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We greet the day with a heartwarming scene from the Midwest.

Scott Olson of @GettyImages

Scott Olson of @GettyImages


Would you believe that already this morning, on Twitter, I’ve had one guy blaming the parents for bringing their children to a “protest/riot zone”? Of course you would.

Comments

  1. says

    I just need to scream a bit:
    GRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    In the midst of protests over civil rights violations and systemic racism and police brutality, women have to deal with sexist doucheholes too?! God. Fucking. Dammit!

  2. rq says

    So protestors ended up locked out of the building, with questions left unanswered.
    Protest in Ferguson continues>

    Princeton discussion about Ferguson (audio discussion).

    FERGUSON: The Community Responds — AUDIO ONLINE
    CSR hosted a panel discussion on the events in Ferguson, Missouri, surrounding the death of Michael Brown. Panelists included local faculty and faith leaders: Wallace Best and Vernon Mitchell, Jr, Princeton University; Leslie Callahan, St. Paul’s Baptist Church; Brittney Cooper, Rutgers University; and Yolanda Pierce, Princeton Theol. Seminary. Click below to listen.

    In New York: Eric Garner’s family sues NYPD for 75 million:

    The family of a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by New York police announced Tuesday that they would sue the city and police for $75 million. [...]
    Garner’s death was classified as a homicide by the New York medical examiner’s office, and a grand jury is determining whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges.

    The police officer who had Garner in a chokehold has been identified as Daniel Pantaleo, and he was suspended.

    The chokehold was captured live on an amateur video.

    tbc

  3. rq says

    Tony
    I think it’s always been that way. Someone mentioned it recently in another thread about activism, how this was a thing even back in the ’60s. Like, civil rights first, then feminism, and the feminist bits just got left behind mysteriously and completely accidentally.
    So… more power to those young women, I say.

    +++

    Last few things, I swear!
    Police chase in St Louis ends with no fatalities – photo here.

    Protestors once again went to the Cardinals game, with, again, some interaction with fans: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4.
    (The last few thigns will continue into the next comment, but I’m almost done – a lot of stuff today!)

  4. rq says

    Another discussion in Ferguson last night (twitter photo).

    And worth a mention: new blog by Mike Spangenberg on Michael Brown, parenting, and being white.

    For white people, like me, it is essential that we push not only to engage in conversations about race, identity, and power, but to challenge the very foundation on which our understanding of the world is built. We have to always question the premise. And it’s from this notion that this blog draws its name.

    In the wake of the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, I’ve found myself engaging in conversations (both in person and online) with lots of different people. I’m hardly the first to point out the disparate responses on social media by white people and people of color. My timelines have been full of posts about Ferguson, police brutality, and racial injustice, mostly by people of color (with a sprinkling of posts by justice-oriented white friends throughout).

    And given the echo chamber most white people live in, this paucity of protest should not be surprising.

    Among white people who did speak out, too many posted awful things unworthy of a link. One of the things that has struck me repeatedly from so many white people is, despite the uncanny consistency of the six eye witnesses who have come forward, the almost instinctive, reflexive defense of Darren Wilson and the Ferguson police.

    Worth a look, at least (first post up now).

  5. rq says

    General racism: racial profiling in Brooklyn.

    Suddenly and without provocation, the teens — who were not involved in any kind of mischief — were ordered by the officers to remove themselves from the area. Bennett, who was apparently taken aback by the unprovoked form of harassment said, “I was really really upset and disturbed, not by the kids, but by the way the police were yelling at them to get out of the neighborhood,” she expressed at the meeting.

    Racial profiling in Boston: 24% of population, 63% of stop-and-frisks.

    The study analyzed more than 200,000 encounters not resulting in arrest between the Boston police officers and civilians (classified by the department as “field interrogation, observation, frisk and/or search) between 2007 and 2010. In 75 percent of those cases, no reason or probable cause for the search was recorded by the police other than “investigate person.” Of the 200,000 encounters, only 2.5 percent of them resulted in the seizure of contraband.

    2. point. 5. percent.

    “The ACLU’s report underscores our need to be vigilant in every city across this country, including Boston, to stop bad, racially motivated policing that doesn’t deter crime,” said Michael Curry, the president of the Boston NAACP. “Flawed stop and frisk and policing policies and practices leave too much discretion to police officers, and ultimately infringe upon the rights of black and brown people. While we share a desire to stop and prevent crime by the few, it shouldn’t come at the expense of the majority of law abiding citizens.

    Parenting: to raise, love and lose a black child. I’m sorry I can’t handle this one emotionally right now.

    A storify of the beginning of events in Ferguson – that is, the death of Michael Brown and the immediately following events. A good reminder of why this thread is still going on page 5, slowly but steadily.

    From the Realms of Ridiculous: man wears “Fuck the police” shirt in court, wins case. Just guess what colour he is.

    Burns appeared at his hearing, wearing a black t-shirt with “fuck the police” across the back. It’s difficult to hear what the judge says to Burns during certain points of the six-minute video that captured the hearing, but it’s clear that he got off for the violation.

    “I went to court wearing a shirt that said “Fuck the Police” and while I was told I had no 5th amendment right and I was not actually allowed to ask any questions during my trial,” he wrote. “I somehow still manage to win.”

    Yeah, ‘somehow’. Take a look in the mirror.

  6. rq says

    Is this what I think it is? Is this black people exercising right to carry and patrolling the federal building in Dallas???

    Once again, the issue of women: Black Last Supper (image), not a woman to be seen. That men’s only list looks pretty familiar, don’t it.

    Quick data on voters in Ferguson, with unregistered voters somewhere around 21%.

    McCullogh to attend Michael Brown Town Hall on Thursday, in Normandy. This should be good. Or terrible, either way.

    Hmm, County Council doesn’t seem to get it.

    thisisthemovement, installment #27: Missouri police and FBI plan for riots; Saint Louis Public Radio has officially filed against the city of Ferguson; new voter registration numbers (with article with number breakdown, short read); Cardinal fans and protestors clash; the “herstory” I posted above, about the imvolvement of black queer women and queer folk in the movement; #FergusonOctober, a review of planned activities; theological commentary on truth and Ferguson, as well as forgiveness and community; traffic stop gone wrong – the one from Indiana. Calendar of events, etc., etc. Go take a look.

  7. rq says

    Still a chance for federal charges in that failed SWAT raid that severely injured a toddler.

    A Habersham County grand jury said on Monday that the drug investigation had been “hurried and sloppy”.

    It also concluded there was not enough pre-raid surveillance.

    A sheriff had said there was no indication a family were in the home, even though a vehicle with four children’s car seats was parked in the driveway.

    The jurors extended their sympathies to the Phonesavanh family, but also to the law enforcement officers involved.

    HUH???

    “We have seen and heard genuine regret and sadness on the part of the law enforcement officers involved,” the jurors wrote, “and we think it is fair and appropriate to point out that they are human beings as well.”

    HUH??? “Everyone makes mistakes, teehee, amirite?”

    In Ohio: More people at the police department.

    Community for Ferguson October.

  8. says

    Fatal officer involved shooting in St. Louis

    Homicide detectives from the St. Louis police department have been called to the scene of a fatal officer involved shooting in the 4100 block of Shaw Blvd. in south St. Louis.

    The shooting occurred around 7:30 pm.

    Police say an off-duty officer working a second job attempted pedestrian check. The suspect fled on foot, and officer pursed the suspect. The suspect turned and fired at the officer. The officer fearing for his life returned fire fatally wounding the suspect.

    A crowd has gathered at the corner store at Klemm next to the Shaw Market. Some in the crowd say the suspect in his 20’s, was shot 16 times. They also say the suspect was only armed with a sandwich.

  9. rq says

    Tony
    Victim’s name ir Vonderrick Myers, from what I can tell… the first tweet in the list today was ‘sympathy for the Myers family’ and I though something had happened to PZ… :/
    No word on the officer who shot him – is xe also going to disappear?

  10. rq says

    An apparent Witness account, which (no surprise) differs from the police version.

    This shooting might break the fragile situation in Ferguson.

    More hpotos from the scene earlier – there were big things planned for this weekend in Ferguson, it seems like events will be expanded.

    Mainstream media blocked by protestors; heartbreaking.

    Missouri State Highway Patrol issues statement on the non-constitutionality of the 5-second rule:

    From the outset, the overriding goal of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Unified Command has been to allow citizens to speak while keeping the community safe. Today’s ruling is consistent with these principles because it allows protestors to exercise their constitutional rights to pieaceably assemble but also allows law enforcement to impose appropriate restrictions to protect the public from violence.

  11. rq says

    STL Today on the shooting, currently no new information.

    Also, the police chief was to hold a press conference on this latest shooting, but he has decided not to (I think for his own safety?). Might be a good move, since protestors have already said they don’t want another Jackson-type situation.

    From May by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations. Long piece with lots and lots of history, of the kind one doesn’t usually learn in school.

  12. rq says

    Some more pictures of St Louis, still going on: from Antonio French, from David Carson.

    Three articles, three sources:
    Associated Press on the death of Myers

    “As he exited the car, the gentlemen took off running. He was able to follow one of them before he lost him and then found him again as the guy jumped out of some bushes across the street,” Adkins said. “The officer approached, they got into a struggle, they ended up into a gangway, at which time the young man pulled a weapon and shots were fired. The officer returned fire and unfortunately the young man was killed.”

    He did not name the officer or the man killed.

    STL Today on the same (repeat?) –

    Police said the uniformed officer involved was working a secondary job for a private security company when he encountered four pedestrians in the 4100 block of Shaw Boulevard and stopped to talk with them at about 7:30 p.m.

    The four fled and the officer chased one, Assistant Chief Alfred Adkins said.

    The man the officer was chasing jumped from some bushes and struggled with the officer. The man then pulled a gun and fired at the officer, Adkins said. The officer returned fire and fatally shot the man.

    The officer was not injured, and a gun was recovered from the scene, police said.

    Given the mysterious nature of invisible and spontaneously appearing guns, that’s not much of an assurance. But to continue, from that article:

    Lavell Boyd, 47, lives in neighborhood and said he happened upon the scene as he was going to a store on Shaw to pick up a sandwich. Boyd said he heard 14 or 15 shots as he was in his car.

    “When I pulled up I saw the cop standing over him (Myers) then he pointed the gun at everyone else telling everyone to get back while he was searching for another clip,” Boyd said.

    Boyd said he heard others nearby telling the officer “you killed my friend.”

    The. Fuck. I’m sure he handcuffed the corpse, too.

    And finally, CNN with some interesting snippets

    The death comes on the heels of the Michael Brown shooting two months ago in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, and just ahead of “A Weekend of Resistance” in St. Louis where activists will push for movement in the investigation into that case.

    Like Brown, the man who was killed in Wednesday’s shooting was black. The officer in both incidents are white, police said.

    The difference: Brown was unarmed. In Wednesday’s incident, the man had a gun, said police spokeswoman Leah Freeman said. [...]
    As the rage grew, a car that was driving through the crowd had its back window broken. [a word on this in a moment]

    A short time later, a series of gunshots could be heard. It wasn’t clear where they came from. [...]
    The officer was working a second job for a security company, one that was approved by his department, Freeman said.

    He had on his police uniform.

    When he tried to make a “pedestrian check,” the man ran, Freeman said. She did not elaborate on what the check would have entailed.

    When the officer ran after him, the man turned and fired, Freeman said.

    “Fearing for his safety, the officer returned fire striking the suspect, fatally wounding him,” she said.

    CNN also says that Vonderrick Myers (some spell it Vonderrit, but I’m going with twitter folk here) was in his early 20s – he was 18.
    I’m more confused about an officer working his second job while still in official uniform. Isn’t it illegal to wear it while not on duty, or something? Or, if you’re wearing uniform, you’re officially at work?
    (I know that locally, that’s the rule – even if you’re just going to/from work, if you’re wearing your uniform, you have to provide public assistance in potentially violent situations, because you count as on-duty as soon as you go out in public and therefore it’s your duty to serve. And that means even if working a second job – the uniform takes precedence. Not sure why this seems important, I guess because the term ‘off-duty’ doesn’t seem to apply if the shooting officer is in uniform. And no non-fatal options available.)

  13. rq says

    Also, twitter seems to have discussion on an ankle bracelet on Myers. Not sure of the significance, but before that – some on twitter are guessing at the direction Myers’ character assassination will take: 18 and in grade 11? A thug with authority and law issues… even though he had a job.

    Press conference in the morning. Critical.

    A word to the white: “don’t do stupid shit that will get black people killed. A black person will get shot for the rock YOU threw. STOP”.

    In preparation for the weekend, declaring a state of national crisis – fly the flag upside down. There’s a short explanation of what that means in the photo.

  14. rq says

    Police following the protestors (in St Louis), some damage to cars.

    More on the ‘character’ of Myers: by tomorrow, he will have weed in his system and a violent past at school.

    Correction on the name: Vonderrit. Also, that ankle bracelet. For resisting arrest. Which, given the police track record, could be anything. Fuck this shit.

    More photos on location: photo 1, photo 2.

    There’s a series of tweets on a press conference in the next post. It’s… you’ll see.

  15. rq says

    First, a word from God himself.

    Here’s Chief Dotson, aware how police use-of-force will look, and mentions Ferguson protestors present in STL (like that’s a bad thing?). Ah, so a cop can tell you have a gun by manner of running – victim shot first, then cop fired back.
    Officers (re: protesting) are showing amazing restraint (well, there’s no tear gas!), even though some windows and cars damaged. He’s not happy about the damage but promises police will show restraint.

  16. rq says

    Protestor comment: police should take people’s lives more seriously, worry less about the windows.
    From the chief: justification, of a sort – person had previous experience with police (yuh, no wonder he ran). A word on “pedestrian check”, with some wondering why an off-duty cop was trying to do work. Official version, officer fired 17 shots.
    Anyone with information is asked to come forward, and official version is that Myers had a gun, not a sandwich (as witnesses are saying).

  17. rq says

    Yeah, that pedestrian check. “When you’re off-duty, you are one yourself.”

    Officer fired 17 shots – suspect kept pulling trigger even after gun jammed. You know what’s really sad here? It’s unclear whether the suspect is meant to be Myers or the officer.
    Still no name on the officer, though.

    Another name correction, from the victim’s dad: VonDerrit Myers, Jr.

    A word on that ‘conviction’ mentioned previous: only charges, trial was set for October 17. And still the bracelet.

  18. rq says

    More on guns: 17 round magazine is actually possible, so maybe the officer didn’t reload. But to empty the clip?

    Chief Dotson not being received well – after lying about the Kajieme Powell shooting, there’s not a lot of trust left. Like, none.

    Protestors at the PD (photo).

    NY Mag on the shooting:

    According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police and protesters have wildly different versions of how the shooting occurred. Police say four pedestrians fled after they were stopped by an off-duty officer on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The officer chased one of the men, later identified as Vonderrick Myers Jr., and claims the teenager jumped out of some bushes, struggled with him, then pulled out a gun and shot at him. The officer says he returned fire, killing Myers.

    Several witnesses say Myers was unarmed. “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun,” said Teyonna Myers, the victim’s cousin. “It’s like Michael Brown all over again.” [...]
    According to relatives at the scene of the shooting, which is about a 25 minute drive from Ferguson, Myers worked in a warehouse and attended high school. “My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him,” said Jackie Williams, who said he talked with several witnesses. “I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.” [tased and then shot?????]
    [statement to buzzfeed, within the article]An officer working department-approved secondary for a security company, wearing a St. Louis Police Officer’s uniform was in the 4100 block of Shaw when he attempted a pedestrian check. The male suspect fled on foot. The officer pursued the suspect. The suspect turned and fired a gun at the officer. Fearing for his safety, the officer returned fire striking the suspect, fatally wounding him. The officer was not injured. A gun was recovered from the scene. The officer is a 32-year old white male. He has been on the force for 6 years. The suspect is a black male believed to be 18-20 years old. As is department policy, the officer has been placed on administrative leave. The investigation is ongoing.

    With photos and video.

  19. rq says

    Protestors still out, with slightly different demographics than Ferguson – some are requesting tents.

    An article from the Guardian, which still uses the wrong name spelling. It took me a while, too, but I’m not a professional journalist. :P No real new information.

    And then the Huffington Post just puts it right in the title.

    St. Louis Police Lt. Col. Alfred Adkins said the 32-year-old officer was working a secondary security job late Wednesday when the shooting happened. Adkins said the officer, a six-year-veteran of the St. Louis Police Department, approached four men on the street. [...]
    Adkins did not describe any conversation between the officer and the four pedestrians, and didn’t explain why he gave chase.

    Pretty much all the articles have this, but they never say why he approached them. Also, in his uniform? For no reason? No wonder they ran.

  20. rq says

    Ballistic evidence shows three shots fired at cop? Hmm. It’s entirely possible they picked up casings, those aren’t too hard to find, but if they found the actual bullets, it seems doubtful they’d have analyzed trajectory so quickly. Though maybe.

    This is not a Ferguson problem, or a St Louis problem – it’s a global problem.

    No tear-gas? Different neighbourhood.

    And about that protest harassment: “if I hear another “you single?” WE AT A PROTEST!”

  21. says

    rq, if you ever went to a school dance or a concert here in Canada, you’ll have seen cops in uniform who were working off-duty. They’re paid for the night separately from being paid as a cop. So it doesn’t seem so odd to me.

    What does seem hinky is why he did a ‘pedestrian check’ (an investigation, no doubt, consisting of ‘are you really walking around in gangs, you n***** thug?’ Not on my patch!’) on four young men in the first place. If he doesn’t do the racial profiling, then maybe no shots get fired by anyone.

    Unfortunately, in their heads, all cops seem to think they’re on The Wire or a hip hop video, the way they respond to a group of Black boys as though they are necessarily gangstas up to no good. Its those white-coloured glasses that we need them to lose.

  22. rq says

    Cait
    Hm, but if he’s not working as a police officer, wouldn’t he have a different uniform on? Not that it matters, really… just seemed odd to me.
    Anyway, what you said about the pedestrian check.

    Its those white-coloured glasses that we need them to lose.

    Time to scratch off the white-out.

    +++

    Anyway, another tweet-summary of Dotson’s synopsis of the evening: group of 3 African-American males (males? not… men?) caugh officer’s attention (why?), ran off as officer approached, so he went after them (no backup, of course) through a gangway, after which they came back together (they split up?); suddenly the 18-year-old turned aggressive towards the officer, didn’t obey voice commands so they fought, and then suspect’s sweatshirt came off/he ran up hill (do not get the significance of that slash) and officer saw he had 9mm handgun, which “the suspect” proceeded to fire three times at the officer, whereupon the officer fired back 17 times. Because the dead boy’s gun jammed and this was even more threatening.

  23. rq says

    Meanwhile, in Kansas City: Police kill a man with samurai sword, for being ‘aggressive’. So they shot him behind his own house.

    Back to St Louis, Riverfront Times on last night’s shooting:

    According to police, the officer was in his police uniform, but working for Hi-Tech Security around 7:30 p.m. yesterday, when he drove past three young African American males in the 4100 block of Shaw Boulevard. Upon seeing the officer, the group began to run. St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters at a press conference last night that based on the way one of the men was running — “holding his waistband, not running at full stride” — the officer believed he had a gun.

    The 32-year-old officer (and six-year veteran of the force) then followed that individual on foot through a gangway. Moments later, the officer and the suspect got into a “physical altercation,” according to Dotson, in which the teen lost his grey hoodie and the officer observed a gun.

    The suspect then ran up a hill and turned to fire three shots at the officer and kept pulling the trigger but his gun jammed, according to police. Responding to those initial shots, the officer fired back, killing the suspect.The officer was uninjured, and police say he fired a total of seventeen shots in return. [okay, that clears up the 'manner of running', but if you think he has a gun, why would you go after him? alone? as a trained police officer? action hero wannabe.]

    And that article ends with an update on the charges against VonDerrit Myers. And starts off with “Updated with information regarding previous charges against the deceased suspect for unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. ” Because this is Important To Know.

    Updated STL Today article:

    At one point the officer got out of his car and followed the suspect through a gangway. “When the officer went through the gangway, he saw the three gentlemen had come back together,” Dotson said. “One of the gentleman started to approach the officer in an aggressive manner. The officer was giving verbal commands, telling them to stop, telling them how to surrender, telling them that they were under arrest. The suspect continued to come towards the officer until they got into a physical altercation. The suspect and the officer were hands on with each other. At that time, the suspect’s gray hooded sweatshirt comes off and the suspect starts to run up a hill at the address on Shaw.”

    Basically the same story, with a few details changed.

    The officer said he “wanted to be certain that it was a gun and did not fire at that point. The suspect pointed the gun at the officer and fired at least three rounds at the police officer. We believe this to be true because there are three projectiles that we recovered with trajectories going towards the officer, down the hill, and one piece of ballistic evidence located behind the officer. At that point, the officer returned fire. As the officer moved towards the suspect, the suspect continued to pull the trigger on his gun.”

    Then there’s more about the charges, plus words from other witnesses – but what really gets me is this one (I know I quoted it above, too):

    “When I pulled up I saw the cop standing over him (Myers) then he pointed the gun at everyone else telling everyone to get back while he was searching for another clip,” Boyd said.

    Searching for another clip. Because (a) his first one was empty and (b) it wasn’t enough for him (and probably (c) he was scared at that point). What an appalling lack of basic human decency.

  24. rq says

    Okay, so apparently the police searched the site and found three bullets with the right trajectory to be heading towards the cop… and then a passer-by found these. Just wondering, who’s covering forensics on this??? Sloppy work, at best.
    I don’t know if it’s a rumour or not, but there’s word that VanDerrit was shot in the back of the head. How many autopsies for this one?

    Photo from the streets from last night.

    St Louis Post-Dispatch with an updated article, the update line sort of says it all:

    UPDATED at 11 a.m. Thursday with more details on teen’s gun charge, ankle monitoring as part of release on bail.

    Because all of that is relevant.

    A good point, regarding number of shots fired vs. counted.

  25. rq says

    FTB’s Ed Brayton on the five-second rule, just for completeness.

    Washington Post on the shooting death of VanDerrit Myers:

    According to police, the officer was working for a private security company at the time, patrolling a specific neighborhood, when he encountered three men he thought were acting suspiciously at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. When they saw the officer make a U-turn, they fled, police said.

    “One of them ran in a way that the officer believed that he was armed with a gun – holding his waist band, not running at full stride,” Dotson said, referring to the 18-year old. [...]
    The officer involved in the shooting worked for Hi-Tech Security, which employs several St. Louis police officers in secondary, “moonlighting” jobs. He was patrolling the neighborhood on behalf of that company, not the city’s Metropolitan Police Department.

    The officer — a six-year veteran of the force — has been placed on administrative leave, St. Louis police spokeswoman Schron Jackson told the Los Angeles Times. [...]
    “Chief Dotson has a fairly good reputation as being a straight shooter, honest, considerate,” Conway said in an interview. “I watched his police officers handling themselves admirably in the face of some serious yelling, screaming, kicking of their cars last night.”

    Administrative leave – with pay, no doubt. No name released. And yes, such admirable behaviour from those cops.

  26. rq says

    More confusion re: the gun – apparently reported stolen in September, now recovered from scene, but this is a good reason why twitter sometimes sucks. The character limit doesn’t say if the gun recovered was stolen from Myers or by Myers.

    They get some of the order of events wrong, but the Guardian on upcoming protests – which were set to go before this latest shooting, but will now probably include it somehow.

    Mervyn Marcano, a spokesman for Ferguson October, said the group expected to draw between 6,000 and 10,000 protesters for what it calls “three days of resistance”. He said the protests were aimed at “making those who are comfortable uncomfortable”, adding: “Folks want to continue the momentum.”

    Ashley Yates, a co-founder of Millennial Activists United, told a rally in New York earlier this week that there would be a “mass convergence on Ferguson” this weekend. “We’re hoping for the same response we got in the first week, only with some organisation this time,” she said.

    Protesters plan on Friday to march on the office of Bob McCulloch, the St Louis county prosecutor who has been presenting evidence on Brown’s death to a grand jury that is considering criminal charges against Darren Wilson, the officer who killed him.

    More from Brittany Farrell, the same woman in the protestor vids just upthread. This time, to shut down the Ferguson PD.

    Employee at Shaw Market (where Vonderrit Myers bought his last sandwich) speaks of the night, and relationship with Myers (short bit in instagram caption). Friends and family outside the market. I don’t think any of them have spoken to press yet, beyond a few statements from last night.

  27. rq says

    Black and in blue: A Ferguson police officer reflects on a tough time.

    Most of the insults he heard on the line that day are too graphic to print. Among the more polite are “sellout” and “Uncle Tom,” Dilworth said. He had stood with two other black officers, one from the Missouri Highway Patrol and one from the St. Louis County police.

    “We didn’t blink,” he recalled in an interview this week. “We didn’t say anything to them. We stood there and took it. We all talked about it afterwards. I said, ‘Don’t address ignorance with ignorance.’

    “But it’s hard to hear that from the minority group that you are representing … You tune it out, but psychologically you’re dealing with scars. Some officers are going to see counselors. We’re not robots.” [...]
    Dilworth is the only black supervisor and one of four African-American officers on a force of 53 in a community where two-thirds of the 21,000 residents are black. [...]
    He questioned why protesters don’t hold such signs at the scenes of murders, such as the recent killing in St. Louis of Donnie White. Dilworth said he knew White, who was on the way home from work when he got caught in crossfire between suspected black gangs.

    “We are not killing you; you are killing yourselves,” he said, his voice rising inside his police SUV. “This is a systematic problem that’s been going on for years. I want to tell them to wake up! And look at exactly what the problem really is! Look at the statistics. The number of officer-involved shootings is relatively low. I stand a better chance of being killed by you.”

    Some more from St Louis: (last night) supporters gather.
    Looking at the crime scene, it turns out there were no bushes.

    It turns out that legally, the off-duty officer had the power to effect an arrest, even though working other job.

    More information, though it’s much the same, plus they get the age wrong.

  28. says

    A friend of mine is a police officer (I’m sure she probably doesn’t like my Facebook posts on police brutality, but given the police state in the US, I really don’t give a flying fuck), and she works extra jobs as security when she’s not on duty. She wears her full uniform on these jobs. Usually it’s at places like department stores or at one of the gay bars here in town. I was always under the impression that even though she’s off duty, that since she’s in uniform, her ‘cop powers’ and status are still active.

  29. says

    “We are not killing you; you are killing yourselves,” he said, his voice rising inside his police SUV. “This is a systematic problem that’s been going on for years. I want to tell them to wake up! And look at exactly what the problem really is! Look at the statistics. The number of officer-involved shootings is relatively low. I stand a better chance of being killed by you.”

    And he said the protesters were ignorant?!
    He needs to realize that the death of Michael Brown was not the beginning of the frustration felt by African-Americans towards law enforcement. This has been a barely simmering pot of disenfranchisement and outrage for…well…a long, long time. Ferguson is not the only reason black people are pissed off. That he can’t see this (or refuses to) is probably part of the reason people are labeling him an Uncle Tom.

  30. rq says

    Still from (my) last night, CBS St Louis: Scenes of grief and anger at scene of Shaw neighbourhood shooting. Very hsort article.

    Media remarks on the disparities between witness and police storeis. Sandwich vs. gun. And no name for that officer.

    FOI request in Kajieme Powell shooting – also no incident report in that shooting, interestingly. At least, none available.
    (Also, what are the names of the officers who shot him, without googling?)

    State Senator wants federal probe into shooting,

    More than 20 black leaders gathered for a news conference outside police headquarters and questioned why the officer approached Vonderrit Myers in the first place.

    “This here was racial profiling turned deadly,” state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said.

    The St. Louis Democrat said that in addition to requesting a Justice Department investigation, she will ask Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to appoint a special panel to look into concerns about profiling and police use of deadly force. The Justice Department is already investigating the shooting of Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson. A state grand jury is still deciding if Darren Wilson, the white officer who shot the unarmed, black 18-year-old, will face charges. [...]
    [VonDerrit Myers] was the third fatal police-involved shooting in the St. Louis area since Brown’s death. On Aug. 19, Kajieme Powell, 25, was shot by St. Louis city officers after police say he moved toward them with a knife while telling them, “Shoot me now. Kill me now.” Each officer fired six shots, and Powell died at the scene.

    On Sept. 17, officers shot and killed a 42-year-old man in the St. Louis County town of Jennings after the suspect allegedly slammed his vehicle into two police vehicles before pointing a rifle at officers.

    This is.. a horrifying story of a modern-day lynching. Young, black promising student and football player is found hanging at the playground near his home.

    Newton told the Guardian that when he received Lacy’s body two days after he died, he was struck by the abrasions he saw across both shoulders and down the insides of both arms. He also noted facial indentations over both cheeks, the chin and nose. Though police have told the Lacy family that ants were responsible for causing the marks, to Newton the state of the body reminded him of corpses he had embalmed where the deceased had been killed in a bar-room fight. [...]
    Rogers conceded that it was hard for any family to accept a suicide in its midst, and that it would be natural in those circumstances to search for alternative explanations, to clutch at straws. But he said that in this case the clutching at straws appeared to have been on the part of “elected officials who can’t deal with the realities of race. Given the sensitivity of the issues here, it’s much easier to put this in a box marked ‘suicide’ than ask the tough questions. I’m afraid that politics have held back the investigation.”

  31. says

    The day before Lacy was found hanging, there had been a funeral service for his great uncle Johnny, who had died a couple of weeks previously. Lacy had been close to his uncle, and was visibly upset, but not to an extreme degree, his family said. He grieved “as a normal person would”, Claudia said.

    Then there were those facial marks on his body. Even the undertaker, FW Newton Jr, who has worked as a mortician for 26 years, was taken aback by what he saw.

    How does a “normal person” grieve?

    About a week after Lacy died, his family, with the help of the NAACP and their own lawyer, put together a list of questions and concerns that they presented to the district attorney. First, there was the overriding sense that Lennon was simply not the kind of boy to harm himself. He had no history of mental illness or depression, and was so focused on his future it was inconceivable he would intentionally cut it short.

    I really empathize with this, but they have no idea what was going on in his head. I’m not saying that he did take his life, but that *is* a possibility. There’s often a lot of shit going on in a person’s mind that others know nothing about.

    Still, he was found hanging. That image is so tied to racism in the US. It’s incredibly hard to shake that horrible feeling that he was lynched.

  32. rq says

  33. rq says

    https://twitter.com/deray/status/520431678960189440/photo/1
    https://twitter.com/alexiszotos/status/520425967341158402/photo/1

    this was earlier, after which apparently things went bad again – https://twitter.com/alexheuer/status/520426383307063296
    Captain Dan Howard: most violent protestors not local – does he mean from Ferguson? https://twitter.com/CaptainDan301/status/520423217647738880

    Unfunny: protestor to police: “We all have Ebola!” – https://twitter.com/akacharleswade/status/520460144552194048
    Intersection – https://twitter.com/deray/status/520444707110133761

    more…

  34. rq says

    Non-intersection: chief will not engage women leaders – https://twitter.com/deray/status/520453114399567872
    Storify of #shawshooting, night before last.

    Family of Vonderrit Myers.
    LA Times on the shooting:

    “In case we needed another reminder, this is not about the city of Ferguson,” St. Louis Alderman Antonio French tweeted. “This is about all of St. Louis — and beyond.”

    Some people in the area disputed the police narrative, as did Myers’ family.

    “All I know is he came out the store with a sandwich,” an emotional Tyrone Myers, an uncle, said in a telephone interview. “Next thing, he’s shot several times by a cop who was chasing someone else.” [...]
    Berhe Beyent, the store’s manager, said, “Like six minutes after I sold him a sandwich, he got shot. … He wasn’t armed when he was here. He didn’t have a hoodie.”

    That detail differs from the police version of events. A police statement said the officer and the suspect “got into a physical altercation, with hands on each other. During the altercation, the suspect’s hooded sweatshirt came off of him.” [..]
    Dotson said he didn’t know how many of the officer’s bullets struck the man, or why the officer, who was unhurt, fired that many times.

    The medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, told the media that a preliminary autopsy showed Myers was killed by a shot that entered his right cheek, and was hit six or seven times other times in the lower extremities.

    More eye-witness accounts from within (or at least, near-vicinity witness accounts):

    Campbell, who lives up the street from the store, said on Wednesday night, young people — “elementary to high school students” — had gathered across the street. She was outside the store when a white police officer pulled up nearby. Campbell said she heard the officer say he was “looking for somebody who robbed a house… He said he was looking for four young men” in connection with a potential home burglary. It was unclear if the burglary had already happened or might be about to happen.

    She said that Myers was one of the young men the officer spoke with, and that the officer got out of his vehicle and followed Myers.

    Campbell said she went inside the store and was at the register with her 4-year-old son when she thought she heard a Taser, then heard two shots, “pow-pow,” but said she might have missed something because she was inside.

    “Everything went scary,” she said, adding that she quickly left with her son and that young men at the scene were running.

    “When the kids was running, everybody was running,” Campbell said, adding, “the kids said it was the police officer shooting.”

    Ahmed Aidarous, 32, who lives on the second floor of an apartment house near the shooting scene, said he heard three or four gunshots, followed by a fusillade of more gunshots, one after another.

    “After that, somebody cry [out],” like a loud shout, said Aidarous. He didn’t know whether it was the officer or Myers, but “after like 30 seconds, more police [arrived], like magic,” said Aidarous, snapping his fingers.

  35. says

    I don’t get how all kinds of people can just stand on the sideline and watch, without joining in with the protest. Do they not have hearts? I’d be down there myself by now, if my passport hadn’t expired.

  36. rq says

    police refuse to work with protest organizers – https://twitter.com/sarsoora834/status/520020696827564032
    arrestees will be taken 2 hours away – https://twitter.com/sarsoora834/status/520021881575845888

    Some new information following press conference – once again, please be sympathetic to the police officer:

    “He’s fortunate the guy missed him,” said Brian Millikan, adding that his client, though highly trained, may have been influenced by the current atmosphere surrounding the use of force by police.

    Millikan said that the officer served with the U.S. Marines in Iraq and is “shaken up.” Millikan said he and his client welcome any outside investigators.

    So what’s the officer’s name?

    police changing their story? – https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/520562074041069568
    not sure if this is particularly transparent – https://twitter.com/charlesjaco1/status/520561098450157569

  37. rq says

    CaitieCat
    Yeah, it seems like it’s just a spectator sport to some. I hope their wake-up call isn’t a violent one, but a harsh one, yes.

  38. rq says

    This one’s a bit ahead of its time (says October 27, 2014), about how the protests that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown created a network of youth in revolt.

    During the first week, a few demonstrators resorted to property damage to air their grievances. Seals remained on the front lines through the height of the police crackdown—and not for the first time. Last year, he protested when Cary Ball Jr. was fatally shot twenty-one times by police officers in St. Louis City. He is still in contact with Ball’s mother. Recalling the differences between last year’s demonstrations and this year’s, Seals said that the protests in the wake of Brown’s death were more effective. After Ball was killed, “we did everything positive; we did everything peaceful…I feel like [the Ball protest] is a prime example that when you do things quote-unquote ‘the right way,’ you don’t get any results.” The internal police investigation later declared the shooting of Ball justified.

    The outcome of last year’s protests left Seals distrustful of community leaders like Antonio French, a Ferguson alderman, and the clergy in St. Louis, who have urged a voter-registration campaign in the wake of the recent protests. After watching politician after politician come and go without any improvement in the communities he’s grown up in, Seals is skeptical that voting will solve the many problems plaguing the area, especially the poverty and systemic racism—problems he knows all too well from mentoring local kids, “the same people out there fighting and putting their lives on the line every day [at the protests]. The same kids that are written off as thugs and criminals and nothing.” [...]
    The Ferguson Freedom Fighters were not the only ad hoc group to form in the crucible of the Michael Brown protests. Marching for justice during the day, and running through clouds of tear gas by night, young protesters bonded and shared ideas. Cliques formed, occasionally along the lines of common interest or social class, but more often by happenstance: the Lost Voices, the Millennial Activists United and Hands Up United. When the protests slowed, these groups stayed in touch. They held strategy meetings in churches and schools, attended training sessions by national organizations, made T-shirts and solicited donations. They have shifted the political culture in the city, and their goals, as they develop, will be crucial to its future.

    This new generation of protesters represents a marked break with the older generations of black leaders in the city. They disagreed with the tactics of the civic leaders and clergy members who, for example, urged protesters to obey police curfews widely viewed by the young people as disrespectful of the community’s legitimate outrage. Most of these older leaders already had a stake in the political process in St. Louis through nonprofits or as politicians. National figures like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were treated with similar skepticism. Jackson was booed at a rally when he asked for donations. Resisting co-optation, the majority of St. Louis’s young protesters took matters into their own hands. As Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, assistant professor of the humanities at Harris-Stowe State University, told The Nation, the protesters “are not interested in hearing what the establishment has to say. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to go off in the other direction and listen to what the old-line…black nationalists have to say either. I suspect they’ll come up with someone quite unique, [someone] that is empowering to them in their community but still has the ability to cooperate with people who are not members of the community.”

    Summary of the latest St Louis police shooting, with some good description of the local area:

    First the area where Myers was shot is in South St Louis in section called Shaw. The area is a mixed area with a large population of poor Blacks and poor whites.. Its also a neighborhood that is undergoing gentrification. A hallmark of that gentrification is the use of police in some of the gentrified and more affluent areas.Those police work for a firm until recently was known as Hi-Tech Security. They are now called GCI Security.

    Poe noted that the officer that shot Myers was working for a wealthy gentrified neighborhood called Flora Place. Residents pay off duty police who serve as guards literally making the neighborhoods ‘gated’ even though the blocks are public. [...]
    In recent days we seen the actions of public-private police officers come into question around the domestic violence case of San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald. For those who don’t know McDonald was accused of beating his pregnant girlfriend. She called police. When police arrived they were surprised to see another police officer already at the house. That officer was Sgt. Shawn Pritchard who was off duty and working for the San Francisco 49ers.

    I want folks to sit back and think about that for a minute.. Here we have a woman who says she was beaten. She calls police. The police arrive. The only problem is the police that arrive work for the person who harmed you. In the case the first officer on the scene worked for the 49ers and represented the interests of Ray McDonald.. What was said? Not said? Was the victim intimidated? Was evidence hidden, destroyed? Was McDonald prepped by his employee as to what he should say or not say? Read about that HERE–http://cbsloc.al/1C0Q0GS
    St Louis is ground zero for this type of Public-Private police hybrid.. According to the St Louis Dispatch this practice has flourished in recent years with the blessing of the police department and city government. Wealthy communities upset with a shrunken police department have gone all out, pay annual fees through a third party vendor like GCI get a fleet of public police who are privatized. Read about that HERE–>http://bit.ly/1vb5eKI [...]
    We will see how this all plays out over the next few days as tens of thousands of people are now in Ferguson for massive protests around the shooting death of Michael Brown.. The new ground zero in St Louis is now in the Shaw neighborhood around the shooting death of Vonderrick Myers Jr.

    About the arrestees being taken two hours away – https://twitter.com/stlcountypd/status/520635464261189633
    this is false (part two) – https://twitter.com/stlcountypd/status/520635986405896192
    they will be taken to St Louis County Justice Services – https://twitter.com/OwlsAsylum/status/520638929750335489 (which is where?)

    Ferguson’s weekend of resistance bolstered by St Louis

    This morning in Ferguson — as often is the case in this bruised little city still reeling from the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a police officer here two months ago — there’s a sense of tenuous calm. Thousands of protesters from across the country are expected to land in Ferguson today for what organizers expect to be an historic weekend of rallies and protests. Billed as a “Weekend of Resistance,” organizers have planned a series of actions that begin with today’s march on the office of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch and continue until Monday’s widespread civil disobedience, a la the Moral Mondays movement. [...]
    On Thursday night, hundreds of protesters spread across several blocks on St. Louis’ south side, riled by the shooting death of Myers, who was shot and killed on Wednesday by a white off-duty police officer. Police say Myers brandished a 9mm pistol and fired on the officer who then responded with approximately 17 shots. [..]
    “I think it rejuvenates a lot of people,” said Johnetta Elzie, who’s been protesting since Brown’s death. “I was getting worn out. But once we started getting more details [about Myers’ killing], all they had to tell me was that he just turned 18. Police said he had a gun, neighbor say he had a sandwich. I don’t trust the police at all. I just don’t believe them.”

    While Myers’ killing in St. Louis sparked spontaneous protests this week, it was the shooting death of Brown in Ferguson two months ago that has fueled widespread discontent and outright anger across the region. [...]

    “With Mike Brown there is this righteous indignation in the protests because we know that that was wrong, that there was something fundamental and core about what happened to him. That is unquestioned,” McKesson said early on Friday morning. “With Vonderrit Myers there are a lot of questions and you can feel that as you protest. But the common thread though both is what is the response to blackness? You maced us and I did nothing wrong — God only knows what you did to him without the crowd and without the press.”

  39. rq says

    (double-post because of links in text)
    This one’s a bit ahead of its time (says October 27, 2014), about how the protests that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown created a network of youth in revolt.

    During the first week, a few demonstrators resorted to property damage to air their grievances. Seals remained on the front lines through the height of the police crackdown—and not for the first time. Last year, he protested when Cary Ball Jr. was fatally shot twenty-one times by police officers in St. Louis City. He is still in contact with Ball’s mother. Recalling the differences between last year’s demonstrations and this year’s, Seals said that the protests in the wake of Brown’s death were more effective. After Ball was killed, “we did everything positive; we did everything peaceful…I feel like [the Ball protest] is a prime example that when you do things quote-unquote ‘the right way,’ you don’t get any results.” The internal police investigation later declared the shooting of Ball justified.

    The outcome of last year’s protests left Seals distrustful of community leaders like Antonio French, a Ferguson alderman, and the clergy in St. Louis, who have urged a voter-registration campaign in the wake of the recent protests. After watching politician after politician come and go without any improvement in the communities he’s grown up in, Seals is skeptical that voting will solve the many problems plaguing the area, especially the poverty and systemic racism—problems he knows all too well from mentoring local kids, “the same people out there fighting and putting their lives on the line every day [at the protests]. The same kids that are written off as thugs and criminals and nothing.” [...]
    The Ferguson Freedom Fighters were not the only ad hoc group to form in the crucible of the Michael Brown protests. Marching for justice during the day, and running through clouds of tear gas by night, young protesters bonded and shared ideas. Cliques formed, occasionally along the lines of common interest or social class, but more often by happenstance: the Lost Voices, the Millennial Activists United and Hands Up United. When the protests slowed, these groups stayed in touch. They held strategy meetings in churches and schools, attended training sessions by national organizations, made T-shirts and solicited donations. They have shifted the political culture in the city, and their goals, as they develop, will be crucial to its future.

    This new generation of protesters represents a marked break with the older generations of black leaders in the city. They disagreed with the tactics of the civic leaders and clergy members who, for example, urged protesters to obey police curfews widely viewed by the young people as disrespectful of the community’s legitimate outrage. Most of these older leaders already had a stake in the political process in St. Louis through nonprofits or as politicians. National figures like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were treated with similar skepticism. Jackson was booed at a rally when he asked for donations. Resisting co-optation, the majority of St. Louis’s young protesters took matters into their own hands. As Dr. Reynaldo Anderson, assistant professor of the humanities at Harris-Stowe State University, told The Nation, the protesters “are not interested in hearing what the establishment has to say. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to go off in the other direction and listen to what the old-line…black nationalists have to say either. I suspect they’ll come up with someone quite unique, [someone] that is empowering to them in their community but still has the ability to cooperate with people who are not members of the community.”

    Summary of the latest St Louis police shooting, with some good description of the local area:

    First the area where Myers was shot is in South St Louis in section called Shaw. The area is a mixed area with a large population of poor Blacks and poor whites.. Its also a neighborhood that is undergoing gentrification. A hallmark of that gentrification is the use of police in some of the gentrified and more affluent areas.Those police work for a firm until recently was known as Hi-Tech Security. They are now called GCI Security.

    Poe noted that the officer that shot Myers was working for a wealthy gentrified neighborhood called Flora Place. Residents pay off duty police who serve as guards literally making the neighborhoods ‘gated’ even though the blocks are public. [...]
    In recent days we seen the actions of public-private police officers come into question around the domestic violence case of San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald. For those who don’t know McDonald was accused of beating his pregnant girlfriend. She called police. When police arrived they were surprised to see another police officer already at the house. That officer was Sgt. Shawn Pritchard who was off duty and working for the San Francisco 49ers.

    I want folks to sit back and think about that for a minute.. Here we have a woman who says she was beaten. She calls police. The police arrive. The only problem is the police that arrive work for the person who harmed you. In the case the first officer on the scene worked for the 49ers and represented the interests of Ray McDonald.. What was said? Not said? Was the victim intimidated? Was evidence hidden, destroyed? Was McDonald prepped by his employee as to what he should say or not say? Read about that HERE– http://cbsloc.al/1C0Q0GS
    St Louis is ground zero for this type of Public-Private police hybrid.. According to the St Louis Dispatch this practice has flourished in recent years with the blessing of the police department and city government. Wealthy communities upset with a shrunken police department have gone all out, pay annual fees through a third party vendor like GCI get a fleet of public police who are privatized. Read about that HERE–>http://bit.ly/1vb5eKI [...]
    We will see how this all plays out over the next few days as tens of thousands of people are now in Ferguson for massive protests around the shooting death of Michael Brown.. The new ground zero in St Louis is now in the Shaw neighborhood around the shooting death of Vonderrick Myers Jr.

  40. rq says

    About the arrestees being taken two hours away – https://twitter.com/stlcountypd/status/520635464261189633
    this is false (part two) – https://twitter.com/stlcountypd/status/520635986405896192
    they will be taken to St Louis County Justice Services – https://twitter.com/OwlsAsylum/status/520638929750335489 (which is where?)

    Ferguson’s weekend of resistance bolstered by St Louis

    This morning in Ferguson — as often is the case in this bruised little city still reeling from the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a police officer here two months ago — there’s a sense of tenuous calm. Thousands of protesters from across the country are expected to land in Ferguson today for what organizers expect to be an historic weekend of rallies and protests. Billed as a “Weekend of Resistance,” organizers have planned a series of actions that begin with today’s march on the office of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch and continue until Monday’s widespread civil disobedience, a la the Moral Mondays movement. [...]
    On Thursday night, hundreds of protesters spread across several blocks on St. Louis’ south side, riled by the shooting death of Myers, who was shot and killed on Wednesday by a white off-duty police officer. Police say Myers brandished a 9mm pistol and fired on the officer who then responded with approximately 17 shots. [..]
    “I think it rejuvenates a lot of people,” said Johnetta Elzie, who’s been protesting since Brown’s death. “I was getting worn out. But once we started getting more details [about Myers’ killing], all they had to tell me was that he just turned 18. Police said he had a gun, neighbor say he had a sandwich. I don’t trust the police at all. I just don’t believe them.”

    While Myers’ killing in St. Louis sparked spontaneous protests this week, it was the shooting death of Brown in Ferguson two months ago that has fueled widespread discontent and outright anger across the region. [...]

    “With Mike Brown there is this righteous indignation in the protests because we know that that was wrong, that there was something fundamental and core about what happened to him. That is unquestioned,” McKesson said early on Friday morning. “With Vonderrit Myers there are a lot of questions and you can feel that as you protest. But the common thread though both is what is the response to blackness? You maced us and I did nothing wrong — God only knows what you did to him without the crowd and without the press.”

    Best quote in that article:

    “Racism doesn’t take a nap on a rainy day so I don’t get to,” McKesson said. “Rain, snow, sleet, whatever. You don’t get to wash away my feelings.”

    Washington Posto n last night:

    While protests have continued in Ferguson for Brown, the unarmed black teen whose Aug. 9 shooting by a white officer has sparked weeks of unrest, mourners and protesters gathered all day Thursday in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis where another 18-year-old black man was shot and killed by a white police officer on Wednesday. [...]
    “They washed his blood away, but they can’t wash away what happened yesterday,” Jackie Williams, Myers’ uncle, told reporters on Thursday night. “And my family is deeply sorry, and we’re missing him already. We’re hurt, and we lost our child, and it means a lot.” [...]
    Protesters marched several blocks from the shooting scene to an intersection just off the freeway, where they shut down traffic for close to an hour. Chanting “Indict, convict, send that killer cop to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell” and “this is what democracy looks like,” the protesters took control of the intersection at Grand and Shaw streets, allowing only an ambulance traveling to a nearby hospital to get through the roadblock. Police lights could be seen in the distance, but officers did not initially engage the protests — allowing ministers and protest leaders on hand to direct traffic away from the roadblock.

    After about an hour, protest leaders ended the roadblock and again began to march. However, some members among the dozens became violent — burning an American flag, throwing a brick through the window of an apartment along the march route, and smashing the glass door of at least one storefront.

    That’s when officers, clad in riot gear, lined up to face the protesters. After a brief standoff, officers deployed pepper spray on protesters and journalists in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

    St. Louis Police chief Sam Dotson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that two protesters were arrested and that one officer was slightly injured.

    “I’m very disappointed,” he told the St. Louis paper. “We acted in good faith. It just shows how unorganized the protest leadership is.”

    CNN looking for news – anyone who has seen, observed, participated in the protests. Submit personal essays and video.

    A word on the monitoring bracelet – https://twitter.com/mattdpearce/status/520595339766538240

  41. rq says

    Protests in St Louis beginning:
    being visible – https://twitter.com/deray/status/520672859568738304
    the media – https://twitter.com/deray/status/520675534456750080/photo/1
    police trailing the crowd – https://twitter.com/deray/status/520677809254313984/photo/1
    police car in front of the crowd (no photo) – https://twitter.com/deray/status/520678798753550338
    officers blocking traffic for protestors – https://twitter.com/deray/status/520679633650724864/photo/1
    a view of the crowd – https://twitter.com/SeeSenyour/status/520679400027992065

    Police participation in this way makes me think they believe it will be a short-lived march (rain, cold, etc.). i wonder how things will go as the night progresses.

  42. rq says

    Oh, almost forgot: Salon publishes article by mother of Bou Bou Phonesavanh, the baby whose face was seriously damaged by a SWAT flash grenade. Going to TW the article for general violence and heartbreak.

    The SWAT officers were searching for a relative who did not live in the home where we were staying. They suspected he might have some drugs, and for that reason alone, they raided the house, armed for war. They never found what they were looking for. But they crippled my family.

    Not only did they blow up my son, but they also violently threw my husband to the floor. His shoulder is still so injured that he cannot care for our kids alone and awaits surgery himself. Before this happened, my husband and I worked vigorously the last 10 years to be free of debt. But now I have to stay home, and in five short months our family has taken on nearly $900,000 in medical bills, some of which have now gone into collections.

    The SWAT team raid happened while we were staying in Habersham County, Georgia. After initially offering to cover the medical expenses, the county has since refused to cover any of our medical costs, all of which would never have happened if the SWAT team hadn’t broken into the home. The county refusing to pay has been very hurtful.

    My kids have nightmares all the time. We all find ourselves waking up in a cold sweat, remembering that night.

    Baby Bou Bou will not leave my husband’s and my side, even at our house. He wants to be constantly held. Our 3-year-old daughter is also very clingy and it is very hard for her to go to school. Bou Bou and I have been going with her and sitting at school all day. Otherwise she won’t stay.

    Our days are really difficult. There are no words that can describe the hurt I feel in my heart when I try to explain to my kids what happened. As a mother, I just don’t know what to do some days. Everything’s just been so difficult and it feels like it will never get better.

    I can’t explain to my kids that the cops are there to help them. They know otherwise, and they’ve been traumatized by it. My kids don’t even feel like I can protect them. When we’re at the mall and see security guards, they’re scared. It breaks my heart.

  43. rq says

  44. rq says

  45. rq says

    So first some reading articles, then some photos, okay? Tomorrow should be less naked links and more actual comments.

    More than a thousand march in St Louis, night ends in sit-in and arrests. Supposedly some rocks got thrown. At police.

    NYTimes – new outcry after another St Louis police shooting.

    Demonstrators angry about conduct of law enforcement officers in the region staged a peaceful, if disruptive, protest throughout the evening, and blocked traffic along Grand Boulevard and other side streets. The protesters, some of whom burned or stomped on American flags, chanted demands for justice.

    And for most of the night, the St. Louis police watched from afar, adjusting their locations as people marched through the streets and avoiding interactions with them. A helicopter circled and occasionally directed its spotlight toward the crowd.

    But at around 10 p.m., the protest grew chaotic as officers clutching riot shields and pepper-spray canisters rushed into the crowd. It was not immediately clear what provoked the abrupt response; Chief D. Samuel Dotson III of the St. Louis police said two people were arrested and an officer sustained minor injuries, KMOV-TV reported. An armored vehicle with two officers’ heads visible poking through its roof hatch crawled along Grand Boulevard, and dozens of other police vehicles flooded the area, where protesters and officers cursed at one another as a standoff began.

    Too many see black or white in police shooting: former police reporter offers a perspective. Sample:

    A police officer can shoot at a fleeing suspect only if the officer “has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious bodily harm to the officer or others.”

    Stealing cigars and roughly shoving a clerk probably would not meet that standard. Assaulting and trying to disarm an officer probably would. [...]

    There is no justification for shooting a man who is trying to surrender — unless you don’t know he’s trying to surrender. Perhaps all Wilson knew was that Brown was coming at him. The fact that Wilson was backing up as he was firing would seem to be consistent with a frightened man firing in self-defense.

    Talk about ambiguous. The construction worker’s story cuts both ways.

    That’s if you believe it. His story is considered important because he is “neutral.” That’s a polite way of saying he’s white. Most of the witnesses are black, and they are considered potentially biased, and therefore less credible. Insult upon injury. No wonder so many people are angry. [...]

    Also, I expect trouble no matter what the verdict. If it’s an acquittal, blacks might stage a conventional riot. Whites riot, too, but in unconventional fashion. O.J. Simpson was acquitted in California in 1995. The next year, whites voted to outlaw affirmative action in the state. We don’t loot, but we get even.

    Some of it doesn’t sit well, but it’s certainly food for thought and a good reason to go over the reasons why I believe what I believe about the Michael Brown shooting. (Basically, tl;dr – because there’s no verdict / not all evidence is in, no one should have an opinion on the matter.)

    Hot 104.1 STL on surveillance video of Vonderrit buying a sandwich shortly before being shot (video in article).

    Surprise sit-in at gas station, 17 arrested.

    And MLK’s letter from Birmingham jail. I hadn’t read it before, maybe someone else hasn’t, either. On civil disobedience and non-violent campaign.

  46. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #29. With a lot of advice for the weekend. Somewhere I missed installment #28, I hope y’all forgive me!

    training for tomorrow – it’s a holiday in the US, too? https://twitter.com/gbissellKSDK/status/521344593275940864/photo/1
    city police – https://twitter.com/durrieB/status/521185112655155201/photo/1
    memorial to Vonderrit – https://twitter.com/search4swag/status/521205353774870528/photo/1
    stand-still – https://twitter.com/michaelcalhoun/status/521196911341342720
    arrests – https://twitter.com/durrieB/status/521194891238711296/photo/1

  47. rq says

    Vonderrit’s father: what’s so suspicious about a black boy walking in a neighbourhood 80% black? https://twitter.com/Dyferent1/status/521315043158540288
    from Mike Brown to Vonderrit Myers – https://twitter.com/deray/status/521311214656569344
    a bit more on civil disobedience (not protected by law), from the ACLU – https://twitter.com/sdkstl/status/521194399405862912/photo/1
    claims of rocks thrown from STL chief Dotson – https://twitter.com/kidnoble/status/521221207077953537
    tear gas? I believe maced? – https://twitter.com/Nettaaaaaaaa/status/521214279031087104
    (old news) 14 arrested, call for information with jail support telephone number – https://twitter.com/Nettaaaaaaaa/status/521213355839610880

  48. rq says

    Toronto Star on the 17 arrested.

    Tensions have simmered since Brown’s death. Residents were upset about the way his body lay in the street for more than four hours while police investigated the shooting. Many insist Brown was trying to surrender, with his hands up. Residents also protested the military-style police response to the days of riots and protests that erupted immediately after Brown’s shooting in the predominantly black St. Louis suburb where just three black people serve on a 53-officer force.

    Here’s also the CBC on the shooting of Vonderrit Myers, and the weekend of protests.

  49. rq says

    More pictures of crowds, because it’s good to see these gatherings, not just hear about them:
    pre-protest gathering – https://twitter.com/DeniseLieberman/status/521466320274358272
    Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein has a court date! – https://twitter.com/elisacrouch/status/521500977678278656/photo/1 (she doesn’t look too fazed)
    the family of VonDerrit Myers – https://twitter.com/RE_invent_ED/status/521506513580335105/photo/1
    the 19 arrested are released – https://twitter.com/dahktin/status/521432157076881408/photo/1
    nice: singing works – https://twitter.com/RayDowns/status/521525184969183232/photo/1
    police – https://twitter.com/bdoulaoblongata/status/521529059646644224

  50. rq says

  51. rq says

    last night protestors split into groups to protest, to cover all of Shaw and not be all one giant target, I suppose (smaller groups less scary) – https://twitter.com/Remroum/status/521522796552540160/photo/1
    blocking the intersection – https://twitter.com/akacharleswade/status/521533486059229184/photo/1
    games – https://twitter.com/plussone/status/521531296078524418/photo/1 “If they think it’s a game, we will play.”
    police at the gas station (from the previous sit-in) – https://twitter.com/deray/status/521539477647659008
    autumn mist and protestors – https://twitter.com/kidnoble/status/521541577916055552/photo/1

  52. rq says

    firefighters watch – https://twitter.com/deray/status/521542826660990976/photo/1
    Vonderrit had a son – https://twitter.com/rikrik__/status/521520058850238464
    silent march with his family – https://twitter.com/Nettaaaaaaaa/status/521534066256916480

    Darren Wilson’s broken jaw – https://twitter.com/WesleyLowery/status/521334192496717825/photo/1

    St Louis American: the political negligence of black leadership.

    A fundamental truth I have learned in these past 30 years is usually people fail because they focus on the wrong thing. We obsess about the tactical, who did it and when did it happen, and we completely ignore the strategic, what are we doing and why? It’s the difference between chess and checkers or the good hustler’s critique of a bad hustler: “he plays for the hundred and misses the grand every time!”

    My view is the circumstances that created the events that resulted in tragedy of Michael Brown’s much too early death can be placed squarely at the feet of black leadership, or I should have said at the failure of black leadership to fulfill the only moral imperative of leadership – protecting and advancing the interest of the people you lead.

    I say this not from the perspective of some uninvolved third party, but as a member of that leadership for the last 30 years. Now there are a lot of African-American suits that will disagree, but that doesn’t stop it from being true. There will be an official report of who did it and what happened, but real questions for us revolve around why? And by “why?” I don’t mean the Ferguson policeman that pulled the trigger, but why could Ferguson, and by inference all of St Louis, be a place where the conditions that produce these outcomes take root and flourish?

    The political negligence of black leadership over the last 30 years has produced an existential threat to the black community that calls our very existence into question. While Michael Brown was literally lost to us Saturday afternoon, how many thousands of young black men and women are we figuratively losing every day to poverty, drugs, violence and failing public schools?

  53. rq says

    This is… protestors going to SLU. – https://twitter.com/deray/status/521547394031583232
    got blocked by police – https://twitter.com/MsJodieEvans/status/521548101916844032/photo/1
    but were allowed past – https://twitter.com/vcmitchelljr/status/521548527592550400
    at university gates, blocked again: protest leader got everyone in with students ID: “I am a student and I have a lot of guests” – https://twitter.com/WesleyLowery/status/521549418303352832 (they all got in – https://twitter.com/WyzeChef/status/521549427698196482)
    going in – https://twitter.com/MsJodieEvans/status/521549806704287744/photo/1

  54. rq says

  55. rq says

    Michael Brown’s famiyl is present – https://twitter.com/KINGDACEO/status/521556316519555072
    SLU campus now a sit-in site forp rotestors – https://twitter.com/RayDowns/status/521555093196251136

    Sports: ah, Cardinals fans! https://twitter.com/chriskingstl/status/521384376764887040/photo/1
    From the LA Times, Cardinals October vs. Ferguson October, a look at priorities, I suppose.
    Due to backlash, Ferguson bar discontinues sale of Cardinals Darren Wilson shirts. Idiots.

  56. rq says

    a few more pics of the sit-in:
    soccer – https://twitter.com/Nettaaaaaaaa/status/521573800899387393/photo/1
    students – https://twitter.com/organizemo/status/521573282257317888/photo/1
    protesting crowd – https://twitter.com/MsJodieEvans/status/521574345890889728/photo/1
    security guard: “these kids are trying to get an education”; protestor: “this is an education” – https://twitter.com/FaithUnedited/status/521574057146204160

    The Guardian: Ferguson activists reject religious leaders’ platitudes.

    The fuse was lit when hundreds of people who came to hear the intellectual and activist Cornel West speak were subjected to speeches by a succession of preachers from the major religions offering essentially the same message about loving one’s fellow man and standing up against injustice. The meeting was billed as being “in the tradition of the civil rights movement” but the tone was in part governed by the venue for the meeting, St Louis University, a Catholic institution.

    Some in the audience grew restless and then angered at the series of reverends, imams and rabbis until a small group of activists demanded to speak. They were supported by chants of “let them be heard” and “this is what democracy looks like”, a rallying cry at protests over Brown’s shooting.

    Tef Poe, a St Louis rapper and activist for Hands Up United, a campaign group seeking racial justice in Ferguson, took the microphone and noted that the Christian, Jewish and Muslim preachers on the stage were not the people on the street trying to protect people from the police.

    “The people who want to break down racism from a philosophical level, y’all didn’t show up,” he said to loud cheers. [...]

    In the midst of this, a lone white man in the audience caused uproar when he shouted that African Americans should not underestimate white people’s “gift to you”. The man had to be escorted from the arena.

    West did not disappoint the audience, telling listeners that an older generation of African Americans had failed them.

    “The older generation has been too well adjusted to injustice to listen to the younger generation. The older generation has been too obsessed with being successful rather than being faithful to a cause that was zeroing in on the plight of the poor and working people,” he said. “Thank God the awakening is setting in. And any time the awakening sets in it gets a little messy.”

    A little later he drew loud cheers as he sharpened his argument. “What our young people are also upset about is that they understand that too many of our black middle class brothers and sisters have been ‘reniggerised’. All you’ve got to do is give big positions, give them some status, give them a little money, but walking around they’re still intimidated, they don’t want to tell the truth about the situation.” [...]

    Not all the earlier speakers were unwelcome. Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who was part of the kindertransport to Britain, told how she arrived in the US in 1948 and was taken aback by racial segregation where she was living in the south. Epstein was arrested in August after joining a protest over Brown’s killing and is awaiting trial for “failure to disperse”.

    But the meeting appeared to mark a watershed as protest organisers prepared for what is billed as a day of civil disobedience on Monday, modelled on “Moral Monday” demonstrations launched over political policies in North Carolina, by training volunteers in passive resistance and what to do if they are arrested. Churches ran a “faith in action mobilizing training” session on Sunday afternoon that included the occupation of a police station. At other sessions, volunteers were instructed in blocking traffic and sit down resistance.

  57. rq says

    a few more pics of the sit-in:
    soccer – https://twitter.com/Nettaaaaaaaa/status/521573800899387393/photo/1
    students – https://twitter.com/organizemo/status/521573282257317888/photo/1
    protesting crowd – https://twitter.com/MsJodieEvans/status/521574345890889728/photo/1
    security guard: “these kids are trying to get an education”; protestor: “this is an education” – https://twitter.com/FaithUnedited/status/521574057146204160

    The Guardian: Ferguson activists reject religious leaders’ platitudes.

    The fuse was lit when hundreds of people who came to hear the intellectual and activist Cornel West speak were subjected to speeches by a succession of preachers from the major religions offering essentially the same message about loving one’s fellow man and standing up against injustice. The meeting was billed as being “in the tradition of the civil rights movement” but the tone was in part governed by the venue for the meeting, St Louis University, a Catholic institution.

    Some in the audience grew restless and then angered at the series of reverends, imams and rabbis until a small group of activists demanded to speak. They were supported by chants of “let them be heard” and “this is what democracy looks like”, a rallying cry at protests over Brown’s shooting.

    Tef Poe, a St Louis rapper and activist for Hands Up United, a campaign group seeking racial justice in Ferguson, took the microphone and noted that the Christian, Jewish and Muslim preachers on the stage were not the people on the street trying to protect people from the police.

    “The people who want to break down racism from a philosophical level, y’all didn’t show up,” he said to loud cheers. [...]

    In the midst of this, a lone white man in the audience caused uproar when he shouted that African Americans should not underestimate white people’s “gift to you”. The man had to be escorted from the arena.

    West did not disappoint the audience, telling listeners that an older generation of African Americans had failed them.

    “The older generation has been too well adjusted to injustice to listen to the younger generation. The older generation has been too obsessed with being successful rather than being faithful to a cause that was zeroing in on the plight of the poor and working people,” he said. “Thank God the awakening is setting in. And any time the awakening sets in it gets a little messy.”

    A little later he drew loud cheers as he sharpened his argument. “What our young people are also upset about is that they understand that too many of our black middle class brothers and sisters have been ‘ren*gg*rised’. All you’ve got to do is give big positions, give them some status, give them a little money, but walking around they’re still intimidated, they don’t want to tell the truth about the situation.” [...]

    Not all the earlier speakers were unwelcome. Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor who was part of the kindertransport to Britain, told how she arrived in the US in 1948 and was taken aback by racial segregation where she was living in the south. Epstein was arrested in August after joining a protest over Brown’s killing and is awaiting trial for “failure to disperse”.

    But the meeting appeared to mark a watershed as protest organisers prepared for what is billed as a day of civil disobedience on Monday, modelled on “Moral Monday” demonstrations launched over political policies in North Carolina, by training volunteers in passive resistance and what to do if they are arrested. Churches ran a “faith in action mobilizing training” session on Sunday afternoon that included the occupation of a police station. At other sessions, volunteers were instructed in blocking traffic and sit down resistance.

  58. rq says

    Washington Post: 1000-plus protestors begin sit-in at SLU, after a peaceful march.

    The demonstrations were the latest in a series of meticulously organized protests and acts of civil disobedience. The specifics have been held tightly by organizers, with just several dozen people aware of each night’s plans until moments before the actions.

    The demonstrators gathered in the Shaw neighborhood — at the scene of another recent police shooting — and split into two groups.

    The first group departed just after 11 p.m., marching to a nearby intersection and shutting down traffic by playing hopscotch, jumping rope and tossing footballs. [...]

    The second group departed about 45 minutes later, marching silently on the sidewalk to meet up with the first group.

    As the groups converged, they were met with officers in riot gear who held cans of pepper spray and smacked their shin guards. [...]

    “Can you please stop beating your sticks and talk to the people you protect?” asked Derek Robinson, a local minister.

    Protesters asked officers why many did not have visible name tags and warned them that observers from the Department of Justice were in the crowd.

    After about 20 minutes, officers backed down and allowed the march to continue up the sidewalk.

    A spokeswoman for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department did not immediately return a request for comment. [...]

    Campus security and police officers attempted to stop the protest from entering St. Louis University’s campus.

    “I am a student, I have my id, and I have a lot of guests,” a protest leader said into the megaphone.

    The security officers moved out of the way and the crowd poured into the campus.

    Once inside the campus, protesters gathered at the campus center chanting “out of the dorms and into the streets” as students rushed out of buildings. Some joined the protesters, others took photos and others brought out bottles of water.

    “This let me know that my son was loved and he is still being loved, right now,” said Vonderitt Myers Sr., whose son was shot and killed by a police officer earlier this month.

    Myers’ family marched at the front of the pack and the demonstrators observed four minutes of silence in his honor. [...]

    They noted the significance of it being Columbus Day, calling him “the first looter” and saying that they were “reclaiming” the college campus.

    “On this day we are here to reclaim our shit — I know this was a college a couple of hours ago but as of right now this is our spot and we not going nowhere. This is a sit-in.”

    As of 2:45 am central time the sit-in continued.

  59. rq says

    Daily Beast on last night.

    Michael Brown’s father: people probably think I’m okay, I’m really not.

    But in a rare interview on Sunday, Michael Brown Sr. spoke exclusively with msnbc, detailing how his faith has helped him power through his grief, and how the pressure to fight for justice for his son belies his broken heart.

    “To be honest, it’s a whole lot on my back now. It’s a situations where I’m not going to never heal in the inside,” Brown Sr. said, standing outside of the Flood Christian Church, about a two-minute drive from where his son was shot. “I can get by maybe day by day. People probably look and see me, probably think that I’m doing OK and I’m really not.”

    “It’s just something I have to work on, just stay prayed up and be positive to people around the world and other folks, the people that need me to be strong with them,” he said. “Because we have a lot of support and I have to be strong for other people, too.” [...]

    The family of that teen, Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18, was scheduled to attend services at Flood Christian on Sunday, but in the middle of Rev. Lee’s sermon he received a text from the teen’s father cancelling.

    “I just can’t move,” Lee said the text read. [...]

    “As long as they’re not using my son in vain on what they are doing as far as the looting and stuff like that, I have no control over anyone,” he said. “Only thing I can do is pray for their soul to be able to go home to their families and have a positive outlook on their situation.”

    Despite the handful of bad apples that have sought to provoke police and enflame an already seething situation in Ferguson, Brown said he’s in awe of how much support his family has received.

    “We just really appreciate all the love and support from all over the world,” he said. “The last thing that he said before he passed was that everyone was going to know his name. I didn’t know it would be this way.”

    (MSNBC)

    More photos:
    right now – https://twitter.com/elonjames/status/521691456457940992/photo/1
    tornado watch in St Louis – https://twitter.com/mattdpearce/status/521691719251685378
    two moments from the weekend – https://twitter.com/jelani9/status/521691316934422529
    moments from last night – https://twitter.com/geauxAWAYheaux/status/521554378298114048

    tbc

  60. rq says

  61. rq says

    In Ferguson, arrests have happened, starting with Cornel West https://twitter.com/justinbaragona/status/521707293336145920
    dress better, they said; look presentable, they said – https://twitter.com/Skip2MyLou_/status/521712087266238465/photo/1 (he did say he was coming out to be arrested in solidarity…)
    at headquarters – https://twitter.com/BridjesONeil/status/521709853656748034
    democracy – https://twitter.com/trymainelee/status/521709525658005504/photo/1
    protest – https://twitter.com/Jobi2032/status/521699251995549696/photo/1

    Meanwhile, the Lost Voices are in Chicago: https://twitter.com/OccupyChicago/status/521709380426010624

  62. rq says

    still at Ferguson PD – https://twitter.com/1740testore/status/521731531451035648/photo/1
    holding back protestors – https://twitter.com/Yamiche/status/521726962117935104/photo/1
    facing police with mirrors #1 – https://twitter.com/alicesperi/status/521713459667283971/photo/1
    facing police with mirrors #2 – https://twitter.com/CheathamKMOV/status/521712465835741184/photo/1
    (I really love the mirror idea, very visually creative, hopefully effective.)

    4+ hours out in the rain – https://twitter.com/WesleyLowery/status/521719964458549249
    facial expressions – https://twitter.com/kodacohen/status/521724701471932416/photo/1

  63. rq says

    clergy marching towards PD – https://twitter.com/kodacohen/status/521724921429622784/photo/1
    reading the names – https://twitter.com/trymainelee/status/521692844986470401

    Fred Pestello’s (SLU president) awesome statement. If only everyone could respond with such grace and understanding. Full text:

    An Important Update from the President
    Dear students, faculty, staff and parents,

    These are unprecedented times for the St. Louis community, and Sunday and this morning, they arrived on our doorstep, as a protest was staged on our campus. We as a SLU community have responded peacefully and have kept the protests from escalating in any way. Please know that at all times, the safety of our students has been our top priority – and continues to be.

    As many of you know by now, hundreds of protestors marched to our campus early this morning protesting police brutality and other social injustices, and held a rally and sit-in around the clock tower. The march started in the Shaw neighborhood and proceeded up Grand Avenue to the Frost Campus. The University had no prior knowledge that this action would take place.

    Once on campus, the protestors were peaceful and did not cause any injuries or damage. In consultation with St. Louis Police and our Department of Public Safety, it was our decision to not escalate the situation with any confrontation, especially since the protest was non-violent. While the protestors were sometimes loud, they were respectful of the students they met. At the same time, we ensured that all of our residence halls were secure and that DPS was carefully monitoring the scene. As of 6 a.m., approximately 25 protestors remain on campus in tents just north of the clock tower. We remain steadfastly committed to ensuring the safety of all of our students and campus to the very best of our ability. To that end, our response has been non-confrontational and consistent with our mission.

    While I know that having middle-of-the-night protests is unexpected and can be disturbing, I applaud the actions of everyone on campus – especially our students – for handling this situation with great grace and compassion. After consultation with Provost Dr. Ellen Harshman, we have agreed that classes will go on as scheduled today, but we will leave it to individual faculty members to make any adjustments to their class schedules for today.

    Earlier last night, more than 1,800 people came to our arena to hear clergy and young activists speak about the difficult issues that have led to these protests. At that event as well, the attendees were peaceful.

    There is certainly the possibility that protests – some near our campus – may continue. We expect these also to be peaceful, but we will handle any of them with the care of our students foremost in our actions. Let us all pray for better days ahead.

    Sincerely,

    Fred P. Pestello
    President

    “We have nothing to lose but our chains” – https://twitter.com/shazza_razza/status/521722255739346945
    arrests – https://twitter.com/pd_shutterspeed/status/521736310219112449/photo/1
    Michael Brown’s mother during the march last night – https://twitter.com/BYP_100/status/521331299298996224/photo/1

  64. rq says

    demonstrators have left Ferguson PD – https://twitter.com/trymainelee/status/521735986989236225/photo/1

    and a letter-to-the-editor – what about balanced reporting? – https://twitter.com/mattdpearce/status/521737321365110787 Full text:

    Paper stimulates anti-police mentality

    The Post-Dispatch continues to give violent protesters front-page coverage with huge pictures and articles, thus fueling the flames and increasing the violence as the unlawful thrive on the publicity.
    The paper has helped stimulate an anti-police mentality, which has hampered the police in protecting the good people of Ferguson and elsewhere. Their hands are being tied by being told not to use force even in the face of danger.
    When was the last article from the police’s point of view? They are putting their lives on the line every day to protect all of us.
    The families of law enforcement men and women live in fear of their making it home after work. They worry that some hate-filled out-of-control individual has injured their loved ones with flying projectiles or has taken them down completely because they hesitated to draw their weapon,thus letting the out-of-control “protester” have some shots at them first. The current negative attitude against the police that the paper is inflaming with biased reporting would seem to indicate that this should be their approach. The Post-Dispatch is endangering good people’s lives.
    Where is the fair reporting of both sides of the issue that includes the full story of what the police have had to endure? We’ve been given barely a glimpse.
    Jacqueline Dougherty – St. Charles

    For comparison, see the letter in previous comment. Talk about privilege.

  65. rq says

  66. rq says

  67. rq says

    police present inside city hall – https://twitter.com/jrosenbaum/status/521768263966277633
    protestors call for mayor – https://twitter.com/nickpistor/status/521767902685720576/photo/1
    another view – https://twitter.com/KMOVMatt/status/521768327258329088/photo/1

    Ah, and I think there are at least two different actions going on right now, too. Third link previous comment refers to a location not city hall, I believe. This is them: https://twitter.com/nanecam/status/521769099970772992/photo/1 and https://twitter.com/MusicOverPeople/status/521769268745359360 .

  68. rq says

    (yes, two events – https://twitter.com/GeekNStereo/status/521769373858795521 )
    he can take protestor demands to the mayor, but the mayor won’t come out to speak? – https://twitter.com/alidreith/status/521769339482292224/photo/1
    ah, the protestors go to the mayor, but he won’t come out to them – https://twitter.com/Yamiche/status/521769695352205312
    he’s not the mayor (re: chief of staff) – https://twitter.com/nickpistor/status/521769715148935170/photo/1
    arrest for holding a banner – https://twitter.com/Rebeccarivas/status/521769936193355776/photo/1
    at the mayor’s door – https://twitter.com/jrosenbaum/status/521769992510275584/photo/1

  69. rq says

  70. rq says

  71. rq says

    Last night’s protests in twitter pictures.
    There was a lot going on, hopefully I get something resembling chronological order, but I doubt I got all of it.
    Anyway, here goes.
    Some people went to Wal-Mart, and got arrested:
    photo 1, video 1, photo 2, photo 3 (more from before arrests later);
    Some people went to the Stenger rally, as awakeinmo pointed out, and got arrested: photo 1, photo 2;

  72. rq says

    A few protestors staged a sit-in at the Stenger rally – photo 1, police apparently refused to remove them because it would look bad – arrests look good, though (photo 2).
    The police look over-prepared (photo 3), but I mean look at that crowd out there (photo 4), so scary.

    There were people at the football game (inside and outside): photo 1, photo 2 (more of this banner collage).

  73. rq says

    Back to Wal-Mart, though I think they shut down two in the end – one earlier, this one seems later in the evening:
    police outside, so excited (photo 1, photo 2), with protestors in the parking lot (photo 3 – yeah, they didn’t get inside this one, got closed down before they arrived). Protestors warned drivers in advance (photo 4), and they (protestors) had a good briefing beforehand (photo 5).
    Everything is so organized, it’s amazing.
    And still, arrests (I believe this is from Wal-Mart): police snatch camera from his hands and arrest him.

  74. rq says

    Yes, they closed the second Wal-Mart down because protestors were on their way (Wal-Mart for John Crawford III, by the way): photo 1, photo 2.

    Back to the game, protestors unfurled banners (one behind the endzone – so awesome photo 1), some of which weren’t televized (like the large combined one, seen in this collection of photos – photo 2).
    Protestors left with loud chanting after approached by police (photo 3.

  75. rq says

    Some more police tactics: as the twet I lost said, “Nothing says ‘vote for me’ like zip-ties”: photo 1.
    Some of the methods used by police included chokeholds: photo 2.

    A few more pics of the Lost Voices in Chicago: photo 3 (several at the link)>
    Youtube video of the protest at Wal-Mart (one of them).

    Arrestees are taken to Richmond Heights, not sure how far that is. Some rumours that they’d be taken elsewhere, but that turned out to be due to being processed in the car for speed. Supporters wait.

  76. rq says

    Officer conduct: sharing license plates, pulling a gun on protestors (that one got caught on video, hopefully it will turn up soon).

    Okay. So about those arrests.
    Here’s a list.
    Yes, Cornel West was arrested (HuffPo article).

    West had joined peaceful demonstrations at St. Louis University on Sunday night. Hours earlier, during a large mass protest service, West said that he came to get arrested.

    “It’s a beautiful thing to see people on fire for justice, but I didn’t come here to give a speech,” West said during a discussion on Sunday night. “I came here to go to jail.”

    Final count: 43 arrested? BuzzFeed says 56:

    Protesters peacefully took over St. Louis City Hall, while hundreds — including clergy members — chanted for justice outside the Ferguson Police Department. Others took their message to West Florrisant Avenue, disrupting businesses and blocking traffic. At a fundraiser where Sen. Claire McCaskill was scheduled to appear, a crowd called on her to speak out for their cause.

    The day of protests was one in a series of events planned for Ferguson October, a coalition of activists and residents aiming to build national support against police violence. They called for justice for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot by Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson in August, as well as other black men around the country who have been killed by police. [...]
    Protesters marched in and outside local Walmarts, to memorialize John Crawford, the 22-year-old man killed by a police officer inside an Ohio Walmart. [...]
    Others took banners to the St. Louis Rams game. [...]
    By Monday afternoon, protesters arrived at St. Louis City Hall where they unfurled a banner. [...]
    At 5 p.m., when City Hall closed, the protesters said they would peacefully leave. But they vowed to be back on Wednesday. [they left the banners!] [...]
    Other protesters remained outside the Ferguson Police Department, where authorities arrested a total of 43 people by 6:30 p.m. local time. [...]
    Still others took their message to a local mall, a community college and a political fundraiser. [...]
    Among the arrested were clergy members and Professor Emeritus at Princeton, Cornel West, who took part in a demonstration against police brutality, the New York Times and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

    Lots of review and pictures at the link, amazing to see!

  77. rq says

    Police apparently had a sniper out.
    Also, short video featuring two of the protest leaders and their protest at the mall.

    Fox2Now on the demonstrations: Protesters staged a demonstration inside the Jones Dome during the Rams Monday Night Football Game. They purchased tickets and had seats in the higher sections of the stadium. Some displayed banners; one said “black lives matter.” Football fans said there was little to no reaction. There was no cheering and there was no booing. Some said they didn’t even see the display of banners.

    Earlier one man was arrested in the rotunda of the St. Louis City Hall. He was among some 75 people who demonstrated and make demands of city officials. Those demand included body cameras for cops. City officials said they are making progress on changes in the city. [...]
    In Webster Groves a fundraiser for democratic county executive candidate Steve Stenger turned into a protest target. About a dozen people were arrested; they were dragged away from the doors they had blocked. They wanted politicians who were inside to choose a side, tell protestors where they stand.

    STL Today: More than 50 arrested on Moral Monday.

    St. Louis County police released a list of 49 protesters who were arrested by late afternoon by their department, Ferguson Police, and the Missouri Highway Patrol. Of that list, 24 were from St. Louis area, and three were from outstate. The rest were from throughout the country. None were from Ferguson. [...]
    Two miles away, six more protesters were arrested in the intersection of West Florissant Avenue and Lucas & Hunt Road, where they had been blocking traffic by holding up a sign. They had been part of a separate demonstration that began about a block away, at the entrance to the Emerson Electric Co. world headquarters. Watched by officers, the demonstrators never ventured onto Emerson property. [...]
    Shortly before 6 p.m., about 75 protesters converged upon a fundraiser in Webster Groves, for County Councilman Steve Stenger, Democratic candidate for St. Louis County Executive in the Nov. 4 election. Two protesters were arrested after they got inside the event, at 110 East Lockwood Avenue, and at least five more were arrested outside. [...]
    Two more demonstrations began about 4 p.m., one at St. Louis City Hall and the other at Plaza Frontenac in west county. At the mall, about 35 demonstrators who had been milling about gathered together near the central escalator near the Tiffany’s store and chanted. Shoppers stopped to watch, some of them snapping pictures with their phones. One person walked out of Cardwell’s restaurant and hugged a protester. [...]
    Downtown at City Hall, about 60 organized by Young Activists United gathered in the rotunda, blowing whistles and chanting. They had met a block away at Soldiers Memorial and marched to City Hall, going through security one by one to get into the rotunda. [..]
    At 6 p.m., about 60 protesters gathered outside the Walmart in Ferguson, which had been the scene of looting on the wild night one day after Brown was shot. A line of police officers guarded the store’s locked front door. Ferguson police said six people were arrested for trespassing and failure to comply and a reporter was detained. [...]
    At about 8:30 p.m., another group of protesters gathered outside the Walmart in Maplewood, where they chanted outside the store and police stood waiting. At least five people were arrested, some inside the store. [...]
    The first and biggest protest so far Monday began in the morning with a march from Wellspring Church, two blocks away, and with about about dozen clergy walking up to a line of officers outside the station and offering to hear their confessions. The ministers then moved toward the side door of the station, which was guarded by officers in riot gear.

    Those articles about cover the basic action from yesterday.
    [...]
    Jamell Spann, another organizer, said, “We made people feel uncomfortable, but we want to show them how we feel uncomfortable every day.”

  78. rq says

    From that NY Times article:

    The equation by which Evans arrived at a rate of return on slave investments indicates P as the price of slaves, k as the number of years the investor holds the slaves, H as the yearly rent for male slaves age 20 to 50, N as the number of male slaves alive at midyear and r as the internal rate of interest.
    No mathematical equation exists to produce the economic model that ends with 18-year-old Michael Brown, shot multiple times with his hands in the air, his lifeless body left in the street for four hours. The numbers will inevitably be run, however, to determine the cumulative cost of damages owed to owners of property looted or destroyed in the riots engulfing Ferguson, Mo., after Brown’s death, thus fulfilling a ritual cycle enacted repeatedly over the last 100 years: injustice, outrage, appeals to peace, reprimands against violence and looting and then insurance claims. [still calling them riots, I see - ...]
    Today the chorus of voices declaring #BlackLivesMatter also speaks to the militarized police forces gathered to contain revolt, mourning and rage. They speak to the courts who will later hear arguments of defense: The gun was used by accident instead of a Taser (as in the killing of Oscar Grant III in Oakland, Calif.); the victim was in possession of weaponized concrete (as in the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla.); the possibly imperiled young woman at the front door in the dead of night was a menace in need of immediate extermination (as in the case of Renisha McBride in Dearborn Heights, Mich.). Two trials were required to bring justice for Jordan Davis, murdered in Jacksonville, Fla., because his “thug music” was too loud. For John Crawford III, killed in the pet-food aisle of a Beavercreek, Ohio, Walmart, there will be no hearing, for a grand jury has decided not to indict the officers responsible. In very many other similar instances, the vigilante or “justified” or “officer-involved” homicides do not receive media attention. According to a report issued by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, at least one black person is the victim of “extrajudicial killing” every 28 hours in the United States. [...]
    The bloody inversion of a bloody history arrives at these black lives dispatched with ease. The last few years have seen scores of memorials, re-enactments, monuments and editorials coinciding with the sesquicentennial of various events of the Civil War. But it is these deaths — the killings in Ferguson and Beavercreek and beyond — that commemorate the unfinished, perhaps unending, struggle to assert black humanity in a country built on its denial.

  79. rq says

    #OccupySLU on video, watch people live in tents! (Actually, it’s just good to see people still out there.)

    VonDerrit gets the ‘no angel’ treatment from police association:

    Moments before the press conference, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released lab results that showed Myers had “gunshot residue” on his hands, pants and shirt. The department stated that, “The presence of gunshot residue on the jeans and shirt could be from being in the environment of a discharged weapon or coming in contact with an object with gunshot residue on it.”

    Jerryl Christmas, attorney for Myers’ family, told the St. Louis American that the family does not believe that he had a gun. In regards to the gunshot residue test, which was conducted by the Missouri Highway Patrol, Christmas said, “He was shot numerous times. There’s going to be gunshot residue.”

    However, Jeff Roorda, business manager for the police association, said that the test validated the story of the police officer – a 32-year-old white male and a six-year veteran of the police force. His name has not yet been released to the public or the Myers’ family.

    Oh look, it’s Roorda again. More on the GSR in a moment, but honestly, if he believes this validates the story of the officer? He should never have been a police officer himself. Because it doesn’t.
    But it all gets worse:

    Roorda said that the police found pictures of Myers on social media displaying a weapon of the same make and caliber that was fired at the officer and recovered at the scene.

    Christmas said Myers’ mother believed the photo was about a year old, judging from his haircut and clothing. According to the police report, the 9mm gun that Myers allegedly used was reported stolen on Sept. 26, 2014. The make of the gun that police now report finding differs from the one that St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson initially mentioned after the incident occurred. [,...]
    Roorda also told the press about a case involving Myers in St. Louis County 21st Judicial Circuit Court. Myers was a juvenile but certified as an adult, and he said, “Prosecution was initiated in regards to a murder in St. Louis County.” One reporter corrected Roorda and said that it was not a murder case but a shooting.

    Roorda acknowledged that the investigation did not result in a conviction. When asked what the significance of the case was if he was not found guilty, Roorda responded, “I’ll let you guys decide.”

    Yuh, that’s Roorda in action. Frankly, he scares me. Especially since he’s been convicted of falsifying information as a police officer. Not an impartial party, here.
    A word from Ferguson October organizers (still the same article):

    Ferguson October leaders released a statement after the press conference, stating that the police chose to collude the Weekend of Resistance with “the character assassination of a teenager who was killed by a law enforcement officer.”

    “The information released about VonDerrit Myers’ past sheds absolutely no light on what the officer knew at the time he decided to stop him,” the statement read. “We have no indication that VonDerrit was engaged in any illegal activity other than being ‘suspicious,’ which police have allowed to become a code word for racial profiling.”

    Going to see if that statement is around somewhere.

    In the meantime, Chris Hayes on civil disobedience, Ferguson and beyond. Really good bits. Quote: “For us, this is not an academic issue [...]like, I said this a few weeks ago, people who want to take the time to break down racism from a philosophical level, y’all need not show up.”
    Two more videos in the playlist after this one (about Cornel West, then Rams fans) which are pretty good, too.

    Gunshot residue shows that VonDerrit shot at police officer, say police after forensic analysis. Well, here’s what forensics actually says:

    forensic scientists from the Missouri Highway Patrol crime lab found gunshot residue on Myers’ hands, shirt and inside the waistband and pockets of his jeans. Police said that although gunshot residue can be present on anyone near a shooting, the results show levels consistent with Myers being the shooter, because the police officer was standing too far away

    Mmkay. So what’s the GSR doing inside his waistband? Pockets? From what I understand in the police version, Myers died with the gun in his hands since he was still pulling the trigger when the officer (still nameless!!!) shot him. Why would he have GSR from the shooting in his waistband? It’s entirely possible he got it there, if he had a gun that he had fired at any other time, and stuck in his pants. But this shooting? No (and I only got some basic courses on GSR, so maybe you can take the police word on this). Hands and shirt, maybe – depends where on the shirt. Oh, and I haven’t yet seen any information on how far the officer was from Myers when he shot him, which can make a huge difference – especially since there was a witness who came upon the scene with the officer standing over Myers’ body, looking for another clip. So distances aren’t large, but they may not be small enough for good, conclusive GSR results, either.
    More from that article:

    The officer’s name has not been released. His attorney, Brian Millikan, said the officer saw Myers running with his right hand holding the right side at his waistband, as if he could be keeping a gun in place.

    Millikan said that was the same spot where the officer later saw Myers draw a gun. He said that the officer had an “obligation to act” [the fuck does this mean?] after spotting the fleeing men.

    The officer believes Myers fired five to seven times, Millikan said, and believes he would have been dead had the gun not jammed. Millikan said that one live round remained in Myers’ gun.

    After Myers’ death, several photographs showing him holding three guns, including one that looked like the stolen Smith & Wesson pistol recovered at the scene, circulated on social media. Millikan said that his client recognized both Myers and the distinctive, two-tone semiautomatic in the pictures. [...]

    Roorda and Millikan also said that when Myers was 16, he was criminally charged and certified as an adult after police say he shot a 15-year-old in the leg. Court records show, however, that a judge dismissed the case after the victim failed to show up for a preliminary hearing.

    St. Louis County police declined to provide the arrest or incident report. Christmas said he was unaware of the case, as did Peter Cohen, Myers’ lawyer for a gun case that was pending at the time of his death.

    Nice character slaughter, with deadly follow-through, there.

  80. rq says

    Oh, the previous quote – original police story is that Myers fired 3 shots. Now it’s 5 to 7. I don’t like how these stories keep changing.
    Also, here’s more on the results of the gun shot residue analysis, which is a lot more ambiguous than Roorda presents. Surprise.
    And a response to the shameful STL Police Union grandstanding, as this letter from Ferguson October organisers puts it. Full text:

    Shameful Grandstanding by St. Louis Police Union in VonDerrit Myers Case

    On the heels of a successful and broadly celebrated Weekend of Resistance, we reached a new level of shameful grandstanding when the St. Louis Municipal Police Department chose this day to collude with the union that represents their officers and proceeded to engage in the character assassination of a teenager who was killed by a law enforcement officer.

    The information released about VonDerrit Myers’ past sheds absolutely no light on what the officer knew
    at the time he decided to stop him. We have no indication that VonDerrit was engaged in any illegal
    activity other than being “suspicious,” which police have allowed to become a code word for racial
    profiling.

    This officer, whose name is still unknown, was allowed to use “stop & frisk” tactics which have
    been condemned from coast-to-coast. Many city, regional and state leaders have been hiding behind empty
    statements, sending the implicit message that things should just “get back to normal.”

    But, “normal” cannot continue. Police departments, here and acr
    oss the country, vigorously defend unconstitutional practices that violate the civil rights of black communities. Police unions continue to make it their primary purpose to stand with police officers unconditionally, no matter how reprehensible their behavior.

    Chief Dotson made a promise to the residents of St. Louis: a transparent Force Investigative Unit that would fully disclose complete reports, which would then be followed by an independent investigation by the Circuit Attorney. Instead, the police union was allowed to cherry-pick biased information from an allegedly active investigation into the shooting death of VonDerrit Myers.

    He has trampled all over that investigation by effectively partnering with Rep. Jeff Roorda and the union he leads in a clear attempt to sway public opinion.

    We do know this: their actions today serve to remind black communities that their mistrust in the police is well-placed. Teens like VonDerrit Myers live in an environment where police have been given carte- blanche as judge, jury and executioner.

    The real tragedy lies in the fact that black teens have been given little reason to believe that even the
    simplest of interactions with police officers won’t result in their sanctioned murders.

    And the residents of St. Louis have no reason to believe that the St. Louis Police Department can complete a fair & impartial investigation involving one of their own.

    Anyway, about the Monday protests: Thousands march for justice, an end to police violence.

    Michael Brown’s wikipedia. Haven’t had time to explore.

    This is the article from a couple comments up, but I’m reposting because I jsut caught a line I missed before:

    While many young black men sag their pants and tend to have on hand on their waistbands, the St. Louis American asked if police officers chase after every young man who is holding his pants. Steiger said that police are trained to know the difference between a man pulling up his pants and a man holding a gun.

    Yes, yes they are.

    On the tentative good news front, City of St Louis will no longer ask job applicants about felony convictions.

  81. rq says

    From October 10, another piece on the Shaw shooting and the first night of protests following. All that pepper spray.

    Also from October 10, DailyKos article on the changing police story (which seems to be changing still). Very good, detailed read with photographs showing inconsistencies in police story.

    21 times greater. Those are the odds of getting shot if you’re a young black man compared to a young white man.

    The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police.

    One way of appreciating that stark disparity, ProPublica’s analysis shows, is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring – 185, more than one per week.

    ProPublica’s risk analysis on young males killed by police certainly seems to support what has been an article of faith in the African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population.

    Our examination involved detailed accounts of more than 12,000 police homicides stretching from 1980 to 2012 contained in the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Report. The data, annually self-reported by hundreds of police departments across the country, confirms some assumptions, runs counter to others, and adds nuance to a wide range of questions about the use of deadly police force.

    Colin Loftin, University at Albany professor and co-director of the Violence Research Group, said the FBI data is a minimum count of homicides by police, and that it is impossible to precisely measure what puts people at risk of homicide by police without more and better records. Still, what the data shows about the race of victims and officers, and the circumstances of killings, are “certainly relevant,” Loftin said. [...]
    The data, for instance, is terribly incomplete. Vast numbers of the country’s 17,000 police departments don’t file fatal police shooting reports at all, and many have filed reports for some years but not others. Florida departments haven’t filed reports since 1997 and New York City last reported in 2007. Information contained in the individual reports can also be flawed. Still, lots of the reporting police departments are in larger cities, and at least 1000 police departments filed a report or reports over the 33 years.

    There is, then, value in what the data can show while accepting, and accounting for, its limitations. Indeed, while the absolute numbers are problematic, a comparison between white and black victims shows important trends. Our analysis included dividing the number of people of each race killed by police by the number of people of that race living in the country at the time, to produce two different rates: the risk of getting killed by police if you are white and if you are black.

    More details, numbers, calculations and information in the article. But ho-lee-shitt.

  82. rq says

    Is this good news? Obama picks Vanita Gupta to lead the Justice Department’s civil rights division:

    Gupta is as passionate an advocate for racial justice as you could find. At a time when the Obama administration faces a potential Republican majority in the Senate — and having lost a tough nomination battle over the nominee’s connection to a racially charged murder case involving a police officer — they chose a nominee who has spent the last decade attacking racism in the American criminal justice system. Gupta has called for the decriminalization of marijuana, criticized the militarization of local police, and gone after cops engaging in “highway robbery” through civil asset forfeiture laws.

    Given Gupta’s skill set, it’s hard not to imagine that the scenes coming out of Ferguson, Missouri, where tensions between the black community and a mostly white police force erupted into ongoing protests, influenced the administration’s decision. In many ways, Gupta’s job at the ACLU was policing the police. As head of the civil rights division, she’ll do that with the power of the federal government at her back.

    As an attorney with the NAACP LDF, Gupta helped overturn the drug convictions of dozens of black and Hispanic residents of Tulia, Texas, in a sting orchestrated by a local sheriff who was later convicted of perjury. In her work for the ACLU, Gupta has focused on ending the War on Drugs and curtailing mass incarceration, policies she sees as having devastated communities of color.

    Hmm, sounds pretty good.

    Quick table of offender/victim data, very narrow, from 2011, but it was pulled up on twitter as a response to the ‘black-on-black’ crime accusation – by pointing out that ‘white-on-white’ crime is at about the same numbers (but these are, I believe, absolute numbers, not proportional).

    That officer with the rifle at the traffic stop? Is under investigation.

    County police officer Shawn McGuire said the officer in question was wearing a body camera during the time of the incident, which he said began when the officer tried to pull over a car on the Maryland Heights Expressway near the exit for the Hollywood Casino at about 11 p.m. Monday because the driver failed to use a turn signal.

    Ah, failed to use a turn signal. Warrants a weapon, I believe!

    From The American Prospect, The Making of Ferguson – how official racial-isolation policies (like housing) primed Ferguson for this summer’s events:

    Kinloch and some middle-class white neighborhoods that also adjoin Ferguson were once unincorporated in St. Louis County, but in the late 1930s the white neighborhoods formed a city, Berkeley, to separate their schools from Kinloch’s. With a much smaller tax base, Kinloch’s schools were inferior to Berkeley’s and Ferguson’s, and after Berkeley’s incorporation, Kinloch took on more characteristics of a dilapidated ghetto. This arrangement persisted until 1975—several years after Williams moved into Ferguson—when federal courts ordered Berkeley, Ferguson, and other white towns to integrate their schools into a common district with Kinloch.

    Other African Americans followed Williams into Ferguson, but the black community grew slowly. By 1970, Ferguson was still less than 1 percent black. But it had some multi-family buildings, so when public housing in St. Louis was demolished in the 1970s, the St. Louis Housing Authority gave vouchers to displaced families to subsidize rentals in Ferguson. By 1980, Ferguson was 14 percent black; by 1990, 25 percent; by 2000, 53 percent; and by 2010, 67 percent. Other northern and northwestern suburbs near St. Louis were similar. Meanwhile, those beyond the first ring to the south and west remained almost all white. Recently, the white population in the city itself has been expanding. [...]
    Allen finally succeeded in getting a white friend to make a “straw purchase” (hiding the true buyer) of a home in Kirkwood, another nearly all-white St. Louis suburb; a second friend gave him $5,000 toward the $16,000 price. The funds were probably needed because the Federal Housing Administration would not insure mortgages for African Americans in Kirkwood, and no bank would issue them. Allen’s income was higher than those of the 30 white homeowners on his block—he alone had a college degree. Once he moved in as the second African American there, “for sale” signs sprung up on neighboring lawns; eight years later, the ratio was 30 black homeowners to two white homeowners.

    Allen described life in Kirkwood in 1962 and then in 1970:

    [W]hen I first moved there … I don’t know if [the police] were protecting me or protecting someone from me. We had patrols on the hour. Our streets were swept neatly, monthly. Our trash pickups were regular and handled with dignity. The street lighting was always up to par. … We now have the most inadequate lighting in the city … [P]eople from the other sections of town … now leave their cars parked on our streets when they want to abandon them. … [W]hat they are making now is a ghetto in the process. The buildings are maintained [by owners] better than they were when they were white but the city services are much less.

    [...]
    No doubt, private prejudice and suburbanites’ desire for homogeneous middle-class environments contributed to segregation in St. Louis and other metropolitan areas. But this explanation too conveniently excuses public policy. A more powerful cause is the explicit intents of federal, state, and local governments to create racially segregated metropolises. The policies were mutually reinforcing:
    Advertisement

    • Zoning that defined ghetto boundaries within St. Louis, turning black neighborhoods into slums;

    • Segregated public housing that replaced more integrated urban areas;

    • Restrictive covenants adopted by government mandate;

    • Government-subsidized suburban development for whites only;

    • Boundary and redevelopment policies to keep blacks from white neighborhoods;

    • Real estate and financial regulatory policy that promoted segregation;

    • Denial of services in black ghettos; convincing whites that “blacks” and “slums” were synonymous;

    • Urban renewal programs to shift ghetto locations, in the guise of cleaning up those slums;

    • A government-sponsored dual labor market that made suburban housing less affordable for blacks.
    That government, not private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St. Louis was once widely recognized.

    That government, not private prejudice, was responsible for segregating greater St. Louis was once widely recognized. In 1974, a federal appeals court concluded, “Segregated housing in the St. Louis metropolitan area was … in large measure the result of deliberate racial discrimination in the housing market by the real estate industry and by agencies of the federal, state, and local governments.” The Department of Justice stipulated to this truth but took no action in response. In 1980, a federal court ordered the state, county, and city governments to devise plans to integrate schools by integrating housing. Public officials ignored the order, devising only a voluntary busing plan to integrate schools, but not housing. [...]
    The FHA’s suburban whites-only policy continued through the post-war housing boom that lasted through the mid-1960s. In 1947, the FHA sanitized its manual, removing literal race references but still demanding “compatibility among neighborhood occupants” for mortgage guarantees. In 1959, the Commission on Civil Rights summarized: “With the help of FHA financing, all-white suburbs have been constructed in recent years around almost every large city. Huge FHA-insured projects … have been built with an acknowledged policy of excluding Negroes.”

    The FHA seal of approval guaranteed that a subdivision was for whites only. Advertisements like those from 1952 (shown at right) were commonplace in St. Louis (and nationwide). The ad promotes “FHA Financed” Ferguson homes; the other ad promotes an “FHA approved” Kirkwood subdivision.

    More at the link. A lot of history and a lot of officially sanctioned, systemic racism.

  83. rq says

    Young Activists United to meet with Mayor Slay, sometime later today.

    The group’s list of demands includes a civilian review board to look at police activities, body cameras for city officers to wear, and independent review of shootings by police officers.

    City officials say they were in the process of implementing all those things before the demands ever came down, but there is a legislative process required to get the work done.

    The group says they’re more interested in results than process.

    “These are things the city has needed for a while,” Kennard Williams said. “They’re long overdue. Constantly we’ve been hearing, ‘It’s coming, it’s on the way, we’re working on it.’ It seems like it’s just a giant procrastination party.”

    Well, the police are expecting them inside.

    William Lacy Clay Endorses Stenger For St Louis County Executive. Not something that will make him particularly popular, I think.

    “Talk is cheap, but actions are real,’’ Clay told host Charlie Brennan. “Rick Stream has consistently voted against the vital interests of African Americans, women and working people.”

    Clay’s announcement was somewhat unexpected, coming just weeks after his campaign had indicated that he would stay out of the county executive race. On Wednesday, his campaign and Stenger’s issued news releases simultaneously after the congressman’s radio appearance. In a brief statement, Stenger said that he was “thrilled” to have Clay’s support.

    Stenger has been under fire from some African-American officials because he has stood by County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who is overseeing the grand-jury investigation into the Ferguson police shooting of teenager Michael Brown.

    The movement develops: Justice for Mike Brown – and expanding definition.

    But after Michael Brown’s death, Ferrell decided to take a break from her final year of nursing school and devote her time to working with Millennial Activists United, a local grassroots organization formed in August.

    She says she’s delayed her education to fight for justice, but not just justice for Michael Brown.

    “It’s not solely about Mike Brown anymore,” Ferrell says. “Michael Brown was a martyr; he was the catalyst for it. We definitely want justice for Mike Brown, but this is so much bigger than Mike Brown now, so much bigger.” [...]
    “Shifting a culture overnight won’t happen without accountability measures,” Hansford said. “That’s why there must be penalties in place that have an impact that will hurt. When you have an environment where there is not accountability people don’t feel the pressure to change. So what justice looks like for me in the short term is an environment where there is accountability, so that people feel the pressure and they know they have to change the way they interact with black youth.”

    The article refers the protestor demands (linked to several times at thedemands.org), with a few words about Ferguson October.

  84. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #30: Mike Brown Sr. speaks; #OccupySLU; twitter account that tweets the names of black people killed by police;
    the gunshot residue report; More Diverse Police Departments Don’t Mean Less Misconduct; STL on VonDerrit; Moral Monday protests; protests during Rams game; the arrests of clergy; continuing protests; Anthony Davis tweets about Ferguson protests; Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine & Audioslave) Releases Ferguson Song; Blake Lively and the subtlety of racism.
    Upcoming events, donation links, go see what else is interesting.

    AND there’s a new witness to the Ferguson shooting. I guess a bunch of black eye-witnesses just can’t be trusted.

    One Canfield resident — who said he saw the killing of Brown from start to finish and talked to the grand jury recently — has given the Post-Dispatch an account with some key differences from previous public statements from other witnesses.

    Among the recollections of the witness, who agreed to an interview on the condition that his name not be used, were:

    After an initial scuffle in the car, the officer did not fire until Brown turned back toward him.
    Brown put his arms out to his sides but never raised his hands high.
    Brown staggered toward Wilson despite commands to stop.
    The two were about 20 to 25 feet apart when the last shots were fired.
    He would not detail what he had told the grand jury but said the members seemed fair and asked a lot of questions.

    In more detail, because the list is kind of impersonal:

    In the latest account of the Brown killing, the witness said he saw Wilson’s police SUV stop near Brown and Johnson as they were walking in the middle of Canfield Drive. He said he heard Wilson say something to them, but not what. He said Wilson drove past them, then backed up.

    The witness said he had been on the right side of the police SUV and did not have a clear view of what happened on the opposite, driver’s side. “There was a tussle going on,” he said, adding that he believes he saw Wilson’s hat fly off.

    He then heard a shot and saw Brown run, followed by Wilson. He said Wilson aimed his handgun at Brown and yelled: “Stop! Stop! Stop!”

    The witness said Brown did stop, mumbled something he could not clearly hear and took a step toward Wilson.

    “When he stepped foot on that street, the officer told him to stop again, and he fired three shots,” the witness recalled. “When he (Brown) got hit, he staggered like, ‘Oh,’ and his body moved. Then he looked down.

    “His hands were up like this (he gestures with arms out to the side and palms upward), and he was looking at the officer and was coming toward him trying to keep his feet and stand up. The officer took a few steps back and yelled, ‘Stop,’ again, and Michael was trying to stay on his feet.

    “He was 20 to 25 feet from officer, and after he started staggering, he (Wilson) let off four more rounds. As he was firing those last rounds, Michael was on his way down. We were thinking, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, brother, stop, stop.’ He was already on his way down when he fired those last shots.”

    The witness said Wilson didn’t have to kill Brown. “It went from zero to 100 like that, in the blink of an eye. … What transpired to us, in my eyesight, was murder. Down outright murder.”

    Photos of on-going protests:
    #Occupy SLU;
    San Francisco sports fans;
    Ferguson PD;
    more sports fans.

  85. rq says

    Ferguson activists on race and faith, upcoming event.

    Photo: Maplewood Wal-Mart removes ammo from shelves for fear that protestors will walk in and steal it. Hey, if these protests can remove ammo from shelves, maybe there’s a way they can limit the sales of firearms, too, hey?

    Breakdown (by race) of people in St Louis County and City prisons. The numbers are impressive, and then there’s the disparities.

    A Saint Louis community officer calls the employer of a local activist in an attempt to intimidate and cause her to lose her job. She calls him back.
    (The fact that he can call her employer also says something to that stereotype about these people needing jobs.)

    St Louis will not be releasing a report on Michael Brown’s death. In lieu, Shaun King for the Daily Kos releases his detailed timeline of the event.

    NBC News on why Ferguson police never filed an incident report: because they handed the case off immediately to county police. (Didn’t it happen on Ferguson PD time, though? Shouldn’t there be an incident report that states, at the end, ‘handed off to county police’, or words to that effect?) The article is from August 22, just for info.

  86. rq says

    Police violence: it’s not just America.

    Mr Barker was arrested after intervening in an altercation between two of his friends and police.

    He was originally charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer after being taken to Ballina Police Station, charges which were overturned when the restored CCTV footage, previously believed to be damaged, unveiled a different version of events.

    Ballina Local Court Magistrate David Heilpern overturned the charges, ordered the NSW Police pay Mr Barker’s costs and referred the matter to the Police Integrity Commission.

    The PIC handed down its report in 2013, recommending criminal charges for six of the officers involved. The ABC reported a total of 25 charges were laid against the officers. A fifth officer will also waive his right to a committal hearing.

    The Atlantic asks, What if Black America was a Country? An official one, rather than just the completely different reality that is lived by black Americans every single day:

    Naturally, this exercise presumes a monolithic black America, but this is a standard hazard when comparing large entities using statistical medians and per-capita rates. Another obvious concern is that a sub-national, racial demographic is not equivalent to a sovereign nation. Nearly all the sources of black America’s attributes are grounded in America’s history, economy, geography, and government structures. Still, it is this truism that gives weight to the insight revealed by the following charts: Black America is a fragile state embedded in the greatest superpower the world has ever known.

    Infographics at the article.

  87. rq says

    Complaint filed against an officer.

    40 000 voter registration applications lost

    “Over the last few months, the group submitted some 80,000 voter registration forms to the Georgia secretary of state’s office — but as of last week, about half those new registrants, more than 40,000 Georgians, were still not listed on preliminary voter rolls. And there is no public record of those 40,000-plus applications, according to State Representative Stacey Adams, a Democrat,” Al Jazeera explained.

    Flynn said that while Manney correctly identified Hamilton as someone who was emotionally disturbed, he ignored his training and police policy and treated him as a criminal.

    “You don’t go hands-on and start frisking somebody only because they appear to be mentally ill,” Flynn said during a news conference announcing the firing.

    Protesting continues: photo 1, photo 2.
    Sorry for sparse posting, a bit of stress at home, but regular programming shuold be back soon.

    Banning affirmative action hurts minority enrollment. It’s like a paragraph.

    With a nod to Tony, Milwaukee cop fired six months after shooting a man in the park</a

  88. says

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/tweet-about-ferguson-police-brutality-and-a-cop-may-call-your-boss-to-get-you-fired/

    A St. Louis police office is facing an Internal Affairs investigation for intimidation after he admitted on video that he had contacted an activist’s employer because some of her tweets about police brutality were considered “incitement.”

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Thursday that the Internal Affair probe had been launched after Leigh Maibes, who participated in the Ferguson protests, had posted a YouTube video of a telephone conversation with Officer Keith Novara.

    “You know, to me this feels like intimidation because you are an officer that patrols my area, and an officer I’ve also had contact with about trying to resolve some issues on my street,” Maibes tells Novara. “So, were you doing that for my benefit?”

    “No, I wasn’t doing it for your benefit,” Novara says. “I was just doing it to let them know that if their phones were going to be ringing off the hooks that that was why.”

    Maibes points out that her employer is located his outside of Novara’s district, but he argues that “some of the tweets that I was seeing was inciteful.”

    “I don’t say anything against police,” Maibes explains. “I have a problem with police brutality. Is that being against police?”

    “That’s your opinion, and you can have that opinion,” Novara says.

    When the conversation turns to discrimination against African-Americans, Novara informs Maibes that he no longer wishes to “engage” in the discussion.

    In a statement obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Police Officers Association accused Maibes of being an apologist “for the so-called ‘peaceful protestors’ in Ferguson,” who “defend throwing bricks, bottles and rocks at police officers as ‘freedom of speech or freedom of expression.’”

    This shit is why I get angry when people talk about the “riots” and the “looting”. It distracts from the very real problems in Ferguson and around the country. It’s a tactic used to undermine the actions of protesters by characterizing them as violent. It’s large scale character assassination.
    Have some people rioted or looted? Sure. But the vast majority of protesters have not.

  89. says

    This shit is why I get angry when people talk about the “riots” and the “looting”. It distracts from the very real problems in Ferguson and around the country. It’s a tactic used to undermine the actions of protesters by characterizing them as violent. It’s large scale character assassination.

    Yup, and it’s been a standby for demonizing progressive demonstrations since basically forever. The specific tactic of having the police/authorities assault demonstrators and then blame the demonstrators for the outbreak of violence dates in the U.S. to the early 1800s and overall to at least the 1500s, if not earlier.

    On an unrelated note, I heard a song today that was written about the troubles in Ireland, but it seems deeply appropriate to this situation as well: Free the people

  90. says

    New report shows that skewed racial perceptions of crime – particularly, white Americans’ strong associations of crime with blacks and Latinos – have bolstered harsh and biased crime control policies.
    From the Intro:

    The United States is now at a critical juncture in
    recalibrating its criminal justice policies. The majority of Americans support easing criminal punishment for drug offenses. The Attorney General, bipartisan Congressional leadership, and the United States Sentencing Commission are calling for reforms to reduce the severity and disparate impact of criminal sanctions. A number of states have led the way: New York, New Jersey, and California have dramatically reduced their prison populations without compromising public safety and six other states have achieved double-digit reductions in recent years.

    Nationwide, prison counts have receded every year since 2010 after 37 years of consecutive growth. The racial gap in incarceration rates has also begun to narrow. To guide and give greater momentum to these reforms, this report examines a key force driving criminal justice outcomes: racial perceptions of crime. A complex set of factors explains the severity and selectivity of punishment in the United States, including public concern about crime as well as racial differences in crime rates. This report synthesizes existing research showing that skewed racial perceptions of crime – particularly, white Americans’ strong associations of crime with blacks and Latinos – have bolstered harsh and biased crime control policies. White Americans, who constitute a majority of policymakers, criminal justice practitioners, the media, and the general public, overestimate the proportion of crime committed by people of color and the proportion of racial minorities who commit crime. Even individuals who denounce racism often harbor unconscious and unintentional racial biases. Attributing crime to racial minorities limits empathy toward offenders and encourages retribution as the primary response to crime. Consequently, although whites experience less crime than people of color, they are more punitive.

    Other racial differences in views and experiences also
    contribute to whites being more punitive than people
    of color. Black Americans’ negative encounters with the criminal justice system and greater recognition of the root causes of crime temper their preference for punitive policies. White Americans, by contrast, have less frequent and more positive criminal justice contact, endorse more individualistic causal explanations of crime, and are more likely to harbor overt racial prejudice.

    I wanted to quote more from but it’s a pdf and I guess I can’t (or I’m a tech idiot and don’t know how to work around this).

  91. rq says

    Tony @148
    The video where she calls him back is @144.

    +++

    Also, that officer is now under investigation:

    Novara says that he was giving the broker a “heads up” and communicating with him as part of his responsibilities as a South Patrol officer. Novara adds that he was warning Maibes’ boss that the phones at the business might be “blowing up,” from people upset about her tweets.

    “Why did you think it was your place to do that?” Maibes asks.

    “Some of the tweets that I was seeing were inciteful,” Novara said. “That’s why I just wanted to let him know.”

    It’s unclear what tweets were of particular concern. [...]

    The association’s business manager, Jeff Roorda, claimed in a statement Thursday that Novara’s speech was protected under the First Amendment and that he was only “setting the record straight on public statements made by people spreading irresponsible lies and calling for violence against the police.”

    But whether the officer’s phone call to Maibes’ boss truly falls under the rights guaranteed by the Constitution is a matter of debate.

    Jeffrey Mittman, executive director for the ACLU of Missouri, said that the First Amendment limits government restrictions on free speech, but not necessarily how employers regulate employees’ speech.

    Ah, the ancient crime of tweeting while black! (Also note the Freez Peach! argument. That seems to apply to only half the people involved.)

    STL Today on that new witness who came forward anonymously (and spoke to the Grand Jury non-anonymously, I would say). Basically the same text as I had above. I also missed the fact within the article that the official autopsy has not actually been released yet. O.

    John Grisham, this one’s for you: St Louis cop arrested for child porn allegations. A retired officer.

    Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly on white privilege (video).

    It’s for Diversity!!!: Everyone In What Looks Like A Group Photo On GOP Governor’s Website Is Photoshopped, including the black woman. No, it’s not the same woman Republicans were using for their other ad.

    In St Louis, protest continues.

  92. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #31: new eyewitness testimony; if Black America was a country; the toll of protest on police (with a lot of problematic issues within); recap of Ferguson October; 5 key questions on the Darren Wilson grand jury; The Old Jim Crow; when government depends on citizens breaking the law (this on the court fees and traffic fines); public policy, segregation and the making of Ferguson; municipal court study; officer Blake under investigation for that shotgun of his.
    In fact, most stuff I have posted above is in this newsletter.

    That one about citizens breaking the law – it’s from a lawyer’s perspective, and it is painful. AND I DID NOT KNOW OCCUPANCY PERMITS WERE A THING:

    Occupancy permits are just one of the myriad ways in which these municipalities can sap funds from poor people. Basically, if you live in St. Louis County, you’re required to get one for your residents. It doesn’t matter if you rent or own. The police can then periodically make compliance checks (although generally they conduct these checks after they’ve been called to a residence for another reason, like a noise complaint or domestic dispute). If there are more people in your place than your permit allows, they can fine you and each person in your home. Attorneys I spoke to say the regulation can end up being a way to enforce antiquated local laws against unmarried cohabitation, and judging by comments you sometimes hear in courtrooms or from local officials, a way for police and prosecutors to essentially fine people for having premarital sex. You can probably guess which communities are most likely to be subjected to these occupancy inspections.

    Within that article, a woman gets fined $25 for staying the night at her boyfriend’s house, and she wasn’t on the occupancy permit. !!!!!! My brain is not comprehending this.
    The final three paragraphs of that article:

    All of which is to say that the problem here goes much deeper than racist cops or vitriolic protesters. Whether you believe Darren Wilson and side with his defenders, or you believe Michael Brown was murdered and you side with the protesters, you should want to fix St. Louis County. Figuring out what actually happened on that afternoon in Ferguson is important, but it isn’t nearly as important as what the incident has come to represent, however imperfect the representation. Police shootings happen everywhere. Questionable police shootings of unarmed suspects happen everywhere. Questionable police shootings of unarmed black suspects happen everywhere. Yet we’ve never seen a sustained protest like this.

    This isn’t as much about a police shooting as it is about the release of residual anger over an antagonistic system of governing that virtually requires its poorest citizens to live in misery and despair. Black residents identify with Michael Brown because odds are, many black residents have been harassed by police for jaywalking, wearing “saggy pants” or generally looking suspicious. You needn’t believe that all cops are racist to understand why that happens. If you’re a white cop in a town that’s 90 percent black, and your main job is to fine people for petty infractions, nearly all the people you cite for petty infractions are going to be black. If Bel-Ridge wasn’t collecting the equivalent of $450 in fines each year for each of the town’s residents, the town of Bel-Ridge probably wouldn’t exist. If the town of Pine Lawn weren’t issuing so many citations that its court now has the equivalent five outstanding arrest warrants for every resident, or Country Club Hills weren’t issuing so many that it has 26 per resident, those towns would probably evaporate, too. When a government’s operational budget relies on fines for inconsequential offenses, poor people will be disproportionately unable to pay those fines, or to pay an attorney to get them out of paying them. And when the repercussions of not paying them include a suspended license, more fines and, eventually, the constant fear of an imminent arrest, it becomes nearly impossible for them to maintain a job, shuttle kids to child care, get an education, obtain housing — basically to function as a human being. You not only make it extraordinarily difficult to escape the cycle of poverty, you remove from people any hope of ever escaping it.

    This is what St. Louis County government is built upon. And this is what needs to be changed.

    Yes. Yes, it does.

    Cop with shotgun, again – he is currently on leave. Paid, no doubt. While being investigated.

    Police on those unresolved murders: witnesses refuse tocome forward with information. Oh really?

  93. Saad says

    Michael Dunn sentenced to life in prison for the Jordan Davis murder.

    A Florida judge Friday sentenced Michael Dunn to life in prison without parole for the 2012 shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

    [. . .]

    Dunn, 47, was convicted of first-degree murder this month for shooting into an SUV full of teenagers at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas station after an argument over loud music from the teens’ vehicle.

  94. says

    Well, that’s justish, at least. Justice(TM) is for white people. Justish, or ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Justice’ to use the brand name, is justice recalibrated for darker skin tones in consumers of Justice(TM).

    Just would have been a law saying any random asshole can’t have a gun to kill people he doesn’t recognise as people. Just would have seen Jordan Davis continuing to hang with his friends.

  95. rq says

    In some ways, Tony, I wish there were more comments. But mostly, I just wish there wasn’t a need for a thread like this at all (and yes, I do think there’s a need).
    As for ‘justish’, needs a place in the OED immediately. :)

    +++

    Racism and privilege from an Asian point-of-view.

    Various elements helped open my eyes to the disparity of blacks, which included: Boyz n the Hood, the poignant and riveting film about the plight of gang violence in south central LA, humanely directed by John Singleton; the rise of Hip Hop music, potently conveyed by Tupac Shakur, N.W.A., and Public Enemy; and sadly, the notorious video of police brutality pertaining to Rodney King that ignited the 1992 Los Angeles riots. These social factors forcefully struck a conscientious nerve that altered my worldview. I recognized that individuals like Oprah Winfrey or Magic Johnson were outliers in terms of their success and acceptance from the mainstream; they were ultimately…one in a million. As a corollary, they didn’t represent the vast majority of American black folk whose pain and suffering remained rampant. [...]
    It’s a sensitive subject, even more so for blacks—who have excelled and flourished against the odds. Addressing the hardships of American black folk can be somewhat disparaging to those who have thrived…as it unfairly attaches a stigma to them. Not every black person is struggling to survive. Many have soared. Many have prospered. They have changed the landscape of the racial dynamic, which is actual and factual. Yet still, a significant portion of black Americans continue to fall behind, creating a gap in the black community. Cornel West, a prominent scholar and sagacious leader, will tell you the same about his race. Henry Louis Gates Jr., another renowned scholar, will also articulate a bleak and similar viewpoint. Even Barack Obama, America’s first black president, is fully aware of the lopsided gap in spite of his own success. The conversation nowadays has quietly changed from white and black inequality to black and black inequality. Spin it all you want, but the inconvenient truth painfully reveals that the everyday black man is still fighting to move forward, not only in America, but globally as well. [...]
    In my heart of hearts, the rise of Barack Obama was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it was a monumental step toward social equality with regard to minorities in America. On the other hand, it was also an obstruction, a detriment of sorts to racial progress. Barack’s presidential wins in 2008 and 2014 didn’t solve the hardships of American minorities. At best, it was a triumph in terms of symbolism, which is quite a feat nonetheless. Yet unfortunately, in the Obama era, it’s become an issue for everyday black folk to express their discontent when others are quick to argue, “Why are you complaining? You have a black president. Stop griping already.” Obviously, no one will publicly concede to it; but privately, amid their friends and families, this insensitive attitude is quite prevalent, which is awfully disturbing for the following reason. If we continue to harbor this quiet resentment behind closed doors, it will only create more appalling incidents like the fatal shooting of Treyvon Martin in Florida, or the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station, and most recently, the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The suppression of personal frustration will manifest itself in violent, destructive ways.

    Really liked (except for the use of ‘females’, but…).

    And the Toronto Star has a piece about an old piece of guilt-by-colour, namely – an interview with John Artis, the man who was convicted together with Rubin ‘The Hurricane’ Carter.

  96. rq says

    Protestors in Ferguson targeting police officers’ homes, concerns for officer safety.

    At the Ferguson City Council Tuesday, several protesters said they would start protesting at homes of police and government officials. Several demonstrators later showed up at the home of an MHP officer in Hazelwood. Authorities said the officer was not home at the time and the protesters left before police arrived.

    “These things are real, these things happen, so it’s a legitimate concern,” said Sgt. Brian Schellman with St. Louis County Police.

    Schellman said some officers fear retaliation by protesters against themselves or their family. Schellman said officers did not initially wear name tags during the protests in Ferguson because of a fear that someone would hack their email, or that violent protesters would come to their homes.

    Facing threats and shots makes protest duty emotional for police. Basically an article on the justification of using excessive force:

    But he said tear gas was necessary once Molotov cocktails and gunshots were fired.

    “It’s very tough to distinguish who is peaceful and who is not,” he said. “Tear gas was not thrown until it needed to be thrown. That was a last resort the whole time we were up at Ferguson. It keeps us safe and keeps protesters safe. It disperses the crowd.”
    [...]
    “Those shots were very close, within 100 yards. I actually heard rounds zipping by my head. That’s not a good feeling,” he said. “That really kind of hurts your feelings when…politicians get involved and people in social media get involved, ‘Well, what do they need those armored trucks for?’ Well, we need them because we’re getting shot at for no reason.”

    Within a hundred yards. Hurts their feelings. Shot at for no reason. When they brought the trucks first, then faced anger. *spits*

    New York Post, The Ferguson Effect: A Cop’s Eye View.

    “Ferguson” has become the latest defense for committing crime, often invoked by people we arrest and their loved ones. Sadly, this feeling has not only infected the normal criminal element that I expect that behavior from, but even seems to be affecting middle-class families.

    While the effects can be felt far away, the localized effects are far more serious. Last Wed­nesday, a white officer in St. Louis, Mo., returned fire — in other words, he was shot at first — killing a black male suspect.

    Normally, this event would barely garner back-page news, because sadly, it’s no longer newsworthy when a cop gets shot at. But, in the shadow of Ferguson, such an event is national news, and serves as fuel for more protests and vandalism.

    Cops getting shot at is not news-worthy anymore. Well, cops killing black kids has never before been news-worthy. More from that article:

    Did you know that in just three days last week, six cops were shot in the line of duty, one of whom was killed?

    Oct. 7, Chicago: One officer, a captain, is shot in the face and chest. Other officers at the scene take fire and are pinned down by the suspect.

    Oct. 8, North Las Vegas: An officer is shot during a gunfight with a suspect.

    Oct. 8, Phoenix: An officer on a traffic stop is shot in the face. The suspects flee; the officer calls for help. Two other officers arrive and start rendering aid, only to come under fire from the suspects who circled back and attacked the responding officers.

    Oct. 8, Oklahoma City: Two officers are shot by a suspect during the same event.

    Oct. 9, Midland County, Texas: Sgt. Mike Naylor is shot and killed while responding to a report of a sexual assault.

    Where are those stories in the national news?

    What does it say about the media who make a victim out of a criminal, and ignore the good guys being injured and killed trying to keep society safe?

    People ask me if things are different for cops since Ferguson.

    Yes, yes they are.

    I wonder how many black people have been shot in that same amount of time? That never make the news? Personally, any shooting that happens should be news-worthy because it should be that rare, no matter who is doing the shooting against whom. Sadly…

    Another on the cop calling the protestor’s employer. Same info, nothing new, just for archiving purposes.

    From Chicago to Geneva, a call for police accountability:

    It’s realities like the one currently playing out in Ferguson – and what African-American communities have seen as a lack of police accountability on the ground for decades – that have helped spur a group of activists in Chicago to turn outside the US criminal justice system to force accountability for police misconduct.

    Instead, they are taking their complaints to the United Nations.

    We Charge Genocide, a coalition organizing against police brutality in Chicago, will send six organizers to present a report to the UN Committee Against Torture on November 12 and 13. At issue during the committee’s 53rd session will be whether the US government is fully abiding by the Convention Against Torture.

    By We Charge Genocide’s estimation, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is torturing youth of color. “The CPD’s conduct constitutes torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment as defined by the Convention, and occurs at extraordinary rates, disproportionately against black and brown youth, and with impunity,” Page May, an organizer with We Charge Genocide, told Truthout.

  97. rq says

    Back to Ferguson and Darren Wilson: Why he isn’t charged and why he most likely will not be, which is the general feeling from twitter- that there will be no indictment at all.

    Danger signs: Prosecution not pushing for indictment

    Danger Sign #1: Prosecutor McCulloch, with close ties to law enforcement and who has indicated no particular enthusiasm for prosecuting this case, has refused to recuse himself, despite calls from tens of thousands in the community via a petition drive that he do so.

    Danger Sign #2: McCulloch chose not to review the investigation himself and file charges directly. This was an option available to him. Instead, he chose to take the case to grand jury, which has proceeded very slowly, dragging on for months. Delays favor the defense, because at trial, witnesses’ memories fade, and the prosecution has the burden of proof. And of course, if the grand jury chooses not to indict, McCulloch can claim that it was their decision, not his, and wash his hands of the matter.

    Danger Sign #3: McCulloch has said that he is giving the jurors every scrap of evidence and then they will decide what charges, if any, are appropriate. Dumping all the evidence on the jury and letting them decide may sound fair, but generally prosecutors put on just enough evidence to establish probable cause that a crime has been committed and save the rest for trial. While prosecutors must reveal exculpatory evidence, this is the biggest red flag of all.

    There’s a nice comparison with Trayvon Martin’s murder and Zimmermann within.

    In the same vein, Why Darren Wilson hasn’t been charged: basically, because of the grand jury format and extended time period. The article is long and well-worth quoting, there’s just so much of it with lots of good questions. I recommend just reading it.

    #VestOrVote – against bulletproof vests for children and on voting.

    The ironic billboard [photo at the site, near the bottom of the text] is part of the #VoteOrVest campaign started by the Florida community organization the Dream Defenders. The group first came to the national spotlight after staging a 31-day sit-in at Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager. [...]
    Taylor hopes the unusual campaign will cut through apathy and inspire people of color to vote despite what she sees as the “dismal” political climate and disenfranchisement of black and Latino voters in Florida.

    “The climate in Florida has been very bleak.” Taylor told msnbc. “It’s almost like there is a feeling of hopelessness. A lot of times you ask someone in Florida who they’re voting for and they’ll say ‘do you really think this will help us?’”

    As a group, the organization believes voting is one integral part of a multi-pronged strategy for political power. “We don’t believe that voting is the only way to be politically engaged, but voting is important, especially in midterm elections.”

    Specifically, the Dream Defenders hope people will look beyond the draw of voting for big name candidates in flashy presidential elections and vote in local elections as well. “You need to think about more than just presidential or gubernatorial. Think about who you’re voting for for mayor or for sheriff. These are people that decide the quality of life in your community,” Taylor maintained.

    And while on the topic of voting, helping poor people vote improves public health. At least, it did in Brazil.

    Another shooting in Ferguson. police involved. A bit more info in tweets up next.

  98. rq says

    Pictures of/from protest: In London, “Dear America, What the hell are you doing??”; I don’t want to hate you, I want to hug you; in San Franciso bay during Cardinals game.

    thisisthemovement, installment #32: same articles on Darren Wilson not being charged; articles plus video on the threatening police officer; youth and the resistance; legal analysis comparing Michael Brown case with Trayvon Martin; VonDerrit’s family responds to police narrative; deadline extended for task force in Ferguson for civilian review board; “Outside Agitators”, Community and the Movement; Ferguson documentary banned in STL theatre; restoring voting rights to non-violent drug offenders. Yes, the links overlap, but there’s some stuff I didn’t catch.

    Here’s the article on youth on the frontlines, I jsut like it a lot and it deserves its own link.

    “I love Ferguson” planning alternative Halloween event, over safety concerns.

  99. rq says

    Mike Brown shooting hits close to home for new Ferguson resident:

    It was back in 2009 that Robernae’s friend Kiwane “Lil Tez” Carrington was shot by a police officer. The teenager was locked out of his grandmother’s home and was trying to get the keys to the house by climbing through a window. A neighbor reported a burglary and an officer arrived on the scene and shot Kiwane in the back, Robernae said. Police told a different story — that Kiwane was in a struggle with the police officer when he was shot. The officer wasn’t charged after authorities classified the shooting as an accident.

    Robernae’s family moved to Ferguson last year hoping to escape such conditions. Robernae’s mother, Anitra Davis, who has five children ranging in age from 15 to 22, was attracted by the decent public schools. They are one of 5,000 families in Ferguson, population 21,000, according to 2010 Census data.

    But life in Ferguson has been far from bucolic, Robernae said. The largely black population is ruled by a nearly all-white government. While she said she doesn’t fear the police in the St. Louis suburbs, she said friends in Ferguson “will treat the police differently. If they come close, they’ll just walk away. .. I have friends that have been stopped for no reason.”

    After Brown’s death in August, Robernae wrote a poem titled “Canfield Fire,” named after the Ferguson street where Brown was shot and killed by Police Officer Darren Wilson. In the middle of the street, a memorial still stands for Brown piled with candles. “I wrote the poem because the incident that happened to Mike Brown also happened to my friend in Illinois,” Robernae said.

    It’s everywhere.

    An American horror story: open letter from Ferguson protestors and allies, full text:

    n Open Letter From Ferguson Protestors and Allies (10.17.14)
    Permission is granted to reprint. For inquiries regarding this letter, please contact @deray .
    We are living an American Horror Story.
    The unlawful slaughter of black bodies by the hands of power has continued day after day, year after year, century after century, life by precious life, since before the first chain was slipped around black wrists. Black youth, brimming with untapped potential, but seen as worthless and unimportant. Black activists, stalwart in pursuit of liberation, but perceived as perpetual threats to order and comfort. Black men, truly and earnestly clinging to our dignity, written off as the ravenous, insatiable black savage. Black women, always unflinchingly running toward our freedom, dismissed as bitter and angry after long denial and suffering.
    Not one group of us has been spared from the bullet or the beating, too many armed only with our Blackness, left to live this American Horror Story.
    The story has come alive once again in Ferguson. Ours were the bodies, the strange fruit that swung from the poplar trees. Ours were the bodies, the motionless forms stretched out in the street for 4.5 hours. Ours were the bodies, left to be seen to rot as warnings against being too uppity, too confident, too bold, too free.
    Ours were the bodies, served up as notice to remain humbly and quietly in our place, never to awaken America’s
    fear of Blackness.

    It was Emmett’s body in Mississippi. Little Aiyana’s body in Michigan. Amadou’s body in New York City. Travyon in a Sanford gated community. Jordan in a Florida gas station. Jonathan’s body on a North Carolina road. Renisha’s body o
    n a Detroit front porch. John in an Ohio Walmart. Ezell on a Los Angeles sidewalk. Eric’s body on a New York corner. Mike’s body on a Ferguson street. It was names and bodies that we will never know in cities and towns across this land.
    In every main street and dark corner of this nation, Black people are unsafe to breathe, walk, speak, lead, move, grow, learn and be without the distinct possibility that our blackness will be seen as enough weapon to justify the taking of our lives. Our education doesn’t save us, for Mike was on his way to college. Our respectability doesn’t spare us, for men and women were lynched in three-piece suits and Sunday dresses. Our innocence doesn’t protect us, for little Aiyana was only seven years old when the officer’s bullet struck her down. We are living an American Horror story. From every corner of life we have assembled, time and time again, to demand we turn the page. Time and again we were met with militarized forces that unlawfully tamped down on peaceful action and peaceful people.
    That we must keep emphasizing the civil nature of our disobedience and highly organized struggle is but another moment in the myth of the so-called Black savage our country seems determined to pen on us. We are despised for our struggle for freedom, despite learning it from those patriots at the Boston Harbor who cried “give me liberty, or give me death” and those Black freedom fighters whose likeness and admonitions are now emblazoned in our
    Nation’s Capital.

    In Ferguson, police met our protesting of police brutality with the disgusting irony of greater brutality, the likes of which Americans had never seen on our own soil. In this American town, officers tapped their batons, pointed guns in our faces, kneed our women’s heads, threw our pregnant mothers to the ground, jailed our peaceful clergy and academics, and tear gassed our children. We are living an American Horror Story. But it is significantly past time for the story to end. Never to be told again.
    The onus to close this book falls directly on our leadership. Our elected leaders bear direct responsibility to ensure the safety of every one of its citizens at the hands of its agents, and to capture justice for every life taken. In this, the land of the free, you are responsible for securing and preserving that freedom for all of your citizens, irrespective of – or perhaps, especially because of – our skin.
    In a story in which we have been overwhelmingly targeted, unduly struck down by threat of our blackness, we require explicit attention, protection and value. We require freedom, and will hold everyone accountable to preserving our inalienable right.
    We will no longer live this American Horror Story.
    Nonviolent direct action is a necessary, vital, and wholly American tool in forcing meaningful, permanent, transformative action from our leaders and fellow citizens. Today, the 70th day of this nightmare, some may wonder why we have yet to stop – to stop chanting, stop marching, stop occupying .
    But we have not yet found peace because we do not yet know justice. Therefore we, together with our allies, will continue to occupy the streets and the American consciousness until the book is closed. Even in facing this terror, we have not met those who mean us harm with the same.
    Even in the face of this terror, we will continue to force the readers and writers of this, a most American of horror stories, to face the blackness that they fear, the blackness they have spent this entire story trying to erase, trying to soften, trying to co-opt, trying to escape. We will no longer allow you to escape this story and pretend that the epidemic of black lives dying by white hands is merely a figment of an active Black imagination. You must come face to face with the horror that we live daily.
    You must come to know and profess the truth of this story, and be determined to end it. We are not concerned if this inconveniences you.
    Dead children are more than an inconvenience. We are not concerned if this disturbs your comfort.
    Freedom outweighs that privilege. We are not concerned if this upsets order.
    Your calm is built on our terror. We are not concerned if this disrupts normalcy.
    We will disrupt life until we can live.
    This is an American Horror Story. Together, we are writing the final chapter.

    An Open Letter From Ferguson Protestors and Allies (10.17.14)
    Permission is granted to reprint. For inquiries regarding this letter, please contact @deray .
    We sign:
    @2LiveUnchained @AbernM @akacharleswade @alaurice @ampstlouis @barbd_wyre @bdoulaoblongata @BeutfulStranger @blackstarjus @BrownBlaze @dejuanh @deray @dlatchison011 @dreamhampton @Felonius_munk @geauxAWAYheaux @Haiku_RS @iam_MzCaram3l @ittynitty1992 @jadorekennedy @JamilahLemieux @JustAlandria @justinbaragona @JustRod @Kaephoria @Kenya_D @kfen73 @kidnoble @missleighcarter @Misterbiceps @Mocha_Skyy @mollyrosestl @MsPackyetti @NakedDiary @nettaaaaaaaa @nina_badasz @OwlAsylum @Patricialicious @princebraden @RE_invent_ED @realbodean @rikrik__ @Salute_DeezNutz @Search4Swag @shear_beauty @StaceDiva @TammieHolland @tdubbohmygod @teemichelle @thediva1975 @tristantaylor88 @vcmitchelljr @WesKnuckle @WyzeChef

    (I may have messed up some punctuation, sorry.)

  100. rq says

    Tony s blog post: protests continue.

    NY Times on Darren Wilson: police officer recounts a struggle.

    The officer, Darren Wilson, has told the authorities that during the scuffle, Mr. Brown reached for the gun. It was fired twice in the car, according to forensics tests performed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The first bullet struck Mr. Brown in the arm; the second bullet missed.

    The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck.

    Yet this information is only being presented now… And the gun had to have been very close to Michael Brown, to have his blood on it.
    More:

    In September, Officer Wilson appeared for four hours before a St. Louis County grand jury, which was convened to determine whether there is probable cause that he committed a crime. Legal experts have said that his decision to testify was surprising, given that it was not required by law. But the struggle in the car may prove to be a more influential piece of information for the grand jury, one that speaks to Officer Wilson’s state of mind, his feeling of vulnerability and his sense of heightened alert when he killed Mr. Brown.

    Police officers typically have wide latitude to use lethal force if they reasonably believe that they are in imminent danger. [...]
    The officials briefed on the case said the forensic evidence gathered in the car lent credence to Officer Wilson’s version of events. According to his account, he was trying to leave his vehicle when Mr. Brown pushed him back in. Once inside the S.U.V., the two began to fight, Officer Wilson told investigators, and he removed his gun from the holster on his right hip. [...]
    “What the police say is not to be taken as gospel,” Mr. Crump said, adding that Officer Wilson should be indicted by the grand jury and his case sent to trial. “He can say what he wants to say in front of a jury. They can listen to all the evidence and the people can have it transparent so they know that the system works for everybody.”

    He added: “The officer’s going to say whatever he’s going to say to justify killing an unarmed kid. Right now, they have this secret proceeding where nobody knows what’s happening and nobody knows what’s going on. No matter what happened in the car, Michael Brown ran away from him.”

    So the answer, I guess, when in your car and feeling frightened and vulnerable as your quarry runs away, is to get out of the car and shoot him down. Makes sense to me, right. Not. I can see Michael pushing Wilson back into the car – to get away from him! How is that a threat to Wilson, if then Michael turns around to run away? Honestly, this is information that will probably not help the case for indictment (he was scaaaared!), but it should do the exact opposite. At the very least, Wilson should have called for back-up. Not got out of the car alone. That action speaks to me of anger and aggression, not a frightened case of self-defense. Especially in a supposedly-trained police officer.

  101. says

    Did the NYPD really need to pepper spray a guy waiting for the train?

    On Sunday, September 28, New York Police Department officers pepper-sprayed and arrested a young man named A. B. Simmons at a subway station in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. According to a video of the incident obtained by VICE, Simmons was approached by an individual cop between 12:30 and 1 AM at the Atlantic Ave. – Barclays center stop, the busiest in the borough. After being told he was not under arrest, Simmons, already visibly upset, grew angry and tried to get away from the officer, who was subsequently joined by another cop. After appearing to lunge at one of the officers, he was pepper-sprayed while they handcuffed him.

    An eyewitness told me the confrontation was sparked by an accusation of turnstile-jumping (or “fare-beating”), one of the low-level offenses targeted under NYPD Commissioner William Bratton’s beloved “broken windows” policing strategy. Regardless of what set it off, the incident provides fresh ammunition for a growing legion of critics who say broken windows means routine, violent nightmares for people of color.

    According to Kenneth Montgomery, who witnessed and filmed the encounter, Simmons entered the train station around the same time he did and was waiting on the platform for about 20 minutes before being approached by the first officer. Montgomery told me he saw Simmons swipe in with his Metrocard. The cop who approached Simmons had previously spoken with a group of young men skating down the ramp, asking for their identification. After checking the skaters’ ID and letting them go, he approached Simmons. Montgomery began filming once the conversation between Simmons and the police officer got heated.

    “Something told me to start filming it just to see what’s going to happen, because basically the officer was trying to say he didn’t swipe his Metrocard, but [Simmons] was like, ‘Yes, I did. What are you talking about?’” Montgomery said.

    Simmons apparently told the officers he had bought an unlimited metro card several days before and had swiped it through the turnstile that night. He can be heard in the video screaming for someone to take his card and try swiping it, presumably to prove its validity. Montgomery can’t make sense of the officers’ decision to pepper-spray the man.

    “It just got crazy for no reason,” he said. “I honestly felt like the other cop had no reason to pull out his mace and spray him.”

    Montgomery also thinks the time line for the encounter was strange, to say the least.

    “If he hopped the turnstile, why wait 18 to 20 minutes to go approach him about it? Usually, if someone hops the train, they [approach them] right away.”

    Simmons was taken to the 78th Precinct, where he was held overnight. His charges include fare-dodging, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The NYPD did not respond to VICE’s inquiries about the arrest.

    Note the complaint of ‘broken window’ policing.

    Eric Garner’s death saw cries of ‘broken windows’ policing

    What is ‘broken windows policing?

    The broken windows model of policing was first described in 1982 in a seminal article by Wilson and Kelling. Briefly, the model focuses on the importance of disorder (e.g. broken windows) in generating and sustaining more serious crime. Disorder is not directly linked to serious crime; instead, disorder leads to increased fear and withdrawal from residents, which then allows more serious crime to move in because of decreased levels of informal social control. The police can play a key role in disrupting this process. If they focus in on disorder and less serious crime in neighborhoods that have not yet been overtaken by serious crime, they can help reduce fear and resident withdrawal. Promoting higher levels of informal social control will help residents themselves take control of their neighborhood and prevent serious crime from infiltrating.

    What is the Evidence on Broken Windows Policing?

    The broken windows model as applied to policing has been difficult to evaluate for a number of reasons. First, agencies have applied broken windows policing in a variety of ways, some more closely following the Wilson and Kelling (1982) model than others. Perhaps the most prominent adoption of a broken windows approach to crime and disorder has occurred in New York City. In other agencies though, broken windows policing has been synonymous with zero tolerance policing, in which disorder is aggressively policed and all violators are ticketed or arrested. The broken windows approach is far more nuanced than zero tolerance allows, at least according to Kelling and Coles (1996) and so it would seem unfair to evaluate its effectiveness based on the effectiveness of aggressive arrest-based approaches that eliminate officer discretion. Thus, one problem may be that police departments are not really using broken windows policing when they claim to be.

    A second concern is how to properly measure broken windows treatment. The most frequent indicator of broken windows policing has been misdemeanor arrests, in part because these data are readily available. Arrests alone, however, do not fully capture an approach that Kelling and Coles (1996) describe as explicitly involving community outreach and officer discretion. Officers must decide whether an arrest is appropriate and many police stops and encounters with citizens in broken windows policing do not end in arrest. As opposed to a zero-tolerance policy focused only on arresting all minor offenders, Kelling and Coles (1996) describe a more community-oriented approach to partnering with residents and community groups to tackle disorder collectively in a way that still respects the civil liberties of offenders. Whether the NYPD was able to adopt this model successfully remains up for debate but it does suggest that the intervention is complex and difficult to evaluate.

    Third, the broken windows model suggests a long term indirect link between disorder enforcement and a reduction in serious crime and so existing evaluations may not be appropriately evaluating broken windows interventions. If there is a link between disorder enforcement and reduction in serious crime generated by increased informal social control from residents, we would expect it would take some time for these levels of social control in the community to increase. Policing studies usually use short-follow up periods and so may not capture these changing neighborhood dynamics.

    There is also no consensus on the existence of a link between disorder and crime, and how to properly measure such a link if it does indeed exist. For example, Skogan’s (1990) research in six cities did suggest a relationship between disorder and later serious crime, but Harcourt (2001) suggested in a re-analysis of Skogan’s (1990) data that there was no significant relationship between disorder and serious crime. Hence, there is no clear answer as to the link between crime and disorder and whether existing research supports or refutes broken windows theory.

  102. rq says

    SLU president posts an update on protests. Full text:

    A Demonstration Update from the President: Oct 18

    To the Saint Louis University Community:

    This afternoon, the small encampment at the clock tower was voluntarily and permanently removed by a group of SLU students and the other demonstrators.

    This peaceful outcome was the result of many intense hours of outreach and conversation with clock tower demonstrators, community organizers, clergy, city leaders and members of the University campus.

    Now, the University must come together.

    We will move to more formal and institutionalized conversations about race on our campus. We also will begin to devise short- and long-term initiatives that retain and attract more students and faculty of color, promote equal opportunity, and advance focused economic development in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

    These efforts are completely consistent with the mission of this University. They are just the start of what I had announced in my inaugural address: That this extraordinary University bring to bear its creative, intellectual and economic energy and help lead St. Louis to a better place.

    This week has been a challenge for many of us, including me.

    Unlike some with whom I spoke, I have never been followed by security throughout a department store, had taxicab drivers refuse to pick me up, or been seated by the bathrooms of a half-empty restaurant. But those indignities — and far worse — are not uncommon to people of color, including our students, faculty and staff.

    Many of their life experiences, described to me in stark and painful terms, have weighed on me as peaceful demonstrations and teach-ins have played out this week.

    Also weighing on me has been the concern expressed by some students and parents who were worried about a non-peaceful outcome to this demonstration. Many of you who wrote or called felt that this demonstration was inappropriate for our campus.

    In addition, I was disheartened by some of the harsh and ugly words hurled via social media, phone calls and emails that only fueled anxiety, misunderstandings and divisions on all sides at a time when what we needed most was to listen and learn and find common ground.

    While there have been setbacks and sudden tensions along the way, we acted quickly to ease them. And spurring us on toward the peaceful outcome we have achieved this afternoon have been the many thoughtful and inspiring voices I have heard this week, especially from our students. Their commitment to our mission and values continues to inspire me each day. I also appreciate the voices of our faculty and staff, community organizers, ministers and young voices in the African-American community throughout the region.

    This has been a difficult week. I know it has consumed my every waking hour trying to find a point of common ground and mutual understanding. I believe we are there.

    I also wish to apologize to you that my total attention to secure a resolution meant that I could not personally respond to your calls and emails. I want you to know I heard you. In the coming days and weeks, there will be opportunities for us to communicate more directly.

    I want to thank everyone who displayed the best of what our Jesuit University stands for this past week.

    Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.
    President

    From the Onion: Police Pleasantly surprised to learn man they shot was armed.

    Today was the #MothersMarch. I don’t have too many photos, but here’s another.

    thisisthemovement, installment #33: Darren Wilson’s account; Why VonDerrit Matters; Too much Ferguson?; the whiteness project (which Tony caught, above); racial disparity in police shootings – it must be addressed; racist housing that built Ferguson; the sentencing of Michael Dunn; stop and frisk, and urban trauma; the cost of police presence (all that overtime…). The usual calendar, donation links, etc. Go look!

  103. rq says

    Okay, and the perfect chance for comparison (I’m not going to dig for more on this one, since the browser keeps crashing DAMN YOU TWITTER errr no DAMN YOU BROWSER).
    But.
    There was a pumpkinfest. In New Hampshire. That didn’t end well (BuzzFeed).

    But by the evening, the event took a chaotic turn. Hundreds of students gathered in the streets and backyards, drinking excessively and starting riots.

    Ah, but they were white, therefore we apply this comparison, and voila! they are simply people having a little too much fun. Here, get it now? I heard there was tear-gas, as per BuzzFeed:

    Police responded quickly and with force, bringing canine units, SWAT gear, and using tear gas, tasers, and pepper spray against the students, according to witnesses and reports on social media.

    With something like 50 arrests. But oh no, not riots, just kids having too much fun and forgetting themselves. Some of the aftermath.
    While other people protesting and demanding a right to a peaceful, unharassed existence is condemned. *spits* The article also lists some nice comparisons in media portrayal.
    And they say racism isn’t a thing anymore. Can I scream now?

  104. rq says

    Here’s Fox News on Pumpkinfest.

    Poor kids who do everything right don’t do better than rich kids who do everything wrong (Washington Post).

    Specifically, rich high school dropouts remain in the top about as much as poor college grads stay stuck in the bottom — 14 versus 16 percent, respectively. Not only that, but these low-income strivers are just as likely to end up in the bottom as these wealthy ne’er-do-wells. Some meritocracy. [...]
    But even if they didn’t, low-income kids would still have a hard time getting ahead. That’s, in part, because they’re targets for diploma mills that load them up with debt, but not a lot of prospects. And even if they do get a good degree, at least when it comes to black families, they’re more likely to still live in impoverished neighborhoods that keep them disconnected from opportunities.

    Those police officers, always up for nabbing those criminal types: 9th Wonder pulled over by cops, but he tells his own account on Facebook (within the article):

    Ok…..

    It went down like this….and pull from it what you will…

    On the way home from A3C Music Festival(which was CRAZY by the way…shouts to A3C), on I-85 North crossing the South Carolina border, and passed a Sheriff that was sitting on the side of the road. The speed limit was 65…..I was doing about 69-70….

    The cop pulls out when I passed him and pulled up behind me. I have “Harvard Est. 1636″ around my license plate(for those who don’t know I am a Harvard Fellow and a Lecturer there). He pulls up, no blue lights. Then he pulls up beside me, and looks in my car. It’s myself, my assistant Tia, and Rapsody.

    He gets BACK behind my car….*BLUE LIGHTS*….

    So I pull over….

    He comes to the passenger side of the car. He asks for my license and registration(I already had it out). I gave it to him. Then he says…

    “Can you step outside the car?”

    Ok….THIS is the moment where I’m at a crossroad…..

    A). Exercise my rights, (I failed to mention that my assistant Tia is one of my best friends since 1989, and got her Law Degree from Ole Miss), before Mr. Officer decides to exercise HIS right to call back up and have 5 cars up behind ours, and to say I was resisting arrest for asking why do I need to get out of the car……

    B).Get out of the car so no one gets hurt.

    I step out of the car and walk behind my vehicle…

    The conversation went like this…

    Officer: “Do you know why I stopped you?”
    Me: “Nope”
    Officer: “You moved into the rumble strip lane a little and you got a crack in your windshield..Is this your car?”
    Me: “Yeah…it says Patrick Douthit on my registration”
    Off: “What do you do?”
    Me: “Music Producer…and I also am a Professor…”
    Off: “Where?”
    Me:”Harvard, Duke, and NC Central…” as I point to my license plate..”
    Off: “No Kiddin…”
    Me:”Would you like to see my ID’s officer?”

    Long pause…….

    O: “Who is that in the car?”
    M:”That’s my assistant, and my artist…”
    O:”Artist? She draws?”
    M:”No….she is an emcee…a rapper”
    O:”Oh ok….you play any instruments?”
    M:”Yeah…I played 7 in high school, mainly just use beat equipment now, and I deejay”
    O:”You say you teach school…what college did you graduate from?”
    M:”I didn’t graduate…”
    O: “Wow…you got it all figured out…..do you drink…..any drugs?”
    M:”Nope”
    O:”Ever been arrested? Any trouble?”
    M:”Nope….I personally don’t have time for that…”

    So he asks me to stand there…and he proceeds to the car to ask Rap and Tia the SAME thing…to see if my story checks out…he walks back 5 min later…

    O:”You oughta give your assistant a raise”
    M: *Blank Stare*
    O:”Your license valid?”
    M:”Yep”
    O:”Ok…I’ma call your license in…..”……

    We wait…

    O:”You married?”
    M”Yep…You?”
    O:”Yep, 14 years…
    M:”That’s good……I got kids too…I’m trying to get home so I can see them if you don’t mind officer…”
    O:”Ok…….”

    They call him back and tell him I had no warrants….and no charges….

    By that time…he has found what he thinks…is a Unicorn….

    O: “Ok man……your artist has some music out?”
    M: “Yep”
    O: “She like…hardcore rap?”
    M: “Officer I don’t know your knowledge of the music….but….you ever heard of the Fugees?”
    O: “Yep”
    M: “She’s like a Lauryn Hill type of style”
    O: “Seems like you got it all figured out….I’m just gonna give you a warning ticket…..you can keep it or not….”
    M: “Cool….”
    O: “Yall be safe….”

    Take from this what you will….I know this though….

    Never in a million years tell me my skin color doesn’t matter…..any wrong words or movements…I could of been arrested….or dead…

    Yes…your Grammy Award Winning, Professorial, Sample Chopping, favorite Producer…

    I’m black first….before anything…..

    Ferguson protestors brace for no indictment, with a highlight on the recent (hearsay?) account of Darren Wilson’s testimony.

    That government officials familiar with the civil rights investigation into the shooting are leaking information to the media on Wilson’s side of the story, however, suggests the Justice Department will not be pressing civil rights charges against the police officer. It also calls into question whether the St. Louis County grand jury, tasked with determining whether Wilson committee a crime, will indict him.

    “Many of us are shocked. This feel likes a coordinated media campaign to prepare us for a no indictment decision,” Deray McKesson, an organizer for the protests in the wake of Brown’s death, told msnbc Saturday. “The timing of this article suggests there will not be even a civil rights filing, which is dangerous.” [...]
    “Leaked testimony from Officer Darren Wilson contains nothing more than the same tired tropes of menacing black rage that have been used for centuries to brutalize black youth,” the Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, said in a statement. ”This community will continue to do what it has been doing since day one: demand answers and justice for another fallen black child, led by the brave young people who have refused to bow down even in the face of tanks, tear gas and the cross hairs of snipers.”

    May they have strength and support in the continued fight.

    Today in international racism, Russian tennis official gets one-year suspension for making horrible comments about the Williams sisters. I won’t repeat them here, they’re in the article, but ” Serena Williams says comments by the head of the Russian Tennis Federation referring to her and older sister Venus as “brothers” were bullying, sexist and racist, and that she supported the one-year suspension imposed by the WTA against the official.”

    “I think the WTA did a great job of taking [the] initiative and taking immediate action to his comments,” Williams said Sunday in Singapore ahead of her WTA Finals defense. “I thought they were very insensitive and extremely sexist as well as racist at the same time. I thought they were in a way bullying.”

    Asked whether he regretted his comments, Tarpischev told The Associated Press on Saturday at the Kremlin Cup that the program on which he spoke was “a humorous show.” When asked about his ban, Tarpischev said: “I can’t comment. I don’t understand it.”

    Yes, he wouldn’t, would he.

  105. carlie says

    CNN’s coverage of PumpkinFest doesn’t mention the riot gear response, but does have some interesting quotes from people involved. And by “interesting”, I mean “absurdly privileged”.

    Authorities weren’t able to provide exact figures, but CNN affiliates reported dozens of arrests and the Southwest New Hampshire Mutual Aid Dispatch Center reported multiple ambulances being sent to the scene.
    “I got hit with a Jack Daniel’s bottle, like across the face,” Keene State student Roger Creekmore told WMUR.
    Steven French, 18, who was visiting from Haverhill, Massachusetts, described the chaotic scene to the local paper, The Keene Sentinel, as “wicked.”
    “It’s just like a rush. You’re revolting from the cops,” he told the paper Saturday night. “It’s a blast to do things that you’re not supposed to do.”
    Other young people shouted expletives at police, started fires in the road, pulled down a street sign and apparently tried to flip over a Subaru, the Sentinel said.

  106. rq says

    Political scientist detained before trip to Ferguson, Missouri. Intro to the interview:

    Charlie Grapski a political theorist and scientist, had planned to travel to Ferguson, Missouri to study irregularities in local government and to investigate the police shooting of Mike Brown, but was detained. He was released Saturday afternoon after being held under Florida’s Baker Act. Police alleged Grapski had made threats to officials and was detained at Park Place Behavioral Health Center in Kissimmee, Florida for 48 hours, but not charged.

    In the following interview, Mr. Grapski described his detention as an “gross misuse” of his constitutional rights. He told of his future plans to continue investigating the local government in Ferguson. He also offered some advice for activists working to expose abuses by local law enforcement.Grapski had planned to meet with the Saint Louis District Attorney and local government officials from Ferguson to investigate the August 9 shooting of Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer.

  107. rq says

    First some protesting: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4 (that last picture is of the PD as protest supporters tried to find out some information about the two who got arrested at the game – apparently, they were spit on by fans, there was some physical conflict, and in the end, only protestors (two) got arrested; there was also some issue about the bond amount and who could accept it (of employees)).
    Solidarity in Greenville, SC: photo 5.

  108. rq says

    The Boston Globe on Keene and Pumpkinfest and those adorably rowdy students. The vandalism is variously called ‘the disruption’, ‘the crowd’, ‘out of control [fun]‘, ‘chaotic’ and ‘extreme’. But never, not in this article, a ‘riot’, or ‘vandalism’, or any other specifically negative word. Contrast that to the one night of looting and several nights of police excess in Ferguson. Just riots, and riots, and violent riots. And from what I understand, the footage used in TV media of Ferguson is exactly that – the violent, tear-gas bits, and never ever the peaceful protesting that went on during those same days and is still going on now.

    Raw Story also looks at the event, through the eyes of twitter. Epic lesson, indeed!

    One rioter, Steven French, told the Keene Sentinel that he traveled from Haverhill, Massachusetts to attend the festival because he knew it would be “f*cking wicked.”

    “It’s just like a rush. You’re revolting from the cops,” he continued. “It’s a blast to do things that you’re not supposed to do.”

    The police viewed the behavior of French and his cohorts less favorably, barricading streets and firing tear gas into crowds in an effort to disperse them.

    There follows a series of awesome Twitter. A sample:

    White people in New Hampshire really need to do some self-reflection and regulate their animal impulses in the wake of #keenepumpkinfest.

    These are no angels. RT @raywert: Look at these thug gang-bangers in Keene, NH. #pumpkinfest [with photo of white students standing on overturned car]

    How many of the defiant white youth causing mayhem & destruction come from fatherless families? #PumpkinRiot

    If white people continue to glorify pumpkin violence in their culture they deserve the spice-latte thug stereotypes. [with photo of Disney's headless horseman from the Tale of Ichabod Crane film]

    A question: Is it legal for police to shoot an unarmed surrendered citizen?

    Considering the facts of Mike Brown’s shooting death at the hands of Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, the question is, then, is it legal for a police officer who is reasonably aware that a citizen is unarmed, to shoot and kill that citizen if the citizen is incapacitated or has peaceably surrendered?

    In the end, the shooting death of Brown and the case against Wilson may go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Follow below for more. [...]

    There, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling from the 6th Circuit, and clarified why in its decision:

    The Court explained that shooting a fleeing felon dead is constitutionally unreasonable because “The intrusiveness of a seizure by means of deadly force is unmatched. The suspect’s fundamental interest in his own life need not be elaborated upon. The use of deadly force also frustrates the interest of the individual, and of society, in judicial determination of guilt and punishment. Against these interests are ranged governmental interests in effective law enforcement …. we are not convinced that the use of deadly force is a sufficiently productive means of accomplishing them to justify the killing of nonviolent suspects.”

    The Court went on to say, “The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable. It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape. Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so. It is no doubt unfortunate when a suspect who is in sight escapes, but the fact that the police arrive a little late or are a little slower afoot does not always justify killing the suspect. A police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead. The Tennessee statute is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes the use of deadly force against such fleeing suspects.”

    “Officer Hymon could not reasonably have believed that Garner — young, slight, and unarmed — posed any threat. Indeed, Hymon never attempted to justify his actions on any basis other than the need to prevent an escape. The District Court stated in passing that “[t]he facts of this case did not indicate to Officer Hymon that Garner was ‘nondangerous.'” …. This conclusion is not explained, and seems to be based solely on the fact that Garner had broken into a house at night. However, the fact that Garner was a suspected burglar could not, without regard to the other circumstances, automatically justify the use of deadly force. Hymon did not have probable cause to believe that Garner, whom he correctly believed to be unarmed, posed any physical danger to himself or others.”

    “It is not, however, unconstitutional on its face. Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force. Thus, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where feasible, some warning has been given. As applied in such circumstances, the Tennessee statute would pass constitutional muster.”

    This Missouri statute is the state law governing under what circumstances police officers can use force, and it was the primary statute used to protect officers Robert Piekutowski and Keith Kierzkowski in the shooting deaths of Murray and Beasley. It will also be the statute used to protect Wilson in the shooting death of Brown. The problem with this Missouri statute is that it has not been updated in the decades since the Supreme Court handed down the Tennessee v. Garner decision and is, according to Chad Flanders, a law professor at St. Louis University, “unconstitutional.” As Flanders explains:

    As it is written, the Missouri statute says that an officer is justified in his use of deadly force if he believes that it is necessary to effect the arrest of a person and the officer also believes that the person “has attempted to commit or has committed a felony.”

    In a 1985 case, Tennessee v. Garner, the U.S. Supreme Court said statutes like this were unconstitutional because they permitted the use of deadly force even when the felony at issue wasn’t dangerous or violent. In theory, a police officer operating under the Missouri statue could use deadly force even if the officer believed a suspect had passed a bad check for more than $500, a class C felony in Missouri.

    This kind of thing would be ridiculous, the Supreme Court said: “It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape,” they wrote. “The fact that the police arrive a little late or are a little slower afoot,” the court continued, “does not always justify killing the suspect.” The majority in Garner then spelled out the circumstances where deadly force would be justified: When the officer reasonably believed that the suspect posed “a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others.”

    Unfortunately, the law regarding police force for any felony is still on the books in Missouri, and Wilson might still try to rely on it in arguing his use of force was valid. Wilson can rely on it in any state prosecution of him without any constitutional problem. States don’t have to make all of their criminal defenses consistent with the Constitution

    Ultimately, two things appear certain when one considers the Wilson case in light of both the Missouri statute and Tennessee v. Garner:

    1. Wilson had absolutely no intention of “effecting an arrest” of Brown.

    2. It is easy to argue that it is unreasonable for an armed Wilson to believe that an injured, unarmed Brown was a true threat to his personal safety while standing in the middle of Canfield Drive.

    Tennessee v. Garner, more than anything else, is about the limited lawfulness of an officer using lethal force on a fleeing suspect. It does not adequately address the lawfulness (or lack thereof) of an officer using lethal force on an injured/surrendered suspect. No case law adequately addresses a similar situation faced by Wilson and Brown, but stated strongly in Tennessee v. Garner—and in most basic statutes governing police use of lethal force—the threat to an officer or the community must be both “serious” and “reasonable.”

    Finally, what is being almost universally overlooked in most known cases of an officer killing an unarmed citizen is that the rule of law in Tennessee v. Garner that “deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape” or “effect an arrest,” but officers—firing at least 11 shots in the case of Brown, 41 in the case of Amadou Diallo, or 50 in the case of Sean Bell—are rarely shooting to prevent escape or effect an arrest, but are shooting with the clear and obvious purpose of killing the suspect. Because so much leniency has been given to police departments to determine when an officer “fears” for his safety, it is now the immediate and most common defense used, even if no true threat ever existed.

    Even more text at the link itself, very informative though probably will be ultimately ignored.

  109. rq says

    Why VonDerrit matters

    Myers, in other words, may not be the model victim in the ongoing story of police brutality and white violence against young black men. But his death nonetheless has sparked an important wave in the burgeoning movement built around the notion that black lives matter. All black lives – not just those that draw the most public sympathy.

    “Vonderitt Myers matters because we are still talking about a fundamental question of the value of black children and the value of black life,” said Brittany Packnett, head of Teach for America in St. Louis. “The circumstances may be different, but there’s the recognition that if we don’t come out early and often to demand justice for African-American children, quite often it doesn’t come.” [...]
    Brown’s killing was also among a string of similar cases across America this summer, where cops killed unarmed black men under mysterious circumstances. [eh? mysterious?]

    They include Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York on July 17, killed in a police chokehold after being confronted over selling untaxed cigarettes; John Crawford in Beavercreek, Ohio on August 5, shot down by police at a Walmart as he talked on his cell phone and toyed with a plastic gun he’d picked up off a shelf in the toy department; and Ezell Ford in Los Angeles on August 11, felled by police bullets after they stopped him on a sidewalk, at which point they say he made “suspicious movements” before attempting to take an officer’s gun.

    The protests sparked by Brown’s killing only grew more emboldened by what happened to Myers weeks later. But while Brown’s killing fits a much neater narrative, with multiple eyewitness accounts and forensic evidence, the Myers case is murky.

    It goes on to question his past and posing with guns, because if he posed once with a gun, he must always have one with him. But:

    The police account of what happened the night of the shooting has changed multiple times. And even with mounting evidence to the contrary, there is the unshakable heart-of-hearts belief among those who love Myers that he was not armed that night.

    “We as attorneys understand what these lab results mean,” Jermaine Wooten said. “If I fire a gun at you in close proximity there is going to be gun powder residue all over your body. So the fact that the gun powder residue is on Vonderrit is not indicative at all that he fired a weapon.” [...]
    “With Vonderrit you have the structure saying trust me while we find the truth. But how can we trust you in the midst of all of this,” said DeRay McKesson, a protest organizer. “How dare you demand my trust when you continue to violate our ability to be alive, our freedom to assemble and continue to threaten the assembly of black bodies.”

    “We’re out here because people are dying,” McKesson added. “We also refuse to live in a world where blackness is a death sentence. I refuse to let that be my reality.”

    thisisthemovement, installment #34: Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson visi Saint Louis; the peaceful ending of Occupy SLU; Grand Jury evidence leak – isn’t this the second time information is being passed on?; Georgia and those 40 000 lost voter registration applications; from Ferguson to Staten Island; pumpkin violence and those crazy-ass kids, eh?; again, the I Love Ferguson group plans an alternate Halloween; study finds teachers expect less from black students. Calendar of events, donation links, other stuff. Go check it out!

    Tracking “outside agitators” – I wonder if visitors showing support count?

    The FBI has joined in discussions with police chiefs as far away as New York and Los Angeles and lots of cities in between, to coordinate a response to possible civil disturbances if officer Wilson gets off scot-free, and to keep track of so-called “outside agitators” who might spread the Ferguson contagion across the country.

    When the FBI makes these kinds of noises in public, you can be sure that a national counter-intelligence operation is already fully in motion – a program designed to “neutralize and destroy” any possibility of the re-emergence of a militant movement against today’s national security and mass Black incarceration state. Although many of the organizations and individuals that have traveled to Ferguson in support of the local struggle for justice may not yet be clear in their own minds about the political direction that a national movement should take, they have already been targeted as potentially dangerous “agitators” – as threats to national security. Their movements and contacts with fellow activists are being tracked, and individuals and organizations are being sorted out and categorized according to the level of threat they may represent to the state.

    What’s interesting about this – true or not – were the few arrests a couple of weeks ago, that seemed specifically targeted at those working to keep the movement alive and public, like livestreamers and the more prominent people.

  110. rq says

  111. rq says

    Fans and protestors clash after Rams game (STL Today article) – in photos, see here; for historical context, see here; for media portrayal, see here.

    Riot or no, homes are selling in Ferguson. Things have slowed down, but they haven’t stopped.

    Sales are down 32 percent in Ferguson since the shooting, more than the 13 percent drop for all of St. Louis County, in what has been a down year for home sales across the region.

    “I was shocked when I pulled the data. It doesn’t really look that bad,” said Dennis Norman, a partner in MORE.

    As of last week, sales contracts were pending on 19 other Ferguson homes, although the deals had not yet closed. Unless problems develop, a sale normally closes roughly six weeks after a contract is signed.

    Another eight homes have “contingent” contracts. A buyer has stepped up, but closing depends on solving a problem — sometimes the sale of the buyer’s own house.

    But it’s not a normal market in Ferguson. Eleven homeowners have pulled their homes from the market since the trouble began. None did that during the same period last year, although there were a few withdrawals earlier this summer, before the protests and violence that followed Brown’s death.

  112. rq says

    Oh, the power of misleading media and false advertising: Some students from Pennsylvania went to Ferguson October. Except it wasn’t what they’d been expecting.

    It took seven University of Pennsylvania students piled into a rental van nearly 16 hours to drive to St. Louis. They had raised $600 in three days from a Go Fund Me account that was supposed to last them through the weekend. They slept wherever they could crash for free — the basement of a St. Louis couple’s home, or packed on the floor of a church at night.

    But once in Ferguson, it was nothing like the war zone they had seen splashed on their television screens exactly two months earlier.

    Instead of armored vehicles blocking suburban intersections and stoking chaos in the streets, police squad cars were escorting peaceful marches that were careful organized and tailored during the day. Instead of training assault rifles on the faces of protesters, officers were standing idly by, at times even joking around with anyone within earshot. [...]

    Krasovitzky said they were frustrated by how controlled the atmosphere was during the day.

    “If protesters aren’t willing to get out of their comfort zones, it’s actually a joke to authorities,” she said. “They’re more effective when it gets more radicalized or more intense.”

    Yes, they judged Ferguson by the media shots they’d seen in August, the ones that keep getting repeat exposure because they just look so AWESOME on TV. I hope they continue with their support, but it would be nice if they’d come knowing what to expect. And not looking for a fight with police.

    And how to speak to children about race – mothers leading the conversation. Sound bites from several women at the link, good stuff.

  113. Pteryxx says

    rq, I’m still reading what and when I can manage. Thanks for all the information.

    Pumpkinfest *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

    What’s interesting about this – true or not – were the few arrests a couple of weeks ago, that seemed specifically targeted at those working to keep the movement alive and public, like livestreamers and the more prominent people.

    That’s been a running theme since the first couple of weeks back in August. The cops apparently were targeting people like Wesley Lowery whose voices on Twitter were becoming prominent and effective.

  114. carlie says

    I grew up 15 miles from Ferguson, in a place where all my family still lives. But I’m 100% sure that if I were able to be there and protest, I’d be labeled an outside agitator.

  115. rq says

    Yeah, Pumpkinfest just floored me last night / this morning.

    carlie
    When VonDerrit Myers was shot, some Ferguson protestors went to St Louis in support – and they were labelled outside agitators. Like communities aren’t allowed to support each other anymore. It’s an absurd label, especially when simply applied to people who happen to have come from out of town.

  116. Seven of Mine: Shrieking Feminist Harpy says

    “outside agitator” is like the Ferguson version of “white knight”. Characterize coming to the defense of another person/group as a bad thing and then that person/group is left looking like a lone, irrational voice with no support.

    Also, weren’t the Darren WIlson support protests held in St Louis? I don’t remember those people being labeled “outside agitators”. Go fig.

  117. says

    Exactly. It’s a reactionary dogwhistle going back decades at least, othering people who have come to support local fights against injustice. I’m pretty sure the civil rights volunteers and Freedom Riders were called outside agitators, as were Jews and Communists in Nazi Germany, as ACLU is named for helping with the immigrant children on the US southern border.

    It’s meant to appeal to the nativist/authoritarian mindset: “Here are people From Away, here to make our peaceful community chaotic and disordered, aren’t they horrible interfering in our business? They don’t know what it’s like living near Those People!’

  118. rq says

    And because all police officers are local, no matter where they are from, right. Police are a unit, everyone else is a fragmentation of non-linked communities.

  119. rq says

    This is just a headline, but apparently federal officials are saying there’s not enough evidence to indict Darren Wilson.

    Echoes of COINTERLPRO in Ferguson. (COINTELPRO, for the historically-challenged of us.)

    While rumors of FBI involvement in Ferguson existed for weeks, it wasn’t until this Reuters report was released that the FBI was actively meeting with St. Louis officials “two to three times per week” that it was fully confirmed. Since then, instances of COINTELPRO-like activities by local police and government officials appear to have had a dramatic uptick.

    What you will see below is a regularly updated list of documented cases of police abuse, humiliation, misinformation, outright lies, coercion, informants, plants, and more. This list will be updated regularly. [...]
    September 28

    —Police performed a mass arrest during a very tense night of protests. One protestor who was being arrested could be overheard by another protestor telling the police that they accidentally arrested the wrong man. The crowd of protestors erupted in frustration. Police escorted the man away. He had been seen by other protestors joining the crowd for days, and after the incident, no reports were made of seeing him again.

    October 2-3

    —Ferguson activist Alexis Templeton was erroneously charged with the more serious count of resisting arrest (instead of a noise violation) although she can be clearly seen in this video, at 0:50, in a black T-shirt, with her hands up.

    —Jailed for a simple noise ordinance violation, 13 Ferguson protestors were forced to wear humiliating orange jumpsuits before they were released. [...]
    October 12

    —St. Louis Chief of Police Sam Dotson tweeted that protestors were throwing rocks and were arrested for illegal activity. The Blaze then reported that 17 protestors were arrested for throwing rocks. After videos from six live-streamers showed no rocks being thrown, Dotson, the next day, admitted that police only found one rock that was thrown, and that one landed 15 feet away from police. By the time the new information came out, the damage was already done. Not one of the 17 protestors was charged for throwing rocks.

    More in the timeline at the link, and it’s a rather long list of misinformation spread by police and media since the beginning – starting with all kinds of info on Michael Brown (marijuana, past record, the surveillance video, etc.) and ending with the obvious targeting of prominent protestor voices (as already mentioned above).

    Upcoming event: Ferguson: A Viral News Story.

    What is the process of reporting a viral news story?

    How do you cover a story that is constantly changing and unfolding over a period of weeks and months?

    How is journalism changed by publishing on the digital sphere?

    The Tow Center for Digital Journalism is pleased to host a panel discussion with Antonio French, Alice Speri, and Zeynep Tufekci; moderated by Emily Bell. The panel will discuss the challenges of reporting from Ferguson, Missouri and address how social media is being used by journalists and citizen journalists. The panel will also address how algorithmic filtering mediates which news stories we as citizens have access to.

    Our panelists:
    Antonio French, City of St. Louis, Missouri
    Alice Speri, Reporter for VICE News, CJS Alum
    Zeynep Tufekci, Sociologist and Assistant Professor at UNC

    Protesting during the Mothers’ March (photo).

    Here’s a picture of the protestor hit by that fan at the game, as not seen in media photo 1; and here’s a picture of the guy who did it, as not seen in media photo 2.

  120. rq says

    Ugh, link overload, so posting the following two comments as doubles:

    This is just a headline, but apparently federal officials are saying there’s not enough evidence to indict Darren Wilson.

    Echoes of COINTERLPRO in Ferguson. (COINTELPRO, for the historically-challenged of us.)

    While rumors of FBI involvement in Ferguson existed for weeks, it wasn’t until this Reuters report was released that the FBI was actively meeting with St. Louis officials “two to three times per week” that it was fully confirmed. Since then, instances of COINTELPRO-like activities by local police and government officials appear to have had a dramatic uptick.

    What you will see below is a regularly updated list of documented cases of police abuse, humiliation, misinformation, outright lies, coercion, informants, plants, and more. This list will be updated regularly. [...]
    September 28

    —Police performed a mass arrest during a very tense night of protests. One protestor who was being arrested could be overheard by another protestor telling the police that they accidentally arrested the wrong man. The crowd of protestors erupted in frustration. Police escorted the man away. He had been seen by other protestors joining the crowd for days, and after the incident, no reports were made of seeing him again.

    October 2-3

    —Ferguson activist Alexis Templeton was erroneously charged with the more serious count of resisting arrest (instead of a noise violation) although she can be clearly seen in this video, at 0:50, in a black T-shirt, with her hands up.

    —Jailed for a simple noise ordinance violation, 13 Ferguson protestors were forced to wear humiliating orange jumpsuits before they were released. [...]
    October 12

    —St. Louis Chief of Police Sam Dotson tweeted that protestors were throwing rocks and were arrested for illegal activity. The Blaze then reported that 17 protestors were arrested for throwing rocks. After videos from six live-streamers showed no rocks being thrown, Dotson, the next day, admitted that police only found one rock that was thrown, and that one landed 15 feet away from police. By the time the new information came out, the damage was already done. Not one of the 17 protestors was charged for throwing rocks.

    More in the timeline at the link, and it’s a rather long list of misinformation spread by police and media since the beginning – starting with all kinds of info on Michael Brown (marijuana, past record, the surveillance video, etc.) and ending with the obvious targeting of prominent protestor voices (as already mentioned above).

    Upcoming event: Ferguson: A Viral News Story.

    What is the process of reporting a viral news story?

    How do you cover a story that is constantly changing and unfolding over a period of weeks and months?

    How is journalism changed by publishing on the digital sphere?

    The Tow Center for Digital Journalism is pleased to host a panel discussion with Antonio French, Alice Speri, and Zeynep Tufekci; moderated by Emily Bell. The panel will discuss the challenges of reporting from Ferguson, Missouri and address how social media is being used by journalists and citizen journalists. The panel will also address how algorithmic filtering mediates which news stories we as citizens have access to.

    Our panelists:
    Antonio French, City of St. Louis, Missouri
    Alice Speri, Reporter for VICE News, CJS Alum
    Zeynep Tufekci, Sociologist and Assistant Professor at UNC

    Protesting during the Mothers’ March (photo).

  121. rq says

    Here’s a picture of the protestor hit by that fan at the game, as not seen in media photo 1; and here’s a picture of the guy who did it, as not seen in media photo 2.

  122. rq says

    More pumpkins: photo 1, photo 2.
    And the St Louis Post-Dispatch: Smashing pumpkins in Clayton leads to three arrests for littering, assault – for a second there I thought they were referencing the band. :P

    The arrests occurred after approximately 10 demonstrators approached the St. Louis County Justice Center with a red wagon filled with pumpkins scrawled with slogans denouncing “RACISM,” “WHITE PRIVILEGE,” and “HATE.”

    Authorities took protest organizer Derek Laney into custody after he held a pumpkin overhead and decried the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police before smashing it at the feet of officers stationed about 10 feet from the Justice Center door.

    The pumpkin bore the words “POLICE BRUTALITY.”

    “We are going to smash (pumpkins) symbolically at the foot of someone who can bring (the Brown) case to justice,” Laney said prior to his arrest in a reference to St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch, whose office is in the building. “It’s another way to let people know we will be heard.”

    Laney said the staged event also hoped to draw attention to the disparity between the portrayal of the nearly 50 white college students arrested Friday at the annual Keene, N.H. Pumpkin Festival and the characterization of the disruptions in Ferguson following Brown’s shooting.

    From KSDK.com, a few videos: rescheduling the NAACP town hall meeting, the one that was supposed to have updated information on the Michael Brown case; video on VonDerrit shooting and the ‘new’ GSR evidence; and the Reverend Al Sharpton to return to Ferguson to bring awareness.

  123. rq says

    Youtube video featuring several Ferguson voices: Ferguson, The Bay Area and Beyond: A Conversation About Race and Justice. It’s two hours, haven’t had time to watch it, but I intend to sometime today.

    This is actually a really nice summary of the Ferguson October weekend: Racism, repression and resistance. Lots of photos from all over the weekend.

    Oh, missed this one on the pumpkins, from Washington Post: Ferguson protesters wield pumpkins to make a point: ‘We have pumpkins. We are not armed.’

    As The Post’s Mark Berman has snarkily noted, the pumpkin festival debacle “was reminiscent of Ferguson, one might say, if one was willing to equate years of simmering tension finally boiling over with a bunch of college kids setting things on fire.”

    Yes, exactly.

    thisisthemovement, installment #35: protestor arrests at Rams game; A Call to Black Power; Keene is not Ferguson; homes still selling in Ferguson; waiting for the indictment decision; In Search of a Revolution; rescheduling events; Mississippi, Lockup Capital (of the WORLD). Calendar, donation links, go see for yourself.

  124. rq says

    From Twitter:
    Protestors are admirable, but police errors have helped keep movement alive;
    Police still can’t leave protestors alone;
    If you’re looking for help vomiting this morning, read this letter from admins to Darren Wilson supporters from the ‘We Are Darren Wilson group. It is pretty close to being THE pinnacle of privilege on display;
    Got privilege? (photo);
    Didn’t catch the context of this, but apparently black officers are glad for the protesting, because something needs to be done.

  125. rq says

    Distrust of the media: Ferguson protestors chase away CNN journalists. Four minute video.

    Post-Dispatch on the pumpkin protestors, with a highlight on one line:

    Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said the demonstrator was charged with assault because police sensed the pumpkin was about to be lobbed in the “direction of officers arresting another person.”

    Police officers are just sooo psychic.

    Ferguson-inspired mural in Trenton removed, becausei t incites violence. It’s a portrait of Michael Brown and says ‘Sagging pants is not probable cause’.

    More leaks expected in Michael Brown shooting grand jury. Letting them down slowly, I guess. :P Liars.

    St Louis Post-Dispatch on the arrest of Senator Nasheed. She was still in jail on Tuesday. Not sure on her status now.

    100 students start college. Who graduates? By income bracket.

  126. rq says

    Photo: panel on Ferguson, featuring protestors.

    Rand Paul: capable of getting 30% of the black vote, he says. And he has a strategy!

    Now before the liberal left and cynical political observers fall off their chairs laughing consider this isn’t just wishful thinking from Rand Paul. There is some historical and polling data to back up his “One Third of the Black Vote” argument, and if there’s anybody in the 2016 Republican field with even a puncher’s chance of pulling this off, it’s Rand Paul. [...]
    The following three things would have to happen in the next two years for Rand Paul to have a chance.

    1. Republicans would have to both abandon and repudiate voter ID policies from the national to the local party. The first reason is obvious. [...]

    2. Rand Paul would have to champion and pass some legislation that specifically benefits the African American community — preferably a policy that Obama has been too cautious or distracted to pass. [...]

    3. Rand Paul would have to pick a credible African American man or woman as his running mate.

    With some adding and numbers at the link.

    Michael Brown in photos, just a reminder.

    Official statement from Tribe X re: the end of Occupy SLU. Going to try and transcribe it during the evening, it’s very tiny print in those photos.

  127. says

    Rand Paul: capable of getting 30% of the black vote, he says. And he has a strategy!

    Suuure he is. And I’m capable of starring in a Hollywood blockbuster alongside Laverne Cox and Neil Patrick Harris. The which is infinitely more likely than any one of those three things happening, let alone all of them. (Especially the second, since AFAIK Rand Paul’s never gotten a damn thing passed in his life).

  128. rq says

    On prisons and the prison labour industry: 870 000 slaves in America today.

    At prisons across the United States, men and women build office furniture, clean cellblocks, make industrial sinks for school cafeterias, work as telemarketers, sew the uniforms worn by their guards and fellow inmates, and complete dozens of other mindless, routine tasks that keep the giant engine of the carceral state running. Though part of the pretense for prison labor is that it helps inmates save money and earn skills that will ease their transition upon release, these terribly paid, manual labor jobs provide little practical assistance to inmates returning home. Instead, they are more akin to a modern-day version of slavery: unprotected, physically demanding and economically exploitative.

    Still, despite the poor quality of the jobs available, inmates eagerly accept whatever work is on offer to break up the monotony of prison life and to earn some cash to send to their families on the outside. Working can help alleviate the psychological strain of being locked up, giving inmates a sense of focus and self-worth.

    If it’s so beneficial for them to work, they should be paid adequate wages. At least minimum (which, I know, isn’t adequate).

    Light privilege, not the same as white privilege, but different from racism, too:

    I have a white-passing friend who has a terrible complex about his appearance. By Anglo/Caucasian beauty standards he’s gorgeous, but he doesn’t fit in with his family or community, so he feels ugly. His darker brothers clowned him from birth. Growing up, he was an oddity at his mostly black school and kids called him every kind of cracker and he carries deep discomfort into adulthood. I would never discount his experience or brush it off by saying “Oh well, you benefit from Light Privilege so nevermind your feelings!” Both things are possible. He doesn’t experience racist microaggressions like darker skinned people, but he experiences internal racial conflict in ways that they will never know. One is systemic and one is personal, and they are both real.

    Senator Nasheed was carrying a gun and refused a breathalyzer during her arrest. Because she wasn’t driving a car, and Missouri is open-carry, but she’s black. So yes, the right to bear arms without being condemned for it is for white people. She’s getting a lot of flack from other protestors for the arrest, too, as in – she should have known better about that gun. That she wasn’t ‘with’ them, it was something she did on her own. The twitter consensus seems to be that this was a bit of a publicity stunt on her part.

  129. rq says

    Ugh, forgot to add: she was released this morning.

    Lecture and Performance Series on Disability and Justice.

    Disabled activist Lydia Brown (COL ’15) has organized a Lecture & Performance Series on Disability Justice for the 2014-2015 academic year. The impetus behind the series is to promote critical discussions and dialogue about disability as a diversity and social justice issue, especially in ways that connect disability to other movements for social justice and marginalized communities through an intersectional lens.

    Tomorrow: National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality.

    15 questions for Darren Wilson:

    1. When your SUV pulled up alongside Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson as they were walking along Canfield Drive, did you tell them to “get the fuck on the sidewalk?”

    2. When you pulled away from Brown and Johnson on Canfield Drive, why exactly did you decide to put your SUV in reverse to confront them again? Your chief says you did not know about the earlier convenience store incident where it is alleged Mike Brown stole some cigars. Was it to express your anger that they didn’t obey your earlier command to “get the fuck on the sidewalk?”

    3. Four eyewitnesses report seeing and hearing your tires screech as you violently put your SUV in reverse on Canfield Drive, nearly hitting Brown and Johnson. Why did you reverse in such a reckless and provocative manner?

    4. When you arrived back at where Brown and Johnson stood, if you did not know about the store incident, why exactly did you open your door to confront them? Did you intend to arrest them for jaywalking?

    5. Precisely how far away was your door from Brown and Johnson when you flung it open?

    6. Did you believe Brown or Johnson were armed at any point during your confrontation?

    7. Reports have surfaced that you told federal investigators that you were repeatedly punched and scratched by Brown through your SUV window. Why did you not see the medic who arrived on the crime scene? Why do no photos or videos or eyewitness reports from the scene have evidence of even a shadow of an injury, or you touching or favoring any injury?

    8. It’s been reported that you claim that Brown “went for, or lunged for,” your gun. Was this when the gun was within inches of his face before you fired two shots at him through your window and hit him with one?

    9. After you shot Brown through your window, he fled over 100 feet away from your SUV. Did you still feel threatened while you chased him down Canfield Drive with your gun drawn and firing, according to witnesses, at least six shots?

    10. Six eyewitnesses saw you fire multiple shots at the back of Brown while he fled down Canfield Drive. Was it your intention to arrest or kill him with those shots?

    11. When you fired your eighth shot of the day, four eyewitnesses said they saw Brown’s body jerk before he turned around to surrender to you. Did you believe you hit him again, for the second time, with your eighth shot?

    12. Six eyewitnesses say that they saw Brown turn around and physically and verbally surrender to you. How did you interpret those actions?

    13. Before you fired the two fatal shots into Brown’s eye and the crown of his head, as he was falling down, you had shot him a total of four times already. Did you still believe him to be a threat to you at that point?

    14. No record exists of you ever radioing in for backup or support at any time. Did you use your cell phone to call for backup? Who else did you call and why?

    15. Who first told you not to create a report after you shot and killed Brown, and what reason did they give you for such a request?

  130. rq says

    Dalillama
    Let me know when your movie opens, I’ll save up the funds to go see it ten times in theatres. ;)

  131. rq says

    Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announces Ferguson Commission, full text:

    October 21, 2014

    Good afternoon.

    I’d like to thank Florissant Valley, and the many elected officials, educators, business and civic leaders joining us today.

    Throughout the history of our nation, we have struggled to treat all our citizens as equals. The same has been said of our democratic institutions and the men and women entrusted with their stewardship.

    Too often we have fallen short of the guiding principles on which our great democracy was founded. For too many, the promise of “unalienable rights” of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” rings hollow.

    In the small Missouri town where I grew up, the railroad tracks were the racial dividing line: whites on one side, blacks on the other. Separate and unequal. It was the way things were.

    Thankfully, we have come some distance since those days. But the journey is not over in 2014. The protests set in motion by the events of August 9 in Ferguson echo others within our lifetime.

    Across the decades, those protests have been a cry from the heart, heard and felt around the nation and around the world. A cry for justice. A cry for change in the schoolhouse and the courthouse. A cry for change in the social and economic conditions that impede prosperity, equality, and safety for all of us.

    When there has been a clear vision of a better future, and a well-marked path for progress, protests have yielded lasting change. When there is only rage and despair, anguish and chaos follow.

    Recently, one of the young Ferguson protesters said to an older protester, this is not your parents’ civil rights demonstration. He wasn’t wrong.

    The torch has been passed to the next generation to continue the unfinished work of creating a more just and equal society. The passion and energy of the young have been, and continue to be, a driving force in solving the shared problems we face.

    And they are shared problems.

    I think of the mother of an African-American teenager, as she kisses him goodbye each morning, hands him his backpack and watches him head off to school, knowing that he might never come home again. She lives with that fear every day.

    I think about the wife of a cop, as she kisses her husband goodbye, hands him a cup of coffee and watches him drive off to work, knowing he might never come home again. She lives with that fear every day.

    That is the world we live in.

    Too much violence. Too little hope.

    Too much fear. Too little trust.

    But as the smoke clears and the shouting dies down, the question that lingers in the air is this:

    What now?

    What will we do in this moment, while the whole world is watching?

    What will we do to move forward after 73 days of civil unrest?

    How do we move on from shouting past one another in the streets, on the Internet and the evening news?

    Some people would tell you that the choice is one thing or the other: Trust or force. Speech or silence. Black or white.

    It is far more complicated than that. Legitimate issues have been raised by thoughtful voices on all sides. Shouting past one another will not move us to where we need to go.

    Outsiders eager to grab the national spotlight and push their own agendas do not have the best interests of this community, this state or this nation at heart.

    We need to solve these problems ourselves, we need to solve them together, and we need to act now.

    That is why today I am announcing the creation of the Ferguson Commission.

    I am asking for your help in identifying individuals in this region to serve on this commission. I plan to announce those selected early next month.

    My fervent hope – and my belief – is that we will find thoughtful people from every walk of life, ordinary citizens as well as empowered leaders in business, education, public safety and our faith communities, who are willing to serve their state when it needs them most.

    My charge to the Commission through Executive Order will be three-fold:

    1. First, to conduct a thorough, wide-ranging and unflinching study of the social and economic conditions underscored by the unrest in the wake of the death of Michael Brown;

    2. Second, to tap the expertise needed to address the concerns identified by the Commission – from poverty and education, to governance and law enforcement;

    3. And third, to offer specific recommendations for making this region a stronger, fairer place for everyone to live.

    The men and women selected to serve on this commission must be willing to come together in good faith, endure the fierce crucible of public opinion, and lead the hard work of change.

    They must be willing to talk candidly and openly, and – more importantly – to listen to what those on every side have to say. These are difficult conversations that for far too long have been avoided or ignored.

    This work is not for the faint of heart.

    Make no mistake: there will be anger and conflict, fear and distrust. The enemies of change will not easily yield to reasoned voices calling for a stronger, more united region.

    But to move forward, we must transcend anger and fear. We must move past pain and disappointment.

    We must open our hearts and minds to what others have seen, what others have lived, and respect their truth.

    That is the challenge that lies before us. And I believe the good people of this region are eager to meet this challenge.

    Let me be clear: this is not an investigation into Michael Brown’s death, or the facts of what happened in the street that day.

    The responsibility for that investigation belongs to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, the grand jury, the FBI, the federal Department of Justice and the United States Attorney General.

    Whatever the outcome of their investigations, we must move forward together.

    More acts of violence and destruction like those we have experienced at times during the past 73 days will not be tolerated, and will only hurt the communities that have suffered the most at the very time they need restoration and healing.

    Our faith, our laws, and the principles on which our democracy was founded demand more of us.

    We must hold ourselves, and one another, accountable to the highest standards of personal responsibility and mutual respect.

    In the end, history will be our judge. But we are also being judged in the here and now. And the stakes are high.

    This is a defining moment that will determine whether this place will be known as a region marred by racial division and unrest, or a region that pulled together to rise above and heal.

    This region is the economic engine of our state. For decades, many of the people in this room – and thousands of others — have worked hard to make this region a thriving center of business innovation, cultural excellence, and scientific research. Its leaders are actively engaged in attracting the best and brightest talent from around the world.

    If we do not act – and act now – the damage could be severe and long-lasting.

    Our streets cannot be battlefields.

    Our neighbors must be free to lead their daily lives – to go to work, to church, to run a business – without fear. Our children must be able to walk to school and play in the park in safety. The wives of police officers and the mothers of teen-aged sons deserve peace of mind.

    If we want peace in our streets, we must work together to create a more just and equal society.

    What each of us believes in our heart-of-hearts must change as well. That is an exercise many of us undertake weekly – on our knees – in cathedrals and Kingdom Halls, temples and mosques.

    We are all flawed vessels, crudely cast in the mold of our maker.

    None of us alone can heal the broken world. But together, there is much we can accomplish.

    With your help and support, the Ferguson Commission will chart a new path forward, as we take the next steps toward healing and positive change.

    Let us seize this defining moment to show our nation – and our children — the true colors of courage.

    Together, I know we can do it.

    Some problematic language, from a person woefully short on action in the right places.
    From Twitter: Gov. Nixon spreads too much responsibility to the community; says our streets cannot be battlefields when people still have these images in mind (and let me tell you, seeing that after all this time does not diminish the shock – that is America). Opinions, anyone else?

    thisisthemovement, installment #36: the geography of fear; 15 questions; the pumpkin protest; #HomecomingBlackout; Michael Brown Jr’s aunt speaks out; Wrong Place, Wrong Time; I Come to be Arrested; coordinated leaks. Calendar of events, donation links, go look!

    A thought on those – who seem to be from the slightly older generation – who go to Ferguson to be arrested: is this a way for them to legitimise their contribution in the eyes of the younger generation? Is this an answer to those younger folk who have said that the older generation has done too little or has been too tepid? A way to reduce the intergenerational isolation by showing that they are ready to put themselves on the line?
    Or am I being ungenerous and oblivious here? (I just seem to get that kind of dynamic, especially with Sen. Nasheed’s arrest and the generally negative protestor response it got.)

    On the subject of cops: a good cop blows whistle in Albaquerque investigation:

    On Friday, the Albuquerque Police Department announced that they have completed their probe into the killing and have turned over documents to the to the FBI and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office. Either agency could still pursue charges against the officers involved, although this particular District Attorney’s office has never filed charges against an officer after a shooting. This department has shot and killed over 30 people in the last 4 years. [...]
    Yet, surprisingly, after months of investigation, Stone has raised concern over the chain of custody of evidence, as well as the chief wanting him to end his investigation.

    “I discussed with Commander Montano my concerns of possible mishandling of evidence in this case and the lack of chain of custody to show who may now be in possession of this evidence may have gone.” Stone documented in his report.

    More at the link.

  132. rq says

    Aside: No such thing as a non-lethal weapon. On tear-gas, pepper spray and tasers.

    In New York: NYPD to tackle police violence.

    Yep, that’s right. It’s a blog! Forget about trying to win hearts and minds by firing dirty cops, stopping stop-and-frisk, or even using stupid body cams that never seem to be recording when cops get crooked. No-no-no, NYPD will have none of that. Instead, NYPD is going to crank up the statist propaganda machine and launch another social media campaign. Clearly, those in upper pig management learned nothing from the #myNYPD campaign. [...]
    Unfortunately for us, New York Police Department’s desperate attempt to slap paint on the facade of its corrupt crumbling institution is indicative of a fundamental problem with America’s mentality. Why hold cops accountable for murder when you can rebrand their image? America’s “image is everything” way of thinking is indicative of the American way. All brought to you by “LAPD Campaign Name + logo” and funded by the tax dollars of New Yorkers. It is no coincidence that in a time of rampant corruption, our society often places more value on good public relations over the actual integrity of an operation. So much so that the police, the very people who are hired to protect and serve our communities, are more concerned about their image than holding accountable officers murdering, assaulting, and terrorizing people. Police violence is STILL disproportionately high in communities of color and low income communities. Not by coincidence, but by design. A reality that the stop-and-frisking NYPD continues to perpetrate. Bet you won’t see any stop-and-frisks in NYPD’s blog.

    Yes. Blogging saves lives (thank you, PZ!).

  133. rq says

    (Sorry that’s another police shooting, this time in Chicago, of a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald.)

  134. carlie says

    One could spend a huge amount of time parsing the symbolism caught in this photo.

    It is a white man struggling to take an American flag away from a black woman, as she tries to keep her grip. She’s a protester engaged in trying to make a political statement (in several ways; the flag is mounted upside down, which is a distress signal). The look on his face appears to be somewhat jovial, as if this is a game to him. I just…. I can’t take my eyes off of it.

  135. rq says

    carlie
    See comment #179, there’s an awesome historical comparison in the third link (I think – the one that says historical context). It’s a photo.

  136. carlie says

    rq – sorry, I hadn’t looked through all the pics at your link! Didn’t mean to rehash.

  137. carlie says

    Another historical photo for comparison.

    The picture was taken at the side entrance to the Governor’s mansion on Capital Street in Jackson in the summer of 1965. The boy is Anthony Quinn, aged 5. His mother, Mrs. Ailene Quinn of McComb, Mississippi and her children were trying to see Governor Paul Johnson; they wanted to protest aganist the election of five Congressmen from districts where blacks were not allowed to vote. Refused admittance, they sat on the steps. The policeman struggling with Anthony is Mississippi Highway Patrolman Hughie Kohler. As Kohler attempted to confiscate the flag, Mrs. Quinn said: ‘Anthony, don’t let that man take your flag.’ Kohler went berserk, yanking Anthony off his feet.

    In the South during the civil rights movement, the American flag was a potent symbol of support for racial integration (and support for federal law). Southerners who believed in racial segregation displayed Confederate flags instead. People were pulled from their cars by policemen and beaten simply for displaying an American flag on their license plates. So the simple act of a small child carrying an American flag represented defiance of Mississippi law and custom.

    Anthony and his mother were arrested and hauled off to jail, which was a cattle stockade at the county fairground, since the city jails were already full of protesters. The Quinn protest was organized by COFO (Council of Federated Organizations), an umbrella organization responsible for most civil rights activities in the state. Today Anthony lives in Florida. I believe he is a lawyer. His mother died recently, and when Patrolman Kohler died a number of years ago, his obituary in the Jackson Daily News referred to this photograph and mentioned how Kohler regretted that moment ‘for the rest of his life’.”

  138. rq says

    It’s all good, I see you found some more, too!!! Whoa!

    +++

    With apologies to followers of the thread, updating may be sporadic the next couple of days (though there’s a lot of info). Then again, it may be even more complete than usual. My dad just died and I’m not sure how I’m going to go about distracting myself from that.

  139. rq says

  140. Saad says

    rq, #215,

    City drops case for all protestors arrested August 18

    Good. Now compensate them for the stress caused and the time and money wasted.

  141. Saad says

    How are these reports saying the shot to the hand was at close range implying to so many people that Wilson was justified in killing him by shooting him several more times at range? I guess it’s not the reports; these people had their minds made up.

  142. rq says

    Saad
    There’s a lot of nitpicky detailed discussion of these reports on twitter right now, with mentions of all kinds of discrepancies. The DOJ autopsy hasn’t been released yet, people are wondering what that one will say, whether it will reconcile information or not. But yes, the general consensus is that someone’s mind was made up, then the reports were written – also who leaked them and why (and how), and currently there’s the thought that Roorda himself is behind these leaks, via an intermediary.

  143. rq says

    So much wrong in this Toronto Star article on the newly-released autopsy information. I mean, they get things half-way right. But the conclusions are a little too certain.

    Rally at Daley Plaza.
    Students at Michigan U.
    Washington U students.
    More Washington U students.

    thisisthemovement, installment #37: McCullogh, highest paid STL employee; official Michael Brown autopsy, the one that is now making the rounds of the world and will be used to discredit 6 different witnesses; STL police complete implicit bias training; unrest may continue; the end of Occupy SLU; Cedric the Entertainer comments on Ferguson; Judgement Day; Black-ish (being the only black woman in the news eoom). Calendar of events, donation links, etc. Check it out!

  144. rq says

    Goddammit. New evidence supports officer’s account of shooting in Ferguson – from the Washington Post. It’s very similar to the Toronto Star article.
    And, you know, usually when someone kills another person – even in self-defense – there is an arrest and a trial (no? at least an arrest?). The fact that all this is going on just to avoid the arrest of Darren Wilson is just… mind-boggling. And the fact that Michael Brown left trace evidence all over his car (the one that he got pulled towards, so no surprise, eh?) will be seen as evidence of attacking. And therefore, all is well because everything is justified.
    This is not a good day for this.

  145. rq says

    I’m curious about the ballistics and shell casing evidence. Blood spatter, too, in greater detail. But smearing blood all over the car… doesn’t cut it for me, especially since the first shot was fired from the car. Wasn’t it? They’re confusing me with all this information.

  146. rq says

    Remember that actress who was publicly making out with her boyfriend? They were both charged with lewd conduct.

    Self-defense. Trying to prevent an aggressor from reaching the trigger of his gun – which is getting Michael Brown condemned in the public eye for being an aggressor himself. So he could have just let himself be shot, right there beside the car.

  147. rq says

    At police headquarters, not sure if Ferguson or STL or STL county, in photos (short story – protestors trying to get in for a meeting and being held back at the doors):
    with mirrored coffin – https://twitter.com/AllisonBlood/status/524994739859243008
    use the side doors – https://twitter.com/AllisonBlood/status/524995214297944064/photo/1
    protestors and police – https://twitter.com/AllisonBlood/status/524998779536019457/photo/1
    some protestors leaving – https://twitter.com/AllisonBlood/status/524998927183925248/photo/1
    others demand to get in – https://twitter.com/AllisonBlood/status/524999116355411968/photo/1
    entering through the side door – https://twitter.com/AllisonBlood/status/524999889231441921/photo/1
    tbc

  148. rq says

  149. rq says

    Assembly points for October for rallies against police brutality.

    Aside: Ben Bradlee Wrestled With Racial Issues; Fabled Editor, Dead at 93, Acknowledged His Ignorance. The question is, did he learn from it?

    Daily Mail: Federal investigators are leaking details to discredit Michael Brown because cop who killed him will NOT be charged, claims ex-St Louis police chief.

    Addressing the New York Times article published last Friday, which included leaks from the grand jury which is taking place in secret, Fitch said he would call the sensational information phase two of the feds strategy.

    In other words, ‘to coordinate leaks to the media, and to start getting some of the facts out there to kind of let people down gently,’ said Fitch to CBS St. Louis.

    ‘When I say this is phase two – phase one was really Eric Holder’s announcement how they were going to basically do a complete review and take over the Ferguson Police Department.’ [...]
    ‘If there was a struggle inside that car over a firearm, it sounds to me like Officer Wilson would have been justified in taking the action he did if he pulled the trigger and actually shot Michael Brown in the vehicle area.’

    Bolding mine – ‘in the vehicle area’. But later, out on the street? Photos and videos at the link.

    More from the Daily Mail: Is Ferguson officer about to be CLEARED over killing of unarmed Michael Brown? Al Sharpton leads outcry after report there is not enough evidence to charge cop who says he was ‘in fear of his life’;
    Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson blames prejudice in St Louis for Michael Brown shooting in emotional speech to hundreds of mothers gathered in silent tribute to the teenager;
    EXCLUSIVE – ‘It’s murder and they will feel the wrath of God’s vengeance': Michael Brown’s family react angrily to leak of Darren Wilson’s testimony

  150. rq says

    In Ferguson: creating a funeral march. For Michael Brown? For justice? For unbiased media?

    How can Gov. Nixon call for peace in Ferguson when Jeff Roorda is his closest ally?

    Criticized around the country for his slow initial response and tone-deafness to frustrations in Ferguson, perhaps nothing causes concerned citizens to distrust Nixon more than his unwavering support of one man, Jeff Roorda, current member of the Missouri House of Representatives who is now running for a position in the state Senate in Missouri.

  151. rq says

    Suddenly I’m in moderation. Well, in the meantime:
    Madison, Wisconsin.

    In Ferguson, a tense night. Not going to go find it now (thank you Crashy Browser), but some protestor came out to throw things at police and got quickly shut down by other protestors – or at least, would have, if he hadn’t run away.
    Three police forces out there. One of the arrests, and I like the name – the snatch-and-grab team.
    Fox2News on last night in Ferguson: Protesters clash with cops in Ferguson on, “Day Against Police Brutality” – 2 arrests.

  152. rq says

    Ferguson October Protesters in Atlanta hold traffic up on I-85 and I-75! – the article with video, here’s a couple of photos.

    Let’s talk about leaks: it’s been a Week of leaks: Grand jury, medical examiner, and federal government leak Darren Wilson case details:

    Suddenly, though, in the past few days, the integrity of the case has all but been thrown out of the window and sensitive leaks are being reported from the grand jury in the Darren Wilson case, from the St. Louis County medical examiner’s office, and from the federal government in their own investigation.

    Whatever confidence protestors had left that anything resembling justice for Mike Brown would happen, has been lost. What follows is a growing account of the leaks from this week. Protestors and police chiefs alike believe it’s all being done to prepare people for a announcement coming soon that Darren Wilson will not be indicted. [...]
    Less angry at what the leaks reveal than increasingly frustrated at the leaks themselves, local protestors are suspicious of the of true purpose of the leaks, which all appear one-sided, pointing to an attempt to smear Brown and back up Wilson’s account.

    For instance, no information has been released about testimony from two construction workers who say they saw Brown surrender with his hands up.

    No information has been released about the grand jury testimony of Tiffany Mitchell, who reported seeing the entire scene unfold from just feet away.

    Ah, but the DOJ condemns the leaks, in efforts to regain trust or, at least, to influence opinion.

    The U.S. Department of Justice condemned the leaks Wednesday as “irresponsible and highly troubling” and said, “There seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence public opinion about this case.” [...]
    “There is no way there should be reports from all these anonymous sources and these ‘leaks’ ….This is supposed to play out in the courts and the justice system, and not the media,” said Patricia Bynes, a Ferguson resident and prominent voice in the protest movement. Quoting a popular chant, she added, “The whole damn system is guilty as hell.” [...]
    “A non-transparent grand jury process and a leaky investigation is not the way the outcome of this important case should be determined,” tweeted St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who participated in many Ferguson demonstrations. “These leaks do not help restore people’s faith in the justice system. Quite the opposite.”

    St. Louis County prosecutor’s office spokesman Ed Magee said his office probably wouldn’t investigate the leaks because prosecutors could not force journalists to divulge their sources and because the information could be coming from federal officials in Washington.

    “There’s really nothing to investigate,” Magee said Wednesday. “We don’t have control over anybody leaking anything. All we can control is people in our office and the grand jury, and it’s not coming from us or the grand jury.” [...]
    A Justice Department spokeswoman responded in a statement to the Los Angeles Times: “The department considers the selective release of information in this investigation to be irresponsible and highly troubling. Since the release of the convenience-store footage, there seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence public opinion about this case.”

    However, there’s a lack of trust from protestors and their allies in some places – that maybe the leaks are coming from the DOJ. The other option speculated on (though the two are not mutually exclusive) is Roorda.

  153. rq says

    String of articles, on the leaks and the autopsy itself.
    Alderman, Justice Department slam Michael Brown investigation leaks

    “What I’m alarmed by is the way this is being tried in the public and that information is being leaked out and we’re not getting a clear picture of everything,” says French.

    Instead, he tells CNN, his community is still waiting for the opportunity to move on.

    “I think one of the things that we’ve asked for from the beginning is that the only way that this thing can happen in a way that actually gives the community what they’re asking for is a public trial,” says French, “and I’m concerned that the way this information is being leaked out that it really does not give much credence to the process and it doesn’t restore faith in the process.”

    Discovery, ethics and the killing of Michael Brown Jr.

    Like the protest movement associated with the municipality, Ferguson, that employed the police officer who killed Michael Brown Jr., we believe there was sufficient evidence to charge Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson with the murder of this young man. Officer Wilson should have told his side of that story immediately in a detailed police report that should have been made public when the ACLU and other groups requested it through open-records laws. Wilson’s version of the shooting, as documented in the police report he was bound by duty to produce, and all autopsies of the deceased should have been open to public view for two months now, not shrouded in mystery. Or, conversely, they should have been sealed from public scrutiny by a judge, but made available to both sides in an adversarial trial process, where evidence should have been carefully vetted and challenged by both sides in open court, and all witnesses cross-examined by opposing counsel, in open court.

    This did not happen, due to the decision of St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, which we find suspect, and the political cowardice of Gov. Jay Nixon, which is legendary. In the absence of a fairly adjudicated, orderly and adversarial trial process, we have been thrown open to the tawdry open media marketplace, the ethics of which hit a new low this week. First the New York Times and then the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published versions of Officer Wilson’s testimony that would not have been admissible in court, given that each report was third-party anonymous hearsay. In each case, the reporter claimed to get the testimony from an unnamed person who allegedly heard it from an unnamed official who allegedly heard the testimony from Wilson. In plain terms, if questioned how they know what they are telling us to be true, the reporter’s answer would be, “Wilson told somebody who told somebody who told me.”

    Michael Brown killer speaks out on leaked autopsy – to be clear, not Darren Wilson himself, but his team of lawyers. Again, it focuses mostly on that thumb injury that may or may not mean Michael Brown was reaching for the gun, and while the media have been focussing on the aspect that it supports Darren Wilson’s version, the scientist herself says somewhat differently:

    Melinek said that interpreting the forensic findings is often subjective.

    “If other witnesses have statements as to where [Brown’s] hands were, they could also be consistent with the forensic findings if they line up with the injury trajectory and distance,” she said.

    Melinek added that the only statement she compared to the forensic evidence was that made by Wilson and that a number of other scenarios could also be possible, including Brown trying to protect himself or his hands for whatever reason being near the muzzle of Wilson’s gun.

    SO SHE IGNORED ALL OTHER WITNESS TESTIMONY!!!! Wow. A forensic expert is supposed to look at all the evidence – the whole point of a forensic scientist is to analyze, scientifically, the evidence, without any agenda. Just the science. Yes, this can sometimes lead to different interpretations, from different scientists, but they must always, always, look into all possible scenarios. *sigh*
    And then:

    All but one of the gunshots, Melinek said, seem to have struck Brown in the front of his body, which is consistent with witnesses who said Brown had been facing Wilson when he was shot. Depending on any witnesses physical proximity to the shooting, Brown could have been turning to Wilson in surrender, stumbling toward him after being shot or charging him.

    So the evidence, in a sense, still could be interpreted in support of the six eye-witnesses. Except that’s not that version that is being spun right now.
    Video on the autopsy and the paper.

  154. rq says

    Municipal courts prey on the poor – those court fees and fines again!

    “The municipalities claim it’s a public safety issue, but we see court fees and fines coming up as property values are going down,” said Dave Leipholtz, director of Community Based Studies for Better Together, “which makes it difficult to accept the public safety argument.”

    Twenty of the 21 municipalities that derive at least 20 percent of their general budget from fines and fees are located north of Olive Boulevard and within the boundary of I-270. These municipalities’ populations are on average 62 percent black, with 22 percent below the poverty line. (By way of comparison, St. Louis County as a whole is 24 percent black with 11 percent below the poverty line.)

    Combined with the Attorney General’s 2013 finding that black drivers were 66 percent more likely than white drivers to be stopped, it is clear that these municipalities’ method of financial survival comes primarily at the expense of black citizens.

    “For some people, a $100 fine is a bad day, but for other people it starts a spiral of what bill will they not pay next,” Leipholtz said. “This system circles around and hits the poor in more and more ways.”

    According to 2013 data, 73 of the 81 municipal courts turn a significant profit, bringing in more revenue than they require to operate. On average, a municipal court in St. Louis County brings in an average of $711,506 in revenue from fines and fees each year yet costs $223,149 to operate, leaving an average net revenue of $488,367.

    That’s not bad, eh? Almost half a million.

    The Rams fan confronts the Ferguson protestor. Interesting read:

    Let’s start with the upside-down U.S. flag that some Ferguson protestors brandish. It’s an international symbol of citizen in distress that was embraced before Ferguson, for very different reasons, by Tea Party members. But to the average Joe six-pack it looks like desecration. Countless people have died defending that flag and the right for people to say what is on their mind. They died for the principles the American flag stands for. For many, the flag is off-limits.

    So, for many of those same Americans, is football. “How dare you?” is their response. How dare protestors interrupt their day of peace and football chanting slogans and bearing an upside-down American flag? These are the same people who have yet to ask why things are as they are in Ferguson and other communities. Instead they continue to move further west or south, where it will not affect them directly. It is a non-factor to them, and when they get tired of it they just turn off the news and move on to something else that takes their mind off of it all – say, football?

    For those who want nothing to do with the protestors, this Sunday was their time to issue some payback. A little throw-down got started when a drunken white male Rams fan tried to grab the upside-down American flag from a black woman protestor. I say be careful for what you wish for, as both sides have yet to understand that we are all in this together, like it or not. [...]

    The protestors want all of St. Louis to understand just what the hell is going on. And for those who have elected to bury their heads in the sand and not take part in the discussion and hopefully the eventual solution, sports is the last refuge. Politics and sports have worked hard at avoiding each other over the years, but when the two cross paths, it can lead both sides to dialogue. And that is what the right-thinking sorts on both sides want: a conversation, not a fight.
    [...]
    The protestors will not go away anytime soon, and as long as they remain peacefully vigilant in their actions, more will gravitate to what their message is all about. That will take time, for sure, but in sports as in struggle, winning never comes easy.

    Ah, yes, peacefully vigilant. Yes. That is the key. And those who don’t wish to see?

    The Making of the Warrior Cop, from Mother Jones. A piece by Shane Bauer on the urban militarization convention he went to (and got kicked out of.

    All that battle gear you saw in Ferguson was acquired not from the military, but from private companies like the ones touting their wares at Urban Shield.

    A lot of numbers and a lot of pictures at the link.

    In other news, second autopsy scheduled for VonDerrit Myers, according to his family’s lawyers.

    From August 23, see Darren Wilson supporters, if you can stand it.

  155. rq says

    Right now, Shaun King is coming out with a series of tweets on Roorda. I hope he storifies them – there’s a whole bunch.

    In the meantime, protestors are in Clayton, trying to get another protestor out of jail (or atl east get bail reduced) and facing a lot of resistance from police, who don’t seem to want to allow them to enter a public building. In twitter photos:
    blocking off the entire sidewalk; police; locked doors; police at entrance; inside, clerk calls security; Clayton City Manager present.

    tbc

  156. rq says

    annnd officers watching.
    The City Manager couldn’t help, and apparently all visits to the Clayton Justice Center are supposed to be by appointment now. Even though it’s a public building.

    Shift over the VonDerrit in Shaw, some autopsy results were presented in press conference as livestreamed here (I think you can watch a recording?). In tweets, Myers family attorney speaks (check out that totally caucasian dummy on the side); gunshot wounds to back of legs, which apparently shows VonDerrit was running uphill. Oh here’s another video: Vonderrit shot 8 times, 6 from the back. Also, inconsistency: did VonDerrit fire a Ruger or a Smith&Wesson?

  157. rq says

    Crap, that one ended up in moderation. Eh. Moving on, statement from Darren Wilson’s legal team on those DOJ leaks (short one).

    Two more articles on protestors blocking the highway in Atlanta: ajc.com, and media blackout USA.

    Officers using license plate tracking to identify protestors? Some activists say so.

    Now an activist in Ferguson says he’s hearing the police are using license plate readers to track and monitor activists involved in the protests seeking justice for police shooting victim Mike Brown. I’m curious to hear more about this allegation, and hope reporters covering Ferguson do some digging. It would be totally unsurprising to find that it’s true. Absent commonsense legal protections to ensure police don’t abuse their access to powerful surveillance tools, why wouldn’t officers use license plate trackers to keep an eye on protesters who are demanding that one of their own face murder charges? After all, not long ago those very same police officers were told to stop wearing “I Am Darren Wilson” bracelets.

    Oh, elections: Maria Chappelle Nadal up against bullshit.

    In St. Louis, the Torch of the Civil Rights Struggle is Passed to a New Guard:

    “I thought it was just a protest, but my brother, who’s a little older than me, was like, ‘No, this is a civil rights movement,” Dontey Carter, a leader of the Lost Voices and a regular presence at the protests, told VICE News. “I was like, ‘Really?’ I didn’t really put it in that perspective. I thought I was just a protester, but he’s like, ‘No, you’re a civil rights leader,’ and I was like, ‘Wow…’ ”

    Carter, a 23-year-old former Crips member and a father of two small children, had never been to a protest prior to August 9, when Brown was shot. He was at a friend’s house in Ferguson when he saw television news broadcasts of the crowd assembling on Canfield Drive.

    “I went down there and people started protesting and standing up, and I was like, ‘This is where it’s at,’ ” he said. “Me being there by myself felt kind of weird, but when we all did it together, it was amazing.” [...]
    Carter described the past two months as a “spiritual awakening.”

    “My life changed radically,” he remarked. “I had friends die left and right — drugs, gangs, violence — and I’ve pulled away from all of that working for the movement.”

    He’s not the only one. Ferguson’s black community became united during the protests, with groups setting beefs aside to march on the streets with a common purpose. Protesters recognize that police brutality is just one form of violence that intrudes on their lives. As they work to redress this, they have also come together in other ways.

    “There was so much depression going on around here. It’s hard for you to actually think straight, to do something with yourself, cause there’s so much around you that’s negative,” Carter said, adding that the movement has changed that. “It wasn’t all about me. Other friends that were all about gangs and violence, they let all of that go, and they stood together. They weren’t too concerned about any of the stuff that was going on beforehand.” [...]
    “It’s the young people that moved this movement forward,” Traci Blackmon, the pastor at Christ the King United Church of Christ in nearby Florissant, said at a mass meeting held at St. Louis University as part of Ferguson October.

    Her own generation — the civil rights’ generation — had become too “comfortable,” she added. As some African-Americans enjoyed the victories of their battles, they grew complacent with a society that remained deeply unequal, and forgot that the struggle hadn’t been wholly won.

    “We have been fooled all of these years into thinking that when you can get through the door, then all is well,” Blackmon said. “Our generation has been guilty of confusing access with ownership.”

    “We must rise up and stand with the young adults,” Renita Marie, another pastor, agreed at the end of an impassioned speech that comparing the protests to the cries of a growing child. “We are leaving our babies out there on the street night after night, and it’s time for us to stand side by side with them…. It’s time we tell [St. Louis Police] Chief Dotson, ‘That one is mine, and you back off.’ ”

    But as a parade of pastors, humanists, imams, and rabbis took to the stage, a stark contrast between their words and the protesters’ hunger for action became evident. If the younger generation shared the sentiment, it had grown impatient with the rhetoric. [...]
    “I was hoping to hear a plan from our elders on what we’re gonna do to make change, and I was disappointed,” a young woman from Louisiana said as she and a few others took the stage. “Look at all the people here. Now imagine if y’all were out on the streets… It’s too loud in the streets? Oh well.”

    “What these pastors are saying is essential — we need to strategize before we actually get out there so these protests don’t fizzle out like they always do,” another young woman said. She turned to the older speakers behind her and said, “I respect you.”

    “But what most of these people do… They say what we should be doing, but they don’t do it,” she added. “And we need to get it done.”

    Brooks had been in the middle of a highly allegorical speech on selfies and history that was lost on many in the audience when a young man in the crowd started yelling at him. People complained that the NAACP had been too passive, a no-show on the streets, and that it had lost touch with the younger generation as it reveled in the glory of its past. [..]
    The conflict that played out on stage at the mass meeting seemed straight out the revolutionary’s playbook — threading between theory and praxis, and revealing the seams of a movement too broad, ambitious, and entrenched in history to not also be somewhat divided.

    “It turned out to be, I think, one of the most significant and important moments in the whole weekend,” Rev. Mike McBride, a California-based pastor and member of PICO, a national network of faith-based community organizations that have been working in Ferguson since August, told VICE News. “As Tef Poe and others say regularly, this civil rights movement is not your mom and dad’s civil rights movement. Every generation must re-appropriate the lessons of the past, the experience of their elders, and they must then make it relevant for the time in which we live.”

    “Every organization that is institutional, whether the church or the NAACP, these institutions are there to serve the people. They’re not there for the people to serve their interest,” he added, acknowledging that the response to years of police violence from some of these institutions had been “inadequate.” “What’s happening to the legacy of institutions like the church and the NAACP is that those young people are just building upon it. And we should allow them to build, we should help them to build, but we should by no rate abandon them.” [...]
    It will take a continued relationship for the movement to grow wiser and more effective, he added. At a recent meeting between Ferguson youth and clergy members, McBride recalled, some protesters said they wanted their relationship with the older generation of civil rights activists to be like the one between “a boxer and his trainer.”

    “We wanna be able to go to the ring and box and fight because we believe it’s our turn,” McBride said, characterizing the view of the young activists. “But we wanna come back every three minutes and sit down on the stool and hear… What do you have to say? What are your instructions? Where should I throw a jab? Where should I duck?”

    “The approach of the young people has never been in my experience one of, ‘We do not want direction nor do we want to listen,’ ” he added. “I think what they’re clearly saying is that they will reject any kind of direction if it lacks a relationship, and this is a challenge to our generation and many of us who have allowed culture, class, race, and many different things to fracture relationships with our young people.” [...]
    “We live in a world where the rich live in their world and we live in our world, and we’re trying to put the two worlds together,” Carter said, welcoming the spillover of protests beyond Ferguson. “I support everybody that’s in the movement and down for the cause. I can’t really dictate how anybody else should push for it, because our agenda is to get justice for us all — give us all equal rights. Even if you’re not the same color as me, you’re still in a system that’s oppressive.”

    Sorry for taking so much out of that article, it really touched me.

  158. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry for taking so much out of that article, it really touched me.

    Post what you think those of us who don’t have much time to play “follow the links” should know. Thanks for your updates. *clinched tentacle salute*

  159. Pteryxx says

    Thanks again, rq. Post as much as you think is important.

    —-

    from the Daily Kos “Week of Leaks” article: (link)

    Wednesday, October 22: The Washington Post reports that seven or eight African-American eyewitnesses confirm Darren Wilson’s account of events. Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post confirmed to me today that these details were learned through a trusted source inside of the grand jury proceedings.

    and from HuffPo:

    On Wednesday, unnamed sources told The Washington Post that seven or eight black witnesses have given testimony before a grand jury deciding whether to indict Wilson that was “consistent” with the officer’s account. The witnesses have not gone public with their accounts for fear of their safety.

    As a reminder, the usual rules of evidence don’t apply to grand juries. Hearsay is permissible and there is no judge or opposing attorney to challenge any evidence or testimony presented. And, the office of the District Attorney (Bob McCulloch, who the community has petitioned to have removed given his track record) controls what evidence gets presented and what witnesses appear.

    From Vox.com back in August:

    “Grand jurors vote on indictments that are presented to them by the District Attorney’s Office. They can rely on hearsay, such as summaries of witness statements and other reports, and almost always do. The practical effect of allowing the grand jury to rely on hearsay is to speed the process along. And there is no obligation for prosecutors to present possible defenses to the grand jury. The only question the grand jury must answer is whether there is probable cause to believe a crime has occurred. That’s a very low standard, and it’s almost always met when the District Attorney seeks charges.

    “So when a District Attorney says, in effect, ‘we’ll present the evidence and let the grand jury decide,”‘that’s malarkey. If he takes that approach, then he’s already decided to abdicate his role in the process as an advocate for justice. At that point, there’s no longer a prosecutor in the room guiding the grand jurors, and — more importantly — no state official acting on behalf of the victim, Michael Brown.

    So for all we know, “Josie” could have given testimony.

    No word about Dorian Johnson, Mike Brown’s friend and the first witness to go public, who was supposed to have testified before this same grand jury. The last I heard, he’d been detained and put into protective custody in September (and his attorney’s law license was suspended).

  160. Pteryxx says

    via David Johns on Twitter, Chris Hayes of MSNBC interviewed Chris King of the St. Louis American newspaper on why he couldn’t ethically print the anonymous leaks.

    The effect of leaks in the Ferguson grand jury

    By msnbc @msnbc

    Chris Hayes talks to a newspaper editor who was offered leaks pertaining to the grand jury but refused them.

    Video link at MSNBC.

    Chris King: (Twitter link)

    Chris King ‏@chriskingstl

    Major ups to @allinwithchris for sticking w an editorial decision story in #Ferguson when Ebola in NY was developing. Respect for craft.

    9:20 PM – 23 Oct 2014

  161. Pteryxx says

    Amnesty International has just released its report on human rights abuses committed by police in Ferguson. Shaun King on Twitter, Chicago Tribune:

    The Amnesty International report said law enforcement officers should be investigated by U.S. authorities for the abuses, which occurred during weeks of racially charged protests that erupted after white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9.

    The use by law enforcement of rubber bullets, tear gas and heavy military equipment and restrictions placed on peaceful protesters all violated international standards, the group said.

    [...]

    The report also criticizes a Missouri law that the group said may be unconstitutional because it allows police to use deadly force against someone even if there is no imminent threat of harm.

    The report calls on state lawmakers to make Missouri law comply with international standards making lethal force by police a last resort, said Rachel Ward, director of research at Amnesty International.

    “Lethal force is only to be used to protect life when there is an immediate threat,” Ward said. “The Missouri statute goes far beyond that. It is of grave concern.”

    The full report at Amnesty USA: Extensive summary, PDF link

    Due to conflicting reports, what happened between Brown and Wilson remains uncertain. According to one witness, Brown and his friend attempted to walk away when the officer fired his weapon, shooting the unarmed Brown, whose hands were in the air. According to police statements, a physical confrontation between the officer and Brown resulted in the officer shooting the unarmed Brown.

    Regardless, international standards provide that law enforcement officers should only use force as a last resort and that the amount of force must be proportionate to the threat encountered and designed to minimize damage and injury. Officers may only use firearms when strictly necessary to protect themselves or others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury. Even then, the intentional lethal use of firearms is justified only when “strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.”

    Irrespective of whether there was some sort of physical confrontation between Michael Brown and the police officer, Michael Brown was unarmed and thus unlikely to have presented a serious threat to the life of the police officer. As such, this calls into question whether the use of lethal force was justified, and the circumstances of the killing must be urgently clarified.

    Also troubling is Missouri’s broad statute on the use of deadly force. Amnesty International is very concerned that the statute may be unconstitutional and is clearly out of line with international standards on the intentional use of lethal force as it goes well beyond the doctrine that lethal force only be used to protect life.

    Racial discrimination and excessive use of police force nationwide

    The shooting of Michael Brown highlighted on a national level the persistent and widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers across the United States, including unjustified stops and searches, ill treatment and excessive, and sometimes lethal, use of force.

    Indeed, just days after Michael Brown was fatally shot, St. Louis police officers shot and killed a young African American man, Kajieme Powell, 25, who was reportedly holding a knife; police claims that he was brandishing a knife were not borne out by the available video footage of the shooting. On Aug. 11 Ezell Ford, 25, an unarmed black man with a history of mental illness was shot and killed by Los Angeles police officers; and on Jul. 17 Eric Garner, 43, died after being placed in a chokehold by New York Police Department officers after being approached by an officer who attempted to arrest him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

    The United States government must to do much more to address systemic racial discrimination and ensure policing practices nationwide are brought into line with international human rights standards. For years, the monitoring of police conduct and excessive use of force has been hampered by the failure of the Department of Justice to collect accurate, comprehensive national data on police use of force, including the numbers of people killed or injured through police shootings or other types of force. Because this data is not being consistently collated at a national level, no one currently knows how many people are shot and killed by police officers in the United States.

    And most of the rest of the report:

    Law Enforcement Response to Protests in Ferguson

    “I condemn the excessive use of force by the police [in Ferguson] and call for the right of protest to be respected. These scenes are familiar to me and privately I was thinking that there are many parts of the United States where apartheid is flourishing.” – the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, on the police response to Ferguson protests.

    The rights of peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression are basic human rights. These rights are also guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the state of Missouri. The vast majority of those participating in the demonstrations in Ferguson that spontaneously grew in the days and weeks following the shooting Michael Brown have been peaceful – as noted by government officials such as the President of the United States, the Governor of Missouri and Attorney General along with the Missouri Highway Patrol. However, the responses by state officials and law enforcement to the violent actions of a limited number of protestors have impacted the rights of all participating in peaceful protests.

  162. rq says

    I have a couple more articles on the Amnesty International report, will put them up in a moment.
    First, though, I want to put up some info on the VonDerrit shooting, as the autopsy results (from the medical examiner contracted by the family) were presented.
    Vonderrit Myers’ family releases autopsy, lawyers say findings conflict with police reports:

    Jermaine Wooten , one of the family’s lawyers, said the report’s findings –showing almost all shots from behind – contradict the story of the police officer, who has not been identified. Wooten said police representatives have told them that Myers was facing the officer the entire time.

    Wooten said Myers had to have been facing away from the officer for the first shots because he could not have endured the two shots to the side and remained standing. The head wound rendered him unconscious and the shot to his left thigh shattered his femur, dropping him immediately. [...]
    The lawyers met with the police department’s medical examiner Dr. Michael Graham, who said Myers’ DNA does not appear on the gun that Myers was allegedly carrying.

    To be honest, from experience, it’s really difficult to find DNA on a gun, but that’s a minor quibble at this point, considering the wound analysis.

    Via AP, Autopsy: St. Louis officer shot Myers from behind:

    “The evidence shows that the story we’ve been given by the Police Department does not match up,” one of the attorneys, Jerryl Christmas, said. “There’s no evidence that there was a gun battle going on.”

    Wecht said it’s likely that Myers was initially shot six times in the back of both legs. He said another shot hit the side of the left leg, shattering his femur.

    The fatal wound was to the side of Myers’ face, Wecht said.

    Police have said Myers shot first at the officer. They released details of lab tests by the Missouri State Highway Patrol that showed gunshot residue on Myers’ hand, waistband and shirt. Police union leaders said the finding dispelled claims by Myers’ family that he didn’t fire at the officer, whose name hasn’t been released.

    And HuffPo on the same: Autopsy: St. Louis Officer Shot Vonderrit Myers From Behind. The police version looks like this:

    “It’s absolutely consistent with what the officer told the investigators from early on,” said Millikan, a former St. Louis police officer. “There were no shots fired when (Myers) was running away. That’s simply not true.”

    Police Chief Sam Dotson has said Myers fired three shots before his gun jammed.

    Millikan said Myers was shot in the back of the legs while lying on his side with a gun in his hand.

    “He was propped up on his left elbow, and his legs were facing out at the policeman as he went down, but he was still holding the gun and pointing it at the policeman,” the lawyer said.

    Following the autopsy announcement, protestors were in Shaw streets last night, protesting. With a huge police presence. In twitter photos: preventing another Occupy; standoff with police; some policep resence

    tbc

  163. rq says

    SLU students get involved; at SLU gates; the march beforehand.
    I know sometimes these peacefully protesting pictures might seem boring, but I keep putting them up because I think it’s important to see that this is an ongoing struggle. It matters, no matter how it is manifested, and it’s actually more important to see the peaceful, constant, daily effort rather than just the flashy shots of teargas and violence.

    Some videos: Ferguson: Duty to Fight, Duty to Win:

    When white police officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown on August 9, the St. Louis, Missouri, suburb of Ferguson became an amplifier for the issues of police militarization and racism. In the midst of the chaos that ensued, two young black women—Alexis Templeton and Brittany Ferrell—became leaders of a movement, reclaiming the megaphone from longstanding civil-rights leaders like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

    Antonio French on the Mike Brown case leaks – I presume that’s a council meeting at which he’s speaking.
    AG Holder reportedly “exasperated” by Ferguson, Mo. info leaks:

    As more information emerges seeming to back Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s account of the Michael Brown shooting, Eric Holder expressed aggravation over the leaks. Holder described the periodic release of inside information about the case as “inappropriate and troubling.” Vladimir Duthiers reports.

  164. rq says

    Here’s a Storify on that Justice Center lockout yesterday.

    Man films local officers’ attempt to intimidate him under false pretences :

    He said for weeks, two officers have been harassing him, claiming they want him to give up a name of anyone they can plant a gun on or else they’ll arrest him.

    When asked where the gun was, Robinson said they had one but never showed it to him. The officers told him “I have a fully-loaded 38.”

    Officers were unaware that Robinson was filming the ride on his cell phone.

    “Your nine years are going to seem like four times more. I know y’all said you need a gun and a body, got to have a body with it,” said NAME. “I don’t need no gun case. You know I’ll get you somebody.”

    Robinson said they made it very clear what they’d do if he didn’t give up a name.

    “If you don’t give me anything in the next 24-hours then I’ll write this case up as you ran from me but you got away. But I know who you are and you had this gun.”

    Part 2 of that story: Officer accused of harassing St. Louis man, assaulting suspect :

    On Wednesday, Robinson’s girlfriend, Kaneisha Morris said Robinson wanted to check in with his parole officer, but was arrested.

    Morris said Robinson could have been locked up because one of the officers in question. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Detective Thomas Carroll is also being investigated for assaulting a suspect in another non-related crime.

    Reuters on that Amnesty report: Police in Ferguson committed human rights abuses: Amnesty report:

    The Amnesty International report said law enforcement officers should be investigated by U.S. authorities for the abuses, which occurred during weeks of racially charged protests that erupted after white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, on Aug. 9.

    The use by law enforcement of rubber bullets, tear gas and heavy military equipment and restrictions placed on peaceful protesters all violated international standards, the group said. [...]
    The report calls on state lawmakers to make Missouri law comply with international standards making lethal force by police a last resort, said Rachel Ward, director of research at Amnesty International.

    “Lethal force is only to be used to protect life when there is an immediate threat,” Ward said. “The Missouri statute goes far beyond that. It is of grave concern.”

    Amnesty cited a Missouri statute that says a police officer may use deadly force “in effecting an arrest or in preventing an escape from custody” when that officer “reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested … has committed or attempted to commit a felony.” [...]
    “Michael Brown was unarmed and thus unlikely to have presented a serious threat to the life of the police officer,” the report said.

    And just in case, the report from the Amnesty site again.

  165. rq says

    Missouri Police Stocking Up On Riot Gear Ahead Of Grand Jury’s Decision About Whether To Charge Officer Darren Wilson:

    The preparations are aimed at avoiding a renewed outbreak of violence during the potentially large demonstrations that could follow an announcement of whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will face a criminal trial for the Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown.

    The conveniently omit the fact that it’s the police who turned things violent, not the protestors. The following paragraph again begins with ‘clashes’ and the images of riot gear drawing strong condemnation. More from the article:

    In the meantime, law officers have adjusted their tactics for interacting more peacefully with protesters while also honing their procedures for quick, widespread arrests. They plan to have a large contingent of officers at the ready, but have been meeting with clergy, community leaders and students in hopes of building relationships that could ease tensions on the streets.

    “I know there’s a lot of anxiety, there’s a lot of fear, anticipation” about that announcement, said Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who was put in charge of security in Ferguson in the days after Brown was killed and is now part of a coordinated command with local police. But “I have a lot of hope.”

    Law enforcement officers expect to receive at least a day’s notice before a grand jury announcement. That should provide time for them to execute security plans but may also allow demonstrators to prepare.

    All the non-existent gods forbid the protestors have time to draw up some new posters and come up with more creative, non-violent ideas, hey. :P Because they’re probably not preparing anything already.
    Last little bit:

    Earlier this week, Democratic state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, of St. Louis, intentionally got arrested for refusing to leave the street in front of the Ferguson Police Department. Even that was an act preparation. Nasheed said she wanted to show others that “you can peacefully protest, but you don’t have to be violent under the banner of justice for Michael Brown.”

    I’m really hating the preconception that protestors will be violent. They’ve done nothing, as a group, to show that they’re an angry, senseless mob – the individuals who have overstepped some lines have been individuals, dealt with easily, with no indication that the rest are going to follow along. Not like Pumpkinfest, hey. And yet they’re still being painted as on the edge of violence. As a tweeter said, police preparations for violent riots makes it seem as if they don’t think the black community can handle disappointment, when they’re so bloody used to handling disappointment on a daily and constant basis.

    Of course, there are those out to provoke and be more in-cops’-faces – but I can’t blame that tactic, either.

    At one point you can hear Masri tell officers, while pointing at each one, ‘I`m praying for your death and you death and your death and your death.’

    Bassem Masri sat down with us to answer to his tactics. He said, ‘We need to be talking about how we gonna fix the police, not how do we fix Bassem.’

    Reporter Hayes asked, ‘It appears at times you`re trying to get an officer to strike you.’

    Masri: ‘Maybe, nah. I don`t want to get hurt. I don`t want to go to jail. Hell no and you know what it is? Like I just stated earlier, I`m a citizen who`s mad.’

    The article at the end has his record. And it is impressively full of tiny little traffic stops and failures to appear. Not a fan of the death threats, though – not at all.

    More photos from the Shaw protest:
    Grand after the protests (photo of video camera on empty street); police presence; STL Metro bus blocked the street, unclear whether accidentally or on purpose.

  166. rq says

    St. Louis County town rejects body cameras for police:

    The issue unexpectedly came up at the Oct. 13 Board of Aldermen meeting when Alderman Shamed Dogan (Ward 2) urged during the aldermanic comment period that a few cameras be acquired and used. The body cams would be particularly helpful when Ballwin officers are called to help in areas where civil unrest is occurring, he said.

    However, Ballwin Police Chief Steve Schicker said at a budget work session last month that he was not recommending the purchase of body cameras in 2015 due to rapidly changing technology, which makes today’s devices obsolete tomorrow. Schicker also cited challenges of integrating in-car cameras with those worn by police officers and security concerns about images maintained by third-party “cloud” data storage firms . . .

    Continuing the tally: Leaks everywhere in St. Louis. Here’s a running tally of the denials.

    Current Tally of Denials

    —The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office denies it leaked the sealed autopsy report of Mike Brown, but confirmed that what has been released is the real thing.

    —Darren Wilson’s attorney categorically denies having anything at all to do with any of the leaks of any of the reports or testimony from the grand jury.

    —The St. Louis County prosecutor’s office also denies being the source of the leaks.

    —The St. Louis County Police Department just stated, “Our department did not like any information being reported.”

    Chris Hayes on the effect of leaks on the Ferguson grand jury (video).

    Video of #Ferguson: Reporting a Viral Story . With the participation of Antonio French, a St Louis Alderman.

    Media highlighting the Evil Passt of medical examiner supporting Von Derrit’s family (twitter photo of text pointing out his past of using office resources for his own benefit in the Post-Dispatch).

  167. rq says

    And this, by a legal observer, “I went to Ferguson to protect the protesters. I got arrested instead.”:

    I am a law professor who teaches human rights law and race and the law, and I participated in Ferguson October because I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t contribute what I could to this movement taking place 10 minutes from my home. As a legal observer, I was hoping to document (and maybe, by my presence, prevent) police brutality against protesters. Local Walmarts were selected as protest sites to amplify the connection between the killing of John Crawford, which took place at a Walmart in Ohio, and the killing of Mike Brown. Both are case studies in police impunity, the criminalization of black youth, and the logical consequence of the two: police too often feel that instead of simply patrolling black and brown communities, they can go hunting in them, without punishment.

    I arrived at the Maplewood Walmart with my fellow activist and good friend Autumn Marie. She instructed me: “Go to the orange juice section and pretend to buy some orange juice. I’ll meet you there. And don’t forget to bring your green legal observer hat.” I did as told. I spent almost 10 minutes mulling over different types of orange juice while I was waiting for Autumn; the other customers must have thought that I was the most anal beverage shopper they’d ever seen. She finally arrived and gave me her phone and keys — as the legal observer, I would be able to safekeep them for her in the event that she was wrongly arrested for exercising her First Amendment rights. I took my shopping cart over to the pet food section, where the protesters had arranged to meet.

    As we converged, the ten or so protesters began clapping and chanting, “Tell me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” I stood to the side of the protesters and put on my neon green hat, which read “National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer.” About four other people emerged with neon green caps, and the sudden burst of neon comforted me — at least I was not alone as an observer. I tried to keep a safe distance from the protest, as instructed, close enough so that I could see but not in a way that obstructed the demonstration. This was not as easy as it seemed. Because of the way the aisles were designed, it became difficult to see what was happening, especially as protesters marched back and forth.

    Customers began gathering and taking pictures with their cell phones. The clapping and chanting continued: “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” Meanwhile, the police wanted the protesters to leave. They waved their arms toward the door, and the protesters complied, making their way to the front of the store. I followed close behind. The protesters then locked arms and continued to chant. As I stood about 5 or 10 feet away, trying to not get in the way, my arm was suddenly twisted. I was being handcuffed.

    Without warning and before I could think, I was led away with both hands behind my back. It was surreal. I was the first person arrested. The protesters were chanting and singing and making noise, and the police walked right past them to arrest me first. The only thing that differentiated me from a random customer standing and watching and taking pictures was my green legal observer hat. And there were four other legal observers there. The police walked right past them and arrested me. The only thing that differentiated me from the other observers was the fact that I was black. [...]

    After our release, Tef Poe sent out a tweet that has resonated with me ever since: “I can’t stress enough that the most important part about jail is having good cell mates.” We talked through the night with each other, spending a good amount of time laughing — to keep from crying, I suppose. There was so much brotherhood that at times it felt like I was sitting in a small, cold, barbershop with bars. The first thing we did was make fun of the cops for forgetting to take my glasses and forgetting to take Bassem’s belt. Then we laughed about the fact that here I was in jail, not only as a lawyer but as a law professor! Then we talked about protest strategies: where we would protest next, what we could do better next time. [...]

    Beyond their own cases, the other prisoners had a lot to say about race and the legal system. I write scholarship in this area and write about it often, but just like any other time when a theorist comes into contact with someone who is on the ground, I had to concede that my knowledge of the situation was more cerebral, lacking the emotions that they brought. However many books and law review articles I may read, I can never instinctively know as much about the law and what it is really about as someone who has spent years of his life in prison. What he knows that I can’t know is difficult to express in words. But I felt that, at certain moments on this night, the other prisoners appealed to me from a place of brotherhood and sought to communicate that knowledge to me.

    Of the many things that struck me, I remember one prisoner saying, “Not all police officers are bad. Just like any other job, there are good apples and bad apples.” He had good reason to paint police with a broad brush, but instead he embraced a more empathetic, nuanced approach. [...]

    It was at that point that the police tried to intimidate me. One of the officers told me that we were going to be headed to the county jail, and that we were not going to be released for a long time. They gave me a blanket that was so filthy that it was surely a biohazard, and told me that I should get comfortable with it because I would be spending at least one night in jail, probably more. Although I saw their intimidation tactic for what it was, I didn’t make too much noise about it. I figured it would be pointless to argue with them. Instead I decided to relax and try to get some sleep. This never actually happened, thanks to the continuing questions and chatter from the prisoner in the jail cell across from me.

    In the early hours of the morning, the police began to free the activist prisoners one by one. Each time they took another one of us away, the jail became quieter and more oppressive. Although it was only for a brief time, more and more I experienced the violent nature of being caged.

    I wasn’t surprised that Tef was first to get bailed out. He had a bevy of fans and supporters agitating for his release. I was surprised, though, at how desperately I wanted to be second, then third, then fourth. Every time the police walked by, all I could think about was whether I would be the next person released. I couldn’t get that anticipation out of my mind. On some deep-down level, even with my knowledge to the contrary, the officer who told me to expect a long jailing and a trip to county had an effect on my psyche. In the moment, I hated myself for wanting to be next. I should have been happy for my brothers and cell mates to get free. But even now, days later, I remember more than anything that anxiety and anticipation, almost as if it were a thick, burning knot in my stomach. [...]

    As I walked out of the jail early the next morning, and I was met with cheers and embraces from my friends and fellow activists, I felt changed. Even now, I have difficulty in putting this into words. But in some way I think that night in jail removed from my mind the last vestige of any thought that I would be treated differently by the police because of the content of my character. I am a lawyer and law professor. I had a neon green hat on, and I stood to the side in silence, taking pictures. But watching and pretending to be neutral did not protect me. Having my dress slacks on pulled up around my waist did not protect me. In the eyes of the police, I was one thing: a young black male.

    Standing to the side in silence is not an option for me.

  168. dianne says

    As I stood about 5 or 10 feet away, trying to not get in the way, my arm was suddenly twisted. I was being handcuffed.

    Can this really be described as “being arrested”? It sounds more like a kidnapping to me. At least, the author doesn’t say anything about being read his rights or being told why he was arrested or anything similar. Maybe he just had too much to write about and couldn’t include it all, but…creepy. Not that I expect anything but creepy at this point.

  169. Pteryxx says

    Following up on Chris Hayes (MSNBC video): He says the only hint of where the leaks are coming from is in this LA Times piece:

    St. Louis County prosecutor’s office spokesman Ed Magee said his office probably wouldn’t investigate the leaks because prosecutors could not force journalists to divulge their sources and because the information could be coming from federal officials in Washington.

    “There’s really nothing to investigate,” Magee said Wednesday. “We don’t have control over anybody leaking anything. All we can control is people in our office and the grand jury, and it’s not coming from us or the grand jury.”

    He said that “you can tell by the information they have” that the leaks are not coming from the grand jury or the prosecutor’s office, citing reports using sourcing language such as “officials briefed on the investigation.”

    “We’ve got a joint investigation going on [with federal officials], so we’re sharing information and we’ve been sharing information the whole time,” Magee said.

    And from Chris King, who repeated the statements for MSNBC: (bolds mine)

    Chris King, managing editor of the St. Louis American, a newspaper for black audiences, said law enforcement officials had offered him the leaks, saying “they had been briefed on the evidence and it didn’t look good for Michael Brown supporters,” but he declined and decried “third-party hearsay” in an editorial for the paper.

    In the video segment, Chris King of the St. Louis American also said that, as a minority paper in a racist city, they can’t print anonymous sources because nobody will believe them. “We’re not taken seriously when we use *named* sources,” he said.

    Chris Hayes also spoke with Brown’s family’s attorney Benjamin Crump, who reminds that all the family has asked for from the beginning is for the officer responsible to be charged and given a fair and transparent trial.

    MSNBC puts transcripts up about three to five days after the segments are broadcast. (Transcript main page)

  170. Pteryxx says

    From HuffPo: Report: Chicago Police Are Getting Away With Brutality, And Most Of It Is Against Minorities

    Though about 33 percent of Chicago’s population is African-American, the city’s arrest rate of black youth is disproportionately high, according to the report. In 2011, 77 percent of the Chicago Police Department’s youth arrests were of black youth. In 2012, that percentage increased to 79 percent.

    The report also notes that black and Latino targets were involved in 92 percent of the Chicago Police Department’s uses of stun guns from 2009 to 2011. Throughout the first half of 2014, black targets have been involved in 78 percent of the department’s stun gun uses, the report notes.

    The use of stun guns has also failed to significantly reduce the number of police-involved shootings since they were implemented by the department in 2010, the report notes. Black Chicagoans are, again, drastically overrepresented among those who are shot by police. As the Chicago Reporter previously observed, black Chicagoans are 10 times more likely than their white peers to be shot by a police officer.

    The report notes it’s also rare for a Chicago police officer to be held accountable for misconduct allegations. Among 10,149 complaints of excessive force, illegal searches, racial abuse or false arrest filed by residents between 2002 and 2004, only 124 — 1.2 percent — were sustained, and only 19 cases led to a penalty of suspension of at least a week or worse, according to the document.

    Citing a 2007 report by a University of Chicago Law School professor, the report notes that a brutality complaint filed against police in Chicago is 94 percent less likely to be sustained than elsewhere. In the city, only 0.48 percent of brutality complaints are sustained, compared to 8 percent nationally.

    The report itself has been submitted to the UN by the volunteer group We Charge Genocide: Main page, Link to zipped PDF

  171. rq says

    Annie Lennox whitewashes Strange Fruit:

    “Strange Fruit” is a protest song and it was written before the Civil Rights movement actually got on its feet, got established. And because of what I’ve seen around the world, I know that this theme, this subject of violence and bigotry, hatred, violent acts of mankind against ourselves. This is a theme. It’s a human theme that has gone on for time immemorial. It’s expressed in all kinds of different ways, whether it be racism, whether it be domestic violence, whether it be warfare, or a terrorist act, or simply one person attacking another person in a separate incident. This is something that we as human beings have to deal with, it’s just going on 24/7. And as an observer of this violence, even as a child, I thought, why is this happening? So I’ve always had that sense of empathy and kind of outrage that we behave in this way. So a song like this, if I were to do a version of “Strange Fruit,” I’d give the song honor and respect and I try to bring it back out into the world again and get an opportunity to talk about the subjects behind the songs as well.

    More at the link, comparison to someone actually explaining the song.

  172. rq says

    Ferguson: ‘Don’t Shoot Coalition’ Release Recommendations to DOJ:

    MUNICIPAL REFORMS INCLUDE:

    – Body cameras on all officers with policies as articulated by Drone Free St. Louis:
    http://www.dronefreestl.org/?p=688

    – Solid enforcement of racial profiling protections, including use of racial profiling statistics in performance reviews.

    – An end to departmental policies that measure officer’s performance predominantly by number of stops or arrests or provide incentives for stops and arrests, replaced by measures of performance rooted in community policing.

    – Requirement that police provide “receipts” after any police encounter that include the reason for the stop, and the officer’s name and badge number.

    – Setting of law enforcement priorities by community members or community advisory boards.

    – Release of detailed annual internal affairs complaint and resolution statistics, including a name-redacted list of how many complaints the officers with the highest numbers of complaints each year receive.

    – Early Intervention Systems for officer performance and conduct with oversight to guarantee appropriate responses to red flags.

    COUNTY REFORMS INCLUDE:

    – Countywide Civilian Oversight Board designed for inclusion of all St. Louis County departments and embodying the principles of independence, representation of all stakeholders, access to all evidence and the ability to make policy recommendations as well as discipline and training recommendations in response to individual incidents.

    – Consolidation of Departments.

    STATE REFORMS INCLUDE:

    – Mandatory training requirements for all officers on issues such as cultural sensitivity, interacting with mentally ill, responding to sexual assault, domestic violence, officer misconduct and integrity, use of force, effective communication and de-escalation skills and other topics in which Missouri police do not receive adequate training. Dialogue with affected communities should be part of all training;

    – Required annual report on the use of deadly force by all Missouri Police Departments.

    – Mandated use of an assessment tool gauging racial bias in all Missouri police forces that goes beyond the recording of racial composition of police stops.

    – Whistleblower protection for officers and confidential informants.

    – Statewide guidance on the creation of civilian oversight boards based on the principles given above.

    FEDERAL RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDE:

    – A publicly available national database of police shootings, excessive force and deaths in custody, broken down by race and other demographic data, with key privacy protections, including the exclusion of personally identifying factors and information.

    – National use of force policy and a mandate that state and local police adopt it.

    – Strict limits on asset seizure and the transfer of any military equipment to local law enforcement under 1033 and other programs, guidelines that ensure that the equipment is not used against non-violent protesters and an end to the requirement that such military weaponry is used within a year.

    – End of the Byrne Program that incentivizes arrests.

    FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS:

    Click here to read more: http://bit.ly/10rtpbn

    Click here to read Don’t Shoot Coalition’s Letter to DOJ: http://bit.ly/1shhguW

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