'.
posted by papercrane at 6:02 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


My new "favorite" remark on my Facebook feed was an acquaintance who was wondering (with irony) why the police don't just arrest all of the protesters. Some people really want a police state. Breaks my brain.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:10 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Ah good call, papercrane, I'll ask the mods about updating it. Thanks!
posted by limeonaire at 6:19 AM on August 20


My new "favorite" remark on my Facebook feed was an acquaintance who was wondering (with irony) why the police don't just arrest all of the protesters. Some people really want a police state. Breaks my brain.

From a certain perspective that's a good question- if the protestors warrant violent repression, surely they could just be arrested and charged, right? But of course the point of the whole affair is a brutal, physically overwhelming display of force, to establish the physical dominance of the police over the populace. Arresting people can be a tool to that, but if you simply arrest everybody, you're not teargassing them and harassing them in their homes and beating them up and establishing that they are subject to incredible violence at any time for no reason.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:19 AM on August 20 [24 favorites]


The only real difference between Ferguson and your average American suburb is that a majority of the people in Ferguson are black.

Oh, I'm sure you could find other "average American suburbs" where the majority of people are black...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:20 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Actual arrests leave a paper trail.
posted by Artw at 6:24 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


Arrests involve rights and responsibilities. Individual arrests are often performed illegally, as individuals often lack resources to fight back, but a mass arrest? Have fun sweeping that under the rug.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:39 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


When you overlay the "we can't prejudge, we need to wait for all the evidence!" people and the "listen to this ambiguous youtube video/anonymous phone call/rumor on a right-wing hate site with the cold hard proof Brown deserved to die!" people, the Venn diagram forms a perfect circle.
posted by crayz at 6:42 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


It seems to me that authorities and the people of America have completely lost sight of what a democracy is by this point. And the thing that our leaders and establishment interests are so afraid of seeing happen--American people empowered by the exercise of their long-enshrined rights to assemble actually coming together to effect significant political change--is what we need most to restore America's lost sense of community and democratic cooperation.

These protests are only harming American democracy to the extent that they are now revealing it to be a sham. If the current powers-that-be would only accept popular protests' proper place as the functional part of our democratic system it was always intended to be, they would see there are huge social and cultural benefits to allowing ordinary people, through mass political action, to have a lever of power of their own in the system. When masses of people come together in a democracy and through their combined struggles and efforts, successfully achieve a political goal, that's the lifeblood of democracy! Democracy isn't sustained by our having 100 different brands of razor blade on offer at the grocery store. It's sustained by people being engaged in the process of governing themselves. That's the heart and soul of the community building process in democratic societies--it's what helps forge the close ties among people that allow them to trust each other enough to keep the whole crazy three-ring circus of a true, people-powered system running.

Our leaders don't seem to realize it, but the excessively authoritarian attitude toward democratic activism that's become fashionable among our elites and a solid chunk of the middle class in the last couple of decades is helping to destroy ordinary American's sense of self-worth and community. Add to that the economic diaspora and tax revolts of the last three decades, and it's no wonder we've got malaise in the US.

People coming together in mass to demand political change and getting it is the engine of democracy. This new authoritarianism and anti-populism in our society is choking us and damaging the fabric of American society.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:43 AM on August 20 [48 favorites]


They'll just keep echoing the empty phrase "united we stand" while jumping up and down on the wedge that drives us apart.
posted by Foosnark at 6:45 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


The only real difference between Ferguson and your average American suburb is that a majority of the people in Ferguson are black.

Oh, I'm sure you could find other "average American suburbs" where the majority of people are black...


Sure, but the "average" American suburb isn't black. Would it help to say that "The only real difference between Ferguson and your median/mode American suburb is that a majority of the people in Ferguson are black."?
posted by benbenson at 6:45 AM on August 20


Mass arrests also require somewhere to put people, and someone to watch the people, and someone to process the people, and if the cops don't have the equipment and space to do that, then they have several hundred angry, frightened folks just sitting there. The things that can go wrong are legion - the angry folks rise up, and they either break out (bad from a police perspective) or the cops have to fight them when the odds are poorer and the cops are more likely to need to use serious weaponry, opening up the possibility of "police shoot protesters while they are in custody". All those people need to be processed or they can't be released, and that means administration, which these folks manifestly don't have to spare. Everyone needs food, water and bathrooms while in custody - and while you don't always get those, a very large arrest where people (probably including children and the elderly) are held for a day or two in the heat with little food, water or sanitation...is going to look even worse than what is going on in Ferguson. (Being held in extreme heat with little food, water or sanitation does happen to people in prison, but it is much harder to spin when it's just a mass arrest.)

Even a "small" mass arrest where the cops are prepared for it and the protesters are not going to fight back takes, IME, at least fifteen to twenty hours to process, and that's when you have the staff and technology.
posted by Frowner at 6:47 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Are they charging anyone they actually have arrested? If anything goes to trial some shit is going to come out.
posted by Artw at 6:50 AM on August 20


Officer 1 [Holding my arm]: Don’t resist. I’ll bust your ass. I’ll bust your head right here.

Me: [To JP] Are you filming this?

Officer 1: Film it! I don’t give a sh*t. Because you’ll go, and I’ll sure confiscate your film for evidence.

JP: No, what I’m saying is …

Officer 1: I’m asking you to leave!

Officer 2: Go now, or you get locked up!

Officer 1: That’s it.

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:51 AM on August 20 [17 favorites]


Also, it occurs to me that "there are three hundred people including the elderly and children being held at gunpoint in a mass arrest scenario with very little water in the heat AND it is going to take two days to get everyone processed and released" would be a fucking powderkeg situation in the media and on the street. It would give a lot of very upset and frightened non-arrested people time to organize, it would be incredibly bad media, it would probably get a lot of people engaged with the issue who have not been engaged with it so far.

There were a ton of unjustified mass arrests during the 2008 Republican National Convention here, and it did end up being very bad media - and that was in a much different situation.
posted by Frowner at 6:51 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Mass arrests also require somewhere to put people, and someone to watch the people, and someone to process the people, and if the cops don't have the equipment and space to do that, then they have several hundred angry, frightened folks just sitting there.

You ever read about how the NYPD handled the mass arrests for the Republican National Convention? They basically rented out some dockside warehouses, built crude cages, and shoved everybody in there, throwing them stale food twice a day, til the conventioneers were gone, then paid out on the lawsuits, considering the massive judgments against the city to simply be part of the price of doing business.

On preview: Frowner knows what's up.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:54 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


And dealing with mass arrests is so hard when you don't have resources for the administrative and infrastructure needs. But if you've got a crapload of military surplus gear burning a hole in your metaphorical pocket, well, maybe there's a better choice available for you.

For some very perverse values of "better".
posted by rmd1023 at 6:54 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Cop pulled a gun on me tonight for asking a question. #ferguson
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:55 AM on August 20


Plus anything other than beating people up entails some degree of actual policework, and Ferguson PD have proved themselves utterly useless at that.
posted by Artw at 6:56 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I saw some commentary about dissolving the Ferguson PD and folding it into the greater St. Louis PD, but who knows.

Doesn't seem like an answer. A lot of the cops on scene are "county browns."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:57 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


That split second you think it is over is the most harrowing, terrifying. I thought I was prepared, and I was to a certain extent, but nothing can ever prepare you for that and that fact is that none of us should ever have to prepare for it. Devin and his boys got to go home tonight. They got to go home tonight. I hope they always get to go home.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:58 AM on August 20


Cop pulled a gun on me tonight for asking a question. #ferguson

Every night there isn't an accidental discharge into some protestor/media persons face I am relieved, but some night one of these jumpy fucks is actually going to do it.
posted by Artw at 6:59 AM on August 20 [12 favorites]


Frowner: "Mass arrests also require somewhere to put people, and someone to watch the people, and someone to process the people, and if the cops don't have the equipment and space to do that, then they have several hundred angry, frightened folks just sitting there."
Picture of (a fraction of) 900 people mass arrested in climate protest. Copenhagen, 2009. You just need enough zip ties; the method is called "the bus".
posted by brokkr at 7:01 AM on August 20


The only real difference between Ferguson and your average American suburb is that a majority of the people in Ferguson are black.

This is the future of American metro areas. Gentrification is making many inner cities whiter and pushing minorities out to the older inner-ring suburbs.
posted by octothorpe at 7:04 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Top Obama advisers tell African American leaders that justice will prevail in Ferguson
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:09 AM on August 20


dhartung: I don't know that this movement right now has a lot of coherent goals and I think the multiplicity of complaints that are being bundled up in it has only the prospect of fragmenting and dissipating the effectiveness.

I think you are being too harsh. These protests were a reaction to the senseless death of a teenager. It's only been 10 days. It's easy to play armchair quarterback from thousands of miles away, when you don't know anyone there, and when you don't have to deal with the same injustices on a daily basis for years on end. I don't feel right saying they should do this or that.

Ferguson to this point has not been a movement, it's been a reaction. First to Mike Brown's death, then to the escalating police response. I think things are starting to cohere and that's why the protests were much more peaceful last night. Now there are peacekeepers who are icing out the agitators - I didn't see that before Monday night. I've seen people (on twitter) starting to organize for larger but attainable goals (voter registration, educational funding, etc). I'm really hoping this will come together and will be bigger than just thrown water bottles vs. tear gas for nights on end.
posted by desjardins at 7:10 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


I can't even: Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, the highway patrol captain placed in charge of security in Ferguson Missouri, was photographed making hand signs that some quickly thought were gang signs. The thing is, they were actually hand signs for the black fraternity Johnson has been part of, Kappa Alpha Psi.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:23 AM on August 20 [20 favorites]


Well, that's right up there with a "terrorist fist jab."
posted by TwoStride at 7:25 AM on August 20 [18 favorites]


You ever read about how the NYPD handled the mass arrests for the Republican National Convention? They basically rented out some dockside warehouses, built crude cages, and shoved everybody in there, throwing them stale food twice a day, til the conventioneers were gone, then paid out on the lawsuits, considering the massive judgments against the city to simply be part of the price of doing business.

Same story during the Toronto G20 in 2010. 885 people went through that detention centre over the course of a weekend. It was (part of) the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.

Here's the thing: talk to people about the G20 now and they'll tell you it's old news. Over a thousand people were arrested and police kettled random citizens—only a tiny fraction of which appeared to be protesters, none of them violent—at a busy city intersection for hours in the pouring rain, with every camera crew and reporter in town at the scene. And for what? So we could mostly forget about it four years later. The Toronto police chief that oversaw the security response during the G20 just failed to have his contract renewed. Barely anyone even bothered to ask if it was because of the G20, and the response from the police board was essentially "absolutely not."
posted by chrominance at 7:28 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


Seen "kettled" used a few times now. Can someone define it for me?
posted by Trochanter at 7:32 AM on August 20


Kettling is when cops block off an exit and then force the protestors there so they can arrest all of them.
posted by empath at 7:34 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Kettling
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on August 20


Kettling, from wikipedia.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:36 AM on August 20


Kettling.
posted by inire at 7:36 AM on August 20


A group of protest intentionally trapped in a small space (typically an intersection) by the police on all sides. It can last for hours.

It's supposed to be a de-escalation. It's brutal in practice, denying medical aid, water even bathroom access to increasingly distressed people.
posted by bonehead at 7:36 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Deadspin (or some branch of it, not really sure how Kinja works tbh) is attempting to compile a spreadsheet of all known police-involved shootings, if anyone has some time and would like to help with the project.
posted by sallybrown at 7:38 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


I think the best way to keep the movement going is to take the protest on the road. American cops kill black kids once a week or so on average so there probably will be opportunities for it to travel. This itself could provide some disincentive to police shooting down unarmed teens, if PD's realize it will bring crowds of protestors and international media down on them. But it's got to be peaceful protesting. Violence and vandalism will just fuck it up.

Human Rights Watch: US: Holder Should Press for Police Reform
US Attorney General Eric Holder should press state and local officials during his visit to Ferguson, Missouri, on August 20, 2014, to reform police practices to improve respect for basic rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Holder should also support federal reforms that could help address concerns about policing and racial discrimination raised during the Ferguson protests over the last 10 days.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:38 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


In Toronto during the G20 in 2010, the police undertook their kettling exercise at a large busy downtown intersection in mid-evening, catching protesters, commuters, passersby, and anyone else nearby. Great success!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:40 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


People on my feed are telling me they don't necessarily believe Clemente's story because Trymaine Lee hasn't corroborated it. WTF.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:43 AM on August 20


I have pretty nearly run out of WTFs over the last two weeks.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:45 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Twitter: @ReporterFaith: From the signs/chants, it appears group's main reason for protesting in front of Justice Ctr is to ask that prosecutor recuse self from case
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:46 AM on August 20


Can someone define it for me?

Answer: yes

Thanks guys
posted by Trochanter at 7:46 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I have pretty nearly run out of WTFs over the last two weeks.

I have a warehouse - I'll be happy to ship you an entire boxcar if you'd like.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:47 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Here's What Happens to Police Officers Who Shoot Unarmed Black Men
posted by Artw at 7:50 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


attempting to compile a spreadsheet of all known police-involved shootings

Wikipedia is logging some subset of them. Here's the list for August 2014. Yesterday's shooting in St. Louis is not the most recent entry on that list.
posted by effbot at 7:52 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


The entry on that Wikipedia for the man in St. Louis with a knife that police shot - I was hearing reports that he was mentally disturbed, it was a butter knife, and nothing about an alleged robbery. How much stake should we put in these wiki descriptions?
posted by C'est la D.C. at 7:57 AM on August 20


The tl;dr version of Artw's link is: typically nothing happens to police officers who shoot unarmed black men, even if they have a history of doing so, and they are typically allowed to continue being police officers.

Unless the protests force a change in this case, we can reasonably expect that Wilson will be found by an internal investigation to have acted properly and he will be put back out on the street with the gun he used to kill Brown.

Basically, in America killing unarmed black people is assumed to be part of the job of police, and most white people are fine with that as evidenced by the utter lack of action taken against it.
posted by sotonohito at 7:59 AM on August 20 [10 favorites]


STL County Prosecutor: No statements or info release about any #ferguson evidence until grand jury is done, which could be October.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:00 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I hope they have to sell all the riot gear to pay for the damage they've caused these people. And I hope the schools get money somehow.
posted by sio42 at 8:01 AM on August 20


STL County Prosecutor: No statements or info release about any #ferguson evidence until grand jury is done, which could be October.

That seems... Unusual.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:03 AM on August 20


It's extremely frustrating to read about those people being held at gunpoint last night, and yet the stories today all seem to say that last night was a positive turning point in Ferguson. Which is the truth?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:03 AM on August 20


Artw, that is a depressing article. The last sentence in the Baez case really stuck out for me:

In 2003, two more cops were fired for giving false testimony in Livoti's defense.

It took 9 years to fire two officers for committing perjury!? No mention if they faced any criminal charges for perverting justice, or criminal conspiracy, I assume if they did it would have been mentioned in the article. No wonder people don't have any faith in the police's ability to investigate themselves.
posted by papercrane at 8:04 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I think the truth is that the standard for "positive interaction with police" is really, really low at the moment.
posted by desjardins at 8:04 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


I hope they have to sell all the riot gear to pay for the damage they've caused these people.

Problem is, in most sale transactions that means that it ends with someone else now having it.
posted by phearlez at 8:08 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Yeah. I know. I just liked the O Henry aspect of it. Maybe someone rich will buy it and then destroy it.
posted by sio42 at 8:13 AM on August 20


Metafilter: Some night one of these jumpy fucks is actually going to do it.
posted by symbioid at 8:15 AM on August 20


It's extremely frustrating to read about those people being held at gunpoint last night, and yet the stories today all seem to say that last night was a positive turning point in Ferguson. Which is the truth?

Likely both. From what I can see with the situation is that things aren't happening just in one area, so peoples experiences and what they witness could be different depending on where they are.

A protest/occupation thing that I was involved in several years ago was pretty confined in terms of the area involved and even then what people would experience at one place at times was different then another. It was only after the fact that we'd get a clear picture of what really happened even though we had a centralized communication structure.
posted by Jalliah at 8:15 AM on August 20


I've actually heard a lot of rumbling from more gun-toting libertarian circles that it would be better if the people of Ferguson were armed to a man, and even talking about how church leaders counseling nonviolent resistance are not doing Ferguson any favors. The money quote was "If nonviolent protest in the streets did anything, the police would be doing that instead of training guns and tanks on your children." I think though a lot of that stuff is being kept internal, because Ferguson has been very clear about not wanting armed defense of any persuasion - I think I even saw something condemning the New Black Panthers? So their help is not wanted or requested, which is why it's not there.
posted by corb at 8:17 AM on August 20


.
posted by stoneweaver at 8:19 AM on August 20


sio42: "Yeah. I know. I just liked the O Henry aspect of it. Maybe someone rich will buy it and then destroy it."

Or more likely someone rich will buy it for their own private security force. It's never too early to prepare for the eventual catastrophic collapse of capitalism!
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:19 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


It took 9 years to fire two officers for committing perjury!?

You should not be amazed about taking 9 years but that perjury charging happened at all. The 4 decade serving DA for Milwaukee said in "The Lies have it" (May 1995 ABA) that he just doesn't issue perjury charges and it is way under prosecuted.

A backbone of the legal and paperwork system and if you lie the odds of a DA giving a damn is a number so close to 0 you might as well call it 0.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:19 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


I have an idea for a T-shirt launcher business!
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on August 20


That seems... Unusual.

Corrupt fuck just wants to sit on it until it goes away.
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on August 20


Note that they are releasing no information... apart from that which they can use to smear Mike Brown.
posted by tavella at 8:25 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


I've actually heard a lot of rumbling from more gun-toting libertarian circles that it would be better if the people of Ferguson were armed to a man

Well, the police are not responding proportionally to unarmed civilian protesters. But it's not as if the cops would stop acting they were facing an invading army if the protesters were armed to the teeth.

We may find out soon enough. Missouri has (mostly) open carry and gun sales in the region are spiking.
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on August 20


Harvard Law students: Hands up, don't shoot
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:27 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


I've actually heard a lot of rumbling from more gun-toting libertarian circles that it would be better if the people of Ferguson were armed to a man

Better how? Is the idea that this would dissuade the police from taking action? By simply having guns, or by threatening the police, or...? I'm honestly not clear on what exactly arming people is supposed to accomplish in this scenario or what the actual actions being proposed are, versus, say, arming people for self-defense against home invasion/robbery/etc, where there's a clearly articulated goal.
posted by cjelli at 8:27 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]


We may find out soon enough. Missouri has (mostly) open carry and gun sales in the region are spiking.

Nah, that'll just be racists bunkering in.
posted by Artw at 8:28 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


I've actually heard...from more gun-toting libertarian circles that it would be better if the people of Ferguson were armed to a man...

I'm just going to quote from upthread:

If the goal is to get them all killed, sure.
posted by frimble at 8:31 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Some 20 year old kid was arrested in a small town near me for hitting his grandma after drinking and smoking pot. Sigh. I just wonder how this feeds into the reefer madness hype.

I'm guessing he was violent from the booze but that's just me.
posted by sio42 at 8:33 AM on August 20


The money quote was "If nonviolent protest in the streets did anything, the police would be doing that instead of training guns and tanks on your children."

I kind of agree that street protests are a waste of time, but really the thing you do instead of street protest is vote.
posted by empath at 8:36 AM on August 20


Better how?

Fine, here are links to the JPFO Racist roots of gun control and then No guns for negros.

How the bloodbath/destruction like MOVE or WACO doesn't happen following the JPFO material I don't know, but the 2 above links should give you insight into a gun rights to protect from overreaching government force is supposed to work.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:38 AM on August 20 [2 favorites]



"If nonviolent protest in the streets did anything, the police would be doing that instead of training guns and tanks on your children."


They should ask their wife if she likes voting.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:38 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Missouri likely to pass Voter ID bill this year

Report: Missouri voter-ID bill could disenfranchise 220,000
posted by desjardins at 8:41 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


President Obama to deliver statement at 12:45PM ET (I assume this will be about James Foley and Iraq, but who knows.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:42 AM on August 20


If voting in Ferguson did anything by itself Ferguson wouldn't have top-to-tail useless and non representative government.
posted by Artw at 8:44 AM on August 20 [5 favorites]


I kind of agree that street protests are a waste of time, but really the thing you do instead of street protest is vote.

I used to think this kind of thing was more true than I do today. Part of the issue is that most protests are about something other than the police, so when the protests or the police response get violent, the discussion is no longer about what the protests were supposed to be about, but instead about police vs. protesters.

In Ferguson's case, the protest is specifically about the conduct of the police. So the escalation of police response isn't a distraction to the protest's stated aims; it proves the point of the protesters in a very public way. Would you have heard about Ferguson, let alone seen it on the news for days, if the protesters had decided as one to go home and just vote for different people in the next election?

Which isn't to say the protesters shouldn't vote, because obviously they should. But they can do that and protest as well, and in this case the protest brings a lot of visibility to their cause that will end up helping them.
posted by chrominance at 8:44 AM on August 20 [23 favorites]


If voting in Ferguson did anything by itself Ferguson wouldn't have top-to-tail useless and non representative government.

Black turnout in Ferguson has been abysmal (largely because of shenanigans with vote scheduling). I doubt that will continue to be the case.
posted by empath at 8:45 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


From what I know about the ACRM, King and others were particularly concerned with creating workable and achievable goals that public action like marches and strikes had a reasonable chance of bringing about.

We have the list of 20 answers we want out of this. Anyone want to start working on the list of workable and achievable goals that could/should be the outcome here?

Here are a few that have been discussed or there are petitions for:

* All Ferguson police outfitted with dashcams & chestcams

* A group of citizens, officers, politicians and civic leaders to craft and quickly implement a statement of non-negotiable standards for the performance and conduct of each and every police officer; Ferguson police department’s disciplinary system with the oversight of the citizens’ review board (source)

* Justice Department civil rights investigation, sanctions, and training for Ferguson & County police

* Police required to wear ID (at least badge numbers) when on duty; serious consequences for not doing so

* Investigation and serious consequences for police documented abuses during the protests

* Well funded community organizing group set up in Ferguson & surrounding communities to get African American voters registered, to the polls, help train & support candidates, etc

* Etc.
posted by flug at 8:47 AM on August 20 [8 favorites]


I just wanted to say, after poking around Ferguson threads in a couple of other places, I really appreciate MeFi even more. This seems to be the one place where "don't read the comments" doesn't apply.

MeFi moderators are top-notch, and pretty much everybody here seems to be a decent human being and I just want to have a beer or other beverage of your choice with you all.
posted by Foosnark at 8:49 AM on August 20 [35 favorites]


Long before Michael Brown was killed, I learned not to trust police officers. There's an image floating around showing two smiling cops in what I suppose we can now call quaint, tradiitonal uniforms on the left side and cops in tactical gear on the right, with the caption "When did this (image on the left) become this (image on the right)?"

I want to make my own version that shows me as a little black kid looking up to cops as heroes -- as so many cartoons, movies, and comic books I consumed as a child led me to see them -- on the left and older me on the right viewing cops with deep suspicion and fear on the right with a similar caption.

And now events in Ferguson in the wake of Michael Brown's death have led me to believe that I also cannot trust the Democratic Party of America.

So many Democrats are showing themselves to be utter cowards with their silence. Others, with their hemming and hawing and issuing bland statements about how the protesters must be peaceful and non-offensive -- without issuing similar, pointed admonishments to the police -- have shown themselves to care far more about upsetting the Fox News demographic than they do about standing up for justice.

I simply cannot believe that no prominent Democrat other than, unsurprisingly, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has issued a statement as strong as Rand Feckin' Paul's or even as forceful as what President George HW Bush said in the wake of the Rodney King verdict. Biden doesn't have anything to say about this? Neither one of the Clintons? No up and coming Democrat on the national stage feels like going rogue and breaking from the message issued by Democrat HQ to "Stay Bland and Inoffensive" and making it known that she or he thinks the police response has been absolute bullshit?

The local and relatively local Democrats have been outstanding on Ferguson. Why are the national level Democrats for the most part so feckless here? Why should I ever believe them again when they step to the mic and start spouting off about reform and improvement and justice for all and how deeply they're moved by the struggles of the common people?
posted by lord_wolf at 8:50 AM on August 20 [52 favorites]


Agreed. The Democrats are utterly insipid. It's all "Now is not the time", or "We're looking forward, not backward".

Now is always the time for human rights.
posted by anemone of the state at 8:54 AM on August 20 [19 favorites]


The idea I think is that it would go more like the Bundy ranch - that they greatly outnumber the cops, who would be scared shitless of guns in a way they clearly are not afraid of civil rights lawsuits.

I'm not sure I agree - I tend to think toting guns without the intention and willingness to use them just winds up with you dead. I was more pointing out that at least in some sectors, they seem well intentioned if wrong. It's possible to condemn looting while also fighting back against a corrupt police state.
posted by corb at 8:56 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


If anything, this has exposed what utter cowards our "progressive" politicians are. At this point, I will have to do some heavy drinking before casting my vote for Hillary the Inevitable and whatever young, demographically convenient person she chooses as a running mate.

With that in mind, I'm going to try and figure out what I can do to get Warren in the race. Any ideas MeFi?
posted by lattiboy at 8:57 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


My representative, Gwen Moore, who is black, extremely liberal and represents a majority black district, has only had this to say on Twitter (August 14, well after the police brutality had begun):
No parent should have to bury their child. I pray that the sympathy of our nation will help the Brown family through this difficult time.
Her next tweet, on August 19:
Good to see Carrie Hacksaw from the @BrewcityBruiser [roller derby team] at PT this morning! @ATIPT pic.twitter.com/einYcA8ilt
I would be really pissed off if I were a black voter represented by her. I'm going to give her office a call this week.
posted by desjardins at 9:00 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


what I can do to get Warren in the race. Any ideas MeFi?

Watch old Steven Cobert shows about the superpac then from your own superpac and make a web site and start pimp'n that. If it gets noticed expect someone else to take the idea and run with it.

Example - tea party narrative.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:01 AM on August 20


Here's what Gwen Moore had to say on Facebook:
Unfortunately, this is an all too familiar story in our country. Yet again, we find ourselves grieving the loss of another young life cut short. The untimely death of Michael Brown and the civil unrest that followed in Ferguson, Missouri, has touched countless lives. As local and federal authorities continue to investigate these tragic events, we must do everything in our power to peacefully channel our anger and frustration in a manner that honors Michael’s memory and strengthens our resolve. I pray that the concern and sympathy of our nation will help the Brown family through this difficult time. I have faith that Michael Brown’s life will have a lasting impact on this world and inspire hope that tomorrow will be a more compassionate and understanding place to call our own.
Ugh. Have you not looked in the mirror? I think she has a son, too.
posted by desjardins at 9:02 AM on August 20


Agreed. The Democrats are utterly insipid.

Technically Bernie Sanders is not a dem but his caucus is such that it makes no difference in operation. He's been vocal and public about Ferguson. He flat-out called the FPD an occupying army in the clip here.

But yeah, the lack of public statement from anyone at the national level is abysmal.
posted by phearlez at 9:02 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Tea party narrative is faintly a lie, mind - funded by deep pockets who also own a TV station.
posted by Artw at 9:03 AM on August 20


Note: Today's coverage of AG Holder in #Ferguson is via pooled-press. Here's who has access: pic.twitter.com/nvW3ykKFLv
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:03 AM on August 20 [3 favorites]


At this point, I will have to do some heavy drinking before casting my vote for Hillary the Inevitable and whatever young, demographically convenient person she chooses as a running mate.

Hillary, to paraphrase Glenn Greenwald, is a venal fucking hawk. But the Democratic party has learned that instead of being truly progressive, they can run candidates like Obama, who they will probably follow with Clinton in '16 and a right-leaning gay man in '20 or '24- all because it gives them a veneer of progressive credibility as they stagger rightward. They would never run a POC, woman, or LGBT person who opposes the national security/police state.
posted by anemone of the state at 9:04 AM on August 20 [11 favorites]


The idea I think is that it would go more like the Bundy ranch - that they greatly outnumber the cops, who would be scared shitless of guns in a way they clearly are not afraid of civil rights lawsuits.


A big difference between Bundy Ranch and Ferguson is that the BR standoff was federal. And the feds have gotten egg on their face before (Waco, Ruby Ridge) and were really motivated to avoid a similar outcome.

This is Ferguson's Very First Rodeo, and it is strictly Amateur Hour.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:06 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


(sorry to keep posting) Here's a comment in response to Moore's bland Facebook post, from a woman who is apparently white based on her profile pics:
I just don't understand that mentality. Why, I ask, why???? What in hell did this young man do to deserve this? All the other young men who seem to have brown skin seem to be targets of the police. Why we are slipping back to the 50s and 60s I just don't know, but in my 80ith decade [sic] I would have hoped that this nation had gone beyond all the hatred. I am so sorry this young man who had his whole good life ahead of him and for his parents who now have to try and move forward without him. Where is the sense and fairness in this? I certainly hope justice is served. The Browns need justice, but more, they need their son and we all know that will not happen. I am ashamed that this family is suffering so much now when a "white policeman" has done something so horrendous. He better have a damn good answer for his actions and if not, he needs to serve out the remainder of his days in prison like any other murderer.
Other comments were along the lines of "let's not jump to conclusions and besmirch this poor young white cop's reputation."
posted by desjardins at 9:06 AM on August 20 [13 favorites]


Have you not looked in the mirror?

Yes but she has money and therefore influence. Didn't someone in her family get in trouble for slashing tires of a Republican get out the vote effort? http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-01-24-tires-slashed_x.htm http://www.nbcnews.com/id/12498215/ns/politics/t/lawmakers-son-sentenced-slashing-tires/

The quality of the public service you get is tied to how much money you have.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:07 AM on August 20


So county prosecutor Bob McCulloch is now telling people who want him off the case to call the Gov, and even citing Sen C-Nadal. Wow.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:13 AM on August 20


Also accusing the Gov of hiding under the covers and "Nixonian doublespeak" and telling him to "man up"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:14 AM on August 20


I think this article saying the abuse of journalists on the ground has been turning the media generally to be more sympathetic to the protestors is an incredibly important point. If anything I think strategically this would argue in favor of putting as many further "press" on the ground as possible - it's likely the police could avoid harassing journalists if there were just a select handful from major outlets, but if it's mixed all together with online/citizen/activist press it will become much more difficult for the police to avoid abusing press to the same extent they are protestors generally.
posted by crayz at 9:14 AM on August 20 [7 favorites]


Tea party narrative is faintly a lie, mind - funded by deep pockets who also own a TV station.

Not the context meant, but one would have to have given more of a damn than "Ugg! Not us therefore bad" line of polarization.

Short version is the narratives were going no where until someone with deep pockets saw a political advantage to funding/taking the narrative as their own.

Perhaps the history of the US Communist party and the party planks that were gaining traction got taken by the Democratic party would be an example The Blue would mostly have emotional distance from and therefore more educational as examples of how a political narrative can be snatched from one and used by a more powerful other? There is a reason rhetoric from the 1960's called the Democrats "Commies"
posted by rough ashlar at 9:15 AM on August 20


Also accusing the Gov of hiding under the covers and "Nixonian doublespeak" and telling him to "man up"

Wow, someone hand this gentleman another shovel and encourage him to keep digging.
posted by crayz at 9:15 AM on August 20 [4 favorites]


Ferguson, Watts and a Dream Deferred
The rioting this past week in Ferguson, Mo., by contrast, follows more than a decade of economic stagnation and worse for many black Americans, a trend that appears unlikely to be reversed in the foreseeable future.
...

Things went off track, however, as the 21st century approached. The riots in Ferguson follow a period of setback for African-Americans, despite the fact that we have a sitting black president in the White House.

While the economic downturns of the last decade-and-a-half have taken their toll on the median income of all races and ethnic groups, blacks have been the hardest hit. By 2012, black median household income had fallen to 58.4 percent of white income, almost back to where it was in 1967
That is so much of what this is about, and it could get so much worse. It may damage Obama's legacy more than anything else.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:16 AM on August 20 [6 favorites]


This has been making the rounds on Facebook. What planet does this dude live on?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:17 AM on August 20


Not the context meant, but one would have to have given more of a damn than "Ugg! Not us therefore bad" line of polarization.

Less "not us" than "doesn't exist" - a grassroots campaign like the Tea Party pretends to be is going to have a harder time succeeding because the Tea Party's success comes from elsewhere.
posted by Artw at 9:20 AM on August 20


I went home. The other guy didn't.

That's white privilege.

White privilege sent me home to my kids.

White privilege is the reason I've never told this story publicly.
Matt Zoller Seitz
posted by rtha at 9:21 AM on August 20 [28 favorites]


So county prosecutor Bob McCulloch is now telling people who want him off the case to call the Gov, and even citing Sen C-Nadal.

The governor's phone number is posted in the comments in response to that. Just sayin'.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:23 AM on August 20 [1 favorite]


The Organization for Black Struggle, in conjunction with the Hands Up, Don’t Shoot Coalition, has issued the following demands:

Immediate Demands

Local

1. Swift and impartial investigation by the Department of Justice into the Michael Brown shooting

2. Immediate arrest of Officer Darren Wilson

3. County Prosecutor Robert McCullough to stand down and allow a Special Prosecutor to be appointed

4. Firing of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson

5. Immediate de-escalation of militarized policing of peaceful protestors

6. Ensure the protection of the rights of people to assemble and peacefully protest

7. Hold law enforcement officers accountable for excessive use of force on peaceful protests

8. Immediate release of individuals who have participated in their right to assemble and peacefully protest

National

1. Obama to come to Ferguson to meet with the people whose human rights have been violated by aggressive and militarized policing, including the family of the victim–Michael Brown

2. Eric Holder to use the full resources and power of the Department of Justice to implement a nationwide investigation of systemic police brutality and harassment in black and br