#1 Edited by Milkman (17308 posts) -

This past weekend, an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri. What lead to the shooting is being disputed. Police say it was the result of a physical confrontation in which Brown reached for an officer's gun. Witnesses say otherwise. Regardless, people took to the streets in protest in the coming days looking for justice. The city has at this point descended into what can only be described as a war zone.

It escalated to a new level tonight when two journalists, Wesley Lowery from the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly from the Huffington Post were arrested. You can find Lowery's recounting of the arrest here.

I don't want to make this post about what my personal feelings about this situation are but whether you are American or not, this is something that everyone should be aware of. Areas like Gaza and the Ukraine seem so far away to a lot of us here but what do we do when this is happening on our front lawn?

There is obviously a ton of information out there about what's going on not included in this post and you can do your own research and come to your own conclusions. But no matter who are you, this is something you should be thinking about.

#2 Posted by Marokai (3140 posts) -

Been following this for a bit. Some of the scenes have been horrifying. The reasons for these things run deep and are complicated, but heads need to roll in those police units. Anything I could describe this as would be an understatement.

#3 Posted by LibrorumProhibitorum (364 posts) -

I'm rather surprised how little coverage this is getting here in the UK.

#4 Posted by Strife777 (1612 posts) -

It seems to have just popped up out of nowhere. I didn't even know a cop had shot someone. That was five days ago and protests have been happening all that time. Granted, I'm in Canada and I don't watch the news, but I expected my Twitter feed or Facebook to mention it.

It's a pretty bad situation. The simple fact that we don't even know the identity of the officer in question is telling. I'll admit I can understand why the department would want to keep it a secret. Some people would undoubtedly try to take justice in their own hands, which solves nothing. But then comes the issue of how they're handling the protests, which from what I can tell is rather poorly.

#5 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5395 posts) -

Stuff like this seemed kind of inevitable given how minorities are treated in this country.

#6 Posted by SgtSphynx (1563 posts) -

I find it interesting that the cops are wearing more body armor and carrying more weaponry than I had when I was deployed to an actual warzone. I know @epicsteve has stated the same...

This whole situation is fucking ridiculous, and the cops are seriously out of line.

#7 Posted by Slag (4846 posts) -

This is seriously effed up. And geez right after what happened in Staten Island to Eric Garner. The Police have been getting increasingly militarized in recent years, which in my opinion is a tremendous mistake and inconsistent with their purpose of Protecting and Serving. It puts them in adversarial mindset from the get-go with an insane arsenal which is a bad combo.

People need to at least see justice in the courtroom for these incidents of police brutality, otherwise this will keep getting worse and worse.

Starting to feel like '92 all over again, hope I'm wrong.

#8 Posted by jArmAhead (341 posts) -

@milkman: It's a single witness, at least in that article. I'd suggest you fix it to be singular not plural :)

@marokai said:

Been following this for a bit. Some of the scenes have been horrifying. The reasons for these things run deep and are complicated, but heads need to roll in those police units. Anything I could describe this as would be an understatement.

It's so easy to see them as the bad guys, but you absolutely must not ignore the position they are in. No problem is one sided, and this one is far from one sided.

It's incredibly difficult to be in their position when they have to deal with the issues in front of them. It's easy to blame the cops for this issue, but there is behavior on the other side that makes their jobs incredibly difficult.

There's also very little information out there that is especially concrete. What if the shooting was totally legitimate? Why is the assumption always "fuckin cops, probably lied about it," whenever there's no real information. If you aren't going to take police seriously, why are you taking the people stirring up trouble seriously? Or the people trying to get sympathetic responses seriously? Everyone has a reason to sway things. Lets wait until some real info comes. Too often we allow this sort of thing to be sensationalized. And the public loves to hate on the authorities so inevitably as public opinion gains more and more sway over the process, the process becomes closer and closer to falling over the line of reason and justice.

I don't know why the kid was shot. And saying that doesn't mean I'm taking the side of the officers of the precinct or anything. It just means that I am not prepared to pass judgement. All I want is to convey how important reason and responsibility is in such issues. A man's life ended, and another man's life hangs in the balance. Sadly, so many people are clouded by anger and fear and will forget that he is just as much a human as the kid. And it's just as possible for his life to be ruined for the wrong reason as for the right reasons, as far as pretty much 100% of the world is concerned, because other than those who were there, no one truly knows what happened. If you've decided to believe a kid over a cop, or a cop of a kid, it's not because it's the right thing to do it's because you have a bias. Neither way is right.

A kid died, and that sucks. The cop also came out of it with a pretty damaged face. Sure, he could have had a buddy smack him around a bit, but it's not like all signs point to an unjustified shooting. This is a difficult and sensitive situation and it needs to be handled that way, with no assumptions and no passion. Just pursuit of the truth and justice.

And for those who WANT the cop to be guilty? Shame on you. No one should want that. Let the process take place.

It's also worth mentioning that the police force should be commended for being able to repel protesters throwing Molotov cocktails without causing significant injury to protesters. Easy to portray the entire force as monsters based on one officer's potentially abhorrent behavior. But that sounds like a well trained and disciplined force.

I just hope justice is served and public opinion doesn't sway or prevent that. If the witness was being truthful, the officer clearly committed murder. But if not, I hope the guy's life isn't ruined. If the guy really was attacked, he had the right to defend himself. And if there was some middle ground, I hope it is addressed properly.

#9 Posted by MightyDuck (1524 posts) -

@milkman: It's a single witness, at least in that article. I'd suggest you fix it to be singular not plural :)

@marokai said:

Been following this for a bit. Some of the scenes have been horrifying. The reasons for these things run deep and are complicated, but heads need to roll in those police units. Anything I could describe this as would be an understatement.

It's so easy to see them as the bad guys, but you absolutely must not ignore the position they are in. No problem is one sided, and this one is far from one sided.

It's incredibly difficult to be in their position when they have to deal with the issues in front of them. It's easy to blame the cops for this issue, but there is behavior on the other side that makes their jobs incredibly difficult.

There's also very little information out there that is especially concrete. What if the shooting was totally legitimate? Why is the assumption always "fuckin cops, probably lied about it," whenever there's no real information. If you aren't going to take police seriously, why are you taking the people stirring up trouble seriously? Or the people trying to get sympathetic responses seriously? Everyone has a reason to sway things. Lets wait until some real info comes. Too often we allow this sort of thing to be sensationalized. And the public loves to hate on the authorities so inevitably as public opinion gains more and more sway over the process, the process becomes closer and closer to falling over the line of reason and justice.

I don't know why the kid was shot. And saying that doesn't mean I'm taking the side of the officers of the precinct or anything. It just means that I am not prepared to pass judgement. All I want is to convey how important reason and responsibility is in such issues. A man's life ended, and another man's life hangs in the balance. Sadly, so many people are clouded by anger and fear and will forget that he is just as much a human as the kid. And it's just as possible for his life to be ruined for the wrong reason as for the right reasons, as far as pretty much 100% of the world is concerned, because other than those who were there, no one truly knows what happened. If you've decided to believe a kid over a cop, or a cop of a kid, it's not because it's the right thing to do it's because you have a bias. Neither way is right.

A kid died, and that sucks. The cop also came out of it with a pretty damaged face. Sure, he could have had a buddy smack him around a bit, but it's not like all signs point to an unjustified shooting. This is a difficult and sensitive situation and it needs to be handled that way, with no assumptions and no passion. Just pursuit of the truth and justice.

And for those who WANT the cop to be guilty? Shame on you. No one should want that. Let the process take place.

It's also worth mentioning that the police force should be commended for being able to repel protesters throwing Molotov cocktails without causing significant injury to protesters. Easy to portray the entire force as monsters based on one officer's potentially abhorrent behavior. But that sounds like a well trained and disciplined force.

I just hope justice is served and public opinion doesn't sway or prevent that. If the witness was being truthful, the officer clearly committed murder. But if not, I hope the guy's life isn't ruined. If the guy really was attacked, he had the right to defend himself. And if there was some middle ground, I hope it is addressed properly.

Well said. I can't imagine the horror that's going on down there, but I'd like to get all sides of the story before we jump to conclusions.

#10 Posted by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

I've been on and off Twitter following this since I got off of work. It's actually pretty sad, but predictable, that Twitter has served as a better news source for what's going on in Ferguson than any of the so-called major news networks. It's just a horrid mess of a situation that keeps threatening to get worse, the media isn't reporting it properly, and no one with any authority above the Ferguson police department is willing to step in to bring order. (And by "order" I mean "stop an over-equipped police force from holding a municipality hostage".)

#11 Posted by cmblasko (1344 posts) -

Everything about the situation makes me feel angry, terrified, powerless. Some of the stories and videos I'm seeing on Twitter make me question how human beings, let alone fellow countrymen can treat each other so poorly. Regardless of what actually happened between Michael Brown and that police officer, there are clearly some deeply rooted issues of hate, lack of perspective and abuse of power in the police department that need to be addressed.

#12 Edited by RonGalaxy (3275 posts) -

@jarmahead: The police are armed to the teeth firing tear gas and rubber bullets at unarmed civilians with their hands raised in the air, peacefully protesting (trying to bring attention to an incident worthy of our attention). They are telling people to turn their cameras off and attacking them unprovoked/arresting them if they do not comply (voiding a right given to us in the first amendment).

There is a fucking problem here.

#13 Posted by DougCL (218 posts) -

Michael Brown was one of FOUR unarmed black men killed by police in the last month. i think that any sane person can agree that regardless of the specifics of this particular incident the police in this country are out of control and the protests in Ferguson are extremely important, and hopefully meaningful police control legislation can be passed as a result.

#14 Posted by CornBREDX (5965 posts) -

It's civil unrest. People are unhappy with the world and this is what happens.

Real cause or not it's similar to the Rodney King riots- which I remember well.

If you think living in the US means these things don't happen you haven't been paying attention. This isn't new. It's just life repeating itself.

#15 Edited by ViciousBearMauling (1237 posts) -

Not much I can say, and it's hard to pass judgements when we don't know everything. If that Witness was telling the truth, than that police officer is a monster. The handling of those reporters was ridiculous as well. Seems like chaos, and I hope it all ends without any more lives being taken.

#17 Edited by DougCL (218 posts) -

here are some more facts:

Ferguson is a predominately black community. the Ferguson Police department employs, out of about 50 officers, only three black officers.

There is a no-fly zone declared over Ferguson right now (must be to protect officers from the protesters aircraft, right?)

the media is being told to leave Ferguson, and more than one journalist has already been arrested.

Police are wearing bullet resistant armour and helmets, and are equipped with sniper rifles, assault rifles (with combat optics), Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles, and attack dogs. this all alongside the tear gas, rubber bullets, and LRAD Riot control weapons. this is all deployed against a group of protestors (including children, elderly people) in which a very small minority has acted violently against police.

#18 Edited by Baal_Sagoth (1288 posts) -

The shooting as well as the following unrest was definitely reported on several different occasions over here (example, in German) and they're continuing to cover the incident. It would seem that they didn't put up anything on the English site though and it has, of course, long been buried under Iraq, Gaza and Crimea on the front page. It's being reported in a relatively neutral fashion though. Quoting official police reasons and contrasting them with local US news outlets and eye witness reports. Confusing situation, especially with the apparent ban on air traffic that is very easy to read as "let's keep fucking press out of this mess". That harsh stance of US law enforcement is what probably freaks me out the most. Social media distribution of clips without any context is a solid weapon against that but we all know how reliable that can be.

Having been part of civil unrest situations that went relatively poorly, I can't imagine what it must be like to turn that corner and not just run into police in full riot gear with armored cars and gas but suddenly facing cops that, at the very least, give the impression of being armed in a military fashion. I'm skeptical, but if there was an understandable reason for using such excessive force, trying to supress information is not the way to handle and de-escalate that.

#20 Posted by SgtSphynx (1563 posts) -
@dougcl said:

Police are wearing bullet resistant armour and helmets, and are equipped with sniper rifles, assault rifles (with combat optics), Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicles, and attack dogs. this all alongside the tear gas, rubber bullets, and LRAD Riot control weapons. this is all deployed against a group of protestors (including children, elderly people) in which a very small minority has acted violently against police.

If that isn't a clear cut example of disproportionate force, I don't know what is.

#21 Edited by hollitz (1609 posts) -

The two most prominent people tweeting about the happenings were arrested tonight.

Antonio French, ST. Louis Alderman

Wesley Lowery, Washington Post reporter

Reporters teargassed, state senators teargassed, reporters shot with rubber bullets.

For a while I was seriously doubting that anyone responsible for the Brown murder would be brought to justice, but the police in Ferguson are taking every wrong step possible, so now I'm a little more hopeful.

Been following this:reddit live from ferguson

#22 Posted by ValJean9430 (31 posts) -

I live here in St. Louis and let me just help clarify some things.

Ferguson is part of northern St. Louis, which is comprised of county and city "townships" for lack of a better word. While I live in Unincorporated south St. Louis county, I work within St. Louis city limits.

There are very official investigations underway trying to figure out just what happened. The cop states he was assaulted by Mike Brown and that he shot him after there was a struggle for his gun in his police car, BUT Mike Brown ended up dead 35 feet away from the cop car due to multiple gunshot wounds.

A witness reports that Mike Brown was shot "like an animal" with his hands up for no reason, BUT the officer did sustain injuries to his head.

These two stories appear to be both flawed, and a big problem is that while the witness has been willing to talk to the local news stations, he has not gone to the police station to make a statement as he is awaiting a federal official of some kind to be present during his interrogation. All for the better in my opinion.

While the police are still out almost every night in Ferguson, it is not without reason. There have been peaceful protests during the day but there has been rioting and unlawful organizing at night. Just about 24 hours ago the police responded to reports of gunfire to find 4 individuals with shotguns on the streets. and in an unrelated in incident a woman was shot outside her house around midnight.

Be careful about everything you read on social media, a picture of a policeman spraying a child with mace was being circulated stating it was a ferguson police officer, but it was really an event from brazil. Our local stations have good stories for the interested: kdnl, kmov and ksdk.

And yes only 3 officers out of 53 are african american in ferguson while the surrounding community is about 70% african american, but as stated by the chief of police it is not from a lack of trying. Supposedly the police actively try and recruit african-americans as it helps foster trust in these communities, but the interest is not always there.

#23 Edited by TechnoSyndrome (959 posts) -

@jarmahead said:

@milkman: It's a single witness, at least in that article. I'd suggest you fix it to be singular not plural :)

@marokai said:

Been following this for a bit. Some of the scenes have been horrifying. The reasons for these things run deep and are complicated, but heads need to roll in those police units. Anything I could describe this as would be an understatement.

It's so easy to see them as the bad guys, but you absolutely must not ignore the position they are in. No problem is one sided, and this one is far from one sided.

It's incredibly difficult to be in their position when they have to deal with the issues in front of them. It's easy to blame the cops for this issue, but there is behavior on the other side that makes their jobs incredibly difficult.

There's also very little information out there that is especially concrete. What if the shooting was totally legitimate? Why is the assumption always "fuckin cops, probably lied about it," whenever there's no real information. If you aren't going to take police seriously, why are you taking the people stirring up trouble seriously? Or the people trying to get sympathetic responses seriously? Everyone has a reason to sway things. Lets wait until some real info comes. Too often we allow this sort of thing to be sensationalized. And the public loves to hate on the authorities so inevitably as public opinion gains more and more sway over the process, the process becomes closer and closer to falling over the line of reason and justice.

I don't know why the kid was shot. And saying that doesn't mean I'm taking the side of the officers of the precinct or anything. It just means that I am not prepared to pass judgement. All I want is to convey how important reason and responsibility is in such issues. A man's life ended, and another man's life hangs in the balance. Sadly, so many people are clouded by anger and fear and will forget that he is just as much a human as the kid. And it's just as possible for his life to be ruined for the wrong reason as for the right reasons, as far as pretty much 100% of the world is concerned, because other than those who were there, no one truly knows what happened. If you've decided to believe a kid over a cop, or a cop of a kid, it's not because it's the right thing to do it's because you have a bias. Neither way is right.

A kid died, and that sucks. The cop also came out of it with a pretty damaged face. Sure, he could have had a buddy smack him around a bit, but it's not like all signs point to an unjustified shooting. This is a difficult and sensitive situation and it needs to be handled that way, with no assumptions and no passion. Just pursuit of the truth and justice.

And for those who WANT the cop to be guilty? Shame on you. No one should want that. Let the process take place.

It's also worth mentioning that the police force should be commended for being able to repel protesters throwing Molotov cocktails without causing significant injury to protesters. Easy to portray the entire force as monsters based on one officer's potentially abhorrent behavior. But that sounds like a well trained and disciplined force.

I just hope justice is served and public opinion doesn't sway or prevent that. If the witness was being truthful, the officer clearly committed murder. But if not, I hope the guy's life isn't ruined. If the guy really was attacked, he had the right to defend himself. And if there was some middle ground, I hope it is addressed properly.

  • There are multiple witnesses saying Michael Brown was beaten by the officer and then fled. He was then shot, at which point he raised his hands and surrendered, begging him not to shoot and saying he was cooperating, and the officer then shot him again, killing him.
  • Molotovs only started being thrown after the police started shooting tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds, and into people's homes. There are men with sniper-rifles, and goddamn armored vehicles with mounted guns to deal with a couple of molotovs. Plenty of protesters have been injured, and almost all of them by the police.
  • THE WHOLE POINT OF THE PROTEST WAS PEOPLE WANTED THE TRUTH. The police refused to name Michael's shooter, so people peacefully gathered to demand answers. The police then tried to disperse the crowd, and then started firing on them. They have also lied to people on the scene about their right to record, detained journalists reporting from Ferguson, set up a no fly-zone over the area and set up posts around town to make sure nobody gets in. They are actively suppressing information.

There are numerous eye witness accounts, photos, and videos backing up all of these points, and you could have found all that out in five minutes if you'd bothered to look into the issue instead of writing up this garbage. No shit you don't know the truth, you didn't even try to look for it.

I also think it's worth clarifying for people the man in the second photo is not throwing a molotov cocktail, he's lobbing a tear gas canister back at the cops.

#24 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (323 posts) -

@cornbredx:

This is very new. The FAA declared a no-fly zone over Ferguson. Police gassed an Al Jazeera news truck. There is footage of protestors being told to disperse, starting to disperse, and then getting gassed. Pictures of police running off news teams and dismantling cameras. Pictures of civilians on their knees with laser sights trained on them. It's not really routine police behavior - it isn't even routine riot response. It's out of control.

There are reports of police removing their badges and identification. This situation is appalling. I'm in WA state and I can barely collect my thoughts - my heart goes out to the people suffering in Ferguson right now.

#25 Posted by Stonyman65 (2869 posts) -

I can kind of see both sides here.

On one hand there are obviously some serious problems with the Ferguson PD and they way they respond to incidents like this. I'm not sure if it is "Police Operator Syndrome" or just incompetence from their officers and leaders, but the reactions seem to be overboard. Seeing cops in the street with more combat gear on then Delta Force is extremely disconcerting and it's getting worse. I understand having SWAT and tactical teams because there are times when those are needed because most regular officers don't have the training or equipment to handle a serious situation like a SWAT officer can, but those situations are few and far between. Either way, this shit needs to stop right now or things are just going to get worse.

On the other hand, the shooting of a black teenager, especially when so little information about the incident is out there, should not incite a race-riot (let's be honest here, that is exactly what's happening). When you have members of the community rioting, looting, burning down gas stations and throwing firebombs as police, the cops need to bring the hammer down hard and stop that from happening. It's only a matter of time before this nonsense gets an innocent person killed because some assholes thought it would be cool to start shit and cause trouble. That's doing nothing but making the situation worse. The reason why the Black communities in this country have the reputation they do (right or wrong) is because of incidents like this and their actions. Remember the Rodney King riots of 1992 when 52 people died and they had to call in the National Guard to cool things down? Well, that's about to happen again in Ferguson. Way to go assholes!

Keep in mind we still don't know what exactly has happened yet. Nothing about the shooting has been investigated yet, so everything you hear at this point is hyperbole. Being angry is fine and justified, demanding the cop get fired and brought up on charges if he did something wrong is fine and justified, but rioting and looting IS NOT OKAY. There is no way to justify those actions.

Police Operator Syndrome - http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/05/daniel-zimmerman/cops-mraps-and-the-heartbreak-of-police-operator-syndrome/

#26 Edited by TruthTellah (9468 posts) -

I don't know for sure what happened between Michael Brown, his friend, and that officer, but I do know what has been happening since then. And it's not alright.

At the moment, what happened was either a tragic accident according to the police or yet another example of a cop murdering an unarmed black man in America. But even independent of this specific incident, enough should be enough. Current police action in Ferguson is representative of both the enduring inequality in treatment of African Americans by US police forces around the country and the increasingly militarized police forces treating America like a war zone.

Scenes we might have once only seen under martial law are now realities for simple "crowd control" in many areas of the country. The War on Drugs and War on Terror have helped transform many of our police from mere peace keepers and law enforcers to soldiers, and that is counter-productive to the peace and well being of the citizens. In our desire for security, we have given up too much.

Many African Americans have felt at war with police for decades now, and with good reason. Police abuse and unequal treatment have persisted despite social and political efforts to make America better for all citizens regardless of their race or sex. We have come far, but instances like this highlight how far we still have to go.

Tomorrow I will be joining with other local Texans in the National Moment of Silence in solidarity with Ferguson, Mo. and all victims of police abuse. At 7PM EST in cities around the country, Americans will hold vigil to remember those we have lost, those who have hurt, and those who can be saved from a similar fate in the future.

#27 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (323 posts) -

@stonyman65:

I would seriously reconsider some of the statements you've made regarding "race riots" and the "reputation of black communities."

#28 Posted by Stonyman65 (2869 posts) -
#29 Posted by ZombiePie (5746 posts) -

@hailinel said:

I've been on and off Twitter following this since I got off of work. It's actually pretty sad, but predictable, that Twitter has served as a better news source for what's going on in Ferguson than any of the so-called major news networks. It's just a horrid mess of a situation that keeps threatening to get worse, the media isn't reporting it properly, and no one with any authority above the Ferguson police department is willing to step in to bring order. (And by "order" I mean "stop an over-equipped police force from holding a municipality hostage".)

It sounds like it's not entirely the fault of big media on this one. Members of the press, from multiple sources, have been reporting that they have been threatened with arrest or already have if they try to video tape what is happening in the area. Also the police force recently ordered that all satellite trucks belonging to any media source move out of the city or be subject to arrest. In fact the police force shot tear gas at Al Jazeera, and then proceeded to dismantle their video equipment after the film crew fled.

Moderator
#30 Posted by Quid_Pro_Bono (323 posts) -

@stonyman65:

I'm really not trying to start an argument, I honestly think you should take some time to consider what you're saying. Tensions are running high due to what's going on in Ferguson, and these are pretty hyperbolic claims. I think there can and should be a discussion of what's happening in Ferguson on every forum, including this one, but I'd rather it not devolve into statements such as these. Lambasting the black community is not really productive, and minimizing the impact of the death of a black teenager is not really compassionate.

#31 Edited by SgtSphynx (1563 posts) -

It sounds like it's not entirely the fault of big media on this one. Members of the press, from multiple sources, have been reporting that they have been threatened with arrest or already have if they try to video tape what is happening in the area. Also the police force recently ordered that all satellite trucks belonging to any media source move out of the city or be subject to arrest. In fact the police force shot tear gas at Al Jazeera, and then proceeded to dismantle their video equipment after the film crew fled.

All of which is highly illegal and in violation of the first amendment. What the fuck are the police even thinking?

#33 Posted by Stonyman65 (2869 posts) -

@stonyman65:

I'm really not trying to start an argument, I honestly think you should take some time to consider what you're saying. Tensions are running high due to what's going on in Ferguson, and these are pretty hyperbolic claims. I think there can and should be a discussion of what's happening in Ferguson on every forum, including this one, but I'd rather it not devolve into statements such as these. Lambasting the black community is not really productive, and minimizing the impact of the death of a black teenager is not really compassionate.

I'm not doing that at all. But I am calling it for what it is - a race related riot. Right or wrong, black guy got shot and then sympathetic (mostly black) members in the local community started rioting, very similar to what happened in LA in 1992. That's not lambasting the black community, that's calling out the jerks who thought it was okay to strat rioting and looting. If the same thing happened to a white person and white people started rioting and looting, I'd be saying the exact same thing I am now. Not to say the other races aren't rioting and looting as well during this because everyone is pretty pissed off, but it seems by and large that what's happening in Furgeson right now is predominantly a black issue.

#34 Edited by Nomin (983 posts) -

The police in the US have a nasty reputation. So bad is their public image and so little is the trust that NYPD is now considering equipping the officers with Go Pro type camera to track their behaviour. This is not the only isolated incidence when cops allowed their authority go to the their heads and as a result an innocent person gets murdered. There are stories from New Mexico where a transient was basically gunned down for not directly obeying orders, and a black man being head locked by a cop to death by asphyxiation in NY. They are armed to the teeth, overflowing with so many diverse and high tech weapons that small town PDs now command SWAT APCs and high calibre machine guns in their arsenal. They are even coming up to Canada to train RCMP how to snipe by renting an entire 50,000 seat stadium for a week. Let's be honest, it is just as easily assumed that if there is a smoke, then there is fire, that if restive black communities have so and so reputation then the thin blue line could be more a blue barbed wire just as well not to serve the public, but their own organizational and fraternal interests. If the witness is correct, Brown was gunned down in cold murder, and if anyone thinks this is bad, wait until the course of so called justice metes out the burden of proof on the victim and the perp gets off scott free. The dead tells no tales, and that is an inconvenient truth well-grained in the gun-crazy America.

#35 Posted by TruthTellah (9468 posts) -

@valjean9430: Dorian Johnson, his friend walking with him, has said that there was a confrontation between them and the officer, and after the officer shot his gun once, they started to flee. Brown raised up his hands and told him to stop shooting, and then he was shot "like an animal" multiple times. The police department's story is actually relatively similar. They say they stopped the two, there was a scuffle, the officer shot once, and as the teens fled, the officer shot multiple times at them, killing Brown.

So, the only big difference is what started it. Johnson says the officer was hassling them, and the police department says Brown and Johnson just attacked the officer. Both still say that the unarmed teens were fleeing when Brown was shot. The officer either made a fatal mistake or committed murder. Either way, it was clearly wrong.

And Johnson retained a lawyer early on which has continued to offer Johnson's time for a police interview. He was reportedly interviewed late Wednesday by the FBI and St. Louis County prosecutor.

#36 Posted by Tajasaurus (970 posts) -

all of this is just so heartbreaking

#37 Edited by TruthTellah (9468 posts) -

@zombiepie said:

It sounds like it's not entirely the fault of big media on this one. Members of the press, from multiple sources, have been reporting that they have been threatened with arrest or already have if they try to video tape what is happening in the area. Also the police force recently ordered that all satellite trucks belonging to any media source move out of the city or be subject to arrest. In fact the police force shot tear gas at Al Jazeera, and then proceeded to dismantle their video equipment after the film crew fled.

All of which is highly illegal and in violation of the first amendment. What the fuck are the police even thinking?

Crazy enough, this is a picture from a live broadcast of the local news showing Al Jazeera's film crew getting tear gassed.

You can see the Al Jazeera reporter in the cloud on the left right after it was shot at them.

This is also a shot of The Huffington Post's Ryan J Reilly being arrested as they cleared out a local McDonalds.

The Washington Post and VICE had reporters temporarily detained today, as well. Even state Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal was taken into custody for a while after standing alongside protesters this afternoon.

#38 Posted by Stonyman65 (2869 posts) -

I wonder how many of these cops are going to lose their jobs and end up in jail after this. I would hope that the answer is " a lot!" but I'm not gonna hold my breath. I don't have much faith in the FBI either, but getting them involved with this is probably the best thing that could have happened, given the circumstances. If anyone can bring the hammer down on those bad cops and make things right, it's the Justice Department.

#39 Posted by Random45 (1279 posts) -

I've been following this for a while now, it's absolutely insane. Hearing about this stuff going on in other parts of the world doesn't quite hit you, but when it actually happens in the US it's pretty unsettling.

I do think the police are out of line with firing tear gas and rubber bullets into a crowd of peaceful protesters though. Why in the world are they armed so heavily? Why are the police behaving like they're trying to stop an uprising or something? It's absolutely fucking ridiculous.

Conversely, the looters and people destroying public property and businesses can go to hell. Way to undermine the protesters efforts by destroying your own community. Seriously, once this is all over and done with, they'll just stand there and realize that they fucked themselves worse than the police did.

Just a shitty situation all around.

#40 Edited by TruthTellah (9468 posts) -

I wonder how many of these cops are going to lose their jobs and end up in jail after this. I would hope that the answer is " a lot!" but I'm not gonna hold my breath. I don't have much faith in the FBI either, but getting them involved with this is probably the best thing that could have happened, given the circumstances. If anyone can bring the hammer down on those bad cops and make things right, it's the Justice Department.

At best, I would anticipate a few specific cops caught on especially egregious videos and perhaps some higher ups. If the local police chief remains in, I'll be very surprised. Most-likely, though, the majority of officers involved will still be there after this.

Not to mention, the police have been very tight-lipped on any specific officer names. After a reporter from the Washington Post was detained in a McDonalds, he asked for the name of the officers and just received a stone wall. Sadly, many of these officers, unless caught on video, will not be held accountable for what is going on, and the worst things are probably more based on flawed policies and orders across the whole department. These are systemic issues affecting far beyond just the area around St. Louis.

#41 Posted by DookieRope (57 posts) -

As the warrior poet Ice Cube once said, "fuck the police."

#42 Edited by TruthTellah (9468 posts) -
@random45 said:

I've been following this for a while now, it's absolutely insane. Hearing about this stuff going on in other parts of the world doesn't quite hit you, but when it actually happens in the US it's pretty unsettling.

I do think the police are out of line with firing tear gas and rubber bullets into a crowd of peaceful protesters though. Why in the world are they armed so heavily? Why are the police behaving like they're trying to stop an uprising or something? It's absolutely fucking ridiculous.

Conversely, the looters and people destroying public property and businesses can go to hell. Way to undermine the protesters efforts by destroying your own community. Seriously, once this is all over and done with, they'll just stand there and realize that they fucked themselves worse than the police did.

Just a shitty situation all around.

On Wednesday, a lot of the protestors were better organized, and a few reporters among the protesters said they seemed to be kicking out "instigators" that had a history of leaning toward violence or looting. So, while things continue to get more heated, the actual protests appear to be taking on a purer stance with less looting and more symbolic civil disobedience. (like crowds of people with their arms up, chanting, "Hands up, don't shoot!")

#43 Edited by AMyggen (3626 posts) -

We're currently debating arming the police to a much larger degree than we've done up until now here in Norway. The police are of course largely supporting it, even though grave injuries to police officers are very rare in this country. Shit like this, even if the police officer was attacked before he shot, is why I'm against such measures.

#44 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (3903 posts) -

@valjean9430: Dorian Johnson, his friend walking with him, has said that there was a confrontation between them and the officer, and after the officer shot his gun once, they started to flee. Brown raised up his hands and told him to stop shooting, and then he was shot "like an animal" multiple times. The police department's story is actually relatively similar. They say they stopped the two, there was a scuffle, the officer shot once, and as the teens fled, the officer shot multiple times at them, killing Brown.

So, the only big difference is what started it. Johnson says the officer was hassling them, and the police department says Brown and Johnson just attacked the officer. Both still say that the unarmed teens were fleeing when Brown was shot. The officer either made a fatal mistake or committed murder. Either way, it was clearly wrong.

And Johnson retained a lawyer early on which has continued to offer Johnson's time for a police interview. He was reportedly interviewed late Wednesday by the FBI and St. Louis County prosecutor.

The good thing about this situation--if something about any of this can be called good--is that according to the witness, the victim was shot eight times, with entry wounds in both the front and back, including the head. The police haven't confirmed the number of bullet wounds, so far just saying it was multiple times. If the autopsy report confirms the eyewitness claim--eight or even seven bullet wounds--that will be a very strong case against the officer no matter what he claims.

How do you shoot someone eight times unless you're specifically attempting to kill them, instead of trying to stop and arrest them?

Even playing devil's advocate and saying that the victim DID reach for the gun, that still can't explain shooting him more than once or twice, much less eight times.

And police have been known to lie about something like this.

Left-leaning people, please remind yourselves that a pre-determined hatred or distrust of the police is still a form of prejudice. If you want to be the better person, don't pre-judge good cops like bad cops pre-judge minorities.

Right-leaning people, please remind yourselves that this shit does happen! It's sickening, but it's better to admit it and deal with it, rather than to always believe a police officer's statement when there is no proof either way. Some cops are bad cops and bad people. Remember this video if you ever find yourself on a jury. The defendant should ALWAYS be given a fair trial. The phrase "beyond a reasonable doubt" exists for a reason, and it's better to let a guilty person go free, rather than put an innocent person behind bars.

#45 Edited by StarvingGamer (8545 posts) -
#46 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (3903 posts) -

@starvinggamer said:

Got nothing much to add other than this: https://www.change.org/petitions/president-barack-obama-please-enact-new-federal-laws-to-protect-citizens-from-police-violence-and-misconduct

We don't really know the facts with Mike Brown, but there can't be any argument that what the police are doing right now is "right". It's fucking terrifying.

However, I will argue that not everything the police are doing is WRONG.

For example, in this video, you can clearly see that the police allowed a peaceful demonstration to take place for hours, even into the night, until someone happened to throw a molotov cocktail. As far as the appropriateness of their response after that violent act, that is certainly up for debate.

#47 Posted by Shindig (668 posts) -

So its safe to say America still doesn't trust itself.

I'm rather surprised how little coverage this is getting here in the UK.

I'm not. Given the reaction to Mark Duggan being shot resulted in a load of eejit kids hijacking a protest.

#49 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (3903 posts) -

@tajasaurus said:
@spaceinsomniac said:

Left-leaning people, please remind yourselves that a pre-determined hatred or distrust of the police is still a form of prejudice. If you want to be the better person, don't pre-judge good cops like bad cops pre-judge minorities.

nope

It's kind of odd timing that just over a week ago, I wrote this about the topic of minorities being racist against other minorities:

Yeah, I realized a while ago the whole "You're a minority, so you know what it feels like to be generalized, which means you probably wouldn't generalize anyone else" never really seems to work out that way.

SOME minorities steal things, and SOME minorities will rob you on the street. This is statistical fact, and the same goes for any race. However, if you have someone who distrusts minorities and considers them all to be criminals, you clearly are dealing with a racist asshole, wouldn't you agree? I sure would. They're making a hateful and harmful generalization.

Now, think about how SOME police officers are these racist assholes, and how SOME police officers distrust minorities. Because whenever a minority views this as how "the police" are, that is also a generalization. It's still a form of prejudice. One relates to race and the other an occupation, but both are examples of one human being distrusting another and prejudging someone's character.

People are human, and various in groups / out groups are just a basic part of humanity. Unfortunately, some people get downright hateful and distrusting in that area, which frequently leads to all sorts of hypocrisy.