Riot police and protestors clash for the fourth straight day in Ferguson, Missouri over the killing of a young, unarmed black man… Anonymous promises to hold police force responsible if immediate action isn’t taken

This video was posted just minutes ago by Patricia Bynes, Democratic Committeewoman of Ferguson Township, Missouri. It shows police officers in the city of Ferguson launching tear gas and stun grenades at protestors. This is the third night in a row that police and protestors have faced off in the northern St. Louis suburb.

It is real out here

Here’s the background, for those of you who haven’t been following the news.

This past Saturday afternoon, at approximately 2:15 PM, an unarmed, young black man by the name of Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer in the middle of a Ferguson, Missouri street. To hear police tell it, Brown, who, had he not been killed, would have begun college today, reached for an officer’s gun through the window of a police cruiser and was killed in the ensuing struggle. According to eye witnesses, however, Brown was gunned down in cold blood, as he stood, hands raised, facing the officer, asking him not to shoot.

According to Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, who was with him at the time of his killing, it all started when a police cruiser pulled up alongside the two young men as they were walking down the middle of the street. “Get the fuck onto the sidewalk,” the officer said, according to Johnson. When they didn’t immediately comply, the officer, who had driven past, threw his car into reverse, and pulled back alongside them, seemingly intent on escalating the incident. To hear Johnson tell it, the officer attempted to open his door, but, when it hit Brown and bounced back, he, instead, grabbed Brown by the neck, though the window. At that point, things apparently went to hell, as the officer pulled at Brown, and Brown attempted to pull away. A shot was fired, Brown was struck, and, as he began to stumble away, he was pursued and shot several more times by this same officer. As of right now, it’s hard to know what really happened. This is especially true as the police officer who killed Brown has not made a public statement. What we do know, however, is that Brown’s body was more than ten yards from the patrol car when he was shot the last time, which would indicate to me that he wasn’t killed in a struggle through the window over the officer’s gun.

As Brown’s body lay in the middle of the street for hours, word spread and a crowd formed. Protestors, with their hands raised, began chanting “Don’t shoot.” And, over time, the largely black St. Louis suburb descended into violence. (Much of the coverage the first night focused on instances of looting, but it would seem, for the most part, the protesters have been peaceful.)

It’s worth noting at this point that, of the more than 50 officers on the city of Ferguson’s police force, only three are black, despite the fact that the city itself is 68 percent African American, according to U.S. Census data.

Furthermore, the police are behaving, in the eyes of many, as though they’re more interested in shutting down the investigation than facilitating it. Not only have they refused to release the name of the officer who killed Brown, but they’ve forced the media from the protest areas. (There is presently a no-fly zone around the city, which is keeping news helicopters from covering the conflict.)

In response to these recent developments, both U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the NAACP have called on outside monitors to ensure that the investigation is carried out in good faith. And, earlier today, Anonymous came forward with a promise to monitor the situation as well. “We are watching very closely,” the faceless band of activist hackers said in their familiar electronic voice. “If you abuse, harass or harm in any way the protesters in Ferguson, we will take every web-based asset of your departments and governments offline. That is not a threat. It is a promise.” (Anonymous also said that they would release personal information on every single member of the Ferguson police department, should anything happen to a protester.)

Here is the video from Anonymous.

Here’s a clip: “Anonymous will not be satisfied this time… with simply obtaining justice for this young man and his family. Anonymous demands that the Congressional Representatives and Senators from Missouri introduce legislation entitled ‘Mike Brown’s Law,’ that will set strict national standards for police conduct and misbehavior in the USA.”

While I appreciate the sentiment, and like the idea of national standards relative to police conduct, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I approve of what Anonymous has done thus far. Earlier today, for instance, they posted photos of the Police Chief’s house and his children… No, I’d prefer my justice dispensed in a courtroom, at the hands of a jury… Still, though, given the rising tide of police abuse we seem to be experiencing in this country, I’m sympathetic to their cause… I just don’t like lynch mobs… With that said, though, I like the fact that we’re seeing outside pressure exerted on the powers that be in Ferguson. They need to know that our eyes are on them, that we won’t be distracted, and that we demand answers.


update: There was apparently another police shooting in Ferguson this morning.

update: One good thing that Anonymous did today… They released police dispatch audio from the day of the Brown shooting. I don’t know if there’s much to be learned from listening to it, but I like that it’s now in the public domain.

update: It’s being reported that a Huffington Post reporter was roughed up by Ferguson police. Here’s a clip.

The Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly and the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery were arrested Wednesday evening while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer last week. The journalists were released unharmed, but their detentions highlighted the town’s ramped up police presence, which has left numerous residents injured by rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas during protests held every night after Brown’s death.

SWAT officers roughed up the reporters inside a McDonald’s, where both journalists were working. Reilly snapped a photo, prompting cops to request his identification.

“The officer in question, who I repeatedly later asked for his name, grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag,” said Reilly, who appeared on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” shortly after his release to recount the arrest. “He used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck.”

“They essentially acted as a military force. It was incredible,” Reilly said. “The worst part was he slammed my head against the glass purposefully on the way out of McDonald’s and then sarcastically apologized for it.”

[Read more about the rapid militarization of the American police state.]

update: From BoingBoing: “The protests were peaceful for many hours, and turned chaotic when police shot rubber bullets, tear gas (or another form of noxious gas), used an LRAD sonic weapon to blast the crowd with painful sound, and assaulted protesters.”

update: More footage from this evening’s police assault.

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  1. Dan
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    oooooh, so sophisticated. You mean, they managed to locate the home address of the police chief? impressive!

    “On Tuesday, the hackers posted online the home address and phone number of St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, as well as a photo of his house.

    A Twitter account belonging to Anonymous tweeted: “Jon Belmar, if you don’t release the officer’s name, we’re releasing your daughter’s info. You have one hour.” The group, however, did not appear to follow through on the threat.”

  2. Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Dan, if you’d read my post, you would have seen that I too, for the most part, disprove of the way Anonymous is handling this.

  3. Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    The video I attempted to embed at the beginning of this post doesn’t seem to be working. I’ll continue to work on it, but here’s a link:

  4. Dan
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    i’m not suggesting that you approve or disapprove of Anonymous’ tactics. (and I did read your article, geez)

    I’m just pointing out that anyone with an internet connection can find the home address and pictures of a home of anyone that they know the name of, with little trouble. The tax assessment software online can get you anyone’s address and pics of their home if you know what city they live in. There are countless other pay services that can get you even more info even if you dont know what city they live in.

    my point was that “Anonymous” is throwing out these grandiose threats, when a 6th grader can find that same info in minutes. and then the fact that they chickened out of their threat of posting more info “in one hour”?

    hard to take that seriously, was my point

  5. Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    As I understand it, they also took down the City’s computer systems this afternoon, Dan. So they aren’t just scrolling through public Facebook accounts.

  6. Dan
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    thats a bit more impressive. but the whole “we know where you live” BS was very childish. everyone knows where the effin police chief lives.

  7. anonymous
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    Now they’re sharing what they claim is a Facebook message sent by the wife of the Chief of Police. Please tell me it’s not real.

  8. dan
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    See, now that’s the kind of shit they need to be hacking. (Assuming its real) I have a feeling the address nonsense wasn’t really them or something.

  9. W3
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    This is the image that got to me.

  10. anonymous
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    a couple criticism and comments.

    glad you wrote about race, you rarely do.

    don’t like that this “news” is basically lifted from one of about one hundred other sites where we have already been following this story.

    your moralism is naive. “courtrooms” – do you mean, like the ones that routinely send innocent black men to prison, and routinely never send white cop murderers to prison?

    i salute anonymous. most of all i salute the people of ferguson. they are in the streets, while white bloggers are at their desks, generating revenue.

  11. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Part of Dorian Johnson’s story seems like a fabrication: 1) the officer try’s to open the door 2)the door hits the young men and slams back 3) the officer reaches through the window to choke Dorian’s friend 4) Dorian’s friend struggles to get out of the choke hold….I do not believe that part of the story at all.

  12. 734
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what you expected in terms of first-hard reporting, anonymous, given that we’re a day’s drive from St. Louis, but I appreciated this show of support. Furthermore, this site does often talk of race. Here’s the first example to come to mind.

  13. Dad
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I know it’s not helpful to speculate in these instances, but my guess is that the cop was having a bad day, yelled at the kids to get out of the road, they refused, yelled something back to him, and that’s when things began to unravel. The cop rolled back, opened his door to get out, and Brown shoved it closed on him, at which point a struggle ensued, ending in the first shot being fired. Brown broke free, began walking away, and was shot again. The eyewitness accounts are clear on this point. The shot which ultimately killed Brown came as he had his hands raised above his head.

  14. Meta
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    CBC: What Michael Brown’s shooting says about the militarization of American police

    A fourth consecutive night of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri saw protesters and police clash with police using stun grenades and tear gas on crowds that threw molotov cocktails.

    On Saturday, police in that St. Louis suburb shot and killed eighteen-year-old black unarmed teenager, Michael Brown. He was walking with a friend to his grandmother’s house when confronted by police. Family members say Michael was ready to start college this coming Monday.

    And those are about the only facts everyone agrees on. The police maintain Brown was aggressive, and assaulted the officer who shot him. Brown’s companion says the aggression came from the officer, who eventually shot Brown while his arms were raised to show he had no weapons.

    Critics call this just one more example of how a predominiately white police force — one that is increasingly militarized — polices black communities. To discuss, we were joined by three guests:

    – Ashley Yates grew up in the area and has been watching the events unfold in Ferguson. She’s been documenting what she sees through social media.

    – Kara Dansky is Senior Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union.

    – Michael Kempa teaches Criminology at the University of Ottawa.

    Listen here:

  15. Eel
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Best meme of the day: “if they gunned me down”

  16. attacking the press
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    As police broke up protests in Ferguson late Wednesday night, they also turned their tactics on local and national television news crews.

    Two KSDK-TV photojournalists and reporter Elizabeth Matthews were filing a story about the cancellation of school in the Ferguson-Florissant school district. Matthews said they reported from a Ferguson neighborhood just outside a perimeter established by police. The crew was working out of a SUV and a larger “live” van. At least one other TV crew from Al Jazeera America was also in the neighborhood working from a mini-van.

    Shortly after 9 p.m., police in riot gear began dispersing demonstrators about a quarter of a mile from the crew’s location. Matthews said as protesters fled the area they ran through the neighborhood about two or three at a time for a total of no more than 20.

    One of the photojournalists walked to the intersection of Highmont and West Florissant where he documented what appeared to be an altercation between police and an individual they were detaining along West Florissant. About 15 seconds into his video recording, bright lights can be seen shining at his position. Approximately 30 seconds later, as he continues to record video the sound of an air rifle firing can be heard followed by a “thud.”

    According to the 23-year veteran of television news, a “bean bag round” hit his camera equipment, and he retreated back to his original position on Highmont.

    Both photojournalists and Matthews say police never told them to leave the area prior to this incident.

    Approximately five to 10 minutes later, video recorded by the other photojournalist shows police at the intersection of Highmont and West Florissant fire what appears to be tear gas at the Al Jazeera America crew station nearby. The crew of three people is set up with television lights and a camera in front of their mini-van. The video shows the apparent tear gas billowing smoke directly in front of them. The KSDK crew says the canister hit the Al Jazeera America van.

    The KSDK crew says the Al Jazeera America crew was yelling, “We’re the press.” The Al Jazeera America crew can be seen running away from the van on video. Then two police officers can be seen taking down the crew’s television lights and tilting the TV camera toward the ground.

  17. Meta
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    Footage of an Al Jazeera camera crew one mile away from the protests being teargassed.

  18. Lynne
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    This is terrible. The real question I have is how can we make sure that the YPD understands that treating Ypsilanti’s citizens in this way is completely unacceptable?

  19. Demetrius
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    From the Detroit Free Press:

    FERGUSON, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon will pull St. Louis County police out of Ferguson after four days of angry protests over the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Sen. Claire McCaskill confirmed today.

    Nixon traveled to Ferguson today to meet with church and community leaders about the unrest.

    “It is my understanding that the county police will be taken off the investigation,” the Democratic senator said.

    “The police response needs to be demilitarized, ” she said after meeting with clergy. “I think the police response has become part of the problem as opposed to being part of the solution. We all got to take a deep breath and realize that the vast majority of people protesting have a constitutional right … They are my bosses and I want to make sure they have an environment of safety and respect.”

  20. Kim
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous released the cop’s name: Bryan P. Willman.

  21. Meta
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    The police have responded. They say that Willman isn’t the guy, that he’s not even on the force.

  22. Dan
    Posted August 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Anon’s twitter account is now suspended

  23. anonymous
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The new cops came in and started hugging people instead of beating them.

  24. Kim
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    It looks like Anonymous was wrong. The officer has been identified as Darren Wilson.

  25. Lynne
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    One of the reasons for the Furguson PD to be transparent is to prevent misinformation from being spread about. I hope they’ve realized that they have a duty and responsibility here.

  26. anonymous
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Now police are saying that Brown could have been involved in a strong arm robbery just prior to the shooting.

  27. Ken
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    No one deserves to be shot dead in the street. If this video is Brown, though, I’m more inclined to accept that the officer “may” have been in the right.

  28. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Parts of Johnson’s story seem like obvious lies to me. From the convenience store video: The guy accompanying the robbery looks just like Johnson? If you are an officer things can get hectic quick. It is entirely possible, in my mind, that the officer had good reason to fire initial shots to protect himself. If he shot him when he was surrendered and in a non threatening stance multiple times, outside the car, then obviously that is wrong. It might very well be the case where 3 people got themselves into a dangerous and heated situation where a young man ends up dead. Sad, but it is irresponsible to paint a one sided view of the villain cop abusing his authority. Cops are human too. Let the facts come out before we increase tensions by painting a one-sided view.

  29. wobblie
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    The shop lifting had nothing to do with the killing. The shop lifting had not yet been reported to the police at the time they killed Big Mike. At least two other witnesses have come forward to corroborate Dorian’s account. The police used deadly force for no reason other than they were young black men. If they were white he never would have drawn his gun.

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 5:34 am | Permalink


    I do not have very much access to news right now and I am getting all of my info from here and links provided. This is a sincere question: Are multiple witnesses confirming Dorian’s story about the initial struggle? The reaching through the window to grab Brown by the neck thing?

  31. Posted August 16, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    From CNN: The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown didn’t stop him because he was suspected in a convenience-store robbery, but because he was “walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic,” the city’s police chief said Friday.

    With that said, assuming it is in fact Brown in the video, it does change the narrative somewhat. This isn’t to say that the shooting was justified. It most likely wasn’t. It’s just easier to believe that someone who grabbed a convenience store employee by the throat may have also shoved a policeman’s car door shut on him. Again, that doesn’t excuse the shooting. It just raises a question as to how much Brown may have contributed to the escalation. Regardless, this whole thing has been a mess from beginning to end, and the local police need to be held accountable for their incredibly poor handling of the situation.

  32. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I am not aware of the timeline but the threatening video by anonymous and all of their assumptions is not helpful in keeping things peaceful. The last thing we need is anonymous voices from nowhere exclaiming they know what happened and how things should best be handled…There is probably a lot of places to put blame on this horrible mess….In general, the closer you are to this situation the more hot it is and the more irrational people will be–understandably…..I think people on the outskirts should excercise reason and detached patience…I am sorry Wobblie, even though it is not directly related to the shooting, that is not “shoplifting”. Also, your speculations about the officers motives and racism is just that–speculation. Unfortunately, it is irresponsible speculation given the aftermath of the shooting.

  33. Posted August 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    If Mike Brown assaulted a shopkeeper and the officer knew that–believed the two to be dangerous suspects–he probably shouldn’t have been confronting them in the middle of the street on his own.

    But assuming the officer acted properly, and setting aside Johnson’s testimony due to his suspected role as an “accomplice”, and assuming that Brown did initiate the struggle and did go for the officer’s gun, that still doesn’t (in my mind) explain the officer’s actions in shooting Brown as he fled and then continuing to shoot multiple times after Brown turned and attempted to surrender. (Which multiple witnesses beyond Johnson corroborated.)

    And, even if there is a valid explanation for the officer’s killing of Brown, there’s still the issue that the PD handled the aftermath profoundly badly, marching to make war on the community. On the question, the events leading up to Brown’s death are a distraction — and quite intentionally so, on the PD’s part.

  34. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I am super late to this story and have not had time to research it. Can someone provide witness accounts that corroborate the story that he was actually seen being shot while fleeing or seen being shot while attempting to surrender? Are there any eyewitness accounts claiming Brown was shot because he was not surrendering? Much appreciated if someone has links. I did a quick search and couldn’t find much beyond Dorian’s account.

  35. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Murph, I don’t know about the distraction part. Anything that gets people that do not know what happened to admit that they do not know what happens seems very appropriate. Bad things are happening because of so many assumptions on all sides–too much rush to judgment. slowing down the rush to judgment seems like the responsible thing to do.

  36. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 16, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    So, I hunted around for other eye witness accounts and I found two other eyewitness accounts that claim The officer shot at Brown. Brown turned around and the officer shot him more times. Both accounts claim that Brown had his arms held up when the final shots were delivered.

    I also found an interesting video where an apparent eyewitness talking in the background right at the scene of Brown’s death resells what he saw. It contradicts the story which has Brown surrendering. Hopefully some of you can look at the video and share your reaction. I have no idea if it is real. It could be fake. Are other people talking about this particular video? I found it interesting to link to the source video and the comments because it seemed to take awhile before someone realize that at the 6:30 mark of the video someone in the background seemed to be retelling what they saw and it contradicts the other witness accounts.

    I couldn’t link. If you google “witness to Michael brown shooting: Dude kept coming at the police” you should be able to see the YouTube video.

  37. Lynne
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Eye witness testimony is really unreliable in the best of circumstances. People’s memories change over time. One of the more interesting eye witnesses accounts though is from a guy who live tweeted what he saw. That makes his testimony hold a lot more weight imho. It sounded to me like the police officer shot Brown inappropriately, especially when this is taken with consideration of other eye witness accounts.

  38. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink


    Do you find it odd at all that the tweeter did not mention that he was shot while his hands were up, like three other witnesses? Wouldn’t that be a detail you would include in your tweet if you witnessed it?

  39. EOS
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Except the autopsy shows bullets entered from the front, with one on the top of head. Your “live tweeter” isn’t corroborated by the evidence. Michael Brown was running towards the police officer when he was shot. Frosted Flakes is right in suggesting we shouldn’t fan the flames of racial animosity while waiting for the full reports to surface.

  40. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink


    I think it is possible that the live tweeters account is consistent with the alleged eyewitness talking in the background of the “dude kept coming at the police” video. Brown may have been shot running toward ( not away) from the police. The tweeter never made it clear if he saw Brown running away or toward the officer. The thing that i find strange is if the tweeter saw his arms raised while being shot it sure seems like he would have mentioned it.

  41. EOS
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes,

    The live tweeters account said Brown was first shot twice in the back. Not typical for a person to turn their back on an armed police officer to raise their hands to surrender.

  42. Demetrius
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    “Michael Brown was running towards the police officer when he was shot.”

    “Frosted Flakes is right in suggesting we shouldn’t fan the flames of racial animosity while waiting for the full reports to surface.”

    Do you see what EOS did right there?

  43. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink


    Thanks. I see now where he did tweet that 2 shots were fired from behind. If the autopsy is to be believed then those 2 shots were misses.


    I agree somewhat. EOS should have said there is new evidence suggesting that Brown *might* have been “coming toward the police”. We all need to have a healthy dose of skepticism here. We shouldn’t act as if we know what happened. By the way, any reaction to the video I asked people to look at 2 days ago? My guess is that it will be working it’s way into the story over the next couple of days.

  44. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    In defense of EOS: At least he is helping to bring to surface information that might help people question the fact that rushing to judgment is a horrible, horrible idea.

  45. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Oops, I meant to say “…help people realize that rushing. to judgment is a horrible idea.”

  46. EOS
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Was the link I posted the same video that you were referring to?

  47. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink


    It is a different article about the same video. I appreciate you posting it. My feeling is that it will help to at least give pause to a lot of people who already have their minds made up.

  48. Posted August 18, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    At this point, does it even matter what happened to the guy?

    People are rioting over long held resentments. Bickering about whether the guy was shot in the front or the back doesn’t do anything at all to address the roots of obviously deep resentment toward the authorities in this area.

  49. Lynne
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree that it is good to have patience while an investigation is conducted but I also feel that it should be as transparent as possible. We have a real problem in this country of not holding police officers appropriately accountable for their actions. I really think it is time to require all officers to wear cameras.

    Here is an example of what the Ferguson PD should NOT do

  50. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink


    You don’t think it is helpful to present evidence that puts into question the narrative that has Michael Brown being harassed and shot execution style by a white racist officer for merely jaywalking?

  51. EOS
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

  52. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    The statements made by “Josie” are not first hand accounts right? She is retelling the officer’s side of the story as she heard it correct?

    The “YouTube bystander video” really puts the narrative that has Brown surrenduring into question. I find it crazy that nobody has offered a reaction to that video on this site. It will be interesting to see if multiple accounts agree with the “YouTube bystanders” account.

  53. Lynne
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    This whole thing is just looking worse and worse for the Ferguson PD. I just saw a statement from the lawyer for the store where Brown allegedly was shoplifting. Apparently there was an altercation but it was so minor that the store didn’t even call the police. Then the police came looking for the footage after the fact!

    I know that the footage doesn’t actually have anything at all to do with the shooting but it is starting to look like the Ferguson PD is attempting to cover something up. They really are not handling this well.

  54. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink


    The PD might be covering something up–I have no idea and neither do you. Do you think it is “minor” to push a storekeeper in the way that is shown in the video? You have eyes, if you witnessed the assault off the shopkeeper wouldn’t you call the police. If anything the storekeeper not calling the police (if that is true) is a sign that he was possibly afraid of repercussions for switching. Again, you have eyes. Do you see the assault of the storekeeper as a “minor” incident?

  55. Lynne
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    That is true. I have no idea. I just think that the police releasing the video is suspicious especially considering how and when they obtained it. It looks like they are trying to discredit the victim with irrelevant background. It is exactly how men who rape women like to bring the victim’s past sexual history into things as part of their defense even though it is completely irrelevant.

  56. Lynne
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Anyways, John Oliver has a GREAT piece about this.

  57. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink


    The strong armed robbery video is not relevant to the shooting case at all which is probably why they released it. They were probably thinking that the rioting groups would lose some of their “self righteous momentum” if they saw evidence that showed that Brown assaulted someone minutes prior to the shooting. However, as seems to be the case that tactic did not work. It did not give pause. Rush to judgment prevailed. The thing I don’t understand is how you could see the assault, viewed completely separately (rightfully so), of the shopkeeper as such a minor incident that nobody would/ should have bothered calling the police. Is that what you see? A kid shoplifting? No big deal?

  58. Lynne
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    The strong armed robbery? That video does not necessarily show that. I could easily weave a completely different story about that video. It is clear that whatever happened, the store did not consider it serious enough to notify the police. Regardless, neither you nor I know the circumstances behind that video. Even if their intention was to discredit the victim in order to calm the riots rather than to discredit him in a sleazy attempt to cover their own asses, it is still racist and disgusting that the Ferguson PD released that video when they did.

  59. EOS
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Josie’s statement was not a first person account. But the police confirmed to the reporter that her account was the same as what the shooter has said, and more importantly, the police said on the record to the reporter that they had another 12 eyewitness accounts that also describe the shooting in the same way. The evidence from the autopsy is consistent with the shooters story. The strong arm robbery minutes before the confrontation is an indication of the character and integrity of the victim and his sidekick. But Lynne and others prefer to believe that a law enforcement officer shot an unarmed 18 year old for jaywalking and the subsequent burning and looting of businesses is somehow justified under the circumstances.

  60. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 8:36 pm | Permalink


    Strong arm robbery is robbery without a weapon.

    It would be great to hear your theory about what happened in that video. Any theory. Let’s assume he paid for the cigars. Why did he assault the man on his way out of the store? I guess I am stupid because when I see that video I see assault and probably theft. What do you see?

    Why would you assume the assault (or whatever you want to call it) was not serious enough to call the police? Have you seen the video? Isn’t it possible ( highly likely) that whoever was pushed in the store was afraid to report it (assuming they did not report it) because of fear of repercussions for snitching?

    I don’t think it is relevant to the shooting to even discuss this to tell you the truth, but I am fascinated that you seem to all so willing to dismiss something which seems plain to see–clearly on video. (I am totally perplexed.)

  61. Lynne
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I never said that either rioting or looting was acceptable. I do understand, however, where those people’s anger is coming from. It isn’t just about this incident. I have also never claimed that the shooter was not justified. I simply don’t know. I might also add that EOS cannot possibly know that the shooter was justified. The evidence is not complete. I have, however, talked about how the Ferguson PD has engaged in some pretty sleazy and racist tactics in the aftermath. I completely stand by those statements.

    At any rate, this is not really about Michael Brown. All of this is about a systemic problem where a police force *routinely* treats the black residents in the town in a very racist manner. I would go so far as to say that they are outright abusive. Then, when it blows up in their faces, decides to double down and start pointing guns at innocent protesters and reporters. This is about how their ploy to release that video is working with a large segment of our populace who apparently feel that if a black man *allegedly* shoplifts some cheap cigars and pushes the shopkeep out of the way on his way out, somehow makes the police officer justified in shooting him. It is exactly how men get away with rape because they know that they count on sexist attitudes to convince a jury that the woman somehow deserved it because of her past sexual history. Those tactics are terrible!

    At any rate, the solution is obvious. We must require police officers to wear cameras at all times and the footage should be automatically uploaded in real time to servers that the PD does not have access to. Let them know that they are being watched and they will behave better. It probably wouldn’t hurt if we banned SWAT raids too. It is clear that is a tactic that is being abused way to much to be allowed. We also really need to take all that military equipment away too. It is clear that they cannot handle such a responsibility.

  62. EOS
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    The reporter has now retracted her statement about the 12 witness stories that corroborate the police. I apologize for sharing that misinformation.

  63. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink


    In general I agree with you that the facts seem to be unfolding in a way that strongly contradicts the original narrative and it is for that reason that I was shocked that Lynne seemedto think the facts were unfolding in a way that suggested a cover up. On the part of the PD.

  64. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink


    No serious person thinks we should shoot people who are suspected of strong arm robbery.

    What is *racist* about releasing the video?

    “This is not about Michael Brown”. I agree unfortunately.

  65. wobblie
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    The city goverment of Ferguson is totally corrupt. The unjustified murder of Michael Johnson and the subsequent attempt at its cover up has out raged the citizens.
    “In a town with 21,000 people… Yes you saw those numbers right.” about the size of Ypsi.
    “Despite Ferguson’s relative poverty, fines and court fees comprise the second largest source of revenue for the city, a total of 2,635,400,” according to the ArchCity Defenders report. And in 2013, the Ferguson Municipal Court issued 24,532 arrest warrants and 12,018 cases, “or about 3 warrants and 1.5 cases per household.”

    The death of Michael Brown was just the straw. The residents of Ferguson have had enough, and the only people I can see blaming them are.. yes, privileged white people.

    Sorry forgot the link…

  66. Lynne
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    The only possible benefit to anyone related to the release of that video is to the shooter and then because people tend to hold a racist stereotype about black men that they are dangerous thugs. Such people will be convinced that this video justifies the shooter. See? The victim really was dangerous. He is black. And he stole cigars! This is exactly why people tried to paint Travon Martin as some kind of criminal thug because he got into some fights at school and smoked pot.

    I suspect, based largely on the timing of the PD obtaining and releasing the video, that they either are so racist that they actually believe that this video of the cigar stealing somehow justifies the shooter’s later actions OR they know darn well they aren’t really connected but are going to use it anyways. They didn’t even issue a search warrant for it until after the riots had been going on for days. If they thought that intentionally creating this racist narrative of a thug was going to calm down the pissed off people in their community who know darn well that a white kid doing the same thing would be perceived differently, well, I’ll just suggest that it is that kind of tone deafness that may have led them into this situation in the first place.

  67. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 19, 2014 at 11:06 pm | Permalink


    Nobody is even debating whether or not he took the cigars. Dorian Johnson admitted Brown stole the packages of cigars. From the video it is obvious that the shopkeeper asked for the merchandise to be returned. Brown refused by pushing him back forcefully by the neck. The fact that he committed, What certainly appears to be a felony 10 minutes prior to the shooting is not relevant to the shooting case–it is no more relevant to the shooting case than the fact that Wilson is white and is a member of a police force that according to you is racist and abusive to its community and yet somehow I have been informed about those things. Why? Oh yes, I forgot it is not about the shooting.

  68. Lynne
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes, are you in denial about the fact that black people in our country are perceived differently than white people? That a white man or even more so a white woman stealing cigars would be perceived differently. Do you think that might be why people in that town are so pissed off that the Ferguson PD chose to release that video?

    We have a real problem with police in our country. They do not treat people equally and the Ferguson PD in particular seems to especially have a problem with this. I mean we are talking about guys who have the nerve to actually charge a man with destruction of property for bleeding on them while they were beating him. They have a history of destroying evidence. While on camera they call the people in their community, who btw they are supposed to be serving, “fucking animals”.

    If it were up to me, I would fire every single police officer in Ferguson and start anew. They clearly have a bad culture going on there.

  69. EOS
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink


    What evidence do you have that if the shooting victim were white the police would have responded differently? Why is that your assumption?

  70. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink


    The concept “category” is meaningless if we pretend that things categorized here versus there are not perceived differently by the person doing the categorizing.

    The event of the shooting should be judged on its own merits without importing prejudicial categories. Being reasonable requires bracketing out bias. The jury needs to judge specific people partaking in a specific event–not generalities. Stereotyping is stupid and not wanted. My point is that you, for someone who claims to want to keep our minds clear of bias against Brown, you are all too willing to offer your negative opinion about a group officer Wilson belongs to. Why is his being white relevant to the shooting. Let me highlight: You are the one importing categories. You are the one assuming that a sharing a video is racist. What does that even mean when you say a video is racist. Is vision racist? You are the one who is fanning thee flame of racial tension in a very irresponsible when you announce to the world that you know what someone else is thinking…You know what groups of people are thinking? Really?

    Responsible people take one person at a time regardless of their particular group affiliation or racial identity. If you beleive that is true why don’t you try practicing what you preach. You might be able to see things more clearly.

  71. Lynne
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Sharing the video *IS* racist. That isn’t some assumption. What other possible reason could the Ferguson PD have to release the video? So was releasing the toxology report that Brown was using marijuana, btw.

    I don’t know what any individual is thinking but I can see the racial issues at play here. I listen when my black friends talk about their experiences and I listen when they talk about their anger and frustration about it. I also make a point to read things written by black journalists and bloggers. It doesn’t take mind reading to know that racism and in particular racism on the part of those who should be able to be trusted to treat everyone fairly, such as police officers is real. I can also infer from interviews I’ve seen with residents of Ferguson that this is why the black residents in Missouri are angry. They are pretty open about giving their reasons on camera. It just takes a willingness to listen to people who actually have the experience of being black in the USA these days. No assumptions are needed.

    Wilson’s race is not relevant to his individual trial about the shooting. How the Ferguson PD has been treating black people in their community is, however, very relevant to answering the question about why this community is so pissed off about this shooting.

    And frankly, that group Wilson belongs to deserves my negative opinion because they have been doing some really horrible things, including trying to paint a disparaging picture of the victim that is favorable to their cause. They were doing horrible things in that community before this shooting and they were doing even more horrible things ON CAMERA in front of the whole world after the shooting. The worst part is that they are not alone. People get treated very differently by law enforcement based on things like their gender and their skin color and to a lesser degree, their social class. We need to stop that.

    I feel that the racial tensions brought up by this incident are important to discuss. We need to be asking questions about why so many police officers in so many communities across our country feel entitled to treat the people they serve with such disrespect. We need to make police officers accountable for when they don’t and especially when they use inappropriate levels of force.

    I agree that the events of the shooting should be judged on their own merits. I have never said otherwise. However, to pretend that race is not a factor here especially in terms of the community’s reaction and the police department’s handling of things is nuts.

    Reasonable people look at the big picture and listen to what people are saying. Reasonable people don’t defend racism.

  72. Lynne
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Also, reasonable people acknowledge that we give police officers a LOT of undeserved privilege and that we have a real problem with not holding police officers accountable when they kill people. This is especially a problem when the officer is white and the victim is black.

    Now, this does not mean that Officer Wilson was not justified in this particular case. However, again, I think that reasonable people will demand that he be treated fairly but also that the victim be treated fairly too.

  73. Demetrius
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    There’s no question that race has been/is a significant factor in this case, and that both race and class play a major role in criminal justice outcomes all across the country.

    I also think the Ferguson PD must accept major blame — if not for the shooting itself, then certainly for the disastrous response that followed. And I likewise agree that the alleged “strong-armed” robbery in NO WAY justifies what happened to Brown.

    All that being said … I also believe that evidence of the robbery, and whether Brown was intoxicated before/during this incident, ARE relevant to understanding his mental state in the period leading up to his interaction with the LEO and his subsequent death.

    If the ultimate goal is to obtain justice — rather to vindicate a predetermined opinion — I think we need to focus on garnering as full and complete an understanding of all of the events surrounding this incident as possible.

    And, I should add — that includes the details surrounding Brown’s killer, including HIS actions and mental state in the period leading up to the shooting.

  74. kjc
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes playing the “voice of reason” is ongoingly hilarious. dude take a philosophy class. you don’t even know when you don’t make sense, yet you keep talking down to people like some gifted elucidator.

    (or, just keep doing it because it’s making me laugh—except for the way you repeat yourself ad nauseum. less of that.)

  75. Lynne
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Demetrius, I agree that determining Brown’s state of mind is relevant. My concern is attempts to do so based on that video will involve some pretty major racial stereotyping. I mean, I can’t imagine what anyone would think that this video indicates as far as state of mind other than the standard “thug” narrative.

    Does being a shoplifter make one charge the police? Or grab for a gun? I am sure some people think so and yet the question is would they think so if it were a 90 year old white haired lady?

    At any rate, I would buy the whole “they need to determine Brown’s state of mind” if they had not released this video to the public until it became relevant. That would be at Officer Wilson’s 2cd degree murder trial when he makes the defense that his action was justified because Brown charged him. *Then* Brown’s potential state of mind becomes somewhat relative although I have to admit that I would put more weight on an aggregate of eye witness testimony with things like the live tweets being given more weight than other accounts.

  76. EOS
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Permalink


    FF makes a lot of sense. Why do you always have to be so mean.

  77. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    KJC and Lynne,

    I will try to repeat myself less and I apologize for the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. I have been in a rush in my dialogue with Lynne and for awhile there it felt like we were the only two interested in what is happening. I appreciate what Lynne has to say. I am sorry if it feels like I am talking down as KJC suggests. I do not consider myself one of the better writers or thinkers here. I am a long time reader of Markmaynard and more recent poster. I decided to start posting because I thought it would help me be a better writer and thinker. Please point out when you think something is unreasonable, KJC. I am afraid I am going to stick around here, because philosophy courses are way to expensive. Also please chime in with your thoughts. This topic is very important, I think, and we need more voices. I still don’t understand why releasing the “strong arm video” and the toxicology report is racist. I am trying very hard to understand how that it is possible to consider those things racist but I am willing to let it go as it does not seem to be going anywhere. My take is that Wilson should be found guilty if he fails to prove that he felt an immediate threat to his life. In order to be innocent witnesses will need to contradict the 3 accounts that have Brown surrendering with his hands up. The tweeter does not mention his hands up and the “bystander video” seems to have a witness claiming that Brown was “coming toward the police when he was shot. I would love it if someone would comment on the “witness to Michael brown: dude kept coming at me video.” I think it is potentially very important to the case.

  78. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Permalink


    Allow me to be highly speculative for a minute: Is it possible that the police are releasing information in a calculated way because they at some point realized that there is enough evidence to make it very unlikely that Wilson will see jail time? Making the release of information ” against Brown” more of a way to help insure public safety if there are witnesses contradicting the witnesses that have stated Brown was surrendering with his hands up when he was shot?

  79. Lynne
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    In truth, the release of that video is so obviously racist to me that I am not sure how to explain it better.

    Here is someone else explaining it:

    Ultimately, it comes down to how we all have different perceptions of others based on our prejudices. We all have them too. The main reason releasing that video was racist is that how the crime of stealing cigars and shoving the clerk will be perceived by most people, ie. most people will view that video through a racist lens. They will make a different determination about things such as his “state of mind” than they would if the person in the video was a good looking young woman or a white man or whatever. Here is an example of how people can view the same behavior very differently based on things like skin color and gender.

  80. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink


    Thanks for the links. The author of the first article can’t seem to resist the temptation to spin the facts in an attempt to support his assumptions–I found the spin bordering on gross dishonesty. The second video is not scientific at all. I don’t disagree with the idea that people are guilty of prejudging others, however. I think, given the uncertainty surrounding this case, it might be more constructive/ responsible to frame the issues and potential dangers in Ferguson in terms of “race relations” rather than “racism”. When I viewed the video link you offered I also watched a video in youtubes related video list: “white guy stops black mugger and crowd chants Treyvon Martin”. Too many assumptions all around. Assumptions are dangerous.

  81. Lynne
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The video isn’t scientific but I can assure you that there are a lot of studies which back up the premise of that video. I chose it because it is less boring than most academic studies. I think it does do a good job of illustrating my point about how people will perceive that store video with the black kid stealing the cigars than if they were watching a pretty woman steal the cigars.

    What specifically did you find dishonest about the Salon article? It is an op-ed piece so one should expect a point of view but I’ve re-read it and don’t see any facts misrepresented. I do see some strong opinions being expressed and a bias in the article but that isn’t the same thing as misrepresenting something. If anything it is a window into what the author and those who think similarly to the author are thinking. This piece is completely honest about that. This is how the author views these events and frankly, it is pretty close to how I view things too so I find that “borderline dishonesty” comment a little offensive.

    I obviously don’t know anything about you but my guess is that you are a white man. I could be wrong of course but you do seem to be coming from a place of a person who has never really experienced the kind of discrimination that many people in various subgroups experience in the USA. I get it that it can be very hard to see things like racism when you aren’t experiencing it yourself but I challenge you to open your mind to the possibility that the police in Ferguson are treating their black citizens differently than their white citizens. (The facts, btw, support this, btw.)

    Yes, I suppose it would be more productive to use words like “race relations” instead of “racism” but only because there seem to be a lot of people in our country who have real trouble talking about racism. Almost always, it is those with the most privilege who are least likely to handle real discussions about racism. I really prefer to use the word “racism” here because that is what we are talking about or at least it is what I am talking about: The systemic and ongoing racism of the police department in Ferguson, Mo. and how that possibly led to an innocent man being shot and definitely led to the civil unrest we’ve seen in that town.

    I consider this to be a very important discussion for a lot of reasons. The primary one is that I value equality in law and I know that we won’t get it unless we start talking about how we don’t treat people equally in this country. We have to get over our denial about our very real problems with racism or as you would rather say, race relations.

  82. EOS
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    “The systemic and ongoing racism of the police department in Ferguson, Mo.”

    You have presented no evidence that this is the case and are promoting racial discord by suggesting this is fact. Your premise, that everyone of privilege is racist or that a white man is unable to comprehend it, is flat out wrong.

  83. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink


    Sorry if you are offended. I don’t have time to go into a great explanation about it now but I think the article is dishonest as it pertains to the release of the “strong arm robbery” video being racist. I thought that the issue we were discussing and the reason you gave the link…

  84. Frosted Flakes
    Posted August 23, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink


    Here is every quote from the article that references what happened:

    “He stole a handful of cheap cigars, that were what, five bucks”

    “allegedly showed Brown confronting a convenience store employee and taking a package of cigars”

    “unrelated robbery of a single swisher”

    Here is every quote from you referencing the strong arm robbery video in out discussion:

    “allegedly shoplifting”

    “there was an altercation but it was so minor that the store didn’t even bother to call the police”

    “allegedly shoplifts some cheap cigars”

    “he stole cigars”

    “a white man or even more so a white woman stealing cigars would be perceived differently”

    You and the writer seem toshare something in common. You both seem to be willfully mis-characterizing the events shown in the video. The video has no relevance to the case in my opinion but your mischaracterization of what happened in the video is either a dishonest attempt to spin the facts or there is confusion on your part and the Salon writer as to what constitutes the difference between shoplifting and robbery. Between you and the Salon writer the term “robbery” is only used once. The writer misuses the term when he says that brown allegedly “robbed a single swisher”. You don’t rob things you rob people through intimidation, threats of harm, actual force and/ or actual harm. A robbery occurs if any of those 4 conditions are met. Here we have at least 3 of the 4 occuring. This is all petty complaints on my part in the big picture but I also think it is a good litmus test for whether or not people involved in this controversy are being honest.

    I have intentionally limited my responses to the facts of the shooting and the release of the video. Lynne, Stop jumping to conclusions about my opinions regarding racism in general or whether or not protests in ferguson are justified on grounds not related to the shooing. Just because I don’t agree with you about the video being an instance of racism does not mean i don’t see racism, feel racism, beleive FPD is racist, beleive institutions are racist, beleive there are racial injustices…I haven’t offered my opinion about any of the big picture stuff!!!!!People from all sides are spinning facts in an attempt to gain the favor of public opinion. Spinning facts and making assumptions in order to gain a perceived advantage is dishonest in my opinion. My fear is that a dishonest treatment of the facts here will lead to a backward step in race relations.

  85. Jcp2
    Posted August 23, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    How much more backwards can it go?

  86. Posted August 9, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti activists commemorate 1-year since Michael Brown’s death

    In Ferguson, Anniversary of Killing Brings Vows to Force Change

    Activists remember Michael Brown in Ypsilanti

    On the Ground for Michael Brown

    Black Lives Matter (Timeline)

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] we last spoke about the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri quite a bit has happened. Not only do we now know the name of the officer who shot and killed the […]

  2. […] And, given the recent high profile cases involving the use of lethal force by police officers, like the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I’m not so certain that people in Ann Arbor are going to just accept the official narrative. […]

  3. […] Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18 year old, on August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri, setting in motion weeks of tense protest that would captivate the country, and bring the world’s attention to the epidemic of lethal […]

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