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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.

  94. Pteryxx says

    More on the Justice Department’s new National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice.

    Rawstory brief:

    Attorney General Eric Holder said the initiative would aim to combat distrust between police departments and the public.

    “The events in Ferguson reminded us that we cannot allow tensions, which are present in so many neighborhoods across America, to go unresolved,” Holder said in a statement.

    “As law enforcement leaders, each of us has an essential obligation – and a unique opportunity – to ensure fairness, eliminate bias, and build community engagement.”

    [...]

    The Justice Department, which Holder heads, said the so-called National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice would provide training on “bias reduction and procedural fairness” with a focus on five pilot sites around the nation.

    Many African-Americans feel they are victims of unfair racial profiling by law enforcement agencies, half a century after the civil rights movement and the end of official segregation.

    Justice department’s press release:

    The initiative, which will be an ongoing partnership with the Justice Department, will provide training to law enforcement and communities on bias reduction and procedural fairness and will apply evidence-based strategies in five pilot sites around the country. It will also establish a clearinghouse where information, research, and technical assistance are readily accessible for law enforcement, criminal justice practitioners and community leaders.

    The three year grant has been awarded to a consortium of national law enforcement experts led by John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Yale Law School, the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA and the Urban institute make up the rest of the consortium. The initiative will be guided by a board of advisors which will include national leaders from law enforcement, academia and faith-based groups, as well as community stakeholders and civil rights advocates.

    [...]

    This Initiative addresses a recommendation in the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force report released in May. The Task Force recommended the Department of Justice establish a vehicle to build capacity in communities and build the evidence base around enhancing procedural justice, reducing bias and supporting reconciliation in communities where trust has been harmed.

    I think this document might be the original call for grant applications in June. (PDF at the DOJ)

    PBS interview with community policing experts:

    TRACIE KEESEE: Well, it’s not targeted to just places that have problems. So, it will be a voluntary call for folks who want to actually participate.

    And so what this means for us is that most police chiefs will be progressive in saying, we want to get ahead what we think is going on or we just want to be progressive. So, this is not punitive in any way. And I don’t want it to come off that way, that somehow this consortium of folks is going to come into a problem area.

    It’s actually there as a resource to help police officers and police departments to look at those issues of biased policing and legitimacy.

    [...]

    GWEN IFILL: Ronald Hampton, is this a new idea? Is this a new approach, or is it just something that’s being reapplied again because of the latest incidents?

    RONALD HAMPTON: Well, it’s not new. Police departments for some time, those that are really serious about doing community policing and have really dug down deep to challenge the culture and the institutional nature of policing, have begun to change in terms of how they measure performance, have changed how they measure customer satisfaction.

    In order to measure customer satisfaction, you have to ask the customer. If you ask the police officer, is policing doing what it’s supposed to do, of course they’re going to say yes, because they’re doing it every day. But the real customer, the citizen, the person who lives in the community, the businessperson on the corner, they’re the person who actually has to be asked and be a part of the evaluation about whether or not the public safety strategy is being used.

  95. rq says

    hashtagferguson.org does #FergusonFridays – I’m pretty sure you don’t need Twitter to follow along, and they do discussion on, well, Ferguson. Might be worth a try. I’m going to try and access from work, try and repost some stuff here, but I can’t guarantee success, so I would suggest just following along on the site itself.

  96. rq says

    And a rather sharp piece from a Black mother, the Ferguson standard, on voting and choosing a candidate:

    I want my next governor to tell me, as a Black woman and as a Black mother, that they understand it when I say that I fear for my two sons. I want them to tell me that my fears are important to them, and that my fear calls them to action. I want my governor to know that when I’m fearing for my sons, I’m going to be calling them. And sending them letters. And will be picketing in front of the State House. And laying my fear at their feet and will not let them rest until they have allayed them. I want my Governor to think about the Black Woman lobby the way they think about the Unions, or the Chamber of Commerce, or whoever else is big and bad in government. I want my governor to always wonder, “What are Black women going to think about my decisions?”

    That goes for my senators (I see you Elizabeth Warren and your very late, fairly weak Facebook statement). That goes for my Congresswoman (Why so quiet, Niki Tsongas?). That will go for my next President (I see you, Hillary). [...]
    That’s my benchmark. Let’s call it The Ferguson Standard. Let anything less be unacceptable. Anything less. Because Black Women vote, ya’ll. Matter of fact, we have a better turn-out rate than our White counterparts.

    There are not enough Black political leaders to stop this crisis purely through their powerful positions. Our President included.

  97. rq says

    Pteryxx
    rE: all that forfeiture
    Is that related to stopping and taking money from tourists? I had the articles last week – in the news, where police target out-of-country license plates, insist on a search, and remove any cash money they find in the vehicle, citing a whole bunch of stuff. Kinda fits with the general police attitude.

  98. Pteryxx says

    Rawstory: Court hammers Florida sheriff’s office for SWAT-style raid to check for barber licenses

    Another one I didn’t think relevant until reading into it.

    The lawsuit is related to a series of sweeps at minority-owned barbershops and salons pairing deputies with the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation to inspect the businesses.

    State officials said they targeted shops that had not cooperated during previous inspections or where crimes had been witnessed in the past.

    Deputies found [little] illegal activity during the raids, but they arrested dozens for “barbering without an active license” – a little-used statute.

    [In-line correction from the original source, the Orlando Sun-Sentinel]

    [...]

    Two deputies involved in the raid argued they should be immune from civil action because they were performed in the court of their law enforcement duties.

    The ruling allows a suit filed by the barbershop’s owners to go forward against the sheriff’s office.

    Again from the original source:

    The court’s opinion noted that a DBPR inspector confirmed the Strictly Skillz barbers had licenses days before the sweep.

    The subsequent multi-agency raid “was unconstitutional from the moment that OCSO burst into Strictly Skillz in raid mode for the ostensible purpose of helping DBPR review… barbers’ licenses that it had just inspected two days earlier,” the court said.

    Officers in masks and bulletproof vests conducted a SWAT-style raid on a barbershop on a busy school weekend, chasing out customers and children, ostensibly to inspect licenses that had been confirmed as valid two days earlier. Note that barber shops and hair salons tend to be community gathering places in black communities. (See Chris Hayes interview on August 19 – “You know, in the barbershop, we get news fast.”)

    RS:

    The ruling noted two “strikingly similar” cases the appeals court cited as precedent.

    “We have twice held, on facts disturbingly similar to those presented here, that a criminal raid executed under the guise of an administrative inspection is constitutionally unreasonable,” the court ruled. “We hope that the third time will be the charm.”

  99. Pteryxx says

    rq #139:

    re: all that forfeiture
    Is that related to stopping and taking money from tourists?

    Did you mean the article about seizures from bank accounts in my #134? I think it’s not *directly* related – police just know that when they seize cash from someone who’s driving through from another state or county, that person’s less likely to travel *back* to those cops’ territory at some later date to challenge the seizure in court.

    What is related, though, is the common narrative that people carrying large amounts of cash must be involved in something shady or criminal, because Upstanding Good Citizens have bank accounts and credit cards. So I pointed out the article about collection companies emptying out bank accounts at will, because folks in debt have excellent reason to conduct their completely legal business using cash, and to keep their savings in cash.

  100. rq says

    Pteryxx
    No, the article I mean isn’t in this thread, but I think it’s more of a matter of police attitude towards people carrying large amounts of cash – sort of like a free-for-me money-grabbing business and racket.

  101. Pteryxx says

    rq, I think it’s both – police stop someone with cash and it’s easy to swipe, *and* they justify that (whenever they need to bother) by saying someone carrying large amounts of cash *must* be guilty of something, probably having to do with drugs. (War On Drugs!)

    The civil forfeiture laws derive from War-On-Drugs narratives in the first place, and then got expanded and expanded until cops just use it (and train for it) as a revenue stream (see Black Asphalt, below).

    (from “Taken” in the New Yorker)

    Forfeiture in its modern form began with federal statutes enacted in the nineteen-seventies and aimed not at waitresses and janitors but at organized-crime bosses and drug lords. Law-enforcement officers were empowered to seize money and goods tied to the production of illegal drugs. Later amendments allowed the seizure of anything thought to have been purchased with tainted funds, whether or not it was connected to the commission of a crime. Even then, forfeiture remained an infrequent resort until 1984, when Congress passed the Comprehensive Crime Control Act. It established a special fund that turned over proceeds from forfeitures to the law-enforcement agencies responsible for them. Local police who provided federal assistance were rewarded with a large percentage of the proceeds, through a program called Equitable Sharing. Soon states were crafting their own forfeiture laws.

    Revenue gains were staggering. At the Justice Department, proceeds from forfeiture soared from twenty-seven million dollars in 1985 to five hundred and fifty-six million in 1993. (Last year [2012], the department took in nearly $4.2 billion in forfeitures, a record.) The strategy helped reconcile President Reagan’s call for government action in fighting crime with his call to reduce public spending. In 1989, Attorney General Richard Thornburgh boasted, “It’s now possible for a drug dealer to serve time in a forfeiture-financed prison after being arrested by agents driving a forfeiture-provided automobile while working in a forfeiture-funded sting operation.”

    WaPo on Black Asphalt:

    Black Asphalt also has served as a social hub for a new brand of highway interdictors, a group that one Desert Snow official has called “a brotherhood.” Among other things, the site hosts an annual competition to honor police who seize the most contraband and cash on the highways. As part of the contest, Desert Snow encouraged state and local patrol officers to post seizure data along with photos of themselves with stacks of currency and drugs. Some of the photos appear in a rousing hard-rock video that the Guthrie, Okla.-based Desert Snow uses to promote its training courses.

    Annual winners receive Desert Snow’s top honorific: Royal Knight. The next Royal Knight will be named at a national conference hosted in Virginia Beach next year in collaboration with Virginia State Police.

    [...]

    Desert Snow officials in interviews disclaimed the practice of targeting drivers for money, sometimes known as “policing for profit.” They said that seizing cash is a proven tool for hurting drug and crime organizations.

    But privately, they promote a book that extols the quest for cash. Ron Hain, a marketing official with Desert Snow and a full-time deputy sheriff in Kane County, Ill., has urged police to use cash seizures to bolster municipal coffers. “In Roads: A Working Solution to America’s War on Drugs,” a book Hain self-published under the pen name Charles Haines in 2011, states that departments can “pull in expendable cash hand over fist.”

  102. rq says

    Please read the #FergusonFridays tab at hashtagferguson.org, it’s the #FergusonFridays conversation in tweets for those who can’t / don’t want to access Twitter. They had a bit of a Q&A with a lot of good questions and a lot of good answers.
    Also, my new favourite hashtag is #FergusonBooks, where popular titles are altered to reflect Ferguson, e.g. Fear and Loathing in Ferguson.

  103. says

    As I mentioned @118 (and at rq’s suggestion), I emailed Documenting Ferguson to see if we could somehow participate. Their response:

    Thank you for getting in touch with us. If you want to submit content to Documenting Ferguson, the process is very simple – just filling out a short form and uploading a file. You can also submit web content (websites, blogs, Twitter, etc.) to be archived using another very simple, short form. Thank you for letting us know about this great resource and if you want to mention the project if you think other readers would be interested in contributing, it would be greatly appreciated. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

    The second link applies to blogs, so that would likely be the one to go with.

  104. rq says

    A word to the wise.

    Speaking of accessible records, here’s some that are now available… if you can pay. Not everyone is thrilled.

    Presumably the AO realized it had made a huge mistake last month when it abruptly removed access to thousands of “old” records from four courts of appeals and one bankruptcy court because access to the records was purportedly incompatible with the new electronic filing and retrieval system the AO was rolling out. Most of these records were not “old” at all. For one court, the Federal Circuit, the removal affected all records in closed cases filed prior to March 1, 2012. For the Second and 11th Circuits, the removal affected all records in closed cases filed prior to January 1, 2010. [...]
    Thus the opportunity: with these records off PACER—for whatever reason—the AO had no financial interest in them and no argument to oppose free public access to these records. The AO could put the ex-PACER records online in bulk in a way by which they could be retrieved by third parties. These third parties could then make the records searchable and retrievable—for free. In fact, this is exactly what Public.Resource.Org and Free Law Project, using its CourtListener platform, suggested should happen in its August 27 letters to the affected courts. And perhaps such a move could set a precedent and encourage the AO and individual courts to regularly age their records off of PACER and make them freely available.

    From New York City: numbers on use of force by police raise questions.

    One stood out with its steep drop and surprising statistics: Of nearly 400,000 arrests last year, only about 2 percent, or roughly 8,000, involved force recorded by the officer, down from 8.5 percent two decades ago.

    Mr. Bratton heralded the numbers, saying they showed an “extraordinary record of restraint” by officers and suggesting they provided a retort to the outcry over the deadly arrest of Eric Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk in July. Force is not commonplace, he said; it is rare.

    But questions soon emerged, including some from a Council analyst who was fired, he said, for raising them. How does the department define use of force? When are officers expected to log their forceful interactions? [...]
    Many policing experts consider charges of resisting arrest to be the best broad measure of use of force in arrests. The department has tracked charges of resisting arrest as a way of identifying officers who may use excessive force, said a former senior department official who insisted on anonymity because he still works in law enforcement.

    If resisting arrest is a reasonable indicator of the use of force, department statistics for 2013 suggest that officers used force more regularly than indicated on arrest reports. In 2013, there were 12,453 arrests that included charges of resisting arrest, about 3.1 percent of all arrests, thousands more than the total number of recorded uses of force. [...]

    At the committee hearing last week, council members faulted Mr. Bratton’s chart on the use of force, in part because it did not take into account complaints to the Civilian Complaint Review Board. “From a civilian eye, it’s different than from a police officer’s eye,” Vanessa Gibson, the committee’s chairwoman, said in an interview this week. Half of complaints to the review board involve use of force, with two-thirds of those “physical force.”

    People have been wondering, where is Darren Wilson? As this twitterer says, maybe going to his own rally (yup, they’re still holding those and raising funds – though if he’s not going to be indicted, don’t know what the fuck else he needs funds for since he’s still on paid leave).

    Other fundraising, though, still stalled, with some juicy words from Roorda:

    Jeffrey Roorda, a Missouri state representative who is helping with the fundraising efforts, told The Post on Friday that organizers are following the letter of the law.

    “I don’t think [there's] any hold up,” Roorda said. “We wanted to make sure we’re doing everything according to Hoyle.”

    (Here’s what that expression means. Did you already know that? If so, please disregard this.) [link added as per original]

    One of the Facebook pages for DW has 75 000 followers.

  105. rq says

    Aiyiyi, blockquote fail above, hope all is clear!
    To continue:
    There’s a National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality? Where to go in Chicago.

    Protests in Ferguson planned for October 10 – 13, they’re calling on the world – and have their own Ferguson October website.

    Discussion is happening – hopefully with good results and lots of new awareness, at the very least.

    Here’s some fun: that #FergusonBooks I told you about above! And they included one of mine (see: Of Mice and Mike). :)

    The Difference: response to Ferguson protests, vs. response to intruder in the White House. You figure out which is which.

    Oh, and how to rent a cop. It’s not difficult. As an aside.

  106. rq says

    Aiyiyi, blockquote fail above, hope all is clear! Plus a link-count fail, sorry for the repeats again. It’s Saturday morning.
    To continue:
    There’s a National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality? Where to go in Chicago.

    Protests in Ferguson planned for October 10 – 13, they’re calling on the world – and have their own Ferguson October website.

    Discussion is happening – hopefully with good results and lots of new awareness, at the very least.

    The Difference: response to Ferguson protests, vs. response to intruder in the White House. You figure out which is which.

    Oh, and how to rent a cop. It’s not difficult. As an aside.

  107. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #9: Ferguson town hall meetings now closed off (will have a link below); body cameras; race cards and white privilege (good read!!); racism in the system; nonviolent tactics; an update on fundraising for Darren Wilson (as above). Go give them the traffic! (If you want to sign up to get the updates direct, go here!)

    So yes, Ferguson is limiting attendance at town hall meetings – did someone say ‘uppity’? Sounds like they’re scared.

    The city of Ferguson was promoting a five-week series of “town hall” meetings beginning Monday to update residents “on changes the council wants the community to consider’’ and to address concerns about the city.

    But by Friday, a little-known unit of the U.S. Department of Justice had gotten involved, and those meetings, originally billed by Mayor James Knowles as a dialogue with the community “so they know exactly where we stand on things with full transparency,” would be closed to the media and nearly anyone else who wasn’t a resident.

    Because there’s a thing called the Community Relations Service. It sounds kind of creepy, actually:

    The unit was also sent to Sanford, Fla., last year in the aftermath of the slaying of Trayvon Martin and trial of his killer, George Zimmerman.

    City Attorney Stephanie Karr said she believed the decision to restrict attendance to residents and certain invited guests at the town hall meetings doesn’t violate Missouri’s Sunshine Law because only two council members would be present at each meeting. Without a quorum, such gatherings of council members do not violate the state’s open meetings requirements, Karr said.

    In slightly better news? Ferguson unveils new community center, paid for with the taxes of residents.

    City officials in Ferguson showed off a new $5.5 million community center Friday. The complex was originally the site of Good Shepherd Catholic Church and School. It later became part of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta after Good Shepherd and several other parishes in north St. Louis County were consolidated.

    The center was years in the making, and under normal circumstances would have been cause for wide celebration. [...]
    A few months after buying the property, Ferguson voters approved a 36-cent property tax increase earmarked to help develop the community center, raising the rate to 80 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. [...]
    The center features a fitness area with free weights, weight machines, treadmills and elliptical trainers. It also has an Internet cafe, child care room and game room.

    Ferguson resident Dwayne Lewis, 45, who toured the center along with the media and city officials, said the membership costs seemed reasonable, but he thought the city had spent too much.

    And he said it felt strange to open the center during the turmoil.

    “The city is still tense right now,” Lewis said. “The timing is just not right.”

    Post-Ferguson: waiting for Nixon to say Charge.

    Three times now, this editorial page has suggested a thorough, independent, broad-based and timely study of how and why the Ferguson tragedy occurred and the police response to it. This would not be a legal investigation; parallel state and federal inquiries already are underway. Rather the “Ferguson Commission” would get into the root causes of the economic and racial divisions in St. Louis and make recommendations for remedial action.

    So far, the governor has been unmoved. There’s still time. It took a few days of protests before he became engaged, but after that, he made some good decisions. [...]
    There is an eagerness across the community to get to it. There are resources available in the community to pay for it. There is a wealth of talent in the region’s great universities and in its civic, business, civil rights, legal and law enforcement communities.

    What a legacy for Missouri’s 55th governor. All he has to do is stand tall in the saddle and yell “Charge!”[...]
    A by-no-means complete list of responses to the Ferguson crisis would include:

    “Ferguson Forward,” a $4.4-million plan announced last week by Ferguson-based Emerson Electric Co. It targets early childhood education, jobs and scholarships for young people, college and technical training and business development. Company managers and employees will do hands-on mentoring on business skills. Emerson previously had announced plans to bring in 200 jobs in a $25 million facility to be added to its Ferguson campus.
    Efforts by the legal advocacy group Arch City Defenders and clinics at the St. Louis University and Washington University law schools to reform municipal courts in St. Louis County. Too many of St. Louis County’s 90 municipalities, particularly in north county, employ under-trained police officers to aggressively write tickets for traffic offenses and nuisance violations. People who can’t pay are bounced from one municipal court to another, in and out of jails, encountering a legal-judicial industry that feeds off their inability to pay.
    #HealSTL, an effort headed by social-media-savvy St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, which quickly rented a Ferguson storefront and set about registering and mobilizing voters and developing community-action programs.
    The Reinvest North County Fund, a project of the North County Inc. development association and the Regional Business Council. Their focus is on supporting small businesses and school children affected by the events in Ferguson.
    A $100,000 grant from the Deaconess Foundation to support a variety of community organizing and leadership programs in the Ferguson area, particularly those aimed a young African-American men.
    The Centene Corporation’s decision to locate an insurance claim center, employing about 200 people, in Ferguson.
    Ongoing efforts by the Urban League and the NAACP to make sure the emotional response to Mr. Brown’s killing is channeled into longterm change.

    tbc

  108. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was checking out the TV schedule for next week, and PBS was having a show on Friday night (both Chicago and Milwaukee) entitled America After Ferguson:

    Town hall meeting addresses issues that emerged following Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo.
    [CC] [New]
    news,
    08:00 – 09:00 PM CDT

  109. Pteryxx says

    Thanks for the heads-up, Nerd. More on the PBS town hall: Businesswire

    PBS today announced that Gwen Ifill, PBS NEWSHOUR co-anchor and managing editor, and moderator and managing editor of WASHINGTON WEEK, will moderate AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON, a town hall meeting that will explore the many issues that have been brought into public discourse in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri. The program, produced by WGBH Boston in partnership with the Nine Network/KETC in St. Louis and WETA in Washington DC, will air Friday, September 26, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).

    [...]

    AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON will be taped before an audience on Sunday, September 21, at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Intended for audiences in communities across the country, AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON will include national leaders in the areas of law enforcement, race and civil rights, as well as government officials, faith leaders and youth.

    [...]

    As a multi-platform initiative, AMERICA AFTER FERGUSON will also deliver content and conversation through a robust digital presence and social media discussion. To continue the dialogue after the town hall, visit pbs.org/afterferguson and follow #AfterFerguson.

  110. Pteryxx says

    …seriously, not a parody.

    St. Louis Police Academy offering ‘fun’ seminar for dealing with media in ‘officer-related shootings’ (Rawstory)

    The downloadable application (.pdf) to attend the seminar on Oct. 24, promises “OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING — YOU CAN WIN WITH THE MEDIA,” with an overview of do’s and don’ts including, “Meet the 900-Pound Gorilla” and “Feeding the Animals.”

    The application begins by stating, “The shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri and the events that followed were tragic. In addition to the Ferguson case study, this fast-paced class is jam-packed with the essential strategies and tactics, skills and techniques that will help you WIN WITH THE MEDIA!”

    The flyer promises the seminar will be more than just educational, adding, “The training is also highly entertaining : numerous video clips illustrate key points, and there is NO PowerPoint! You will learn a lot, and you’ll have fun doing it!”

  111. rq says

    Pteryxx
    “Have fun while doing it”? Because killing people and then avoiding all repsonisbility is sooo much fun… Holy shit.

  112. A. Noyd says

    Cross-posted from the Call the Police thread: the essay White Fragility [warning: 17 page PDF] by Robin DiAngelo. It’s about how and why white people react to discussion of racial inequality with temper tantrums and pretenses to superior objectivity and understanding.

  113. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #10: they’ve included the “You can win with media!” seminar; yesterday’s incident with the protestor hit by a car (I have an article on that, too, below); more on tickets and fines and the atmosphere of fear and/or uncertainty they foster; a look at some legal stuff, a discussion of Moses (the prophet), and a word on the planned disruption of the football game this weekend. Go there for the articles!

    HealSTL now has a PayPal button that works, for those who are willing/capable of donating.

    Livefeed of the #NoJusticeNoFootball game, honestly, I do not have the opportunity to watch right now, if anyone reading does have the spare moments and report in.

    Climate change and racism in one march: there was a PeoplesClimate march today, and it included people calling for justice for Mike Brown. Does this count as intersectionality?

    Okay, I loved this – it’s from a FB page, but it’s public, but just in case I will copy the pasta below: for those questioning protestor methods.

    People who question the protester’s methods overlook the gains that have come as a result. The police and local media want you to believe a different narrative. Don’t be fooled. All of the actions below have come as a DIRECT RESULT of the protests:

    The FBI is investigating the murder of Michael Brown.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/michael-brown-shooting/fbi-investigating-ferguson-police-shooting-teen-michael-brown-n177761

    The US Department of Justice is launching a broad investigation into Ferguson and St. Louis County, this is separate from the investigation into the killing of Michael Brown. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/us/politics/justice-dept-to-investigate-ferguson-police-practices.html?_r=0

    The militarization of the police is a very real issue. Congress has been forced to take action and review the Pentagon policy that supplies police with surplus equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/09/09/ferguson-style-militarization-goes-on-trial-in-the-senate/

    Racial profiling, corruption and HUGE conflicts of interest have been exposed in St. Louis County. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/

    The earth is shaking in the region. St. Louis has been exposed.

    “St. Louis’ image took a beating when the world’s news media discovered our shameful history and practices.”… and that’s from the Post Dispatch. http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-post-ferguson-st-louis-waits-for-mr-nixon-to/article_ec030628-c38d-5205-9e19-6564b428ef62.html

    Don’t be fooled by the police or local media that tells you otherwise. They don’t want you to get it. They want you to focus on the protesters, traffic jams and disruption to games… anything but the advances that have come as a result.

    Most of those links are ones we’ve had up here, if anyone wants the actual link pasted in please say so, I’m just a bit short on time right now.

    mtc

  114. rq says

    DAMMIT. It added the links on its own. :P Here’s the last comment in two parts again:
    thisisthemovement, installment #10: they’ve included the “You can win with media!” seminar; yesterday’s incident with the protestor hit by a car (I have an article on that, too, below); more on tickets and fines and the atmosphere of fear and/or uncertainty they foster; a look at some legal stuff, a discussion of Moses (the prophet), and a word on the planned disruption of the football game this weekend. Go there for the articles!

    HealSTL now has a PayPal button that works, for those who are willing/capable of donating.

    Livefeed of the #NoJusticeNoFootball game, honestly, I do not have the opportunity to watch right now, if anyone reading does have the spare moments and report in.

    Climate change and racism in one march: there was a PeoplesClimate march today, and it included people calling for justice for Mike Brown. Does this count as intersectionality?

    mtc

  115. rq says

    Okay, I loved this – it’s from a FB page, but it’s public, but just in case I will copy the pasta below: for those questioning protestor methods.

    People who question the protester’s methods overlook the gains that have come as a result. The police and local media want you to believe a different narrative. Don’t be fooled. All of the actions below have come as a DIRECT RESULT of the protests:

    The FBI is investigating the murder of Michael Brown.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/michael-brown-shooting/fbi-investigating-ferguson-police-shooting-teen-michael-brown-n177761

    The US Department of Justice is launching a broad investigation into Ferguson and St. Louis County, this is separate from the investigation into the killing of Michael Brown. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/us/politics/justice-dept-to-investigate-ferguson-police-practices.html?_r=0

    The militarization of the police is a very real issue. Congress has been forced to take action and review the Pentagon policy that supplies police with surplus equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/09/09/ferguson-style-militarization-goes-on-trial-in-the-senate/

    Racial profiling, corruption and HUGE conflicts of interest have been exposed in St. Louis County. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/

    The earth is shaking in the region. St. Louis has been exposed.

    “St. Louis’ image took a beating when the world’s news media discovered our shameful history and practices.”… and that’s from the Post Dispatch. http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/editorial-post-ferguson-st-louis-waits-for-mr-nixon-to/article_ec030628-c38d-5205-9e19-6564b428ef62.html

    Don’t be fooled by the police or local media that tells you otherwise. They don’t want you to get it. They want you to focus on the protesters, traffic jams and disruption to games… anything but the advances that have come as a result.

    Most of those links are ones we’ve had up here.

    mtc

  116. rq says

    So, yes: three people were arrested after a protestor got hit by a car, which was driving into the crowd.

    About 35 people were protesting at 2:16 p.m. on South Florissant Road about a block from the police department when a protester claimed he had been bumped by a vehicle, according to Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson. The driver was arrested, along with a protester who damaged the man’s car. A third man was taken into custody when he ignored police orders to get out of the roadway.

    Urban Born teaches Ferguson kids to build a relationship with cops. :P As the tweeter said, why won’t they teach cops not to profile, instead? Why is the burden on the children? (I’m sorry I caught the link but not the tweet, so I don’t remember who said it… WIll look in a moment!)

    Teach for America criticism is misplaced:

    In the 25 years since, Teach for America has enlisted more than 47,000 individuals to commit two years to teaching in some of America’s neediest schools. Long after they finish their commitment, 86 percent of Teach for America alumni still work full time in education or professions related to improving lives in our most marginalized communities. About 11,000 alumni are teachers; more than 800 are school leaders. Alumni have started and work in education nonprofits and help shape policy in districts and state education departments. Teach for America has helped inspire similar organizations in 34 countries, which now make up a global network called Teach for All.

    As we have grown, so has the criticism. Some of it includes valuable feedback from our teachers, alumni and partners. Alongside many others, Teach for America is tackling the complex problem of educational inequity — an enormous challenge that has required huge leaps of learning. We are constantly working to get better.

    Short on time, more later!

  117. Pteryxx says

    …Yeah, about that Teach for America criticism.

    In the 25 years since, Teach for America has enlisted more than 47,000 individuals to commit two years to teaching in some of America’s neediest schools. Long after they finish their commitment, 86 percent of Teach for America alumni still work full time in education

    …okay?

    or professions related to improving lives in our most marginalized communities.

    Professions related to blah blah marginalized communities? Yeah, I’d want some breakdown of that 86 percent claim *and* how they’re measuring these related-to professions. Because

    About 11,000 alumni are teachers; more than 800 are school leaders.

    11,000, or even 11,800 to be generous, isn’t anywhere near 86% of 47,000.

    Here’s one of the criticisms, from WaPo’s Answer Sheet blog:

    Enraged, I did a little research and found that Teach For America had accepted only four of the nearly 100 Fordham students who applied. I become even angrier when I read in The New York Times that TFA had accepted 44 of 100 applicants from Yale that year. Something was really wrong if an organization which wanted to serve low-income communities rejected nearly every applicant from Fordham, students who came from those very communities, and accepted nearly half of the applicants from an Ivy League school where very few of the students, even students of color, come from working-class or poor families.

    [...]

    No organization has been more complicit than TFA in the demonization of teachers and teachers’ unions, and no organization has provided more “shock troops” for education reform strategies which emphasize privatization and high-stakes standardized testing. Michelle Rhee, a TFA alum, is the poster child for such policies, but she is hardly alone.

    Her counterparts can be found in New Orleans (where they led the movement toward a system dominated by charter schools), in New York (where they play an important role in the Bloomberg education bureaucracy) and in many other cities.

    There are other critiques floating around – I saw one recently on feministbatwoman tumblr, but good luck tracking down a source on tumblr. Yeesh.

  118. Pteryxx says

    speaking of which, via feministbatwoman, this was back in June: Police shoot teenage special-needs girl within 20 seconds of arriving to ‘help’

    Deputy Mehn Trieu was among the first responders to the housing complex at roughly 9:23 p.m. Trieu exited his vehicle and found Yanira outside. Within 20 seconds of arriving, he determined she was a threat and opened fire, confirmed department spokeswoman Deputy Rebecca Rosenblatt.

    Trieu, a 9-year-veteran, claimed that he feared for his life and had to shoot the “knife wielding woman” nearly immediately after arriving. A family friend, however, described the object she was holding as a “butter knife.”

  119. rq says

    More from the article on Teach for America:

    One of the most serious criticisms we get is that Teach for America teachers are not helping kids learn. We recognized from the beginning that there are significant skills, knowledge and mind-sets essential to effective teaching. Over the years, we’ve built an intensive program of pre-service and ongoing professional development with more than 700 staff members devoted to supporting our teachers. A rigorous study of secondary math teachers, published last year by Mathematica Policy Research, found that Teach for America members moved their students forward an extra 2.6 months during one school year. In the three states (Louisiana, North Carolina and Tennessee) that rank teacher preparation programs based on the impact their graduates have on achievement, Teach for America comes in at or near the top. [...]
    Another frequent criticism we face is that Teach for America isn’t diverse enough. We agree — teachers who share the economic or racial background of their students can approach their work with deep understanding and show students what is possible through their own examples. We’ve worked hard at this and this year, 50 percent of our incoming teachers are people of color, while 47 percent are from low-income backgrounds. This is far more diverse than the field of teachers overall. [...]
    In the communities where we’ve been providing teachers for 15 years or more, the impact of Teach for America is clear. Twelve years ago, D.C. students were scoring at the bottom compared with their peers in other large cities. Today, although there is still much to be done, schools in the nation’s capital are improving faster than any other urban district’s. This change is the result of the efforts of many people, but without Teach for America alumni, we’d lose much of the energy behind it. [...]
    Would the United States really be better off if thousands of outstanding and committed people did not apply to Teach for America? We should be cheering those who devote their energy to working alongside others to meet the extra needs of our most marginalized kids. Not all of them will be teachers forever. But teachers can’t solve this problem alone. We also need those who choose careers in education administration, policy, public health, law and business, who will carry with them the conviction and firsthand experience to lead change from outside the classroom.

    The Urban Born article was supplied by @stlhiphop.

  120. rq says

    I see Pteryxx got to some actual criticism of Teach for America.

    Also, Michael Brown’s parents attend BET hip hop awards.

    Related to police: Baltimore police should revamp misconduct probes, according to audit.

    A Baltimore lawyer who is a national expert on police discipline discovered “many flaws” within the Internal Affairs Division, including detectives who lack proper training, work under decades-old processes and are often pulled from their duties for other tasks.

    Such shortcomings lead to incomplete investigations and hamper the agency’s effort to build community trust, Karen Kruger concluded in a 21-page audit obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a Public Information Act request. The study was commissioned by Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez for $5,000. [...]
    Many residents distrust the department, Kruger said, so the management and discipline of officers is critical. “In recent years, the BPD has fallen short in this area of personnel management,” she said in the study, dated April 3.

    Among her other findings:

    •Internal Affairs officers need additional training to make sure investigations are complete, thorough and fair. They also need better legal advice throughout the probes to make sure the cases are successfully presented to trial boards, which determine guilt or innocence.

    •Internal Affairs and district-level investigators are frequently taken from their jobs to supplement patrol staffing at special events and to cover overtime posts — a practice that Kruger recommended stopping.

    •The division has used questionnaires to replace or supplement interrogations of officers accused of misconduct. The forms can be completed off-site with the help of any person, including officers’ attorneys.

    “These questionnaires are an ineffective investigative technique and the use of them diminishes the reputation of” Internal Affairs, Kruger wrote. [...]
    When one of the 2,800 officers uses excessive force or commits potential criminal activity, the actions are considered “ethics” violations. More general complaints are considered “misconduct,” Kruger said.

    That “artificial distinction” conveys a message that categorizing misconduct is simple and determined by potential penalties from a disciplinary matrix — similar to sentencing guidelines. Such arbitrary standards are a detriment to the agency and to individual officers, the audit said.

  121. rq says

    still work full time in education

    That could mean a lot of things, because working in education =/ being a teacher.

  122. Pteryxx says

    Twelve years ago, D.C. students were scoring at the bottom compared with their peers in other large cities. Today, although there is still much to be done, schools in the nation’s capital are improving faster than any other urban district’s. This change is the result of the efforts of many people, but without Teach for America alumni, we’d lose much of the energy behind it. [...]

    Yeah, about that. Re my #91 about towns with rapidly changing racial demographics: (link to comment) (NY Times source article) (and the bolds are mine)

    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.

    [...]

    The economics of these places vary widely. Many have 2012 median household incomes that are far higher than Ferguson’s $37,517. Five of the communities that have seen greater racial change than Ferguson have median household incomes above $100,000. But all of these are in the suburbs of Washington, which are among the most affluent parts of the country in general.

    I don’t *know* that DC schools’ improvement (however THAT gets measured) directly correlates with affluence and changing demographics, but if Teach for America cheerleaders *aren’t* accounting for it, their claims are dubious at the very least.

  123. rq says

    Reading those two articles on Teach for America, I can’t help but think that it has the potential to be an amazing program – and that it is being implemented completely the wrong way (by giving advantage to students from more upper-class backgrounds and the like – considering how else upper- and lower-class is split in America, I wonder if there’s an all-encompassing word that might correspond to the practice…).

  124. Pteryxx says

    Back in 2013, Mike the Mad Biologist referenced Thom Hartmann’s reminder that “militias” in the Second Amendment specifically meant the Southern states’ very own slave patrols. (h/t anat and Janine for pointing that out, repeatedly, until some of us (not me) began to remember it.)

    Hartmann:

    The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote. Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.

    In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states.

    In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state. The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.

    Mike:

    In other words, the Second Amendment has to be read, in part, as a way to maintain militias under state (“State”)–and thus slaver–control, as opposed to letting the “Country” control them (a term used elsewhere in the Constitution to mean the federal government). As Hartmann describes, the Virginian contingent of the drafters of the Constitution were terrified that the Constitution would disband the militias, as Patrick Henry stated:

    “If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only [under this new Constitution], can call forth the militia.”

  125. rq says

    Pteryxx
    Nice catch on that one, would be nice to see the improvements by school or district within the city rather than the city as a whole – might be more indicative of actual improvements.

  126. Pteryxx says

    rq: Thanks. Most of the towns and suburbs that have flipped from majority-white to majority-black have done so in the last ten years or thereabouts. That matched the timeframe of Ferguson, the rise in police traffic stops and nuisance “justice” fees, and the housing bubble collapse and recession, among other things.

    Basically whenever an article makes some social or civic claim about a city starting with

    Twelve years ago,

    or similar, I’m reflexively checking for major demographic shift as a confounder.

  127. rq says

    Aha, thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. Again, Teach for America sounds like a really good, really useful kind of program, for exactly the children who need it. It seems so… wasteful… if it is used improperly. They do get a lot of great things done, I don’t doubt – but it doesn’t sit well when an organization exaggerates its accomplishments and brushes off criticism.(There’s something vaguely similar to the program in this country, with the idea of improving teaching to improve children’s lives and thus their futures, and I think it’s a great endeavour for getting smart, interested people involved in teaching.)

  128. Pteryxx says

    Basically, without trying to go in-depth on Teach for America – most of us science-in-education folks already know there are problems with religious charter schools sucking public funding away from regular public schools. Charter schools have fewer safeguards, some are highly segregated and exclusive, and some are basically just money-making scams. On top of that, the emphasis on test scores as a means of punishing underperforming public schools (by taking their funding away) has spawned a test-administering and test-training (and test-cheating) industry while further punishing schools in poor districts with struggling populations.

    Against this background, Teach for America has contracts with schools – public, private, and charter – to turn out newly-minted teachers in bulk with two-year contracts. However, schools that want to save money – those charters that want to rake in more profit, *and* public schools already starved for funding – hire Teach for America teachers instead of experienced, familiar, and sometimes tenured teachers who were part of the community for decades or even generations instead of being assigned to finish out a two-year contract and then moving on.

    It’s a long game and there’s much more to it than I’ve touched on here. The story of education in New Orleans post-Katrina encapsulates much of it.

    Al Jazeera in April: New Orleans to be home to nation’s first all-charter school district

    Before Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, 65 percent of the city’s public schools failed to meet standards, according to data from Louisiana, which U.S. News and World Report placed as 46th out of 50 states in a 2013 education ranking. The city fired approximately 7,000 teachers and public school employees, in the aftermath of the disaster, opting to completely start over with charter schools and with new teachers and other staffers.

    Now only 6 percent of the schools are failing, educators say, and charter school supporters are heralding the turnaround as a major success.

    [...]

    “The whole charter school situation has been problematic,” she said. “I feel like it has really been forced on us in New Orleans because they’ve closed all our neighborhood schools.”

    She told Al Jazeera that while it may seem that charter schools are making a major impact on the quality of education in New Orleans, it’s little more than a sleight of hand.

    Like many people, Royal says the reason charter schools seem to be performing so well is that the state is using a different, lower standard to measure their achievement, making it easier for schools to go from failing to successful.

    “You can’t see past the propaganda on charter schools if you’re not in New Orleans,” she says. “I just ask people to look past the data because the data has been manipulated.”

    She also says the state is making unequal comparisons to the old schools. The new schools are much smaller, and students who don’t perform as well or have behavioral problems or learning disabilities are moved to alternative schools to keep performance levels looking good, at least one on paper.

    And because parents must apply for their child to get into a charter school, the schools can be much more selective about the students they admit, allowing them to recruit only the best-performing students and turn others away.

    [...]

    In a study published by the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School in 2010, researchers found that while New Orleans is a majority black city, some 80 percent of the city’s white students attend the most selective, higher-performing schools and leave the students of color and lower economic status in the low-ranking schools.

    According to the study, students of color were three and a half times as likely to attend a very high-poverty, low-performing school in 2009, the year the study was conducted; 65 percent of students of color attended a high-poverty school, compared with 19 percent of white students.

    [...]

    Despite this, cities across the country are watching the New Orleans move to charter schools. There are efforts in Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Kansas City, Mo.; Newark, N.J.; and Philadelphia, among others to replicate the New Orleans way of schooling, in part or completely, in an effort to turn around struggling city schools.

    All those cities have large, socioeconomically disadvantaged populations of color, and the majority live in the inner city, where public schools often receive much less funding and are much more segregated then schools in better-off suburban areas.

    Here’s a Teach for America teacher interviewed for the piece. Note that TFA *placed* him in a school – he did not choose it.

    He has been teaching for two years and teaches eighth grade, working with students in a special education program. He opted to work with Teach for America — a program for recent college graduates — and the organization placed him in a charter school. He said his job would have been much more challenging if he had to work in a public school because, he said, he wouldn’t have had the same level of financial and professional support.

    “The biggest difference is that the teachers [in charter schools] are more motivated and there are more resources” to get the job done, Brown said.

    He acknowledged that it is common for a charter school to be allocated more money than a traditional public school, since charter schools often receive private funding from wealthy foundations or major corporations while public schools rely on funding drawn from the local tax base. He would like to see a better balance between the two systems.

  129. Pteryxx says

    Solving poverty segregation and stigma within school lunch lines, because many students go hungry rather than take the “walk of shame” for free lunches: Alternet

    “There’s this pervasive attitude across the country that if people get help, they’re lazy, they’re scamming the system,” says Kathleen Gorman, who has managed the state of Rhode Island’s SNAP Outreach Project since 2001. “People have really gotten this idea that just because people don’t have money they’re morally inferior. It’s getting a lot more attention.”

    When this kind of stigma enters schools, it catalyzes in the high-peer-pressure environment and combusts in ways that harm low-income youth. In many cases, the stigma is so bad it becomes a barrier to proper nutrition. Although U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures for NSLP participation optimistically indicate majority participation rates, surveys of individual districts show rates below 14 percent in some places. Many students would rather forgo their midday meals than take the walk of shame in the NSLP line. And while legislators, interest groups and administrators know hunger affects classroom performance and continue to focus efforts on improving lunchroom nutrition, the issue of stigma as an underlying cause of hunger remains on the back burner.

    [...]

    The federal government maintains strict standards on the nutritional requirements of NSLP meals and doesn’t allow the program to offer noncompliant (i.e., many competitive) foods—thus, the separate tickets and lines. According to Kavanaugh, however, schools’ internal accounting is often not kept separate, exacerbating what she sees as a serious problem: Administrators operate on the belief that competitive foods generate revenues necessary to keep school budgets solvent when, in fact, the opposite is more often the case. Without evidence on the books, however, “They don’t even know they are losing money.”

    She adds that, rather than increasing the cost of competitive food, districts often decrease food costs in the NSLP program to keep their budgets balanced—essentially rerouting money intended for low-income kids’ food to cover the costs of competitive foods they’re not allowed to eat. “I think this whole thing evolved unintentionally with a blindness that people were creating a de facto separate and unequal system,” says Bhatia.

    Bhatia’s response was to conduct a pilot study in three San Francisco schools in 2009 and 2010, integrating the lines by bringing competitive foods into compliance with NSLP nutritional requirements. Uniform electronic debit cards replaced segregated lunch lines and made it impossible to visually distinguish between prepaid cards and NSLP funds. The bookkeeping also changed. Whereas before, NSLP and competitive-food revenues had been lumped together, they would now be tracked independently. Federal legislation to this effect was put in place in 2010.

    The results of this groundbreaking pilot study were dramatic. Participation in the NSLP increased by 58 percent, and school revenue skyrocketed. Lunch lines were similarly integrated in all San Francisco middle and high schools during the 2010–2011 school year. Bhatia calls it “the most effective and quickest advocacy work I’ve ever done.”

  130. rq says

    No real news on how protesting at the football game went, but some twitter pictures: one, two, three, four.

    Some more from Popular Resistance on that planned event for October 10 to 13.

    We are calling for a convergence in Ferguson, MO from October 10th – 13th to continue the fight for justice for Mike Brown and to spark the broader movement for racial justice and sow transformative seeds for others to carry back home. There is an urgency in this moment to strengthen the mobilizing, organizing, and resistance happening across the country to build a movement.

    If you want to join in this national fight, sign-up to organize locally and come to Ferguson, MO October 10 – 13th.

    [...]

    What to Expect

    Thousands of leaders from around the country will arrive in Ferguson on October 9th – 10th. Hands Up United will hold direct action trainings, have people participate in actions, and identify leaders for demonstrations planned for the weekend. We will also ask organizers coming to town to canvass and do grassroots outreach.

    On Saturday, October 11th there will be a large mobilization march. We expect large numbers for this march, and your participation is key to making this happen.

    On Oct 12, we will be having faith meetings, and trainings in preparation for distributed actions which will take place on Monday Oct 13th.

    On Monday, October 13th we will have a distributed day of action with civil disobedience and major demonstrations at significant targets.

  131. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #11: on racial segregation; Ferguson and social media, with comparison to Trayvon Martin; White Supremacy, Black Radicalism, and the Possibility for Justice; a couple of items on police and relations; Pharell on Ferguson.
    From the white supremacy, black radicalism article:

    Of the many articles that have been penned in the wake of Michael Brown’s murder, two in particular put a point on the vision of social change swirling around the moment/movement question: educator Josie Pickens’ August 18th article in Ebony magazine, “Ferguson: What’s Respectability Got to Do with It” and historian Jeanne Theoharis’ August 26th piece for MSNBC, “The arc of justice runs through Ferguson.” Both criticize reporting that has portrayed the protesters in Ferguson as disorganized, reckless, even dangerous. Moreover, both call us to examine how a sanitized version of the civil rights movement – stripped of its poor, young and female leadership – undergirds such critiques. In Theoharis’ words, “Such framings memorialize a civil rights movement without young people in the vanguard, without anger, without its longstanding and ongoing critique of the criminal justice system.” Through these fables, we are made to believe that Ferguson must be a moment, because “real movements” do not look like this.

    These fables also resign us to a jack-in-the-box approach to social movement history. “Real movements” are past and temporally bounded. A “real movement” pops UP when people make a large (but not too large) demand; it goes DOWN (or is put down) when that demand is met (or is too threatening). It is a thing for the history books. By this account, “real movements” are not only sanitized; they are exceptionalized. And so, too, are the social conditions they seek to address. In this way, we can only ask if Ferguson will become a movement, because we are telling a story of the United States in which there is no continuity of black struggle, much less a need for it.

    More in there on religion, black feminism, and lots more. Go read all of it, click from their newsletter, it’s really good.

    Using Michael Brown, the wrong way: gunman says ‘this is for Michael Brown’ as he robs six people.

    Commentary: We Are Michael Brown’s Mom.

    The banner behind homeplate at Busch Stadium.

  132. rq says

    Three more short pieces from CBS Local in St Louis:
    Despite promises, no disruption of football game – but they were there, and they were visible. This is good.

    St Louis PD seeking 1M in refunds from the state. “Dotson says he’s still working to get the state to make a refund.” Good luck with that.

    New program “Ferguson Forward” to provide early childhood education, youth jobs, college scholarships:

    “Ferguson Forward” will fund 30 scholarships per year for students in the Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy, Jennings, Hazelwood, Riverview Gardens and Ritenour school districts.

  133. rq says

    NY Daily News on How to Win With the Media, but I’m a little confused about the end of the article:

    Yet the Daily News highly recommends this session after News photographer Pearl Gabel was detained by cops Aug. 17 while covering the police enforcement of a curfew in Ferguson, where an unarmed teen was shot by an officer eight days earlier.

    Black teen Michael Brown Jr. was shot six times by white Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in a confrontation where the officer said he was assaulted and the community rose up claiming racial bias.

    That, after mentioning specifically the 900-pound gorilla and the ‘feeding the animals’ phrase? Eh??

  134. Pteryxx says

    Darien Hunt, shot in the back (per private autopsy), while carrying a (toy) sword, (in an open carry state), by police (who keep changing their story) (see #55, 56, 68, 82, and 129)…

    …was probably cosplaying. Guardian (h/t Shakesville)

    Attention was swiftly drawn online to Hunt’s remarkable resemblance as he walked around on the morning of 10 September to Mugen, a swordsman character in the short-lived Japanese anime series Samurai Champloo. The Comic Con convention had also taken place in Salt Lake City, about 35 miles to the north, the weekend before the shooting.

    Hunt’s aunt, Cindy Moss, previously told the Guardian that a witness to the confrontation with police had told the family that Hunt “had his earbuds in, and was kind of doing spins and stuff, like pretending he’s a samurai”.

    However the drawings, photographs of which were obtained by the Guardian, appear to provide the first clear evidence that the 22-year-old took an interest in the realm of fantasy and comic books. Some of his sketches appear to depict characters in the Japanese manga style that some have suggested he was personally imitating. Two of these are carrying swords.

    Randall Edwards, the attorney for Hunt’s family, said that they found the drawings following Hunt’s death in two sketchbooks – one measuring 8.5in x 11in , the other 5in x 7in – and on separate sheets of notepaper. Most are drawn only in pencil.

    “It shows a familiarity, if not a fascination, with that kind of fantasy world,” Edwards told the Guardian. “It gives some context – and potentially some explanation – to why you have this kid walking down the street with a samurai-style sword on his back.”

    Then someone freaked out, called the cops, told them some nut was running around being scary, and the cops’ patented “coming right for us” machine kicked in.

    The Guardian has photos of his drawings.

  135. rq says

    More on that seminar on winning with the media:
    The St Louis Post-Dispatch takes a look and is not impressed, and truthout.com calls it ‘Fascism 101. With a nice handy list of what police seminars should be titled:

    Raise your hand if you can think of seminars your community’s would-be cops might be served by.

    How to Communicate With Your Community
    Race Relations and You: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt a Citizen
    When to Pull Your Weapon 101: Almost Never, So Calm Down
    The Citizen Is Not Your Enemy
    Why You Became a Cop

    …but no.

    Some reference made to the fact that the guy presenting the seminar, one Rick Rosenthal as mentioned above, has practically no internet presence and is difficult to track down. From the Dispatch link, a St Louis PD representative says,

    “Chief of Police Jon Belmar and his command staff were unaware of the flier and its wording until the subject was brought up by several members of the media. The St. Louis County Police Department recognizes the sensitive nature of this flier in the wake of Mr. Brown’s death, and the events that transpired in Ferguson. This flier has been worded in nearly the same manner for all of Mr. Rosenthal’s prior teachings at our academy, with the exception of the newly added lines referencing Ferguson. Being that the flier was sent by our police academy, we apologize for anyone hurt by the wording of the flier. We believe Mr. Rosenthal’s use of the terms ‘900-pound gorilla’ and ‘feeding the animals’ were mentioning police departments from across the nation dealing with the media and meant no racial harm.”

    Nothing to see here, move along.

  136. Pteryxx says

    Raise your hand if you can think of seminars your community’s would-be cops might be served by.

    How to Communicate With Your Community
    Race Relations and You: What You Don’t Know Could Hurt a Citizen
    When to Pull Your Weapon 101: Almost Never, So Calm Down
    The Citizen Is Not Your Enemy
    Why You Became a Cop

    Meanwhile the DOJ’s new National Effort to Build Trust Between Law Enforcement and the Communities They Serve is a real thing in the world, just announced last Thursday.

    The St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy is described as a unit of the St. Louis County Police Department. (St Louis County link) So they’re funding this seminar and Rick Rosenthal’s fee and expenses, if any.

    He may not have internet presence but he has a book:

    The statement goes on to reference Rosenthal’s 1999 book title, “Feeding the Animals,” which refers to need for police departments to give information to the media.

    (St Louis Today)

    The Washington Post found a 1999 article about his approach: Chicago Tribune: Ex-anchor Offers Lessons In Media, But Some Don’t Like His Message

    Much of what Rosenthal, who left the TV business in 1993 and now is president of his own company, RAR Communications, preaches is standard media training fare. His topics range from the importance of having a “free flow of information” to details on important federal rules regarding the release of information, particularly the Freedom of Information Act.

    He gives tips on news conferences and writing press releases.

    And in the introduction of his course text, he talks about how some police-media relationships are “adversarial” and “confrontational.”

    The purpose of his course and manual, he says, is to show how both reporters and police can do their jobs in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

    But his critics say that Rosenthal also is playing to the fears that police officers already have about the media.

    In his 133-page manual, “Police-Media Relations: A Course in Mutual Effectiveness,” Rosenthal discusses how public officials can blunt an “unwarranted” attack by the media.

    He counsels law enforcement officials to understand the distinctions between “trained” journalists and those who report for “infotainment” programs, like “Hard Copy.”

    Rosenthal characterizes some journalists as “a tricky lot,” saying, for example, that a TV news cameraman may leave a room but keep his camera and microphone on without the person being interviewed realizing it.

    And, he concludes, it’s OK to cooperate fully with some “trained” journalists and not others, a position that rankles some of his former colleagues in Chicago broadcasting.

    He even goes so far as to name some local broadcast reporters who, he believes, use overly aggressive tactics, including NBC-Ch. 5 investigative reporter Dave Savini and ABC-Ch. 7 investigative reporter Chuck Goudie.

    [...]

    There’s no doubt these are good times to be a media trainer because of the proliferation of news outlets, especially on cable. In general, trainers can command fees in excess of $100 an hour. And Rosenthal, who was known more for his straightforward anchoring than his reporting, has found a pretty lucrative niche in police departments.

    He says he’s traveled the country counseling police, including departments in Osceola County, Fla., and the police academy in Irving, Texas.

  137. Pteryxx says

    Ed Brayton citing Radley Balko in WaPo about the SWAT barbershop raids.

    Brayton:

    The police are always looking for loopholes that allow them to get around that pesky 4th Amendment. So what do they do when they want to raid a bunch of minority-owned businesses but don’t have any evidence with which to get a warrant? Call them licensing inspections and send in the SWAT team.

    Balko:

    The raids were basically fishing operations for drug crimes and to recruit confidential informants. All of the raided shops were black- or Hispanic-owned. The problem is that, because they were fishing expeditions, the police didn’t have enough evidence to obtain a warrant. Instead, the police asked an occupational license office to send along an inspector. Voila! These were no longer drug raids. For the purposes of the Fourth Amendment, they were now officially licensure inspections that just happened to include armored cops storming the businesses as if they were harboring an ISIS sleeper cell.

    [...]

    There was a series of raids like this one across Orlando during the summer of 2010. One such series of coordinated raids targeted nine barbershops and produced 37 arrests, 34 of which were for “barbering without a license,” a misdemeanor for which only three people had ever previously been arrested in the state of Florida.

    Balko goes on to note similar raids for nonviolent offenses and checks, such as credit-card fraud and marijuana growing. I add that the article Taken (New Yorker) cited earlier in this thread describes police raiding bars and social gatherings under the auspice of permit-checking with the aim of seizing cash, valuables, and private cars.

    Last year, a spokesperson for the St. Louis County, Mo., police department told a local TV station that all felony warrants there are now served with SWAT teams, regardless of the crime.

    So a level of force once reserved for hostage situations, bank robberies and active shooters is now being used on low-level drug offenders, people suspected of white-collar crimes, people who have unkempt property and to make sure the local bar is properly labeling its beer. Keep in mind, too, that anyone who happens to be in these homes or businesses at the time of the raid gets subjected to the same terror, fright, and abuse as the suspect or business owner.

    The good news here is that the majority of the panel got this case right, coming to the rather common-sense conclusion that “a criminal raid executed under the guise of an administrative inspection is constitutionally unreasonable.” More good news: In 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit came to a similar conclusion. The bad news is that this was a split decision by the three-judge panel. Moreover, at least one other federal appeals court — the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit — has ruled the other way. In 2010, that court found that it was not unreasonable for a Virginia town to send a 50-plus-member police team — some donning face masks and camouflage and toting shotguns — to perform an “alcohol inspection” on a pool hall. (On “Ladies’ Night” to boot.)

    That the federal appeals courts are split over whether it is reasonable to use SWAT-like tactics to perform regulatory inspections is a pretty good illustration of just how far police militarization has come, and just how much damage the trend has inflicted on the Fourth Amendment.

  138. rq says

    Rick Rosenthal’s fee and expenses, if any

    Ha, you think he’d actually present this shit free of charge? Not likely.

  139. rq says

    Oh, and people were saying that protestors shouldn’t bring children to protests for safety reasons… as it turns out, it’s police who weren’t thinking of the children: Ferguson man finds pepper balls used for crowd control from riots, in the backyard garden.

    Burgess says when two of the balls fell out of his pocket and hit the ground, they released smoke that made him sick. “It was like mace or pepper spray. It shut my throat down and made me throw up. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t breathe,” said Burgess. The balls are a little larger than a marble and look like candy. Burgess is concerned children will find the balls, he believes are scattered all over the city and eat them thinking they’re candy. “It’s toxic. It’ll kill you,” Burgess said.

  140. rq says

    Oh! It’s those misconceptions I posted earlier from tweets, as a pdf document. Some samples:

    3. The Mayor or the Police Chief can fire Darren Wilson.
    CLARIFICATION: Officer Wilson may be fired by either the Chief of Police or the City Manager. However, there are legal implications to discharging him without the conclusion of the investigation into wrongdoing, which is being completed by St. Louis County Police and the Prosecuting Attorney.

    4. The Ferguson Police Department has obtained military and riot gear and used this gear during protest.
    FALSE: Neither Ferguson Police Department nor the City of Ferguson possess any of the military equipment used during the protest. We received a generator and a couple Humvees that were painted as a part of our outreach for children under the D.A.R.E and school resource officer program. The other Humvee will be used for inclement weather.
    Our police department doesn’t use or possess tear gas, rubber bullets, stingers or any of the items used during protest.
    [...]
    6. If a person shows up for court without payment they will be arrested or if a person shows up for court after a warrant for failure to appear has been issued they would be arrested.
    FALSE: As long as a person shows up at Court on his/her scheduled court date, he or she will not be arrested. If the person has been scheduled to make a payment and is not able to make the payment, he or she will not be arrested for not being able to pay. If a person is not able to pay, he or she is expected to come to court on the scheduled court date and explain to the Municipal Judge the financial circumstances which show why he or she cannot make the payment. At that time, the person will not be arrested, but will be given another court date to pay or talk to the Judge again.
    If a person fails to appear for a scheduled court date, a warrant will be issued because of the person’s failure to appear in court as required. A warrant is not issued if the person shows up in court, even if the person is not able to make a
    payment. If a warrant has already been issued because of the person’s prior failure to appear in court, the person will not, most likely, be arrested if he or she appears in court later. The Municipal Judge and Municipal Court personnel have greater interest in resolving and adjudicating cases than in arresting someone and having that person
    come back on a later date.

    7. The City and Police Department are protecting Darren Wilson
    FALSE: The City of Ferguson and the Police Department are not protecting Darren Wilson. We are saddened by the incident that led to the death of Michael Brown and we’re committed only to an investigation that is conducted fairly and without bias. [I nearly laughed at this one.]

    8. African Americans are being targeted by law enforcement throughout the city.
    FALSE: We are not targeting African Americans. African Americans make up the majority of our community and surrounding communities to the southwest and east so most people being pulled over will be African American. Having said that, we are not trying to ignore the need for better relations with the African American community and we believe the more involved we are in the community, the more likely it is that we’ll earn African American citizens’ trust back.
    Which is why promoting our African American officers is a major priority and in the last year we raised our
    officer salaries and we’re involved in mentoring opportunities for junior high and high school students.

    It goes one for 18 such Clarifications and Falsehoods. Funny how point #8 is contrasted by the chart numbers in this tweet.

  141. rq says

    I presume this is from yesterday – the DOJ even wanted the windows closed at that meeting. Like, what?

    Here’s a story plus video on last night’s town halls, which are apparently very civil at the moment, due to a lack of non-residents:

    Hundreds showed up for two simultaneous meetings held in area churches, but not everyone was welcomed. Ferguson police said the DOJ instructed them to only allow entry to those who could prove they live in Ferguson. Many residents said that made for surprisingly civil meetings with more open discussions.

    A few others have been scheduled:

    More town halls are already scheduled as follows:
    Sept. 30 – Addressing communication to/from Ferguson leadership
    Oct. 7 – Addressing diversity and racial tension
    Oct.21 – A roadmap for growth: where do we go from here?
    Nov. 4 – Opportunities for youth/civic engagement

    From Arts&Entertainment: Calling Shonda Rhimes an ‘angry black woman’? Nooo, that’s not racist at all! says chief television critic Alessandra Stanley, writer of the NY Times article. And yes, the article was passed by editors. All of those black editors, too?

    If you’re wondering what “blind spots” means, consider the last sentence of Sullivan’s critique of Stanley’s Rhimes column: “The Times has a number of high-ranked editors and prominent writers who are people of color, but it’s troubling that among 20 critics, not one is black and only one is a person of color.”

    … Oh.

  142. rq says

    Big changes ahead for Missouri municipal courts:

    “If you pull me over for a traffic ticket and you catch me doing the wrong and I get a ticket, I can deal with that,” Moffitt said. “But if you pull me over and assume I did something wrong and you give me a traffic ticket and I can’t prove my innocence, what am I to do? I can’t beat them. It’s my word against theirs. And they’re going to take their word over mine because they’re carrying a badge.”

    [...]

    “Courts have got to start treating these people as people with real-life problems,” said Thomas Harvey, an attorney with Arch City Defenders. “That’s one of the primary concerns our clients have: Nobody’s listening to them when they say ‘I’m not scofflaw. I’m not a criminal. I’m a poor person who’s having a hard time making these fines.’ And when our clients hear from judges ‘I don’t care; give us the money,’ that sends the wrong message and it destroys the political capital that they otherwise could build for their communities.”

    [...]

    In the past couple of weeks, several groups have announced their intentions to work toward modifying how these courts operate. They include:

    An effort by municipal judges to change St. Louis County’s courts, including making fines more manageable for the poor.
    A program in Velda City, which allows most people with traffic tickets to pay a flat fee to wipe out the fines.
    Legislation supported by St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley to eliminate a $25 fee for the county’s municipal court system.
    A pledge from state Auditor Tom Schweich to examine some municipal courts to see if they’re taking in more revenue than allowed under state law.

    Before a Ferguson police officer killed Brown on Aug. 9, these changes were hardly a major priority, but national and local pressure might have forced the hands of politicians from across the political spectrum.

    There’s a lot of soundbites within the text, too.

    Meanwhile, in Ferguson: Michael Brown memorial caught fire this morning, visible smoke. Witnesses say someone set fire to it, but candles are everywhere.

  143. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #12: they’ve got the misconceptions; a piece from a black mother to white mothers; profile of a Ferguson teenager (“Am I Next?”); a bit on the justifications for use of force in officers and why DW is still free; SLPD apparently apologizes for the wording on that flier; more personal accounts about experiences with police; a piece on looting. Go give them the traffic!
    An excerpt from that apology:

    “Being that the flier was sent by our Police Academy, we apologize for anyone hurt by the wording of the flier,” Schellman said. “We believe Mr. Rosenthal’s use of the terms ‘900-pound gorilla’ and ‘feeding the animals’ were mentioning police departments from across the nation dealing with the media and meant no racial harm.”

    So, “We apologize you are offended, but we really don’t see the problem.” Nice one for the PR relations there.

  144. rq says

    On Saturday: Ferguson “Empowerment Summit”

    Six community organizations are hosting a Community Empowerment Summit from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Greater St. Mark Family Church, 9950 Glen Owen Dr. in Ferguson. Co-sponsors include the 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, Mound City Bar Association, TEACH, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Urban League Young Professionals.

    Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson and Florissant Police Chief Tim Lowery are slated to participate in the summit’s opening session. Officers from their respective districts, as well as the FBI, will recruit for law enforcement jobs. Other sessions at the summit will promote voter registration and offer know-your-rights training.

    The Community Empowerment Summit, geared toward high school students and adults, is free and open to the public. Please RSVP by email at admin@100blackmenstl.com or call 314-367-7778.

  145. rq says

    Last night saw a resurgence in protests, after Michael Brown’s memorial was burnt down. Didn’t have a chance to follow along live, but here’s a few tweets about how things went down, in pretty much reverse chronological order (sorry about that):
    Towards the end of the night, police start clearing streets. This included arrests (no word on number, except that some from the Lost Voices (those camping out in front of the PD) were also taken), and protesters did a bit of rock-and-brick throwing, too.
    No word on whether this is real, btu an “I am Darren Wilson” was photographed in the wrist of a cop.

    Slightly earlier in the night, cops ambushed protestors.

    tbc

  146. rq says

    The livestream video is still going, though I think it’s not a livestream anymore. Street-view, at any rate!

    Protestors vs police, youtube video of Ferguson protestors in action.

    There were reports of looting, again. No looting, just property damage – which was roundly criticized by most people tweeting abuot/from Ferguson. But it’s still not looting, as some members of media insisted on insisting.
    The evening started with a vigil at the new memorial; apparently someone drove over pieces of the new memorial on purpose, which aided in the increase in tensions. Captain Ron Johnson showed up.

    Council meeting: apparently there were issues with people recording or tweeting from the meeting. And they claim transparency.

    mtc

  147. rq says

    STL Today on rebuilding the Michael Brown memorial.

    So yes, again/still.

    Some document-like stuff via twitter photos:
    Notice to Ferguson residents regarding DOJ investigation of Ferguson PD: in summary, a recounting of the reason they’re investigating (police brutality, profiling, etc.), with a promise to listen to individual, private stories today, September 24.
    There’s an “I Love Ferguson” organization supposedly worked in parallel to improve St Louis, headed by a former mayor… but they’ve been bad-mouthing protestors, too.

    Advertising racism. Powerful image.

    About those councilpeople… Ferguson cop who charged suspect for bleeding on her uniform is now a city councilwoman. I think this came up previously, too, but it’s worth emphasizing again that these are the people supposed to bring change and a better future to the very same residents they’ve helped in terrorizing over the years.

    tbc

  148. rq says

    Holder: Ferguson presents country with ‘moment of decision’.

    “These tensions simmer every day in far too many communities across the country,” Holder said. “The situation in Ferguson has presented leaders across the nation … with a moment of decision, a moment of decision, a series of important questions that can no longer be avoided.”

    [...]

    Holder said the United States must decide if it will allow this period of time to be defined by racial division and discord, or if the country is prepared to “reassess” and potentially “remake” the way law enforcement relates and interacts with citizens.

    “Will we yet again turn a blind eye to the hard truths that Ferguson exposed? Or will we finally accept this mandate for open and honest dialogue?” he said.

    By way of novelists in 1936, I came across the epic poem John Brown’s Body (project gutenberg text), not to be confused with the song.

    There’s a video called the Ferguson Insurrection I’m going to watch before posting on here, don’t know if anyone has come across it in the meantime. Alternative media and all that…

  149. rq says

    A piece on the overnight unrests in Ferguson.

    And some more, from St Louis Public Radio on the ‘tense day’; also, the council acts on fines, which means

    Tuesday evening, Ferguson’s city council made changes to its municipal court system in response to criticism that minor offenses were trapping too many poor people and African Americans in a cycle of compounding fines, fees, arrest warrants and jail time. The council postponed action on a proposal to create a civilian police review board in order to allow time for discussion of alternatives with more teeth.

    And one more, from St Louis American. None of them mention looting, just the actual vandalism and fire-setting that occurred.
    Oh, one of those fires? Molotov cocktail into the auto service shop that Ferguson PD uses for impounded cars.

    The events in a few photos.

    tbc

  150. dianne says

    Just a comment to say that I’m still reading, in case you’re wondering. Thanks for the updates: much as I rarely like the news, I’d rather know than not know.

  151. rq says

  152. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #13: launching demands.org (check the link, it has a list of updated demands that the protestors are… well, demanding); a few words on the burning memorial; The Tale of Two Cities, showing that even in response to Ferguson there is a ‘black’ side and a ‘white’ side (link to a white resident newsletter on Ferguson protests); also the cost of segregation, the cost of unrest, and colourblind justice. The usual list of upcoming meetings, protests, and other. Go look.

  153. rq says

    thedemands.org, sorry there was no link above, wanted to put it separately:

    Demand #1 — Political Accountability for the Death of Michael Brown, Jr.
    [...]
    Demand #2 — Special Prosecutor for All Deadly Force Cases
    [..]
    Demand #3 — Police Held Accountable for Use of Deadly Force
    [...]
    Demand #4 — End Overpolicing and the Criminalization of Poverty
    [...]
    Demand #5 — Representative Police Force and Intentional Officer Training
    [...]
    Demand #6 — End Funding for Discriminatory Police Forces
    [...]
    Demand #7 — Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Structural and Systemic Inequity in Missouri
    [...]
    Demand #8 — The Right to Protest
    [...]
    Demand #9 — Pass the national “End Racial Profiling” Legislation

    Looks more than reasonable to me.

  154. Pteryxx says

    a quick round-up of Twitter images of police escalation early this morning, at FeministBatwoman.

    HAPPENING NOW (9.24.14): The situation in Ferguson is escalating quickly. Protests continue, following this morning’s burning of a Mike Brown memorial, and another frustrating Ferguson City Council meeting.Looks like the same “antagonize over de-escalate” tactics are back online. Prayers to all those out in the street of Ferguson right now fighting for their right to exist. #staywoke #farfromover (PT I, PT II, PT III)

    Bringing back the dogs, choppers, charging the crowd, attempting to bottleneck protesters into an area, AND live shots possible fired into the crowd… what the ever-living fuck is Ferguson PD trying to do?! We’re a month and a half into this saga, and they still don’t know how to de-escalate a situation. Pray y’all. That might be all we got right now.

    One of the photos shows an officer wearing an “I Am Darren Wilson” wristband.

  155. rq says

    Losing businesses? According to Capt. Ron Johnson (in press conference today), QuikTrip will rebuild and Wal-Mart will stay.
    Also, he says he doesn’t believe police were involved in the burning of the memorial. I hope he’s right.

    Photo from panel discussion: how can social work impact Ferguson?
    So much stuff happening since the shooting of Michael Brown.

    Big news – Grand Jury says no indictment of any officers in John Crawford shooting (the one in Wal-Mart):

    An Ohio special grand jury decided after days of deliberation that no officers will be charged in the death of 22-year-old John Crawford III, who was shot and killed inside a Beaverton Wal-Mart while carrying an air rifle sold at the store.

    Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier announced Wednesday morning at a press conference that the jury found the Aug. 5 police shooting justified.

    Justified, because…? I’d love to hear their logic on this one.

    Musical interlude: local St Louis artists with a rather powerful video. It’s the last scene that got me, the mother holding on to her son’s arm like that.

  156. rq says

    Sooo livestream of Ferguson right now – it goes on. Protestors are out, police are out. Pictures: one, two. There’s not a lot of them out there, but some are still calling them “violent protests” – incl .Capt. Ron Johnson.

    Meanwhile, St Louis is sixth most segregated region in the US.

    According to the report released this morning, St. Louis is the sixth most segregated region in the U.S. Blacks are twice as likely to drop out of high school, their unemployment rate is 2.5 times that of whites, and a third of blacks live in poverty.
    [...]
    “You got 30-35 percent of African Americans that’s been incarcerated, and they have a record. Therefore they cannot get employed, and therefore the cycle begins,” Hoskins said.

    tbc

  157. rq says

    Those Darren Wilson bracelets.

    On John Crawford III:
    Surveillance video released, Vice News link and Vox news link.
    And there may be no indictment, but the DOJ says it will investigate.

    The Dayton Daily News published a version of the tapes on its website synchronized with the 911 call. It shows Crawford III in Pets and Live Fish aisle talking on his cell phone, as a 911 caller tells the dispatcher that a man in the Walmart has a gun and is waving it around and pointing it at people. As Crawford continues to talk on his phone, the officers can be seen entering the store, then a shot is heard on the 911 tape. Crawford III falls to the ground, dropping the pellet gun and moving around the corner of the pet aisle. He then gets back up and returns to the aisle, moving toward an advancing officer — a moment when police said Crawford III appeared to be reaching for the dropped weapon. Crawford III then appears to be shot a second time. He falls back down and remains on the floor. [...]
    The Justice Department’s Civil RIghts Division said in a statement Wednesday that it will now work with the the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Southern Ohio on “an independent review of the facts and circumstances” surrounding Crawford III’s death.

  158. says

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/09/24/3570923/in-ohio-black-youth-wont-let-another-police-shooting-fade-into-the-background/

    With grand jury proceedings underway, the incident has faded from public view, even as tensions re-escalate in Ferguson, Missouri over Michael Brown this week. But some 100 individuals walked 11 miles on Monday in a youth-led movement to draw attention back — not just to Crawford but to the national epidemic of police brutality against African Americans.
    “We as a community in the surrounding areas are demanding the indictment of the police officers for the murder of this young man and we want no lesser charge,” said Jovan Webster, a student at Central State University and one of the organizers of the “John Crawford Pilgrimage.” The march started at the Wal-Mart where Crawford was shot and ended at at the courthouse where a grand jury will weigh whether to indict the officers involved in the incident, and where another 100-or-so individuals stood by in support. For the two days following the march, participants are standing outside the court, where they are engaging in workshops and organizing exercises to build a reform movement.
    Protesters said the march was peaceful and that they felt supported, not antagonized by police. And the movement comes as tensions re-emerged Tuesday night in Ferguson over reports that Michael Brown’s memorial was burned.
    Webster said one of the aims of the protest is to show the community that people are watching, and that they will not forget about Crawford. “We won’t let up like we did in the past,” he said.
    Much of the local momentum came from the Ohio Student Association, a relatively new group that organizes around issues of racial and social justice. But organizers from a number of movements, including the immigration group United We Dream, and Freedom Side, a national coalition of student groups like OSA, came to Ohio to participate.

  159. rq says

    St Lous CBS local on last night’s DOJ visit to Ferguson:

    At least 300 people crammed into a room at St. Louis Community College’s Florissant Valley campus for the meeting hosted by the department’s Civil Rights Division. The investigators were seeking direct input from residents who live in and near Ferguson.

    “We go in and we try to figure out: ‘Is (misconduct) happening? Is it a pattern? Is it violating the constitution? And most importantly, how do we fix it?’” said Christy Lopez, deputy counsel of the Civil Rights Division.

    There was no public comment period but tables were set up for people to share their concerns privately with DOJ officials. And investigators got an earful. [...]
    For example, she said residents complained that officers too often don’t wear name plates, making it difficult to point out those suspected of wrongdoing. Jackson assured the division that officers will immediately start wearing name tags.

    McCullogh on the Grand Jury, still sees himself as perfectly impartial (with video):

    “What happens usually is the investigation is completed,” he said, “The police will get all the witnesses compiled, all the evidence, get transcripts of recorded witnesses. It will be completed and then it’s presented to us.”
    [...]
    “Everyone wants to know right now,” McCulloch said, “There have been calls that I will not be fair and impartial. I don’t think they are true claims, but in an abundance of caution to make sure we get the trust. We could have people say that’s not what the witnesses said. Now we have the witnesses speaking directly to the grand jury.”

    As Antonio French tweets, on this latest press tour, he could visit the black press, too.

    More Bob McCullogh in the Washington Post.

    Kindy: Some people in the community are accusing you of taking this tack to avoid responsibility if Officer [Darren] Wilson isn’t charged. How do you respond to that?
    McCulloch: “I don’t know how that is dodging anything. They are getting direct testimony from witnesses to the event…There are some people regardless of the outcome who will not be happy. That just comes with the territory.”
    [...]
    Kindy: Why extend the grand jury’s term to Jan. 7?
    McCulloch:“Nobody anticipates it will go anywhere near January, but in case something does go wrong, we felt it was important to have that time just in case.”

    Kindy: When was the last time you had to do this with a grand jury; extend their service in this way?
    McCulloch: “I’ve been doing this for 24 years. I haven’t ever done this.”
    [...]
    Kindy: Some members of the community have asked that you step down from the case. They say you can’t be fair. Can you?
    McCulloch: “This argument is silly. They keep bringing up my father who was killed in the line of duty…When I was 12 years old, my father was killed. I lost a loved one to violence. The pain was because I lost my father. It didn’t matter that he was an officer….It shaped my life. If anything, it made me a strong advocate for the victims of violence.”
    [...]
    Kindy: What role are you playing?
    McCulloch: “I am playing the role of the supervisor. The two attorneys (Kathi Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley) who are presenting are highly qualified. They keep me abreast of things: when [the grand jury] is meeting, how many witnesses they have and how things are going. I am not involved with interviewing witnesses or talking to witnesses before they go in or anything like that.

  160. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #14: on Bob McCullogh’s interviews; STL County Police Chief Belmar speaks on Ferguson; on the Darren Wilson bracelets; President Obama Calls Ferguson Embarrassing (Embarrassing?); an article on how not to help (includes white feminists in that list, please read!); a tear gas 101 and more on yesterday’s demands website. Go see for yourselves!

  161. rq says

    Ferguson police chief apologizes to Michael Brown’s parents… in scripted video by that PR firm the city hired. So, basically, can we expect a not-pology?

    “I’m truly sorry for the loss of your son. I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street,” he said during his video statement. [...]
    “Please know that the investigating officers meant no disrespect to the Brown family, to the African-American community or the people (in the neighborhood where Brown was shot). They were simply trying to do their jobs,” Jackson said.

    “Do their jobs” by not doing them and passing the buck as quickly as possible. Right.
    Once again, Antonio French: Jackson’s apology shouldn’t be in a scripted video, but in a resignation letter.

    Oh and hey, remember that list of misconceptions linked to above? Protestors have dropboxed a response. A sample:

    1. The Mayor has the ability to grant pardons for traffic offenses and warrants.
    FALSE: Any authority granted by state law vests in the City Council as a whole rather than just one member of the City Council (Section 3.1 of the City Charter). Regardless of whether it’s the Mayor or the entire Council, they clearly cannot cancel warrants because they cannot override orders of a court.

    Protestor Response: Does this statement suggest that the Mayor is a figurehead? Does the Mayor have no influence over the City Council to influence legislation? Further, while the Mayor may not have the power to grant pardons, he is able to speak out in support of pardons and encourage other City Council members to vote to pardon those with warrants.
    In this letter from St. Louis University School of Law that has already been sent to you, they clearly outline what you could do next.
    [...]
    3. The Mayor or the Police Chief can fire Darren Wilson.
    CLARIFICATION: Officer Wilson may be fired by either the Chief of Police or the City Manager. However, there are legal implications to discharging him without the conclusion of the investigation into wrongdoing, which is being completed by St. Louis County Police and the Prosecuting Attorney.

    Protestor Response:
    The people of Ferguson understand the potential legal implications of discharging Officer Wilson and with such knowledge wish to move forward with his termination.
    Furthermore, we fear that Officer Wilson will no longer be able to do his job in Ferguson without putting both the safety of citizens and his own safety at risk. to protect the citizens of Ferguson from any further unrest. The nearly assured legal implications of failing to protect the 21,000 lawful citizens of this municipality should far outweigh the potential legal implications of requiring one man to find alternative employment, and as the city council, we urge you to fully live up to the oath of your public office, with a mission that states “To set the standard of excellence in public service, safety, and communication.” We ask, therefore, that the City Manager terminate Officer Wilson’s employment to protect the citizens of Ferguson.
    [...]
    7. The City and Police Department are protecting Darren Wilson
    FALSE: The City of Ferguson and the Police Department are not protecting Darren Wilson. We are saddened by the incident that led to the death of Michael Brown and we’re committed only to an investigation that is conducted fairly and without bias.

    Protestor Response:
    The actions of both the City and the Police Department indicate otherwise. Officers showed up to a peaceful memorial
    on Canfield with dogs and wearing riot gear, a deeply insensitive reference to the practices and imagery of the darkest days of the Civil Rights Movement, when officers also used these tactics to beat and intimidate peaceful protestors. Neither the City nor the Police Department released Darren Wilson’s name when asked, repeatedly, by media, protestors, and Michael Brown’s family, through the appropriate legal processes. When Chief Jackson inappropriately
    released security footage from Ferguson Market at the same time he released Darren Wilson’s name, his actions incited
    a riot.. The list of ways in which it appears that neither the City nor the Police Department are saddened or committed to an unbiased investigation goes on and on.
    [...]
    10. The Court Reform (changes to the fines and forfeitures) were only in response to the demands of the protestors.
    CLARIFICATION: Court reforms have been considered for months. Just a few months ago, the Court signed an order with regard to court dockets and easier access with regard to the municipal court. Last spring, the Ferguson Municipal Court initiated a new community service program for those municipal court defendants who were 19 years of age and younger. This program was meant to keep younger defendants from facing a large amount of fines and possible warrants issued after the defendant fails to appear in court. The Court wanted to analyze the results of this program before broadening it to a larger group of defendants. It appears to have been successful so far. The Court is currently working on a community service program for all defendants. The City of Ferguson was the first city with a municipal court to implement this program last spring. It continues to be the first to implement further reforms.

    Protestor Response:
    This is disingenuous at best. The purported amnesty program is directly linked to the protests, even though the City has taken no efforts to publicize it and is not accepting calls of people who inquire about it. Again, the half implementation of the amnesty program is another example of systemic and structural racism – creating systems and
    structures that disadvantage people of color.
    [...]
    12. The Mayor doesn’t acknowledge the racial divide nor does he care about African American people or what happened to peaceful protestors, Michael Brown and his remains.
    FALSE: The Mayor was raised in this community. He went to school here. He served 10 years on the city council, working with the concerns of all residents. He made a mistake regarding his comments about the racial divide and Michael Brown’s body and he is deeply sorry.
    He knows there are racial divides all over this country and in Ferguson communities. His statement about there being no racial divide was taken out of context and he has repeatedly apologized both publicly and to people who may have been offended. Regarding comments about Michael Brown and protestors: He meant no disrespect to Michael Brown or his family. As far as the protestors are concerned, he has apologized to various groups and will continue to do so.

    Protestor Response:
    We will revisit this once the PR firm provides the proper context for the Mayor’s remarks, as referred to above.

    13. The city hired a PR firm to distract people and the media from the truth.
    FALSE: We are a small municipality that could not and should not have a media/communications team on staff or under retainer around the clock as that would be a waste of tax payer dollars. But just as there is a specific need for accountants and lawyers, there is a need for communications people to help us manage the multitude of media queries and request that limit our ability to speak to our local constituents and conduct city business as usual.
    We hired Common Ground PR to assist with media relations and the Devin JamesGroup (a locally-based nationally certified Minority-owned firm) to assist with community outreach and communication strategies.

    Protestor Response:
    If this list of 18 “misconceptions” was produced by the PR firm, then there is much work to be done. This document is not enough to restore faith and trust from citizens, especially when it is riddled with untruths, spin, and incorrect grammar.[ loved the dig at incorrect grammar]
    [...]
    15. The police department is trying to keep protesters from demonstrating by using excessive force and arrest.
    FALSE: The Ferguson Police Department and specifically Chief Tom Jackson and Sergeant Dilworth have been actively meeting with various protest groups throughout this process to get a better understanding of their demands, request and planned activities. While the protest may have caused some discomfort for residents, we truly believe that
    open dialogue with the protest groups is an effective outreach strategy that has the potential to greatly reduce any additional damage to property, loss of business or violence in the coming months. For example, on September 7, 2014 there was a large protest on West Florissant Avenue. Only two arrests were made – in both cases, the person failed to comply with a direct order of a police officer. They were arrested by St. Louis County officers. Also, there have been several protests within the City of Ferguson without anyone having been arrested.

    Protestor Response:
    With this answer, you have chosen to ignore the excessive force covered in social and traditional media from August 9th – September 7th, during which the most egregious acts of brutality and excessive force occurred. In addition, what occurred on September 20, 2014 at the Ferguson Farmers Market and on S. Florissant road is a perfect example of the police department mistreating protestors and favoring those opposed to protestors. When civilians assaulted protestors at the farmers market, police did not arrest those civilians. They did, however, threaten to arrest protestors. Later, after a car hit protestors on Florissant Road, police arrested a peaceful protestor standing on a curb, in addition to arresting the driver and a protestor involved in the incident. In addition, police have threatened to arrest protestors, have laughed at protestors, have called protestors names, and have pulled out their cell phones to record protestors. None of these things indicate a desire for open dialogue or any respect for protestors as human beings.

    See the document to see the other responses.

  162. Pteryxx says

    I just saw that too, rq.

    NPR via Rawstory:

    Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear that he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.

    Holder already is one of the longest-serving members of the Obama Cabinet and ranks as the fourth-longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, in early February 2009 to witness his return to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general — the second in command — during the Clinton administration.

    But some of that early glow faded in part due to the politicized nature of the job and in part because of Holder’s own rhetoric, such as a 2009 Black History Month speech where he said the country was “a nation of cowards” when it comes to discussions about racial tension.

    [...]

    Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights: refusing to defend a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman; suing North Carolina and Texas over voting restrictions that disproportionately affect minorities and the elderly; launching 20 investigations of abuses by local police departments; and using his bully pulpit to lobby Congress to reduce prison sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. Many of those sentences disproportionately hurt minority communities.

    There are people in Ferguson (and other communities) who only dared speak to the federal officers *because* they trusted their accounts would not be shared with local police. Eric Holder means a lot to them.

  163. rq says

    Calling for votes against Stenger – from September 22.

    Those who addressed the County council issued a call for voters to take action at the ballot box if County Executive candidate Steve Stenger won’t retract his endorsement of Bob McCulloch.

    “We’re not just saying black voters,” explained Baruti. “We’re saying voters who have any sense of justice, any sense of fairness, any sense of consciousness to join us in our campaign.”

  164. says

    From Pteryxx’s #242:

    But some of that early glow faded in part due to the politicized nature of the job and in part because of Holder’s own rhetoric, such as a 2009 Black History Month speech where he said the country was “a nation of cowards” when it comes to discussions about racial tension.

    I don’t have a problem with that statement…

  165. rq says

    Ah, but Tony, that’s the wrong kind of politicized, coming from a Black Man of Stature. Toe the party line and all that, be grateful and less uppity – especially since he’s in charge of the Bully Pulpit: he’s been bullying the wrong folks all along!
    (The statement, I would say, is more than accurate – if even Obama himself can call Ferguson ‘an embarrassment’ in front of the UN, and nothing more – nope, no problems here!)

  166. rq says

    The Canadian perspective!
    Toronto Star on Ferguson Police Chief’s apology to the Brown family (non-free article, they don’t have the unlocked ones anymore): nothing to really blockquote, it’s a pretty straightforward piece.

    CBC.ca on the Holder resignation:

    White House officials said Obama had not made a final decision on a replacement for Holder, who was one of the most progressive voices in his Cabinet. A Justice Department official said Holder finalized his plans in a meeting with the president over the Labor Day weekend.

    Some possible candidates who have been discussed among administration officials include Solicitor General Don Verrilli, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a former Rhode Island attorney general.
    [...]
    The news of Holder’s resignation came as civil rights leaders and the families of Brown and Eric Garner, who died in a New York City police chokehold this summer, were appearing at a news conference in Washington calling on the Justice Department to take over investigations into the deaths.

    The Rev. Al Sharpton urged the White House to meet with civil rights representatives before appointing a replacement. “There has not been an attorney general with a civil rights record equal to Attorney General Eric Holder,” Sharpton said.

    Let’s hope the next one can match him.

  167. Pteryxx says

    Shakesville quote of the day:

    “He ran the DOJ much like the Black Panthers would. That is a fact.”—Fox News host Andrea Tantaros, on the air today, discussing the legacy of departing Attorney General Eric Holder.

    Source at talkingpointsmemo

    McEwan also linked to the Black Panther’s Ten Point Program, because it’s OBVIOUSLY SO TERRIFYING.

    Wiki link

    The Black Panther Party first publicized its original Ten-Point program on May 15, 1967, following the Sacramento action, in the second issue of the Black Panther newspaper.[27] The original ten points of “What We Want Now!” follow:

    We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black Community.
    We want full employment for our people.
    We want an end to the robbery by the white men of our Black Community.
    We want decent housing, fit for shelter of human beings.
    We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present day society.
    We want all Black men to be exempt from military service.
    We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and MURDER of Black people.
    We want freedom for all Black men held in federal, state, county and city prisons and jails.
    We want all Black people when brought to trial to be tried in court by a jury of their peer group or people from their Black Communities, as defined by the Constitution of the United States.
    We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.

    Further history and source: hanover.edu

  168. rq says

    Okay… apparently protestors were warned that tear gas was about to come, but I can’t check that – it was one of those twitter videos (vines?) that always crash my browser. I’ll put up the otehr stuff I have, then go look for that.
    Anyway, more on the stand-off tonight:
    Patricia Bynes saw snipers on the roof of the fire department (or at least official men with guns);
    arrests, arrests, more arrests;
    Trayvon Martin’s friends came out;
    regarding attacks on the police chief – this is from a few seconds before cops moved in.

    tbc

  169. rq says

    A little more: media calls it a scuffle, but protestors insist the chief was invited to march with them and did so willingly but did nothing when cops moved in for no real reason.

    It was shortly after Jackson agreed to walk and talk with the demonstrators that a scuffle broke out somewhere behind the chief, and officers moved in to make arrests. There was no indication that Jackson was threatened, but he was quickly escorted inside the building.

    Ah, so that’s the version now.

    Speaking of Jackson, St Louis American on why he should be fired – or, he could just resign.

    Ferguson, Missouri is a glaring example of a police department that suffers from a void of integrity and moral compass in its leadership style. That can only be viewed as the responsibility, or failure thereof, of Chief Jackson. The chief’s leadership style has allowed his officers to operate without legal consequences for their belligerent attitudes against the segment of the Ferguson community that has been the object of the kind of disregard and disrespect that allowed Officer Darren Wilson to empty his revolver into the body of a defenseless teenager who, by the accounts of several witnesses, had his arms raised in a surrender mode while he cried out, “Don’t shoot!”

    The black community is also demanding Chief Jackson’s removal due to the arrogant manner in which he violated the advice of both the United States’ Department of Justice and the Missouri Highway Patrol. Both agencies advised the chief not to release a video of Michael Brown that had no relevance on the shooting of Mike Brown by Officer Wilson. Chief Jackson claimed that he had received multiple requests for the video under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Here’s another look at that scripted apology of his… from the PR firm headed by this guy. Yeah, that’s the one who also got fired for being a convicted killer. I could swear I had a link above on that conviction, but I can’t find it now. Anyhow.

    “Charlie Dooley terminated my contract,” James said. James is the president of his public relation firm and has been instrumental in many of the decisions the city of Ferguson has made since the shooting death of Michael Brown.

    James said ten years ago, he was convicted of reckless homicide for the shooting death of a man that he said was attempting to rob him in 2004. He was sentenced to a total of 90 days in prison and five years probation.

    James was in charge of communication strategies for officials in Ferguson. “I called the shots,” he said. James says apologies from the chief and decisions made by the Civilian Review Board don’t happen without his input and permission.

    That sounds like a lot of credit to take. Is it? I don’t know how PR firms usually work.

    More on Eric Holder next.

  170. rq says

    Timeline of Holder in pictures, his entire stint as Attorney General. Not perfect, but nicely done.

    Obama announces Holder’s resignation. I like the headline: A competing agenda over security and civil rights.

    +++

    indiegogo funding page for #Ferguson.

    Libby Anne on John Crawford III and a little bit on privilege.

    Another (non-fatal) officer shooting results in no charges for the officer – the family is appealing, though.

    Meanwhile in Ferguson, police and protestors still standing off.

  171. rq says

    thisisthemovement, installment #15: open letter from protestors about September 25; more on last night, and the convicted PR firm; when is it legal to get shot; still no use-of-force report (as required) in Michael Brown case (so they’re skipping all the paperwork and leaving no trail); a little bit on Holder and Jackson’s apology; other officer shootings we’ve seen recently (incl. Crawford). Go give them the traffic.

  172. rq says

    I’m just wondering, though – what if they find Holder’s replacement a lot faster than expected? Before January 7 or before any of the other investigations are properly wrapped up? How will that impact any results or (un)possible indictments?

  173. rq says

    Police have really cracked down with arrests today, others have been warning for people to stay home – not likely.

    Chris King in Q&A with Bob McCullogh, St Louis American link:

    McCulloch was returning a weeks-old message from the state’s largest African-American newspaper, which only was added to the prosecutor’s media list during the Ferguson protests. McCulloch has been county prosecutor for 24 years. The St. Louis American was founded in 1928.

    McCulloch fielded a series of questions of interest to the black community and other observers of the Darren Wilson case, in addition to the question of timing. [...]
    Has the video of the contractors reacting to the shooting of Michael Brown been shown to the grand jury? “It will be if it hasn’t.” [...]
    Many have said because your father was a police officer killed in the line of duty by a black man that you can’t prosecute this case fairly. “That’s basically a bare, unsubstantiated allegation. It’s accurate that my father was a police officer killed in the line of duty by a man who was African-American, but that’s irrelevant. Nothing I have ever done has shown that I am biased against blacks or toward the police. My father’s story is not a secret, yet I’ve been elected seven times since it was known.

    A few more at the link.

  174. says

    The Skeptic’s Dictionary is the last place I thought I’d find material that was relevant to this thread (although come to think of it, given that Bob Carroll deals with critical thinking and logic, I can see where many of his entries beyond this one might be relevant to a discussion of racism or police militarization). I was wrong.
    Carroll reviews Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, which I think has just a bit of relevance to this thread.

  175. rq says

    Just as a note, regarding freedom of the press, Eric Holder was apparently the worst AG ever.

    Ryan J Reilly on the DOJ and the “I am Darren Wilson” wristbands.

    Christy Lopez, deputy chief of the special litigation section of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, sent a letter to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson on Friday indicating that Jackson had agreed to prohibit Ferguson officers from wearing “I am Darren Wilson” bracelets while in uniform and on duty. The letter said Jackson had said he would make sure the other municipal agencies working in Ferguson would prohibit their officers from wearing the bracelets as well.

    In the same article, on nametags:

    Police officers regularly ditched their name tags during protests last month, allowing them to operate anonymously and making it more difficult for citizens to hold individual officers accountable for their actions. Asked about officers not wearing name tags last month, Johnson said people were harassing officers online, while Jackson said that protestors would use an officer’s name to taunt them. “It kind of reduces that personal taunt and allows us to be generic,” Jackson said at the time.

    Generic, my ass.

    Demographics: Harlem in transition.

    But the neighborhood is in the midst of a profound and accelerating shift. In greater Harlem, which runs river to river, and from East 96th Street and West 106th Street to West 155th Street, blacks are no longer a majority of the population — a shift that actually occurred a decade ago, but was largely overlooked.

    By 2008, their share had declined to 4 in 10 residents. Since 2000, central Harlem’s population has grown more than in any other decade since the 1940s, to 126,000 from 109,000, but its black population — about 77,000 in central Harlem and about twice that in greater Harlem — is smaller than at any time since the 1920s.

    Even though protests in Ferguson are (more or less) peaceful, there’s a definitely a feeling of something imminent: cops loading up riot shields and batons (twitter photos), and even the highway patrol is preparing for the worst (KMOV.com link).
    I’m more inclined to believe the protestor version of events, I’m not sorry to say.

    Ah, and from Wonkette, police officers trying to kill and beat people a little less… maybe.

    mtc

  176. rq says

    Apparently I still only know how to count to 7.
    Just as a note, regarding freedom of the press, Eric Holder was apparently the worst AG ever.

    Ryan J Reilly on the DOJ and the “I am Darren Wilson” wristbands.

    Christy Lopez, deputy chief of the special litigation section of DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, sent a letter to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson on Friday indicating that Jackson had agreed to prohibit Ferguson officers from wearing “I am Darren Wilson” bracelets while in uniform and on duty. The letter said Jackson had said he would make sure the other municipal agencies working in Ferguson would prohibit their officers from wearing the bracelets as well.

    In the same article, on nametags:

    Police officers regularly ditched their name tags during protests last month, allowing them to operate anonymously and making it more difficult for citizens to hold individual officers accountable for their actions. Asked about officers not wearing name tags last month, Johnson said people were harassing officers online, while Jackson said that protestors would use an officer’s name to taunt them. “It kind of reduces that personal taunt and allows us to be generic,” Jackson said at the time.

    Generic, my ass.

    Demographics: Harlem in transition.

    But the neighborhood is in the midst of a profound and accelerating shift. In greater Harlem, which runs river to river, and from East 96th Street and West 106th Street to West 155th Street, blacks are no longer a majority of the population — a shift that actually occurred a decade ago, but was largely overlooked.

    By 2008, their share had declined to 4 in 10 residents. Since 2000, central Harlem’s population has grown more than in any other decade since the 1940s, to 126,000 from 109,000, but its black population — about 77,000 in central Harlem and about twice that in greater Harlem — is smaller than at any time since the 1920s.

    Even though protests in Ferguson are (more or less) peaceful, there’s a definitely a feeling of something imminent: cops loading up riot shields and batons (twitter photos), and even the highway patrol is preparing for the worst (KMOV.com link).
    I’m more inclined to believe the protestor version of events, I’m not sorry to say.

    mtc

  177. rq says

    Ah, and from Wonkette, police officers trying to kill and beat people a little less… maybe.
    A family in Louisiana might dispute that.

    Two good screengrabs from last night’s America After Ferguson: “We love to think that racism died with MLK, but it was racism that killed MLK” and We here in St Louis aren’t “after Ferguson” yet, we’re still in it”. The expression on Antonio French.

    NBC on the DOJ ban of the DW bracelets. Wanted to put this up with the other one, but too many tabs. Anyhoo.

    The U.S. Justice Department scolded the Ferguson, Missouri, police chief Friday for letting law enforcement officers obscure their names on their badges and wear bracelets honoring Darren Wilson, the Ferguson cop who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown. [bolding mine - the word bothers me, especially in this context, as something trivial, almost joking - is there a point they're trying to make?]
    The letter said it wasn’t clear which agencies the officers worked for, but it said Jackson was responsible because “the actions ofother police officers while in Ferguson can impact your community as much as the actions of your own officers” by reinforcing “the very ‘us versus them’ mentality that many residents of Ferguson believe exists.”

    Annnnd a Fox2Now link on the same:

    The justice department sent letters to the city of Ferguson this week outlining their expectation that officers will begin wearing their name plate immediately.

    In the letter DOJ officials say the requirement to wear name badges is outlined in the city police department’s general order.

    A letter today also explains an understanding between Chief Jackson and the DOJ that no officers will wear “I am Darren Wilson” bracelets while on duty or in uniform.

    The language: not so sensationalized.

    tbc

  178. rq says

    Okay, I’m back at Twitter!
    This will be in reverse order.

    First, simplifying the arrest process. Sad that this is necessary as preparation. Sad and ominous.
    Community: providing lunch to protestors.
    Community: All in, together.

    Arrested for loitering in front of the Ferguson PD. I do hope the DOJ is following along.

    thisisthemovement.org, installment #16: pieces on the arrests (plus video) some of which I have linked to above; prohibition of the “I Am Darren Wilson” bracelets; recap of the week; reporters on their experiences in Ferguson; the lack of hip-hop voices speaking out against what is happening in Ferguson; a link to the demands again; a link to the misconceptions. Go look for yourselves!

  179. rq says

    Some protestors have impressive resumes.
    And let’s not forget what (re)started it all: new and improved Michael Brown memorial.

    Michael Brown’s parents respond to police chief’s so-notpology:

    “I don’t want words, I want action,” McSpadden said.

    The parents, both wearing t-shirts with messages about their son, talked hesitantly about their emotions following their son’s death. McSpadden said she feels lost and helpless, and her life will never be normal again. “I have to find a new normal,” she said haltingly.

    “I’m empty,” Brown said quietly. “There’s nothing there anymore. It’s hard to fill that spot with other happiness.” [...]
    Ferguson residents complained about the black bracelets with white lettering this week at a meeting with federal officials. The Brown’s family lawyer, Benjamin Crump, said the bracelets give an impression that the police lack impartiality in this case.

    “It lets me know how they really feel about the situation, and the wrongness that they do,” McSpadden said.[...]
    “I taught my son respect for a policeman, for you, for this woman, for anybody, so if he felt like he was doing nothing wrong, which I don’t believe he was, why would he be in fear of him? You’re not supposed to fear the police.”

    tbc

  180. rq says

    As an aside (but not really):
    voting should be free, as a right, not subject to hoop-jumping;
    civil rights and feminism – reminds me, this article is only briefly related to Ferguson, but it also touches on what someone said in the Disillusionment thread, about the fight for civil rights and the non-fight for feminism: why the future of feminism is not up to white women.

    Did I already post this, on bracelets and nametags on police? I may have, jsut not from the NY Times. Meh, again.

    tbc

  181. rq says

    Ah, and thinkprogress.org on the bracelets, too. (Sorry, it’s late on Saturday, things slip my mind.)

    The right to exist is not the only one up for protest: children protest for a higher standard of education in Vashon.

    “We want to earn a diploma instead of a diploma being given to us,” said Alfred Montgomery, the senior who organized the protest. “We want to be heard. … We want the kind of education they’re getting at Gateway and CA,” he said, referring to Gateway STEM High School and Clyde C. Miller Career Academy.

    Beside Montgomery stood a group, most of them juniors and seniors, who say they’re frustrated by the classroom disruptions and the lack of teaching at Vashon, in the high-poverty Jeff-Vander-Lou neighborhood. They chanted “No more subs!” Some carried signs reading “We need teachers” and “Treat us like students not prisoners.” As the school day began for more than 400 students inside the building, they were there to draw attention to their concerns.

    “We don’t have homework. We barely have classwork,” said Nekiyah Bass, a senior.

    One for the facepalms: Ferguson police chief sees himself and department as misunderstood. You have got to be kidding me, except I know it’s for real.

    Jackson, 57, told the Post-Dispatch on Friday that the 2½-minute video, produced by a public relations firm for the city, was heartfelt. Jackson said he did not wear his uniform during the apology because it “was from me and it was personal. It got it off my chest.

    “It was weighing on me because it had to do with the family and me as a family man.”

    Jackson said that after St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar spoke publicly on Wednesday about lessons learned in the wake of the killing, the timing for the apology seemed right.

    But the move seemed to reignite protesters calling for Jackson’s firing. Some outside police headquarters in recent days held signs demanding it.

    Jackson saw them. He went out among the protesters Thursday night, as he said he had many times before. One sign read, “Chief Jackass.”

    “I thought, ‘Wow, that’s way cold,’ ” Jackson said. “I don’t take it personally, especially coming from the people who are here from out of town without knowing me.”

  182. rq says

    From that officer training link:

    Jackson, who sat near the back of the church for most of the meeting, told the crowd of about 80 people that he’s had several eye-opening moments since Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson shot Brown and sparked a nationwide conversation on policing and race.

    One of the revelations Jackson said he’s learned about is the so-called “talk” black parents often have with their children. The talk, in the black community, is a conversation in which parents tell their children they inherently have strikes against them and that many people will view them as a threat, regardless of character.

    Ignorance is a large bubble to be burst.

  183. Pteryxx says

    Some collected tweets and images for the non-twitter-capable, partly auto-curated by rightnow.io

    rq, thanks so much for staying on top of Twitter in real time.

  184. carlie says

    Antonio French is now reporting that police are putting on riot gear. This is going to be really bad really fast.

  185. rq says

    So, it appears that neither shooting last night was directly linked to the Michael Brown protests: Washington Post link.

    thisisthemovement, installment #17: info on last night, interview with Michael Brown’s parents; Obama mentions Ferguson at a Congressional Black Caucus event; more on police shootings, incl. a list of the past week; progressive christianity and Ferguson; and again, protestor response to the misconceptions and a link to the demands. Go see!

  186. rq says

    Video: how the interaction with the Darren Wilson supporter happened, from last night.

    Michael Brown’s parents: don’t just apologize, resign!

    The parents of Michael Brown said they were unmoved by Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson’s apology which he offered earlier this week, more than a month after their 18-year-old son was killed by a white police officer.

    “An apology would be when Darren Wilson has handcuffs, processed and charged with murder,” Michael Brown Sr. told the AP, while Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, said Chief Tom Jackson should be fired.

    That trooper who shot down the unarmed over seatbelts has been fired. That’s the least that could happen.

    The demographics of teaching: 2% of teachers in America are black. That is… not a lot.

  187. rq says

    Here’s thestar.com and cbc.ca on last night’s officer shootings;

    Belmar said he did not think the officer’s shooting was related to two separate protests about Michael Brown’s shooting that were going on Saturday night around the same time.

    (There were two protests? Thought it was just the one, in several groups…)

  188. says

    rq @315:
    2% huh?
    Let’s see what the numbers are. From the National Center for Education Statistics:

    A projected 3.7 million full-time-equivalent (FTE) elementary and secondary school teachers were engaged in classroom instruction in fall 2012. This number has risen 7 percent since 2002. The 2012 projected number of FTE teachers includes 3.3 million public school teachers and 0.4 million private school teachers.

    So out of 3,700,000 teachers in the US, there are approximately 74,000 black ones. Yeah, that figure is quite low.

    ****
    Can Ferguson officials get any more tone deaf?

    After police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown, the city of Ferguson hired a public relations representative who had also shot and killed an unarmed man.
    [...]
    To help with the national attention the small town of Ferguson, Missouri was receiving in the aftermath of police officer Darren Wilson’s shooting of unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown, St. Louis County offered to pick up the tab for a public relations representative. The man they offered was not a resident of Ferguson, St. Louis, or even Missouri. And there was at least one minority-owned St. Louis PR firm who tried to get the contract, but was ignored.

    The man who got the contract was the owner of a Tennessee-based advertising agency.

    Devin Sean James is the owner of The Devin James Group. He was contracted by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, then loaned to the city of Ferguson. Fees, part of which The Devin James Group were to receive according to the contract, were not to exceed $100,000 for “communications management consulting and public relations services related to the shooting of Michael Brown, Jr.,” which was also referred to as “the Project.”

    “James, 32, began working for the city about two weeks after Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson killed the unarmed 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, adding that James “was being paid $154.10 an hour.”

    He has been handling media requests and overseeing Ferguson’s public relations strategy, including arranging a video statement released Thursday in which Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson apologized to Brown’s family.

    Ferguson officials knew of James’ conviction before they signed a contract with him, Mayor James Knowles III said Thursday.

    [...]
    The issue is not James’ qualifications or ability. The Post-Dispatch says he did a good job. Rather, the issue is the upsetting similarity of his having shot and killed an unarmed man and being chosen to speak for a town whose police did the same thing, to a people rightfully incensed. This is not an attack on Devin Sean James, rather, on political leaders in Ferguson, including Mayor Knowles, and those in St. Louis County who were involved, and who clearly had learned nothing from the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent protests.

  189. rq says

    <bTony re: Devin Sean James
    There’s also the fact that Ferguson hired him to give him a second chance, as a convicted black man – and yet fired him as soon as the public found out he had (that kind of) a conviction. You know, if you make your choices, you stand by them, usually….

    +++

    Order is all over the place. Protestors were standing off with police by the end of the night (that is, now), even though everything started out with a peaceful march again. Last night I left off with the bike riding. This morning, let me start off with police:
    Police in action (so far, I hear up to 5 people have been arrested, but I can’t be sure – at least 3);
    The scene: one, two; three, four.

    tbc

  190. rq says

    Police raise money for Darren Wilson, still want trust of public for a complete, transparent investigation.

    Here’s that Stenger ad (youtube video) mentioned above.

    Some clarification on the Ferguson shooting from night before last, there’s been a lot of unclear information floating around, including a still-live rumour that a child has also been shot.

    LA Times: Ferguson residents fear the worst is yet to come. It seems a bit… well, read it yourselves. It’s not long. It seems to side with the police and their supporters, quite heavily.

  191. carlie says

    On another front: The city of Ferguson is demanding incredibly high fees to access records. Missouri has a “Sunshine Law” that requires public offices to turn over public records (including official emails), but allows entities to charge a “reasonable fee” for the cost involved in an employee getting the documents together, photocopying, etc.

    So guess what the city is doing? Yep.

    The city has demanded high fees to produce copies of records that, under Missouri law, it could give away free if it determined the material was in the public’s interest to see. Instead, in some cases, the city has demanded high fees with little explanation or cost breakdown. It billed The Associated Press $135 an hour — for nearly a day’s work — merely to retrieve a handful of emails since the shooting.

    That fee compares with an entry-level, hourly salary of $13.90 in the city clerk’s office, and it didn’t include costs to review the emails or release them.[...]

    Ferguson told the AP it wanted nearly $2,000 to pay a consulting firm for up to 16 hours of work to retrieve messages on its own email system, a practice that information technology experts call unnecessary.

  192. rq says

    Ferguson demands high fees for access to records (thanks, carlie!):

    The city has demanded high fees to produce copies of records that, under Missouri law, it could give away free if it determined the material was in the public’s interest to see. Instead, in some cases, the city has demanded high fees with little explanation or cost breakdown. It billed The Associated Press $135 an hour — for nearly a day’s work — merely to retrieve a handful of emails since the shooting. [bolding mine - that's a lot!] [...]
    Some states provide public records for free or little cost, while others like Missouri can require fees that “result in the lowest charges for search, research and duplication.” The AP asked for a fee waiver because it argued the records would serve the public interest, as the law allows, but that request was denied. [...]
    Ferguson told the AP it wanted nearly $2,000 to pay a consulting firm for up to 16 hours of work to retrieve messages on its own email system, a practice that information technology experts call unnecessary. The firm, St. Louis-based Acumen Consulting, wouldn’t comment specifically on Ferguson’s contract, but said the search could be more complicated and require technicians to examine tape backups. [...]
    The Anchorage Press said officials at first wanted $6,500 in search fees, leading the newspaper to withdraw its request. Thousands of pages of those emails were ultimately provided to news organizations for about $725 in copying charges.

    That’s huge amounts of money!! Okay, I’ll give them copying charges for thousands of pages… but the search fees? Wow.

  193. rq says

    Two more news sources on the high fees for records in Ferguson: Associated Press and CBS St Louis.

    Media recap of last night: uneasy peace holds in Ferguson. No mention of riots, as per the usual – thoughts are this is due to the fact that white allies were present:

    But the crowd also policed itself, resolving disagreements quickly and calming those who tried to enter the street to confront the line of the police. Ferguson Police Lt. Craig Rettke said the police also would enforce a local noise ordinance starting at 11 p.m., but protesters quieted down at that time in response and shushed those who didn’t abide. [...]
    “Our allies actually came together and said they want to actually show that this is, even though it’s targeted toward black people, it’s not just black people that are outraged,” said Montague Simmons of the Organization for Black Struggle. “Up until now, the media has really painted this as just a few black people who are really mad and want to stay in confrontation and that’s not it. There are lots of citizens across the city that are outraged by this, and they want justice.”

    Key report in Michael Brown shooting doesn’t exist, according to Ferguson PD.

    Ferguson Police Department protocol requires that a use-of-force report be submitted after all such incidents — lethal, nonlethal and even when barehanded physical force is used.

    A written directive signed by Chief Thomas Jackson in 2010 states “early and accurate reporting helps establish agency credibility.” [...]
    The absence of the use-of-force report or even an explanation of why one wasn’t filed is the latest example of Ferguson authorities withholding public information in the aftermath of the shooting of Brown, who was black, by Wilson, who is white.

    Unfortunately, Darren Wilson was placed under lockdown before he could write it, I suppose. :P Won’t be trusting any report that comes out at this point in time.
    There’s a nice picture of the actual use-of-force policy. And a nice long write-up of Darren Wilson’s time in the force (no complaints, etc.).

  194. rq says

    Rumour crushed.

    thisisthemovement, installment #18. Lots of good stuff, but don’t have time to do a run-down summary as I’m heading to early bed tonight, for a change. Please go look for yourselves, they’re branching out into all kinds of topics (incl. PTSD).

    About that five second rule, that seems to be illegal: officers like to keep it enforced and tell protestors to keep moving.

    Plastic handcuffs were thrown at protestors. Innnteresting, so they should arrest themselves pre-emptively now? :P

  195. rq says

    Oh, last item: Darren Wilson received an award for a drug case; however, he did not show up at a hearing today, which means… ?

    The case has also raised questions about how many others may be affected by the investigation into Wilson’s Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

    [...]

    A prosecutor told St. Louis County Associate Circuit Judge Mary Bruntrager Schroder in court that the case would instead be taken in front of a grand jury as early as Wednesday – an alternate path to advance the case. [...]
    But he said he had been “assured” by Wilson’s lawyers that Wilson would not show up for any hearings in the case, or for any other cases this year. He also said that he spoke with one defense lawyer Monday who had another case involving Wilson, scheduled for trial in October. [...]
    Zotos, asked why Wilson would testify in front of one grand jury and not another, he replied, “Well, it served his purpose. Today, it doesn’t serve his purpose.”

    Brooks [the man accused in the drug case] declined to comment after Monday’s hearing, but he has been anticipating a dismissal since last month, when he predicted in a Facebook post that the charges would be dropped. He also claimed Wilson “beat my ass in my front yard while I was handcuffed then gave me 6 felonies.”

    A summary of the incident is also at the link. Charges could be dropped, I think if Wilson doesn’t show up?
    They’re compromising a lot in keeping him safe for shooting Michael Brown.

  196. says

    Isn’t it funny (it’s not funny at all) how Wilson’s defenders insist that there’s nothing at all wrong with the justice system or its enforcers in and around Ferguson.

    But all the same, they’re desperate to make sure they never surrender Wilson to the tender mercies of their perfect, unbiased system.

    Weird, huh? It’s almost as though they have some kind of fear that the system might not be perfectly fair or something. Isn’t that what they always say? Have your day in court, prove yourself? If his assertions were real, wouldn’t he be providing the evidence and reporting it to police, as all people are urged to do, to allow the unbiased and perfectly fair justice system to work its slow but inexorable way to fucking over the Blacks pure, lilywhite (sic) truth?

    If he’s done nothing wrong, then surely he’s got nothing to hide, right? That’s what the authoritarians tell us, over and over.

    Odd that it doesn’t apply to them.

    Or that they feel that, in the even of a perceived bias in the system, one should opt out, like Wilson has.

    It’s almost like there’s some kind of difference between Wilson and the people he’s in armed occupation of ‘policing’. I wonder what it could be? I’m sure it’s something very important, and relevant.

  197. rq says

    Random photo – it’s the first time I’ve seen organized religion so front and center at the protests, which isn’t to say it hasn’t been present. Just not so obvious.

    After saying he has never heard of the 5-second rule, Capt. Johnson says that troopers and STL County police will not enforce it. You can stand here and protest, he says. So it’s a local Ferguson thing.

    “Front Line” protestors: those willing to stay on the street and get arrested.

  198. rq says

    The arrested pastor just released, good news for Johnson’s credibility.

    +++

    Again, on that stalling court case of Darren Wilson’s, the one that is attempting to go through all the right channels of due process while Darren Wilson… doesn’t seem to exist?

    Wilson was expected to testify so that a judge could determine whether there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial. His no-show sent prosecutors into damage control, making the case another potential casualty of the disruption that has racked the St. Louis suburb since Brown’s death. [...]
    Almost a year later, Wilson earned a commendation for the arrest from Chief Tom Jackson at a Feb. 11 Ferguson City Council meeting. Images of Wilson receiving the award for “extraordinary effort in the line of duty” became one of the only photos of the officer to be widely distributed by the media after he went into hiding.

    Wilson’s award for the arrest — along with his lack of a disciplinary record in Ferguson — remains one of the few details known about the officer’s career. He was identified by Chief Jackson nearly a week after the shooting.

    (I’m starting to think he’s been given a new life and a new identity, sort of like a witness protection program, or else he’s invisible, or something, because that lockdown around him is just so tight… Yesterday on twitter people were also wondering why no friends, classmates or family members have spoken about him, seeing as how someone in the community should know him. Starting to wonder if he’s the right guy – not that there’s much doubt about that, though.)
    And then Darren Wilson texts a friend.

    The policeman who shot dead a black teenager in St Louis has revealed he is under 24-hour guard and ‘can’t go out’ at this ‘stressful time’ in his first comments since the killing.

    Darren Wilson text messaged a close friend to say that he can’t leave protective custody because he would be immediately recognized – making him and his young child a target.

    [...]
    He said: ‘It’s sad for Mike Brown and his family. Darren could have just Tasered him and Mike would have spent six months in jail or something and maybe got his act together after that.

    ‘Darren could have gone on with his life too but now both of their lives are over. It sucks.

    ‘I’m sure Mike’s family is having a hard time but at least they have the support of the whole nation behind them, openly. Darren doesn’t get that’.

    Yes, “Darren doesn’t get that”. Darren right now is getting more than Mike ever got – he’s being protected from the law, from the consequences, of murder by a whole slew of official bodies, and he dares to complain about how unfair it is to be painted so badly in the media. I cannot… I cannot. I cannot. Like that Washington football fan who cried when faced with real, actual, Indians. “It’s so unfair, they’re so mean to me!” Don’t fucking shoot people, then!!! Or hide from the consequences, at least that. Just… urgh. What was that you said, Cait, about that umm difference?

    Remember that officer who was asked if his body-cam was on? Turns out, they’re difficult to turn on, like with that officer who was chasing the shooting suspect the other night. Apparently he didn’t have time to turn it on. It’s true,

    “There’s no time to put the camera on when you’re in a foot pursuit,” Eickhoff said, noting that what happened did not violate the department’s policy on use of the devices. “He was focused on calling in on his radio.”

    The officer stopped by the new Ferguson Community Center, in the 1000 block of Smith Avenue, about 9 p.m. Saturday as part of routine patrol duties and spotted a man running from the back of the building. The officer lost sight of him during a foot chase and was ambushed at the crest of a hill.

    Technology is complicated.

    More on the arrests: Protestors believe they were orchestrated to squelch dissent. (Squelch – good word, that.)

    Protesters, black and white, complained that none were read their Miranda rights. Some believed the arrests were orchestrated by police to gain negotiating leverage with the protesters.

    Several legal observers said people appeared to be picked out of the crowd randomly while legally protesting on the sidewalk. [...]
    After the arrested were taken to the St. Ann jail, the remaining protesters in Ferguson were first told over a megaphone they would have to leave by 11 p.m. or face arrest, in part, due to a city noise ordinance. A few minutes after that deadline, a Ferguson police officer approached a few members in the crowd and explained the arrested would not have to post bail. The officer said protesters could remain until the other protesters were released if they were quiet and left afterward. At that point, most of the chanting and drum beating stopped.

    That prompted some protesters, such as Ferguson Democratic Committeewoman Patricia Bynes, to say the crowd was being manipulated into negotiations to quell the protesting. Bynes said police started the tactic Thursday, promising to release arrested people earlier if the protesting died down. But she said they did not deliver on those promises.

    “We should not be negotiating with them about our basic rights,” she said.

  199. says

  200. says

    Michael Brown’s family most certainly does NOT have the support of the whole nation. Let me see, who was it that has $500,000 raised in their name by “I am Darren Wilson” fuckfaces?

  201. rq says

    ‘Obviously he’s not going to be able to be a cop over there (in Ferguson) any more.

    ‘He’s going to have to resign but there’s always going to be a negative connotation to his name, and it sucks. He doesn’t deserve that.

    ‘He’s had pure intentions with everything I’ve ever seen him try and do. When we played hockey he wasn’t the guy out there trying to fight people, he didn’t care about stuff like that.

    ‘He just wanted to play and have fun with his friends’.

    I’m sorry, I jsut had to add this, to that article about Darren Wilson. Pure intentions, negative connotations, it sucks, he doesn’t deserve that. He fucking killed a man out on the street. And then ran away. He deserves justice, and he’s avoiding that – and that, my friends, is a sure sign of a privileged asshole.

    Some protestors were in court yesterday about the Ferguson 5-second rule.

    We have very serious concerns about the lack of due process that is happening in Ferguson,” said ACLU of Missouri Legal Director Tony Rothert. [...]
    On the stand, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the rule was meant to be enforced only at night but that some officers used their discretion to apply it during the day as well.

    Nice. ‘Their discretion’. Because the community trusts them to apply things like that correctly.

    Meanwhile, look how far the White House intruder got… And is still alive.

    The Lost Voices, the youth protesting in Ferguson (the ones whose tents were removed forcibly late last week), have launched a website. Go look around!

  202. says

    More from This is the Movement #18
    Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, CA, comments on his personal experiences with being racially profiled by police as a black man.

    The City of Ferguson released an 18-point “Misconceptions” document earlier this week. This is the protester’s response to the “Misconceptions.” Must read.

    A few highlights:

    3. The Mayor or the Police Chief can fire Darren Wilson. CLARIFICATION:
    Officer Wilson may be fired by either the Chief of Police or the City

    Manager. However, there are legal implications to discharging him without the conclusion of the investigation into wrongdoing, which is being completed by St. Louis County Police and the Prosecuting Attorney.

    Protestor Response:
    The people of Ferguson understand the potential legal implications of discharging Officer Wilson and with such knowledge wish to move forward with his termination. Furthermore, we fear that Officer Wilson will no longer be able to do his job in Ferguson without putting both the safety of citizens and his own safety at risk. to protect the citizens of Ferguson from any further unrest. The nearly assured legal implications of failing to protect the 21,000 lawful citizens of this municipality should far outweigh the potential legal implications of requiring one man to find alternative employment, and as the city council, we urge you to fully live up to the oath of your public office, with a mission that states

    “To set the standard of excellence in public service, safety, and communication.”

    We ask, therefore, that the City Manager terminate Officer Wilson’s employment to protect the citizens of Ferguson.

    7. The City and Police Department are protecting Darren Wilson

    FALSE:
    The City of Ferguson and the Police Department are not protecting Darren Wilson. We are saddened by the incident that led to the death of Michael Brown and we’re committed only to an investigation that is conducted fairly and without bias.

    Protestor Response:
    The actions of both the City and the Police Department indicate otherwise. Officers showed up to a peaceful memorial on Canfield with dogs and wearing riot gear, a deeply insensitive reference to the practices and imagery of the darkest days of the Civil Rights Movement, when officers also used these tactics to beat and intimidate peaceful protestors. Neither the City nor the Police Department released Darren
    Wilson’s name when asked, repeatedly, by media, protestors, and Michael Brown’s family, through the appropriate legal processes. When Chief Jackson inappropriately released security footage from Ferguson Market at the same time he released Darren Wilson’s name, his actions incited a riot. . The list of ways in which it appears that neither the City nor the Police Department are saddened or committed to an unbiased investigation goes on and on.

    15. The police department is trying to keep protesters from demonstrating by using excessive force and arrest. FALSE:
    The Ferguson Police Department and specifically Chief Tom Jackson and

    Sergeant Dilworth have been actively meeting with various protest groups throughout this process to get a better understanding of their demands, request and planned activities.

    While the protest may have caused some discomfort for residents, we truly believe that open dialogue with the protest groups is an effective outreach strategy that has the potential to greatly reduce any additional damage to property, loss of business or violence in the coming months.

    For example, on September 7, 2014 there was a large protest on West Florissant Avenue. Only two arrests were made – in both cases, the person failed to comply with a direct order of a police officer. They were arrested by St. Louis County officers. Also, there have been several protests within the City of Ferguson without anyone having been arrested.

    Protestor Response:
    With this answer, you have chosen to ignore the excessive force covered in social and traditional media from August 9th -September 7th, during which the most egregious acts of brutality and excessive force occurred. In addition, what occurred on September 20, 2014 at the Ferguson Farmers Market and on S. Florissant road is a perfect example of the police department mistreating protestors and favoring those opposed to protestors. When civilians assaulted protestors at the farmers market, police did not arrest those civilians. They did, however, threaten to arrest protestors. Later, after a car hit protestors on Florissant Road, police arrested a peaceful protestor standing on a curb, in addition to arresting the driver and a protestor involved in the incident. In addition, police have threatened to arrest protestors, have laughed at protestors, have called protestors names, and have pulled out their cell phones to record protestors. None of these things indicate a desire for open dialogue or any respect for protestors as human beings.

  203. rq says

    Still no word on the gunshots, by the way – who or why or where, exactly. Wasn’t at the protest itself, though, that seems pretty clear.

  204. rq says

    Ah, the miseducation of African-American girls.

    We’ve known for a long time that inequality and systemic educational barriers are holding back many young African-Americans. President Obama has led an initiative to help close the opportunity gap for young black men.

    But what about the girls?

    For young women of color, progress has been painfully slow, says a new report from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the National Women’s Law Center. The report argues that gender and racial stereotypes — combined with unequal distribution of school resources and overly punitive disciplinary practices, among other factors — have created a climate where African-American girls are more likely than any other group of girls to be suspended, expelled or held back entirely. [...]
    African-American girls are disproportionately suspended. Tell me about that and the impact of punitive discipline on educational outcomes.

    African-American girls have suspension rates that are almost six times the rate of their white counterparts and more than most boys of color as well. So what happens when we see discipline disparities, whether in the form of suspension or expulsions? What we have is lost instruction time, lost classroom time, disengagement from the school environment, feelings of alienation, and a lot of times we see increased referrals to the juvenile justice system for often minor offenses. [...]
    The report often talks about African-American students disproportionately enrolling in schools that lack quality resources, including rigorous course offerings, extracurricular activities and credentialed teachers. The report says African-American students. But does the research show that African-American girls are disproportionately hurt by this?

    This is an issue we ran into a lot in the report. A lot of the existing research is not disaggregated by race as well as gender, so some of the research we have points to African-American students in general — both boys and girls. So we know that the outcomes of African-American girls and boys are significantly impacted by the resource inequity, such as the lack of rigorous course offerings like STEM courses.

    We know that, for girls, they are uniquely impacted, because not only do they have lack of access, but they are also — because of the combination of gender stereotypes — steered away from taking science or related STEM courses by their educators. So they are getting the double impact of lack of access and attitudes from educators that are rooted in harmful racial and gender stereotypes.

    More at the link.

    thisisthemovement, installment #19: the 5-second rule, that other Darren Wilson case, a summary of the various agencies investigating Ferguson; more about the past couple of nights, an op-ed piece from Langdon, a bit on body-cams, families in Chicago speak out. Go take a look at the site!

    From last night: the single arrestee, a pastor, was held in a blood-stained van. There’s the intimidation issue, and then there’s also the major health issue.

  205. rq says

    From the “Oh shit” file: Law license of Freeman R. Bosley Jr. suspended, minimum six months… why is this important? Remember Dorian Johnson, Michael Brown’s friend? That’s his attorney. Yeah, that.

    Tomorrow, a round-table discussion on how to increase hiring of minorities into law enforcement.

    Some officials blame the disparity on a lack of minorities going into law enforcement. Among other things, the roundtable will discuss whether that is true and, if so, what can be done to combat it. [...]

    The confirmed roundtable participants include:

    St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley
    St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay
    State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City
    State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis
    Dan Isom, head of the Missouri Department of Public Safety and former St. Louis police chief
    Capt. Ron Johnson, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Command Officer, Troop C
    St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson
    St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar
    St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward
    Esther Haywood, St. Louis County NAACP
    Adolphus Pruitt, St. Louis NAACP
    Michael McMillan, head of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
    Ruby Curry, interim president, Florissant Valley Community College
    St. Louis School Superintendent Kelvin Adams
    Richard Frank, personnel director, St. Louis
    Clarence Hines, law enforcement instructor

  206. rq says

    Sooo, to start, livestream here and here, but it looks like things have been shutdown for now. Things seem to have been very quiet.
    On with the other stuff, then!

    From the vast realms of No Justice for Black People, teenager spends three years in jail without trial for being accused of stealing backpack (article here). I don’t think I need to mention the colour of his skin.

    An opinion piece on the implications of the John Crawford III case – Injustice for all!

    tbc

  207. rq says

    CNN interview on Ferguson and relationships with police – some good stuff in there (also some major stupidity, see: “anecdote” – you have been warned!)

    Portrait of a protestor.

    Media on Capt. Johnson and his magical abilities to quell crowds – he’s definitely getting a mixed reaction from protestors themselves via twitter, because he does some good stuff, but he’s also been present when protestors have been told to keep walking or giving single warnings for them to leave.

    Couple of photos: young boy drumming at protest, photo of protestors.

    Ferguson Farmers’ Market closing early this season – protestor success?

    tbc

  208. rq says

    The protestor shot with a rubber bullet? “They want to know WHAT police officials shot me w/a rubber bullet or gassed me 4 times. I’m sorry, they didn’t introduce themselves”
    Nice.

    More protestor humour: “Can someone tell me why @BaltimorePolice has started following me? I’ve seen The Wire, you guys have your own problems. #Ferguson”

    Just another (re)link to the HealSTL website, in case anyone is curious.

    Ferguson business owner denies pulling a gun on protestors.

    Protesters said they saw the owner of Faraci’s Pizza pull a gun because he felt uncomfortable. Witnesses said the presence of the gun almost made the situation spin out of control. Witnesses also said the owner shouted a racial slur at protesters. A pastor serving as a peacekeeper said the owner went inside and stood at the window with a gun in his hand. [...]
    Marshall said her husband then went inside, turned off the lights, and reached for a gun for protection, but did not do so in plain sight.

    “They had a night vision camera, and when he went over and picked up the gun and put in his pocket, a man shouted ‘He’s pointing a gun at protesters,” Marshall said.

    And the PR consultant hired by Ferguson, Devin James? He lied about his college degree.

    In his application to the city of Ferguson, and on his profile in the LinkedIn social network, James claimed he had earned a bachelor of science in psychology and biomedical engineering from the University of Memphis in 2003.

    In an interview with a Post-Dispatch reporter last week, he said he had left college months shy of a degree after being shot in a robbery in 2004. [...]
    As for the resume submitted to the city of Ferguson, James replied, “I didn’t complete the resume personally much like I don’t answer every media request personally. That (was) submitted by a staff member who generally puts together proposals based on individual request … my staff just copied things from various sources like (LinkedIn) and other documents to get things done very quickly.” [...]
    James, who has said he is continuing to work for Ferguson without pay, told a reporter in an email that he had “a lot to do” helping the city set up the town hall meetings with city residents set for tonight. Within minutes of the email exchange, his LinkedIn profile was edited to remove the degree.

    I think he needs better staff.

  209. rq says

    St Louis to forgive 220 000 warrants – which is a lot of warrants!

    Now, those with an outstanding warrant issued prior to Oct. 1 stemming from nonviolent municipal offenses in St. Louis, usually for failure to appear in court, will receive a postcard in the mail informing them that the warrant will be cleared until Dec. 31. If offenders don’t come to the municipal court by the end of the year and schedule a new court date, then the warrant will be put back into place.

    Mary Ellen Ponder, the city’s operations director, estimated that about 70,000 to 80,000 people will receive postcards. (Many individuals have an average of three to four outstanding warrants per person.)

    “This is a way for people get this off their back and for us to get it off the books,” Rainford said. “But it also keeps people accountable for the underlying offenses.”

    So they still have to come into court for a court date – I don’t know if that will help much, considering the general difficulty they’ve already had in making and keeping court dates and times (that sometimes get advanced without knowledge, plus all the other obstacles like childcare, etc.). Makes a good headline, though.

    Another article on clemency.

  210. rq says

    There’s a livestream link in there that might be interesting.

    Michael Dunn shot Jordan Davis for having music too loud in his car. Michael Dunn has been found guilty of first degree murder. Justice.

    No police report forthcoming in Michael Brown murder, says STLPD. Umm, not good.

    Fegruson shooting investigation complete:

    Authorities could have charged Wilson themselves by filing a criminal complaint, but St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch instead opted to present the case to a grand jury to decide whether to indict the officer.

    “The investigation has been basically completed that is being conducted by both the FBI and St. Louis County PD,” Ed Magee, the spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, told CNN.

    In Mississippi: suing the county for indefinitely holding prisoners with no access to lawyer.

    thisisthemovement, installment #20. Will summarize tomorrow, good night!

    (Just out of curiosity, how many people are still reading? From those who chime in from time to time, I get about 7 or 8. Anyone else?)

  211. mildlymagnificent says

    Me. I’m still reading – but not every single day. And I don’t click every single link, but I’ve still expanded my list of bookmarked items on racism by a considerable amount.

    (I think I might be like a lot of people. Sort of holding my breath until the grand jury decision is given.)

  212. rq says

    Ah – I just meant reading in general and checking the thread, not necessarily reading everything because there’s a lot.
    About that Grand Jury: it’s being investigated for misconduct.

    An account of possible jury misconduct surfaced Wednesday morning on Twitter, when several users sent messages about one juror who may have discussed evidence in the case with a friend.

    In one of those messages, a person tweeted that they are friends with a member of the jury who doesn’t believe there is enough evidence to warrant an arrest of the officer, Darren Wilson.

    There’s a screenshot of the exchange at the article, and also here.

    Yesterday I also posted a note that supposedly investigations are complete (or very close to that): it’s almost done, not complete, so CNN (and I) got that wrong.

    In other police brutality:
    Upcoming protest in Chicago;
    man in Portland wins $547k from police for brutality;
    delaying care to a man in custody on Rikers Island.

  213. says

    Not enough evidence to arrest Wilson? Really? So cops can just murder unarmed black people and not even get arrested? Since when are they above the law?

    (no need to answer that last question)

  214. rq says

    Tony
    That’s why there’s the misconduct investigation – also, that woman is apparently a Darren Wilson supporter. And there’s the possibility that she’s just spreading rumours or expressing her own wishful opinion.

  215. Pteryxx says

    rq, I’m reading too, and mostly when I find something to post in here nowadays you or Tony! got to it first. ♥

    re African-American girls and your #373, I’ve read some criticisms of Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper campaign (for example, at Colorlines) because it’s focusing on black men and boys while leaving black women and girls out. I gather that it’s simpler and more popular to talk about keeping boys in school and out of jail than to admit that *girls* getting sent to jail happens at all. Much less economic justice such as a living minimum wage or health care, or access to sex ed or contraception. Nope, young black men getting jailed is such a plain and obvious concern by comparison.

    The hearing spanned four areas: juvenile justice, foster care, commercial sexual exploitation of children and “gender-specific” experiences. Girls as young as 11 told their stories in each of these areas. Tanisha Denard, who’s African-American, spoke of facing long nights while in solitary confinement when she was incarcerated in juvenile detention after getting arrested in school and picking up multiple truancy tickets. In solitary, a child could theoretically be safe from other kids, Denard said, “But you weren’t safe from yourself.” Without books or writing materials, “the nights were endless.” Black girls made up 43 percent of all girls arrested for assault and battery by Los Angeles school police in 2013, said Ruth Cusick, an attorney at Public Counsel.

    [...]

    “We’re learning that all these areas are risk areas for girls of color, and we’re seeing that systems intersect,” said Crenshaw. “The foster care system converges with the juvenile justice [system] which converges with student push-out which converges with trafficking.”

    Today, Dotson, the philosophy professor, has a solid career making “just enough so my family doesn’t starve.” “I put my family on my back,” she told the room as she fought back tears. Dotson saves up for trips back to Los Angeles a couple times a year so she can, as she calls it, put out fires for her family. This latest trip home meant dealing with a rat infestation at her aunt’s home. Her aunt refuses to move out, Dotson says, because she can’t afford to give up her current rental rate. “She didn’t tell me this, but she’d been living off of six-for-a-dollar Top ramen for the last month and sleeping on her laminate floor,” Dotson told Colorlines later. Her aunt, who lived paycheck to paycheck her whole life, has very little for herself today. ”[Black women] get to the point where they’ve raised all these kids on nothing, making ways out of no ways. And then when you’re 60 years old you have no food. You have nothing.”

    What hurt Dotson, who was one of the last to speak in the evening, was hearing how little things have changed for girls growing up in her old neighborhood.

    Dotson’s family experience turns out to not be uncommon. Single black and Latino women have a median wealth of $100 and $102, respectively, while single black and Latino men have a median wealth of $7,900 and $9,730, respectively, according to the Insight Center for Community Economic Development (PDF). Dotson is confounded that My Brother’s Keeper could ignore this reality.

    “My Brother’s Keeper doesn’t want to talk about the fact that those boys of color coming off those mentor programs are going to come back to these same households supported by these women of color who are struggling,” said Dotson. “Does anyone care?”

  216. rq says

    These median wealth numbers that keep cropping up – comparing families by race, and comparing genders, as in Pteryxx’ 391 – are just amazingly shocking. Those are huge, huge differences in financial resources available to different groups of people… Huge.

    +++

    Dr King’s daughter in Ferguson for non-violence training, “learning the six steps of nonviolent social change.”

    More on the Michael Dunn conviction: from Huffington Post and Wonkette (thanks, Dana!). From the HuffPo article:

    He was convicted on three counts of attempted murder for shooting at Davis’ friends in the car.

    Dunn testified at this month’s trial as well as his last that he killed Davis in self-defense after the teen threatened him. He also said he thought Davis had a gun, but no weapon was ever found.

    (Oh, and the HuffPo picture is just priceless… really, HuffPo, that’s the picture you have selected? I’m sorry, but my heart does not go out to him, no matter how much he cries.) Wonkette is a little more direct:

    In November 2012, racist scumbag Michael Dunn killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Dunn claimed that Davis and his friends were rudely (read: blackly) playing their music too loud, and when he ever-so-politely asked them to turn it down a bit, the poor defenseless Dunn, who was armed, was scared for his life because BLACK and also he saw a gun, except that he did not because the only gun was his. Still, being afraid for his life because BLACK, he fired off 10 rounds into the SUV of unarmed teenagers, killing Davis, and then going to a motel with his girlfriend to eat some pizza, as one does after killing a black teenager. If one is a thug and a murderer. [...]
    Today, finally, a jury of Dunn’s more intelligent peers determined that yes, he actually is guilty of murdering the boy he murdered, in addition to attempting to murder all the others who got away before he could shoot them dead too. This jury didn’t buy Dunn’s “self-defense” load of bull.

    Again, thisisthemovement, installment #20: protest strategies and their evolution; Jesse Williams on John Crawford; more on the Ferguson consultant who lied about his degree; criminal disparities between whites and blacks; more on the warrants and the amnesty; Steve Stenger’s campaign ad; two articles on the Ferguson PD non-compliance with the DOJ advisement to wear nametags; two pieces from Stenger and the Economic Development Board in Ferguson on that PR contract; recap of Ferguson town hall meetings; and again, addressing the misconceptions, plus the demands, links below for donation / more information. Go take a look!

  217. Pteryxx says

    On the miseducation of African-American girls, from the source report referenced in #373: (NPR interview), (Report press release)

    In the 2011-12 school year, 12 percent of all African American female pre-K-12 students were suspended from school, six times the rate of white girls and more than any other group of girls and several groups of boys – despite research showing that African American children do not misbehave more frequently than their peers. The experience of Tiambrya Jenkins – a 16-year-old high school student in Rome, Georgia – illustrates the impact that overly punitive disciplinary practices can have on African American girls. Two years ago, when Jenkins was a straight-A student in ninth grade with a dream of becoming a nurse, she got into a fight after school with a white female classmate. Both girls were transferred to an alternative school as punishment. The white classmate returned to regular school after 90 days, but Jenkins was held at the alternative school for the entire school year.

    “It was like being in prison,” said Jenkins. “The classrooms had no windows. There was an adult in the room, but there was almost no teaching. We’d just sit around and talk until the bell rang. A year later, I was finally sent back to my regular school. But, by then, my classmates were way ahead of me. Now, I’m flunking math, my favorite class. I’m slipping further behind day by day and doubt I’ll ever catch up.”

    Compelling research and statistics detailed in the report underscore the need for a far-reaching plan of action:

    In 2010, one-third (34 percent) of African American girls did not graduate from high school on time (within four years), compared to only 18 percent of white female students and 22 percent of all female students.

    The average female African American college graduate with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn $657,000 more over her lifetime than the average female African American high school graduate.

    Nearly half (45 percent) of African American girls and young women will become pregnant at least once by age 20, which is more than one and a half times the national average. Although data doesn’t show what percentage of these girls and young women will become parents, pregnant and parenting students are too often pushed out of school in violation of Title IX, and many struggle to stay in school due to the barriers they face to access child care, transportation, housing, health care, and financial assistance.

    I recall Rachel Maddow this summer telling the story of Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit. It was a beloved public school specifically for teens who were pregnant or mothers, with on-site daycare so they could finish high school without being stigmatized by classmates or teachers in ordinary public schools.

    From World Socialist Web Site in 2011, when the school was first threatened with closure by an emergency financial manager:

    Catherine Ferguson Academy is a school for pregnant and parenting teen mothers in Detroit, which was founded in 1986. It is one of only four such institutions in the US. The school was on a list of 44 schools to be converted into charter schools, or closed if charter school operators were not found to operate them. (See the WSWS video series on the school: Part 1 and Part 2.)
    Asenith Andrews and Paul Weertz, who worked together for years to build up the school, shared their experiences Tuesday after school.

    The district’s emergency financial manager, former General Motors executive and private equity manager Roy Roberts, made the final decision.

    [...]

    Students responded with a mixture of outrage, sadness, and determination to stay in school even in difficult circumstances. “This is so wrong,” said Shadiaia Baker, 18. “Even if you don’t have children, it’s still the best school because the teachers and staff are so great.” She said that she was a year away from graduation at Catherine Ferguson Academy, but that it would take longer at another school that is not equipped to help her with her two children. “Hopefully I can still graduate, but it’ll be harder without childcare,” she said.

    “There is no other school we can go to that has the things that pregnant girls need,” said Shaletheia Davis, a tenth grade student.

    After national outcry and media coverage, the school wasn’t closed, but was turned into a for-profit charter. Wikipedia:

    On June 16, 2011 one hour before a public protest and rally, which included Danny Glover, was to begin, it was announced that CFA would remain open as a charter school.[2][18] Critics called the decision a partial victory only because the school would no longer be subject to the legal requirements of public schools.[18] Evans Solutions, a for-profit educational management organization, was announced to run the school as part of its Blanche Kelso Bruce School District which runs charter schools in juvenile detention facilities and involuntary residential facilities.[2][6][19] CFA remained tuition-free to students with operating funds of approximately $13,500 per student provided to the charter operator by state and federal programs.[2]

    Enrollment, and thus funding, continued to drop… see the first paragraph below, in which bolds are mine.

    From Rachel Maddow: (Transcript of June 4 show) (Link to video)

    At Catherine Ferguson Academy after the girls saved their school they
    did struggle through a couple of difficult years. At first, the city
    arranged to have the school run by a charter company that had previously
    just focused on educating young men. The school`s new principal always
    said or school`s principal Asenath Andrews had always said that being
    pregnant didn`t make you a bad person, didn`t make you a criminal, but the
    new system required girls to get a court referral before they could enroll
    at Catherine Ferguson Academy as if being pregnant was a crime.

    Last year, a group of students sued the school over the way classes
    were now being thought. Funding dropped. Enrollment dropped. Detroit was
    emptying out. And so, to some extent was Catherine Ferguson.

    Well, today we learned that Catherine Ferguson Academy is closing. I
    think this time really closing. The board in charge of the school voted to
    end their contract with the school district. They say there are not enough
    students anymore to keep it going. The city says it will start a new
    school, to serve young mothers of Detroit, who have for three decades now
    have pursued their studies at Catherine Ferguson Academy with their garden,
    and their goats and babies all in one place, and with the expectation that
    they will all go to college.

    The last day at Catherine Ferguson is June 30th. This has been a very
    long fight for them. And maybe they just could not, or did not want to
    keep fighting. I don`t know. Just as I, I don`t know what is best for
    Detroit. Or what is possible there.

    But we do know the story of those young moms and the way they fought
    for themselves. It left a mark on us as a show. And you have told us that
    their story left a mark on you. We have, in the entire time we have been
    on the air, more than five years, we have heard more from you, the viewers,
    on this story an anything else we have ever done on this program. So, I
    thought you would want to know how it is coming to an end.

  218. Pteryxx says

    Catherine Ferguson Academy, by the way, was named after Catherine Ferguson (wikipedia) who was born into slavery and later founded a Sunday school in New York to help educate poor children, in spite of her own illiteracy.

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