No Indictment in Ferguson… Local protests planned for Tuesday

As expected, the St. Louis County grand jury that we’ve all been waiting to hear from these past several weeks has decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri this summer, setting in motion weeks of tense protest that would captivate the country and bring the world’s attention to the epidemic of lethal force we’re experiencing at the hands of police in the United States. [WATCH THE ANNOUNCEMENT.]

So, now, like everyone else, I’m just holding my breath, and waiting to see what happens in Ferguson, where people are beginning to take to the streets in protest. One just hopes that no more lives are lost.

For those of you who are interested, there will be a number of events around the country tomorrow, which you can find listed on the Ferguson Response Tumblr page.

In Ypsilanti, people will be gathering at 4:30 PM, at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and South Adams, in front of the downtown library. And, in Ann Arbor, people will be gathering on the University of Michigan Diag at 6:00. In both instances, people are advised to dress warmly and bring signs and banners with them.

AgnPoliceViolence

Regardless of what happened in the case of Michael Brown, or in the case of the Aura Rosser, who was shot and killed by police earlier this fall in Ann Arbor, or in the case of 12 year old Tamir Rice, who was shot and killed in Cleveland by police this past weekend who apparently mistook his toy gun for a real one, I think it’s hard to deny at this point that we have a very real problem in this country when it comes to our police, and what we’ve come to expect as normal, acceptable behavior on their part. Even if all three of these cases were justified, which I seriously doubt, what about the hundreds of other killings at the hands of police that have been documented this year alone? Just read through the entries in the Fatal Encounters database, the recently created Gun Violence Archive, or the new database created by Deadspin, and tell me that there’s not a pattern that we should be concerned about.

I’m not sure what the answer is. We live in a violent society in which, for hundreds of years, the gun has been fetishized, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Maybe, however, there are a few tangible things that we can do now to move things in the right direction, like introducing legislation to demilitarize our police and make sure that every cop with a gun also has a body camera, a simple change that has been shown in test cases to dramatically decrease the use of force. And, while we’re at it, maybe we could also address the fundamental inequality in our educational system, and get the money out of politics, which, when you really get right down to it, are probably the two main things keeping us from having the true representative democracy that the people of America so desperately need.

update: Live stream from the streets of Ferguson shows police car on fire.

update: Charlie LeDuff is also live streaming. Here he is interviewing a protestor in front of a burning police car.

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 11.09.25 PM

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75 Comments

  1. Kat
    Posted November 24, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Obama is speaking right now.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUwQsCJFHBI

  2. anonymous
    Posted November 24, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Detroit’s Charlie LeDuff is also broadcasting live.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGvXN56t6Wo

  3. anonymous
    Posted November 24, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    I hope he know what he’s doing, standing across the street from a burning police car that’s probably full of ammo.

  4. anonymous
    Posted November 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s starting in Oakland as well.

    http://i.imgur.com/bs4GCN5.jpg

  5. Posted November 24, 2014 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    I think I heard Charlie call his cameraman a Pussy.

  6. K2
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    It feels like the gates of hell are opening.

  7. Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Here is a link to a jpeg for today’s funeral:

    http://radicalwashtenaw.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/70/

    Please spread the word.

  8. Eel
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Walgreen’s at the Corner of Healthy and Happy!

    http://imgur.com/sIm9c6y

  9. EOS
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Look at the aftermath in Ferguson. Stay home. Read through the evidence and eyewitness testimonies of the Michael Brown shooting. Stay home. If you see a cop, thank him for risking his ife to save ours. There is an epidemic in our country and it’s violent crime. Without a strong local police force supported by law abiding citizens our future is bleak.

    Mark, what have you done to ensure that those who turnout for your protest are non-violent? If a large number show up, and start burning and looting, should we call the police to qwell the violence? Do you expect them to show up in windbreakers armed with tasers? If you really do think the police are too violent, what is accomplished by gathering a mob of people to provoke them?

  10. Mr. X
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if there’s any truth to it, but people are saying that police cars were left unattended in areas where they would likely be torched.

  11. Meta
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    EOS tells us to just “read through the evidence.” I’d love to. Unfortunately I can’t. And neither can you.

    The following excerpt comes from an article titled “No promise Ferguson grand jury evidence will be made public, court says”:

    Evidence presented to the grand jury weighing criminal charges in the shooting death of Michael Brown may not be made public after all, a St. Louis County Circuit Court official revealed on Sunday.

    For three months, prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch has said he would seek a rare court order from Judge Carolyn Whittington immediately releasing nearly all evidence should Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson not be charged. Grand jury proceedings usually remain secret.

    “We’ve asked the judge to do that, and the judge has agreed that she will do that, if there is no indictment,” McCulloch said during a radio interview with KTRS in September. “There’s no probably about it, it will be released.”

    On Sunday, however, the court said, “Judge Whittington has entered no such order and has made no such agreement,” according to director of judicial administration Paul Fox.

    Read more:
    http://news.yahoo.com/court-no-promise-that-ferguson-evidence-will-be-made-public-202733998.html

  12. Meta
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Protests outside the White House.

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Ferguson-protests-DC-darren-wilson-michael-brown-283053101.html

  13. facebook stalker
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Stolen from a friend’s post.

    http://imgur.com/E6nRL5v

  14. EOS
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-evidence-supports-officers-account-of-shooting-in-ferguson/2014/10/22/cf38c7b4-5964-11e4-bd61-346aee66ba29_story.html

  15. Anonymous
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    How do people protest at 4:30? Does one work?

  16. EOS
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/prosecutors-release-ferguson-grand-jury-documents-27160530

  17. Meta
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    By the letter of the law, the grand jury likely did what they had to do. That does not make it right. The Nation has an interesting piece on why it’s near impossible to indict cops.

    Chapter 563 of the Missouri Revised Statutes grants a lot of discretion to officers of the law to wield deadly force, to the horror of many observers swooping in to the Ferguson story. The statute authorizes deadly force “in effecting an arrest or in preventing an escape from custody” if the officer “reasonably believes” it is necessary in order to “to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested has committed or attempted to commit a felony…or may otherwise endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay.”

    But this law is not an outlier, and is fully in sync with Supreme Court jurisprudence. The legal standard authorizing deadly force is something called “objective reasonableness.”

    This standard originates in the 1985 case of Tennessee v. Garner, which appeared at first to tighten restrictions on the police use of deadly force. The case involved a Memphis cop, Elton Hymon, who shot dead one Edward Garner: 15 years old, black and unarmed. Garner had just burgled a house, grabbing a ring and ten bucks. The US Supreme Court ruled that a police officer, henceforth, could use deadly force only if he “has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.” The ruling required that the use of force be “objectively reasonable.” How this reasonableness should be determined was established in a 1989 case, Graham v. Connor: severity of the crime, whether the suspect is resisting or trying to escape and above all, whether the suspect posed an immediate threat to the safety of officers or others. All this appeared to restrict police violence—even if, in the end, Officer Hymon was never criminally charged for fatally shooting Edward Garner.

    “Objectively reasonable”—what could be wrong with that? But in actual courtroom practice, “objective reasonableness” has become nearly impossible to tell apart from the subjective snap judgments of panic-fueled police officers. American courts universally defer to the law enforcement officer’s own personal assessment of the threat at the time.

    The Graham analysis essentially prohibits any second-guessing of the officer’s decision to use deadly force: no hindsight is permitted, and wide latitude is granted to the officer’s account of the situation, even if scientific evidence proves it to be mistaken. Such was the case of Berkeley, Missouri, police officers Robert Piekutowski and Keith Kierzkowski, who in 2000 fatally shot Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley out of fear that the victims’ car was rolling towards them. Forensic investigations established that the car had not in fact lurched towards the officers at the time of the shooting—but this was still not enough for the St. Louis County grand jury to indict the two cops of anything.

    Not surprisingly then, legal experts find that “there is built-in leeway for police, and the very breadth of this leeway is why criminal charges against police are so rare,” says Walter Katz, a police oversight lawyer who served on the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review until it disbanded in July of this year. According to Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine Law School, recent Supreme Court decisions are not a path towards justice but rather a series of obstacles to holding police accountable for civil rights violations.

    An officer’s personal threat assessment is often bolstered by the fact that there are between 270 million and 310 million guns in the United States. Take a grand jury’s failure to indict the police officers who fatally shot John Crawford III, the black man holding a BB gun in a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio. In a country where shooting sprees are a regular occurrence, where guns are widely available at Walmart and where fake guns that look very similar to real guns are sold in the same store, the police officers’ fears were deemed reasonable enough for the grand jury to find no probable cause of criminal wrongdoing. That is how the Supreme Court police violence jurisprudence works, and it was firmly on the side of officer Sean Williams, just as it has now been found to be on Darren Wilson’s. Given the deference and latitude hardwired into the law, “there is just an underlying assumption that the officer did not engage in criminal activity,” says Katz.

    The first step to controlling the police is to get rid of the fantasy, once and for all, that the law is on our side. The law is firmly on the side of police who open fire on unarmed civilians.

    Read more:
    http://www.thenation.com/article/190937/why-its-impossible-indict-cop#

  18. EOS
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    There is no “civil right” that allows a 300lb. suspected criminal to pummel an officer in the face with his fists, followed by a struggle for the officer’s weapon, only to start to flee the scene and then turn around and charge the police officer.

  19. MLK
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    A RIOT IS THE LANGUAGE OF THE UNHEARD

    Martin Luther King to Mike Wallace in 1966:

    “I contend that the cry of ‘black power’ is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mlk-a-riot-is-the-language-of-the-unheard/

  20. EOS
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Sure. We heard Detroit in 67 and things have improved so much as a result of the riots.

  21. C.C.
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The store owner who was robbed by Michael Brown had his store looted last night.

    http://i.imgur.com/eXaWAMN.png

  22. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Rather than a riot please articulate the issue and have conversation about solving the perceived problem. There are things to discuss but violence, property damage and theft is a step backward. Oh and please do follow EOS’s advice and read about the various eyewitness reports–you might second guess your media created opinions about this particular case.

  23. ME
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    And you should read Mark’s post, FF. In it, he acknowledged that many of these cases may well have been justified. That does not change the fact, however, that our police are less restrained than perhaps ever before in dispensing deadly force. Furthermore, no one here encouraged people to riot. The one thing that even came close was a comment from MLK about why people riot. (He never condoned rioting.) As for positive actions that might be taken, I’d encourage you to read the last paragraph of the post, where Mark mentions body cameras the possibility of keeping military hardware from domestic police forces. Neither would solve the problem, but I believe both would qualify as positive, non-violent things that could be done to decrease deadly force.

  24. John R Lozon
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    8 oakland children

  25. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    ME,

    I was addressing only MLK’s comment. As I reread MLK’s comment I can see how you might argue that he is not supportive of rioting but rather describing the causes behind rioting. I read his comment, perhaps wrongly, as an implicit endorsement for rioting.

    What Mark has written about Ferguson, especially his posts a couple of months ago were some of the best writing I have seen on the subject and I think some of his better writing on any topic. I agree with much of what he said. There is a lot to agree upon here and the necessity of officers wearing body cameras as well as restraint when it comes to rioting are among the things most all of us agree upon. As for MLK’s comments–not sure how to take them within the current context, but that is just me.

  26. Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I love EOS’ comments. They are entertaining sometimes.

  27. Oliva
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    We need a whole lot of those Americans who were outraged about American deaths on 9/11, for example, but have not wanted to acknowledge the deep and restrengthened bigotry and injustice that run this country, and harm and kill many more Americans, some so young, to stand up finally and say, Enough! And not make excuses, not refuse to look more clearly (at the indictment, at the system),* and not tolerate organs of hate such as FOX News any longer (that twisted operation whose main raison d’être is keeping a bunch of unsavory white guys and their gun-loving enablers in charge, even when the majority of us are way past being willing to abide that kind of deeply deleterious rule and profound social sickness). And always make sure to vote please.

    * http://www.gannett-cdn.com/experiments/usatoday/2014/11/arrests-interactive/

  28. Will Ferrell by proxy
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    https://twitter.com/WillyFerrell/status/537094770082844672?s=04

  29. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Oliva,

    I know for a fact that there are a great number of people who, while outraged by the fox news inspired right wing response to 9/11 are equally outraged by the “Justice for Michael Brown Now (!) Crowd” (if I can talk in broad terms). GENERAL movements, it seems to me, have a greater chance to be socially transformative if those movements are rallying around SPECIFIC evil events.

  30. Truth
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    “Corporate America is using police forces as their mercenaries.” -retired Philadelphia police captain Ray Lewis

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=482387718569407

  31. Brainless
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    EOS, you are such a propagandist asshole:

    “There is an epidemic in our country and it’s violent crime.”

    BULLSHIT, you fucking liar. You do not have an opinion. You do not further the debate. You contribute nothing. You’re just a fucking liar you says demonstrably untrue things.

    “Since the early 1990s, crime has declined in the United States,[1] and current crime rates are approximately the same as those of the 1960s.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

  32. Posted November 25, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Interesting discussion.

  33. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Yes, brainless! Thank god our society has transcended violent crime. Now if we can just get all those propaganda-spun- liars who say “violent crime is a problem in our society” to shut up all will be good.

  34. Posted November 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of racists, I had to sit next to one on a plane once. It was a miserable experience. He was friendly enough, but at times I just wasn’t sure how to respond or if I should.

    EOS would have liked him.

  35. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    …sorry for the sarcasm, if you were joking Brainless. It is hard to tell what people are thinking at this point.

  36. Oliva
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that, Truth.

  37. EOS
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes,

    Brainless wasn’t joking. He and Peter (maybe he is Peter?) jump in with unfounded personal attacks when they feel their point of view is not faring well in the discussion.

    I have an opinion, I do further the debate, and I contribute a lot.

  38. PINKYDOO
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    The powers that be just LOVE these little “riots”. Let the people think their voices and actions will really change anything while they loot stores and burn police cars that are strangely abandoned. In a few days, after everybody is stuffed with turkey and have snatched up some great Black Friday deals, we can congratulate each other on Twitter. Meanwhile, psycho cops will STILL be shooting people. Real change is going to take more than some hashtags and a few torched cars. Unfortunately I think most people are just too complacent these days to really get radical.

  39. PINKYDOO
    Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and the biggest psycho cop of all is the U.S. President. How many kids in the Mid-East have been gunned down for no reason at all by the World Police? It is ok though. Gotta get those terrorists!

  40. Oliva
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Have you read Nicholas Kristoff’s NYT series of op-eds about “when whites just don’t get it” (links here: http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/thoughts-on-ferguson/?action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&module=RelatedCoverage&region=Marginalia&pgtype=article)?

    In an interview about the pieces he said: “I think that there’s no doubt that successful people have this narrative that ‘I succeeded because I worked hard, studied hard, obeyed the law, and that just shows that anybody in this country can succeed if they will just behave themselves.’ . . . It’s so easy to hit a home run from third base and say ‘boy, this is pretty easy, why can’t everyone else do this?'”
    –http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/20/nicholas-kristof-on-what-whites-just-dont-get-about-racial-inequality/

    It seems that there are many white Americans who think this way about their social-professional position. So, while they have attained status or comfortable-enough incomes, they’ve forsaken the quest for truth, self-knowledge, and common sense?

    And all around us people defensive about their privilege keep stoking the idea that they are more virtuous than others because of the bogus claim of I-did-it-myself. Ears stuffed with highly virtuous cotton, eyes glazed over from all the self-adulation–does make it more challenging to hear and see.

  41. Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    “He and Peter (maybe he is Peter?) jump in with unfounded personal attacks when they feel their point of view is not faring well in the discussion.”

    For the record, I attacked no one. I said that I found EOS’ comments entertaining and speculated that EOS might have liked the gentleman who sat next to me on a plane.

  42. EOS
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/11/25/us/evidence-released-in-michael-brown-case.html?smid=fb-share&_r=3

  43. Brainless
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    “It’s so easy to hit a home run from third base and say ‘boy, this is pretty easy, why can’t everyone else do this?’”

    This is the only person who gets it. Income inequality is a thousand times more destructive to our society than violent crime. It has bent folks’ minds so bad that they don’t have the slightest clue they were born on third base (with a lead-off half way to home).

    Back to EOS’s goddamn dirty lies. Asshole sounds a lot like the Furguson police if you ask me. “I swear if you just knock these colored folks in the head a few more times, they’ll realize this is the land of opportunity. They’re just too undereducated and poor to understand. Too bad there’s no solution to those problems.”

  44. Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Thanks to all who attended yesterday’s funeral in Ypsilanti, which finished with collective, improvised song. Much forward-moving energy was gained, and fruitful conversations—including with members of the YPD—were had. We’ve got ideas for strategic next steps.

    Many of us continued on to the demonstration in Ann Arbor which, contrary to headlines, drew a crowd of close to 2,000. When the march reached City Hall, Anthony Morgan, among others, spoke passionately, from a place of outrage and heartbreak.

    We’re thankful for everyone who braved the cold and, more than that, the internal restraints of apathy, to come out, and we wish to share a new piece of writing by Robin D.G. Kelly. It’s more timely, and nourishing, than all the stuffing in the world.

    http://radicalwashtenaw.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/why-we-wont-wait/

  45. Lynne
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    I am so saddened by this. Both because there are actually people, some of whom I care about, who are defending that police officer. Seriously. They simply cannot see anything wrong with police officers killing young black men because they have completely “othered” African Americans, among other groups. It is heart breaking that we can’t have some kind of unity in our country. I mean, if we can’t even agree on an issue like cops shooting unarmed people and getting away with it, we aren’t likely to agree on anything. I still find myself asking “What kind of monster thinks it is ok for cops to just shoot people like that?”

    I am so angry about this. It is going to be a real challenge not to call anyone an asshole at dinner tomorrow if they even suggest that they think that it is ok for police officers to just shoot black people without consequences. I just hope people have the good sense to not bring it up.

  46. Dan
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Lynne,

    After reading the autopsy reports and other evidence that has now been released, how do you suggest that the officer should have responded?

  47. EOS
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Here’s a clue: if a police officer has his gun drawn and asks you to stop, then it would be wise to follow the instruction, keep your hands visible, and refrain from charging towards the officer. Most Americans get it and support Officer Wilson and the actions he was forced to take.

    If you notice, liberals have been generally trying to stir things up in Ferguson, not calm them down. That’s because liberals believe it serves them to have black Americans angry, alienated and generally upset. There are visions of, “Vote for Hillary Clinton to prevent another Mike Brown” going through their heads. Plus, riots can be used to justify new government programs, new commissions, new studies, new departments, federal takeover of local police authority— more government and less civil liberties for all. If a few people get killed, a few businesses get burned and Ferguson never recovers, well that’s a small price to pay…

  48. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Good question, Dan.

  49. kjc
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    EOS, since you were there, clearly you would know. is that ugly cynicism masquerading as political insight God-given? despite the fact that you don’t know a symptom from a disease, and that you use “most Americans” with the confidence of a freshman composition paper, you still think you have persuasive powers. amazing.

  50. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Like Lynne, but for different reasons, I am completely saddened. I am going to try to hold onto the sadness in order to get through dinner tomorrow, because like Lynne, but for different reasons, I am afraid that my outrage will be expressed.

  51. Lynne
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Dan, in all seriousness, I believe that the entire incident could have been avoided in the first place had Officer Wilson treated Brown with respect. Officer Wilson started this altercation and I consider his behavior before any shots were fired to be worthy if dismissing him from the police force. There is no excuse for a police officer to treat any member of the community in which they serve with that kind of disrespect.

    As for how he should have handled the incident afterwards, I would say that he should not have used his gun. He had no valid reason to bring a gun into the equation. I don’t find him a credible witness either so I am not sure that Brown actually grabbed his gun in the first place. Witnesses who are more credible than Wilson say that Brown was not charging the officer when the shots were fired. The autopsy reports do not give us enough insight into what actually happened, unfortunately. But I think that since it is unlikely that Brown was charging Wilson when the fatal shots were fired and since I don’t believe that Brown was going for his gun during the altercation in the car, I think that what Wilson should have done was to apologize for Brown for being such a dick in the first place and let him walk away.

  52. Dan
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    It’s clear that Brown was shot while reaching into a police vehicle.

    And why do you consider witnesses more credible than the officer? Witnesses that claim he was shot in the back, which he wasnt.

  53. Lynne
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I consider some witnesses to be more credible than Officer Wilson, not all. In particular I find the witnesses who live tweeted or took notes *at the time* to generally be more credible than those who didn’t. Mostly I don’t find any eye witness testimony to be entirely credible but sometimes you can get facts from it in the aggregate.

    It is clear that Brown was shot while either reaching into or being pulled into the police vehicle. I also forgot about the fact that Brown punched Officer Wilson so I will amend my earlier post and say that it would have been appropriate for Officer Wilson to arrest Brown for assault although even then, I wish we had a system where in a court of law, Brown could make the case that it was self defense. We don’t really allow anyone to make claims of self defense against police officers even when it would otherwise be justified. Even so, I still think it would have been a better move for the officer recognize and own how his own actions and bad behavior led to the situation in the first place but of course, even now, with the benefit of hindsight, he doesn’t seem to feel that he did anything wrong.

    Part of what frustrates me about this is that the investigation was so terrible. No one even looked for evidence (like fingerprints on the gun) which would have given a clearer picture of events. All of the potential evidence that could have been harmful for Wilson was conveniently not gathered. That is, of course, the problem in these kinds of cases. We don’t have anyone else to investigate them so you have the police investigating the police and unfortunately, the police are not trustworthy. They can and do cover for each other. Any humans with such a strong incentive for group cohesion would do the same. I don’t mean to imply that the officers conducting the investigation are bad people but they are human and humans have biases and especially biases towards anyone they consider to be in their “in group”

  54. D'Real
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    This White Man Was Literally Beating Up Two Police Officers, But What Happens Next Is Astonishing: http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/11/24/white-man-beats-two-cops-shots-fired-unarmed-black-man-gets-shot-reason/

  55. Jcp2
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Because of the increasing prevalence of guns in our society, subjective thresholds for use of deadly force by police has decreased. It’s not just racial bias.

    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/26/7292963/gun-control-police-shootings

  56. Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Trials should not be decided by public opinion.

    In this case, I can’t say what the true events were, given that I was not there and have not taken the time to view all of the evidence on hand.

    However, I think that people would do well to stop arguing about what did or didn’t happen at the time of the shooting, and focus more on why this has generated such wide anger. There are people in this country who suffer daily abuse at the hands of police and people in this country who, as a result of their color or socio-economic status, are wholly politically marginalized. This is a reality.

    I think that a careful examination of those issues of far more important than bickering about the facts presented in one particular case.

  57. Posted November 27, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    I used to be one of those ignorant white people that thought that we had abolished racism. Then I dated a black man. At first, I didn’t understand why he always said he was “cursed from birth” by being born black.

    However, slowly over the we were together, I got to see what he and many people of color have dealt with their whole lives. People treated me completely differently (rudely/dismissive/weird) sometimes when I was with him. I was shocked and sickened many times as I came to the stark realization that there really are still people out there that are such imbeciles that they judge people based on the color of their skin. And there are a lot of them. I think it must be some sort of disease.

  58. Oliva
    Posted November 28, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    createharmony–it does seem like some kind of disease. It needs an -ology or -itis type name maybe? And cures.

    This is a good piece, from Washington Post:

    “Protests and looting naturally capture attention. But the real rage smolders in meetings where officials redraw precincts to dilute African American voting strength or seek to slash the government payrolls that have long served as sources of black employment. It goes virtually unnoticed, however, because white rage doesn’t have to take to the streets and face rubber bullets to be heard. Instead, white rage carries an aura of respectability and has access to the courts, police, legislatures and governors, who cast its efforts as noble, though they are actually driven by the most ignoble motivations.

    White rage recurs in American history. It exploded after the Civil War, erupted again to undermine the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision and took on its latest incarnation with Barack Obama’s ascent to the White House. For every action of African American advancement, there’s a reaction, a backlash.

    . . . It’s more subtle — less overtly racist — than in 1865 or even 1954. It’s a remake of the Southern Strategy, crafted in the wake of the civil rights movement to exploit white resentment against African Americans, and deployed with precision by Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. As Reagan’s key political strategist, Lee Atwater, explained in a 1981 interview: ‘You start out in 1954 by saying, “N—–, n—–, n—–.” By 1968 you can’t say “n—–” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like “forced busing,” “states’ rights” and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things, and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that.’ (The interview was originally published anonymously, and only years later did it emerge that Atwater was the subject.)” –www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ferguson-wasnt-black-rage-against-copsit-was-white-rage-against-progress/2014/08/29/3055e3f4-2d75-11e4-bb9b-997ae96fad33_story.html

  59. D'Real
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    St. Louis’s Metropolitan Police Chief Dam Dotson and local law enforcement agents approached the Bosnian protestors with poise and vigor, similar to the St. Louis Ram Football players who walked on to the field Sunday night to face the Oakland Raiders with their ‘hands up’.

    As Dr. Larson would say/type, “interesting.”

  60. Meta
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    As Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story.

    As expected, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson has resigned from the police department now that he doesn’t have to depend on it to pay for his legal defense had he been indicted.

    It also helps that he is more than $500,000 richer thanks to all his supporters and donors who believed he was truly in fear for his life when he shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9 and were under the impression that he would need to foot his own legal bill.

    Considering the 28-year-old man just married his lover, an affair that ended two marriages, we imagine he will be taking a nice, long honeymoon somewhere far away from Ferguson, which is still experiencing protests. He’s come a long way since his days as a Jennings police officer, an agency that was dismantled because too many white officers were abusing black citizens.

    Read more:
    http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2014/11/ferguson-cop-resigns-receiving-500000-donations/

  61. Kirk S.
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Another black perspective.

    https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152314396513715&set=vb.673253714

  62. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    How many players participated in the protest? As I understand it, 5 of 53 players chose to put their hands up….Interesting, but I find it far more interesting to count how many witnesses claim Michael Brown did not have his hands up. Can D’Real, or someone else, research it and report back with that number for all of us?

  63. Lynne
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Frosted Flakes,

    I think this is what you are looking for.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/newly-released-witness-testimony-tell-us-michael-brown-shooting/

    It looks like two witnesses claim that Brown did not have his hands up while sixteen claim that he did. The rest either didn’t know or weren’t asked that question. This is what I mean, btw, when I say that you can sometimes get to the truth with eye witness testimony by looking at the aggregate. Probably, Brown had his hands up when he was shot. That doesn’t mean that the two witnesses who say that they weren’t are lying though.

  64. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 1, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Exactly the kind of chart I was looking for. Thanks, Lynne.

  65. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 3, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Two witnesses exxplicitly claim that Brown did not have his hands up. Other witnesses tell their story of events and never mention hands up. A significant detail to not add to your story I think….If nothing else I think everyone should read witness 16’s interview with the FBI. Witness 16 is obviously Piaget Crenshaw. After reading the 80 page interview, I find it highly unlikely she saw any of the incident. Which, if i am right, is sad, because she was one of three main witnesses that the media promoted and helped create the “Brown was murdered while surrendering with his hands up” narrative…

  66. D'Real
    Posted December 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    (Of historical importance!)

    “The Justice Department announced on Thursday that a nearly two-year civil rights investigation into the Cleveland Police Department had found a pattern of “unreasonable and unnecessary use of force” that resulted in dangerous and reckless behavior by officers, pointing out the kinds of problems that have angered black residents here and touched off demonstrations across the country in recent weeks.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/us/justice-dept-inquiry-finds-abuses-by-cleveland-police.html?_r=0

    “As a result of the federal investigation in Cleveland, the city has agreed to work toward a settlement with the Justice Department, known as a consent decree, that will overhaul practices, tighten policies on the use of force and subject the police to oversight by an independent monitor. Consent decrees in other cities, including Albuquerque, Detroit, New Orleans and Seattle, were put into effect after investigations into questionable police violence and other abusive practices.”

    “…policing problems. . . stemmed from “systemic deficiencies, including insufficient accountability, inadequate training and equipment, ineffective policies and inadequate engagement with the community.”

    “Their deaths, he said, have “raised urgent, national questions” and “sparked an important conversation about the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect.”

  67. D'Real
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”

  68. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    The witness interviews are fascinating. #read

  69. kjc
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    FF remains myopic on this subject. #readhistory #readsociology

  70. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Willfully ignoring the concrete particulars when they conflict with your ideas/ prejudices is the operating logic of racism. I can’t say who read what but either way, the interviews are very interesting, so I don’t mind throwing out the recommendation…

  71. Posted December 12, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I agree that FF is being myopic. Ferguson is about much more than whether Brown had his hands up or not.

    I think that should be obvious, but I guess it isn’t.

  72. Frosted Flakes
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    In terms of race relations there are practical negative consequences to rallying around the Michael Brown shooting. You can call it myopic if you want, I would call it confronting a political reality. In my opinion, the angry and resentful debates we have all at least witnessed, are in large part filled with bitterness because one side is burying their heads in the particulars (as I seem to be accused of); Whereas the other side refuses to engage the particulars, rather choosing the comfort of generalities. Their is too much imbalance. People feel confused and disconnected from each other which is not conducive to conversation and furthering of our understanding.

  73. John Galt
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Can’t we all just agree that the lives of rich white people are worth more?

  74. The N-word
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    According to recent headlines and media coverage, the lives of the American Nigger, Negro, Afro-American, African American, Black and Brown, are only valued and honored annually for twenty-eight days (sometimes twenty-nine, if it’s a leap year) during the month of February.

    Other than that, #blacklivesmatter only in the world of hashtags and myopicland.

  75. D'Real
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Free? Yes. Equal? No.

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