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Good morning, America!

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. rq says

    First young protestor: have you even been to these neighbourhoods?

    Speakers introduce themselves: I am Mike Brown, and I am from Ground Zero.

    Apparently, the committee chairwoman needs PR help.

    Podcast: the meaning of Ferguson. Might be worth a listen.

    There’s a t-shirt company making money of Ferguson. Seriously? “Racism is not over but I am over racism” on a t-shirt? Seriously??

    Towards the end, a white adult and a black adult make nice and encourage viewers to buy a FCKH8.com T-shirt. Five dollars from each shirt will supposedly go to unidentified “charities working in communities to fight racism.” Which charities? Who knows! What communities? Can’t tell you.

    This is in reference to that children’s video I linked to above. Unfortunately, I did not watch it, or I would have been more outraged. :(

  2. rq says

    On the looming Ferguson highway shutdown:
    FAQs and information on the protest;
    Still calling for a new prosecutor in the case:

    “It is going to cause people some discomfort, it is going to cause inconvenience to people,” says Eric Vickers, one of the organizers of the Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition, about the highway protest. “That is a small price to pay to change the conditions for African American youth, and it is a very small price to pay to bring justice to Michael Brown. The Wednesday civil-disobedience action will be the start of a direct action campaign that will continue and will escalate until our demands are met.” [...]
    County Executive Charlie Dooley called for McCullough to step down from the investigation last month after he criticized Nixon’s decision to transfer control of police response in Ferguson from the St. Louis County Police Department to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    “Rather than stay focused on the investigation, the prosecuting attorney decided to wade over into a whole other area and challenge the governor,” Dooley’s spokeswoman Pat Washington told the Washington Post. “He inflamed the community, which already distrusts him.” [...]
    Brown supporters say they’ll escalate civil-disobedience actions, including blocking highways, until their demands are met.

  3. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @rq, I’m very happy to enjoy the results of your copious work. Thanks for continuing to provide this.

    I actually think that I’ll soon be able to step back in to help with discussions on legal issues related to Brown, Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown, Ferguson as a municipal entity, liability, legal authority, relevance of constitutional provisions, and such. In the mean time, just thanks for not dropping this. I’m reading quite a bit of what you link, and everything you write.

  4. says

    Protesters in Ferguson arrested for blocking the highway while calling for a special prosecutor in the Michael Brown case:

    More than 100 demonstrators attempted to block a U.S. highway and some were arrested in clashes with authorities on Wednesday in a protest over the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

    Protesters sitting or standing in the road around Interstate 70 on-ramps near the St. Louis suburb where Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead by Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9 were arrested, the newspaper said. At one point two people threw a bottle and a brick at police.

    The report did not say how many people were arrested.

  5. says

    Another example of police brutality

    Two Indianapolis police officers who were off duty at a bar drinking shots with a pregnant bartender beat up a patron who began arguing with the woman, an affidavit released Wednesday said.

    John Serban and Michael Reiger face felony battery charges over the Aug. 7 incident, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said. According to the probable cause affidavit, 29-year-old patron Bradford Bohanon was put in a chokehold, kicked and had his face ground into the pavement outside the bar, and the officers went back inside afterward and resumed drinking.

    Serban, a 16-year police veteran, and Reiger, a 15-year veteran, were arrested without incident Tuesday. A news release from the department said both officers have been suspended without pay pending termination.

  6. rq says

    Okay, so it wasn’t busloads, but 31 charged with unlawful assembly, 3 with assaulting police officers. That’s from Casey Nolan from KSDK.
    Via @stevegiegerich, the total count is 32 and 4, respectively, for a total of 36. However, according to Casey Nolan again, some of those arrested and released don’t know the charges and never saw any paperwork. You’d think they’d stop doing shit like that.

    And yes, they did bring the BearCat to this one, too. :(
    This reporter, at least, wasn’t arrested, but apparently a photographer was.

  7. rq says

  8. rq says

    Well, mission partially accomplished.

    In other news, a youth committee meeting coming up in Ferguson. “Supporting the Youth in the social justice movement by identifying common concerns that can lead to common solutions within various Youth organizations.”

    From STL Today, by Steve Giegerich, Joel Currier and Stephen Deere (Post-Dispatch), piece on the highway protest, deemed a failure. Got a nice gallery of photos, though.

    No one was injured during the nearly three hour stand-off with authorities.

    Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman Al Nothum reported that state police, St. Louis County and St. Louis City police officers were pelted with bricks, rocks, concrete chunks, filled plastic water bottles and glass bottles.

    “People didn’t get to shut the interstate down, so I think we can call it a success,” Nothum said.

    The bid to close down I-70 failed after police, some in riot helmets, sealed off the eastbound exit and entrance ramps at Hanley Road shortly after 3 p.m.

    Organizer Eric Vickers said the protest succeeded even though demonstrators didn’t meet their objective.

    The police “tied up traffic for us,” Vickers said. “So we accomplished our aim of bringing attention to this issue.” [you participate by not participating? I guess?] [...]
    “We didn’t have to block (the highway),” Macon said. “(The police) did it for us. Thank you. Mission accomplished.”

    Vickers would not rule out further acts of “civil disobedience” this week, including another potential highway shutdown attempt to protest St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s continuing involvement in the Brown case. [...]
    “We want to protest in peace,” Merricks said. “That’s all we’re looking for. We don’t want nobody to get hurt or arrested. So what we’re trying to do is let Mike Brown’s family know that we’re here to support them and we love them. We’re going to continue do what we need to do and let everybody in St. Louis know this is for a good cause. And (injustice) has to stop sometime. And now is the time to stop. It’s time for a change.”

    It was said on video: “He had his fucken hands up.” That’s another look at the video of the two workers who also witnessed the Michael Brown murder.

    “The cop didn’t say get on the ground. He just kept shooting,” the man said.

    That same witness described the gruesome scene, saying he saw Brown’s “brains come out of his head,” again stating, “his hands were up.”

    The video shows the man raising his arms in the air — just as, he says, Brown was doing when he was shot.

    And this next portion starts well, and ends… well, you’ll see:

    “You have practically in real time someone discussing what they saw, and that’s just good evidence,” he said on CNN’s “AC360.”

    Sunny Hostin, a CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, says it’s important to note that several witnesses are telling the same story.

    “They’re saying that he was running from the police officer and that his hands were up,” she said. “I don’t know what other witness testimony at this point or account we have to hear. The bottom line is having your hands up is the universal sign for surrender.”

    Neil Bruntrager, general counsel for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, cautioned against rushing to judgment. Witness accounts are important, he said, but need to be evaluated with all the evidence.

    “I’m not saying disregard them. I’m saying that we will judge their credibility by all of the evidence, not by one statement, and certainly not by a 15-second video clip,” he said. [judge their credibility? saying it like that, it's already been judged - emphasis mine]

    Like, fuck. Sometimes all you have is that 15-second video clip. That lines up with every other piece of eye-witness evidence you have. What more do you need???

  9. rq says

    The New York Times went for the happy medium: 35 arrested during highway protest.

    The attempted highway shutdown was meant to last four and a half hours, symbolizing the death of Mr. Brown, whose body lay on the street for that length of time after he was shot following an apparent scuffle with the officer.

    Organizers had hoped to pressure Gov. Jay Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor to lead the investigation of the killing. Activists and black lawmakers say that Mr. McCulloch has shown bias in favor of law enforcement in previous police shooting cases, and they question his impartiality.

  10. rq says

    HuffPo on the new video, the one that shows the reactions of the workers as Mike Brown is shot.

    “I saw him staggering and running and when he finally caught himself he threw his hands up and started screaming OK OK OK OK OK and then the three officers come through the thing and the one just started shooting,” one man told Fox 2 last month.

    (Now I’m a bit confused about those three officers, but okay.)

    From August 14, but a few things still applicable: how you can help. Points 2, 4, and 5 are still meaningful –

    2) Put pressure on the Ferguson and St. Louis County Police Departments. [...]
    4) Put pressure on national leaders to end state-sanctioned police violence. [...]
    5) Follow locals on Twitter for more.

    Pharrell Williams on CNN talks Ferguson with Don Lemon:

    Speaking with CNN’s Don Lemon, Pharrell criticized the news channel for putting too much emphasis on the violent outliers, rather than the majority of Ferguson protestors who remained peaceful. Jumping off of that point, he turned the conversation to Barack Obama:

    “The president needs to go down there,” he said sternly. “When your parents come into the room, whether its you or your cousin that knocked the vase down, you all stand at attention.”

    Weeks after the killing of Michael Brown, Pharrell said this is far from over. “If you thought this was gonna blow over, this is gonna be the longest hangover in race relations ever,” Pharrell said. “We thought we had gotten so far.”

    The Renaissance man also touches on the excessive force used against Brown, racial profiling, and his views on the online campaign urging African-Americans to wear their pants higher.

    “I’m not into politics,” he assured. “But I have opinions.”

    (He’s a Rennaissance man? :) ) Video at the link.

  11. rq says

    Yes, this bullshit continues: in wake and in advance of more Ferguson unrest, Missouri allows open-carry… But wait, it gets better:

    The bill prevents municipalities from barring people from openly carrying firearms, lowers the minimum age to 19 for concealed carry permits in the state, and allows school districts to arm teachers. Police officers also will be barred from disarming people unless they are under arrest.

    The Missouri House voted 117-39 in favor of the override, with little debate, early Thursday morning. [...]
    Backers say the law is needed to protect gun rights, and to prevent frivolous arrests of people carrying firearms. Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, recommended that all Missourians be armed. “We live in a world that’s evil, that wants to harm each and every one,” he said. [...]
    Opponents engaged in a mini-filibuster in the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, said the bill will make streets less safe. Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, said lowering the minimum age for concealed-carry permits to 19 will mean that students can openly carry guns on college campuses.

    The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Will Kraus, R Lee’s Summit, said that the bill will require public hearings before school districts can hire or designate school protection officers, who would be armed. They also would be required to have training, he said.

    Seriously, how difficult will it be to get past those public hearings? How comprehensive and extensive will that training be? And what happens when black people start to open-carry everywhere? Visibly and publicly? Will it be Wal-Mart everywhere, or …? I just don’t see how they have all their brains together in their heads, if they’re passing this kind of bill in the direct aftermath of Ferguson. Wow-wee…

  12. rq says

    Missouri lawmakers are doing everything wrong: while increasing the rights of gun owners, they’re reducing the rights of women. (This only gets to be here because it’s Missouri, and it’s the same day they passed that open-carry bullshit above.) It’s the usual about saving the lives of children, but guess who’ll suffer the most for it?

    The Washington Post on the I70 shutdown yesterday:

    The protest march — which police physically prevented from entering the freeway — is the latest flash point in what has been a near-nonstop call from leaders of Ferguson’s black community for St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch, who they allege has a history of protecting police officers, to be removed from the case. More than 115,000 people nationwide have signed an online petition demanding his removal. [isn't that enough for some kind of action? not in this case?] [...]
    “I believe that Bob McCulloch will be fair,” she said. “You have to understand the only allegation against this prosecutor is he can’t be fair. Well what does that say to the people of this county? We have a process in this country where people are elected. You don’t come along and just remove someone from that job unless it is under the powers of an emergency. [ I think this qualifies.]”

    But his continued role in investigating whether Officer Darren Wilson used improper force when he fatally shot Brown last month has revived decades-old complaints about him from some segments of Greater St. Louis’s black community. [...]
    “The decision to appoint a special prosecutor in this case is a moral decision, not a political one,” local activist Zaki Baruti declared in announcing the protest.

    Baruti, who has previously clashed with McCulloch and other local prosecutors and police departments over civilian shootings, has been joined by several other community leaders and local elected officials in insisting that McCulloch be removed. [...]
    The Post requested a list of cases­ in which the county prosecutor’s office has pursued charges against a member of law enforcement. In response, the office noted that it does not have any database that lists cases­ by defendant occupation, but it provided a list of 33 prior or pending cases­ that was compiled from memory by prosecutors, investigators and victim service personnel in the office since McCulloch became county prosecutor in 1991. [compiled from memory, like holy shit, not even an easy search function anywhere in the records??]

    The list did not include any cases in which McCulloch’s office has pursued charges against a white officer for using inappropriate force against a black victim. But when The Post asked specifically for examples, McCulloch’s office cited two cases: a white male police officer who was charged after a video showed him assaulting an African American prisoner and a white male police lieutenant who was charged and found guilty of slapping an African American woman while on a disturbance call.

    More on the new open-carry in Missouri:

    The new law will allow specially trained school employees to carry concealed guns on campuses. It also allows anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry guns openly, even in cities or towns with bans against the open carrying of firearms [because local laws should be made totally unnecessary]. The age to obtain a concealed weapons permit also will drop from 21 to 19.

    From STL American, new political shop open in Ferguson, so to speak. A nice overview of HealSTL and some of the people who work with the organization, like Senator Chappelle-Nadal and Glenn Burleigh.

  13. rq says

    Still registering voters in Ferguson.

    Oh, hai, campus grenade launcher! “For “security and crowd control”.” Sounds legit. :P

    Ask participants in the program, and they’ll say it provides departments, particularly those with limited budgets like campus police forces, with necessary gear at very little cost (colleges pay only for shipping). Responsible departments, advocates say, develop plans for specific instances in which the equipment will be used—crowd-control situations, say, or active-shooter incidents like the Virginia Tech massacre. Outside of those cases, community members are unlikely to know that the gear even exists. [...]
    Now more than 8,000 federal and state law-enforcement agencies—many campus police departments among them—are eligible to participate. Participating agencies don’t buy equipment; they are given it. [...]
    Central Florida got eight of its M-16 assault rifles in 2011, and 15 more were transferred to the department in February of the following year. At campus police departments, much like their counterparts at the local, state, and federal level, the most popular weapon procured through the 1033 program is the M-16 assault rifle.

    At least 60 institutions have acquired M-16s through the program. Arizona State University holds the most, with 70 in its arsenal, followed by Florida International University and the University of Maryland with 50 M-16s each. Central Florida received its grenade launcher in 2008; Hinds acquired its in 2006.

    Gear through the 1033 program is free to participating departments, with receiving agencies having to pay only delivery and maintenance costs. The University of Louisiana at Monroe paid $507.43 for 12 M-16 rifles; the University of Alabama at Huntsville paid $220.40 for the transfer and shipping of five M-16s. [...]

    The justification (totally solid and based on years of research):

    “What was once the unthinkable has become the inevitable,” Mr. Beary said. “These bad guys have plans and are heavily armed, and law enforcement needs to be able to keep up with them. In order to do that, police officers need to be highly trained, well equipped, and ready to respond to any scenario.” [...]
    “The typical college-campus chief of police might say, ‘Look, we’ve had serious incidents occur around the country on college campuses,’” said Mr. Kraska. “The flaw in that thinking is that they are not going to be able to respond, even if they have all of that stuff. Those incidents are usually over very, very quickly”—25 minutes, tops. Longer than that, Mr. Kraska said, and the campus police will be joined by local and state law-enforcement officials, who will have greater capability and firepower. [...]
    “It’s not just the question of what happens in any one particular incident, but the tone it sets about what an environment needs to be,” Ms. Franks said. “This presumption of danger—this presumption of hostility—is really toxic in many ways and avoids the problems that the community might actually be suffering from.”

    But are they capable of using it? Hmmm, let’s take a look:

    When Ms. Stump talks about the value of transparency, she’s also tackling the issue of training: Are college police officers experienced enough to handle assault rifles and other military gear?

    Yes, as long as they’ve had the training required for departmental accreditation, said Mr. Perry.

    To earn accreditation from the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, for example, an organization must show proof that officers have attended training to use any new weapon, vehicle, or tool they acquire, Mr. Perry said. Training must be proctored by third-party instructors who know how to use the gear proficiently. Neither the Department of Defense nor the association administers the training. The Department of Defense does not require any training to obtain or keep the gear. [there's probably a waiver for all responsibility, etc., etc.]
    The University of Virginia’s police department purchased 12 M-16 rifles through the 1033 program, and the university converted them to patrol rifles—guns that cannot be fired automatically. Officers who are issued patrol rifles receive three levels of training, said Mike Coleman, a captain in the department. Training sessions cover marksmanship, safety, decision making, and threat identification. The police department at the University of Virginia is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, as is the University of Florida.

    “The public is not aware of much of the training that university police officers receive,” Mr. Coleman said. “Our department not only attends the same police academy that municipal officers attend; they teach at that academy.”

    Professors like Mr. Kraska remain concerned about how the 1033 program could affect campuses.

    “It can have a profound cultural impact on a small police department when you start adding weaponry, battle-dress uniforms, all the advanced military technologies,” he said. “That small agency can go rapidly from one of protecting and serving to one of viewing the community as the enemy, and a potential threat.”

  14. rq says

    More on that meeting of Police Chief Dotson and St Louis alderpeople on the Kajieme Powell shooting.

    After Powell’s shooting, Dotson had immediately traveled to the scene to address media and the community. The next day, he released the 911 calls, surveillance footage and a cellphone video of the shooting filmed by a bystander. At the hearing yesterday, activists set up a projector in the City Hall rotunda and played the chilling video on repeat.

    The hearing had been called for Dotson to explain the details of SLMPD’s use of force policies. In Powell’s case, witnesses say he was pacing and muttering in front of the Six Stars Market in Riverview, where he had just stolen two energy drinks. Two white police officers arrived, and Powell approached them and began yelling “Shoot me, kill me now.”

    According to SLMPD policy, a suspect carrying an knife within 21-feet of an officer is considered a potentially lethal danger. The officers were legally justified in opening fire. [...]
    While Dotson maintained that the SLMPD should be credited for acting transparently after the shooting, aldermen like Antonio French — who had been arrested during the Ferguson protests — pointed to the video of Powell’s death as evidence that it may be time to fundamentally reconsider giving officers so much power over life and death.

    “There are two questions here,” said French, describing the Powell shooting. “What is legally allowed? And what should have happened?”

    “There are very few instances that we give the power to kill other human being,” French said later during the hearing. “That’s a power we give as a society, and it’s a power we can limit. We have given the police a great deal of leeway. If we think they are not exercising that force responsibly, I think it is our responsibility to review if we should give you guys that power.”

    Dotson countered that police officers, like any citizen, have the right to defend themselves if they feel their lives are in danger. He also cited the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Supreme Court precedents that enshrine an officer’s right to use deadly force. [ooh, argument from authority!]
    Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, however, refused to give Dotson a break — especially after he remarked that, in the context of self defense and lethal force, the SLMPD has a responsibility to return its officers safely home.

    “See, what I wanted to hear from you was ‘I want to see the police officers and citizens go home safely,'” she said. “You sound like an occupying force to me, rather than a police officer that stays here to protect the citizens.”

    January Ansa, a 32-year-old mom and St. Louis city resident, sat through the hearing in the audience with her husband. Echoing Tyus, Ansa says she grew frustrated watching Dotson dance around the systemic abuse and biases that actually define the relationship between police and St. Louis’ black community.

    “There’s a huge disconnect between the police department and the citizenry” she told Daily RFT. “I don’t think the police department has a good idea of how much people don’t trust them, and that goes across color lines. There’s a reason for that, and it goes far beyond Kajieme Powell or Mike Brown.”

    And, because it’s good to know:

    For reference, here is the three-point “Philosophy” of SLMPD’s use of force policy:

    1. It is the policy of the Department that reverence for human life will guide officers in the use of deadly force. Deadly force will only be used when necessary to protect the lives of officers or other person; it is never justified solely to protect property.

    2. Officers will use the least amount of force reasonably necessary to accomplish their lawful objectives while safeguarding their own lives and the lives of others. Deadly force will be a last resort, and will only be exercised when all reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or appear impractical.

    3. An officer will take care that he/she doe snot, by his/her own actions, create a situation in which the use of deadly force becomes necessary.

    So… deadly force is a last resort, one that one arrives at within the first 15 seconds of arriving on scene. Got it.

  15. rq says

    From Mother Jones: any shooting by cops is justifiable, because all people shot by cops criminals. That’s kind of wishing perfect intentions onto any cop who has ever shot someone. But what freaks me out?

    The FBI’s database of justifiable homicides—in which some local law enforcement agencies voluntarily report how many alleged criminals died at the hands of police in the line of duty—has come under particular scrutiny for giving a very limited view of the use of lethal force by law enforcement across the country.

    They have a database of justifiable homicides. There’s such a thing as justifiable homicide. (With which, in a very narrow scope such as self-defense or a very direct threat to others.., I can agree… but beyond that?) Anyway, the definition of justifiable homicide:

    A justifiable homicide, according to the FBI, is defined in two ways:

    The killing of a felon by a peace officer in the line of duty.
    The killing of a felon, during the commission of a felony, by a private citizen.

    That raises the question: What is a felon? “A felon in this case is someone who is committing a felony criminal offense at the time of the justifiable homicide,” according to a statement provided by the bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting staff. That definition differs from the common legal understanding of a felon as someone who has been convicted of a felony.

    And it seems like it mostly depends on how it is reported to the FBI:

    Let’s say a cop shoots and kills a suspect and later found to be justified in doing so because he felt his life was in danger. And let’s say that the local law enforcement agency later reports the death as a justifiable homicide to the FBI. Under the FBI’s definition, the victim is then counted as a felon killed by a peace officer in the line of duty, regardless of whether that suspect was in fact a criminal, or may have later been found innocent.

    All very nebulous, if you ask me, in a situation where certainty should be key.

  16. rq says

    Oh, and while I’m at Mother Jones, here’s some slightly older stuff, possibly reposts:
    How often do police shoot unarmed black men? From August 15.

    The Ferguson shooting and the science of race and guns, from August 14.

    Here’s what happens to police officers who shoot unarmed black men, from August 20.

    And from yesterday, Data shows cops kill black people at a much higher rate than white people:

    However, as I and others have reported, there is some national data out there. It’s not complete, but it provides a general idea of how many people die at the hands of the police—and the significant racial disparity among them:

    • The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting program records that 410 people were killed in justifiable homicides by police in 2012. While the FBI collects information on the victims’ race, it does not publish the overall racial breakdown.

    • The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that between 2003 and 2009 there were more than 2,900 arrest-related deaths involving law enforcement. Averaged over seven years, that’s about 420 deaths a year. While BJS does not provide the annual number of arrest-related deaths by race or ethnicity, a rough calculation based on its data shows that black people were about four times as likely to die in custody or while being arrested than whites. [...]
    The CDC’s cause-of-death data, based on death certificates collected at the state level, also reveals a profound racial disparity among the victims of police shootings. Between 1968 and 2011, black people were between two to eight times more likely to die at the hands of law enforcement than whites. Annually, over those 40 years, a black person was on average 4.2 times as likely to get shot and killed by a cop than a white person. The disparity dropped to 2-to-1 between 2003 and 2009, lower than the 4-to-1 disparity shown in the BJS data over those same years. The CDC’s database of emergency room records also shows similar racial disparities among those injured by police. [...]
    Some of the gaps in the FBI and BJS data can be filled in by the CDC data, but there are limitations here, too. The CDC data does not evaluate whether these killings were justified or not. The agency categorizes fatalities by International Classification of Diseases codes, which are used by coroners and medical examiners to record the medical cause, not the legal justification, of death. And death certificates aren’t immune to reporting problems, explains Robert Anderson, chief of the CDC’s Mortality Statistics Branch. This data is still “at the mercy of the medical examiner and coroner,” who often write death certificates and may not include details about officer involvement. Anderson says those details are necessary in order for the CDC to categorize a death as a legal intervention.

    Better data, and the will to collect it, is necessary to get the full picture of how many criminals and law-abiding citizens are killed by police every year. Until then Michael Brown—and others like him—may never even become a statistic.

    For more visual people, there’s a few graphs at the link that really drive home the difference.

  17. says

    2. Officers will use the least amount of force reasonably necessary to accomplish their lawful objectives while safeguarding their own lives and the lives of others. Deadly force will be a last resort, and will only be exercised when all reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or appear impractical.

    So what reasonable alternatives were employed to deal with Kajieme Powell before the cops killed him? I can’t seem to recall.

  18. rq says

    Tony
    Duh, they got out of the car with weapons drawn, not shooting. Duh.

    +++

    This time it’s a courthouse cop who shot a defendant. But they won’t release the surveillance video. I wonder why?

    The decision to keep the video under wraps by Chief Judge Ted Stewart comes amid a growing chorus of people across the nation calling for more video footage of police activity.

    And there were a lot of witnesses to this shooting, apparently – although:

    There were plenty of witnesses on hand when Angilau was shot. But Robert Sykes, the attorney for the dead man’s family, said the tape could even benefit law enforcement.

    “I don’t want to sue somebody for excessive force if it wasn’t,” Sykes said in a telephone interview. “I want to see that video.”

    Sykes said there was eye-witness discrepancies on whether the marshal shot the defendant even after he fell to the ground.

    Sounds like a common theme.

    Also, a quick look at how cops actually interpret your rights.

    Invoke your Fourth Amendment rights to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures and the government assumes you have something to hide. Invoke your Fifth Amendment rights and the government assumes you’ve committed a crime. Invoke your First Amendment right to record police officers and you’re told that you’re “obstructing” an investigation or creating a public disturbance.

    Yeah…

  19. rq says

    Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Office dropped from 1033 program, it’s been suspended for the past two years. They now have 120 days to return all that fancy gear.

    Arpaio said he received termination letters a few days ago from the Defense Logistics Agency in Michigan and the state coordinator for the 1033 program.

    It was reported two weeks ago that the Sheriff’s Office, along with more than 180 other state and local law-enforcement agencies, had long been suspended from the controversial program for losing weapons or failing to comply with regulations.

    Missing weaponry triggered the 2012 suspension, as well as this week’s termination.

    Arpaio’s agency is missing nine firearms procured through the 1033 program, including eight .45-caliber pistols and one M-16 rifle.

    Arpaio said that the agency picked up about 200 weapons from the surplus program shortly after he was elected in 1993 and that 20 to 22 vanished over the years.

    Through internal audits, the office was able to recover about half of the firearms, typically from retired or current deputies who had taken them home.

    “I’m not concerned about all the equipment,” Arpaio said. “They (Defense Logistics Agency officials) can have it.”

    If that isn’t scary (retired and current deputies just taking weapons home with no record of the event), I don’t know what is. He’s not concerned? He should be. “They took my toys away, but I didn’t really want them anyway.” I guess that’s Arpaio?

    The agency purchased 400 AR-15 rifles using anti-racketeering funds last year.

    But last month, Arpaio was defending and praising the program.

    “We want this military surplus so we have enough firepower to protect ourselves and the public,” Arpaio told The Republic for a story about the increased militarization of police.

  20. rq says

    Ferguson and the experience of trauma, through one young protester’s eyes:

    This was the first time I had ever seen police dogs ready for attack in real life. I felt as if time was rewinding back and showing me scenes from Selma, Alabama in the 1960’s instead of Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. I never imagined that this would be my reality as a young adult in America in the 21st century. I tried to remain as calm as possible in such a volatile situation but seeing those police dogs snarling at young Black children filled me with anger and rage.

    I became less of a peaceful protester and more of an active one. Using my voice to chant loudly along with other protesters seemed to be enough but it wasn’t. Instead, I decided to yell directly at the police. I decided to dare the police to look at the faces of the babies and children their dogs were so ready to chase down.
    [...]
    I never would’ve dreamed that on the same street I drive down to go to my nail appointment at Crystal’s, or to the QuikTrip I get gas from would be the scene of a police occupation. Thanks to Twitter, I had been able to see photos of Gaza weeks before, and feel connected to the people there on an emotional level. I never thought the small county of Ferguson, this little part of Greater St. Louis, would become Gaza.
    [...]
    Just attempting to write some of what I saw during the first two days of this movement makes me upset. I am upset to know that my people seem to not even have the right to hurt, to feel, to care, to show love, to be one with one another, or to mourn the loss of another Black life. I have anxiety, sleepless nights. Every time I see flashing police lights, I get nervous. I’ve never had an actual fear of the police, especially with having close friends on the force. Watching children, teenagers and elderly people running for their lives with rubber bullets flying and hitting people anywhere on their body, is heartbreaking. When I close my eyes at night, I see people running from tear gas in their own neighborhood. It’s a haunting experience to remember– running and hiding from the police, trying to stay alive.

    I didn’t expect to go from a peaceful protester trying to attend a vigil for a young teen gunned down, to a modern day freedom rider. But I am prepared to stay the course and fight as long as we must.

    Please read all of it at the link, very powerful.

  21. says

    Jordan Davis’ killer is getting retried

    Despite prior widespread media coverage, a retrial can go ahead later this month for a white, middle-aged man charged with killing an unarmed black teenager during a dispute about loud rap music, a north Florida judge ruled on Thursday.

    The defense wanted a change of venue after a Jacksonville jury previously deadlocked on a charge of first-degree murder for Michael Dunn, 47, who claimed to be acting in self-defense in the shooting death.

    Dunn, a software engineer, fired 10 rounds at an SUV carrying four teens listening to music in a Jacksonville gas station parking lot in November 2012, killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

    The jury convicted Dunn in February on three lesser counts of attempted murder for firing at the three other black teens in the vehicle, which was parked next to Dunn’s.

    The trial received international attention over its racial overtones and Dunn’s claims of self-defense, drawing comparisons to the trial of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder in Florida last year in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, another unarmed, black 17-year-old.

    Circuit Judge Russell Healey said at a hearing on Thursday that he would attempt to seat an impartial jury before ruling on the defense’s request for a change of venue, due to concerns about publicity of the case in Jacksonville, according to Jackelyn Barnard, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office.

    The trial is set to begin Sept. 22.

  22. rq says

    <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e68OFzmHGeI&feature=youtu.be"Youtube video of the attempted I-70 shutdown yesterday and the arrests. It’s short, but really tense.

    Here’s that new Missouri bill (pdf), maybe someone better versed in law can read it and see if it really is as horrible as was explained above (re: open carry, etc.).

    Can Ferguson really be the point on which history hinges? Possibly, yes – especially for police reform. First, it looks at the consequences of Rodney King:

    Five years after King’s death, the city finally instituted a recommendation to create an independent inspector general to review the Department. In 1994, Congress passed provisions in the Crime Control Act meant to address police misconduct in a more systematic way, partially on the momentum of the Diallo beating. One provision gave the Department of Justice the power to bring civil suits against local police departments that exhibited a “pattern and practice” of excessive force or other constitutional violations, and the Department used that power to enter into a settlement known as a consent decree with Los Angeles.

    Then the Diallo shooting in 1999:

    Then-police Commissioner Howard Safir instituted some changes after weeks of protest, including adding more minority officers to the special “Street Crimes” unit whose officer had shot Diallo and requiring all officers in the unit to wear uniforms. [...]

    Police accountability is still wanting in New York, with a citizen review board whose recommendations for officer discipline are often ignored by the police commissioner, and no neutral mechanism for prosecuting police. “We for many years have really pushed for a state-level agency … to prosecute crimes for municipal level police officers,” Charney said, citing the inherent bias prosecutors have in favor of the police.

    The Timothy Thomas shooting in 2001:

    As a result of agreements involving several advocacy groups and the Department of Justice, officers were trained on how to choose less-lethal force, and how to deal with the mentally ill and those under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They even created a mental health response team. They were not just given Tasers, but also exhaustive training on when they could use them and how. If they used a Taser, they had to document their use. And if their record didn’t match what was being reported, an investigation would ensue. Cars were equipped with dash cameras. They took “community policing seriously,” doing walk-throughs of neighborhoods with residents, holding community meetings, and responding to community problems with nuanced solutions. Cincinatti’s police chief has so embraced the reforms in the Collaborative Agreement that he takes a copy everywhere he goes.

    And one more thing. Police were actually held accountable.

    Riots in Ferguson have also exposed to America the extreme militarization of police forces that has only grown since the past waves of police shootings. And the racism in the criminal justice system persists, both overtly, and implicitly, even as more whites than ever believe the criminal justice system is no longer biased.

    But there are reasons to be hopeful. For one thing, criminal justice reform is increasingly becoming a bipartisan issue. Even Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) became one of a growing number of congressional Republicans who have called for criminal justice reform. Domanick said he was also encouraged that there was outrage at Ferguson’s police militarization across the political spectrum. For another, reform options exist that didn’t before, such as body cameras for police. In fact, it is the emergence of mobile recording devices that has exposed some of the recent violent incidents — and debunked any attempts by police to skew the facts. [...]
    But underlying all of this is the segregation and oppression that was unveiled in Ferguson. A Washington Post investigation last week revealed that these underlying problems still persist in Cincinnati, meaning that while police were indeed reformed, fixing the racial tensions that existed in 2001 Cincinnati is “a job unfinished.” Even Cincinnati’s black police chief says he fears his own son’s encounters with the police.

    One of the last protesters still held from last night, Anthony Shahid, is released.

    That woman shot at the protest? Police still have not spoken to her.

    Aaten-White said police have yet to speak to her about the incident. Her alma mater, Howard University, stepped in and appointed a lawyer, but the two were unable to schedule a meeting with police.

    “I have a strong distrust from them and they have not done what were supposed to do in my case,” Aaten-White said.

    Yes, I see how much those cops care about maintaining good ties with the community. :P

    This reminds me: still no results from the official Mike Brown autopsy. The results of one were published, where are the other two? (There were ‘only’ three, right?)

  23. rq says

    ferguson, by jason fotso, 8/18/2014

    1964 Birmingham is 2014 Ferguson,
    50 years later, but these cops, they’re still murderin’.
    Still armed to harm, police dogs still barkin’,
    Misery in Missouri, as we march in like Martin.
    Emmett Till, Trayvon, and now Mike Brown,
    Hands up to stand up for the ones they shot down.
    Black kid to a cop: “Oh’, this thug must be lethal,”
    But if he kills the kid, it’s shrugged off as legal.
    Gunshots from cops, still what our children hear last,
    We’ve been weeping in the streets, long before the tear gas.
    All while one of our own sits in th Oval Office,
    But in this White House, has Black really made any progress?

    (twitter link)

  24. says

    Here are some bloggers across WordPress that have discussed the events of Ferguson. These are just excerpts:
    •Gukira
    Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!

    We all know that hands raised in the air at a moment of conflict indicate surrender. They say, “I’m unarmed” or “I’ve laid down my arms” and “please, do not harm me” and “I am in your power.” At least, those of us who watch tv and films, read cartoons and novels, track newspapers and magazines. This “I surrender” sign is a global vernacular, taught and circulated by children’s cartoons. (We might need to ask why children’s cartoons teach this vernacular.) And so, what is striking about “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” as a chanted slogan and as printed words on handmade, often homemade, signs is that it indexes the failure of this bodily vernacular when performed by a black body, by a killable body. Blackness becomes the break in this global bodily vernacular, the error that makes this bodily action illegible, the disposability that renders the gesture irrelevant.

    ****
    •Afroculinaria
    Michael W Twitty, food culture blogger-#Ferguson : My Thoughts on an American Flashpoint:

    I received a nasty tweet last night; a tweet with a food theme in fact. Michael Brown’s bleeding corpse with pictures of food transposed around it—fried chicken, bananas, watermelon, with Kool-Aid to wash it down. My chest hurt and then I stared into space and before I knew it, I vomited. It was not nausea—it was anger mixed with revulsion and memories from lives only my cells know.

    I want you to understand something—I’ve been on multiple plantations and urban sites dealing with slavery. I’ve felt the Ancestors in the fields. I’ve seen the auction block and the whipping post and the hanging tree. I embrace it, I own it, and I live it through food so I can say “Never Again,” with confidence. I do the work that I do to educate people about the genesis of America’s original sin—I consider myself steeled. This however, was different—this was personal; that body could have been me.

    Swirling around us are accusations, whispers and rumors about a “gentle giant,” named Michael Brown. Michael Brown cannot be defined by the politics of respectability or the politics of backlash. He cannot be dismissed with smirks and allegations he was just a “thug.” Michel Brown is dead. He was on his knees, with his hands up in a gesture of surrender and he was shot six times and then left in the street, his blood merging with asphalt, his life draining out with his future, the dreams of his parents and the hope of his ancestors. That’s what surrounded him—not racialized food icons.

    ****

    •Dissonant Winston Smith
    This is a blog by an anonymous police officer taking part in the response to the riots in Ferguson, MO.
    (that’s from his about page)

    In Reference to Media Suppression

    By now everyone has seen the footage of a tactical officer demanding a reporter leave a McDonalds restaurant. Mr. Media was apparently arrested after taking his time to leave. In my opinion, which I won’t claim as humble, the reporter completely discredits himself by neglecting to mention that he had been asked to leave the restaurant by the staff. If attempting to argue a moral high ground and supposed attack on your civil rights, it might be best to include the whole story which in this case includes the act of trespassing. The reporter’s civil rights don’t trump the business’ civil rights to demand you leave when you use their restaurant as an office.

    Additionally, by now everyone has also seen the KSDK footage, still image above, of Al Jazeera reporters running after a tear gas canister landed near them. St. Charles County’s Tactical Unit moved in and broke down the camera equipment which they secured in police vehicles. Do you know what happened to that equipment? It was turned back over to Al Jazeera. It wasn’t destroyed. It wasn’t left for the looters. They got their cameras back. Al Jazeera contends that officers had tear gas purposefully shot at them, but looking at the area on the night in question, tear gas was everywhere.

    Is it possible that one tactical unit thought it would be funny or justified to launch a canister at them? Yes, and that doesn’t make it right if true. However, looking at other media reports, reporters are now regularly claiming that they were gassed specifically when they have been standing with or off to the side of violent demonstrators. If police try to clear the media out before using gas they’re accused of trying to suppress the media’s freedom of the press. If police let them stay, they’re gassing the media which is apparently also evidence of media suppression.

    Police tactics shouldn’t have to be cleared with the media first. What’s more, the notion that there is some type of unified operational decision to suppress the media is an outright lie. The simple fact is that the demonstrators have had no problem taking selfies and other footage since the beginning, even of themselves committing crimes, with no attempt at suppression from the police. It’s actually been somewhat fun to go through images posted online and play a Where’s Waldo game of trying to locate my face in Instagram postings, particularly those images posted from the looters back on 8/10/2014.

    I really, really was hesitant to include the above blog, given my disdain for the police in Ferguson, but opted to include it bc it is clearly related to the events going on in there, no matter how distasteful I find his “wait and see before deciding my opinion” approach he takes.

  25. says

    More WordPress bloggers:
    Brett Ommen-The Digital Mosaic Public: Twitter and Ferguson:

    Like many digitally-inclined Americans, I spent last night watching the events of Ferguson unfold on Twitter. That journalists can send line by line stories from the scene to the public (and not channeled, edited, or slowed through some middle media apparatus) demonstrates the value of Twitter as a news-medium. Sure, Twitter suffers from a muddled message environment where anyone can use a hashtag or fill up a feed with less than quality information. On the other hand, a savvy user can separate wheat from chaff, and likely find new voices that provide context overlooked by mainstream reporters. Sure, Twitter suffers from a 140 character limit, where the public (and the author) mistake a partial idea for a complete argument and a complex history becomes a muddle of bits and bursts. On the other hand, a savvy user can construct a feed that creates a mosaic* of the environment (watch out for self-selection). As Twitter got its collective hackles up over the militarized police tactics in Missouri, my feed revealed something about Twitter as a tool of collective democracy.** Twitter brings us closer to the scene (as McLuhan says, it extends our senses), but when the scene comes with the threat of violence, Twitter doesn’t always acknowledge the difference between the mosaic map of tweets and the material territory of violence. While the people and press in Ferguson negotiate police resistance to rights of assembly, petition, and speech, Twitter users exist in a kind in-between civil space.*** We see our fellow citizens under collective duress, but a Twitter assembly can’t be tear-gassed. Twitter users might petition the state, but it’s clearly a different kind of petition because it isn’t able (or willing) to put the body politic up as collateral. I’m glad Twitter allows me to track the news of my fellow citizens, but we have to worry about a kind of digital Bystander Effect.

    ****

    •Beccyjoy
    You might want to rethink that comment you are about to post about Ferguson, MO:

    I, like you, am heartbroken about what happened to Michael Brown, and what’s happened to so many others. I have read the posts, watched the videos, and prayed for justice and peace. It is so sickening that it’s hard to sleep. I have so much to learn about how I should even think about these tragedies and I am choosing to listen rather than express my opinions about most of this issue.

    The part I do feel I understand well enough to speak to is the invalidating commentary by my fellow white people.

    People of privilege, aka white people, aka my friends and family,

    I know you might think your comments are harmless, or maybe you think it is fun to debate or “play the devil’s advocate,” but please keep in mind that in a land not so far away, people…children even, are actually dying over this.

    You might mean well but many your comments have the distinct flavor of someone who is not willing to listen and entertain the thought that perhaps it really is “that bad.” At best, you are coming off as ignorant, at worst, racist.

    By saying, “you do not have all of the facts” we are essentially saying “I don’t believe that you are smart enough to know what is happening right in front of your face.”

    By saying, “this isn’t a race issue” we are saying “I know more than black people about what it feels like to be black.”

    By saying, “I’m sad about this too but…” we are saying that there is really an ending to this sentence that rectifies a mother losing a child.

    By saying, “let’s see what the autopsy says” we are saying, “I need a white doctor to tell me what really happened because I’m not going to believe the eye witness accounts of a bunch of black kids.”

    By posing a hypothetical scenario about a white victim being shot without cause, you are just confused.

    By saying, “it’s a lot better these days than it used to be” we are not acknowledging the current pain that racism causes.

    By blaming the victim, we are- well, blaming a victim.

    By saying, “this discussion doesn’t really apply to me,” we are saying black people are not as human as you.

    I had to comment on her blog about how much I loved her response to “don’t have all the facts”.

    ****

    •Being Shadoan
    Rachel Shadoan-I am racist, and so are you:

    And the sooner we both acknowledge this, the sooner we can begin to address the problem. So let’s talk.

    “Wait just a minute here, Rachel. You’re like, the least racist person I know. You’re always sharing stuff about race and racism. You couldn’t possibly be racist.”

    Here’s the deal. Racism isn’t just guys in white robes and Paula Deen shouting racial slurs. Racism is subtle, racism is insidious, and our culture is so deeply steeped in it that it’s impossible to grow up in the US and not be racist. It’s a kind of brainwashing: a set of default configuration files that come with the culture. It’s a filter, built up from birth, that alters our perception of the world. (Literally–racial bias makes people see weapons that aren’t there.) Racism isn’t just conscious actions; it’s judgements that happen so fast that we may not even be aware of them. Even people who are horrified by the idea of racism see through this lens, have this default programming. Even you. Even me.

    Especially me.

    How do I know that I’m racist?

    Once, while living alone, I heard a noise that I took to be someone attempting to break in to my house. Instead of transforming into the valkyrie I’d always imagined I’d be in such a situation, I proceeded to have the kind of reaction I usually reserve for brown recluse spiders. Which is to say, I hid and called my boyfriend to come rescue me. When he arrived, finding the only other occupant of my house to be my wildly overactive imagination, he asked me, “What were you so afraid of?”

    Unbidden, the image of a tall, young black man popped into my head. I don’t remember what answer I gave my boyfriend, but I doubt it was “young black men”.

    Several years later, I’m walking home from the train. A black man I pass tries to get my attention, and I ignore him, as is my policy when approached by male strangers. He tries to get my attention again. Heart pounding, I turn to acknowledge him. He asks me for directions to the library, which I of course give him. I walk home with adrenaline surging through my veins and shame churning in my stomach.

    Several years later, I’m walking across the street. It’s the middle of sunny afternoon at a busy intersection near my apartment. Three tall, broad black men in baggy tees and baseball caps, walk past me in the opposite direction. They don’t look at me, approach me, or interact with me in any way. And yet, I realized suddenly, I felt a flush of fear as they passed.

    I don’t know what it was about this third interaction that made me recognize my racism for what it was. Perhaps it was because I’d been reading a lot of feminist writings about race and racism. Perhaps the third time was simply the charm. Perhaps it was how utterly and completely inculpable those three guys were in my rush of fear. They hadn’t even acknowledged my existence, and here I was, pulse spiking because I’d fucking walked past them.

    “Hang on, though, Rachel.” I can hear you now. “Just because you’re afraid of black male strangers doesn’t mean you’re racist. Have you considered that your fear of black men is justified?”

    Why yes, I have considered that. It would be awfully convenient, after all. But according to the Criminal Victimization Tables released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics [pdf], white people, who comprise 72% of the population of the US, commit 69% of the violent crime against white people, whereas black people, who comprise 13% of the population, commit 13% of the violent crime against white people. Not only does this mean that I am much more likely to be victimized by a white person than a black person, it also suggests that violent offenders who victimize white people are uniformly distributed across races. So, given this knowledge, why am I not more afraid of white men? Why is it that my brain conjures images of black men to embody my fears?

    I want to read more by her.

  26. says

    28 common racist attitudes and behaviors

    1. I’m Colorblind.
    “People are just people; I don’t see color; we’re all just
    human.”
    Or “I don’t think of you as Chinese.”
    Or “We all bleed red when we’re cut.”
    Or “Character, not color, is what counts with me.”
    REALITY CHECK + CONSEQUENCE:
    Statements like these assume that people of color are just like you, white; that they have the same dreams, standards, problems, and peeves that you do. “Colorblindness” negates the cultural values, norms, expectations and life experiences of people of
    color. Even if an individual white person could ignore a person’s color, society does not. By saying we are not different, that you don’t see the color, you are also saying you don’t see your whiteness. This denies the people of colors’ experience of racism and your experience of privilege. “I’m colorblind” can also be a defense when afraid to discuss racism, especially if one assumes all conversation about race or color is racist. Speaking of another person’s color or culture is not necessarily racist or offensive. As my friend Rudy says,
    I don’t mind that you notice that I’m black.” Color consciousness does not equal racism.

    2. The Rugged Individual, the Level Playing Field
    and the Bootstrap Theory.
    “America is the land of opportunity, built by rugged
    individuals, where anyone with grit can succeed if they
    just pull up hard enough on their bootstraps.”
    REALITY CHECK + CONSEQUENCE:
    These are three of the crown jewels of U.S. social propaganda. They have allowed generation after generation to say, “If you succeed, you did it, but if you fail, or if you’re poor, that’s your fault.” Belief in this propaganda is founded on a total denial of the impact of either oppression or privilege on any person’s chance for success. Attacks on programs like affirmative action find rationalization in the belief that the playing field is now level, i.e., that every individual, regardless of color or gender, or disability, etc., has the same access to the rights, benefits and responsibilities of the society. The rationalization continues: since slavery is ended and people of color have civil rights, the playing field has now been leveled. It follows, then, that there is no reason for a person of color to “fail” (whether manifested in low SAT scores or small numbers in management positions) EXCEPT individual character flaws or cultural inadequacies. These “failures” could have no roots in racism and internalized racism.

    3. Reverse Racism.
    A. “People of color are just as racist as white people.”
    B. “Affirmative action had a role years ago, but today
    it’s just reverse racism; now it’s discriminating against
    white men.”
    C. “The civil rights movement, when it began, was
    appropriate, valuable, needed. But it’s gone to the
    extreme. The playing field is now level. Now the civil
    rights movement is no longer working for equality but
    for revenge.” Or
    D. “Black pride, black power is dangerous. They just want power over white people.” (Include here any reference to pride and empowerment of any people of color.)
    REALITY CHECK + CONSEQUENCE:
    A. Let’s first define racism with this formula:
    Racism =racial prejudice + systemic, institutional power.
    To say people of color can be racist, denies the power
    imbalance inherent in racism. Certainly, people of color can be and are prejudiced against white people. That was a part of their societal conditioning. A person of color can act on prejudices to insult or hurt a white person. But there is a difference between being hurt and being oppressed. People of color, as a social group, do not have the societal, institutional power to oppress white people as a group. An individual person of color abusing a white person – while clearly wrong, (no person should be insulted, hurt, etc.) is acting out a personal racial prejudice, not racism.
    B. This form of denial is based on the false notion that the playing field is now level. When the people with privilege, historical access and advantage are expected to suddenly (in societal evolution time) share some of that power, it is often perceived as discrimination.

  27. rq says

    How many ways can the city of Ferguson slap you with court fees? A lot. (Thanks, carlie – I also haven’t thanked you as the source of other articles on here, so – thank you!)

    To start, you might show up on time for your court date, only to find that your hearing is already over. How is that possible? According to a Ferguson court employee who spoke with St. Louis-based legal aid watchdog ArchCity Defenders, the bench routinely starts hearing cases 30 minutes before the appointed time and even locks the doors as early as five minutes after the official hour, hitting defendants who arrive just slightly late with an additional charge of $120-130. [...]
    If you missed your court date, the court will likely issue a warrant for your arrest, which comes with a fee of its own: [50 bucks plus 0.56 per mile police have to drive to you] [...]
    Ferguson Municipal Court is only in session three days a month, so if you can’t meet bail, you might sit in jail for days until the next court session—which, you guessed it, will cost you. [another $30 to $60 night until that next session] [..]
    Once you finally appear in court and receive your verdict, your IOU is likely to go up again. [average fine: $275] [...]
    Can’t pay all at once? No problem! Opt for a payment plan, and come to court once a month with an installment. But if you miss a date, expect another $125 “failure to appear” fine, plus another warrant for your arrest. [with another combined $125 failure to appear plus $50 arrest warrant] [...]
    The good news is that this week, under pressure from local activists, the Ferguson City Council announced plans to eliminate some of the most punitive fees, including the $125 failure to appear fee and the $50 fee to cancel a warrant. Of course, nothing is set to change elsewhere in St. Louis County. But eliminating some of the most egregious fees in one town, says Harvey, is “huge progress.”

    Those are… rather large amounts of money snowballing together. o.o

  28. rq says

    First newsletter from thisisthemovement, full of information and links to stay up-to-date! There’s some stuff we haven’t caught (obviously), and some repeat links, but it’s definitely worth checking out.

    Unfortunately I’ll be away from internet until Sunday evening, so I won’t be able to update this thread. Hoping things stay generally quiet until I’m back online. :) I may get in a couple more posts this evening, depends on what turns up.

  29. rq says

    Molotov cocktails, but not in Ferguson: through the window of a Missouri representative.

    “The Congressional Black Caucus strongly condemns this type of vandalism targeted at Congressman Cleaver, and denounces any act of violence towards Members of Congress. This type of abhorrent behavior is the most ineffective means of voicing discontent or disagreement,” CBC chair Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) said in the statement.

    Also, vigil tonight to call for arrest of Darren Wilson.

  30. Pteryxx says

    So far behind, but unfortunately this is timely and relevant, as well as awful.

    Rawstory – Rape kit tested after 14 years incriminates Memphis cop

    A former Memphis police officer has been charged with raping a crime victim 14 years after the assault occurred.

    Bridges Randle, 40, was indicted for aggravated rape for the 14-year-old crime thanks to a previously-untested rape kit that finally made it into the national crime database last year, WMC reported on Wednesday.

    According to investigators, officers responded to a domestic violence call from a woman on June 24, 2000. The 23-year-old woman said that a man posing as an officer returned later in the day to ask her more questions.

    She said that the man forced her into a bedroom, and raped her at gunpoint.

    “DNA evidence was collected and last August the DNA profile of an unknown male was uploaded into the CODIS database. The results and further tests later identified Randle as the suspect,” prosecutors explained on Wednesday.

    So he *was* a police officer at the time he raped a conveniently already-vulnerable victim.

    I think this sheds some light on *why* so many police departments don’t want their neglected backlog of rape kits to ever get tested.

  31. says

    Police use extreme force while arresting a man with Huntington’s Disease:

    Jeffery Bane, 39, was taken into police custody on Sept. 6 for allegedly being intoxicated in public. However, his family insists that Bane was completely sober at the time. Instead, he suffers from Huntington’s Disease, a genetic disorder that causes those afflicted by it to lose some control of their motor functions and appear either drunk or on drugs.
    [...]
    Videographer Sara Bostonia, who sounds like she is fighting back tears while taping the scene with a cellphone camera from a parking lot across the street, is eventually approached by a police officer who asks her what she’s doing.

    “I just was driving by. This is insane,” Bostonia can be heard saying, imploring the officer to leave her alone becuase she was well within her righs to film police officers in the line of duty. “I cannot believe you are doing this to him… I saw him pinned to the ground screaming and gurgling at the mouth because he’s bleeding at the head. You will not handcuff him and let him up. He is choking on his own blood; I could hear it from my car. This is wrong”

    The officer informed Bostonia that she was was free to continue filming, but he threatened to arrest her for obstruction of justice if she made any further loud outbursts.

    The Dominion Post noted that police said they received a call from a citizen about someone abusing children. After arriving on the scene, they encountered Bane with his two kids. The cops said Bane was handling his children roughly and then kicked and spit at officers as they confronted him about it.

    Bane was booked on counts of obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct, and battery on an officer.

    However, in a statement given to the blog Free Thought Project, Bane’s nephew Josh tells a much different story. Josh insisted that his uncle was walking to a nearby park when the stroller he was pushing became stuck on the curb just as he was crossing an intersection. “In this moment someone mistook my uncle’s actions to keep his kids safe as child abuse,” Josh insisted.

    He continued:

    The police were then called and approached him down the street and began to question him. Assuming because of his appearance he was high on narcotics with out reason they began to sub due him, macing and beating him in the head as he fell to his face were he was then held with a great amount of force by two officers double his size as a third one landed on his torso.

    For the the next ten minutes as my cousins watch unattended, my uncle pleads and cries out in pain for the lack of breath and agony being applied to him.

  32. says

    More information on the Darien Hunt (the man slain by cops in comment #55):

    Darrien Hunt, 22, was killed outside a Panda Express Restaurant.

    According to police, they were there responding to a call about a man walking around with a samurai sword, but what happened next is unclear.

    DeShawn Ragsdale, a close friend of the Hunt family, spoke about the incident.

    “There’s no reason why he would even put himself in that position,” he said. “He wouldn’t run at the police. He wouldn’t run at nobody. He wouldn’t rob nobody.”

    According to authorities, two officers first encountered Hunt in the parking lot of a Top Stop convenience store.

    “I don’t have any details on the encounter, just that they made contact with the individual and then shots were fired,” said Owen Jackson, a spokesman for the city of Saratoga Springs.

    Witnesses said it wasn’t clear what prompted the gunfire. At least one bullet went astray, hitting a car in the parking lot.

    “I couldn’t say he was doing anything crazy, and I don’t think the officers really were doing anything more than they just wanted to talk to him,” said an employee of Top Stop, who asked not to be identified.

    According to Hunt’s friends, the sword he was carrying was a souvenir from a concert. They weren’t sure it was even real, as it usually hung on a wall at Hunt’s home.

    “Why couldn’t they pull out the Taser? The Taser is on the hip,” Ragsdale said. “Why not Taser and apprehend this person? Why shoot?”

    Both officers involved in the shooting have been put on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation by the Utah County Attorney’s Office.

    From this article it is clear that once again, police officers have killed a black man who didn’t appear to be posing them or anyone else an imminent threat.

  33. says

    What can September 11th teach us about Michael Brown and the Extrajudicial killing of Black People?:

    13 years have passed since Al Qaeda attacked the continental United States. There is a particular type of hurt when outsiders attack the “homeland”.

    On the morning of September 11, 2001, many Americans stood with mouths agape, wondering “how could they do this to us?” Others shook their heads, asking, “why do they hate us so much?” The American people, drunk on lies of their country’s exceptional nature, willfully blind to the deeds and acts done in their name abroad, too many of whom would rather watch stupid human tricks on the TV, they the products of failed school systems and a deceptive 4th Estate, latched on to such empty questions–questions which both then and now have readily available answers.

    Ignorance is a sweet pablum until it makes one sick. The pundits, policy wonks, and other inside experts knew, understood, and could readily explain the concept of blowback, its relationship to American foreign policy in the Middle East, the rise of Osama bin Laden, and the organization that the Western media would christen as Al Qaeda. Alas, truth-telling about 9/11 would be punished. It was and remains far easier to embrace lies such as “unknown unknowns” where 9/11 is framed more as some mystical, bizarre, and unpredictable event than it is to talk in a direct and clear fashion about how America’s policies abroad can and do have implications for the American people at home.

    In many ways, the noted American public intellectual Cornel West has the first and last word on the emotional and psychic impact of September 11th on the (white) American public. When the planes were brought down on that day, and the national security surveillance state reached out to touch even white folks (in relatively minor ways) as compared to how it has historically treated people of color, West brilliantly observed that white Americans had been, for a moment, “niggerized”.

    They were made to feel unsafe, insecure, vulnerable, and subject to random violence. White privilege works as a shield against such feelings as experienced by white Americans en masse. The lie that Whiteness is a type of existential innocence means that most white Americans are complicit in a type of historical and contemporary amnesia–what is a break in the chain of cause and effect–that makes it extremely difficult for them to understand how they could be disliked as a people and targeted for group violence.

    Al Qaeda’s attack on the United States was not a motherless child.

    In many ways, the attacks on September 11, 2001 were a gut punch to the stomach of White American racial innocence.

    By comparison, black and brown Americans have a long experience with “niggerization” and what it means to be subjected to random, unjust, violence that is designed to make them feel insecure. In total, Black and Brown America have had centuries of practice in trying to navigate white racial terrorism, and also developing the defense mechanisms necessary to survive its assault.

  34. says

    Why We Let Cops Get Away With Murder but Vilify Even the Best School Teachers (excerpt):

    The killing of Michael Brown brought a great many things into focus — so many that it can be hard to keep track of them all. One important point was the dramatic contrast between elite treatment of police — routinely deferred to, even when they kill — and the routine scapegoating of teachers, who are demonized for all the ills that America’s elites have given up on. Of course, this has nothing to do with police officers and teachers themselves. It has everything to do with the roles they play — or can play — in either strengthening and defending the status quo, or in empowering possibilities of change.

    Darren Wilson not only typifies how dangerous bad police can be in America, but also how heavily protected they are. Shortly after he was publicly identified, the Washington Post revealed that his first police job had been in Jennings, Missouri, a rare example of a police department shut down because it was so broken (primarily with regards to race relations) that the city council thought it was impossible to fix. But Wilson carried no stain of that with him.

    Teachers, in contrast, have grown all too familiar with mass firings in recent years, as schools are routinely closed with little or no relationship to actual teacher competency or conduct. Indeed, President Obama and his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, have been enthusiastic supporters of this trend. In Chicago, where Duncan ran the school system before his Cabinet appointment, successive rounds of “school reform” firings have reduced the percentage of black teachers from about 40 percent to just under 30 percent, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed in late 2012. In New Orleans, more than 7,000 teachers were fired without due process after Hurricane Katrina, and won a civil lawsuit providing back pay earlier this year. Yet, in 2010, Duncan said, “The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina.” Both Duncan and President Obama strongly supported the Central Falls, Rhode Island, school board when it fired all its high school teachers without due process in February 2010. These are but the most high-profile examples of how mass-firing purportedly “bad teachers” without cause has become a routine part of “school reform.” In light of such examples, Chicago educator Paul Horton has argued that “ The Attack on Teacher Tenure Is an Attack on the Black Middle Class,” despite the fact that the corporate-driven “education reform” movement has branded itself as “the civil rights struggle of our time.”

    Further revealing the pattern of police abuse surrounding Wilson’s killing of Michael Brown, it was later reported that Ferguson police have been involved in four federal lawsuits and more than a half-dozen investigations over the past decade, for a reported 13 percent rate of misconduct. What’s more, in a New York Times Op-Ed, University of California Irvine Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky warned that even an announced Justice Department investigation would have limited impact. “ [I]f the conclusion is that the officer, Darren Wilson, acted improperly, the ability to hold him or Ferguson, Mo., accountable will be severely restricted by none other than the United States Supreme Court,” Chemerinsky wrote. “In recent years, the court has made it very difficult, and often impossible, to hold police officers and the governments that employ them accountable for civil rights violations.” The title of Chemerinsky’s Op-Ed? “How the Supreme Court Protects Bad Cops.”

  35. says

    The Facts are None Too Kind to Darren Wilson: How Will the Right-Wing Hate Media Distort the New Evidence in the Michael Brown Murder Case?

    The defenders of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who repeatedly shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown at least 6 times in Ferguson, Missouri claim that “the facts” will clear their champion of any wrongdoing.

    Unfortunately for Darren Wilson, the facts of what transpired on the day when he shot Michael Brown in the face and body with multiple bullets have not been kind to him.

    Independent witnesses have told the press and federal investigators how Michael Brown was unarmed, had surrendered with his hands in the air, and was repeatedly shot by Darren Wilson. These witnesses are African-American.

    For the white bigots who defend Darren Wilson, as well as the Right-wing hate media that stoke the flames of white racial resentment and white supremacy, black people’s truth claims about racism (regardless of the mountains of empirical evidence in support of their experiences) are de facto and a priori judged to be insufficient by the White Gaze.

    This is part of a centuries-long tradition in America, where for most of the country’s existence, African-Americans were not allowed to testify in court or to have any type of legal standing.

    In the post civil rights era–and especially since the election of Barack Obama–the Tea Party GOP and the White Right have demonstrated that they would like to return to an arrangement of civic and public affairs in which black people are silenced and muted. In all, the Tea Party GOP and its allies yearn for the civic erasure of black and brown people—it enrages the White Right that they cannot follow through on their wishful dreams of social and political death for black Americans.

    The American Right-wing’s defense of the killer cop Darren Wilson is instinctive: it is an extension of a base hostility to the freedom, well-being, life, liberty, and happiness of black and brown Americans.

    To point. The most morally rotted and ethically suspect supporters of Darren Wilson have collectively donated at least 500,000 dollars to protect him from the consequences of killing Michael Brown.

    As I wrote here, donating money to Darren Wilson (and other white vigilantes and extra-judicial killers of black people such as George Zimmerman) is the new lynching photography of the 21st century. Instead of buying postcards of hung, tortured, and burned alive black bodies, those who donate to Darren Wilson enjoy the vicarious pleasures of killing a black person by proxy. Michael Brown, and by extension other black American men, are born with a bounty on their heads.

    Darren Wilson is the white gunslinger who brought the black “thug” to “justice”. This is cathartic violence for the White Right and its Fox News driven propaganda machine.

    The supporters of Darren Wilson are enjoying the fun of a thrill kill; they are sharing ownership over the deed by donating money to their idol Darren Wilson.

    Two new witnesses to the shooting of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson have now come forward. As reported in Sunday’s edition of the newspaper St. Louis Post-Dispatch, two white construction workers watched Darren Wilson shoot dead an unarmed and surrendered Michael Brown.

    According to their accounts, Michael Brown was not “charging at” or “attacking” Darren Wilson as the professional liars in the Right-wing hate media have suggested to their supplicants–and an easily duped 24/7 corporate mainstream media which is desperate for any new “information” on the Brown case, however specious or incorrect it may in fact be.

    The account provided by the new witnesses corroborates the version of events offered by previous witnesses in which Darren Wilson repeatedly shot an unarmed person from some distance away whose hands were raised in the universal sign of surrender.

  36. Pteryxx says

    Dana Milbank at WaPo – Ferguson tragedy becoming a farce

    The latest evidence that the fix is in came this week from The Post’s Kimberly Kindy and Carol Leonnig, who discovered that McCulloch’s office has declined so far to recommend any charges to the grand jury. Instead, McCulloch’s prosecutors handling the case are taking the highly unusual course of dumping all evidence on the jurors and leaving them to make sense of it.

    McCulloch’s office claims that this is a way to give more authority to the grand jurors, but it looks more like a way to avoid charging Wilson at all — and to use the grand jury as cover for the outrage that will ensue. It is often said that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor asks it to. But the opposite is also true. A grand jury is less likely to deliver an indictment — even a much deserved one — if a prosecutor doesn’t ask for it.

    [...]

    At least four times he presented evidence to a grand jury but — wouldn’t you know it? — didn’t get an indictment.

    One of the four: A 2000 case in which a grand jury declined to indict two police officers who had shot two unarmed black men 21 times while they sat in their car behind a Jack in the Box fast-food restaurant. It was a botched drug arrest, and one of the two men killed hadn’t even been a suspect. McCulloch at the time said he agreed with the grand jury’s decision, dismissing complaints of the handling of the case by saying the dead men “were bums.” He refused to release surveillance tapes of the shooting. When those tapes were later released as part of a federal probe, it was discovered that, contrary to what police alleged, the car had not moved before the police began shooting.

    McCulloch apparently hasn’t learned from that. His spokesman, asked by The Post’s Wesley Lowery about those remarks, said the slain men “should have been described as ‘convicted felons’ rather than ‘bums.’ ”

  37. rq says

    I’m back!
    So far, looks like there was continued protest activity in Clayton and elsewhere, but first, some links, in no particular order:
    thisisthemovement newsletter, installment 2; the Twitter link said it was installment 3, but it looks like number 2. Either way, I’ll keep posting updates. Again, some links we have, some other interesting perspectives (including one on the role of religion in protest movements). Haven’t looked into it in depth, though, still catching up on the twitter feed.

    Continued calls for arrest of Darren Wilson. 37 days now, what?

    Okay, this one’s just… police arrest black actress for prostitution, because… she kissed her white husband.

    According to Facebook posts by Watts and her husband Brian James Lucas, two police officers mistook the couple for a prostitute and client Thursday when they were seen showing affection in public, the report says. [...]

    “As I was sitting in the back of the police car, I remembered the countless times my father came home frustrated or humiliated by the cops when he had done nothing wrong,” Watts posted on Facebook. “I felt his shame, his anger, and my own feelings of frustration for existing in a world where I have allowed myself to believe that ‘authority figures’ could control my BEING… my ability to BE!!!!!!!”

    Lucas posted: “Today, Daniele Watts & I were accosted by police officers after showing our affection publicly. From the questions that he asked me as D was already on her phone with her dad, I could tell that whoever called on us (including the officers), saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client).

    Here’s more on the same, with photos and video. Because white men don’t marry black women, amirite??? :P

    mtc

  38. rq says

    I think this is a repeat. This is a repeat? On the grand jury and the evidence they’re seeing, from September 7.

    From Washington Post: Ferguson tragedy becoming a farce.

    The latest evidence that the fix is in came this week from The Post’s Kimberly Kindy and Carol Leonnig, who discovered that McCulloch’s office has declined so far to recommend any charges to the grand jury. Instead, McCulloch’s prosecutors handling the case are taking the highly unusual course of dumping all evidence on the jurors and leaving them to make sense of it.

    McCulloch’s office claims that this is a way to give more authority to the grand jurors, but it looks more like a way to avoid charging Wilson at all — and to use the grand jury as cover for the outrage that will ensue. It is often said that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor asks it to. But the opposite is also true. A grand jury is less likely to deliver an indictment — even a much deserved one — if a prosecutor doesn’t ask for it. [...]
    Lowery gained national attention last month when he was unjustly detained by Ferguson’s out-of-control police while covering the demonstrations. He has since asked McCulloch’s office for a list of cases in which prosecutors pursued charges against a law enforcement official. McCulloch’s office ultimately came up with only one case over 23 years that The Post could verify of the prosecution of a white officer for using inappropriate force against a black victim, and it wasn’t a shooting. [...]
    And McCulloch won’t have his prosecutors recommend even involuntary manslaughter? If he persists and if the governor won’t intervene, their behavior will confirm suspicions that justice is rigged.

    As if anyone’s having doubts about that as is…

    In slightly better yet well-overdue news, new focus on minority voting after Ferguson.

    A few miles from the street where Michael Brown died is the grave of Dred Scott, a slave who went to the Supreme Court and tried, unsuccessfully, to be recognized as a free American citizen.

    One hundred and fifty-seven years later, a white police officer’s fatal shooting of Brown — unarmed, black and 18 years old — raises fresh questions about the extent to which blacks in suburban towns are regarded as full partners by the officials and law enforcers elected largely by and responsive to small segments of the population. [...]
    “We need more of our young people, as well as our old people to come out here and vote, to get what’s going on, to listen in to the town hall meetings and all,” Adams said. “If we could get them, something could actually change.”

    There are signs that residents are ready to reverse years of civic apathy.

    At the city council’s Sept. 9 meeting, the first since Brown was killed, resident after resident pledged to vote Mayor James Knowles and council members out of office, sharply rejecting earlier assertions by Knowles that there was no “racial divide” in Ferguson. [...]
    “People didn’t realize that they couldn’t be on a grand jury if they didn’t vote,” Jackson said. “They didn’t realize that by voting for mayor, they could have a say on who the police chief was, who makes up the police force. People didn’t know they could vote in and out of office the judges that hear these kind of cases.”

    Rita Heard Days, director of elections in St. Louis County, said her office has seen a noticeable increase in voter registration cards from Ferguson and surrounding areas since Brown’s death.

    “We’ve got a lot of people who have contacted us from that area wanting to have voter registration drives,” she said. [..]
    In presidential election years, the percentage of black voters eclipsed the percentage of whites for the first time in 2012, when 66.2 percent of blacks voted, compared with 64.1 percent of non-Hispanics whites and about 48 percent of Hispanics and Asians.

    Blacks and non-white Hispanics are the only groups to have increased their participation in midterm elections, voting at 38.6 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively, in the 2006 congressional and statewide elections, and at 40.7 percent and 20.5 percent, respectively, in 2010.

    Let’s hope those percentages keep increasing!

    VICE News interviews Amnesty International on their visit to Ferguson: once again, the extreme nature of the police response is contrasted against similar events in the world.

    How did your experience in Ferguson compare to your work elsewhere? Did it affect you in a different way, standing in a US suburb witnessing what you witnessed?
    I’ve had the chance to travel quite a bit as a human rights activist in different parts of the world, and I’ve been in places where there was in fact active civil war underway, or there had recently been a genocide, or other circumstances where you anticipate that you are going to see a level of militarization on the streets because of those circumstances. But I’ve never seen anything like what I saw in Ferguson. It was an incredible response to constitutionally protected activity.

    Lots more at the link. Lots more.

    Anyone in San Diego? The school district now has a mine-resistant vehicle. Because. Just because, okay?

    Tear gas: one company, global service.

    tbc

  39. rq says

    In Chicago: lecture series on talking to students about Ferguson (upcoming September 17). More of that, please.

    Portrait of a protester: Joshue Williams, by Trymaine Lee.

    “I just felt like they were trying to get over on us, trying to push us so that we’d react,” Williams told msnbc on a recent afternoon, weeks after that emotional day. “I was really upset. I saw children, little kids getting tear gassed and stuff. I just couldn’t take it.”

    Like hundreds of other young people in Ferguson, many of whom have born the weight of a litany of alleged and frequent abuses residents say police have heaped upon the city’s black majority, Williams has found himself thrust into the heart of the city’s protests and civic action sparked by Brown’s death. Williams said he was initially spurred by his mother to take action.

    “She was like, it’s B.S. and someone needs to stand up. So I stood up,” said Williams. “I was just like, another police officer killed a black man and they tried to get away with it. I had to get up and say enough is enough. And I’ve been out here every day since.” [...]
    “I don’t know if most people will get over this or want to get over this,” Williams said, sitting across from the police station earlier this week. “I think we can be better if we can all come together. We might have to come together and show that we can work together and overthrow the system. But we have to come together as one and show them we can be peaceful, that we can do this. If not they’re going to just want us to act up so they can pull out their toys on us again.” [...]
    For his part, Willilams said he’s learned a lot in this month of action.

    “I learned that the police don’t give a care about us. And I learned that we have to stand up and that you can’t get nowhere with violence but you can always move people without it,” he said. “I remember one night the police fired tear gas at us and I picked one of them up and threw it back at them. And the more we threw them back they just kept firing them back at us. It’s like it never stopped. I said to myself, we need another plan. This isn’t working.”

    From blogtalkradio, Episode 16 on Recall4Mike. Some links at the site, too.
    Here’s the page on
    Recall4Mike:

    #Recall4Mike is a social-media based effort to inform Ferguson, MO residents of their right to a viable option in order to effect change in their community. On August 9th, 2014, 18-year-old, Michael (Mike) Brown was shot to death by Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. The beginning of a social media firestorm ensued as several eye witnesses shared their accounts, which contained troubling details of the event. Locally, family and friends of Mike Brown and other community members gathered to seek answers. They were met with a militarized police force and countless infringements upon their 1st amendment right to assembly. To date, Darren Wilson has not been arrested and charged. To date, the citizens of Ferguson have no protection. Many are wondering how to move forward. This is ONE option. According to Missouri statutes §77.650 and 78.260, Ferguson residents have grounds to force a recall election of city officials, whom in turn can affect the police force.

    St Louis Post-Dispatch: Why was Mike Brown’s body left for so long?

    “They shot a black man, and they left his body in the street to let you all know this could be you,” Ferguson resident Alexis Torregrossa, 21, said almost four weeks after the shooting. “To set an example, that’s how I see it.”

    To determine why the body remained on the street for hours, the Post-Dispatch analyzed public records, police testimony, medical examiner procedures and data from previous crime scenes, and interviewed medical examiner staff, police officials, Canfield Green residents and others. The newspaper has put together the most comprehensive public account chronicling the police response in the hours after Brown’s death. [...]
    “The other option would have been just to, you know, scoop up Michael Brown, take some photographs and get the hell out of there,” said Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. “Future lesson learned. And I am not trying to in any way excuse or justify why this took so long. I’m just saying, ‘This is what happened.’” [..]
    The street sloped slightly. Brown’s blood, which otherwise might have pooled underneath him, ran in a wide ribbon several feet down the hill.

    Two minutes earlier, Wilson had left a 911 call a half-mile away, on Glenark Drive, police and emergency logs show. He had accompanied an ambulance to the home, where a 2-month-old was having trouble breathing.

    About 12:05 p.m., that same ambulance, infant in the back, came across Brown’s body in the road, said two ambulance administrators. The paramedic got out, walked into the crime scene, which was already roped off with yellow police tape, kneeled down, checked Brown’s radial pulse, then his carotid pulse, circled the body once, kneeled down again, and wiped his own brow.

    When the paramedic determined Brown was dead, the care of his body legally transferred to the St. Louis County Medical Examiner. By law, police cannot touch the body. But since most medical examiners won’t set foot in the crime scene until it is processed by police, the fate of Brown’s body was back in police hands.

    And for at least 10 minutes, videos taken by multiple residents show that his body lay uncovered.

    And it goes on, at the link. Very detailed account of nobody rushing anywhere. Unacceptable.

    Who was invited to a Ferguson meeting? Apparently that’s cause for dispute between Clay and McCaskill.

    As the spat broke open on a pair of Web sites, Clay accused McCaskill of calling the meeting to push support for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who is investigating the shooting death of Michael Brown, 18, by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.

    But it’s unclear as to why Clay would think McCaskill would feel it necessary to do that in a private meeting, since McCaskill has publicly supported McCulloch being kept on as prosecutor while the Brown shooting death case is presented to a St. Louis County grand jury. [...]
    On Thursday, the spat went public when Clay complained to the web sites BET.com and Crewof42.com that he was not on a list of attendees that both Web sites said would also include St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Attorney General Chris Koster, and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

    Clay told journalist Lauren Victoria Burke of Crewof42.com that “I find it very disrespectful, I find it a typical Claire move, and I don’t understand what kind of game she is playing.”

    Later, he told Burke: “All I can do is speculate that she is going to convince the attendees at the meeting on Monday that her friend, Bob McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor, needs to stay in the position and finish the case.” [...]
    Claire and Governor Nixon have been in touch about a possible quick face-to-face conversation for a status update on Ferguson,” LaBombard said. “Details haven’t been completely ironed out, and we’re sorry if Congressman Clay feels he wasn’t invited soon enough. But Claire spoke with him yesterday to make sure he knew he was included. Distractions like these aren’t helpful to the important work of helping the people of Ferguson.”

    Here’s a bit more on Clay: voted against limiting military surplus to police. Nice move.

  40. rq says

    Aaaaaaah, too many links in previous comments, I hope it comes out of moderation soon!! Forgot to count. :( (Please, PZ?)

  41. says

    ::Sigh::
    Remember Darrien Hunt from upthread @55, 56? The guy with the samurai sword?
    An independent autopsy requested by his family revealed that he was shot in the back.

    22-year-old Darrien Hunt, was shot and killed by police while walking around with the souvenir martial arts weapon outside a convenience store in Saratoga Springs, Utah, last Wednesday.

    According to the Associated Press, the autopsy concluded that Hunt was shot “numerous times, all from the rear.”

    “This is consistent with statements made by witnesses on the scene, who report that Darrien was shot to death while running away from police,” family attorney Randall Edwards said in a statement. “It would appear difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile these facts with a story that Darrien was lunging toward the officers when he was shot.”

    According to a statement issued by Utah County Chief Deputy Attorney Tim Taylor, “When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, he brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot. There is currently no indication that race played any role in the confrontation between Mr. Hunt and the police officers.”

    Bystanders have disputed the police account, with one, Jocelyn Hansen, saying Hunt appeared to be having a normal conversation with the officers.

    “They had stopped him, and they were all having a conversation,” said Hansen, who was parked nearby at the gas station. “It didn’t look escalated or heated at all.”

    Hansen said she had turned away before hearing gunfire.

    “When I looked up, I saw the young man turning away from the police, and I saw what I thought were two 2×4’s in his hands, one in each hand,” Hansen said. “Then I saw police officers running after him, and they could have both had guns, but I saw one for sure with his gun extended.”

    According to Hunt’s aunt, the sword was a 3-foot long toy sword with a rounded-edge bought at an Asian gift store.

    “No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he’s running away,” Hunt said.

    Another aunt of Hunt, Cindy Moss, who is white, agreed that race played a part in the shooting.

    “It’s difficult to make any sense out of the situation any other way (than race),” Moss said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune. “The police make it sound like it was a big sword he was wielding. I’m offended that they even say he was armed with a weapon.”

    Police have issued a statement that the shooting was not racially motivated, calling it, “completely unfounded and speculative.”

    According to authorities, the shooting is still under investigation.

  42. rq says

    Tony
    Just read that, thanks for posting. Just… And according to this link, this is before the autopsy, witnesses say he was running away when the cops shot him. (I can’t read the article due to LA Times’ new subscribing/login thingy.)

    +++

    Speaking of racial injustice (oh, were we speaking of something else for a while there?), St Louis cops still insist on randomly stopping young black men. From last night, photo here and here (second photo presumably after the incident). What I understand of the incident is that police stopped these four young men for no real reason, kept them cuffed on the ground, and some people passing by stopped to record the incident. Which ended with no violence this time, thankfully (due to those recording?).

    Marches in Ferguson continue. Nothing is over.

    Some t-shirts (photo of t-shirt with inscription “They have names”, followed by a list of young black men shot by police: Eric Garner, Kimani Grey, Trayvon Martin, Ramarley Graham, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Timothy Stansbury, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jonathan Ferrell, Amadou Diallo, Marlon Brown).

    Piece of history.

    Protesting in Ferguson: hitting the historical district of the city.

    Vendors said it was the first time protesters had targeted the popular market, which is held weekly at the Victorian Plaza in the shadow of the old train trestle that serves as a reminder of Ferguson’s beginning as a railroad stop.

    Unlike the West Florissant Avenue commercial strip about two miles east, the city’s historic district has been spared the worst of the unrest that has rocked the community for over a month now. Most protests along South Florissant Road have focused on the headquarters of the Ferguson Police Department, at 222 South Florissant. At the farmers market, vendors said they’ve actually seen better business over the last month. [...]
    Some protesters say Saturday’s demonstration is part of a new strategy to become more active on South Florissant, in front of many of the community’s most popular businesses and community gathering spots. They’ll be back next Saturday, they say.

    “That way it’ll get their attention and they’ll call City Hall,” said Marvin Skull, one of the protesters.

    The small group of protesters grew to about 30 over the course of the morning as police watched. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who showed up and talked to the protesters, described it as “peaceful.” [...]
    The protesters say they want Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown, arrested. They also want Jackson, the police chief, and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles to step down. [...]
    “I don’t have a problem with the businesses, I want them to strive and do good,” she said. She gestured across the street toward the police station: “The problem is right there.”

  43. rq says

    Tony
    Just read that, thanks for posting. Just… And according to this link, this is before the autopsy, witnesses say he was running away when the cops shot him. (I can’t read the article due to LA Times’ new subscribing/login thingy.)

    +++

    Speaking of racial injustice (oh, were we speaking of something else for a while there?), St Louis cops still insist on randomly stopping young black men. From last night, photo here and here (second photo presumably after the incident). What I understand of the incident is that police stopped these four young men for no real reason, kept them cuffed on the ground, and some people passing by stopped to record the incident. Which ended with no violence this time, thankfully (due to those recording?).

    Marches in Ferguson continue. Nothing is over.

    Some t-shirts (photo of t-shirt with inscription “They have names”, followed by a list of young black men shot by police: Eric Garner, Kimani Grey, Trayvon Martin, Ramarley Graham, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Timothy Stansbury, Kenneth Chamberlain, Jonathan Ferrell, Amadou Diallo, Marlon Brown).

    Piece of history.

  44. rq says

    Ugh, I did it again – there will be a new 69, because I put too many links in again, this time I’m splitting it into two posts, so some info will double up. Sorry. :/ Must be Monday.

    Protesting in Ferguson: hitting the historical district of the city.

    Vendors said it was the first time protesters had targeted the popular market, which is held weekly at the Victorian Plaza in the shadow of the old train trestle that serves as a reminder of Ferguson’s beginning as a railroad stop.

    Unlike the West Florissant Avenue commercial strip about two miles east, the city’s historic district has been spared the worst of the unrest that has rocked the community for over a month now. Most protests along South Florissant Road have focused on the headquarters of the Ferguson Police Department, at 222 South Florissant. At the farmers market, vendors said they’ve actually seen better business over the last month. [...]
    Some protesters say Saturday’s demonstration is part of a new strategy to become more active on South Florissant, in front of many of the community’s most popular businesses and community gathering spots. They’ll be back next Saturday, they say.

    “That way it’ll get their attention and they’ll call City Hall,” said Marvin Skull, one of the protesters.

    The small group of protesters grew to about 30 over the course of the morning as police watched. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who showed up and talked to the protesters, described it as “peaceful.” [...]
    The protesters say they want Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Brown, arrested. They also want Jackson, the police chief, and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles to step down. [...]
    “I don’t have a problem with the businesses, I want them to strive and do good,” she said. She gestured across the street toward the police station: “The problem is right there.”

    From Saturday: Mike Brown Senior asks Darren Wilson to turn himself in. I’d really, really love to know what has been and still is (or may be) going through Darren Wilson’s head right now. Even if it’s nothing – just to know.

    “We ain’t getting no sleep around here. I wonder if he gettin’ sleep,” said Brown Sr. of Wilson. “If he’s getting peace…hey, I could respect him better if he would come here to Clayton right now and turn himself in. Turn yourself in right now. Turn yourself in right now. I could respect that. I would respect you a whole lot better if you would come here right now and turn yourself in.” [...]
    The most gut-wrenching moment arrived when, in the middle of South Bemiston Avenue, the sun high above them, the procession halted and Gray announced they’d observe four and a half minutes of silence to represent the four and a half hours that Brown Jr. laid in the street before authorities removed the body. Brown Sr. groaned with emotion and soon tears were running down each family member’s face.

    After several laps around “Darren Wilson’s future home” as Lee put it, the marchers convened again in front of the Justice Center. Lee asked that everyone attend the St. Louis County Council meeting which is set for Tuesday at 6 p.m. Brown Sr. thanked everyone for attending and the crowd slowly began to break up.

    A bit more at the link, and I hadn’t realized they were such a large family.

    The Ferguson cover-up: how police departments are protecting Michael Brown’s killer. From evidence not provided to the public, to a lack of zeal (as the article puts it) in the investigation… Charles Grapski, a legal and political theorist and political scientist, shares some of his emails with Salon on the subject.

    But while Jackson’s high-profile statement may have been outrageously false and misleading, it’s the underlying actions of his department in the shadows that are downright criminal, part of a seemingly routine pattern of actual lawbreaking by the police themselves, both in Ferguson and St. Louis County—a persistent pattern that hasn’t stopped, according to emails provided to Salon even though the Department of Justice has announced it’s going to investigate both organizations.

    In fact, police are now using the DOJ investigation itself as an excuse for further violations of the sunshine law, relating to arrests of protesters who continue demonstrating in Ferguson, according to emails provided to Salon (details below). The emails come from Charles Grapski, a legal and political theorist and political scientist, as well as an active citizen with decades of experience filing public records requests, including work with local activists and lawyers in different states across the nation. [...]
    Anthony Rothert, of the Missouri ACLU, explained that the lawsuit only reflected one aspect of the ACLU’s concerns. “When this incident happened in Ferguson, the ACLU had several concerns,” he said, “among them being the First Amendment rights of protesters, and the militarized police response, but one of the pieces of it was transparency in the investigation.”

    This was not an unusual situation, he explained:

    I don’t think it’s unique to this story that police departments often operate with lack of transparency, and that really deteriorates the trust that the community has in the police departments. So you have a pretty good law in Missouri, on paper, the Sunshine Law requires incident reports to be made public, and arrest records to be made public, right away, and requires investigative reports to be made public at conclusion of investigations. But time and again police departments do not release those records unless it is favorable to them.

    [...]
    Rothert told Salon something similar, but slightly different. “From what we can tell right now it looks like the Ferguson Police Department never did an incident report,” he said, “which would be contrary to their policy, it would be contrary to the law, and quite, quite suspicious, not to take even an initial statement from someone who’s killed another person.”

    Grapski believes the report was created, but then buried. Originally the ACLU was told that the report existed, but that it could not be released due to the bogus claim that it was an investigatory document (which it is not, under Missouri law). However, it may take a trial, with full discovery, to finally settle the matter of what was created when. Either way, however, the police have not followed procedure, violating both their own internal policies and Missouri state law.

    There’s a whole lot more at the link, with the difficulties of acquiring paperwork and documentation, which either didn’t exist or was made not available, and some of the legal details on the matter (basically, the police department has been operating illegally by not being more forthcoming with information). I don’t think this is what a competent, transparent police department is supposed to look like.

  45. rq says

    During Ferguson’s days under a state of emergency, a pop-up school provided a place for kids to go.

    Note: I’ve seen, several times on twitter from local Ferguson people, strong resistance to the use of the word ‘riots’ to describe what happened in Ferguson. From what I’ve seen and read, I think the situation was, indeed, pretty far from actual riots – there was some violence, intimidation and a lot of teargas, but as someone on twitter said (and if I see that tweet again, I will post it, because it was good), the 1960s, those were riots. And Ferguson still had a long way to go to get to that level.

    Dash-cam video clears man in violent police arrest.

    But after Jeter’s attorney, Steven Brown, filed a request for records, all of the charges against him were dropped, with dash-cam video apparently showing what really happened June 7, 2012. Now, the officers are facing charges.

    Go transparency!

    From @SeanMcElwee: counties with higher concentration of slavery in 1860 show less support for affirmative action. There’s a graph, but I’m not entirely sure what the ultimate source is.

    Another t-shirt: Ferguson Fergustan.

    Washington Post – three troubling things exposed by police shooting of Michael Brown, from September 5, possibly a repost. The three things:

    1.) Criminalizing and profiting from the poor through fees and fines [...]
    2.) Alleged bad apples in the FPD [...]
    3.) The militarization of the police

    Some numbers and specifics at the link, but mostly it’s a less-detailed overview of more direct links we’ve had up here.

    thisisthemovement installment 4. I would say the links under “11 Things You Should Know” (one – though it is now 14 things, as a series of question cards with information, including legalities, police militarization, and course of investigation) and “When All The Angels Are White” (two – the first from gawker on race and interactions with police, the second a narrative (powerful) on the innocence of black children and slavery) are must-reads. I’m not going to link, please give the newsletter more page-views.

    Race bias in special ed. placements? Appeals court rejects suit alleging this.

    The dissenting judge said the “allegations here are not pretty. No one likes to think that a school district, especially one with an outstanding educational reputation, allows race to be a factor in assigning African-American students to special education classes. However, there is sufficient evidence on this record to establish that a trial is warranted to determine whether this school district did exactly that.” [...]
    The dissenter, Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee, said there was sufficient evidence alleged that the families’ suit should have been allowed to proceed.

    “There is an expert’s conclusion that there is statistically significant evidence of African-Americans being disproportionately assigned to special education classes while none are enrolled in advanced placement or ‘high-expectation classes,'” McKee said. “Whether or not the procedural irregularities in the erroneous and improper placement of these African-American students in special education classes was the result of bias (i.e. deliberate indifference), ineptitude, or coincidence should not be decided on summary judgment given the plaintiffs’ evidence.”

  46. rq says

    WHY? It’s like i’ve forgotten how to coutn to 6, or something. Or I’m so proud of progressing to 7, I just can’t stop. Too many links, in moderation, here’s the above in two installments:

    Partie le un:

    During Ferguson’s days under a state of emergency, a pop-up school provided a place for kids to go.

    Note: I’ve seen, several times on twitter from local Ferguson people, strong resistance to the use of the word ‘riots’ to describe what happened in Ferguson. From what I’ve seen and read, I think the situation was, indeed, pretty far from actual riots – there was some violence, intimidation and a lot of teargas, but as someone on twitter said (and if I see that tweet again, I will post it, because it was good), the 1960s, those were riots. And Ferguson still had a long way to go to get to that level.

    Dash-cam video clears man in violent police arrest.

    But after Jeter’s attorney, Steven Brown, filed a request for records, all of the charges against him were dropped, with dash-cam video apparently showing what really happened June 7, 2012. Now, the officers are facing charges.

    Go transparency!

    From @SeanMcElwee: counties with higher concentration of slavery in 1860 show less support for affirmative action. There’s a graph, but I’m not entirely sure what the ultimate source is.

    Another t-shirt: Ferguson Fergustan.

    Washington Post – three troubling things exposed by police shooting of Michael Brown, from September 5, possibly a repost. The three things:

    1.) Criminalizing and profiting from the poor through fees and fines [...]
    2.) Alleged bad apples in the FPD [...]
    3.) The militarization of the police

    Some numbers and specifics at the link, but mostly it’s a less-detailed overview of more direct links we’ve had up here.

  47. rq says

    And partie le deux:
    thisisthemovement installment 4. I would say the links under “11 Things You Should Know” (one – though it is now 14 things, as a series of question cards with information, including legalities, police militarization, and course of investigation) and “When All The Angels Are White” (two – the first from gawker on race and interactions with police, the second a narrative (powerful) on the innocence of black children and slavery) are must-reads. I’m not going to link, please give the newsletter more page-views.

    Race bias in special ed. placements? Appeals court rejects suit alleging this.

    The dissenting judge said the “allegations here are not pretty. No one likes to think that a school district, especially one with an outstanding educational reputation, allows race to be a factor in assigning African-American students to special education classes. However, there is sufficient evidence on this record to establish that a trial is warranted to determine whether this school district did exactly that.” [...]
    The dissenter, Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee, said there was sufficient evidence alleged that the families’ suit should have been allowed to proceed.

    “There is an expert’s conclusion that there is statistically significant evidence of African-Americans being disproportionately assigned to special education classes while none are enrolled in advanced placement or ‘high-expectation classes,'” McKee said. “Whether or not the procedural irregularities in the erroneous and improper placement of these African-American students in special education classes was the result of bias (i.e. deliberate indifference), ineptitude, or coincidence should not be decided on summary judgment given the plaintiffs’ evidence.”

  48. rq says

    New survey shows racial divide regarding facts of the Michael Brown murder. Ya think?

    The fissure broke even wider when surveyors asked if Wilson should be “arrested and charged with a crime” with 71 percent of African American residents responding “yes” opposed to the 71 percent of white survey-takers who believe the police officer should not be held liable. [...]
    A shade over 70 percent of white St. Louis County residents told Remington Research they have faith in County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s ability to handle the Brown case equitably during the grand jury process and possibly beyond.

    According to the survey, McCulloch holds the trust of only 32 percent of African-Americans. Sixty percent disagreed that McCulloch will perform “fairly and impartially” as the case moves forward.

    And the media is not held in high regard by black people, too. Surprise!

  49. rq says

    Deaconess Foundation invests in Ferguson community:

    Under Wilson’s leadership, Deaconess Foundation has made the first major investment in the St. Louis region motivated by specific lessons learned from the Ferguson protests, which caught the attention of the region, nation and world after Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on Canfield Drive on August 9 – and the youth rose up in protest.

    On August 20, Deaconess made a special allocation of $100,000 for community capacity-building, and the foundation is now in the process of disbursing those funds to community organizations and researching the most strategic allocation of funds. In fact, every thing about this allocation is strategic.

    “This is meant to have a leverage effect, as far as its impact,” Wilson told The American. “We do not believe these dollars themselves, in this amount, will in any wise provide a resolution, but we do think it will make a strategic investment in capacity that can leverage other things and activities.”

  50. rq says

    Earlier I had a couple of links that tied McCullogh to BackStopper, who are supposedly selling some questionable “Support Darren Wilson” t-shirts. BackStoppers is denying everything – they have nooooo ideeeeaaaa who’s selling those t-shirts, and will not be accepting any money from them!

  51. rq says

    The bad news: Remember how everyone thought October was too long for a Grand Jury to indict anyone, on a case so straight-forward and simple? Now they have until January. Think about that. January.

    The extension of the grand jurors’ term of duty does not necessarily mean the job will take that long, officials said. But it could. [I bet it will. I just bet it will.]

    There is significant apprehension, especially along the West Florissant Avenue business strip hit by looting and rioting after the killing of Brown on Aug. 9, that violence might return if the grand jury does not send Wilson to trial for something. Some activists have threatened as much.

    Antonio French in interview on Michael Brown, Ferguson and education. (audio interview at the link)

    Black dentist forced to resign over Ferguson posts – for being too active in social justice.

    On Thursday, September 4th, Dr. Misee Harris (the Black Bachelorette) was called into an unannounced meeting at the dental practice where she has worked as a Pediatric Dentist and was recently offered a partnership in the practice. Dr. Harris, the sole African American dentist in the practice, has worked tirelessly with underprivileged young patients on Medicaid to ensure their smiles remain healthy, and the quality of Dr. Harris’s work has never been called into question. Once in the meeting, Dr. Harris was ambushed and presented with screenshots from her private Facebook page. Being that Misee had blocked work colleagues from accessing her account, it was explained to Misee that a doctor who is a partner at the office, and who led the meeting, had been having a friend spy on Misee’s Facebook page. Screenshots were taken of Misee’s Facebook posts and were sent to the doctor who led the meeting. Misee was then told that some of her Facebook posts about recent racial issues in America were “unprofessional.” The biggest bone of contention to the partners was a cartoon (see graphic below) related to the recent police murders of several innocent African-Americans across the nation. The partner held up the picture and asked Misee “Do you think we (meaning Misee’s white colleagues) are all like this?”

    Yes, she’s the only black person in the practice.

    Interesting point on choice of language – it’s a screenshot highlighting the subtle difference between “police said…” and “witnesses claim…”. If you read the Grand Jury article I just linked to above, you’ll notice that the final paragraph now uses ‘said’ in both instances.

    Oh, I know this one! I know this one! There was a witness to the Kajieme Powell shooting. Guess what? Police have not talked to that witness yet.

    St. Louis Chief of Police Sam Dotson promised a transparent investigation, but some of the information he initially released was incorrect. Davis’ attorney, Joel Schwartz, then pointed out the errors and offered up the tape. Dotson than corrected previous mistakes. Schwartz did not provide police with Davis’ name at the time, and Schwartz claims police never attempted to contact Davis again.

  52. rq, fish says

    thisisthemovement, installment #5: some more on theology (christian love, to be specific), plus some articles we have, then a piece on Ferguson Fatigue (recommend), economic stats in simple graphs, challenges in hiring black officers, a short but powerful piece on lynching (Strange Fruit), and a three-minute video listing the names of unarmed black men killed by police, plus historical context.
    Please give them the traffic.

  53. says

    In what will likely come as no surprise to people, the police have changed the story concerning the murder of Darrien Hunt

    Authorities in Utah have altered their account of how a 22-year-old black man was killed by police, after an attorney for the man’s family alleged that he was shot repeatedly from behind by officers while running away.

    The authorities also said that the two police officers involved in the shooting of Darrien Hunt last Wednesday had not yet been interviewed about the incident. The attorney for Hunt’s family described this delay as “almost incomprehensible”.

    Hunt died outside a Panda Express restaurant at a strip mall in Saratoga Springs on Wednesday morning following an encounter with two police officers who were responding to a 911 call reporting a man with a samurai-style sword acting suspiciously.

    After several days of silence Tim Taylor, the chief deputy attorney for Utah county, said in a statement on Saturday: “When the officers made contact with Mr Hunt, he brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr Hunt was shot.”

    However, Taylor confirmed to the Guardian on Monday that Hunt was in fact alleged to have lunged at the officers outside a bank several dozen yards away from where he ultimately died. While it was outside the bank that Hunt was first “shot at” by police, Taylor said, it was not clear whether he was struck on that occasion.

    Hunt then headed north and was shot several more times before eventually collapsing outside the Panda Express, according to Taylor. He said it was not clear if there were any further threatening moves. “Whether or not the individual lunged again at point two, the other location, I don’t know about that,” Taylor said.

    Randall Edwards, an attorney for Hunt’s family, said in an email late on Monday: “This appears to be a major change in the official story”.

    Edwards said over the weekend that the family’s private autopsy had found Hunt was shot six times from behind. He was hit once in a shoulder, once in the back, once in an elbow, twice in a leg and once in a hand, according to the attorney.

    “The shot that killed Darrien, which was straight in the back, did not have an exit wound,” Edwards told the Guardian. “It raises the question as to how you can lunge at someone and be shot in the back at the same time.” Edwards declined to identify the pathologist who had carried out the autopsy, citing a desire to protect him from media attention.

    Hunt’s death follows the high-profile fatal shootings by police in August of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, and John Crawford III, a 22-year-old black father of two who was carrying a BB rifle through a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio.

    Hunt’s mother, Susan, who is white, accused the police of killing the 22-year-old due to his race. The population of Saratoga Springs is about 93% white and 0.5% black, according to the 2010 census.

    “They killed my son because he’s black. No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he’s running away,” Mrs Hunt told the Deseret News. Taylor said there was “no indication that race played any role”. Hunt’s family have not been able to explain why he was carrying the sword, which they called a souvenir from a gift shop.

  54. Pteryxx says

    as in rq’s #80, the grand jury’s now going to sit for the full six months allowed by Missouri state law, plus 60 more days specially granted by a judge, at the request of the prosecutor’s office, to decide whether Darren Wilson should face a criminal charge AT ALL for killing Michael Brown.

    Rawstory: (sorry about the awful site redesign)

    The prosecutor’s office still hopes to conclude its presentation of evidence to the grand jury in October but now has until Jan. 7 to do, said Edward Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

    “The case is still being presented to the grand jury and we are moving forward with it,” Magee said.

    Under Missouri law, grand juries can be empanelled up to six months but typically are held for four months. The current grand jury sitting in St. Louis County was due to disband Sept. 10, but at the request of the prosecutor’s office, St. Louis County Judge Carolyn Whittington has approved holding the jury for the full six months. She then added 60 days to the jury’s term, said Paul Fox, the county’s director of judicial administration.

    “This is not a typical case,” Fox said.”

    So when McCulloch was saying the presentation of evidence would take until maybe mid-October (St Louis Today), that was based on what exactly?

    The grand jury will examine Brown’s death and consider criminal charges. A Ferguson police officer fatally shot Brown, 18, on Aug. 9. How long will it take for the prosecutors to present the evidence to the grand jury?

    “Our target date is hopefully by the middle of October,” McCulloch said.

    McCulloch shared this target date in a radio interview on KTRS-AM 550 and in interviews with the Post-Dispatch. He said he won’t be rushed — and that he feels no pressure to do so despite the violence that has rocked Ferguson over the last 10 days by protesters calling for justice.

    “I certainly understand the concern, but we won’t rush it through,” McCulloch said. “In the long run, people, at least a majority of people, will appreciate the thoroughness.”

    He added: “Some people say we are rushing to judgment and others say we are dragging it out. We will do this as expeditiously as possible but certainly not in any haphazard manner.”

    One of the things that will take time is that forensic evidence from both the county and the federal investigations will be presented to the grand jury at one time. It won’t be done “piecemeal,” McCulloch said.

    Mid-October is only a target; there is no deadline, he said. “It could be longer than that, or shorter than that,” he said. “I doubt any sooner than that.”

    Once all the evidence is presented, it will be up to the grand jury to decide how long to deliberate and reach a decision.

    However, mid-October would have put the grand jury’s decision just before elections on November 4. Aiming for some nebulous time between then and January 7 means the news could hit during the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays, when media attention will be even more attenuated than it is now. (The members OF the grand jury probably would like to be freed up by then, too.)

    I’m suuuuuure (SARCASM) the prosecutor’s office is concerned

    that violence might return if the grand jury does not send Wilson to trial for something. Some activists have threatened as much.

    (STL Today)

    A few reminders from previous articles:

    Cohen explains: “The prosecutor is responsible for presenting the evidence, calling the witnesses and instructors the jurors on the applicable law. The prosecutor can decide who to call based on what he expects the witnesses to say.”

    The prosecutor can decide not to instruct the grand jury on a charge of murder, for instance, and instead only instruct the jury on criminal negligence. Or the prosecutor could instruct the grand jury on several charges, including manslaughter.

    (source: Guardian Aug 20 liveblog citing a STL Today article that as of this post does not include the last paragraph)

    In this case, McCulloch’s office may not be instructing the grand jury in any charges at all, instead just dumping all the evidence and leaving them to sort out not just whether to indict or not, but what specific charge to indict *for*.

    From Vox.com on August 19:

    “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.

  55. rq says

    If they want to be free for all those holidays, they should keep the original deadline. Wouldn’t that be simpler? :( But no, elections shmelections. This is frustrating to me. ME, poor white person in Europe. How must it feel to those in Ferguson?
    (I’ve heard it mentioned that this extension is as good as no indictment, therefore *something* will be happening anyway.)

  56. Pteryxx says

    via DailyKos, the Guardian:

    Ferguson reform to courts system could leave residents paying more

    A new rule, introduced by the city council at a bad-tempered meeting with residents on Tuesday evening, states that no more than 15% of Ferguson’s revenue may come from court fines. Residents have blamed the fines for raising tensions with Ferguson authorities, which were amplified by the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

    A statement released by Devin James, a public relations executive recruited to help improve Ferguson’s image, said when the measure was announced that it “sends a clear message that the fines imposed as punishment in the municipal court are not to be viewed as a source of revenue for the city”.

    Ferguson expected to collect about $2m in court fines in the 2014 fiscal year, according to its latest budget documents. This represents about 11.2% of the city’s $18.6m total annual revenues.

    But under the new rule, Ferguson could collect 15% of the $20.2m total revenue that the city is expecting for 2015. This is more than $3m, an increase of $943,800 on the total taken in 2014 under the existing system that has caused such anger among residents of Ferguson. Court takings have risen by 44% since 2010 under a newly aggressive system of traffic policing, according to the city.

    So when the punishing and often illegal court fines are too much in 2014, and have almost *doubled* since 2010 (roughly when Ferguson’s demographics shifted to majority-black)… the “reform” is to cap the takings at another third *higher* still.

  57. Pteryxx says

    More about suburbs that have become majority-black around 2010: NY Times, August 29

    An analysis performed for The Upshot by Andrew Beveridge, a sociology professor at Queens College, shows that there are 117 communities of 5,000 or more people in the United States that, like Ferguson, were over 50 percent white in 1990 and shifted to over 50 percent black in 2010.

    Not all of them have the troubled racial history of Ferguson or its demographic mismatch between the population and the police, but they do resemble Ferguson in two ways: Most are suburban, and most are poorer than their overall metro area.

    If you rank these communities according to the degree of change they have undergone, Ferguson comes out somewhere in the middle. It ranks 51st out of 117 in terms of the decline in the percentage of its population that is white (which was 73 percent in 1990, but 29 percent in 2010), and 38th if ranked by the growth in its black population (25 percent in 1990, 67 percent in 2010).

    And by either measure, every community that has experienced more change than Ferguson is also a suburb. For example, five other communities in the St. Louis area have seen greater growth in their black populations than Ferguson: In Glasgow Village, Mo., the black population rose from 5 percent to 82 percent over the same period. Across the Mississippi River in Cahokia, Ill., it grew from 5 percent to 62 percent.

    Many other metro areas in the East, Midwest and South also have suburban areas on this list. They include Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Philadelphia and Washington. But in the Rocky Mountains and on the Pacific coast, this phenomenon is unknown.

    And more recently, the central cities in some of these metropolitan areas, including St. Louis and Chicago, have seen their black populations start to shrink, even as some of their suburbs were going the other way. Washington lost its black majority in 2011, while 10 of its suburbs were gaining enough black population to qualify for our list.

    See also the documentary Spanish Lake, which many St Louis theaters refused to show: Riverfront Times

    Since the ’90s, Morton’s hometown of Spanish Lake – just eight miles northeast of Ferguson – has undergone a similar demographic shift: From 80 per cent white in the early ’90s to 80 per cent black in 2010. The film charts that history, via expert testimony and old news footage, back to the 1950s, when middle-class white families thrived American Dream-style at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Much of what happened next is familiar from many American cities: White flight, ill-conceived housing projects, redlining realtors, and the sense of regular people of all races being shoved around a region by forces bigger than them. The St. Louis-specific angle: The migration of African-Americans, often impoverished, to the suburbs north of the city, where the apartments were going up. By the early 2000s, we’re told, local police were fielding 3,000 calls a year from one Spanish Lake housing complex.

    [...]

    “I don’t know if I can say this on tape,” one woman says. Her eyes flit about before she adds, “When the first blacks moved in, that’s when the fighting started.”
    Soon, though, she’s relaxed enough to guffaw at the memory of local whites shooting black Santa decorations off of a roof.

    Morton’s subjects often speak about what they suspect happened – how the government, or the realtors, or somebody flooded their town with people not like them. Former residents make the property-values argument: White families had to move, to protect their investments. A woman at the reunion describes a neighborhood pact: Her family – and others – vowing not to sell to blacks. They all did sell to black families, eventually, but you can’t tell from her face whether today she thinks this was right or wrong.

    This isn’t redlining from the 1950’s or neighborhood pacts like those Ta-Nehisi Coates described in The Case for Reparations. This has happened – is happening – within the last 15 years. Mike Brown was older than Ferguson’s racial shift and the police, court, and economic stranglehold that followed.

    from The Case for Reparations:

    Governmental embrace of segregation was driven by the virulent racism of Chicago’s white citizens. White neighborhoods vulnerable to black encroachment formed block associations for the sole purpose of enforcing segregation. They lobbied fellow whites not to sell. They lobbied those blacks who did manage to buy to sell back. In 1949, a group of Englewood Catholics formed block associations intended to “keep up the neighborhood.” Translation: keep black people out. And when civic engagement was not enough, when government failed, when private banks could no longer hold the line, Chicago turned to an old tool in the American repertoire—racial violence. “The pattern of terrorism is easily discernible,” concluded a Chicago civic group in the 1940s. “It is at the seams of the black ghetto in all directions.” On July 1 and 2 of 1946, a mob of thousands assembled in Chicago’s Park Manor neighborhood, hoping to eject a black doctor who’d recently moved in. The mob pelted the house with rocks and set the garage on fire. The doctor moved away.

  58. says

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/16/eric-holder-justice-department-racial-bias-study-police

    The Justice Department has enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement in five American cities and recommend strategies to address the problem nationally, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday, broadening its push to improve police relations with minorities.

    The police shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri underscored the need for the long-planned initiative, Holder said in an interview with The Associated Press.

    He said the three-year project, which will involve training, data analysis and interviews with community residents, could be a “silver lining” if it helps ease racial tensions and “pockets of distrust that show up between law enforcement and the communities that they serve.”

    “What I saw in Ferguson confirmed for me that the need for such an effort was pretty clear,” Holder said.

    The five cities have not yet been selected, but the researchers expect that the cities will offer training to officers and command staff on issues of racial bias.

  59. says

    Yes, whites and blacks view the execution of Michael Brown differently:

    Early in the Ferguson protests, the Pew Research Center polled reactions to the Michael Brown shooting nationally. For blacks, it confirmed their mistrust of the police; 65 percent said police had gone too far in their response to the protests. Whites were more reticent, with 32 percent who said the response was “about right” and 35 percent who “didn’t know.”

    That told us quite a bit about opinions nationwide, but it said little about views in St. Louis County, where Ferguson is located.

    Now, thanks to a new survey from the Remington Research Group—based in Kansas City, Missouri—we know. The firm polled 604 residents of St. Louis County on aspects of the controversy, from the shooting of Brown to the police response to protesters. And on most questions, they found a stark racial divide.

    When asked if “the shooting of an African American teen by law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri” was justified, 62 percent of whites said it was, along with 35 percent of blacks. The “noes” were a mirror image: 65 percent of blacks—and 38 percent of whites—said it wasn’t justified.

    This, more than any result in the survey, is astonishing. Remember, we know little on the circumstances that led to Brown’s death. At most, we have witness reports, which say Brown had surrendered when he was killed, and the testimony of Officer Darren Wilson, who says he was attacked by the teenager. It’s impossible to say anything for certain, but my hunch is that this divide has a good deal to do with implicit racial bias and the divergent views of law enforcement among whites and blacks.

  60. says

    Another story of police brutality. This one takes a few twists.

    1- the father of the 17 year old boy is a police officer with the Kansas City PD
    2- The family has asked the Justice Department to step in and investigate the Independence PD
    3- The FBI is launching an investigation of the Independence PD
    4- The teen was pulled over bc of a warrant out on the vehicle. The warrant was for a woman.
    5- Guess what race the teen was…
    …he was white.
    Which leads to this comment at the above link:

    I hate to have to say this, but I feel I must. I have yet to see any attempts at character assassination on this young man. I mean, isn’t that what the talking heads usually do when a teen is either injured or killed by a cop—or a vigilante?

    Where are the thug pictures? Where are the hoodie pictures? Where are the stories of behavior issues and problems with authority? Where are the alcohol/marijuana reports from “friends” and acquaintances? Teens are teens. Black, white, brown…whatever. No racial group has a monopoly on these things, so why hasn’t the media dug into this kid’s life as meticulously as they did all the other victims?

  61. rq says

    Some nekkid links, ’cause I have to rush. For some quick backfround: there was City Council meeting last night, and people went. Did people ever go! Then they marched in the streets of Clayton. So these are all tweets with photos (most):
    https://twitter.com/AllisonBlood/status/512033145265201152/photo/1
    https://twitter.com/MsPackyetti/status/512034679873359872/photo/1
    https://twitter.com/AntonioFrench/status/512053296790798336/photo/1
    https://twitter.com/akacharleswade/status/512053793799041025/photo/1
    https://twitter.com/kodacohen/status/512051795871662081/photo/1
    https://twitter.com/AntonioFrench/status/512083740248776704/photo/1
    (That last one is full of racism.)

  62. rq says

    Football is getting involved:
    https://twitter.com/STLAbuBadu/status/512098810101641216 (the St Louis Cardinals have a chance at … the finals…?)
    https://twitter.com/Jdstl314/status/512084825155436545/photo/1 (planned protest at the arena – sorry it’s morning and easier to think in hockey, okay?)
    https://twitter.com/kodacohen/status/512064077041254400/photo/1
    http://fox2now.com/2014/09/15/honor-student-loses-eye-in-drive-by-shooting/ (honours student loses eye in drive-by, city life, eh?)
    Bob McCullogh, tough on crime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUXFe2l7Jmk&feature=youtu.be
    Anthony Shahid at the City Council: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QngXknoRsDY&feature=youtu.be

    tbc

  63. rq says

    More on the extension (will look into more later): http://rt.com/usa/188300-ferguson-charges-jury-extension/
    McCullogh and Stenger: http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/06/05/mcculloch-endorses-stenger-in-first-round-of-campaign-ads/ (Stenger got a lot of dirty looks, judging from pictures of yesterday’s council meeting)
    Still calling for McCullogh’s removal: http://www.kmov.com/special-coverage-001/Ferguson-protesters-call-to-remove-prosecutor-at-St-Louis-Co-Council-meeting-275382111.html
    There was that StAnn police officer pointing guns at people: senator asks that he be barred from all other police forces. http://www.kmov.com/news/mobile/Mo-Senator-calls-for-former-St-Ann-Police-Officer-to-be-barred-from-other-police-force-275381681.html

  64. rq says

    re: delayed grand jury
    Are there any legislative changes that take effect 1/1/2015 that might explain the delay?
    I’m not sure how to go about finding this out…

    Ferguson demands justice despite repression, criminalization – or, as @deray pointed out, because of.
    I’ve been becoming a lot more aware of the way media words things throughout this whole tragic debacle. Most times it’s been pointed out, but I have also begun seeing interesting word choices on a daily basis, in how things are presented. It’s been quite eye-opening.

  65. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installement #6: the first link is 9 Things We Still Don’t Know, which is a rather nice list of, yes, things we don’t know – with a large focus on Darren Brown: what was he thinking? was he actually injured? did he know about the robbery? and suchlike. Also other things, regarding the evidence presented to the grand jury and the St Louis investigation (also, I would expect, the FBI investigation, though that one is still supposedly on-going).

    This one is from the newsletter above, please give them the traffic, but I’m going to link here anyway, because it’s something that needs to be easily found later (just a hunch): McCullogh promises to release Grand Jury transcript if there is no indicement. Scratch that, if Darren Wilson is not indicted. Funny how he gets erased out of eeeeverything so easily.

    Grand jury proceedings often are not transcribed. Missouri law only requires transcription if a witness is given immunity for testimony or if the judge overseeing the grand jury orders transcription. But Magee confirmed that McCulloch had made a decision to transcribe and tape the proceedings.

    There would be no public release of grand jury materials if Wilson is indicted for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson on Aug. 9. Instead the state’s evidence would be presented in a trial.

    The immediate release of grand jury materials in the absence of an indictment is extremely unusual. Not all legal experts think it’s a good idea. [...]
    Richard Kuhns, an emeritus professor at Washington University Law School, said he was concerned by media reports that McCulloch’s office is flooding the grand jury with witnesses without providing legal direction. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post maintained that this approach is a “farce” and proof the “fix” is in to clear Wilson.

    From St Louis Public Radio.

    The newsletter has a few more links on the grand jury, on the candle-light vigil for Mike Brown, and several other items of interest. Go look!

  66. rq says

    Able to assist financially? Here’s an indiegogo to support people in Ferguson in their efforts to maintain the movement.

    More than a Moment, a Movement

    It wasn’t until I went to Ferguson, MO on Saturday, August 16th that I understood the importance of the work happening. You can read about my initial experience in a blog post, here.

    I quickly realize that this was not the America that I knew.

    I’ve live-tweeted all of my experiences as well. You can also see a gallery of pictures and videos I’ve taken here.

    This is not a moment in American history, this is a movement — a movement demanding systemic change and justice.

    I’ve been following him on Twitter, and, as it turns out, consistently misspelling his name. Sorry. :(

  67. rq says

    Protesters demand action from Councilman Stenger at St Louis City Council meeting.

    In the two hours of public comment, often overshadowed by shouting and chants, many told Stenger that he has until noon on Wednesday to denounce County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who endorsed Stenger’s bid for County Executive in the primary.

    “If that’s not the case, we will make sure that you are not elected as County Executive,” one man said. [...]
    “A vote for Stenger is a vote for McCulloch,” another man said. “They are attached at the hip. If we want change in St. Louis County, we need to vote in Mike Brown.”

    Stenger did not respond, and left quickly after the meeting. He did not speak to media. [...]
    “It’s not going to be a fun day Sunday at your beautiful Rams game, at your beautiful Ballpark Village and at your Cardinals game,” he said. It won’t be a nice day driving home.”

    A look at North Campus, an education initiative for children in North County.

    Elected black officials will not support democrats who do not support them, in a group action.

    Mayor of Berkeley: Prosecutor isn’t acting in the “best interest” of his people.

    A look at those who provided Ferguson coverage from the trenches, with huge jumps in follower numbers.

    And the big one: Darren Wilson testified before the Grand Jury yesterday, for four hours. There is no other information at the article, except that he testified and was supposedly “cooperative”. I guess he answered some questions.

    tbc

  68. rq says

    More on the protesters at the Council Meeting:

    Several members of Brown’s family were also in attendance including Brown’s uncle Pastor Charles Ewing, cousin Eric Davis, and Michael Brown Sr. Davis asked why Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson has not been fired for lying about why he released video footage of Brown that incited violence within the community. The footage showed Brown allegedly “robbing” and “strong arming” a store clerk shortly before his death.

    Council members, particularly Stenger, appeared stoic and uncomfortable throughout the meeting. One man spoke for all protesters when he said they would no longer be used as political “pawns,” and they vowed to use their voting power. Freelance journalist Umar Lee spoke directly to Stenger, democratic candidate for County Executive, stating that Stenger ran a campaign of “insurgency” with McCulloch’s backing.

    “A vote for Stenger is a vote for McCulloch,” Lee said. “If we want change in St. Louis county, we need to vote in Mike Brown.”

    Here’s also more on the African American democrats, forming a new coalition:

    Flanked by 35 mayors, council members representing several North County municipalities and state representatives, Erby emphasized that the coalition does not plan to “single out a specific” public official in the November election and beyond.

    In a prepared statement left mostly unread publicly, Erby said, “We are all serving notice that we are not going to support candidates just because they have an insignia of a donkey behind their name.”

    An unread portion of the statement said, “WE are sick and tired of being disrespected as both taxpaying citizens and elected officials by those we look to for leadership in higher office. The community has spoken and we are here to state collectively that WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF BEING SICK AND TIRED!!”

    I hope they are heard, and I hope they are listened to, and heeded.

    Governor Nixon on police requests for reimbursement,

    “We’ll work with everybody to make sure that whatever costs are eligible for reimbursement get reimbursed,” he says.

    And what costs are eligible for reimbursement?

    “I’m not sure which of the various funds might be eligible for that,” Nixon says. “I’ll have to look into that more and get you some more details.”

    And judges seek reforms in St Louis County:

    Besides six municipal court judges, the committee includes lawyers and court administrators. A major focus will be reducing the municipalities’ reliance on revenue from fines and bench warrants. Critics say that is a major cause of tension between residents and county officials.

    St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley said Tuesday that he will ask the County Municipal Court to stop levying a $25 fee for infractions of county ordinances, to alleviate hardships from large fines and costs for minor infractions.

    (Those last two are very short articles.)

    And one more, on civilian groups filming police action. It’s nice that the police themselves seem to react appropriately, in that they recognize that people have a right to film police – but there’s a few, who insist that ordinary civilian groups with a goal to film police action are equivalent to Sovereign Citizens (and there may be some overlap, but lumping them all together seems drastic).

  69. rq says

    Once again, it turns out Darren Wilson has been communicating. Nobody knows about it, though, until now.

    In addition to a Grand Jury transcript, McCullogh promises to release audio recordings, in case of a non-indictment. He’s really preparing for that one, eh?

    Audio interview with Sherrilyn Ifill, civil rights advocate (president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund), on Ferguson, Michael Brown, and education. (St Louis Public Radio)

  70. rq says

    So for some reason twitter won’t upload beyond my first installment of tweets.
    Anyway, Ferguson Women on the Frontlines, an event happening tonight. I hope they’ll have some tweeting from it, worth hearing.

    Hey! Can we join? Washington U libraries creating “Documenting Ferguson” repositories.

    Free and accessible to all, the online collection will serve as a lasting source of information regarding the Aug. 9 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the ensuing protests and unrest.

    Washington University librarians are accepting images, video, audio, artwork and stories related to the memorials, community meetings, rallies and protests occurring in Ferguson and the surrounding areas. Donors must be able to demonstrate clear copyright of materials.

    “We want to have a place where anyone can deposit material,” said Rudolph Clay, head of Library Diversity Initiatives and Outreach Services and African & African-American Studies librarian. “There is a lot of content out there, and much of it is available on the Internet. But what happens over time is that a lot of that material disappears, and something you saw today might not be there in a week. We are making a commitment to preserve that material.”

    To learn more or to submit material, visit digital.wustl.edu/ferguson.

    Here’s the Black Dems again, forming “Fannie Lou Hamer” organization.

  71. rq says

    There was a livestream of yesterday’s meeting with Ifill. :( Was.

    Another event from last night: Forum on Ferguson at Harvard, list of speakers at the link. Apparently a discussion of education in relation to Ferguson. There’s a tweet in the sidebar: (paraphrased) Michael Brown did finish high school and was moving on to higher ed, what about police education?

    A chilling storify putting together Shaun King’s tweets and documents. There’s a timeline from public information and… okay, right now I haven’t gone through it, but it’s a string of tweets on the corruption within the PD. Like, pretty much everything on the subject of Roorda, McCullogh, everything. Documents, too, I think.

  72. rq says

  73. rq says

    From KMOV.com: Holder announces meeting with DOJ attorneys over community distrust of law enforcement.

    More townhall meetings in Ferguson, hopefully some will be tweeted / streamed, for information.

    Someone asked for civilian complain statistics from the City of Ferguson. This is the reply they got. Basically, because the Department of Justice is currently examining those documents, they are not available. Earliest possible date: October 15, 2014 (at least it’s this year). From the tweets below (incl. some from Charles Grapski), this delaying tactic is typical in trying to keep people from those records.

  74. rq says

    Ferguson in Polish, via twitter. Honestly, I’m impressed they even have so much of the fall-out in the news. It’s been a non-issue here except for that one odd article in August.

    Just some good news: the four new black MacArthur grantees.

    This is important: Roorda was behind the Darren Wilson fundraisers, and he is also a good friend of McCullogh. As impartial as my ass. (via Shaun King’s twitter)

    thisisthemovement, installment #7: more theology and the influence of christianity in civil rights movements, an article on world governments responding to Ferguson, and some informational stuff on historical movements and the kind of person police tend to kill. Go give them the traffic.

    Placed here as a note on a disparity of reactions: Congress, so vocal on Ray Rice, silent on federal judge Mark fuller. So much harder to condemn when it’s one of your own, in a lot of different ways…

  75. Pteryxx says

    way, way, WAY behind (thanks a lot, Dawkins et al) so here’s a pittance:

    Ezell Ford’s family has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit: (Rawstory)

    Police have said two officers shot and killed 25-year-old Ezell Ford, described by a family lawyer as mentally challenged, in mostly poor South Los Angeles on Aug. 11 after he struggled with an officer and tried to grab his gun.

    The family attorney, Steven Lerman, disputed the police narrative of how Ford died but declined in a news conference outside a Los Angeles federal courthouse to give an alternate version of events. He said that would be presented in court.

    Ezell Ford was killed on August 11, two days after Michael Brown. More coverage:

    Thinkprogress: LA Cops Shot An Unarmed Black Man, Are Being Even More Secretive Than Ferguson Police

    On Thursday — more than two weeks after Ezell Ford was fatally shot — police announced that the names of the officers were Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas, both in the gang enforcement unit. As in Michael Brown’s case, police allege that Ford was reaching for their gun — not that he had his own. But witnesses say the 25-year-old man who strugged with mental illness was laying on the ground when he was shot, and that they saw no struggle. Witness Leroy Hill told the Huffington Post that he stood across the street as officers beat Ford, at one point yelling “shoot him.”

    [...]

    Initially, a press release from the Los Angeles Police Department stated only that a “struggle ensued” and that, “It is unknown if the suspect had any gang affiliations,” implicitly raising the possibility of gang activity. But people in Ford’s neighborhood told the Huffington Post Ford wasn’t remotely involved in gang activity. In a later statement, police indicated that Ford grabbed one of the officers during the stop, after which they fell to the ground. “During the struggle, they fell to the ground and the individual attempted to remove the officer’s handgun from its holster. The partner officer then fired his handgun and the officer on the ground fired his backup weapon at the individual,” the statement says. After the shots were fired, police called for an ambulance and Ford died at the hospital, the release stated.

    Police still haven’t released autopsy results. And they say they don’t plan to. “Police have also placed a security hold on Ford’s autopsy to prevent coroner’s officials from publicly releasing information about Ford’s wounds,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

    More background at The Root and more on the lawsuit, including a PDF of the suit itself (here), at HuffPo.

    And relevant background just released today: Report: Over Last 14 Years, LA Officers Have Killed One Person Per Week, Mostly Black and Hispanic Males (Bolds below are mine)

    On the day that the Los Angeles Police Department was hit with a $75 million wrongful death lawsuit by the family of Ezell Ford, an unarmed 25-year-old Black man who was killed by LAPD officers last month, a group called the Los Angeles Youth Justice Coalition released a report revealing that Los Angeles law enforcement officers have killed nearly 600 people over the past 14 years — a total of nearly one death per week.

    The group took a closer look at the 314 deaths between 2007 and 2014 and discovered that 97 percent were male and 82 percent were Black or Latino.

    [...]

    The statistics unearthed by the advocacy group are actually more alarming concerning the killing of Black men because of the county demographics.

    Hispanics make up 48.3 percent of L.A. County’s population, and 53.5 percent of those killed between 2007 and 2014 were Hispanics. African-Americans make up just 9.2 percent of the county population, yet 28 percent of those killed were Black. Whites represented 15.4 percent of those killed while they make up 27.2 percent of the county population.

    “This report is for the youth – especially youth of color in California and throughout the world – who leave home every day and wonder if they’ll come home. It’s for the parents and grandparents who have to teach 8 year-olds what to do when they’re stopped by the police,” the report states. “It’s for all Los Angeles, because no one will have a future here until all youth have a future here. It’s also for law enforcement personnel and their families, because the aggressive policing of our communities means that they work daily with the stress that comes from both being feared and unappreciated and also being afraid, angry or distrustful of the community. But, most of all, it’s for the families who have buried loved ones killed by law enforcement – those we have stood with and most we have never met – who will never be whole again.”

  76. rq says

    Yup, Ezell Ford marches were happening at the same time as the Ferguson protests for Michael Brown, but somehow never got the media attention. Sadly. :(

  77. rq says

    I haven’t been checking CBC for a while, so here’s some catch-up from them:
    Long legal process angers Ferguson residents, from today (September 18):

    Media descended upon Ferguson to cover the protests, and then the funeral, and then they left. The country’s attention is now focused elsewhere, but the story is far from over in Ferguson.

    Residents, especially Brown’s parents, are still waiting for answers about what happened that Aug.9 day and are frustrated at how slowly the wheels of justice are turning.
    [...]
    The frustrations over the handling of the Brown case continue to boil over. Last week and this week, demonstrators interrupted council meetings, demanding from their elected officials that Wilson be arrested and McCulloch be removed, and poor relations between police and residents be improved.
    [...]
    Pruitt explained that some believe authorities are trying to stretch out the judicial process as long as possible with the hope that tensions will die down and protesters will lose their momentum. But the more time that passes, the more people are getting agitated and their positions hardening, said Pruitt, and that could mean trouble ahead.

    Grand jury extended, from September 16:

    The demand for Darren Wilson’s arrest and the recusal of the St. Louis county prosecuting attorney began with the final utterance of the Pledge of Allegiance at the St. Louis County Council meeting.

    “For all,” crowd members shouted as the pledge concluded with, “and justice for all.”
    [...]
    As expected, the grand jury investigation into Brown’s death has gone past the panel’s four-month term, which was to expire on Sept. 10. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Carolyn Whittington that day granted an extension until January — the longest allowed by Missouri law.

    The extension does not mean the grand jury will meet until January but “just gives them that window,” said St. Louis County Court Administrator Paul Fox. He noted that the grand jury is focused strictly on the shooting death of Brown by Wilson and is not considering any other cases.
    [...]
    The grand jury includes six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man. Nine votes are needed to indict. [bolding mine]

    From September 10, 35 arrests in highway shutdown protest:

    The afternoon demonstration was generally peaceful, but a number of protesters hurled glass bottles, rocks and bricks at police, Schellman said.

    Four people were arrested on charges they assaulted police officers, and 32 faced charges of unlawful assembly. One person was charged with both, Schellman said. Officers received minor injuries, he said.
    [...]
    The protests came after Ferguson city leaders confronted demands for reform from an angry crowd on Tuesday night at their first public meeting since Brown’s death.

    From September 9, Police militarization under scrutiny on Capitol Hill:

    “How do they decide an MRAP is appropriate?” Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., asked officials from the Homeland Security, Defence and Justice departments of the 617 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles given to local authorities in recent years.

    [inset quote] ‘The question is whether what our police receive matches what they truly need to uphold the law.’- Delaware Sen. Tom Carper [/inset quote]

    “It’s not a truck. It is a … offensive weapon,” he said Tuesday at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
    [...]
    Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat who also serves on the Armed Services Committee, questioned why more heavy-duty armoured vehicles have been given to local police agencies than state National Guard units.

    “Could it be the Guard doesn’t want them because they know they tear up roads, flip easily and have limited applicability?” McCaskill asked the witnesses.
    [...]
    FEMA grant purchase are intended to be used strictly for anti-drug or terrorism-related incidents, but Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he worried that police departments are increasingly relying on such equipment to tamp down riots, like in Ferguson.

    “They think these are for riot suppression,” Paul said. “There have been maybe two instances of terrorism and we’ve spent billions and billions of dollars. Really (this gear) shouldn’t be on anyone’s list of authorized equipment.”

  78. Pteryxx says

    Thinkprogress: Innocent People In New York Who Can’t Afford A Lawyer Are Pretty Much Doomed

    A new report from the New York Civil Liberties Union reveals that defendants who can’t afford a private lawyer routinely appear at arraignments without a court-appointed counsel in several counties, despite a New York court ruling that held the right to a lawyer applies at that phase of the case. When lawyers do enter an indigent defendant’s case, they have felony caseloads up to five times the maximum loads recommended by experts and bar associations. In Suffolk County, appointed lawyers did not consult experts in a single case they handled. And in Onondaga County, the funds spent on prosecutor investigations is nearly 35 times the money devoted to investigations for criminal defendants:

    For Lane Lozell, accused of stealing $20, time in jail meant losing his job. Not having a lawyer at his arraignment meant he was sent to jail pending trial when he was not able to afford the $2,500 bail. And being in jail pending trial meant he could not even make contact when his lawyer when he had one. After months of not hearing from his lawyer, he pleaded guilty to three months in jail to end his incarceration.

    [...]

    Lawyers in several of these cases arguably fell short of their constitutional duty to provide effective assistance of counsel. But they don’t have the time or the resources to do otherwise. Cagnina recalled numerous times when a client sat in jail for days because no one contacted her office to tell her about an arraignment before a long weekend. “If a person had a private attorney, they’d be able to get ahold of them right away,” she said. Cagnina, who worked in Onondaga County, said it was “next to impossible” to get investigators who would work on her cases because of the “miserably low compensation rate.”

    “I was never able to represent people the way I wanted to or the way the Constitution required,” she said. The NYCLU’s Corey Stoughton said lawyers are “overwhelmed by hundreds more cases than any person, even a superhuman lawyer, could handle.”

    Note that bit about how much more funding the prosecutor’s office gets than the indigent defenders do. Remember Stop and Seize, and the 2013 New Yorker report Taken,which noted police departments – including prosecutors – get funding from civil forfeiture?

    The Gothamist this past January: How The NYPD’s Use Of Civil Forfeiture Robs Innocent New Yorkers (bolds mine)

    Any arrest in New York City can trigger a civil forfeiture case if money or property is found on or near a defendant, regardless of the reasons surrounding the arrest or its final disposition. In the past ten years, the NYPD has escalated the amount of civil forfeiture actions it pursues as public defense offices have been stretched thin by the huge amount of criminal cases across the city.

    “One of the main problems with civil forfeiture is that you’re not assigned a lawyer, it being a civil and not a criminal case,” Smith explains. “Most people can’t afford lawyers, and that gives the government a tremendous advantage.”

    [...]

    According to an annual report [PDF] issued by the Office of Management and Budget, the city is projected to reap $5.3 million from civil forfeiture this year. The NYPD does not publicly account for how that money and property is spent or allocated. Based on the sheer volume of cases that the department pursues, experts estimate that the amount the NYPD has taken from New Yorkers over the past decade is well into the millions.

    The NYPD has also refused to show public defenders the exact legal mechanism that allows them to seize their property.

    “It is unclear how exactly Mr. Bryan’s money ended up being placed in the NYPD Pension Fund,” Vichal Kumar, Bryan’s public defender, wrote in an email. “One possibility is that there are other internal agreements or memorandums that are not public knowledge that supplement the provisions of the statute and allow for such distributions. Though I would suspect that without further litigation, it may never be known exactly how this occurred.”

    So the prosecutors, which work closely with the police departments, get to share the money seized through nuisance or bogus arrests, while the public defenders don’t.

    NY Times last August:

    The 81 defender offices across the country, which represent 60 percent of all criminal defendants in the federal court system, have already had their budgets cut by 10 percent because of the sequester and other reductions this year and could face up to a 23 percent cut in 2014. Additional cost-cutting measures may result in a smaller cut, around 10 percent. Although the cuts are widespread across the government, public defenders say the reductions are hitting them particularly hard. Unlike other federal programs, the public defenders say, they have little fat to trim since most of their costs are for staff and rent. Just 10 percent of their budgets are devoted to expert witnesses, investigative costs and travel.

    Already, federal defenders said they have cut back on staff members and their workloads.

    from MoJo on August 11:

    Due in large part to the rise of the drug war in the ’80s, and budget cuts as municipal finances have gotten squeezed, public defender’s offices have too few lawyers and far too many cases. The National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association have recommended that a public defense attorney should handle no more than 150 felonies or 400 misdemeanors per year. Most offices burn past those limits, sometimes by a factor of two or three.

    [...]

    So what does this mean for defendants? Suppose you get into serious trouble and need an attorney, says Jonathan Rapping, the president of Gideon’s Promise, a group that trains public defenders. You’d expect that attorney to sit down with you and help you understand the charges. You’d expect him or her “to go out and investigate. Knock on doors. Talk to witnesses. File and litigate motions. Be in court.”

    But if the court assigns you a defender saddled with the maximum caseload, you might meet your lawyer for the first time in the courthouse hallway to discuss your hasty plea. In Missouri, according to a 2014 study commissioned by an American Bar Association committee, public defenders typically spend a mere nine hours on a serious felony such as armed robbery—less than one-fifth of what a panel of public and private attorneys agreed was needed to provide “reasonably effective” counsel.

    And that’s just the lawyers. The 2007 BJS report found that 40 percent of county public defender’s offices had no investigators at all. “Even the best lawyers in the world, you can only work with what you have,” says Rapping, who started his career as an investigator in the Washington, DC, public defender’s office. “These cases are fact-intensive.” You need people to go out there and pound the pavement, locate hard-to-find witnesses, check alibis.

  79. Pteryxx says

    from the Thinkprogress article:

    Authorities around the country have recognized that the public defense system is inadequate. Last year, the Department of Justice intervened in a Washington state case challenging the indigent defense system, and declared that the right to counsel is in “crisis.” The federal judge in that case agreed with plaintiffs that lawyers who spend less than an hour per case amount to little more than a “warm body and a law degree.” In other jurisdictions, some lawyers have between 7 and 32 minutes per case.

    I spent longer on the previous comment than some innocent plaintiff’s lawyers can spend on a case.

  80. rq says

    Tony
    Let us know what they tell you! (Because heck we just post a link to this entire thread.)

    +++

    Here’s a look at the Ferguson Community handout and complain form, pdf, not really showing up for me but hopefully it’s just the link – does it work for everyone else?

    Police shooting in Savannah: there was a witness, and it doesn’t look good for police. Last I heard the police chief was about to make a statement, but no word on that so far – will check otehr news later.

    An image from Shaun King, a labelled diagram of the overhead view of the Michael Brown crime scene. And another storify from Shaun King re: the cover-up that ensued pretty much immediately following the murder of Michael Brown. Mostly focussing on distance, with measurements, pretty much shutting down that one excuse Darren Wilson may have had. Not that it will matter in the end.

  81. rq says

    Also, I have figured out why the police in Ferguson kept saying 30 – 35 feet when it was more like 100: the Ferguson PD has switched over to the metric system, and simply forgot to tell everyone. And they call ‘meters’ ‘feet’ to cause less confusion.

  82. Pteryxx says

    to make this clear, from Shaun King’s storify:

    Shaun King@ShaunKing
    An officer is allowed, expected even, to use force, when in danger, when as much as 25-35 feet away. Mike Brown was ONE HUNDRED feet away.

    (twitter)

    So when the officers, say, drove right up to Kajieme Powell and shot him down within 20 seconds or so? They were “in danger” because they were within 35 feet.

  83. rq says

    A post to show those people who insist on waiting for ‘justice’ – to view all the evidence and see what the grand jury says.
    I can’t copy/paste the text in the photo, but the gist is that, when someone says to wait for ‘due process’ to run its course, inform them that due process:
    1) begins with an arrest, not an execution;
    2) requires stable and clean chain of evidence, correct investigative processes;
    3) includes the public release of records that are lawfully public records;
    4) depends on the impartiality of local law and justice system.
    Beneath each point they list facts that describe how these things do not apply in the case of Michael Brown and Ferguson.
    The two Shaun King storifies are also linked at the bottom of that tweet.

  84. says

    rq @120:

    Also, I have figured out why the police in Ferguson kept saying 30 – 35 feet when it was more like 100: the Ferguson PD has switched over to the metric system, and simply forgot to tell everyone. And they call ‘meters’ ‘feet’ to cause less confusion.

    That’s funny in a deeply ironic way.
    If it were true, that would mean the Ferguson PD had adopted a position that others in the world think is sensible, reasonable, and even progressive…while their methods and tactics dealing with African-Americans are anything but.

  85. Pteryxx says

    Shaun King has a second Storify about the close ties between Roorda (behind the police union and fundraiser for Wilson), Gov. Jay Nixon, and prosecutor McCulloch: Storify link

    So in spite of McCulloch’s history of getting grand juries to fail to indict shooter cops and lying about it, and Roorda’s history of falsifying records, Nixon was never going to seriously consider removing McCulloch from the case.

    Shaun King ends that Storify with a pointer to a Facebook group; join up by Friday to figure what’s going on. (FB insisting on real names is probably a huge annoying coincidence…)

  86. rq says

    Oooh, I missed that FB link on that storify (read and posted it yesterday), I’ll have to go look.
    That facebook group as almost 5000 members as of now. I’m trying to decide whether to join up or not. I doubt it will impact me much, really, but it feels strangely apprehensive.
    (And yes, the real names is, no doubt, just an annoying coincidence.)

  87. says

    Via SallyStrange:
    A member of the Detroit based open carry group, the Hells Saints was recently arrested. Guess what race he is?

    Guess which one of these open carry folks from Hell’s Saints got arrested for carrying his weapon after this September 9th open carry stroll through Detroit? Photo: Hell’s Saints via Facebook.

    But there are a few things that make Hell’s Saints seem different than a lot of the open carry groups we normally hear about… which definitely makes them more worrisome for those who’d rather not see fake d*cks guns displayed in public:

    (1) They’re scary-friendly, unflaggingly courteous, and even charming… to everyone, always; (2) Their paranoid “sovereign-citizen” schtick seems un-tinged with the racism we often see in open carry groups; (3) They come across as smart, rational, and legal-savvy; and (4) They nearly always carry a video camera with them during their wanderings for documentation. And the Hell’s Saints produce video documentation in abundance.

    Hell’s Saints take an open carry stroll through Detroit.

    On September 9th, they took a 5.4 mile walk through the streets of Detroit, the “murder capital of the USA,” following their usual script (they’ve got 78 videos of their weekly Sunday wanderings on the Hell’s Saints’ YouTube channel), which usually consists of the following plot points:

    Casually sauntering through some neighborhood in Michigan with their assault rifles prominently displayed, while giving legal advice on how to get felonies expunged so the folks with whom they’re chatting can legally get their hands on a gun;
    Waving at cars and chatting up the neighbors about how “white, black, it doesn’t matter, everybody’s free!” – or, at least, they manage to chat up those neighbors who haven’t already fled to their basements in a state of terror after barring all the doors and windows.
    Getting stopped and questioned by police officers responding to calls from the neighbors they haven’t been able to distract with their winning charm;
    Engaging in long-winded conversations with police officers, in which the cops explain that the display of guns makes people nervous and risks inciting violence, and the Hell’s Saints cheerfully and courteously assert their legal rights to openly carry weapons in the state of Michigan.
    Seriously, if we Democrats pursued getting voters registered with the kind of patient, consistent, dogged determination Hell’s Saints devote to their open carry cause, we wouldn’t have to worry about Republicans winning the Senate in November.

    Sometimes police give the Hell’s Saints open carry folks a hard time, but – since they know their legal rights and when not to cross over the line – they rarely if ever get arrested…. Until the following weekend.

    While three of the Hell’s Saints were busy sauntering through the ‘hood in Muskogee – and then getting forced to the ground and frisked at gunpoint by cops who really had no tolerance for this nonsense – their friend Elijah Woody got arrested in Detroit. And yes, of course Woody’s the black guy

    (friendly gundamentalists; you don’t hear about them much)

  88. says

    Something else I stumbled upon thanks to SallyStrange-the TMZ audio of Daniele Watts being detained by the police

    Officer: Who’se the owner of the car?
    Brian: That’s me.

    Officer: And registration?

    Brian: Nah. Unintelligible.

    Officer: What about her ID?

    Brian: Well I have her passport.

    Daniele in background on phone: Daddy? Daddy can you hold on for one second? Hold on. Hold on. What’s the issue? (To Officer)

    Officer: Somebody called the police saying there was lewd acts in the car. Doesn’t matter I have to ID you.

    Daniele (Crosstalk): There’s no lewd act happening…we’re not doing anything.

    Officer: Somebody called…

    Daniele: I’m on the phone with my dad. This is my boyfriend, sitting in the car.

    Officer: I want to see your ID. Somebody called which means it gives me the right to be here, so it gives me the right to identify you. By Law.

    Daily Kos commenter:

    Someone calling gives him the right? Is that all it takes?
    Isn’t that what we heard when somebody called to report a strong-arm robbery at the Ferguson Market, even though nobody working there felt the need to make that call? It’s still an open question that there even was a robbery in the first place. I’m at 60/40 that there might have been. But the point is that after encountering Michael Brown and initially telling him and his friend to “Get the fuck on the Sidewalk” and leaving – it would seem that that bystanders call is what made Officer Wilson GO BACK. Then the madness did ensue, and Michael Brown ended up dead.

    Someone called about Kajiema Powell shoplifting and having a knife. Even if he cared more about the bystanders than the Police at the time, he still ended up Dead.

    Someone called about Darrien Hunt walking around with a sheathed, blunt, Katana. He ended up Dead.

    Someone called about John Crawford holding a BB Gun in Walmart. He ended up Dead.

    Someone called about Jonathan Farrell trying to “break into their house” when he was really trying to get help after a traffic accident. He ended up Dead.

    Someone called police when Chris Lollie was sitting in on a bench in an apparently public area waiting to pick up his kids. He refused to provide Police ID, so they Tased and Beat him into Submission. Not dead, but not unharmed.

    Someone called the Police when 18 year-old Steve Lohner was walking down the street in Aurora CO with a shotgun over his shoulder. And after refusing to give police his ID, he was went on his way with merely a citation – and his shotgun. And an attitude. But then Steve Lohner looks like this… so… yeah.. whatever.

    Back to the audio:

    Daniele: Do you know how many times I’ve been called… the cops have been called just for being Black? I’m black and he’s white I’m just being real.
    Officer: That is not…

    Daniele: I’m just being really honest Sir.

    Officer: Who brought up a Race Card?

    Daniele: I’m bringing it up because…

    Officer: I said nothing about you being black. [Edit: Actually he did according to Brian in the CNN interview shown below when he first walked up - but it's not included in the audio]

    Daniele: And I have every right to be here.

    Officer: And I have every right to ask for you ID.

    Daniele: And I have a right to say “No”.

    Officer: No, you do not have a right to say “No”.

    Daniele: Ok, well you can take me down to the court office and I can make a scene about it.

    Officer: No.

    Daniele: And you know what? I have a publicist. And I work as an actress at a studio.

    Officer: I’m probably interested, that you have a publicist, but I’m gonna get your ID anyway.

    Daniele: No, I’m going to say “No”. If you’d like my ID you can say that I’m resisting arrest…

    Officer: There’s no resisting, you’re just interfering.

    D: I’m saying that I’ve not done anything wrong. I’m on the phone with my father, my step-mom is dying…
    O (Interrupting her as he does constantly) : Do you know that probable cause is?

    D: Yes, and I have not… what is your probable cause?

    O: I have probable cause.

    D: I’m sitting here talking on the phone to my father.

    O: We received a radio call. (Turns to Boyfriend) Can we have her ID please?

    D: NO! You may not. You may not have my ID.

    O: Send me a female officer please?

    D: Please, please do.

    O: I’m gonna get your ID one way or another. [In this post Ray Rice Era, anyone else feel a chill at these words?]

    D: Fine. You can do whatever you like.

    O: Yes. Yes, I am.

    D: (Talking to Phone) Daddy? (Unintelligible – Voice grows fainter as she walks away)

    O: Thank you for bringing up the Race Card, I Never Hear That.
    [Not passive aggressive are we?]

    D: (On Phone) Daddy I can’t believe it. (Unintelligible) All the things that are (Unintelligible), talking to the cops right now. I can’t make out with my fucking boyfriend in front of my fucking studio…

    O: [Sarcastic] There ya go.

    Boyfriend: We were like in our garage….

    (Daniele getting more excited in the background): I don’t have to give him my ID. It’s my right (starts shouting) to sitting on the fucking street corner and make out with my boyfriend. It’s my right.

    O: Keep yelling it really helps!

    D: My dad wants to talk with you.

    O: Nope.

    D: Here he is on speaker phone. Daddy your own speaker phone.

    Daddy on Phone : (Unintelligible)

    D: He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care. I doesn’t matter you can call the cops on somebody. You can call the cops on somebody and all of sudden your a criminal. I’m just gonna walk away (voice grows fainter)

    O: Great. I’d already be gone. Just so you know. I’d already be gone.

    Boyfriend: (Garble) do you need my license?

    O: I already have your license. I’d already be gone.

    B: Yeah. (In exasperation) Oooohhh god.

    O: Yeah. I’d be gone.

    D: I don’t understand how we live in a free country where in at a parking lot and I’m making out with my boyfriend and I get arrested…
    O: [To other officers] Gotta be careful. Little emotional.

    D: How do we live in a free country? (Unintelligible) .. for nothing.

    O: What’s your first name?

    D: Sobs

    O: Why do you think you’re in handcuffs.

    D: Sobs.

    O: Do you think we put you in handcuffs? Did we put you in handcuffs or did you do it?

    O: (Incredulous) Did I put myself in handcuffs? (Yes, it is as crazy a question as it sounds)

    O: Who do you think put yourself in handcuffs? (This is a direct quote, I swear to God!) Who do you think put you in handcuffs?

    D: I think this Officer right here put me in handcuffs.

    O: No! I think you did the minute you left the scene.

    D: Yes, because i was….

    O: Do you see?

    D: …treated like a criminal…

    O: Do you see the gentleman here in handcuffs? Is the gentleman here in handcuffs before you? No, he’s not.

    D: (Sigh) Do you think that I’m stupid?

    O: I don’t think you’re stupid at all. [Yes, apparently you do!]

    D: What’s your first name Officer Parker?

    O: My name is Sargent Parker and that’s all you need to know.

    D: Why don’t…why do you need to know my first name but I don’t know yours?

    O (Overtalking her, again!) Because I need to identify you as the source of radio call.

    D: I think I’d like to identify you to my publicist, what’s your first name?

    O: Now you see why your in handcuffs?

    D: Why are you afraid of the news getting out that you’re arresting somebody – who was making out with her boyfriend?

    O: I’ve been on the news many times.

    D: Awesome.

    Other Officer: (Unintelligible)
    Danielle: Because you told me to turn around and face the wall, and I didn’t. Did he tell me to stay or did I tell him I was walking away while talking to my dad?

    Officer Parker: (Unintelligible)

    D: Did you hear him tell me to stay here?

    Parker: You can’t walk away ma’am.

    Boyfriend: He didn’t say anything as you walked away…

    D: You didn’t say anything to me as I was walking away. [He was too busy complaining he "could have been gone" - saying it five times - to her boyfriend]

    D: There is no reason, because I literally walked away from him – I was on the phone with my dad.
    O: (To other officers who I assume now have her ID via her boyfriend): They both have no…

    Other Officer: No Probation.

    O: Not wanted for Murder? Nothing, right?

    Other: No.

    O: Do you see what time it is? 15 minutes ago, I would have been gone. [One more time quoting the opening line of "Oh Sherrie" and this guy is gonna owe Steve Perry some royalty money!]

    D: What because I wouldn’t give you my ID? That was enough for me…

    O: It is enough ma’am. It is enough. [Or rather it's Not without a Hiibel in this jurisdiction]

    D: That’s fine. This is not a problem for me.

    O: Ok.

    D: I’m gonna get all of your names.

    O: It’s obviously a problem for you.

    D: What is a problem for me, is that you think you’re better than me. And you think you have more power than me.

    O: Oh. (Calmly, matter of factly) I do have more power than you.

    D: … and that’s not true.

    O: Yes.

    D: So I’m gonna show you. You’ll see. Because we’re all equal, and (getting excited) that’s what our country is based on. The land of the free and the home of the brave. We are all equal.

    O: Do you need paramedics? You want me to call paramedics for you?

    D: (Sarcastically) Sure. I’d love a tranquilizer. (Unintellible)..in cuffs, yeah. It’s really exciting to see where my mind went.

    O : (Still talking while she’s talking): I could call paramedics for you?

    D: Just the fact that you just told me you have more power than me makes me want you wanna be (unintelligible) somewhere…

    O: (Whining) But I do have more power than you here.

    D: This situation, just because you have me in handcuffs does not mean you have more power than me

    O: Oh, I do. When I tell you to do something you have to do it, that’s the law ma’am. [Kinda not!]

    D: Clearly I didn’t have to do, because I still didn’t.

    O: Do you want to be out of handcuffs?

    D: I don’t know. I could sit here and talk to you all day, I’m just enjoying myself. [That's gotta burn since "I coulda been gone..." six times now!] And if you have more charges for me, go ahead bring ‘em up.

    O: We actually have no charges now. [No, kidding - so why is she in handcuffs still?]

    D: So why am I still in handcuffs? [Yeah, why?]

    O: Because you’re legally detained.

    D: So why am I legally detained? [Here we go 'round the mulberry bush.. the mulberry bush.. the.. oh you get it.]

    O: I asked if you wanted me to take the handcuffs off? [What is this a fucking game to him? Why do you need her permission for that?] Do you want me to take the handcuffs off?

    D: I don’t know I want to make another Youtube video.

    O: (Chuckles) You took something that would take five minutes and made it thirty. [I can see him pouting inside, that Coffee & Donut he was on his way to get so had his name on it!]

    D: That’s great. I’m glad, because you guys are really showing me something about my country right now…

    O: Mmmm.

    D: And I’m really enjoying this conversation. [Guess whose got the power now? He wants to go, she's making him stay!]

    O: Ok. As soon as we’re done here we’ll show you a little more.

    D: Great. Great. Can I have my phone please? Am I still required…

    O: You’re still being detained.

    D: Alright, we’ll let’s just make sure.

    O: Yes.

    D: Shall we take some selfies while were here? Y’know tweet about it, got arrested today.

    O: You didn’t get arrested.

    D: Oh, I got detained today. The cops thought that I was a threat. Oh, that’s good yeah.

    O: No, actually the cops never called, we didn’t call, somebody else did. We’re here for a reason. [Yeah, it used to be called Miscegenation, but we're much more civilized folk now!]

    D: To protect and serve the people in the office up there, who were personally offended I’m making out with my boyfriend down here…

    O: Wanna hear something even funnier?

    D: I’ll bet there’s at least one person up there whose a racist. [Or at least a fucking busybody prude!] I’ll bet you, you’re a little bit racist.

    O: Wanna hear something even funnier? We were about to have coffee. [What did I tell you!]

    D: Yeah, god. It could’ve been a nice hot cup, but instead you gotta deal with me.

    O: It would’ve been five minutes. [God, what a whiner!]

    D: I know, and I’m still enjoying it. Cuz instead of fucking around in a coffee shop you get to fuck around with me. Public Service. You guys work for us don’t you?

    O: I don’t work for you.

    D: Isn’t that what you’re oath is, “To Protect and Serve”?

    O: I work for anyone who calls for police service

    O: This just took longer than I assumed.
    D: I mean hey, this is your job.

    O: Are you guys done with your DFI’s?

    D: If you guys have to deal with crazy batshit fuckers like me every day…

    O: You are?

    D: That’s what you signed up for, I signed up for freedom. I thought America was the land of the free and home of the brave, y’know. I’m pretty fucking brave, but I don’t go around putting people in handcuffs, so y’know… I guess we all have our destinies. I serve freedom and love, you guys serve – uh – detainment. That’s cool. That’s fine.

    O: I might have one (garbled) I’ll see you guys. Go ahead and take the cuffs off.

    D: I hope when you’re fucking your spouses that you really feel like, alive y’know? That you feel thankful, full of gratitude for the freedom that you have. That you share with people of this country every day. I’m saying all this with love, y’know, really.

    Female Officer: Do you want the handcuffs off right now?

    D: Well, y’know I could sit here and shoot the shit with you guys all day, cuz I haven’t done anything wrong.

    Female Officer: Stand up, turn around if you want the cuffs off.

    D: Well this has been fun guys, really.

    O: That’s it.

    D: Really it has been.

    O: It hasn’t been fun for me. [Awwww... it's gonna get worse man]

    D: I know, and that’s why at the end of the day I really have a lot of compassion for you guys.

    O: [Talking over her, Again!] It’s not been fun for me.

    D: Cuz you get to go around making people feel like they’re powerless. And you walk around with this full sense of power that’s not real, because at the end of the day… if you don’t work for me, if you say that you don’t work for me, that you’re not here to serve the people of this country…

    O: I .. uh…I

    D: …then you’re not living up to what you’re here for.

    O: At any time, has anybody said anything disrespectful to you? [Oh, geez there were about 5 or 6 smartass rude degrading comments ("Little Emotional Here", "Do you need a paramedic?", "Keep yelling it really helps", "I do have more power!") by my count! But if he means swearing, Nope.]

    D: You guys signed up for it, they’ve all said disrespectful things to me…

    O: (As if talking to a child) What did they say?

    (Pause)

    O: What did they say that was disrespectful?

    D: Y’know If I felt like you were coming from a place of love [and not snide condescension]

    O: I’m not.

    D: Exactly.

    O: Did they say anything disrespectful to you at all? [Man, he's like a dog with a bone... "I coulda been gone... did they say anything..." just can't let GO!]

    D: Yeah.

    O: Tell me one thing that they said disrespectful?

    Other Officers getting impatient: Sargent we really are leaving!

    O: Yeah, I’m the Boss of everybody.

    D: Y’know what’s interesting about all this? I don’t even know what…

    O: Hey, I thank you. Heh heh…

    This fucking culture of “cops are the authority, you better listen to them, especially if you know what’s good for you” bullshit is long past it’s fucking expiration date.

  89. says

    *This* looks like sex?
    Not buying it. While is *could* conceivably look like it, it also could conceivably NOT look like it. Especially since Daniele appears to be dressed (and yes, I know you can have sex with your clothes on, but I wonder why witnesses jumped to the conclusion that sex was even being had).

  90. rq says

    Tony @130
    You cannot see anything from those pictures, except that she’s sitting on his lap, and they’re doing something physically intimate (like making out?), because, you know, when you’re on somebody’s lap, you’re physically intimate. But sex? Bad photos, bad angles, no conclusions can be drawn. Stupid media.
    Also, that transcript is horrible. I hope she got names and/or badge numbers eventually.

  91. rq says

    That shooting in Savannah? It gets a little strange.

    Eyewitness Maurice Williams, 27, said he knew Smith from the neighborhood. He said about 11 a.m. he saw Smith in the back of a police car. He stopped to watch it go by when Smith, who was about 6 feet 7 inches tall, kicked out the window, folded his legs out and pushed on the door.

    Williams said the officer exited the patrol car as Smith kicked the window a third time. Williams said he heard the officer say, “Do you want to die?” while he shot Smith in the legs.

    Williams said he saw Smith, still handcuffed, escape out the window and fall to the ground. He said the officer fired his weapon three more times, striking Smith in the head and back.

    Oh, and there was a gun:

    Small of Litway Baptist Church said he dropped off three eyewitnesses to meet with investigators from the GBI, and he sat in on one of those interviews.

    What baffled him, he said, is that while the shooting was being videotaped “nobody saw a gun. … The man holding the camera turned his back and there was a big gun,” Small said.

    What is it with black men in handcuffs suddenly having guns after being searched and placed into police cars? Either htey’re very good at hiding things, or police officers are being very negligent.

    Some more info plus video.

  92. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment 8: on Charles Smith in Savannah, an article on comment cards returned to the Ferguson City Council, Shaun King’s storify (the one on distance), character assassination of black victims, some employment opportunities, things white people can do (besides tweet), Holder on the newly-created National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, and some other stuff. Go give them the traffic!
    There’s a section at the bottom called “Your Role in the Movement”, with some links where you (and I) can donate or sign petitions, and do some more concrete things besides read (and post) the comments here.

  93. Pteryxx says

    An article by ProPublica about wage garnishment and bank account seizures due to debt. It’s tangentially relevant because such seizures lead poor people to stop using banks entirely, meaning they resort to paycheck-cashing corner stores that charge high fees, shady paycheck loans with crushing interest, and storing cash for their purchases and savings, which can be easily stolen, seized, or used as evidence of illegal activity (you were carrying 2000 in cash to buy a used car? Nope, must be drug money). There’s also less incentive to work at a job when 25% of each paycheck disappears immediately. Collection companies can also enlist police for seizure raids on people’s homes.

    Old Debts, Fresh Pain: Weak Laws Offer Debtors Little Protection (bolds mine)

    “I honestly dread paydays,” said Goetzinger. “Because I know it’s gone by Saturday afternoon, by the time we go grocery shopping.”
    [...]

    ADP’s study, requested by ProPublica, offered the first large-scale look at how many employees had their wages garnished and why. In the Midwest, one in 16 workers earning between $25,000 and $40,000 had wages seized for a consumer debt in 2013. These numbers reveal a hidden population, advocates say, and should spur lawmakers to offer more protection.

    The federal law regulating garnishment harkens back to 1968, when the financial life of Americans was much simpler. Time has eroded what even then were modest protections. The law barred creditors from taking any wages from the very poorest of workers, but used a calculation based on the minimum wage to identify them. Since the federal minimum wage hasn’t kept pace with inflation, today, only workers earning about $11,000 annually or less— a wage below the poverty line— are protected. The law also allows collectors to garnish a quarter of a debtor’s after-tax pay, an amount that government surveys show is plainly unaffordable for many families.

    And the law is silent on perhaps the most punishing tactic of collectors: It doesn’t prohibit them from cleaning out debtors’ bank accounts. As a result, a collector can’t take more than 25 percent of a debtor’s paycheck, but if that paycheck is deposited in a bank, all of the money in the account can be grabbed to pay down the debt.

    [...]

    Shortly before Thanksgiving in 2008, as the country was in the throes of the great recession, Goetzinger faced an unexpected financial crisis of his own. Every penny in his bank account, $688.43, went missing.

    In a panic, he called his bank for an explanation, and discovered that a company he’d never heard of had garnished the account. There was nothing he could do.

    The company, Midland Funding LLC, struck again five months later. Just $179.14 was in the account, but Midland took it all anyway. This time the damage extended beyond the lost cash, Goetzinger said. Not knowing the account was now at zero, he overdrew it. That triggered an overdraft fee, he said, and then another. Soon, the fees had him in a several-hundred-dollar hole. That’s when Goetzinger and Rose decided they’d had enough of banks. Goetzinger closed his account.

    “What if they decided to, on payday, pull out every single bit of money we had in there?” said Rose. “That would completely devastate us. I don’t know what we would do, where we would go, how we would eat.”

    Collins, who studies consumer decision-making, said this well-founded fear of banks is a common, and worrisome, consequence for low-income workers with outstanding debts. “We certainly hear that from consumers,” he said.

    [...]

    Rose said she found out she could have her garnishment reduced only after it was in place at 25 percent. She called the debt collection agency that had sued her and asked if there was any way they would accept a lower payment. It was only then, she said, that a collection employee told her about the “head of a family” law.

    The attorney for the collector filed a motion in court, amending its earlier garnishment filing. Rose’s take-home pay jumped by almost $100, according to her pay stubs.

    The onus on debtors to navigate the system is similar in other states with laws that, on paper at least, seek to lessen the burden of garnishment on families.

    In Oklahoma, for example, the legal aid office in Tulsa receives applications every week from debtors “who are being garnished and who just can’t make ends meet as a result,” said Laura Frossard, an attorney with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma.

    Oklahoma law has a “hardship” provision to help such people. But the debtor not only has to know the law exists, but how to properly make a claim. “The chances of somebody knowing about this without legal aid telling them about it are kind of rare,” Frossard said.

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