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.


  1. rq says

    More from the funeral: one, two.

    More support across the country: students at Washington U.

    I’ve seen the headlines for ’60 years ago’, here’s one 80 years of Fergusons:

    From the Civil War through the early 1900s, what we now call “race riots” were expressions of white rage. Often spurred by labor strife, rumors of a crime committed against a white person, or fears of black families moving into primarily white areas, whites would set entire black neighborhoods to the flame, destroying property and murdering blacks at will.

    That changed in Harlem in March 1935, when a black teenager named Lino Rivera attempted to steal a knife from a store on 125th Street. Rivera was caught by the manager, Jackson Smith. When the police came, they took Rivera to the back of the store to avoid a crowd that had gathered outside, but rumors began to spread that Rivera had been beaten or killed. When police refused to let the crowd see the boy, the incident took on a primal echo of the terror that Harlem’s black residents had come north to escape. Someone in the crowd threw something that shattered the store’s front window.

    Please grant amnesty for warrants:

    “The City of Ferguson has more warrants than residents,” the letter states. “Most of these warrants are from unpaid fines for nonviolent offenses. For many young people, these warrants act as a barrier to employment and housing. Just as importantly, the psychological trauma of spending each day subject to arrest and incarceration is debilitating.”[emphasis mine]

    A closer look at Captain Ronald Johnson.

    Absent from the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, though, will be a tall, bald black man who now personifies this touchstone moment nearly as much as the 18-year-old being laid to rest. He is Capt. Ronald S. Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who, in many days of working to restore calm here in Ferguson, has redefined leadership in crisis: equal parts police official, preacher, mediator and neighbor, unafraid to convey his inner conflict, unafraid to cry.

  2. rq says

    Besides Michael Brown, who else does the media call ‘no angel’?

    The following Times passages are what resulted from a query for the phrase “no angel” in the digital pages of the paper. We’ve excluded reviews of pieces of fictional entertainment, and this list is not exhaustive. However, when looking at the paper’s usage of the phrase when describing people of note, a pattern emerges. “No angel” seems to most commonly describe either hardened white criminals, or men of color.

    (Those two are parts of comment 500 which is in moderation for too many links, so those will all be double-posted… sorry, forgot to count!)

  3. rq says

    Ferguson: just one ticking time-bomb suburb among many.

    Like many other poor suburbs, Ferguson is simply too small and too poor to address the underlying racial and economic disparities that are fueling the current protests. It lacks good public transportation to areas with good jobs, isolating it from economic opportunity. In 2012, more than one in four residents of Ferguson were below the poverty level, more than twice St. Louis County’s poverty rate. In some Ferguson census tracts the poverty rate is as high as 33 percent.


    What’s needed now is an inter-racial coalition of St. Louis and its troubled suburbs. Together, they could take important steps to bring the region’s low-income and working-class families into the economic and educational mainstream.

    Includes, of course, the now-requisite nod towards voting inactivity in black communities, without looking deeper into the whys of that inactivity.

    How nice of them: NY Times admits ‘no angel’ was no good.

    “Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: That choice of words was a regrettable mistake,” Sullivan wrote. “In saying that the 18-year-old Michael Brown was ‘no angel’ in the fifth paragraph of Monday’s front-page profile, The Times seems to suggest that this was, altogether, a bad kid.” Others suggested that the story implied Brown deserved to be shot. As Sullivan notes, it wasn’t just the “no angel” phrase. In that same paragraph it mentions his “dabbled” in drugs and drinking, rapped and fought with a neighbor.

  4. rq says

    Land of the free? A comparison of mass incarceration in Gaza and Ferguson. Whoa.

    Close to 70 percent of all people in U.S. incarceration, moreover, are people of color. As Adam Gopnik observed in The New Yorker, “there are more black men in the grip of the [U.S.] criminal-justice system–in prison, on probation, or on parole–than were in slavery” on the eve of the civil war.

  5. Pteryxx says

    …and PZ just de-stickied the thread, so you all may want to bookmark it or subscribe.

  6. rq says’s recap of the funeral,

    “Show up at the voting booths. Let your voices be heard, and let everyone know that we have had enough of all of this,” said Eric Davis, one of Brown’s cousins.


    In a stirring funeral oration, Sharpton challenged the audience to change the factors that led to Brown’s shooting, including the heavy arming of police forces while their training fails to prevent a boy lying for hours “bleeding out” in the street.


    The crowd included the parents of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed 17-year-old African-American fatally shot by a neighbourhood watch volunteer in Florida, along with a cousin of Emmitt Till, a 14-year-old murdered by several white men while visiting Mississippi in 1955.

  7. rq says

    De-stickied? It was only stickied for two days! :( (I think?) I’m just going to leave the tab open.

  8. Pteryxx says

    re rq’s #498 : CNN Airs Alleged Audio from Michael Brown Shooting (bolds mine)

    Before airing the audio, Lemon cautioned his audience: “CNN cannot independent verify the authenticity of this tape. [We have] reached out to the FBI for confirmation of their interview with the Ferguson resident who says he made the recording.”

    The FBI investigators, going door-to-door, uncovered this recording. (Not sure if that means the resident counts as a witness.)

  9. Pteryxx says

    From a commenter at Shakesville:

    What I keep thinking about is just the disparity in the treatment of Michael Brown
    and the treatment of Elliot Roger. They were both teenage boys. Only one of whom
    committed a crime.

    For Elliot Roger, there was a lot of hand-wringing about how
    society, women who wouldn’t provide sex on demand, mental health facilities
    had all failed him. Not that any of these were valid solutions, but people in the mainstream were falling over themselves to provide narratives about how he wasn’t to blame.

    But now we get someone who was a victim of a crime at the hands
    of the police. A victim, not a perpetrator, and where is the hand-wringing for
    Michael Brown from the same people who had sooooooooo much sympathy for a misogynist killer and wanted to talk about how society had failed him.

  10. rq says

    From what I understand (also via twitter responses to the video) is that the witness (?) was on the phone with his partner at the time of the shooting, and accidentally recorded it. Not really sure how that works, though.

  11. dianne says

    In that same paragraph it mentions his “dabbled” in drugs and drinking, rapped and fought with a neighbor.

    Oh, for…that sounds like a completely normal late adolescent to me. I was considered a “good kid”, in fact the kind of kid that people worry will regret not having a “wild” phase later in life, and I “dabbled” in alcohol and “drugs” (i.e. marijuana*). I didn’t “rap” but that’s because it was the 1980s and rap wasn’t a thing in predominantly white suburbs yet. I did listen to the “bad” music of the time, i.e. rock and punk. And the only reason I didn’t fight with the neighbors was that I considered them beneath my notice (yeah, I was THAT teeenager–sorry). Nonetheless, I doubt that if I’d died at 18, the NYT would describe me as “no angel” in my obituary. Especially if I’d been shot by the police. Perhaps something to do with my predominant race, parents’ income, or both.

    *Let it go, DEA, it was in Holland and way past the statute of limitations anyway.

  12. dianne says

    Does anyone know if the grand jury decided to indite or not? I don’t know why it took them longer than 5 minutes to do so. There might be a case for Wilson’s innocence*, but I don’t see any way that there could possibly be a case for not enough evidence to go to trial.

    *I highly doubt it, but can see scenarios. All less likely than macroscopic quantum tunneling events, but still.

  13. Pteryxx says

    dianne: There’s a hashtag #NoAngel responding to the NYT – I think I saw that via Feminist Batwoman.

    Speaking of which: (FBW link)

    Here is a side by side comparison of how The New York Times has profiled Michael Brown — an 18 year old black boy gunned down by police — and how they profiled Ted Bundy, one of the most prolific serial killers of all time.


    It’s almost surprising how blatant it is. was able to reference an elementary school teacher to claim Darren Wilson was “a good kid” but they couldn’t find one to say the same for Mike Brown? Well then I guess there was no teachers to be found with good things to say about him then. Right?

    Except wait, no, I just did. Right here in this article:

    from rq’s #499, Talib Kweli going off on CNN’s Don Lemon: (youtube link)

    That was a classic takedown of Lemon’s, um… anchor-splaining.

  14. Pteryxx says

    dianne: The grand jury’s not expected to give a decision until mid-October (when the attention’s died down, obviously) and what they hear as evidence and how it proceeds is entirely under the control of prosecutor Bob McCulloch and his office. The community leaders of Ferguson have been calling for his resignation. Background starting (here) in the Why would you support a policeman who shoots unarmed people thread.

    Justice for Michael Brown Rests Almost Entirely in the Hands of This One Man:

    Bob McCulloch is the prosecutor for St. Louis County and has held the position for 23 years. McCulloch has stated that he will present the evidence of Michael Brown’s killing to a grand jury, but members of the African-American community have expressed concern about his ability to be fair. There is always such a concern in cases involving the investigation of police officers. Police officers don’t technically work for prosecutors, but they are definitely part of the prosecution team. They investigate the cases, gather the evidence, and testify as witnesses for the state. Without police officers, prosecutors can’t bring cases or secure convictions. So prosecutors have an inherent conflict of interest when they are considering charges against police officers.

  15. dianne says

    The grand jury’s not expected to give a decision until mid-October

    Mid-October! Correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve never been on a grand jury and am not a lawyer but I thought a grand jury usually went through several cases in a morning and had a very low threshold for evidence, i.e. the only thing that needed to be proven was that it wasn’t an entirely frivolous charge. That seems like a no-brainer, but then again none of the events in Ferguson so far have made sense to me so what do I know?

  16. Pteryxx says

    dianne: You’re basically not wrong. Grand juries hear dozens of cases and *usually* can reach a decision quickly, but this isn’t a simple case (and it’s probably not to McCulloch’s advantage to have it move quickly).

    St Louis Public Radio: What’s a grand jury?

    [Q:]Is the grand jury process quick?

    Not in this kind of case. A run-of-the-mill felony might require less than a day, but McCulloch has said the Brown/Wilson proceeding will take several weeks. He is quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying, “Absolutely everything will be presented to the grand jury. Every scrap of paper that we have. Every photograph that was taken.”

    Little, the former federal prosecutor, told Vox this approach is more proof that McCulloch is using the grand jury as a delay process.

    [Q:]Will the Brown family lawyers be in the grand jury?

    No. The only lawyer in the grand jury rooms is the prosecutor.


    [Q:]Is the grand jury proceeding secret?

    Yes. It is a crime for a grand juror to disclose grand jury proceedings or evidence. A witness to the grand jury can come outside a grand jury room and say what he or she testified. In the past, after the grand jury had made its decision, McCulloch has sometimes released information about the grand jury proceedings and he has said he will do that in this case.

    Word is that by calling a grand jury, McCulloch has effectively sealed from public view any evidence the St Louis or Ferguson police may have. That might also be why Officer Wilson has been asked to testify before this grand jury, but the witnesses who have gone public have *not* been asked to testify. (At least not yet. Nobody in the police or prosecution are talking about it.)

    STLToday (online branch of St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

    St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch said it could be the middle of October before his office has presented all of the evidence in the Michael Brown killing to a grand jury.

    Two assistant prosecutors on McCulloch’s staff will begin presenting evidence later today to the grand jury in secret, as is protocol. But McCulloch said not all of the evidence is ready to be presented, and he said the grand jury’s term that expires in September will likely be extended just for this case.

    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.

  17. dianne says

    But this IS a simple case…at least from the grand jury point of view. The trial, maybe, should be long and every bit of information presented in detail, but the decision of whether to go to trial should be open and shut: A man was gunned down in the street in front of multiple witnesses that describe him as running away from the shooter. There MIGHT be reasons why this is a justifiable homicide, but it certainly should be examined carefully in a trial. If Wilson really is innocent, his innocence should be established by a trial. If he’s guilty that should be established by a trial as well.

  18. Pteryxx says

    Here’s the Vox article criticizing this use of a grand jury: (Vox)

    Alex Little, a former federal prosecutor who spent six years trying violent crimes, including homicides, has criticized that strategy, and said that this news raises concerns about the local prosecutor’s commitment to pursuing the case.

    Little’s concerns echo other criticisms of McCulloch, whose independence and dedication to pursuing the case have repeatedly been called into question since he became involved. More than 27,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that McCulloch be removed from the case. The petition cites his decision not to bring charges in a previous shooting, in which police officers killed two unarmed black men, as evidence that his continued involvement in the Brown case “will only sow further distrust and discord.”

    Alex Little speaking to Vox:

    On waiting for the grand jury’s decision on criminal charges:

    “Prosecutors have the responsibility to make tough decisions about cases. Here, the District Attorney should review the evidence, consult with investigators, and decide whether he believes there is probable cause to charge Wilson with a crime.

    “Once he has made that decision, he can — and should — take steps to implement it, either by securing Wilson’s arrest or announcing that no charges will be filed.

    “The idea that the District Attorney has to wait for the grand jury to spend weeks combing through the evidence is flat wrong, and if his office is promoting that explanation for its delay in acting, then it’s being deliberately misleading.”

    On the prosecutor’s “abdication” of his proper role in the grand jury process:

    “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.

    “Then, when you add to the mix that minorities are notoriously underrepresented on grand juries, you have the potential for nullification — of a grand jury declining to bring charges even when there is sufficient probable cause. That’s the real danger to this approach.”

    On how McCulloch could be sending a message to grand jurors:

    “Unfortunately, on too many occasions, prosecutors take this sort of hands-off approach exactly because they don’t want charges to be filed, but they’re afraid of taking the heat for making that decision themselves. By not taking a firm position in the grand jury proceedings and advocating for an indictment, the District Attorney is sending a message to the grand jurors that is different from what they’ve heard in every other case.

    “And that message is clear: This time, don’t return an indictment.”

  19. Pteryxx says

    dianne: Apparently the reason for a long, slow, sealed-from-public-view, grand jury process where witnesses who disagree with Wilson’s story may not be called at all, and where no lawyers for Mike Brown’s side are present, is (probably) to ensure Wilson never gets charged or goes to trial in the first place.

  20. Pteryxx says

    via Daily Kos, an account of Missouri’s Sunshine Law and how that applies to the Brown shooting incident report that *should* have been released, apparently from the person who spearheaded getting that mostly-blank report released to the ACLU. (DailyKos), (this guy’s own website, Photography Is Not A Crime). Scribd documents linked throughout.

    I immediately contacted the Missouri ACLU and the National Bar Association informing them that I was getting the Report and that I had the Lieutenant on record stating it was a public record and was not exempt.


    [portion snipped here by me – Pteryxx]

    On Wednesday, however, he produced it pursuant to my request. I then provided what I received to the ACLU and National Bar Association.


    I also told them that I had followed up after receiving it to inquire as to why there were some glaring omissions – and to get confirmation that these omissions did not come from a redaction or other withholding of information and that no exemption was being claimed. I was told there was no redaction – and that was the entirety of the Report.


    I stated to him that there was a significant set of information – namely the “narrative summary” of the officer about what they were called to, what they found, and what they did – that is glaringly absent.

    He stated to me that the Legal Division had stated that Incident Reports only contained THREE items of information: Date, Time, and Location. I told them that was not the case – at least not in any agency I had ever seen. In fact I brought to his attention the Incident Report of the alleged robbery by Brown that the Ferguson Police eagerly released – with no purpose other than to discredit Brown and portray him in a bad light – in the “defense” of the officer. Clearly if that Report was routinely filed, this one should be. If that Report was releasable and not exempt from the Public Records Law, this one too should be.


    He stated to me that Missouri’s Sunshine Law DEFINES the Incident Report – and that he was told it only prescribed those three things. I disagreed.

    Here is the actual statute that is applicable to this – what the Police MUST create, maintain, and produce upon request:

    610.100 Revised Missouri Statutes:

    (4) “Incident report”, a record of a law enforcement agency consisting of the date, time, specific location, name of the victim and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or incident, including any logs of reported crimes, accidents and complaints maintained by that agency;


    Note in particular the following clause in that: “and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or incident“.

    This is exactly what I stated was glaringly missing from the Report. I conveyed all of that information about that conversation to the ACLU and National Bar Association.

  21. Pteryxx says

    Just saw on BoingBoing – American courts routinely shackle children referencing (Washington Post)

    “I felt like a dog on a leash. Like an animal,” the teen, now 16, recalled. Embarrassed and frightened, she remembered seeing her mother in the courtroom and several adults she did not know. She started to cry, but couldn’t wipe her tears because the restraints kept her from raising her arms to her face. Her attorney, Penelope Spain, asked that the shackles be removed for the hour-long proceeding, but the judge denied the request.


    One U.S. marshal, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not have authorization from the service, said even youth held for nonviolent crimes can become volatile without warning. Restraints, he said, protect the defendants and those around them.

    In a 2012 study, Suffolk University Law School professor Kim M. McLaurin found that 36 states allowed for indiscriminate shackling of juveniles in court. But at least 11 states, including North Carolina, Florida and New York, had banned the practice, she said.

    McLaurin said unnecessary shackling sends the wrong message. “Juvenile court is supposed to be about rehabilitation,” she said. “You don’t achieve that by putting children in handcuffs.”

  22. Pteryxx says

    Brittney Cooper (aka professorcrunk on Twitter) criticizes Al Sharpton’s remarks given at Mike Brown’s funeral. Salon

    The inconvenient truth is that the continued machinations of racism and its devastating and traumatizing impact upon communities of color will be the undoing of our country. Sharpton stuck to safe truths, convenient ones, about the problem of militarized policing, particularly in black communities. Sharpton chose not to be a prophetic voice for the people of Ferguson but rather to do the work that the Obama administration sent him to do. That work entailed the placating of the people by ostensibly affirming their sense of injustice, while disaffirming their right to a kind of righteous rage in the face of such injustice. If the nation does not believe in and protect its people, we should not be surprised when the people no longer believe the idea of the nation itself. Absent strong federal intervention, this is exactly what should and will happen.


    The kind of anemic truth-telling in which Sharpton trafficked will also be the undoing of mainstream black churches. Their heavily male leadership, their refusal to blend real political critique with substantive theology, and the investment of black male preachers in being both figureheads of the movement and friends of those with political power rather than fighters for real change run the risk of rendering the black church an institution increasingly irrelevant to 21st century political change.

  23. Pteryxx says

    Greta Christina: Michael Brown, Entirely Normal Teenager, Is “No Angel”

    Are you fucking kidding me, New York Times?

    Ed Brayton: Being a Cop is Really Not That Dangerous

    Citing his source:

    In 2013, out of 900,000 sworn officers, just 100 died from a job-related injury. That’s about 11.1 per 100,000, or a rate of 0.01%.


    Another point to bear in mind is that not all officer fatalities are homicides. Out of the 100 deaths in 2013, 31 were shot, 11 were struck by a vehicle, 2 were stabbed, and 1 died in a “bomb-related incident.” Other causes of death were: aircraft accident (1), automobile accident (28), motorcycle accident (4), falling (6), drowning (2), electrocution (1), and job-related illness (13).

    Even assuming that half these deaths were homicides, policing would have a murder rate of 5.55 per 100,000, comparable to the average murder rate of U.S. cities: 5.6 per 100,000. It’s more dangerous to live in Baltimore (35.01 murders per 100,000 residents) than to be a cop in 2014.

  24. dianne says

    out of 900,000 sworn officers, just 100 died from a job-related injury. That’s about 11.1 per 100,000, or a rate of 0.01%.

    In short, a fertile woman who was a police officer would be more likely to die in childbirth than to die of a job related injury.

  25. Pteryxx says

    and from Salon: Ferguson’s White Grievance Industry

    It’s worth noting the way the phony information and paranoia peddled by well-known, oft-discredited right-wing media activists like Hoft and Loesch makes its way into the mainstream media ecosphere, again and again. CNN media critic Brian Stelter called out Fox this weekend for peddling the fractured eye socket story, and good for him, but to my knowledge he didn’t rap his own network for peddling the phony “Josie” story. The right’s influence on big stories like this can be more subtle and insidious: Who believes the New York Times would have stooped to calling Mike Brown “no angel” – the evidence? He’d been in some “scuffles” and had “taken to rapping” – without the right wing braying about Brown’s stealing cigarillos and making up stories that he did even worse?

    All that media support fanned the flames of white paranoia that manifested in the pro-Wilson activities back in Ferguson and St. Louis. You could see the trademark combination of innocence, fear and near-hysteria that powers the white grievance industry. “We will no longer live in fear,” one woman told the Guardian, as though a white person had been gunned down, not an unarmed black teenager. “We’ll all see this in the end that it was a good shooting,” a Wilson supporter named Tina Morrison told BuzzFeed, more than a little creepily. “You know, it was a good kill.” Unlike Morrison, most Wilson supporters refused to tell journalists their names, claiming they fear retribution at the hands of Brown’s defenders.

    That paranoia about retribution is shared by the backers of Wilson’s GoFundMe project. It’s organized by Shield of Hope, a “charitable organization” that lists Ferguson Police Department public relations officer Timothy Zoll and Missouri state Rep. Jeffrey Roorda as directors. Roorda became nationally known for a 2009 bill that tried to keep the name of police officers involved in shootings private, because “releasing a name could put someone in grave jeopardy,” he explained.

  26. Pteryxx says


    In short, a fertile woman who was a police officer would be more likely to die in childbirth than to die of a job related injury.

    …Now I wonder what her odds of dying in childbirth would be as a black woman and a police officer.

  27. dianne says

    Pteryxx: Yep. That was just the average risk. For a black woman the risk is about 2-3x higher. I think. My numbers may be out of date and it may be higher now.

  28. dianne says

    Ok, here we go, actual numbers, if slightly out of date. In 2005, the maternal mortality for white women was 10.7, slightly lower than the risk of job related death from being a police officer. For African-Americn women it was 38.7 or over 3x higher risk and nearly 4x higher risk than for a white woman. The risk is higher for AA women at all ages, whether marrier or unmarried, and whether they got prenatal care or not. In fact, having prenatal care appears to be less protective for AA women than for white women, though it is still protective.

  29. dianne says

    From RQ’s link, in which the woman being interviewed is speaking of her relations with her colleagues: “I do, very much so. I don’t relate with a lot of them, I haven’t lived similar lives to them…It may be a combination of being African American and a woman, but there are certain events I am not included in, or even informed of. ”

    I’ve had much the same experience in a mostly male work environment. It doesn’t even matter if the men are individually sexist or not. In a group, that prejudice just happens. I, of course, have the privilege of not being a visible racial minority so don’t get nearly the amount of crap this woman does.

  30. Pteryxx says

    …more from rq’s link, which is BBC News interviewing one of the very few black female police officers from a St Louis-area department. She asked not to be identified. (BBC)

    Do you think what’s happened in Ferguson over the last couple of weeks might make some of your white colleagues listen more to the kind of things you and other African-American officers have been saying about their negative dealings with black people?

    No, absolutely not. It’s actually created that divide and made it larger. It’s made it harder for me to want to talk to them about it any more.

    They are so disconnected from it. Their rationale, perception and interpretation of the issues are so far-fetched.

    The comments they make are very one-sided and show such a lack of compassion and understanding, or even the desire to understand. It’s heart-wrenching. It’s been very difficult.

    What do you mean about your white colleagues perception of what has happened in Ferguson as being “far-fetched”?

    [In Ferguson] I see a hurt group of individuals, and they see a bunch of unruly ignorant people.

    They are treating it as if this community is full of an angry mob that wants to just tear up everything and they should be satisfied with what they had.

    But the point is you shouldn’t make such an assumption that they should be happy with what they had. They shouldn’t. You wouldn’t be.

  31. rq says

    Thanks for that expansion, Pteryxx, had to run off to work and didn’t have a chance. The shit that woman puts up with!

  32. rq says

    re: Michael Brown compared to Bundy
    I think end of previous page I had a link to a Sean something-or-other, his twitter feed, where he had several such comparisons side-by-side – Michael Brown’s bio compared to the Unabomber, the Boston Bomber, John Wayne Gacy, Elliot Rodgers, etc. Al Capone too, I think. I might pull out a few of those individual tweets when I get home.

  33. says

    A Florida man said this week that he is still trying to recover after police beat him during an argument that started when he refused to roll down his car window all the way.

    A video published to YouTube on Sunday shows Curtis Shannon being pulled over by a St. Petersburg police officer on Dec. 26, 2013 for driving in an “erratic manner.” As the video begins, Shannon explains that he asked the officer why he had been stopped, and the officer replied, “Because I wanted to, now step out of the vehicle!”

    The officer asks for a license and registration, and Shannon offers it through a three-inch opening in the window. The officer, however, refuses to recognize that the documents are being offered, and threatens to break the window.

    “My name is Cpl. Shannon, USMC,” Shannon says. “You can have my license and registration.”

    “I need to see you,” the officer responds. “I need you to get out of this car, that’s what I need you to do.”

    When Shannon asks why he is being asked to leave his vehicle, the officer says, “Because I asked you to.”

    “That’s not a good reason,” Shannon points out. “You pulled me over a half a block from my house, I’ve cooperated fully so far.

    Fucking racist shitpistons!

  34. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    I’ve really hesitated to share my own experiences about police culture, but I think I’ll venture out a little. I’m keeping some of my details deliberately vague for privacy reasons — I don’t need certain people tracking me down by identifying specifics about my past.

    I served as a Canadian peace officer at one point. I wasn’t in for long, and it was for good reason. After recruit training, I was assigned to a post that was known for its regimentation. It was very paramilitary, much more so than the usual posting. This came from the leadership which by all accounts from the outside was top-notch.

    It took less than six weeks for me to notice that the culture at the posting was so unsubtle I don’t understand why it took me six weeks to notice it! The leadership were all white males, and the line leadership, the officers who actually managed staff on a daily basis, were known as the “heavies.” These are the officers who have a particular reputation for being physically aggressive.

    The misogyny was rampant. I’m deeply ashamed to admit I took part it in, in the leering chatter that took place behind the backs of the female officers. No one ever said “she’s a great officer to have as backup”, it was always “check out those tits” or “Hell yes I’d fuck her.” It only became distinctly uncomfortable for me when one time at the post a supervisor was playing an Andrew Dice Clay routine on the staff lounge PA. Anyone who’s seen any of Clay’s work knows that his material is filled with raging misogyny. When I heard the routine and saw the faces of the female staff who were in the lounge I started to feel ill. The supervisor spotted me and said, “Hey JRFDeux! Laugh! This is funny! Whatsamatter, you gay or something?”

    So add homophobia to the list. We had a nurse at the post who checked the arrestees in cells, and I got to know him pretty well. Nice guy, very smart, who was biding his time before going all out for medical school. He was also gay, but never telegraphed it. I only knew because he told me about his partner of 9 years. One day he was examining an arrestee and the Officer in Charge was there observing. The arrestee notified the nurse that he was HIV+. The OIC says “Well what the fuck do you expect, stupid fudge packer.” The arrestee wasn’t gay, but was an IV drug user. You’d think an experienced officer would know this. He probably did.

    We didn’t have a significant black population at the post but we had lots of members of the First Nations. They’re the institutionalized 2nd Class citizens of Canada. They were beaten up more, treated poorly more often and distrusted far more than whites, asians…whoever. They also represent a huge segment of the population that falls below the poverty line. What I saw during my time in uniform was heartbreaking. I’ve barely scratched the surface of my experiences, almost all of which were some version of stomach-turning. Yeah, I bailed because I couldn’t hack it, and I couldn’t hack the “culture.”

    That was a long time ago. Over two decades. Even now I look back with discomfort.

  35. Pteryxx says

    Adding to the list of St Louis-area bad cops from #391 on the previous page: now we have Officer-Let’s-Take-Him who arrested WaPo reporter Wesley Lowery on August 13. (reference for that)

    Rawstory – Ferguson cop who arrested journalist being sued for allegedly tying up and choking 12-year-old boy

    A police officer who arrested a journalist earlier this month in Ferguson, Missouri is also facing a federal civil rights lawsuit for allegedly attacking a 12-year-old boy while working for another department two years ago, the Huffington Post reported.

    According to the Post‘s Ashley Alman and Ryan J. Reilly, the lawsuit, filed in September 2012 in a Missouri federal court, accuses Officer Justin Cosma of choking the boy around the neck and throwing him to the ground during a June 2010 encounter.

    along with Officer Punch-Eric-Holder, Officer Go-Fuck-Yourself, Officer Rabid-Dogs, and Officer I’ll-kill-a-whole-bunch-more, all of whom are completely individual bad actors and not representative of anything.

  36. Pteryxx says

    Maddow tonight covered the case of Victor White, who supposedly produced a gun while handcuffed in the back of a police car and shot himself to death. In the back. With his hands cuffed behind him. The coroner’s report, just found by NBC. indicates Victor was shot in the chest… with his hands cuffed behind him. Yet it’s still ruled a suicide. Maddow interviewed reporter Hannah Rappleye, who spoke with White’s family. She was able to obtain the coroner’s report only because White’s father photographed the pages of the report when he was permitted to view Victor’s body from the chin up only.

    NBC news article

    As police investigators stood on either side of him, Rev. White performed the last rites over his son’s body, then left the room to tell his wife what he saw.

    The Whites did not know anything about the circumstances of their son’s death until after their visit to the morgue, when a family friend in New Iberia called to tell them the State Police had issued a press release on Facebook.

    The press release stated that, “[Victor White III] was taken into custody, handcuffed behind his back, and transported to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office for processing. Once at the Sheriff’s Office, White became uncooperative and refused to exit the deputy’s patrol vehicle. As the deputy requested assistance from other deputies, White produced a handgun and fired one round striking himself in the back.”

    Within hours of White’s death, the Louisiana State Police had assigned investigators to the case.

    Due to the pending investigation, records normally considered public are not available. The State Police will not yet release dash cam footage, or the number of or names of any officers present during White’s death. They will not give any timeframe as to when they expect the investigation to conclude.

    “You always want to make sure in the end you did whatever you could do possible, that in whatever case you put forward, is the right case, and the outcome is the right outcome,” said Trooper Brooks David, public information officer for the Louisiana State Police. “So if it takes us eight months, or two months, you always want to make sure that you do the right thing.”

  37. Pteryxx says

    via Shakesville, and also covered on MSNBC earlier, how police departments have *lost* (or, likely, quote “lost” unquote) military armaments received through the 1033 program.

    Fusion Investigates: How did America’s police departments lose loads of military-issued weapons?

    Fusion has learned that 184 state and local police departments have been suspended from the Pentagon’s “1033 program” for missing weapons or failure to comply with other guidelines. We uncovered a pattern of missing M14 and M16 assault rifles across the country, as well as instances of missing .45-caliber pistols, shotguns and 2 cases of missing Humvee vehicles.

    “[The program] is obviously very sloppy, and it’s another reason that Congress needs to revisit this promptly,” said Tim Lynch, director of the CATO Institute’s project on criminal justice. “We don’t know where these weapons are going, whether they are really lost, or whether there is corruption involved.”

    More troubling yet is the possibility that some of the missing weapons, which were given to local police departments as part of a decades’ old government program to equip cops for the wars on terrorism and drugs, are actually being sold on the black market, Lynch said.

    “That uncertainty is very unsettling,” he told Fusion.

  38. Pteryxx says

    Gawker on calling Mike Brown “no angel”.

    Is the Times cryptically gesturing at some unpublishable knowledge of Brown’s behavior or juvenile record? Or has no one at the paper ever met a teenager before? “Michael Brown Spent Entire Life Being Pretty Normal Child, Teenager” is, admittedly, a less interesting angle. Maybe, given this telling detail—

    In the ninth grade at McCluer High School in Florissant, Mr. Brown was accused of stealing an iPod. His mother said she went to the school, eventually showing a receipt to prove the iPod was his.

    —we could settle for “Despite Facing Discrimination and Suspicion, Young Man Looked Forward to Future Before Police Killed Him.”


    If Mike Brown “liv[ing] in a community that had rough patches” made him “no angel,” what did growing up in a household with a convicted criminal and learning how to police in a corrupt racist department make Darren Wilson? A “Low-Profile Officer With Unsettled Early Days,” apparently.

    More discussion on the “No Angel” piece at Shakesville. Commenters have been collecting glowing media profiles of misunderstood white criminals such as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Timothy McVeigh.

    From a commenter:

    I notice that at least one actual bomber was described as soulful, beautiful, shy, a promising student, and as appearing to be an all American kid. That is a lot of nice words for someone who actually intended harm.
    It is REALLY HARD for me to believe that race is not EMBEDDED in our (not everyone, but, our culture that we are soaking in)view of Michael Brown. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw a news item of any sort describe a black person as soulful, beautiful, shy, a promising student OR appearing to be an all American kid, and I can not.
    Ok, Beyonce gets called beautiful, in the media. It makes it more obvious, though, how gorgeous some PEOPLE need to be to be called beautiful by our media.


    There are words that people in our culture have a really hard time using to describe black people, and one of those words is innocent.

  39. rq says

    Okay… The morning collection:
    Video of how police treated residents of apartment complex where Michael Brown was killed.

    Between the world and Ferguson:

    In the days after 9/11, it was common to hear people say that it was the first time Americans had really experienced terrorism on their own soil. Those sentiments were historically wrong, and willfully put aside acts that were organized on a large scale, had a political goal, and were committed with the specific intention of being nightmarishly memorable. The death cult that was lynching furnished this country with such spectacles for a half century.

    A portrait of Michael Brown (a real drawn/painted portrait, a really good one).

    Spotted in North Cit STL. Nothing is over.

    Protests intensify:

    As anger over the police shooting of Michael Brown intensifies, more reports of police killings are coming to light, further tapping into long simmering feelings that police profile, target, and kill Blacks, while escaping prosecution. Saturday also saw a major protest of 15,000 on Staten Island concerning the NY Police Department chokehold death of Eric Garner, which was caught on video.

    Does Missouri law protect Darren Wilson from prosecution? (Anderson Cooper, with video)

  40. rq says

    Regarding the last link in my previous comment, apparently Missouri’s use of force statute goes against constitutional rulings. So, while the law may protect Darren Wilson, it’s a bad law (because we didn’t know that).

    Here’s more of the recording with the fired shots.

    Teachers are important, even more so when they serve as role models for the following generations.

    Ferguson protests move to St Lous.

    Also, federal civil rights lawsuit against Denver cops

    A woman who called 911 during an argument with her boyfriend has sued police officers, claiming they bloodied her face by slamming her into a wall and an elevator door and then arrested her without cause.

    It’s not just (though mostly) black people, it’s white cops on a power trip.

    $18 million in helicopters??? That’s Florida.

  41. rq says

    So there is a federal law on reporting excessive use of force by police… it’s just been ignored for 20 years.

    In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. Among its provisions was the order that “the Attorney General shall, through appropriate means, acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers.” The Justice Department was also required to publish an annual report on the data collected.

    And…that’s pretty much the last anyone heard of that. The work of collecting the data was shuffled off to the International Association for Chiefs of Police, which made a few efforts at collecting data and put together a report in 2001, but has produced nothing since.

    Almost 60 years ago, and still no justice for Emmett Till.

    Protest still on-going in Ferguson (picture from Twitter).

    Criticizing Al Sharpton and current black leaders.

    In his sermonic remarks at Michael’s funeral yesterday, Sharpton tried to assume the mantle of black America’s spiritual leader, the one with the moral and rhetorical force to move us toward thinking of Mike’s death as the beginning of a movement, rather than merely a moment.

    Al Sharpton, however, does not have the ear of this generation, and it is not his leadership that any of us who will live on the planet for the next half-century or so really needs. To be clear, I do not believe in the slaying of elders. Black cultural traditions hold within them a serious reverence for the authority and wisdom of elder people.

    This is not about Sharpton’s age, but rather about how he has positioned himself in relationship to black politics. My issue with him resides squarely within the limitations of his moral and political vision for who and how black people get to be within the American body politic.

    Petition to Obama via Washington Post, for better policing.

  42. rq says

    Oh, how interesting! More bad records-keeping by Ferguson police: No record of journalist arrests. It’s been everywhere, but somehow they have no records. Tssk.

    I am in receipt of your request for reports regarding the arrest and detention of Mr. Neil Munshi, Mr. Robert Klemko, and Mr. Rob Crilly. I have researched our records and the patrol has no documents responsive to your request. You may wish to contact the local law enforcement agencies to determine if they have any information relative to your request.

    Even body cams aren’t foolproof – but interestingly, the act of turning it off is in itself significant.

  43. rq says

    Racism and brutality within the force:

    He was optimistic, knowing full well police officers tended to protect another suspected of misconduct. But he also believed this went beyond any unspoken code of silence. When the victim was one of your own, it was a different ballgame.


    The story itself presented another puzzle for Mike. In it, police sources were quoted as saying they were trying to sort out what had happened. One police source said, “We have no official complaint yet. Michael has not come in and said he was beaten up.”

    “No official complaint?” thought Mike. The notion that police investigated violent assaults only after the victim filed a formal complaint was flat-out absurd. The department was making it sound as if the ball was in his court — to both pursue the case and solve it.

    It goes on, but I’m sure most of us know it by now: “No assumption of wrongdoing” and all that.
    Turns out, the ballgame is entirely the same.

  44. dianne says

    Even body cams aren’t foolproof – but interestingly, the act of turning it off is in itself significant.

    I’d say that turning off the body cam is evidence of knowledge of guilt, sort of like how altering the medical record after being sued is considered evidence of understanding that you did something wrong. The officer involved knew that she was about to commit a crime and tried to preempt the evidence. There should be an additional charge of obstruction of justice or destroying evidence or something similar.

  45. dianne says

    rq@53: People have been asking where the good cops that should be speaking out against the bad cops are. I think that article answers the question: they’re being silenced from within.

    And yes, you should keep posting things.

  46. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    I’m reading even if not commenting much anymore so, yes, if you’re up for it, keep it coming.

  47. rq says

    Okay, just wondering, because there’s a lot of material still turning up, and I don’t mind keeping this thread posted. I don’t know for how much longer, though, but hopefully I can stay abreast of things until the Grand Jury finishes dithering.


    Daughter of MLK seeks non-violent Ferguson response:

    King believes the community is at a critical moment as it continues to confront the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. And like the students she spoke with on Tuesday, much of her concern is centered on the violence that may return as the legal process moves forward.

    “If he’s not indicted, what’s going to happen?” asked Justin Fowler, a senior, referring to Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown.

    “You tell me. You live here,” King said. “That’s the big question out there right now. So what’s going to happen?”

    “Everything will go bad,” he said.


    Those who participated in the civil rights marches of Martin Luther King Jr.’s era have had trouble connecting with the young people on the streets of Ferguson this month who see the 1960s as irrelevant. Bernice King tried to bridge that divide.

    And this one opens with a hard question: After Ferguson: St Louis’ decaying suburbs are about to be forgotten. Again.

    “What we want to know,” the barber said, “is where has the media been? Because these problems aren’t new.”

  48. Pteryxx says

    rq, yes, please keep posting things. I’ve got more to post too but I have to find time to round all my sources up, and I’m missing things (some of which you catch).

    Short version – Chris Hayes last night discussed the Ferguson grand jury with a civil rights attorney, and she said

    – Grand jury rules of evidence are relaxed. A prosecutor can introduce whatever they wish, including evidence that would be dismissed as hearsay in an ordinary criminal trial. (Unspoken is that the prosecutor can *fail to introduce* whatever they wish, which is exactly what McCulloch did in a previous police-homicide grand jury – he failed to introduce evidence that supported the two dead men shot to death by cops.)

    – A grand jury is a “prosecutor’s playground” – there’s no judge, no opposing counsel, no lawyers or even observers for Mike Brown’s side of the story. There’s also nobody who can challenge any evidence, or *interpretation*, that the prosecution chooses to present. (Chris Hayes brought up the ‘prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich’ trope.)

    – And this grand jury has been sitting for months already, hearing various cases brought before them by McCulloch’s prosecution team. Hayes’ guest said that gives the prosecution time to build a rapport with the people serving. They’ve had no particular reason to distrust any *other* case brought before them, subject to their judgement of course – (grand juries generally rubber-stamp whatever the prosecution brings them) – but now they’re supposed to be skeptical when hearing only one side? (How well is that working out for Fox viewers and Wilson supporters?)

    This is why the Vox article I cited says that McCulloch is derelict in his professional duty by assigning this case to a grand jury. Contrary to what all the media is saying, it’s not about mere “distrust” from the black community, nor about the “appearance” of impartiality because of his officer father’s death and his police and lawyer relatives. It’s because he’s playing the grand jury option like a violin – and he’s done it before. (see my links in the previous page around #330)

  49. dianne says

    Does McColloch even remember that he’s supposed to be indicting Wilson for shooting, not Brown for being shot?

  50. Pteryxx says

    (Crossposting from the Incidentally, Racist thread in reply to SallyStrange’s #44)

    SallyStrange #44: I really think the major atheist orgs aren’t interested in helping foster the wrong color of atheists. (How much money are they likely to bring in when they grow up, really? Even with a college education?) /bittersnark

    I tried to direct readers here to the livestream of Michael Brown’s funeral, for instance, because white atheists chronically don’t understand how central and vital churches are to the survival of black communities. Literally, survival. Faith leaders on the ground in Ferguson were putting their bodies between protesters and riot police to prevent violence. Faith leaders provided the first aid, coordinated the food relief, and run the programs that keep troubled and targeted youth off the streets. Faith leaders even offered grief counseling, while real counselors were begging on Tumblr for volunteers with experience to come provide mental health support to these people.

    So it’s not a simple matter of

    increasing the appeal of atheism to the wishy-washy religionists who go to church more because they like the sense of charity and community they find there than for the sermons.

    Most of US, white atheists, can take or leave going to church. If we neglect our relationship with a religious community, most of us aren’t going to lose the only people who will bail us out of jail or work to get word to our families if we get shot.

    (Black atheists do talk about this; see for instance Trudy at Gradient Lair. But as I’m a basically white regular commenter, maybe it’ll stick.)

  51. Pteryxx says

    *correction thanks to dianne:

    [me:] how central and vital churches are to the survival of black communities.

    I agree with your point, but just wanted to suggest a minor revision: a fair number of African-Americans are Islamic so would suggest that the line should read “…how central and vital churches and mosques are to the survival of black communities.” Islamic African-Americans, of course, have the added joy of being suspected of terrorism.

  52. Pteryxx says

    more on Officer-Punch-Eric-Holder: Ed Brayton citing thenewcivilrightsmovement.

    Asked by followers on Twitter why police had gassed a group of people who were in their own back yard, Sgt. Weston responded that gunshots had been fired from that location. The problem is, a Daily RFT reporter was in that back yard and caught the incident on video. No shots were fired; no one was armed and everyone had their hands up in protest. When presented with that information, Sgt. Weston admitted he was not even in the area when the gassing occurred.

    “I wasn’t spreading misinformation.” Sgt. Weston defended himself. “There were shots being fired some yards, maybe not this particular one.”

  53. says

    I’m surprised it wasn’t followed up with, “Hey, come on, like I’m supposed to be able to tell them apart? What’s the big deal anyway?”

    And yes, as long as anyone’s willing to post, I’ll be happy to have the info.

  54. yazikus says

    So, yesterday on NPR they interviewed the head of a Ferguson high school’s social studies department. He was talking about the beginning of school. He emphasized how they talked in the classroom about how the media exaggerated what was going on and how it might not have been that bad in ‘their communities’. He talked about ‘peaceful assembly’ and ‘outside agitators’ and then emphasized again how it was not like it was portrayed by the media.

    I have questions. I’d like to know the racial makeup of the students in this school. I’d like to know the racial makeup of the faculty. I’d like to know how the teachers explained that what was happening in one community might not be like what was happening in another community. I’d like them to explain how the media exaggerated the film clip of the police firing at and tear gassing an Al Jazeera camera crew.

  55. rq says

    I’m wondering if some of the discussion of Beyoncé’s feminism as a black woman might not belong here, too – specifically, to point out the massive difference in life experiences and perception of somehow ‘normal’ that lies between yer ordinary paleface like me, and people of colour.
    Just feels like we’re opening up a huge discussion on the current prevalence of racism in America, which isn’t a bad thing – question is, how focussed should it be? I have no problem sticking with the police-and-communities aspect.

  56. Pteryxx says

    rq – just my opinion, but Beyoncé’ and feminism have a thread already, right? Maybe cross-reference it here because this thread is also an archive. In general, though, discussions could still happen in this thread. (…the topic’s “Good Morning America” after all)

    *I* am trying to stick with police-and-communities because there’s so much news that I have to prioritize and triage. Please, go on bringing in whatever you all think is important.

  57. dianne says

    @Pteryxx 65: Why does Weston still have a job? Seriously. He’s asking to be made the token firing to prove that we’ve gotten rid of the bad apples and it’s all better now. The fact that he’s not even getting reprimanded for such behavior and that Wilson’s likely to get off says to me that those in power can’t even be bothered to appear to be concerned about civil rights and reforming the police. I find that more chilling than perhaps I should: I always knew they had no interest in real change, but it disturbs me that they can’t even be bothered to make a token change.

  58. Pteryxx says

    via Shakesville, surveillance video from the killing of John Crawford III (in a Walmart, carrying a toy BB gun sold there) shows police shot him on sight with no warning. Rawstory:

    Police claim Crawford ignored their commands to drop the weapon, and the former Marine who called in the report and witnessed the shooting said Crawford “looked like he was going to go violently.”

    But attorney Michael Wright said surveillance video from the incident, which Ohio’s attorney general allowed him to watch with Crawford’s family, contradicted those accounts.

    “John was doing nothing wrong in Walmart, nothing more, nothing less than shopping,” Wright said.

    The attorney said surveillance video showed Crawford facing away from officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the pellet gun like a cane when he was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” response by police.

    Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Tuesday handed the case over to a special prosecutor to present to a grand jury Sept. 22.

    However, this video contradicting the police’s story won’t be made public. Melissa McEwan at Shakesville:

    And, just like in Ferguson, “evidence” is being released piecemeal to the public, in a way that favors police:

    Wright said the family objected to the piecemeal release of evidence, such as dispatch audio and video on the day of the shooting, was biased toward the police.

    “Everything released is one-sided,” Wright said. “There is nothing favorable to John Crawford. You can’t show different pieces, show it all, don’t trickle pieces to gain favor of the public.”

    Meanwhile, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says the surveillance video will not be released to the public, “to avoid tainting the jury pool.” Without, of course, a trace of irony that withholding it taints the jury pool, too, but in a way that facilitates the posthumous criminalization of another black man killed by police.

    One of the officers who fired is already back on duty. The other is still on administrative leave.

  59. Pteryxx says

    dianne #70 – since there have been five “bad apples” uncovered already, maybe the various St Louis police departments think if they fire any more, thus acknowledging what they did, it’ll make their “just a few bad apples” narrative look even worse?

  60. Pteryxx says

    rq – I mean I’m personally trying to stick with *posting* mostly police-and-communities, and investigations, because *I* can’t possibly post everything, much less and remain coherent, argh. Sorry, not trying to sound like Emperor of the Thread here.

  61. Pteryxx says

    two from BoingBoing just now: No charges for off-duty cop who killed teen

    Rey Garza approached a “suspicious” car while wearing plain clothes, gun drawn, and allegedly without identifying himself as a cop. What happened to the teen driver is depressingly predictable.

    citing local ABC News:

    When he approached, Garza said the driver threw the car in reverse and hit him, so he opened fire. But a woman with Santellana told Eyewitness News Garza never identified himself as an officer when he approached with a gun. Thinking they were being robbed, they took off.

    Garza was placed on administrative leave. Santellana’s family called for justice.

    Now, 9 months later, both have had their day in court and a grand jury found there wasn’t enough evidence to indict Garza.

    Garza “received no injuries requiring medical attention,” according to Harris County Sheriff’s detectives.

    and in somewhat better news: Judge: SWAT team can’t claim immunity after using excessive force citing Yahoo News

    On May 18, 2008, a heavily armed SWAT – or special weapons and tactics – team unit knocked down Terebesi’s door, threw stun flash grenades into his Easton home and fatally shot 33-year-old Gonzalo Guizan of Norfolk as the two men watched television. …

    In a 51-page ruling that upholds a lower court decision, the appeals court said the police responded with unnecessary and inappropriate force and under the circumstances, are not protected by “qualified immunity” from the lawsuits.

    “The plaintiffs presented evidence indicating that all of the defendants understood that the warrant was for a small amount of drugs meant only for personal use. The basis for the officersʹ entry, in other words, was related to an offense that was neither grave nor violent,” the appeals court wrote in a decision released late Monday.

  62. Pteryxx says

    More from Yahoo News in my previous about what “qualified immunity” means here:

    In a 51-page ruling that upholds a lower court decision, the appeals court said the police responded with unnecessary and inappropriate force and under the circumstances, are not protected by “qualified immunity” from the lawsuits.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that government officials have qualified immunity against civil damages if their conduct does not violate someone’s legal or constitutional rights.

    (When I search, I’m finding articles from Infowars, The Agitator, and

    Chicago Tribune on the Supreme Court decision, in May of this year, dealing with police use of deadly force and qualified immunity:

    In a unanimous decision, the justices threw out an “excessive force” claim brought against Arkansas police officers who chased a speeding car across the bridge into Memphis and shot the driver when he refused to give up.

    In the past, the court had said police may use force to stop a fleeing motorist because he represents a danger to the public. But the law has been unclear on whether “deadly force” can be used against the occupants of a stopped car.

    In the case decided Tuesday, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the officers were justified in shooting the motorist because he continued to maneuver his car after he had been temporarily stopped by a squad car. As the motorist, Donald Rickard, tried to drive away, police fired 15 shots in all, killing him and a passenger.

    Alito also said officers deserve the benefit of the doubt when they are engaged in a high-speed pursuit. “We analyze this question from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight,” he wrote in Plumhoff v. Rickard.

    Killing the driver and his passenger, in case that wasn’t clear. The chase began with Rickard being pulled over for a broken headlight.

    American Bar Association Journal:

    Officers fired 15 shots at Rickard’s vehicle during the July 2004 chase in which the cars reached speeds of more than 100 miles an hour. After Rickard collided with three police cruisers, two of them in a parking lot, a police officer fired three shots into Rickard’s car. Rickard drove away, nearly missing an officer, and two other officers fired 12 more shots at the vehicle.

    Rickard’s daughter had contended the police officers violated the Constitution by using deadly force to stop the chase. Even if the officers were allowed to fire, she contended, the number of shots fired was excessive.

    Eight justices (all except for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg) agreed that the initial use of deadly force did not violate the Fourth Amendment, while seven justices (all except for Ginsburg and Justice Stephen G. Breyer Jr.) agreed that the firing of 15 shots by police did not violate the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court was unanimous in holding that the officers were protected from suit because of qualified immunity.

    The chase started after a police officer pulled over Rickard’s Accord because it had only one headlight. Police noticed an indentation in the windshield and asked Rickard if he had been drinking. Rickard said he had not. The officer asked Rickard to get out of his car because he appeared nervous and was unable to produce a driver’s license. It was at that point that Rickard sped away.

    The chase was not over when the first shots were fired, Alito said, because Rickard was accelerating as his car was pressed against a police vehicle. Under the circumstances, it was reasonable to conclude that Rickard was ready to resume flight, once again posing a safety risk.

    After the initial shots were fired, Rickard was still trying to flee, according to Alito. “It stands to reason that, if police officers are justified in firing at a suspect in order to end a severe threat to public safety, the officers need not stop shooting until the threat has ended,” Alito said.

    Here’s why I mentioned the passenger who also died from police gunshots.

    The presence of a car passenger does not change the calculus, Alito added, because the plaintiff is asserting only Rickard’s Fourth Amendment rights. “It would be perverse,” Alito wrote, “if his disregard for Allen’s safety worked to his benefit.”

    PDF of SCOTUS opinion thanks to the ABA Journal.

  63. The Mellow Monkey: Singular They says

    The Parable of the Unjust Judge

    Trigger Warning for use of the N word in the linked article.

    Jesus told the Parable of the Unjust Judge, the writer of Luke tells us, to teach us about prayer, but I think it can tell us something about justice as well. The unjust judge of the parable could be petitioned into rendering justice in a particular case if it were made inconvenient enough for him not to. This realization, of course, we have heard echoed by Malcolm and Martin alike. We should notice, though, what does not happen in the parable – the judge does not repent or reform. He does not become a righteous man. He renders justice to the widow out of pure self-interest, but this does not make him anymore inclined to be just in the next case the widow might bring, or indeed the next case that anyone else brings. There is no amount of pleading, petitioning, or protesting that will transform the judge into a just man. We live in under a state that is at best, indifferent to our problems, and at worst, actively seeking to destroy us. It is good and right that we hound the state into giving us justice, but blacks cannot delude themselves into thinking that the state will ever become justice. There are no laws that can be passed or reforms that can be pursued that will allow us to stop being vigilant. There are no victories that will bring us peace. We will never be able to pound our swords into plowshares, because we will always have to be prepared to fight. Dr. King, our beautiful prophet, was wrong. The arc of the moral universe does not lead anywhere in particular, not in this life. If it bends towards justice, it is only because it is pulled that way by our constant effort, by our unceasing straining and sweating and shouting.

  64. D-Dave says

    The reports on Ferguson, right from that first ‘Robin Williams’ post by PZ, always leave me lingering on the lyrics to the song ‘Helicopters‘ by the Barenaked Ladies:


    “This is where the helicopters came
    to take me away
    This is where the children used to play


    This is only half a mile away from the attack
    This is where my life changed in a day,
    And then it changed back


    Buried in the din of rotor noise and close explosions
    I do my best to synthesize the sounds and my emotions
    This is where the allies bombed the school,
    They say by mistake
    Here nobody takes me for a fool, just for a fake

    Though it’s only half a month away,
    the media’s gone.
    An entertaining scandal broke today –
    but I can’t move on.

    I’m haunted by a story,
    And I do my best to tell it.
    Can’t even give this stuff away,
    Why would I sell it?”


    … And pretty much as ‘prophesied’, protests continue but by the two week mark it’s just not newsworthy anymore (on the local network I normally listen to, at least).

    Thanks for all the hard work keeping up with the reports.

  65. Pteryxx says

    from the Parable of the Unjust Judge that the Mellow Monkey linked: this should sound familiar to many of us veterans of the Deep Rifts.

    And this, ultimately, is the logic of respectability politics. That respectability politics is the narrative of the oppressor digested and regurgitated by the oppressed is obvious. But we shouldn’t dismiss it without understanding its allure and durability: it reframes the terms of power, restoring agency into black hands. For the black upper class, it is the parable that allows them to rationalize their privilege as a sign of their own worthiness, while simultaneously giving them cover to righteously withdraw concern from the plight of the less fortunate of their race. It’s no coincidence that the black people advocating for blacks to somehow be cleansed of their blackness by bathing in the waters of post-racial healing are many of the same complaining that “we” don’t pay attention to “black on black crime”. For the black middle class, respectability becomes an aspirational fable, a promise that they, too can be free of racism if they become successful enough to transcend their race. For the black underclass, it becomes a morality tale that explains their own destruction.
    You will never leave a body pure enough to not be judged complicit in its own destruction.

  66. Pteryxx says

    I’m trying to research this in depth, but for now, pulling this out of the context of Parable of the Unjust Judge will have to do:

    The machine of state was not designed to serve and protect blacks, it was designed to control them and confiscate from them. Ferguson is a city in which 67% of residents are black and 22% live below the poverty line. It is not a mistake that the second largest source of revenue for the government of this poor, black city is court fees and fines. It is not a mistake that this city with an average crime rate serves 3 warrants per household and conducts 1.5 court cases per family each year. It is not a mistake that this city with a 14.3% unemployment rate collects $321 dollars in fines per household per year. The Missouri state government’s own statistics show that blacks in Ferguson are stopped disproportionately more than whites, that they are both searched and arrested at almost twice the rate of whites, despite the fact that police are are more likely to find contraband when they search whites than when they search blacks.

    On average, every household who was getting tear gassed in their homes, who lived along the street where Mike Brown was killed, have to deal with 3 warrants and a court case or two every year because traffic stops and the like are how this city gets much of its funding. (There’s a part of Ferguson where the white folks live, too. Yet they aren’t the ones lining up around the block for traffic court every month.)

  67. rq says

    Twitter keeps crashing my browser, so I guess I’ll just post up what I have now (plus I seem to have been taken ill, so we’ll see how much I post up tomorrow):

    Gestures of support: Minneapolis UPS workers protest shipments to Missouri police. Some nice photos at the link – “Hands up, don’t ship!”

    We decided we could not be silent while our work was contributing to the militarized violence that police are directing at Ferguson residents in the aftermath of Brown’s death.

    Ferguson police still arresting observers, this time from the National Lawyers’ Guild. Like… I guess they don’t hire them for intelligence (the cops, I mean).

    Body-cams: Denver police request 800.

    Denver Police said Wednesday they hope to equip 800 police officers, including all patrol and traffic officers, with body cameras by 2015.

    The cameras will not only protect people who make legitimate complaints, authorities say, the technology should also protect police from false allegations of excessive force.

    Good. More for the former than the latter.

    ‘Cops’ TV show crew member dies… after being shot by police.

    Omaha police said three officers had no choice but to respond the way they did to an armed robbery at a fast-food restaurant Tuesday night that left the suspect and a television crew member dead.

    This time from Georgia: police taser man 13 times to make him walk. And then he died. o.o

    Autopsy results obtained by WSB-TV showed that Towns’ death was ruled a homicide because the Taser shocks — combined with physical activity and heart disease — contributed to his death.
    But Police Benevolent Association lawyers representing Weems continued to insist that the officer’s actions did not cause Towns to die.

    Keep trying, PBA lawyers. :P

    More on the shooting in Omaha – all three officers involved placed on administrative leave. Though probably because they shot a TV crewperson rather than for shooting to kill.


  68. rq says

    Recap on John Crawford III, shot in Wal-Mart.

    The attorney said surveillance video showed Crawford facing away from officers, talking on the phone, and leaning on the pellet gun like a cane when he was “shot on sight” in a “militaristic” response by police.

    <a href=""Yamiche Alcindor, one of the reporters in Ferguson, is doing an AMA on reddit right now!! I think it’s still on!

    … And they say black folk don’t care?

    Here’s again Ferguson PD building public relations, at their finest.

    The headline says it all. Picked the wrong random pullover in Charles Belk. Gonna hear about that for a long time.

    And will America’s fear of black men ever go away?

    For Americans, race has a strong pull on our sense of fear and our perceptions of aggression, a fact that has more to do with the legacy of slavery and our long history of racial demonization than it does any particular set of crime statistics. And in particular, according to a range of surveys and implicit association tests—which measure unconscious bias by flashing faces and soliciting responses—white Americans are more afraid of black men than any other group in the country.


    None of this is to say that the men and women responsible for Ferrell’s death are racists. There’s no way to know what lives in their hearts, but my guess is that they aren’t the reincarnations of Bull Connor. They don’t have to be; this is just how racism works.


    Which is to say that, in writing about Jonathan Ferrell, I’ve tried to imagine a situation that doesn’t end with his death. I can’t. Fear of black men has a tremendous hold on the American subconscious, and it mixes with our perceptions in ways that guarantee tragedy. As a nation, it’s one of our deadliest problems, and I’m not sure we can fix it.


  69. says

    In that same paragraph it mentions his “dabbled” in drugs and drinking, rapped and fought with a neighbor.

    :eyeroll: I dealt in high school, it’s how I paid my way through college. I’ve fought with neighbours. Didn’t end up dead in a street for any of it.

  70. says

    It’s one, rq, (Omaha) where I can see a certain amount of justification for shooting at all: the other witnesses agree that Mr. Washington had something that looked and acted like a proper firearm as he pulled the trigger twice, before police started shooting. The number of rounds appears to have been pretty over the top, and of course, as it turns out, the firearm-like thing was an airgun with plastic pellet ammunition, in no way life-threatening to body-armoured police. But given that it was a deliberately-made fairly accurate replica of a real weapon, and that it worked mechanically like one while throwing a harmless projectile, makes it harder for me to fault them for opening fire.

    What’s gross about it is, as noted, 1) how the focus is all on the TV-show crew member killed, B) the chief’s contention that the Cops show was doing important work “showing the dangers that cops face on the street every day” (paraphrasing, low on spoons for reopening pages to get it exact), and iii) their arriving with firearms unholstered and thus likely to be used, and the sheer overwhelming force used, which was never likely to leave the suspect alive.

    Well, no, Chief, in this case, it showed that even when their fear might have been reasonable in these particular instantaneous circumstances, they weren’t in any actual danger.

    This is unintentionally and cruelly ironic, as Black men are being murdered every day or two for posing so much danger to cops’ lives, when they are unarmed and surrendering, cuffed behind their backs, lying on the ground, or being choked out by a pile of police. So, in fact, when the police aren’t in any actual danger, but perceive themselves to be any way, because Black men are inherently dangerous, like bombs or wild leopards or something.

    When placed alongside the reactions when a white shooter is in the same circumstance, though, it’s clear that the overreaction, and the fear, were both enhanced and triggered by the victim’s being Black.

  71. says


    Things have taken weird turns in Ferguson, Missouri, where weeks of community unrest over the fatal police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown have given way to tensions between protestors and supporters of Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Brown. Today, we tip our hat to one local business owner, who interrupted a TV interview to tell Wilson supporters to get the hell out.

    Darren Wilson supporters and Ferguson business owners clash: “You stupid jackass!”

    In this CNN segment, Jake Tapper attempts to interview a group of Wilson supporters staging a small protest in Ferguson. But up walks this local business owner, obviously tired of their bullshit, who jumps in and derails the interview. Cigarette in hand, he tells the protesters straight up, “We want you out of here.”

    “We don’t want bad things. I understand the justice and we understand that. You get out of here… We don’t want any controversy. A lot of black people live around here and I want for the peace.”

  72. says

    Video posted online on Tuesday depicts the arrest and Tasing of an unidentified Black man in St. Paul, Minnesota for seemingly little reason other than his refusal to state his name, the Twin Cities Daily Planet reported.

    “Why am I going to jail?” the man can be heard saying toward the end of the nearly 6-minute long clip.

    “It’ll be explained to you,” a male officer responds.

    The video, which seemed to have been taken on a cell phone this past winter, begins with a female officer walking beside the man and asking for his name.

    “Why do I have to let you know who I am?” the man asks. “I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws.”

    Minnesota does not currently have a “stop and identify” statute in place. Those laws give police the right to arrest someone if they do not identify themselves

    “I want to find out who you are, and what the problem was back there,” the first officer says. The Daily Planet reported that a store clerk called police after the man was sitting in front of his store.

    “I do not have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws,” the man says, adding that he explained to the clerk that he sat near the store for 10 minutes before going to pick up his children at a nearby school, New Horizon Academy.

    “He walked up to me a minute later and got irate with me,” the man says of the clerk. “That’s a public area, and if there’s no sign that [says], ‘This is a private area, you can’t sit here,’ no one can tell me I can’t sit there.”

    “The problem was,” the officer begins to say, before the man cuts her off, saying, “The problem is, I’m Black.”

    Seconds later, the male officer approaches, and the man asks, “Please don’t touch me.”

    “You’re gonna go to jail, then,” the officer responds, before he and his colleague grab the man.

    “Come on brother,” the man says, “This is assault.”

    “I’m not your brother,” the second officer answers. “Put your hands behind your back otherwise it’s going to get ugly.”

    At that point, the male officer orders him to put his hands behind his back. The argument continues for a few more seconds before the image goes black. But the man can be heard yelling for help. As some children are heard in the distance, the man says, “That’s my kids right there.”

    “Put your hands behind your back,” the officer can be heard yelling, before threatening to use the Taser. The device can be heard flickering at the 2:17 mark, before the man yells for help again.

    Later on, the female officer can be heard asking, “Did I not ask you to stop to talk to me?”

  73. Pteryxx says

    via Daily Kos, The Nation on living under police lockdown in Ferguson.

    Wilkerson, 27, found a job through a temp agency for an energy company further out in the suburbs. But at the height of the protests earlier this month, the bus he takes to work never came. Transportation officials had redrawn the only route that stops at Canfield Green to avoid the protests. Like other residents that spoke with The Nation, Wilkerson didn’t get the memo. He missed several days of work as a result, and says he’ll have trouble paying his bills this month. Wilkerson added, “Some people want to say, ‘These people don’t want to work.’ How can we work if we can’t even get on the bus?”

    Earlier during the protests, when snipers still laid prone atop armored vehicles and K-9 dogs yowled at peaceful demonstrators, police completely blocked off the only entrance to Canfield Green, locking residents in their own neighborhood. Marquez Larkin, 19, recorded the blockade using his cell phone camera. Larkin and his girlfriend, Britanny Williams, work for a pharmaceutical company packing pills, but missed two days as a result of the blockade, which continued on and off for about five days. Eventually they found an alternate path out of the neighborhood—a lawn at the other end of the street, now indented with tread marks.

    Once the unrest settled, police stopped blocking the entrance to Canfield Green. But an ID checkpoint further south on West Florissant was yet another hindrance to residents. Larkin, who moved to the neighborhood in June, still hasn’t had a chance to update the address on his driver’s license, so he was forced to drive several miles to avoid the checkpoint, burning extra fuel, in order to get back home. “I’m managing, but I’m behind on my rent now. We’re making just enough to get by,” Larkin said in his third-floor apartment.

    “Officers were placed at these intersections to allow residents in and out access to help assure their safety,” a St. Louis County Police spokesperson said in an email in response to questions about the impact the police presence had on residents of the apartment complex. “Whereas there may have been incidents where residents could not get home, no such reports were made to our communication center or our Internal Affairs Unit.”

  74. Pteryxx says

    Chris Hayes tonight speaking with the family of John Crawford, killed by police in a Walmart, about the video that contradicts the police story. MSNBC

    and Jon Stewart ripping Fox News’ Ferguson coverage (warning: at least as gross as expected). DailyKos

  75. rq says

    Bradley J Radford, journalism student – on the ground in Ferguson. A nice interview with a collection of his videos.

    Celebrities in Ferguson. Yup, that’s MC Hammer. I was wondering where he’d gone to!

    Again, pictures – a thousand words. And the question.

    Judicial system supports use of (excessive) force by police.

    While the police have access to a wide variety of tactics and less-lethal weapons when dealing with “public safety risks,” there’s really no need for them to use anything but their guns. (Which they do… with gusto.) The Supreme Court’s decision turns any perceived threats to “public safety” (practically speaking, “officer safety”) into blank checks for excessive force.

    Ferguson is a Greek tragedy. Or just a human one.

    It’s been raining in Ferguson.

  76. rq says

    Now North Korea, too, has laughed at the US. I see international relations crumbling. :/

    “The U.S. is, indeed, a country wantonly violating the human rights where people are subject to discrimination and humiliation due to their races and they are seized with such horror that they do not know when they are shot to death,” the spokesperson continued. “The protests in Ferguson City and other parts of the U.S. are an eruption of the pent-up discontent and resistance of the people against racial discrimination and inequality deeply rooted in the American society.”

    From North Korea, this message.

    Just an aside, map of Twitter hatespeech.

    Ah, but he was white! FBI takes 90 days to arrest would-be shooter.

    I think this is the same school as pointed out previously. Honestly, why is it so difficult to have this conversation?? Looks like whites are ignoring white-on-black crime.

    Ferguson: an American Apartheid:

    Separate and unequal, long thought to be a relic of the old south, was alive and well in St. Louis. Jim Crow, it seemed, had cousins up north. It was nothing short of an American apartheid.

    In time, discriminatory race-based laws were dropped from the books only to be replaced by a new, a tragically flawed social contract—its defining geographical lines shifting and moving in tandem with black economic progress. […] It has been said that the civil rights movement skipped St. Louis.

    Coverage of the Town Hall meeting at Harris Stowe State U. (video)

  77. rq says

    How expensive will Ferguson be? Only about $100 000 per day. Small change – they can sell a helicopter. Right?

    This disparity is just sad: Michael Brown, almost $300 000; Darren Wilson, over $400 000. :( People have fucked up priorities.

    As for Eric Garner, it turns out people would like some criminal charges there, too.

    According to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday, 64 percent of New York City voters would support brining charges against Pantaleo, while only 19 percent would oppose charges. When the numbers are broken down by race, 83 percent of black voters approve of charges being brought against Pantaleo, along with 50 percent of white voters.

  78. Ichthyic says

    North fucking Korea…

    yeah, somehow pot/kettle/black doesn’t even come close to covering that one does it.

  79. rq says

    I regret nothing! St Louis County police chief has no regrets about tactics used in Ferguson.

    Belmar said police departments need military-style equipment because they’re patrolling “very urban areas,” and addressing “serious crimes” and “certain terrorist events” — though previously, he thought they would only be used in handling armed barricades and executing search warrants. “I never envisioned a day in which we would see that type of equipment used against protesters,” he said. “But I also never envisioned a day in 28 years [on the job] that we’d see the kind of criminal activity spin out of peaceful demonstrations.”

  80. Ichthyic says

    patrolling “very urban areas,”


    last i checked, urban was just the adjective for “city”.

    language, how does it work?

    come on Belmar, YOU FUCKING RACIST SCUMBAG, say it without the dogwhistles eh?

  81. rq says

    Ezell Ford: authorities have also not been releasing the names of those responsible in that shooting, so someone else does. Note at the end:

    Note: Ezell Ford’s parents are still trying to raise the money to bury their son, if you can help, please donate here.

    (actual GoFundMe link added)

    Good question: administrative leave, sure, but where is Darren Wilson?

    Ooooh, finally! Governor Nixon appoints only black cabinet member. Three weeks after the shooting.

    The appointment comes after Nixon faced criticism both for the lack of racial diversity among his department leaders and for the state’s response to protesters and looters following the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on 9 August.

    Nixon did not directly say whether the leadership change was related to the events in Ferguson. He said Isom “has experience and training in law enforcement that are almost unmatched”.[…] Although Isom will be Nixon’s only black cabinet member, he is not the first. Kelvin Simmons served as commissioner of the office of administration from 2009, when Nixon became governor, until he left in 2012 for a private-sector job.

    So he’s the second. Huh.

  82. Bernard Bumner says

    Belmar said police departments need military-style equipment because they’re patrolling “very urban areas,” and addressing “serious crimes” and “certain terrorist events”…

    As David Aaronovitch pointed out on UK television the other day – when terrorists execute Lee Rugby on the streets of London and then pointed a shotgun at the armed police (who weren’t dressed in camo or riding tanks), the murderers were shot in the legs and disabled so that they were able to face trial.

    Militarised police are not a necessary or inevitable response to terrorism. And I saw no terrorism on the streets of St. Louis.

  83. rq says

    Hmm… this article only lists three suspended officers. But they may be only the ones from the St Louis PD…?

    Researcher in Ferguson says the synchronized lockstep of police increases their aggressivity.

    But a new study suggests that it may also be a recipe for excessive force and police violence. What researchers call “synchrony” may give authorities a sense of power that encourages them to be more aggressive, the study suggests.

    “We have found that when men are walking in step with other men, they think that a potential foe is smaller and less physically formidable and less intimidating than when they’re just walking in no particularly coordinated manner with other men,” lead author Daniel Fessler, a professor of anthropology at the University of California at Los Angeles, said in a university press release.

    I guess the solution is to have less police in less militarized poses/positions?

    Someone is filing for Michael Brown’s juvenile records. Why? Does it matter? Does it really matter??

    Saint Lous sons taken too soon: a reporter living in St Louis talks about life.

    The park is always busy. Families hold barbecues, children climb trees, young men shoot baskets, fathers coach sports. Almost everyone who goes to this park is black. When I walk through the park, white policemen ask me if anyone is bothering me. When I walk through the park, black men preface inquiries for directions with the phrase “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you.”


    No one will forget the killing of Michael Brown. But that killing was preceded by decades of police brutality, of violence, of losses, of teddy bears tied to trees. During the 2013-2014 school year, 17 St Louis public school children died, a record number. The second largest number, in 2010, was eight.


    A white classmate asked the boy, who was black, what he meant. He said that had happened to his uncle. The white boy looked at the black boy blankly.
    Fault Lines – Ferguson: City under siege

    You can live next to your neighbour and still exist in a different city, with different rights and rules. You can greet each other with sincere warmth, and never fathom the disparity of experience.

    And never fathom the disparity of experience. And ignore it, and pretend it doesn’t exist.

    For those in reach of St Louis radio.


  84. rq says

    The HealSTL amazon wishlist has changed, for those able to assist. I understand they opened an office yesterday. (Here’s more about the group.)

    A closer look at Ferguson’s outstanding fees, crime rate and police stop stats.

    People who can’t pay their fines and fees go on payment plans. But then there are extra fees, sometimes interest — 12 percent on felonies in Washington state — and, if poor people fall behind on payments, they may go to jail. Courts often ignore laws, Supreme Court rulings and protections that outlaw the equivalent of debtors prisons.

    And once more, in pictures.

  85. Pteryxx says

    rq #107 – I may not be up to date, but not all five bad-mouth cops may have been suspended. From my #41 above, Officer Let’s-Take-Him is currently being sued for choking a child without cause, but is still on duty, for instance.

    via carlie in the No respect thread:

    in Ferguson in particular, so many nuisance fines are handed out to poor (black) people who can’t afford them that there are now more active arrest warrants out for fine nonpayments than there are residents. Ferguson, with an average household income of less than 19k per year, collected more in fines last year than the neighboring town of Chesterfield, which has an average household income of over 60k.

    citing NPR: In Ferguson, court fines and fees fuel anger

    To understand some of the distrust of police that has fueled protests in Ferguson, Mo., consider this: In 2013, the municipal court in Ferguson — a city of 21,135 people — issued 32,975 arrest warrants for nonviolent offenses, mostly driving violations.

    A new report released the week after 18-year old Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson helps explain why. ArchCity Defenders, a St. Louis-area public defender group, says in its report that more than half the courts in St. Louis County engage in the “illegal and harmful practices” of charging high court fines and fees on nonviolent offenses like traffic violations — and then arresting people when they don’t pay. The report singles out courts in three communities, including Ferguson.


    “And then if you can’t pay all the fines at once, they put you on a pay docket, and that just means [you] come to the court once a month and pay a certain dollar amount or explain why you haven’t paid,” Harvey says.

    But the ticket may be in a far-away court that’s not easy to get to in a region with sometimes spotty public transportation. If someone doesn’t pay, a warrant can be issued for their arrest.

    The new report says the courtroom in Ferguson gets so crowded that judges lock the doors just five minutes after court begins. Sometimes people show up late and can’t get in, so they leave. But then they’re counted as missing court, and an arrest warrant might be issued.

    (emphasis from carlie’s post)

    It gets worse. (Which has been the refrain for the last 19 days.) Here’s the original report, from Arch City Defenders, who give pro bono assistance to poor clients in St Louis. PDF, Dropbox link (bolds mine in the following)

    For example, until recently, many local courts denied access to the general public.27 When summoned to one of these courts, defendants may face jail time if they fail to appear. If they lack access to childcare, they bring their children with them. According to local judge Frank Vaterott, 37% of the courts responding to his survey unconstitutionally closed the courts to non-defendants.28 Defendants are then faced with the choice of leaving their kids on the parking lot or going into court. As Antonio Morgan described after being denied entry to the court with his children, the decision to leave his kids with a friend resulted in a charge of child endangerment.29

    This is how the court in Ferguson behaves.

    We are encouraged that about half of the courts we observed did not engage in the illegal and harmful practices described above while we were present. But, approximately thirty of those courts did engage in at least one of these practices. Three courts, Bel-Ridge, Florissant, and Ferguson, were chronic offenders and serve as prime examples of how these practices violate fundamental rights of the poor, undermine public confidence in the judicial system, and create inefficiencies. We have chosen to focus this paper on these three courts.

    Much, much more in the report. For instance, that judges in these courts may also be prosecutors.

    Municipal court judges, pursuant to RSMo 479.02 are part-time positions.17 In St. Louis County, municipal court judges are often private criminal defense attorneys and sometimes county prosecutors.18 They may serve in multiple jurisdictions and the judge need not be resident of the municipality.19 Individuals who are judges in one municipality may be the prosecutor or judge in another neighboring
    municipality.20 Similarly, municipal court judges and prosecutors may be employees of the State working as a prosecutor in St. Louis County.21 It is possible for a defense attorney to appear before a judge on Tuesday who is the prosecuting attorney in another municipality on Wednesday and then see that same person in his or her role as a state prosecutor later that week.

  86. Pteryxx says

    A comment from Shakesville’s discussion of John Crawford’s killing:

    I live here. The Walmart store is minutes away, and Beavercreek is an 85% Caucasian suburb. Over the years, RTA has tried to get bus connections established between downtown and the Beavercreek area, but has been voted down repeatedly by the citizens who do not want the “criminal element” brought into their community.

    So you can imagine what locals have said about this terrible incident. “This is why we don’t want to bus them in.” Really. It speaks volumes about the environment here, and why racism will continue to thrive. In an environment of Us vs Them, there can be no peace, no balance.

  87. Pteryxx says

    and also via Shakesville, and Talking Points Memo, good ol’ Ben Stein being a tremendously racist excrescence.


    Stein was discussing the shooting with host Steve Malzberg and said the use of the term “unarmed” to describe Brown, who was “apparently on marijuana,” was akin to “calling Sonny Liston unarmed or Cassius Clay unarmed.”

    “He wasn’t unarmed,” Stein said. “He was armed with his incredibly strong, scary self.”

    Later, when discussing Attorney General Eric Holder, Stein made a guttural noise and said Holder wasn’t concerned about there being a fair trial, aiming instead for a “lynching jury.”

    “It’s a very sad state of affairs,” Stein said. “I mean it used to be, there was a time … when lynchings of African Americans were not that incredibly rare. Now the lynchings are the police and it’s just an outrage.”

    Note that while comparing teenager Mike Brown to professional boxers, because color, Ben Stein refers to Muhammad Ali by the name Ali renounced as his “slave name” in 1964 and has not used since. (h/t Shakes commenter)

  88. Pteryxx says

    Gah… even more on how the court system in Ferguson just crushes the residents and screws them over, from the NPR report in rq’s #108 and my #109.

    Ebony says she’s been arrested before after she didn’t pay off all her fines — the last time just two weeks after she had given birth.

    “My son was 2 weeks old and I was under doctor’s care, and Ferguson still locked me up and left me in jail for a week — over traffic tickets,” she says. “Even when my lawyer was calling and saying that I’m under doctor’s care, I just had a baby, and they still didn’t care.”

    Police and city officials in Ferguson didn’t respond to our requests for an interview.

    Ebony says she knows if she falls behind again on those fines and fees, there could be a new arrest warrant.

    That is one reason why residents like her see the fines as just a way for the city to make money, for things like the brand-new brick-and-glass police building.

    “If I don’t pay on the day or before, I get a whole other warrant, and the money that I use don’t go against nothing,” she says outside the new police building. “It goes to this — it goes to this new building.”

    *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

    The [arrest warrant] amnesty program was started by the community organization Better Family Life. Founder and CEO Malik Ahmed says he started the amnesty program after his group’s job training program ran into a surprising barrier when it linked people to jobs.

    “What we found was that when we got them jobs,” says Ahmed, “maybe one or two days after they were hired, they were back in our office saying that they couldn’t go out to where the job was located.”

    The issue: Often the person had an arrest warrant, not for some violent crime, but because they didn’t pay their court fines and fees on a low-level offense, like a driving violation.

    “It’s a risk to go to the store,” says Ahmed. “Outside of that community, it’s a risk to go to any educational institution, to get a job, to go for job interviews. Especially since most of the jobs are maybe 5 to 10 miles away. So some of them just don’t even try anymore.”

    Because of arrest warrants for unpaid fines and traffic tickets, some residents can’t even go ten miles out of town for a job. Probation, also, can come with travel restrictions. Take note whenever someone pulls out the “too lazy to get a job” card.

  89. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    “It’s a very sad state of affairs,” Stein said. “I mean it used to be, there was a time … when lynchings of African Americans were not that incredibly rare. Now the lynchings are the police and it’s just an outrage.”

    That is a lot of fucking vileness packed into two relatively short sentences. Apart from waxing nostalgic about a time when actual lynchings were not so uncommon, to then characterize criticism of police who murder people of color as lynching adds a whole extra layer of disgusting.

  90. rq says

    So some of them just don’t even try anymore.

    I can’t imagine going through life with that kind of… hopelessness. Heartbreaking.

  91. dianne says

    “He wasn’t unarmed,” Stein said. “He was armed with his incredibly strong, scary self.”

    So, if being armed with one’s “strong, scary self” is justification for a shooting, does that mean it’s ok for me to shoot anyone I judge to be stronger than me and potentially scary? Because I’ll level with you: most men are stronger than me and I find a lot of men kind of scary. I guess we’re pretty much done prosecuting women for shooting men, because the average man is stronger than the average woman and any woman who isn’t scared of men simply isn’t paying attention.

  92. Pteryxx says

    from Daily Kos the other day: When Did Cops Become Such Cowards?

    When a guy who is shaking and frail is within 20-25 feet with a knife, even a Swiss Army knife, he is considered to be “life threatening” to the officer. An officer who is armed with a baton, mace, taser, a bullet proof vest and a gun. I’m no hero but I wouldn’t consider that to be “life threatening” to myself…without all of that weaponry and armor. I would probably look to just knock the guy out when I got my chance. But if I were a cop I would opt for the safer route and just mace the guy. If he kept coming which is highly doubtful, I would go to the taser. End of story.

    Now cops seem to shoot when someone yells “Boo.” Well especially if it’s a black guy yelling. If this is the case why do we even need cops? Any civilian can kill someone for little or no reason. Where does the training come in? With cops like these we might as well just have law of the jungle and kill each other. Who needs them?


    I could write 100 paragraphs about the 21st century cop and how afraid they are to use their brains or fists or less lethal weapons because someone standing 25 feet away without a firearm is considered a “threat.” Example after example of police “overreach”, of escalation instead of a calming deescalation which is what they are paid to do. Escalation usually means homicide. Sometimes it’s tear gassing an entire crowd because one guy threw a bottle…of water. Once again I’m no hero but I will take the “water bottle challenge” and allow 20 cops to throw bottles of Evian at me and if I survive, all of those cowardly cops (and I don’t give a shit if they were under the command of Ron Johnson) that tear gassed pastors and woman and children, lose their jobs. How about THAT challenge?

  93. dianne says

    Re imprisoning people for failing to pay fines, how is this different from debtors’ prisons? Also, how is it equal protection for someone who lives on $10K per year to pay the same fine as, say, one of the Koch brothers would for a given offense? A fine that’s insignificant to the latter might be devestating to the former. Fines should be based on income and assets so that wealthy people pay as much proportionally as poor people. And if that encourages the police to watch wealthy drivers more carefully and ticket people in new, expensive cars more often…well, that’s a risk the rich will just have to bear.

  94. says

    Finland pro-rates fines, at least for traffic violations, to the miscreant’s wealth/income. It’s made for some pretty impressive fines for people driving Lamborghinis, Bentleys, and Ferraris.

  95. Pteryxx says

    Stephen Colbert last night: Rawstory

    “Folks,” Colbert continued, “this is a genuine tragedy that many are saying is the foul harvest of our racist past — but I urge everyone to wait to pass judgment on Officer Darren Wilson. Some are rushing to judge this man as a violent, racist cop who gunned down an unarmed black teenager. But others are arguing that he’s a heroic police officer doing his job — by gunning down an unarmed black teenager.”


    “What we do know is that the shooting of a young, unarmed black man is a story that we’ve heard too many times before,” Colbert noted, “and the only way to ensure that we never here it again is for the press to stop reporting it.”

    Ferguson businesses: ‘We are hurting’

    Meanwhile on West Florissant, much has returned to normal. The marches have thinned out, the T-shirt sellers have gone and the police presence has diminished.

    Left, however, are the boarded-up stores and their fretful owners. Many have insurance policies that do not cover the damage or the lost business. Others are not insured at all.

    None of the people interviewed were aware of a telephone line that has been set up by the state for businesses to seek help for their damages.

    “I feel scared about my business,” said Rokhaya Biteye, 44, owner of Daba African Hair Braiding located in one of the modest strip malls that line West Florissant. Profits have evaporated to almost nothing since the shooting – in a normal week she generally makes about $800, but is now bringing in less than $100.


    “It is a struggle just to stay ahead and pay the bills,” said Antonio Henley, 43, owner of Prime Time Beauty and Barber Shop on West Florissant. He said he lost about 70 percent of his business over the last two weeks. He has insurance but the policy does not cover damage from rioting.

    “We don’t have riot insurance,” he said. “Why would you have riot insurance in Ferguson?”

    From a traffic stop in Florida: Rawstory

    The cell phone video recorded by a back seat passenger during the Feb. 4, 2013 arrest has been viewed more than 46,000 times since it was posted last month.

    It shows a Boynton Beach police officer telling four men in the car, all of whom are black, that he needs to see their identification and then ordering the passenger to turn off his cell phone.

    The passenger refuses, saying, “I have rights, sir. I am recording this sh*t.”

    Another passenger asks the officer for his name, but he ignores the request and orders the occupants out of the car.

    When the driver sticks his own cell phone out the window and attempts to photograph the officer’s badge number, the officer drags him from the car and throws him to the ground.


    Boynton Beach Police Chief Jeffrey Katz posted a lengthy comment in response to the YouTube video, saying he had first seen it about a year ago but none of the men had filed a complain or provided any further details about the incident.

    Katz said the officer felt threatened when the driver “reached out of his window with a black object in his hand.”

    The chief said the men escalated the incident by refusing to cooperate and attempting to catch a “gotcha” moment by recording their interaction with police.

    “People these days seem to like to draw strong and definitive conclusions based upon clips of video and information,” Katz said. “That’s not how this complex world works, folks. The driver and occupants of a vehicle have far more to do with the outcome of a traffic stop than does the initiating officer.”

    Instead of “attempting to use this video to stoke racial tension and fear,” he suggested concerned citizens report perceived police misconduct, participate in citizen’s police academies, and make an appointment to meet with him personally to discuss their concerns.

    Well, now we know who comments on Youtube videos.

  96. Pteryxx says

    dianne #118 – it’s exactly like debtor’s prisons, with a little more obfuscation. Here’s Ed Brayton’s coverage in 2012:

    Debtor’s prisons are supposed to be illegal in the United States but today poor people who fail to pay even small criminal justice fees are routinely being imprisoned. The problem has gotten worse recently because strapped states have dramatically increased the number of criminal justice fees. In Pennsylvania, for example, the criminal court charges for police transport, sheriff costs, state court costs, postage, and “judgment.” Many of these charges are not for any direct costs imposed by the criminal but have been added as revenue enhancers. A $5 fee, for example, supports the County Probation Officers’ Firearms Training Fund, an $8 fee supports the Judicial Computer Project, a $250 fee goes to the DNA Detection Fund.

    and Daily Kos in 2013:

    As state budgets are slashed and strained by economic recession, many states now shift the cost of prisons to the prisoners by requiring criminal defendants and prisoners to pay a number of “user fees” at different stages of our criminal injustice system. User fees attach to using a public defender, service fees for probation/parole, and fees to defray the costs of incarceration in prison or jail.

    While debtors’ prisons were banned long ago, private corporations now handle some prisons, probation services, and collection services for user fees and need prisoners to make profits.

  97. Pteryxx says

    For an example of monitoring fees in practice, see Marissa Alexander, prosecuted for defending herself because Florida’s Stand Your Ground statue somehow doesn’t apply to her. (FreeMarissaNow)

    Marissa Alexander successfully appealed the trial, overturning the guilty verdict on 9/26/13. She was released on bond on 11/27/13 and is now under home detention. While under home detention, she must pay $105 every week for the use of an ankle monitor, and $500 every other week for the bond cost.

  98. says

    Instead of “attempting to use this video to stoke racial tension and fear,” he suggested concerned citizens report perceived police misconduct, participate in citizen’s police academies, and make an appointment to meet with him personally to discuss their concerns.

    If it wasn’t so horrific, it’d be hilarious.

    “Yes, you citizens who were threatened with being shot for attempting to record a police officer making an unfair stop, please come down to meet privately with his boss, in a building full of his fanatically supportive colleagues, to make your complaint official. Please bring along your witnesses, too! All are welcome. Hand over your name and address, so we can make you comfortable. We totally promise that no one will misuse them in any way, cross our body-armoured heavily-beweaponed hearts. Also, here is all the video we will release, and the gaps which all coincide with dozens of alleged ‘police brutality’ events are nothing more than the limitations of modern technology, as all the alleged incidents mysteriously happened inside a sudden influx of Faraday cages with EMP-grenade boobytraps, deployed by the alleged ‘victims’ because they’re big meanies and just like cages and things with the word ‘boob’ in them, because they’re depraved thugs who smoke marijuana and listen to that rap music. That is all, no questions please, good day.”


  99. rq says

    While under home detention, she must pay $105 every week for the use of an ankle monitor, and $500 every other week for the bond cost.

    So she’s paying to keep herself prisoner? What the fuck?

  100. Pteryxx says

    rq: Marissa’s paying to keep herself prisoner after her guilty verdict was overturned. She gets to defend herself against assault charges in a new trial in December this year,

  101. Pteryxx says

    …stray comma.

    From the 2013 Daily Kos article: how prisoners have to pay fees even for the services of a public defender. (Constitutionally guaranteed.)

    Public Defender Reimbursement and Fees

    States may charge an application fee to obtain a public defender and then later reimbursement costs for using a public defender. Public defender fees can range from mandatory recoupment fees of $50 for misdemeanors and $100 for felonies in Florida to “sometimes in the thousands of dollars.”

    — Defender fees can include charges to “apply” for representation before an attorney is appointed, charges during the course of a criminal proceeding to offset the costs of representation, and charges at the termination of a criminal proceeding to reimburse the state for all or a portion of the costs of representation. In Florida and Ohio, individuals are required to pay defender fees even if they are acquitted or have charges dropped. Of the fifteen states, only Pennsylvania and New York do not utilize some form of defender fee.

    Some states have mandatory public defender fees and thus the courts cannot waive the fee if the defendant can not afford the payment.

    — In North Carolina, the court must order convicted defendants to pay a $50 fee and must direct a judgment to be entered for the full value of the defense services provided, currently valued at $75/hour for non-capital cases, plus additional fees and expenses. In Virginia, poor defendants may be charged as much as $1,235 per count for certain felonies.

    Even when hardship waivers are statutorily authorized, some states do not offer waivers in practice:

    — In Arizona, where state law mandates that courts take into account and make factual findings regarding a defendant’s financial resources, interviews indicate that courts order defendants to reimburse public defense costs in the vast majority of cases, and that many courts have uniform fee schedules that fail to take into account ability to pay.

    citing this Brennan Center report: Criminal Justice Debt: A Barrier to Re-entry (PDF link) covering fifteen states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Arizona, North Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, Alabama and [of course] Missouri.

  102. Pteryxx says

    Feminist Batwoman tumblr has too much for me to quickly post, so I’ll just say go and read over there. Briefly: (one), (two), (three):

    The cop who shot a dog in front of its 6 year old owner was fired after outrage from the community and a “Justice for Apollo” campaign.

    The cop who shot an unarmed black teen is on paid leave and remains protected by his department. So far, days of outrage and protest have still not brought any justice to Mike Brown.

    In America, in 2014, the life of a black man is valued less than that of a dog.


  103. dianne says

    So she’s paying to keep herself prisoner? What the fuck?

    I remember seeing a movie in the 1980s where that happened, i.e. people were required to pay for their own incarceration. It was called Brazil and it was not a utopian story.

    I suppose this is really the inevitable result of privatization of prisons: if you have to make holding people against their will pay you’re going to cut costs however you can. And if you can make holding people against their will pay, you’re going to look to expand your market.

  104. dianne says

    Pteryxx @127: The problem with comparisons like that one is that I think the message the police will get out of it is “fine, next time we won’t fire the officer who shot the dog either”.

  105. rq says

    Finally: police officer found liable for death of La-Reko Williams, following tasing.

    The officer, who wore his uniform to court each day, was not charged with a crime and remains on the force. [bolding mine]

    … Never mind. *sigh*

  106. rabidwombat says

    @122 Pteryxx:

    Well I can tell you, if I was paying that much in fees every month, I would be living under a bridge, at which point, I would be arrested for violating my home incarceration (due to my sudden lack of home,) and of course, vagrancy.

  107. Pteryxx says


    …from Cracked, an overview so comprehensive, so exhaustively referenced, and so on point (for Cracked) that I swear I will never use the phrase “…from Cracked of all places” again.

    7 Important Details Nobody Mentions About Ferguson

    This later-than-too-late report is the only one any police filed about the shooting. Above is literally all of the relevant information, and I’m the kind of person who only uses “literally” correctly. There’s the officer’s name (Wilson), the department (homicide/robbery), the location (Ferguson), the time/date it happened (a while ago), and the date/time it was reported (recently). Unfortunately for whatever the truth might be, an incident report is actually supposed to include a “narrative” section, in which the officer describes what happened in as much detail as possible. Ideally the report would also include eyewitness accounts, if there are any. A detailed incident report written immediately after the incident is important in getting a thorough and accurate account of events. But apparently not much happened between Darren Wilson and Michael Brown, whose information sits alone on the last page of a report nobody cared about or wanted to write.


    St. Louis actually did have a Serpico [(wiki reference) – Pteryxx] a couple of months ago in Sgt. Daniel O’Neil, who revealed that a STLPD lieutenant was ordering officers to profile minorities. Lt. Patrick Hayes allegedly said things like “Let’s have a black day” and “Let’s make the jail cells more colorful.” Thankfully he was fired in May, but one Sgt. Daniel “Serpico” O’Neil apparently isn’t enough, because now that entire department is treating him like shit. If only one officer felt uncomfortable being told to profile minorities and everyone still working there is out to get him, it’s not crazy to assume that a lot of those officers are still hoping to have black days.


    Regardless of all of that, and even if Darren Wilson is arrested, going back to normal doesn’t mean what I or other white people think it does. For me, normal is moving on to the Ice Bucket Challenge, or KONY 2015, or changing my profile picture for various causes, or sharing an article about Photoshopped models, or tweeting about the mental health problem in America after another white teen shoots anywhere between some and many people. As a white person myself, I have that luxury. I have the privilege of being able to move on to other things. The privilege to not see the problems plaguing every Ferguson in America, if I don’t want to.

    But in Ferguson, it is normal for 86 percent of traffic stops and 92 percent of arrests to be of black residents, even though they are less likely than white residents to have contraband on them.

    Worth reading right through to the bitter end.

  108. Pteryxx says

    Breaking news via MSNBC (The Last Word). The unconfirmed audio recording that includes two spates of gunshots was recorded on a smartphone using an app called Glide. Statement from Glide released tonight confirms the snippet was recorded at exactly the time Mike Brown was shot.

    Latin Post:

    Glide, the company whose video chat service allegedly captured audio of the shooting, announced Thursday that the recording was created in the neighborhood where the teenager was killed and during the same time of that the officer opened fire It was recorded inadvertently by a Ferguson man who was using the video-texting application on his cell phone to send a message to a friend.

    According to Glide the recording was created at 12:02 p.m. CT on Saturday Aug. 9, which is precisely the time officals say Brown was shot.

    “A Glide user living nearby (whose identity is being protected) was simply using the Glide app on their smartphone exactly as it was designed – to instantly communicate with a friend through our real-time video texting service. Simultaneously, they also captured audio in the background of the gunshots allegedly fired at Michael Brown,” Glide said in a statement released on Thursday. “Because Glide is the only messaging application using streaming video technology, each message is simultaneously recorded and transmitted, so the exact time can be verified to the second.”

    Glide’s statement:

    A Glide user living nearby (whose identity is being protected) was simply using the Glide app on their smartphone exactly as it was designed – to instantly communicate with a friend through our real-time video texting service. Simultaneously, they also captured audio in the background of the gunshots allegedly fired at Michael Brown.

    Because Glide is the only messaging application using streaming video technology, each message is simultaneously recorded and transmitted, so the exact time can be verified to the second. In this case, the video in question was created at 12:02:14 PM CDT on Saturday, August 9th.

    We commend this Glide user for turning their Glide video message over to FBI investigators as possible evidence in this ongoing investigation.

  109. Pteryxx says

    Going to crosspost this in the No respect thread, where there’s some discussion about separating the supposedly decent cops from the intractable bad apples.

    Cracked just posted an excellent Ferguson overview that referenced Frank Serpico, a whistleblower who exposed corruption in the NYPD in 1967-72.

    From the Knapp Commission’s report, summarized by Wikipedia:

    The Knapp Commission Report on Police Corruption identified two particular classes of corrupt police officer, which it called “Grass Eaters” and “Meat Eaters”. This classification refers to petty corruption under peer pressure (“eating grass”) and aggressive premeditated major corruption (“eating meat”).

    The term “Grass Eaters” is used to describe police officers who “accept gratuities and solicit five, ten, twenty dollar payments from contractors, tow-truck operators, gamblers, and the like but do not pursue corruption payments.” ‘Grass eating’ is something that a significant number of officers are guilty of, but which they learned to do so from other cops or from imitating the deviants they watch and investigate every day. The commission even concluded that ‘grass eating’ was used by police officers in New York City to prove their loyalty to the brotherhood, and with that came incentives like side jobs. One method of preventing cops from becoming corrupt is to eliminate this step by removing veteran cops who do this, without any veteran cops to learn this from, new officers might decide to never ‘eat grass’.

    “Meat Eaters” are officers who “spend a good deal of time aggressively looking for situations they can exploit for financial gain.” An example of this is shaking down pimps and illicit drug dealers for money, not only for the material profit to the officers, but for the relief from guilt that the officers derive by convincing themselves that their victims deserve such treatment. They justify taking advantage of these kinds of criminals because they are considered the dregs of society.”

    From a 2010 NY Times article on Serpico: (NY Times)

    This is the man whose long and loud complaining about widespread corruption in the New York Police Department made him a pariah on the force. The patrolman shot in the face during a 1971 drug bust while screaming for backup from his fellow officers, who then failed to immediately call for an ambulance. The undaunted whistle-blower whose testimony was the centerpiece of the Knapp Commission hearings, which sparked the biggest shakeup in the history of the department.

    and from the wiki on Serpico himself: (Wikipedia)

    In October, and again in December 1971, Serpico testified before the Knapp Commission:[7]

    “ Through my appearance here today… I hope that police officers in the future will not experience… the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to… for the past five years at the hands of my superiors… because of my attempt to report corruption. I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist… in which an honest police officer can act… without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. Police corruption cannot exist unless it is at least tolerated…at higher levels in the department. Therefore, the most important result that can come from these hearings… is a conviction by police officers that the department will change. In order to ensure this… an independent, permanent investigative body… dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential..


    Frank Serpico retired on June 15, 1972, one month after receiving the New York City Police Department’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. There was no ceremony; according to Serpico, it was simply handed to him over the desk “like a pack of cigarettes”.[9]

  110. rq says

    Police misusing civilian forfeiture to benefit the city.

    Back in March, Chris’s son was caught selling $40 worth of drugs outside of the home. With no previous arrests or a prior record, a court ordered him to attend rehab. But the very day Sourovelis was driving his son to begin treatment, he got a frantic call from his wife. Without any prior notice, police evicted the Sourovelises and seized the house, using a little-known law known as “civil forfeiture.”

    For $40 worth marijuana!

    LAPD officially names Ezell Ford shooters. Finally.

    Officer in Tennessee fired immediately for choking student. There was a photo. They looked at it, and made a decision.

    Usually, after charges of police brutality, police officials take their time reacting while they follow procedure to determine who did what. But this episode in Knoxville, Tenn., was so extreme and well-documented that the local sheriff fired the officer immediately.

    So, where’s your documentation?

    Nineteen days after the fact, Hillary Clinton speaks on Ferguson.

    “We can do better,” she said in lengthy remarks closing a speech at a technology conference in San Francisco. “We can’t ignore the inequalities that persist in our justice system that undermine our most deeply held values of fairness and equality.”
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    She expressed horror at the TV images of heavily armed police officers confronting protesters in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb. “Nobody wants to see our streets like a war zone,” Clinton said. “Not in America. We are better than that.”

    But she leavened the criticism with praise for “the many decent and respectful law enforcement officers who showed what quality law enforcement looks like” and lauded President Obama for dispatching Atty. Gen. Eric Holder to Ferguson as part of “a thorough and speedy investigation.”

    I’m just not sure which police officers, specifically, she’s talking about.

    A look at Senator Maria Chapelle-Nadal, who was in Ferguson for the protests.

    Known for her sometimes profane outbursts and unpredictableness, the fiery senator, 39, has swirled in controversy since entering the Capitol as a state representative in 2004. In the last eight months alone, she’s lambasted the governor on education and African-American issues, called for the removal of the education commissioner and run a smear campaign against a fellow Democrat in a race that didn’t otherwise involve her.


    She describes herself as “out of the box,” a black woman with a Puerto Rican personality. It rubs some people the wrong way, but she considers herself a public voice for the thousands of protesters lining up on the street after Michael Brown was shot.

    St Paul, Minnesota: tased for sitting in public space.

  111. rq says

    There was a protest in Minneapolis. Not that you’d notice from the police presence. :P

    From ACLU: keep the pressure on de-militarization of police.

    Said before, worth a repeat: Canadian police are also militarizing. Equipment donated by the Department of National Defense. Seems legit.

    Ooh! California town orders police to get rid of MRAP.

    The vehicle, worth nearly $700,000, was acquired by the Davis Police Department for free a few weeks ago through a U.S. military surplus program. Its arrival sparked immediate controversy within the community, bringing a large crowd to Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, a local CBS affiliate reported.

    “I would like to say I do not suggest you take this vehicle and send it out of Davis, I demand it. I demand it!” shouted a man dressed in a “Tank The Tank” T-shirt, the station said.

    I’d say it’s better to sell it and use that money for Good Things, but… I’m not sure I want it sold (except for scrap).

    Missouri police being sued over actions in Ferguson protests.

    One of the plaintiffs alleges she and her son were in a McDonald’s restaurant when several police officers with rifles ordered them out. According to the suit, an officer threw her to the ground and handcuffed her, with she and her son both arrested.

    Another plaintiff alleges he was trying to visit his mother in Ferguson when several police officers in military uniforms in her neighborhood shot him with rubber bullets. When he fell over, he was beaten and sprayed with pepper spray, the lawsuit says.

    Two other plaintiffs say they were peacefully protesting when officers in riot gear fired on them with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades. A separate plaintiff says he was trying to record footage of the protests when police took his camera and arrested him.

    “This is a blatant example of how police handle African-Americans … how it can go terribly, terribly wrong. You have a right to peaceful assembly,” said attorney Reginald Greene who brought the case.

    I suppose civil liability is the best they can hope for. Good luck!!

    And for us white folk: here’s why you should care if you don’t have any black friends.


  112. Ichthyic says

    …just checking in for the latest.

    I’ve started posting this thread on Facebook, anytime someone has a post on Ferguson.

  113. rq says

    More about talking to white people: How to talk to white people about racism. For white-on-white discussions. ;) Because we don’t address these things often enough.

    Ah, police don’t abuse power, it’s just isolated incidents.

    Since then, as many as 13,000 Americans have been killed on US soil. They were not killed by an organized terrorist plot, but in isolated incidents by the cops we hired to protect and serve us. Since these have been isolated incidents, and not some kind of “pattern of police abuse,” the response has been to give our police more weapons, more power to “stop and frisk” or ask “papers please,” and more excuses to harass citizens and make “bullshit arrests” to generate revenue for your town.

    The link has an awesome photo and a series of links to incidents of police brutality lately discussed in the media.

    900 000 signatures delivered to White House!!! #JusticeForMikeBrown

  114. rq says

    Moment in history: John Lewis.

    Who’s in charge in Ferguson?

    Thanks to the way most cities like Ferguson are structured, the chief executives and city councils of most St. Louis-area cities can’t directly make changes to police departments. That’s the responsibility of either a city manager or, in the case the St. Louis County Police Department, a commission appointed by a county executive.

    This arrangement came about as a way of keeping politics out of the administration of government. And as a result, many local governments here were organized to make elected representatives of local cities and towns fairly weak – and give unelected administrators more power.

    Ferguson cop blows whistle on internal corruption.

    Officer Gore is currently suspended without pay after using non lethal force on a man who attacked him in front of witnesses. Gore later gave this same man a ride home, and didn’t charge him with anything. Now, let’s compare that to Officer Darren Wilson, who is on a PAID suspension after he shot and killed an unarmed man.

    Haha, and are police more trouble than they’re worth? Yes?

    But, all that said, there’s a reason for the creation of such institutions as constables, night watchmen, thief-takers, police, and other efforts at keeping the peace. People don’t want their property stolen, their persons abused, or their lives taken; they want to deter and punish the predators among us, and they don’t always feel up to doing the jobs themselves.

    But modern police forces have gone dangerously off-track. They’ve become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection. That Dutta’s column was actually a response to public outrage over police conduct shows how disconnected policing has become from the people it supposedly serves.

    An interesting short history of policing in there, including Peel’s Principles of Policing.

  115. rq says

    More on McCullogh, prosecutor with history of siding with police.

    His sympathies for the cops run deep. His father was a St. Louis policeman killed in the line of duty by a black man when McCulloch was 12. His brother, nephew and cousin all served with the St. Louis police. His mother worked as a clerk for the force for 20 years. McCulloch would have joined the force too, but he lost a leg in high school due to cancer. “I couldn’t become a policeman, so being county prosecutor is the next best thing,” he once said.

    Yup, certainly sounds impartial to me. /not

    An aside: Warren Buffett heir buys Rosa Parks archive.

    “I’m only trying to do one thing: preserve what’s there for the public’s benefit,” he said. “I thought about doing what Rosa Parks would want. I doubt that she would want to have her stuff sitting in a box with people fighting over them.”

  116. Pteryxx says

    copying most of Crip Dyke’s comment from the Beyoncé thread:

    Does the party in error on an issue of justice lose the ability to call for political change? I should fucking hope not. That way lies the best insurance policy for which the status quo could ever ask. Because any time the status quo wanted to shut me up, they could quote someone who agrees with whatever position of Ophelia’s was in contention, and whenever they wanted to shut Ophelia up, they could quote someone who agrees with whatever position of mine was in contention […]

    BTW: This reminds me of an interview with, IIRC, Eldridge Cleaver. [of the Black Panthers] It may not have been with EC, but I think it was. It was played on the occasion of EC’s death in 1998 on the USA’s National Public Radio. Again, it could have been an interview with someone else reflecting on knowing and working with EC, but I think it was a posthumous rebroadcast of an actual EC interview.

    The speaker, who must have been Bobby Seale if not EC, talks about researching gun laws in California and the city ordinances of Los Angeles relating to firearms. It was, at the time, entirely legal to carry a loaded shotgun openly in CA and even within the municipal limits of LA. But, either by ordinance or statute, I’m not sure, they were prevented from having a round in the chamber while the weapon was carried in a moving vehicle. BS, EC, and 2 other men [I can’t remember if Newton was one] were described in the interview as patrolling a black neighborhood of LA looking for cops hassling Black folk. They found a couple of white cops out of their car talking to Black someone/s. They parked behind the cops (illegally) & piled out, remaining a sufficient distance away that there could be no doubt that they had left the cops the 30′ free of interference required by CA court precedent.

    The cops were, of course, disturbed to have 4 shotgun-armed young, Black men on the sidewalk with them. They gave the Panthers an order to stay back. The Panthers announced their intention to peaceably observe unless and until the cops broke the law themselves. The cops, not entirely sure what to do, turned back to the Black someone/s they had detained. At that point one of the Panthers, even the interviewee couldn’t remember who, recalled that out of the car the restriction on ammo in the chamber no longer applied. One panther jacked in a shell. Then 3 other Panthers in unison.

    The cops very courteously warned the Black someone/s about something or other, turned and nodded to the Panthers, got in their car and drove quickly off.

    Funnily enough, they did not bother to cite the Panthers for their quite-deserved parking violation.

    All this is to say, it’s not nice to put cops in fear for their lives, which I’m quite certain that they did. But the Panthers had quite the point that the cops were putting Black folk in fear of Black lives, which wasn’t any better. If we refuse to listen to the even the most generous, the best, and the most well-reasoned analysis of an Eldridge Cleaver because he once jacked a round into a shotgun chamber in an intimidating manner, we lose a fuckload of contributions to fundamental justice.

    I haven’t found *that* interview but I did find this 1997 interview with Cleaver: (PBS) thanks to the Huey P. Newton project (PBS).

    GATES: Was the civil rights movement a success?

    CLEAVER: I think it was a success it terms of the goals that it espoused. That was to break down the color barrier if public accommodations access to the institutions and things like that. But the big failure of the civil rights movement was that it did not have an economic plank because while we got access to schools and to Hot Dog Stands and all that, the burning issue right now is economic freedom and economic justice and economic democracy. The NAACP didn’t touch that. They had no plan for that. When Martin Luther King was turning towards the economic arena in Nashville supporting the strike of the garbage man, he was murdered. I applaud my country for the changes that we have undertaken in these areas of civil rights. But where the big problem still remains is with the economic system. If you would call a meeting today to talk about segregation, wouldn’t nobody come but Louis Farrakhan and David Dukes. But if you call a meeting to talk about the money, it would be standing room only. It wouldn’t all be black because the money is funny for everybody, right. That’s where the rubber hits the road; that’s what we’ve got to deal with.

  117. Pteryxx says

    A few quick cases from Rawstory today:

    Lawsuit claims police altered video showing what happened before cops shot a man 23 times (West Virginia)

    Yes, he was black, and yes, they killed him.

    Jones, a 50-year-old who took schizophrenia medication, was shot by officers 23 times, according to the autopsy report.

    The motion filed by Lambert claims there were four videos of the shooting, taken from dashboard cameras of police cruisers on the scene, and none shows what occurred before Jones was shot. Only the shooting itself appears on the recording, said Lambert.

    According to police, the officers struck Jones twice with stun guns after he became angry and refused to follow orders. The shocks had “little” effect on Jones, who pulled a knife and stabbed one of the officers, inflicting a minor wound.

    Jones was ordered to drop the knife while he still was on the ground. When he refused and tried to get up, the officers fired multiple rounds at him “to neutralize the threat,” police said.

    But there is no video evidence of the stabbing and other events leading up to the shooting. Lambert said it defied logic that police would start recording at the end of the incident, though the motion filed on Wednesday provided no direct evidence of altering.

    Boyd L. Warner, who represents the five officers, filed a motion earlier this month to have the case dismissed. It argued that the lawsuit raised no fresh issues that the state investigation and the grand jury had failed to resolve.

    Hartford police chief criticized by union for joining anti-police brutality protest

    Dozens of demonstrators marched to police headquarters in Hartford on Wednesday night to take up the cause of Luis Anglero Jr., who was stunned by Detective Shawn Ware as police tried to disperse a crowd earlier this month.

    After they arrived, Police Chief James Rovella and other officers joined the marchers, who carried signs such as “Drop the charges Now, Now” and “Stop Police Brutality.”

    In doing so, the chief sent the wrong message to the force’s rank and file, Hartford Police Union President Richard Holton said at a news conference, surrounded by other officers.

    “Our membership believes that the chief could have met with the organizers of the demonstration and listened to their concerns,” Holton said. “However, to have participated in the demonstration in any form has sent a message to the membership that they are not being supported.”

    Appeals court finds police claims “implausible” (California)

    “Most obvious is the fact that Cruz didn’t have a gun on him, so why would he have reached for his waistband?” wrote Chief Judge Alex Kozinski in a unanimous decision.

    “Nobody likes a game of ‘he said, she said,’ wrote Kozinski, a Ronald Reagan appointee. “But far worse is the game of ‘we said, he’s dead.’ Sadly, this is too often what we face in police shooting cases like this one.”

    He wondered why Cruz would have reached for his waistband if he did not have a gun hidden in his pants.

    “Cruz probably saw that he was surrounded by officers with guns drawn,” Kozinski wrote. “In that circumstance, it would have been foolish — but not wholly implausible — for him to have tried to fast-draw his weapon in an attempt to shoot his way out. But for him to make such a gesture when no gun is [in his waistband] makes no sense whatsoever.”

    The judge said jurors might find other aspects of the officers’ story implausible.

    “For starters, four of the officers said they saw Cruz reach for his waistband,” he wrote. “A jury might be skeptical that four pairs of eyes had a line of sight to Cruz’s hand as he stood between the open car door and the SUV.”

    The decision also pointed out that Cruz was left-handed, but two officers claimed he had reached for his waistband with his right hand.

  118. Pteryxx says

    Dana Hunter: Ferguson: Some Concrete Actions You Can Take

    You may feel helpless. You may feel like there’s nothing you can do, but there is. Start small and build, but start. Today.

    You can like the Justice for Mike Brown Facebook cause page. You can also like the Justice for Michael Brown community page. Show your support with a couple of clicks.

    You can donate to Mike Brown’s family so they have the funds they need to seek justice.

    You can send his family a note of condolence.

    Tell your Congresscritters to support the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.

    If you’re white, examine your privilege.

    And when the police in your community shoot citizens dead, or beat them to a bloody pulp, or taze them, or detain them on flimsy pretenses, or show a pattern of looking the other way when white people do something but crack down when the suspected offender is black, demand accountability.

    Nate Hevenstone rewrote the NYT’s “no angel” obituary:

    How I Feel Michael Brown’s @NYTimes Obituary Should Have Been Written… #Ferguson

    Mr. Brown, who constantly wore his Beats by Dre headphones, also was a big fan of rap music. He knew of Kendrick Lamar before he became famous. His favorite group was Migos. And within the past year, he began producing rap songs with friends.

    Mr. Brown was sometimes philosophical, as he showed in his final hours.

    “Everything happen for a reason,” he posted to Facebook the night before he was shot. “Just start putting 2 n 2 together. You’ll see it.”

    To his family, his friends, his teachers, and all those who loved him, Michael Brown was an angel. To all of us, Michael Brown is yet another symbol of a painful truth: we have not yet come even close to the dreamed about “post-racial” society.

  119. Pteryxx says

    via Alex Gabriel a while ago, an appeal for humane treatment in UK prisons, if such a thing’s even possible. The Independent

    (warning for horrible indifference)

    These incidents demonstrate both the gross inadequacy of prison as a place to treat people suffering from any sort of mental affliction, as well over half the prison population does, and the woeful attitude of many prison officers to those under their care. There is a culture of indifference, that has led to many preventable deaths.

    It’s not hard to understand their position. If your job were to routinely subject your fellow man to conditions which most people would not inflict on a dog, then for your own sanity you would probably convince yourself that they are not truly human. Only the firm belief that prisoners are closer to animals could explain the number of doors I saw slammed in the faces of men begging for medication, pain relief, or medical attention, and the number of prison officers who routinely ignore emergency alarm bells, with deadly consequences.

    An incident that occurred while I was in prison still makes me shudder. A man had been screaming for help all night, pushing the alarm bell and, when that elicited no response, banging a chair against the door. When, after a significant period of time, the officer on duty came to see what the problem was, the inmate told him he was suffering from severe chest pains and thought he might have had a heart attack. He needed a doctor. The officer’s response was to slide a couple of painkillers under the door and ignore his pleas for the rest of his shift. “The most terrifying thing,” said a friend in the cell opposite his, “was when his cries finally stopped. We knew he wasn’t sleeping.” In the morning, he was dead.

  120. Pteryxx says

    via Lynna posting at the Lounge:

    Daily Kos – How bad was Michael Brown’s school?

    A new study out this week shows that the Normandy school district, the district where Michael Brown graduated only days before his death, is the lowest-rated school district in the state. The district’s rating declined 40 percent in a single year while under control of the Republican-led state board of education.

    Wealthy districts in the St. Louis area scored between 95 and 99 on the same scale that awarded Michael Brown’s school a 7.


    The situation at Normandy school district is particularly bad because in 2009, the state board forced the underperforming Normandy district to merge with the even more troubled Wellston district. It was the first change in district boundaries since 1975. At the time, Wellston had been unaccredited for six years, was deeply in debt, and many of its schools were little better than ruins.


    In an effort to sustain their schools, voters in Wellston—whose schools were 100 percent African American—had already raised their tax rates to the highest in the state. Normandy had the second-highest rate.

    The decision to merge Wellston and Normandy was made by the state board of education. Chris Nicastro, the state commissioner of education, announced the merger and made it clear that no outside help was forthcoming.


    State law allows students at unaccredited districts to transfer to neighboring districts. Many Normandy students took this option in 2013. However, at the end of the school year the state board dissolved Normandy School District and replaced it with a “cooperative” that had the same schools, same students, same woeful finances. Only the state accredited this new entity citing its ability to ignore its own rules. The state board is now arguing that Normandy students are no longer eligible to transfer, since they don’t attend a failing district. In fact, they don’t belong to any district, so they can’t sue for relief.

  121. rq says

    The UN calls out the US, says ACLU:

    Today, this body — the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — issued its verdict: a 14-page-long scathing report on the U.S. failure to fully comply with its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in numerous areas affecting racial and ethnic minorities. While it commended the Obama administration for steps it has taken to combat racial discrimination, it highlighted the gaps between the administration’s stated commitments and the glaring reality of laws and practices that continue to discriminate against and disproportionately impact people of color and indigenous communities.

    Officer Go-Fuck-Yourself is now Mister Go-Fuck-Yourself. Yes, he resigned.

    Later, the ACLU succeeded in getting Albers removed from duty, at least temporarily, after writing a letter to the Missouri State Highway Patrol that described his actions. This week, according to the Post-Dispatch, the city’s board of police commissioners made the recommendation that Albers either be fired or resign. He chose to resign.

    Well, that’s good news. Here’s the same, via NBC.

    This is interesting: Ferguson and 1033:

    But VICE News obtained the complete inventory of military leftovers secured since 2007 by the Ferguson Police Department under the DLA’s 1033 program – and nothing on the list matched up with the militarized equipment police deployed during the protests.


    Even though Ferguson police did not obtain any weapons under 1033, the program – its maxim is “From Warfighter to Crimefighter” – does supply US law enforcement agencies with M-14s, M-16s, M1911 .45 caliber pistols, grenade launchers (see DLA’s weapons inventory PowerPoint below) and armored vehicles.


    The obvious question: Where did Ferguson police get the military equipment it allegedly used during the protests, and how did the department purchase it? When VICE News posed the question to the Ferguson Police Department, an officer hung up the phone on us. Three subsequent calls back resulted in the same response.

    O’Connell at the Missouri Department of Public Safety said it’s likely other police departments present during the protests used military gear on display. He noted St. Louis Metropolitan Police and highway patrol were the “largest participants in the unified command assisting Ferguson.”

    (side-step and shuffle, do the blame-shift)

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

    @Tony!, #153:
    The prevailing theory is that officers from neighboring forces who came to “help” brought their department’s military equipment with them.

  123. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    … Which is interesting, because from what I recall, Ferguson’s PD showed up with the high-tech before other forces were involved. But heck, I could be remembering wrong!
    (Alternatively, maybe they actually spent money for those things – money that they took from residents in the form of tickets and fines, so in essence, the residents themselves paid for the tools of their own oppression. In a just world, this would mean that the residents get to sell that equipment and use the money for their own needs. But.)

  124. Pteryxx says


    … Which is interesting, because from what I recall, Ferguson’s PD showed up with the high-tech before other forces were involved. But heck, I could be remembering wrong!

    Ferguson called in neighboring forces and St Louis County PD (and units with dogs) within 90 minutes after Brown was killed. For instance see the MoJo timeline (here) where cops in many different uniforms are lined up versus the roped-off crowd. (Direct image link – at MoJo via KMOV)

    The shotguns that night (Saturday night) seem to be Ferguson police, per Vines from Antonio French: (Vine link)

    But by Sunday evening the riot gear was out. (Business Insider), (Twitter from Steve Giegerich), (Twitter from Antonio French)

    Antonio French ‏@AntonioFrench

    Police armored vehicle driving down W. Florisant. “St. Louis police. Please return to your homes,” they say.

    9:59 PM – 10 Aug 2014

  125. Pteryxx says

    The very early images of heavily militarized cops in Ferguson also show them in identical, military-camo uniforms, such as the famous cover shot by Scott Olsen:

    (Image link) (of several masked, helmeted and armored cops pointing long guns directly at a single retreating protester with his hands raised)

    That was taken on Monday, August 11. (National Journal)

    From the very first day, though, there have been multiple police departments involved and nobody has publicly claimed authority for anything, except when they put forward Cpt. Ron Johnson of the Highway Patrol as “in charge” and then started to immediately undercut his public presence and statements.

    If it’s important I can dig back in my own records. I first started following on August 11.

  126. rq says

    Within 90 minutes?
    Okay, then I do remember that wrong. :/
    Ugh I can’t get into that 1033 link right now, but I think at the very end it had an update, where the St Louis County (?) police also didn’t have any record of getting the gear via the program. Or at least, their records show much more benign equipment being acquired. So… I’ll check when I get home.

  127. Pteryxx says

    Missouri residents filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit on Thursday against the Ferguson and St Louis County police departments. (Jezebel):

    According to NBC News, the law suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in St. Louis and seeks over $40 million from Ferguson, St. Louis County, Police Chief Thomas “We gave you that burglary video because you asked for it, media” Jackson and other officers for alleged violations starting on August 11. Two of the plaintiffs include a woman and her son who were arrested on August 13 during the police’s fast food restaurant sweep that roped in Washington Post journalist Wesley Lowery. Lowery was arrested and never charged with a crime.

    NBC News:

    Malik Zulu Shabazz, president of Black Lawyers for Justice, one of three legal groups representing the plaintiffs, said at a news conference outside the courthouse that other protesters could join the suit later, saying, “If they won’t police the people right, then we have to bankrupt them.” The American Civil Liberties Union has filed separate litigation over the police response.

  128. Pteryxx says

    rq, I’ll have a look at the 1033 link then – I haven’t caught up on everything you’ve posted yet (since Friday… or maybe Wednesday, so many tabs)

  129. Pteryxx says

    Best I could find on the civil rights lawsuit, from CNN. I haven’t yet found a link to the suit itself.

    In a $40 million federal lawsuit, five people arrested recently in Ferguson, Missouri, accuse police of using “wanton and excessive force” and treating U.S. citizens “as if they were war combatants.”

    A complaint filed Thursday alleges that police officers from Ferguson and St. Louis County used unnecessary force and made unjustified arrests as they cracked down on protests after the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown earlier this month.

    The lawsuit lists Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma, several unnamed officers and the city and county governments as defendants.

    Justin Cosma, aka Officer Let’s-Take-Him in this thread, was identified as one of the officers arresting journalist Wesley Lowery in the McDonald’s thanks to the pictures Lowery took at the time and a tip to HuffPo.(Source)

    Cosma was also one of the officers who detained journalists from HuffPost and The Washington Post earlier this month in a local McDonald’s. He declined to give his name or badge number at the time, and has subsequently refused to identify himself to the press. A reader tip allowed HuffPost to match his name and face after the altercation.

    The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five specific protesters, but Black Lawyers for Justice expects more protesters to join. (St Louis Post-Dispatch)

  130. Pteryxx says

    St Louis Today – Bills coming due for extra Ferguson law enforcement

    St. Louis County so far has spent about $1 million in police overtime responding to Ferguson, Chief Operating Officer Garry Earls said. That amount includes about $100,000 a day for the first nine days after the shooting.

    He said the county incurred many other expenses, most of which were still being tallied, for food, equipment, streets work, fuel costs and other emergency services.

    “All this workforce out there had to be fed,” he said. “We used up all of our tear gas and pepper spray.”

    He said county police experienced equipment losses, and he expects workers’ compensation claims from officers injured during the rioting.

    Earls said the county and other municipalities hope the state will defray at least some of their costs.

    “If this was a storm, the FEMA folks would have shown up already,” he said, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “We are searching for the FEMA equivalent (regarding) civil unrest. We’re certainly going to ask the state for that.”

    (editorial *headdesk*)

    In addition, the county plans to spend up to $1 million to provide support to residents who need help because of the unrest, looting and vandalism in Ferguson and neighboring communities.

    That money will be used to help fund and staff a drop-in center for residents in Ferguson, Dellwood and Jennings at the Dellwood Recreation Center, officials have said. The county will work with nonprofit agencies to provide staffing as well as transportation for residents to the center; advice on how to get utility assistance; legal assistance; counseling; and other services. Other aid will include help removing debris left by protesters.

  131. Pteryxx says

    and Officer Kill-a-whole-bunch-more is off the force… because he retired. (St Louis Today)

    Officer Dan Page, a 35-year-veteran of the department, is expected to receive full benefits. He had been suspended last week, and his last day was Monday, said police spokesman Brian Schellman.


    In the video, Page defamed President Barack Obama, the U.S. Supreme Court, Muslims, and people of various sexual orientations. Among the comments, Page said, “I personally believe in Jesus Christ as my lord savior, but I’m also a killer. I’ve killed a lot. And if I need to, I’ll kill a whole bunch more.”

    He had been deployed in the Army several times over his career, the department said, and had been on the ground in Ferguson during the unrest there for about two weeks.

    The video was brought to the department’s attention by CNN reporter Don Lemon, who had previously complained that Page shoved him while on the streets in Ferguson. The department didn’t consider the shoving an assault.

  132. Pteryxx says

    rq, here’s the update from the Vice article in your #151: (that link again)

    UPDATE — August 27, 2014: On Wednesday, VICE News obtained the complete inventory of the military surplus gear the St. Louis County Police Department secured under the Pentagon’s 1033 program. The St. Louis County Police were present during the protests in Ferguson, and news reports have speculated that the militarized gear deployed during the protests may have been from that agency. However, as the inventory spreadsheet shows, the department’s last procurement under 1033 was in October 2008. Back then, St. Louis County Police secured helicopters, lights, a truck, and laptop computers. Additionally, VICE News obtained the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between St. Louis County Police and the Missouri Department of Public Safety. It was signed in May 2013 and states that the department does not have any weapons or tactical vehicles from the 1033 program.

    The fact that the St. Louis County Police Department did not obtain tactical gear under 1033 is not to suggest that it doesn’t have it. The department may have purchased military vehicles and weapons on its own or with grant money it secured from another federal program.

    There doesn’t appear to be a great deal of oversight of inventory checks (ensuring a department still has all the gear it purchased). I linked to this earlier:

    Fusion Investigates: How did America’s police departments lose loads of military-issued weapons?

    The decentralized structure of the program makes it difficult — even for the Pentagon — to keep tabs on the standing of participating police departments, or the weapons they’ve been issued. Officials at the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which runs the equipment-transfer program, were unable to provide specifics about why various police departments were suspended. And many state coordinators refused to speak to Fusion, or claimed they didn’t have the information requested.


    The state coordinator for California said he was “not authorized” to speak on behalf of the agency he runs, and instead deferred all questions to the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, which declined repeated requests for details on the 10 suspended programs in the state.

    I’ll just point out again that we only know basically anything about Ferguson’s militarization, detaining and brutalizing protesters, excessive and racialized court fines and warrants, or even Mike Brown’s death, solely because of social media and the resulting press attention. None of the police departments involved have given up any trustworthy information – instead they’re actively stonewalling across the board. That federal lawsuit names multiple officers as “John Doe” because they removed their identifying badges. Even releasing the horrible video of Kajieme Powell being shot dead was supposed to be “exculpatory” in the police’s view.

  133. Pteryxx says

    Washington Post opinion by associate professor Carol Anderson:

    Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress.

    When we look back on what happened in Ferguson, Mo., during the summer of 2014, it will be easy to think of it as yet one more episode of black rage ignited by yet another police killing of an unarmed African American male. But that has it precisely backward. What we’ve actually seen is the latest outbreak of white rage. Sure, it is cloaked in the niceties of law and order, but it is rage nonetheless.

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

  134. rq says

    Thanks for that, yeah, it seems to be a mystery about how they all got this equipment. :/ Nobody seems to have done the paperwork on anything.

  135. Pteryxx says

    Skepchick guest post: The Second Amendment is for White People

    As a Means of Confronting the State

    Let’s dispel this deeply-ingrained American myth: in 2014, no citizens of any country could possibly withstand even the opening volley of a standoff against their nation’s military. Ferguson police, like many modern US police forces, are carrying M4 assault rifles and riding in mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) as a result of federal programs distributing surplus military equipment. Surplus—meaning the military has too many M4 assault rifles, too many MRAPs, too many 40mm rail-mounted grenade launchers for firing too many flash-bang and tear-gas canisters. And that’s what they’re willing to share—most of which is illegal for US civilians to carry even with the Second Amendment in place.

    Perhaps we should consider ourselves lucky that the US’s last two waged wars were against guerrillas wielding improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and not aircraft, or our police forces might instead be armed with 105mm Howitzers and flechette rounds.

    Didn’t we last hear of US-made flechette rounds being used in crowded civilian areas in Gaza? Hmm.

  136. Pteryxx says

    from Photography Is Not A Crime, the incident report (s) of Mike Brown’s death aren’t the only legally required forms that are missing. Included are copies of the relevant police codes of conduct and Missouri Sunshine Law requirements.

    This was the response I received:

    “The City of Ferguson has no ‘Use of Force Report’ relating to the Michael Brown shooting; therefore there are no documents which are responsive to this request.”

    In this case the absence of evidence is evidence of absence. Absence of routinely produced and explicitly filed reports that are necessary if the police are to faithfully fulfill their legal obligations to the community.


    The Chief, the Watch Commander, others in the department, and Officer Wilson do not believe they are subject to the law.

    They have, at best, some different set of laws or standard of law that they believe they must obey – just not the laws on the books. Not even their own Departmental policies are binding according to their actions.

    This leaves us without any knowledge of just what occurred on the day of the fatal shooting of Mike Brown. It suspiciously allows Officer Wilson, and the rest of the Ferguson Police Department, to wait until all the evidence against Wilson is discovered and collected, and afterwards to write reports that will neatly fit the evidence. Rather than to have those required reports serve in the evidentiary capacity that they were intended.

  137. Pteryxx says

    Riverfront Times Seeks Juvenile Records for Officer Darren Wilson

    In response to a number of inquiries today, the Riverfront Times confirms that it is seeking the juvenile records of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the man who shot and killed Michael Brown.

    After the Post-Dispatch announced Friday that it is seeking the juvenile records for Brown, many people on Twitter asked that the same scrutiny be placed upon Wilson, who is currently under investigation for the shooting death of the unarmed 18-year-old man.

    I don’t expect either set of records to be relevant to the shooting or any of the investigations that ought to happen, but at least they’re making an effort.

  138. Pteryxx says

    and because I last linked this a long time ago: Daily Kos on attempts to amend Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

    The bill seeks to amend the state’s “Sunshine Law” which allows citizens and media to request records from state and municipal governments. One of the proposed amendments in Roorda’s bill seeks to amend the Sunshine Law by adding the following exemption:

    Any records and documents pertaining to police shootings as defined in section 610.010 if they contain the name of any officer who did the shooting, unless the officer who did the shooting has been charged with a crime as a result of the shooting, in which case such records or documents shall not be closed

    As we’re seeing, in many cases, including Mike Brown’s case, it takes a grand jury trial with public pressure and disclosures of evidence to even contemplate the question of charging the officer with a crime in the first place. Officers who kill unarmed black people rarely face charges and even fewer are convicted. (MoJo source was at hand)

    Currently, Missouri Sunshine Act states that records of police incidents—including officer names— are public data that are to be delivered within three days of a lawful request. However, there are some exemptions that are permissible under the law.


    While some might claim that the bill is a knee-jerk reaction to some of the events in Ferguson, the bill was actually proposed several months before the incident that has made national news.

    The bill’s sponsor is a former police officer who was fired from the Arnold, Mo., police department for allegedly falsifying police reports. According to the Missouri Court of Appeals’ narrative in their ruling upholding Roorda’s termination, Roorda was caught allegedly falsifying a police report to cover the actions of another officer. Roorda was written up and was warned the department would fire him if he were found falsifying reports again.

    Which he was, and they did indeed fire him.

    Besides being a State Representantive, Roorda currently serves as business manager of the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association. In this role, he has been an outspoken critic of placing cameras in police cars.

    In one case in St. Louis, prosecutors dismissed charges against a person arrested on suspicion of illegal possession of prescription drugs after the trial judge ruled the physical evidence inadmissible. In his report, the officer claimed the suspect threw the baggie containing the drugs in an attempt to conceal evidence. However, a camera appeared to show the drugs hitting the ground after the officers reached into the suspect’s pocket. The defendant claimed the officers had planted the drugs.

    While the judge did not specifically state he believed or disbelieved whether the police had planted the evidence, he did state that he found the officers’ credibility to be lacking, according to his ruling.

    Speaking about the incident, Roorda told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that incidents like these are why the Police Officer’s Association opposes in-car cameras, saying also that video subverts justice.

    Note that claim, “video subverts justice”. It’s right up there with “stop resisting arrest” and “[dead person] was reaching for the officer’s gun”. I’ve got other articles repeating the claim that video distorts events as an argument for not allowing cameras – civilian or worn by cops – to record police activity.

  139. Pteryxx says

    Florissant Street in Ferguson is closed right now for a National March on Ferguson. via local Fox2News, article, and liveblog:

    Rain is coming down at #Ferguson march—
    Lisa Brown (@LisaBrownSTL) August 30, 2014

    Right now in #Ferguson—
    Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 30, 2014

    Michael Brown’s family is here. Group is headed to Ferguson Park. Many protesters interrupted, chanting they wanted to go to police station—
    Samantha Liss (@samanthann) August 30, 2014

    Demonstrators line Canfield Dr as far as eye can see #Ferguson #MikeBrown @FOX2now—
    Andy Banker (@andybankertv) August 30, 2014

    #Ferguson marchers now going down Canfield Dr, near the site where #Michael Brown was killed.—
    Lisa Brown (@LisaBrownSTL) August 30, 2014

  140. Pteryxx says

    Ryan Reilly via Twitter:

    Ryan J. Reilly ‏@ryanjreilly

    Protestors gather along Canfield Drive at the location of #MikeBrown’s death #Ferguson

    9:22 AM – 30 Aug 2014

    Direct image link

    By my count, some 700 or 800 people, many wearing orange shirts or carrying orange signs, filling the length of the street between the Canfield Road apartments where Mike Brown lived.

  141. Pteryxx says

    and Antonio French on Twitter and Vine:

    Antonio French ‏@AntonioFrench

    Right now in #Ferguson

    9:26 AM – 30 Aug 2014

    Panning across the crowd of peaceful protesters filling the apartment complex from building to building, with more people standing on the balconies and stairwells.

  142. Pteryxx says

    Reilly again: (Twitter)

    Ryan J. Reilly ‏@ryanjreilly

    Just spoke w/ #Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, who talked about the amenities provided for protestors. “Should be a nice anti-me rally.”

    10:15 AM – 30 Aug 2014


  143. rq says

    Sounds like there will be a lot to catch up on on Twitter tonight. Ah well.
    Thanks for also keeping up with the posting, Pteryxx. You find things that I don’t. :)

  144. Pteryxx says

    I *think* this might be Argus Radio livestreaming the march today, but I can’t access it to be sure: (Livestream link) but they wouldn’t have 545 viewers right now if they weren’t broadcasting *something*.

  145. rq says

    For lots more good Ferguson tweets and an on-the-ground update, there’s @deray, feed here. There’s jsut too much stuff that he’s posting up, pictures and vines and everything.

  146. Pteryxx says

    deray mckesson ‏@deray

    Some of the police are wearing body cams. Interesting. “We just got them. A company from Kansas City have them.” – police #Ferguson

    12:11 PM – 30 Aug 2014


    Replies are saying the entire force just trained with the cameras yesterday.

    deray mckesson ‏@deray

    “They gonna pull us over tonight and the cameras gonna magically be dead.” – protestor #Ferguson

    12:12 PM – 30 Aug 2014



    deray mckesson ‏@deray

    We protest. #ferguson

    12:28 PM – 30 Aug 2014


    People filling the main street in front of two brick buildings. That’s the Ferguson police station.

  147. Pteryxx says

    More updates from the Fox2News liveblog: (here)

    Angela Hutti August 30, 20142:38 pm

    We are not playing around. #Ferguson #EnergizerBunny We will keep this going until we get justice for #MikeBrown—
    MariaChappelleNadal (@MariaChappelleN) August 30, 2014

    Angela Hutti August 30, 20142:07 pm

    Right now at the #Ferguson Police Dept—
    Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 30, 2014

    Angela Hutti August 30, 20141:56 pm

    Marchers have shut down traffic at S Florissant Ave. at Tifton as part of #Ferguson march—
    Lisa Brown (@LisaBrownSTL) August 30, 2014

    Angela Hutti August 30, 20141:49 pm

    Tense stand-off at the #Ferguson Police Station—
    Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 30, 2014

    Angela Hutti August 30, 20141:48 pm

    Right now at the #Ferguson Police Dept—
    Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 30, 2014

  148. Pteryxx says

    The lone black officer.

    Ryan J. Reilly @ryanjreilly

    A lot of anger being directed towards this #Ferguson officer. @AntonioFrench has been trying to step in.

    1:07 PM – 30 Aug 2014


    Some of the replies:

    from the beginning, i have felt the worst for the 3 black cops on that force. Must be a tough spot.

    i find that very unfortunate. isn’t that what we need, more black officers in #Ferguson ?

    he’s a cop it makes no difference if he’s black he could quit or find a different job. Know your enemy

    I’m certain he’s just as much a victim of racist BS as they are. Probably even more so.

    People are mad there aren’t more black officers but protesters are mad at black officers who chose the career?

    Maybe the anger needs to stop. I have friends that always act like victims too.


  149. rq says

    There’s a livestream of Ferguson current events, available. I’m going to bed soon, but it looks like there’s a lot of peaceful but passionate activity over there.
    Effective use of hands, I wonder if McCullogh will talk to them.

    And I really, really liked this: “It’s important to claim victories along the way. Make the adversary know they are moving backwards while the community advances its rights.”

  150. Pteryxx says

    We know they’re going to say, not guilty, because no one saw them pull the trigger. I’m tired of that. Don’t bow down anymore. Hold your heads up. We want our freedom now. I don’t want to have to go to another memorial. I’m tired of funerals. I’m tired of it. We have got to stand up.

    – David Dennis, civil rights activist, in 1965. From the transcript of episode five of CNN’s “The Sixties”“Long March to Freedom”.

  151. Pteryxx says

    List of martyrs on the Civil Rights Memorial, via SPLC.

    An awful lot of people – from the famous and powerful to activists, bystanders, and children on the ground – got shot, beaten, or burned to death while local white authorities looked the other way, or helped. (Survivor of miserable US schooling here. This is all news to me.)

    I wonder, if Obama *had* traveled to Ferguson, whether anyone there would’ve tried something similar.

  152. Pteryxx says

    Notes from the Ferguson march today, from local Fox2News liveblog. The main march separated into groups that sat in at the police station or returned to the Canfield Apartments to support Mike Brown’s family.

    Woman asks school girls at #Ferguson police station what they want to be when they grow up.
    Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) August 30, 2014

    Chris Smith August 30, 20146:36 pm

    Red’s BBQ, shuttered since Aug 10, re-opens to customers in #Ferguson
    Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) August 30, 2014

    Chris Smith August 30, 20146:35 pm

    Some #Ferguson protesters, even the little ones, sat-in at police station.
    Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) August 30, 2014

    Chris Smith August 30, 20146:35 pm

    March on Ferguson through Canfield Green apartments. #Ferguson
    Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) August 30, 2014

    Chris Smith August 30, 20146:19 pm

    Former St. Louis Rams cornerback Aeneas Williams at the #Ferguson McDonald’s
    Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 30, 2014

  153. Pteryxx says

    From the liveblog-

    Chris Smith August 30, 20148:06 pm

    Small group of protestors, including @MariaChappelleN, remain outside #Ferguson police dept.
    Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) August 31, 2014

    Chris Smith August 30, 20147:12 pm

    There are two protest zones in #Ferguson tonight, separated by a few miles. Both are small and quiet. Larger than previous nights, though.
    Nicholas J.C. Pistor (@nickpistor) August 30, 2014

    Chris Smith August 30, 20147:05 pm

    In the rain, a march on #Ferguson
    Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) August 30, 2014

    Chris Smith August 30, 20146:40 pm

    Michael Brown Sr. leads family march on #Ferguson
    Robert Cohen (@kodacohen) August 30, 2014

  154. Pteryxx says

    Ryan Reilly’s article on the march at HuffPo: #Ferguson Protesters Hope To Transform Anger Into Change

    Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, wore a T-shirt bearing an image of her son that read, “A Bond Never Broken.” She was protected by suited-up members of the Nation of Islam as she and Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., made their way across town. Spread out across the route were tables stacked with shirts with slogans like “I survived the Ferguson riots” and “I am Mike Brown.” There were also booths where protesters could register to vote and petitions calling for the indictment of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot Brown dead on Aug. 9.


    Police officers kept a light touch as the demonstrators blocked streets, wearing only normal uniforms and driving regular police cars. Heavily-armored, military-style vehicles were nowhere to be seen, nor were officers in riot gear or canisters of tear gas.

    “Should be a nice anti-me rally,” Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told The Huffington Post. Indeed, speakers on the stage called on both Jackson and Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III to resign their positions.


    Black police officers came under particular scrutiny from that small number of demonstrators, and attempts by others — including French — to calm them down were unsuccessful.

    “Your son look like us, right? Your son look like us? Your son look just like us, you gotta feel us bro,” one man yelled at a black cop. A woman asked an officer if his “master” had let him come to the protest.

    Even Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, whose management of the police response to the demonstrations has drawn praise from the community, was at the receiving end of some harsh insults.

    “He’s a sell-out!” said a man who repeatedly hurled an anti-black slur at Johnson and would only identify himself as “Mike Brown.” “Over here acting like you running these cops — you ain’t running shit!” he said. “The people make a move right now, what you gonna do? Call the white man. You can’t even say shoot! You gotta call the white man and ask, can you shoot?”

    Reilly has a previous article about Ferguson going back to normal, and the few protesters still keeping a 24/7 vigil outside the police station: (HuffPo)

  155. rq says

    A few words on Antonio French:

    French could have seen the inside of a jail cell long before the Ferguson crisis. He grew up in one of the city’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods, in north St. Louis’ 21st Ward. There, he said, he could have taken the same path as so many of his friends. His background has given him a deeper understanding of the young men in the Ferguson crowds.

    Call for civil disobedience on Labor Day, blocking traffic, etc.

    Organizers at the rally called on demonstrators to drive on Interstate 70 and other area highways at 4:30 p.m. Monday, turn their hazard lights on and stop their vehicles for four and a half minutes to symbolize the four and a half hours that Mr. Brown’s body lay in the street.

    Plus more on the actual march in Ferguson.

    Racism in media, still there.

    More on Ferguson cops and their lawsuits

    Counting Wilson, whose shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 set off a firestorm of protests and a national debate on race and policing, about 13 percent of Ferguson’s officers have faced ­excessive-force investigations. Comparable national data on excessive force probes is not available. But the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project, funded by the libertarian Cato Institute, estimated on the basis of 2010 data that about 1 percent of U.S. police officers — 9.8 out of every 1,000 — will be cited for or charged with misconduct. Half of those cases involve excessive force.


    “The cases themselves are fairly extraordinary — so is the volume,” said Harmon, who in 1997 became the second black mayor of the city. “It’s prima facie evidence of discriminatory practices. I would be surprised if Justice didn’t make a recommendation that they be placed under scrutiny.”


    “To suggest that police officers are a marauding, white occupying army out there to deprive minorities of their civil rights is at variance with common sense,” Pasco said. “You can’t have rogue officers in a well-managed police department.”

    From Ryan J. Reilly, Police Chief Jackson wants to move forward. Also, apparently he is now an international bad guy. Still no consistency, though.

    During the conversation, Jackson clarified contradictory statements he had previously made about whether Officer Darren Wilson believed that Brown might have been a suspect in a robbery when he stopped the teen, with Jackson stating definitively that Wilson did not connect Brown with the robbery and stopped him simply because he was walking down the middle of the street. (Whether Brown believed he was being stopped because of the incident at the liquor store is a separate question.)

    Jackson also said that his officers still were not wearing name tags because protesters “that don’t want to be peaceful” would read the tags and start “taunting them” by name. “It kind of reduces that personal taunt and allows us to be generic,” Jackson said. He added that they would be wearing the name tags again soon.

  156. Pteryxx says

    The one man yelling at Capt. Johnson was arrested:

    Ryan J. Reilly ‏@ryanjreilly

    Police tape coming down in #Ferguson. The one man who was yelling at Johnson earlier has been arrested, unclear why.

    3:09 PM – 30 Aug 2014


    Ryan J. Reilly ‏@ryanjreilly

    Police won’t give reason for arrest of man who gave name as “Mike Brown.” A. Eickhoff: “He’ll be told down at the station. #Ferguson

    3:26 PM – 30 Aug 2014


  157. Pteryxx says

    Registering voters in Ferguson, NY Times:

    “A lot of people just didn’t realize that the people who impact their lives every day are directly elected,” said Shiron Hagens, 41, of St. Louis, who is not part of any formal group but has spent several days registering voters in Ferguson with her mother and has pledged to come back here each Saturday. “The prosecutor — he’s elected. People didn’t know that. The City Council — they’re elected. These are the sorts of people who make decisions about hiring police chiefs. People didn’t know.”


    Local factors in Ferguson complicate matters, too, including a relatively transient population and the timing of municipal elections — held in the spring instead of November, when presidential or congressional elections drive much higher turnout. On the first day of Ms. Hagens’s registration drive, she said, she helped 28 people fill out forms to vote, but five people who approached her to sign up said they were felons and might not be eligible.

    Over the last 25 years, the population of Ferguson, now about 21,000, has shifted from nearly three-quarters white to mostly black. Even so, five of the six City Council members are white, as is Mayor James W. Knowles III. Mr. Knowles, who once led the St. Louis Young Republicans, won a second term in April with just 1,314 votes from among the city’s more than 12,000 registered voters. No one ran against him.

    Ask people along the streets here why they choose not to vote and they answer, mostly, with shrugs. Voter turnout has been far higher in presidential elections, and some had not even realized there was a mayoral race last spring. “You don’t really see the candidates or even anything about them until a week or two before the election, and even then it’s not much,” said Alyce Herndon, 49, who has voted but, like many here, said she had not had cause to attend Council meetings.

  158. Pteryxx says

    also from the NYT article, the background of voting restrictions in Missouri.

    “Their record is not about trying to open up the voting process but rather to limit it,” Senator McCaskill said in an interview. She said at another point, “It’s hard for me to believe that they’re sincere since they have blocked every effort for an early-voter law, they’ve put a pretend early-voting bill up where it really doesn’t allow for early voting, they have pushed, all over this country, for voter ID.”

    The state has no provision that allows early voting; absentee voting is permitted if a voter provides a specific reason. A petition drive to get an extensive early-voting measure on the ballot this year failed to fulfill a signature requirement, officials said. The legislature approved a separate early-voting measure that will appear on the November ballot, but critics say it is so limited — only six days of early voting and none on weekends — that it amounts to an attempt at putting the issue to rest without giving voters much chance to vote early.

  159. Pteryxx says

    Washington Post: At least 5 current Ferguson officers apart from Brown shooter figure in lawsuits

    Federal investigators are focused on one Ferguson, Mo., police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, but at least five other police officers and one former officer in the town’s 53-member department have been named in civil rights lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force.

    In four federal lawsuits, including one that is on appeal, and more than a half-dozen investigations over the past decade, colleagues of Darren Wilson’s have separately contested a variety of allegations, including killing a mentally ill man with a Taser, pistol-whipping a child, choking and hog-tying a child and beating a man who was later charged with destroying city property because his blood spilled on officers’ clothes.


    Counting Wilson, whose shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 set off a firestorm of protests and a national debate on race and policing, about 13 percent of Ferguson’s officers have faced ­excessive-force investigations. Comparable national data on excessive force probes is not available. But the National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project, funded by the libertarian Cato Institute, estimated on the basis of 2010 data that about 1 percent of U.S. police officers — 9.8 out of every 1,000 — will be cited for or charged with misconduct. Half of those cases involve excessive force.

  160. Pteryxx says

    rq #193:

    Jackson also said that his officers still were not wearing name tags because protesters “that don’t want to be peaceful” would read the tags and start “taunting them” by name. “It kind of reduces that personal taunt and allows us to be generic,” Jackson said. He added that they would be wearing the name tags again soon.

    Sure, it’s so the cops’ feelings don’t get hurt. Nothing to do with all the Officer John Does named in the civil rights lawsuit for mistreating protesters.

  161. Pteryxx says

    More from the HuffPo article in rq’s #193, the remarks of Ferguson police chief Jackson on body cameras: (Link)

    “Everyone who is on duty will be able to have one. It keeps people in check, being monitored, and it counts because a lot of times people make complaints that are way exaggerated — you know, the officer was rude to me … — so it helps both sides. And it also helps if an officer has a manner that’s perceived as confrontational … we can train them. So it helps with training, it helps with internal affairs investigations, it helps with knowing what happens. If we’ve got a problem officer, and we get a complaint, and it just so happens that the camera is turned off during the complaint, there’s discipline there regardless. But it will help us. It will help us identify officers with problems or officers who are trending towards being problematic. It allows us to do some coaching, some training. It will take a lot of the guesswork out of what happens.

    See also remarks by Missouri senator Claire McCaskill supporting mandatory police cameras: Ars Technica

    “Everywhere I go, people now have cameras,” McCaskill said Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with voters in her home state. “And police officers are now at a disadvantage because someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven’t.”

    So far, videos of police encounters tend to show them lying, not being misinterpreted. But it fits the narrative that whoever the police killed must have done something beforehand to deserve it.

  162. Pteryxx says

    via NY Times, the death of a man while restrained by New York police has been ruled a homicide. No, not Eric Garner. Ronald Singleton died four days earlier.

    Mr. Singleton was cursing and screaming in the rear seat of a taxi cab when the driver flagged down a police officer at the corner of East 51st Street and Fifth Avenue near St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the authorities said. Mr. Singleton then lashed out at the officer and tried to fight him after leaving the taxi, the police said, prompting officers to call for backup and members of a special unit to restrain Mr. Singleton by placing him in “a protective body wrap.”

    Mr. Singleton was not placed under arrest, the police said, but was taken away as an emotionally disturbed person by emergency medical personnel. He went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance and was pronounced dead at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital, the police said.

    In declaring the manner of death a homicide, the medical examiner’s office is not suggesting a crime was committed, but is stating its conclusion that the intervention of the police played a role in the death.

    Local station Pix11 spoke with Singleton’s family. (Pix11)

    Singleton’s cousin, ED Robinson said, “He spoke to his mother from the back of that cab and he was happy upbeat, he would never do anything or cause trouble, but IAB called us to say there was and altercation at the scene.”

  163. Pteryxx says

    Also from Pix11 – the man who filmed Eric Garner being choked by police was arrested at the beginning of August (source) and his wife was arrested three days later (source). They both say they’re being targeted in retaliation.

    Orta’s family tells PIX11 they believe he was set up.

    The arrest was Orta’s second for a firearm. He has previously been convicted of weapons possession, police said.

    Police also arrested 17-year-old Alba Lekaj and charged her with criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana.

    Chrissie Ortiz, Orta’s girlfriend says the police have been watching him since he released the video of Eric Garner’s death.

    “Because they want him, of course they offer her a plea deal,” said Ortiz. “She’s gonna say whatever you want.

    According to Ortiz, Orta had a nervous breakdown and is now on suicide watch at a hospital.

    Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said, “the arrest of Ramsey for criminal possession of a firearm only underscores the danger that police officers respond to in a chronic crime condition in that community. It is criminal’s like Mr. Orta who carry illegal firearms who stand to benefit the most from demonize the good work of police officers.”

    Reverend Al Sharpton says attacking Orta’s credibility doesn’t change anything.

    “The tape speaks for itself,” Sharpton said.

  164. Pteryxx says

    USA Today, earlier this week, on the grieving of Michael Brown’s family: (Link)

    Leslie McSpadden, Brown’s grandfather and Lesley McSpadden’s father, said he has watched his daughter control her sobbing for television cameras only to quickly be wrecked with grief after the interviews.

    “She cries all the time,” he said. “Then she comes out and makes these appearances and sheds a tear or two. But she cries constantly.”

    The grandfather said he has tried to support not only Brown’s mother, but a number of cousins, uncles and aunts who also are dealing with a great loss. At times, that means he must urge his own family members to stay calm in spite of the temptation to join in violent protesting.

    “My job is to make them know and understand that if they go out there and do something stupid, then all that does is hurt this case,” said Leslie McSpadden, 61, of Cahokia, Ill.

    Overview of Antonio French’s Twitter coverage, USA Today

  165. Pteryxx says

    Some history from Daily Kos. Background and links to resources on lynching, from March of this year, with emphasis on the stories of women as lynching victims, but also women as anti-lynching crusaders.

    (Warning for graphic descriptions of violence at the link)

    The first anti-lynching crusader I learned of was Ida B. Wells-Burnett, who risked her life countless times to wage a battle against the plague of lynching, and she placed a strong emphasis on the bogus targeting of black men as alleged “rapists” in her campaign.

    If you have never seen this documentary on her life by William Greaves, “Ida B Wells: A Passion for Justice,” with readings by Toni Morrison, it is available for online viewing or from California Newsreel for schools, libraries and community organizations.

  166. says

    “To suggest that police officers are a marauding, white occupying army out there to deprive minorities of their civil rights is at variance with common sense,” Pasco said.

    No it’s not. Indeed, common sense says the opposite: that a well-organized bunch of heavily armed people in armored vehicles cruising around beating or shooting people to keep them in line is precisely an occupying army.

    “You can’t have rogue officers in a well-managed police department.”

    While this is true, it has a lot of assumptions built into it. Like the assumption that the people doing this are ‘rogues’ rather than ordinary officers doing what they’ve been trained to do. And the assumption that there exists in the U.S. anything which could be described as a ‘well-managed police department’, one for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

  167. says

    …someone can tape the last part of an encounter and not tape the first part of the encounter. And it gives the impression that the police officer has overreacted when they haven’t.

    That’s fucking hilarious, given the example posted above (#147) of the police doing exactly this; taping only the end of an encounter and then claiming that the justification for use of force occurred earlier.

    Cops routinely break the law. Cops routinely lie. Cops routinely cover for other cops. It’s just part of the culture. Any approach that doesn’t take that into account can’t possibly change anything.

  168. rq says

    Two more articles on the planned civil disobedience / highway blockage: NY Times and Fox2Now. From the Fox site:

    More than a thousand people took to the streets Saturday for the march. They shut down West Florissant Avenue, marching to the spot where Michael Brown was shot and killed three weeks ago, then to a park in Ferguson. It was there, in the rain, that the plan was thrown out by organizers. They’re asking everyone involved to drive onto highways around St. Louis at 4:30pm on Monday, Labor Day and stop their cars for four and a half minutes. The time frame is intended to symbolize the four and a half hours Michael Brown’s body was in the street after he was shot.

    The first link may be a repeat, sometimes the same info is picked up by a couple of news sources.

    Job fair planned for Ferguson residents. They should do job fairs everywhere in all disadvantaged neighbourhoods. And offer solutions for those pesky transportation issues – like, amnesty for fines.

    This is nice.

  169. rq says

    Nobody noticed, but Hillary Clinton made the boldest remarks about race. Nineteen days late, though. Huh.

    Whereas most Democrats and Republicans, and eventually President Obama, addressed the militarization of the police, Clinton actually went there on an issue that most avoided: racism and the criminal justice system.


    “Imagine what we would feel and what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers instead of the other way around. If white offenders received prison sentences ten percent longer than black offenders for the same crimes. If a third of all white men – just look at this room and take one-third – went to prison during their lifetime. Imagine that. That is the reality in the lives of so many of our fellow Americans in so many of the communities in which they live.”


    Her statements in many ways echo those of Sen. Rand Paul’s who also imagined himself as Michael Brown, mouthing off at a cop as a teen, but with a very different outcome based on race. Both Paul and Clinton went further in their statements than Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Obama, who in his third statement on Ferguson, touched on black crime rates, and only allowed that there might be sentencing disparities and differential treatment for blacks in the criminal justice system.

    Oh my.

    “Dear Police” – written by a witness to an abusive arrest.

    After handcuffing the young man and walking to the driver’s side door of the car, you noticed me filming and asked, “Can I help you with something?”

    From the second you laid eyes on me you treated me as a problem. I am not a problem. I am a person. You, on the other hand, are a problem. The way you treated me as less than human, as worthy of handcuffs and a prison cell, despite the fact that I did nothing wrong, is a problem.


    Telling an unarmed individual that you would shoot him if he did not stop running is morally reprehensible, professionally unsound, and legally impermissible. Evading arrest while unarmed does not warrant one to be shot at. That’s obscene. Threatening me with arrest without a justifiable cause is a violation of my civil and human rights. I have a right to be outside; to be black and outside. I have a right to care about what goes on in my neighborhood and on my block. I have a right to film you. And you do not have the right to arrest me for doing absolutely nothing wrong.

    There’s more at the article, wonderful stuff.

    Here’s an interesting look at Dissonant Winston Smith, who writes… a lot. About witnesses, about making decisions about who is guilty, and … well, here’s a taste:

    Consider for a minute what happened to QuikTrip and Ferguson Market. If these businesses, and the real community members they employ, were targeted due to their involvement in the case, what do you think they would do to Darren Wilson, the person directly responsible for the death of Michael Brown, justified or not. Thus the repeated death threats levied at Darren Wilson are given much more serious credibility. What’s more, the media has felt the need to release his address and report from his front lawn. This man is not safe.


    I find it incredibly disingenuous that the same voices calling for either the death or conviction of Darren Wilson are also the same voices claiming that there has been a lack of transparency on the part of the police. If you already know the whole story, what more is there to say? What more evidence can be presented? Evidence isn’t simply around to confirm your preconceived notions.

    … And it goes on.

  170. rq says

    Oh, I missed this paragraph from my last link above:

    What’s more, not releasing information is a good way of confirming or discrediting eyewitness accounts. As such, the main witness identified thus far, Dorian Johnson and his story of Mike Brown being shot in the back, have been completely discredited by the family’s autopsy. In an unrelated example, if I’m working a case involving a stabbing murder and someone comes to me saying they saw everything, but state that the deceased was shot, I know they’re lying. It’s an investigative tactic and an important one.

    From what I understand, he’s a Ferguson cop…

  171. rq says

    Justice Ginsberg on America’s racism. It’s from August 22 and a re-post, but worth a (re)read:

    In what may become the most controversial part of her interview with Coyle, Ginsburg also suggests that public acceptance of gay Americans is eclipsing our ability to relate to each other across racial lines. “Once [gay] people began to say who they were,” Ginsburg noted, “you found that it was your next-door neighbor or it could be your child, and we found people we admired.” By contrast, according to Ginsburg, “[t]hat understanding still doesn’t exist with race; you still have separation of neighborhoods, where the races are not mixed. It’s the familiarity with people who are gay that still doesn’t exist for race and will remain that way for a long time as long as where we live remains divided.”

  172. Menyambal says

    But Dorian Johnson never said that Mike Brown was shot in the back. He said that he was shot at while running away, flinched as if hit, and turned around.

  173. rq says

    I think Obama needs to go: Ferguson residents call for Obama visit.

    “We’re just three weeks into this, and this is only the beginning of this movement,” Christmas said. “We want [President Barack Obama] to come here. He remarked that he didn’t have a strategy for Isis and Syria, but we need a strategy for urban America.

    (via Tony)

  174. Pteryxx says

    Menyambal #211 – the claim that the eyewitnesses say Brown was shot in the back (which they didn’t) is part of the narrative used by the right-wing misinformation brigade to claim that they’re all lying and that the autopsy results released by Brown’s family prove that the witnesses are all lying. (Except the “witnesses” repeating Wilson’s story from a discredited Facebook page – see (Daily Kos), Cracked, and (Little Green Footballs) for that one)

    see Little Green Footballs from August 21, pointing out what police said to the New York Times:

    However, the second paragraph quoted above makes it very clear that officer Wilson was firing his weapon at Michael Brown as he ran away — in other words, even though law enforcement officials say he didn’t hit Brown or Johnson, he was indeed shooting at Brown’s back.

    That’s a confirmation of one of the crucial bits of eyewitness information, and an explanation for the initial reports that Brown was “shot in the back” — because Wilson did try to shoot him in the back. And that’s not supposition any more; it’s the direct word from law enforcement.

    I’ve seen better references for the “shot in the back” lie specifically – if I come across them I’ll post.

  175. Pteryxx says

    From rq’s #206:

    Bipartisan Report ‏@Bipartisanism

    Art pieces supporting #Ferguson popping up in parks across the world. #BlackLivesMatter

    3:28 PM – 30 Aug 2014


    (Direct image link)

    [Silhouettes of many pairs of arms with hands raised, painted black, rising from the grass of a small park with traffic in the background.]

  176. rq says

    Map of arrest deaths in America. Arizona #1. :/

    The subtitle is even better: After Ferguson, race deserves more attention, not less. To make up for all the unattention.
    Also, apparently America is #1 in the world for wealth gap by race:

    The net worth of the average black household in the United States is $6,314, compared with $110,500 for the average white household, according to 2011 census data. The gap has worsened in the last decade, and the United States now has a greater wealth gap by race than South Africa did during apartheid. (Whites in America on average own almost 18 times as much as blacks; in South Africa in 1970, the ratio was about 15 times.)

    $6000 to $110000? I thought I misread that. But no, the difference is nearly twenty times. TWENTY FUCKING TIMES (okay, I’ll downscale to nineteen). White families, on average, are worth monetarily nineteen times more than black families. O.O

    Profile of Anthony Shahid, one of the protest leaders in Ferguson.

    Shahid’s mind never relaxes, never lets injustices fade with time or disputes soften into compromise. He is keenly aware that — as the latest census report confirms — St. Louis is one of the most segregated cities in the nation, that more than half of the city’s population is African-American and that poverty, and therefore crime, concentrates in black neighborhoods at a rate four times the regional average. He walks the streets of these neighborhoods and sees liquor stores on every corner, owned by people of other races. He looks for the African-American-owned businesses, like the market his bold and sensible mother ran, and sees only a handful.

    There’s a lot of pages, and I can’t read them all right now, but it’s good to hear about the less well-known figures in the protests, more people from the movement. Putting faces to the activities, so to speak.

  177. Pteryxx says

    Transcript from Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on Wednesday August 20: (MSNBC). O’Donnell calls out the New York Times for shoddy reporting regarding eyewitness accounts.



    The officer gets out of his vehicle and he pursues him. As he`s following
    him, he`s shooting at him. And Michael`s body jerks as if he was hit.
    Then he turned around and he puts his hands up. And the officer continues
    to walk up on him and shoot him until he goes all the way down to the


    O`DONNELL: If you settled into your chair this morning to read the “Times”
    account of what witnesses have said, you would not have read one word of
    what you just heard nor would you have read of the existence of Tiffany

    The first sentence of “the Times” story says, quote, “Witnesses have given
    investigators sharply conflicting accounts of the killing.” “The Times”
    then presents witness accounts that do not sharply conflict. “The Times”
    simply asserts in the first sentence that the accounts sharply conflict and
    then fails to demonstrate that. But that sentence is exactly what the
    police defenders of Officer Darren Wilson wanted “The Times” to print.
    That`s what they need to get out there. Just the belief that there are
    conflicting accounts by witnesses of the killing, and that there is someone
    out there who is in conflict with Tiffany Mitchell`s testimony.

  178. Pteryxx says

    and from Paul Cassell’s law blog at the Washington Post, why the eyewitness statements are so important for the federal civil rights investigation. (WaPo)

    The tricky thing in a federal civil rights prosecution is proving mens rea — that is, the defendant’s state of mind. As the jury instructions above make clear, federal prosecutors would have to establish that the police officer acted “willfully” — i.e., with a “bad purpose or evil motive.” And because mens rea is an element of the offense, prosecutors would have to prove that state of mind beyond a reasonable doubt.

    In some of the discussions of the case that I have seen, this critical point has been overlooked. Some commentators have assumed that the officer could be charged federally if he was negligent or reckless in assessing the need to use deadly force. For a federal civil rights prosecution, that is untrue. A federal civil rights prosecution in the Brown shooting will only be successful if the defendant acted with specific intent to deprive Brown of his rights.

    Of course, we do not yet know all the facts surrounding the shooting. According to some media reports, there is evidence (including a recent pathology report) that suggested Brown had his hands up at the time of the shooting. If he was clearly in the act of surrendering, deadly force would be improper and, indeed, so improper that a federal civil rights prosecution would be possible. But according to other reports, Brown doubled back towards the officer, apparently charging him at the time of the shooting. If this is what really happened (or if there is a reasonable doubt about whether this is what happened), the case is not really appropriate for a federal civil rights prosecution.

    If I understand correctly, the shooting officer’s state of mind and surrounding narrative is also exactly what would have been captured at the time by police incident reports and use of force reports, which are required by Missouri’s sunshine law, and have all been suspiciously blank across the board. (see #25 and #170 on this page.)

  179. rq says

    From the tweets I’ve been reading (there’s another town hall or meeting going on today), there’s been a lot of feminism going on among the discussion of racism. Abuot women standing up for the young men, but not wanting to be raped anymore, things like that. So anything that comes out of this will not be a movement with a single focus, it seems.

    Black Summer, an on-the-ground short photo montage on Ferguson.

  180. Pteryxx says

    Y’all who have Al Jazeera access, they’re currently re-running a series called The System, examining flaws in the criminal justice system in the US. Al Jazeera

    Currently showing video of a research experiment demonstrating the unreliability of eyewitness identification, especially as it’s handled by the standard practices of some police lineups. A summary:

    The “best practices” for conducting a suspect lineup for an eyewitness, Cates said, include the option of not making any selection. Otherwise, the witness might feel pressured to choose — and then pick incorrectly.

    Another progressive method, the “double blind” system, involves the law enforcement officer conducting the lineup or photo array. So as not to sway the eyewitness, the officer should also not know who the prime suspect is, hidden among other “filler” faces or bodies.

    and the problem of cross-racial identification: (U. Dayton)

    Known as the “own-race” effect or “own-race” bias, eyewitnesses experience the “cross-racial impairment” when attempting to identify individuals of another race. The “own-race effect” is “strongest when white witnesses attempt to recognize black subjects,” and apparently less influential to black witnesses. In fact, four separate studies found that black eyewitnesses do not experience any cross- racial impairment. And another found that blacks make better witnesses in general. But five other studies found that white eyewitnesses simply experience the impairment more often than blacks. Regardless of the degree to which each race suffers from the impairment, a leading scholar on the subject has concluded that “it has been observed so many times” that “it seems to be a fact.”

    I’d consider that another reason for diverse representation in media, classrooms, and speaker panels, by the way – to increase white people’s familiarity with black faces.

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


    The tricky thing in a federal civil rights prosecution is proving mens rea — that is, the defendant’s state of mind. As the jury instructions above make clear, federal prosecutors would have to establish that the police officer acted “willfully” — i.e., with a “bad purpose or evil motive.”

    Ugh. That’s not a good paragraph. In fact, it’s a horrible paragraph. It vastly confuses mens rea and “willfulness”. In addition, “willfully” doesn’t require “bad purpose or evil motive” which was in fact a past a working translation of “mens rea”, not “willful”. In most crimes one’s actions must merely be consciously chosen – the “bad purpose or evil motive” of yesteryear is assumed. If you take a gun into a store, go up to the person working the register, pushing paying customers out of the way in the process, and say, “I want all the money from your till, now,” no one needs to prove that you did all this for a “bad purpose or evil motive”. What does challenge mens rea is proof of involuntary action. Sleep robbing, for instance: medically the diagnosis that has been subsequently most relevant to legal discussions in Canada is “automatism”, though in the states they may focus on a different name for essentiality the same thing. Also, one could provide evidence that one had involuntarily submitted to be wired with a bomb while loved ones were held at gun point, then undertook the actus reus while under that involuntary control and at the direction of the controllers. Mens rea is not actually in dispute in most cases.

    For many crimes, one not even need complete the crime through conscious choice so long as one consciously made previous choices recklessly, and that recklessness changed a situation to one that included a risk or an increased risk of the illegal outcome (say, death of any person). Of course the illegal outcome must in fact occur, but in those crimes the fact that one doesn’t consciously choose to produce the illegal outcome is irrelevant.

    There are also strict liability and absolute liability crimes. Speeding is a strict liability crime. If your kid finds a matchbook and lights “Goodnight Moon” on fire accidentally, your sudden fear at realizing there is flame in the car and your entirely inadvertent stomping on the gas instead of the break while trying to prevent burns to your child may not actually save you from a speeding conviction (this is admittedly pushing it a little far for rhetorical purposes, but the point is that strict liability requires you to prove you’ve taken all reasonable steps to prevent the outcome, not merely that you weren’t negligent).

    What gets tricky with mens rea are crimes that include a purposive element. If aggravated armed robbery required that you performed an armed robbery (a lesser included offense, which could look like the convenience store scenario above) for the purpose of giving 67% or more of the funds to a convicted criminal which the accused knew or should have known had not yet paid off any and all fines resulting from said conviction(s) then you have torturous questions like,

    If the accused only wanted to give Alex 40% of the money then does it matter if the accused promised the felon Alex $400 when there was only $500 in the til? Can the purposive element of the mens rea be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt in light of statements by the accused that the accused expected to make off with $1000? How is it proven the promise was based on this expectation and not on a mental intention to give a certain **percentage** of money or even a fixed dollar amount regardless of percentage?

    What sort-of-kind-of saves the paragraph is that it is true that the civil rights statute does have a “willful” category.

    However, is this the relatively minimal “willfulness” of most crimes, where to the extent it functions at all it merely precludes conviction for negligence? Or is it part of a phrase that creates a purposive element for the crime? The writer is terribly unclear – making their work, at least as excerpted here, worse than useless. So we’re forced to go to statute. More on that in a bit. Time to make lunch for the kiddies.

  182. Pteryxx says

    Thanks Crip Dyke. That’s a source and material I’m not equipped to make a judgement call on. Here’s what Cassell is citing: (blog link again)

    The elements required to prove a federal criminal civil rights violation are quite demanding. Here are jury instructions describing the elements of a federal civil right offense, taken from the leading federal jury instruction form book:

    First: That the defendant deprived the victim of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States by committing one or more of the acts charged in the indictment;
    Second: That the defendant acted willfully, that is, that the defendant committed such act or acts with a bad purpose or evil motive, intending to deprive the victim of that right; and
    Third: That the defendant acted under color of law.
    Fourth: That died as a result of defendant’s conduct.

    The indictment charges that the defendant deprived the victim of the right to be free from unlawful deadly force by law enforcement officers when lawfully being seized [arrested], in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. You are instructed that this right is one secured by the Constitution of the United States. A defendant’s use of deadly force against a fleeing felony suspect is constitutional only if the officer had probable cause to believe that the suspect posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others.

    2 Fed. Jury Prac. & Instr. § 29:03 (6th ed.).

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

    but before I go:

    But according to other reports, Brown doubled back towards the officer, apparently charging him at the time of the shooting. If this is what really happened (or if there is a reasonable doubt about whether this is what happened), the case is not really appropriate for a federal civil rights prosecution.


    This author is conflating the standards for conviction with the standards for prosecution. If Brown “really” doubled back, given that there is evidence that he didn’t – from the pathologist’s report no less than from actual eyewitnesses – that’s a question for a jury (well, trier-of-fact, if we’re being technical) not a reason to fuck off a trial completely and insure that there’s no possibility of a deeper fact-finding.

    Authoritarian bullshit.

    The author would never state that it’s inappropriate to prosecute a private citizen if no human was currently certain of guilt, but, unknown to anyone, it turns out the private citizen would eventually be found innocent by a mythical omniscient trier-of-fact with no admissibility standards for evidence.

  184. Pteryxx says

    Press release from the National Bar Association: (link)

    On September 1, 2014, the National Bar Association will begin filing open records requests in 25 cities that have been identified as having an alleged history of police misconduct and brutality cases. The open records requests will seek information regarding the number of individuals who have been killed, racially profiled, wrongfully arrested and/or injured while pursued or in police custody.

    The cities that have been identified include: Birmingham, AL, Little Rock, AR, Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; San Jose, CA; Washington, DC; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; Kanas City, MO; St. Louis, MO; Charlotte, NC; Las Vegas, NV; New York City, NY; Cleveland, OH; Memphis, TN; Philadelphia, PA; Dallas, TX; Houston, TX; San Antonio, TX and Milwaukee, WI.

    In addition, the National Bar Association will send a “Preservation of Evidence” notice to all necessary entities requesting that they preserve all police officers’ raw notes of statements, observations and data collected from the scene of an incident. This request will also require information on the officer specifically involved and all responding officers, as well as the officers’ detail logs from the crime scene, and video and photographic evidence related to any alleged and/or proven misconduct by current or former employees.

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

    Obviously “before I go” didn’t get posted before I went.

    I’m back.

    Thanks for the citation, Pterryx. It makes much more sense that the phrase would appear in a jury instruction rather than a current statute.

    Note that what is required to be proved is not contained in the jury instruction. It’s contained in the statute. The jury instruction is intended to make the statute more intelligible to those without legal training, but it is, and is designed to be, both subsidiary and adjunct to the statute, not a replacement for statutory language.

    Unless I am completely wrong, which, while possible, I judge unlikely – this is a statement about which I feel fairly confident – the old legal jargon, “with a bad purpose or evil motive,” is effectively replaced by, “intending to deprive the victim of that right”. This should be interpreted as something like:

    The monarch contemporaneous with Shakespeare’s early and peak acting career, Elizabeth Tudor;

    Many laws, jury instructions, and other documents have been jumbled together over the course of the growing “plain language movement”. Though others have proposed junking bullshit jargon like, “with a bad purpose or evil motive”, it is frequently successfully argued that the new language be added side-by-side with the old language so as to be absolutely clear that the standards haven’t **changed**, they are simply describing the identical standards with a newer, plainer phrase.

    This looks like a classic example of that.

    So skip the “bad purpose or evil motive” – which is neither an accurate description of “willful” nor an accurate description of “mens rea”. Focus on “intending to deprive the victim of that right”.

    This is absolutely a classic “purposive” clause. You need to not merely take an action that deprives someone of an established constitutional right, you have to take that action “intending to deprive the victim of that right.”

    This does make it much harder to prove, but the absence of documentation doesn’t muddy the water. With purposive elements of a crime, as with any element of the crime, the element has to be proved individually (you can’t infer this element because another element has been dis/proved). However, also as with any other element, you don’t have to believe every bit of inculpatory evidence beyond a reasonable doubt: you merely have to believe that the totality of the evidence, inculpatory and exculpatory, leaves one without any **reasonable** doubts about that element’s satisfaction.

    Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown hasn’t muddied the waters by declining to provide evidence. One is perfectly reasonable in inferring, in the absence of other evidence, that shooting a gun with the intent that the bullets hit that person is proof of intent to violate one’s right to (at least) bodily integrity and (very probably) to life.

    The refusal of Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown and the Ferguson police department to follow procedures recording the incident is reason to believe that there is no reasonably exculpatory evidence that would rebut the presumption (not legal, in this case the logical presumption of a trier-in-fact like a juror). The default presumption, common in law, that one intends one’s actions unless there’s some reason to think that they are involuntary, makes it unreasonable in most circumstances to conclude that the officer didn’t intend to deprive Michael Brown of security or life.

    The fact that Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown didn’t call for medical help for Michael Brown means that Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown was at the very least indifferent to Michael Brown’s death.

    All that is to say, so long as Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown knew or should have known that Michael Brown could not be legally killed, then the rest of the crime’s elements should shake out in a fairly straightforward way. The purposive element won’t be a particularly high hurdle. It’s yet another element that must be proved, but it seems very accomplishable AND it’s not made harder by the lack of an incident report. It’s probably made easier.

    If I were a prosecutor, I’d have to consider using the release of the Swisher Sweet video at trial, as well. The fact that they released what they contended publicly to be evidence the shooting was justified that they themselves now admit couldn’t possibly justify the shooting at a time when the police were desperate to change public perception in the direction of believing the shooting was in fact justified and that no injustice had taken place, all that is reason to believe that there is no better evidence that the shooting was justified. If there is no better evidence than fabricated evidence without credibility even to the criminal defendant’s civil co-defendant, one might reasonably conclude “Best evidence against=complete fabrication means the best evidence for should be taken as uncontested”.

    Evidentiary admissibility rules can be someone arcane, but the principle is relatively simple: is the evidence relevant? Is it more likely to be probative or prejudicial? There’s a good argument to be made that the police department’s fabricated evidence in an attempt at PR spin that, if successful, was hoped to bring peace to a community is evidence that is more prejudicial than probative.

    But I’d sure as hell try to get it admitted. The more I look at the facts as we know them, and the worse it looks that no incident report was made, well, the more relevant it seems that the best argument that they could make publicly was a lying liar’s argument. You have to muster a lot more information than I have at my fingers to competently prosecute this case, but I don’t see the purposive requirements of statute, if they are properly and fully translated within this jury instruction, as a high hurdle in this case.

    The prima facie case is made when you have eye witnesses saying MB was obviously trying to surrender and pathologists concur that bullet wounds are consistent with such a posture. The defense is hampered severely in presenting a reasonable interpretation of the facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe MB wasn’t trying to surrender by the failure to assert any fucking facts in an incident report at all. Fair or not, if the officer had followed procedure and recorded the incident report on time, an assertion that MB was charging might have had some credibility.

    However, when the officer makes no statement until after the pathology report is released, the fact that his explanation is consistent with the outer limits of reasonable interpretation of known facts about the injuries (if, indeed, the explanation is so consistent) cannot be interpreted as supporting innocence. Having the pathology report in hand, the officer cannot now make an assertion that is outside the limits of the reasonable interpretation of known facts if the officer doesn’t want to be locked up for life. It is the very fact that you make your assertions before you know what the pathologist will say are the outer limits of reasonable interpretation of the forensic facts that allows that boundary to shed light on the credibility of your statement: if you make it before hand and it clearly conflicts with forensic facts, you’re a liar. If you make it beforehand and it falls within the limits of reasonable interpretation, it’s very possible you’re not making it up, and your statement is rated credible, though this is not the same as rating it “confirmed”.

    Making a statement after it’s obvious you’re at risk of being locked up for life and in full possession of all the most damning evidence including eye-witness statements and forensics, well, if your statement is outside the bounds of reason you’re guilty, a liar, AND stupid. If your statement is within the bounds of reason, what the fuck would you expect from a criminal hoping to escape liability?

    No. Just no. This case should not be one in which prosecutors fear the complexities of proving a purposive component of mens rea. They may or may not ultimately conclude the case is successfully prosecutable. They may or may not land a conviction. And, yes, mens rea – the author is right about this at least – is little appreciated by the public. But there should be no particular fear that this element more than other elements of the crime poses a surprising or burdensome hurdle.

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

    Oh, hell, I hadn’t borked a blockquote in a while. I guess it was time.

  187. Pteryxx says

    Crip Dyke, thanks for the analysis.

    All that is to say, so long as Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown knew or should have known that Michael Brown could not be legally killed, then the rest of the crime’s elements should shake out in a fairly straightforward way. The purposive element won’t be a particularly high hurdle. It’s yet another element that must be proved, but it seems very accomplishable AND it’s not made harder by the lack of an incident report. It’s probably made easier.

    I hope you’re right there. The other discussions I’ve seen (mostly among the comments at Daily Kos) have been about federal police misconduct laws and excessive force. Here’s one such article. In the comments, TomP cites the DOJ’s own site: Addressing Police Misconduct Laws Enforced by the Department of Justice

    Federal Criminal Enforcement

    It is a crime for one or more persons acting under color of law willfully to deprive or conspire to deprive another person of any right protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242). “Color of law” simply means that the person doing the act is using power given to him or her by a governmental agency (local, State, or Federal). A law enforcement officer acts “under color of law” even if he or she is exceeding his or her rightful power. The types of law enforcement misconduct covered by these laws include excessive force, sexual assault, intentional false arrests, or the intentional fabrication of evidence resulting in a loss of liberty to another. Enforcement of these provisions does not require that any racial, religious, or other discriminatory motive existed.

    So I gather the WaPo law blog and similar are making a big to-do about the “willfully” part because reasons – because they’re law-splaining to the peons who think a DOJ investigation is a sign of hope, perhaps.

    Another ongoing argument is whether Missouri law permitting a fleeing suspect to be shot at contradicts Supreme Court precedent in Tennessee v. Garner, but if I understand correctly, would that only apply to any criminal indictment by the grand jury, not to the federal investigation? (Summary of the fleeing-felon arguments at outsidethebeltway.)

    And that article also assumes that proving Wilson acted “willfully” is going to be a huge obstacle:

    Any potential federal charges in this case would be even more complicated, because they would require that the prosecution prove that Officer Wilson deprived Brown of his civil rights through an act committed “under the color of law” and that the defendant acted willfully and with the intent of depriving Brown of those rights. Leaving aside the question of exactly how the U.S. Attorney would be able to prove that Wilson acted with the intention of depriving Brown of his civil rights, if it turns out that a state court jury finds that Wilson’s use of deadly force constituted justifiable homicide, it would be difficult at the very least for a Federal Court to allow a case that argues differently to proceed to trial.

    What’s going on here? Your analysis makes sense to me, but given the long history of federal investigations into police shootings resulting in nothing much, are we assuming a competent and determined federal prosecution when there’s actually a precedent of using the “willfully” clause in bad faith AS a higher obstacle than it deserves to be? Or are these Beltway law-bloggers full of smoke?

    Obviously Wilson acted “under color of law” – he was a uniformed on-duty police officer using his police weapon – and obviously he pointed that weapon at Brown and pulled the trigger a bunch of times, killing him. There shouldn’t be anything complicated about those aspects.

  188. Pteryxx says

    Ongoing linkdump:

    ThinkProgress: Why Taxpayers Will Get Stuck With The Bill For The Ferguson Lawsuit

    Ferguson’s predicament is not so different from other cities across the country that foot the bill for their police department’s misdeeds. A study recently published in the NYU Law Review found that individual cops almost never have to pay for their misconduct. Examining data from 81 police departments, the study found that “governments paid approximately 99.98% of the dollars that plaintiffs recovered in lawsuits alleging civil rights violations by law enforcement.”

    In total, the police departments that provided data cost their governments $730 million between 2006 and 2011. New York City, where the nation’s largest police department has become notorious for its abuses, paid out nearly $350 million in civil rights damages in this time period. The police officers at fault contributed a total of $114,000 to those settlements. In the smaller jurisdictions, the study found that officers contributed nothing toward the settlements — even when they had been criminally prosecuted, fired, or disciplined in some way.

    What’s more, these cases hardly even affect the police department’s budget. The study noted that settlements usually come out of the city’s general fund or an insurer, while police budgets stay relatively stable. Many municipal governments don’t keep comprehensive records of lawsuits against police, or track what kinds of abuses and which officers show up in complaints.

    Sounds like the US needs some sort of No Cop Left Behind.

  189. Pteryxx says

    A longread on language, learning, and the limits to the promise of education, from Ta-Nehisi Coates: Acting French (via Colorlines)

    Now it must never be concluded that an urge toward the cosmopolitan, toward true education, will make people stop hitting you. The inverse is more likely. In the early 19th century, the Cherokee Nation was told by the new Americans that if its members adopted their “civilized” ways, they would soon be respected as equals. This promise was deeply embedded in the early 19th century approach to this continents indigenous nations.


    “The problem, from a white point of view,” writes historian Daniel Walker Howe, “was that the success of these efforts to ’civilize the Indians’ had not yielded the expected dividend in land sales. On the contrary, the more literate, prosperous, and politically organized the Cherokees made themselves, the more resolved they became to keep what remained of their land and improve it for their own benefit.”

    Cosmopolitanism, openness to other cultures, openness to education did not make the Cherokee pliant to American power; it gave them tools to resist. Realizing this, the United States dropped the veneer of “culture” and “civilization” and resorted to “Indian Removal,” or The Trail of Tears.

  190. Pteryxx says

    Jezebel – Whitewashing and the Problem With the Ice Bucket Challenge

    Admittedly, the difference in interest is a matter of degrees — it’s not as if no one’s looking at articles about Ferguson. Greg Howard’s excellent America is Not For Black People did over 950k unique views. Kara’s likewise fantastic This Is Why We’re Mad About the Shooting of Mike Brown did 650k. Rebecca’s initial news post about the police violence in Ferguson (published near midnight EST, no less) did almost 350k. People clearly care about these issues.

    But contrast that against this post (13.5 million uniques) or this one (4.5 million) and you start to see the difference. To be clear: I am not in the slightest way criticizing either author or site for writing those posts — you can’t talk about one news story (even one as important as Ferguson) to the exclusion of all else for weeks, and the Ice Bucket Challenge, as sad as it is to admit, is a legitimate news story. But the fact that there’s such an astronomical difference between the number of users interested in the more important story and the lesser one is staggering.


    We can care about both issues at once, and we should, but right now we’re caring way, way more about the thing that isn’t nearly as important. So by all means, donate money to ALS research — just don’t for a moment think that it absolves you of our collective responsibility to pay attention to and consider the ramifications of an infinitely more important story.

  191. rq says

    From Chicago: raising money to get mother to her son’s funeral. DeSean Pittman, shot by a cop, August 25.

    Darren Wilson’s support fund mysteriously dries up:

    In a message to visitors two weeks ago, the anonymous Wilson fundraiser page wrote that it was working with Shield of Hope to become a verified recipient. That has not happened. The fundraiser also gave out a pseudonymous Gmail account to users seeking more information, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

    In its statement to The Times, GoFundMe’s spokeswoman said the anonymously run donation page had also been removed from its search results, adding that “this campaign no longer meets GoFundMe’s stated requirement of having a valid Facebook account connected.”

    Here’s a perspective: in defense of looting.

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

    okay, I’ll try to respond productively to you, Pteryxx, but I’m afraid we will quickly reach the limit of my ability to add useful information. To go much farther that I will do below would require a qualified lawyer with a practice background in federal criminal law or Missouri criminal law. Though obviously any lawyer (or any person, really) might know a few random facts that are useful and are not included by me, even qualified, experienced, genius lawyers may not have much to add if their practices are in contracts or tax or maritime law or what-have-you.

    Frankly I’m afraid the best answers would really come from a professor of criminal law at a Missouri law school, for reasons I’ll explain below. Still, I do have a few things to say that are likely to be usefully accurate and usefully relevant to the questions you pose. So I’ll go on a bit.

    In a bit I’ll quote one of the two statute sections referenced above (18 USC 242). I really don’t know why s241 was referenced at all. While I could understand how Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown might be charged under s241, s241 doesn’t include the language “color of law” which is a great deal of the focus here. If you’re going to say that ss241 & 242 require “color of law”, which is indeed what the blogger says, you’re flat out lying. If you’re going to say that there’s a “color of law” requirement contained within ss241 and 242 you’re absolutely correct…but since it’s only within 242 you’re badly misleading your audience.

    I’ve made no study of the federal criminal code, so I can’t say that s241 &s242 comprise the totality of statutes reasonably prosecutable against Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown. But I can respond to the blogger’s work that addresses those sections. Since that blogger doesn’t go beyond them, I won’t either. If someone starts talking about another statutory section and you want me to take a stab at interpretation, LMK. I’d be happy to do so. Here, let’s just deal with what we already have in front of us.

    So, here’s 18 USC s242 with re-formatting for readability by me [I’m reformatting in an attempt to make things more readable and understandable, but it’s possible I’ll fail and imply a change of meaning. I hope that doesn’t happen]:

    under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom,
    willfully subjects
    any person
    in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District

    to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
    secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States,
    to different punishments, pains, or penalties,
    on account of such person being an alien,
    or by reason of his color, or race,
    than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens,

    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both;

    and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section
    or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire,
    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both;

    and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section
    or if such acts include
    or an attempt to kidnap,
    aggravated sexual abuse,
    or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse,
    or an attempt to kill,
    shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

    Note that “willfully subjects” is a required element of any crime prosecuted under s242, but the purposive clause,

    “on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race,”

    attaches only to crimes of “different punishments, pains, or penalties”.

    So, again, what does “willfully subjects” do that “subjects” does not? It rules out a prosecutor satisfying the mens rea by proving criminal recklessness. In this case, although in not all cases, it’s pretty clear that it also imputes a “knowing” condition on the actions. If the actor’s actions are “willful” in the sense of knowing exactly what the actor’s body is doing, but actions are not taken in the context of knowledge that the right or privilege being deprived is one protected by law, the actor has not committed the crime described under s242.

    So unlike in some cases, “willfully” effectively adds 2 conditions, not one:
    1. prove actual intent to fire the gun at Michael Brown, not merely criminal recklessness [like, say, pointing the gun at a crowd of people with the safety off and one’s finger within rather than outside the trigger guard while gesturing forcefully in an intentional way that ends up being sufficient to move the trigger and cause the weapon to fire – this is more than negligence, this is performing a series of actions that one knows have a high likelihood of causing injury, and doing so in full knowledge of the risks, while heedless of the consequences].
    2. Prove that the right or privilege deprived of Michael Brown that is protected by the Constitution or other law was, in fact, KNOWN by Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown to be protected by law.

    Proving actual intent to fire the gun isn’t necessarily trivial [“I don’t remember pulling the trigger, I was just so afraid for my life that my actions were automatic!”], but remember that the trier-of-fact gets to make a decision about whether that element is proved beyond a reasonable doubt through a consideration of all evidence. No particular piece of evidence needs to be believed beyond a reasonable doubt so long as the picture provided by the totality of evidence relating to that element make it unreasonable to doubt that the element has been established.
    This is the kind of proof involved in murder trials all the time when a killing is unquestioned but the defense is attempting to go for a lesser included offense like Manslaughter rather than for a complete acquittal. It may or may not be easy, but it’s not an unusual trial issue that should be an intimidating hurdle for a prosecutor to face.

    Proving that the right deprived is protected at law is trivial.

    Proving that the right deprived was KNOWN by Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown to be protected at law would be quite the exercise indeed, except that case law has consistently said that criminal statutes must be interpreted in such a way that it is possible to prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If the “knowing” element had to be proved in a subjective way, in a world where human brains forget things all the time, the crime would be absolutely unprosecutable.

    Courts around the world have often handled this by interpreting “knowing” elements as a so-called “objective” test. [“Objective” here meaning at law something that no human would ever mean by “objective” in any other context…oy, I hate it when the law does that.] In the objective test, it is a “known or should have known” test. Our police officers must be competent, else all hell breaks loose. Competency in enforcing the law “should” include the knowledge that you’re not entitled to kill people who surrender to your authority even if they are credibly accused of crimes or even if they have in fact committed crimes in such a context where the arresting officer has no reasonable doubt that the person is legally culpable.

    So it turns out that the “knowing” aspect that is added by “willfully subjects” is probably relatively easily established, given that Officer I-Think-I’ll-Kill-Michael-Brown maintained professional law enforcement employment over multiple years.

    There is also a test called “subjective/objective”. Since I don’t know the relevant precedents, it is theoretically possible that this more defendant-favorable test might be the one imputed to s242 by “willfully subjected”.
    In the subjective/objective test [Is it possible to hate a legal term more than I already hate the “objective” test which isn’t? Is it reasonable to hate the objective test for not being objective but then hate subjective/objective even more despite the fact that it acknowledges subjectivity is involved? Answers: “hell yes,” and “I don’t care if it’s reasonable, but I’m declaring the name ‘subjective/objective test’ worthy of hatred and contempt geometrically more vast than ‘objective test’ rightfully receives”.] you still use “known or should have known” but it gets more complicated in actual application.

    The subjective/objective test is “known or should have known, with ‘should have known’ qualified by certain aspects of the defendant’s individuality that the court would like to recognize, but not others which the court prefers not to recognize”. I really am not competent to evaluate this possibility since the factors considered legal/just by the court to consider in relation to a specific statute will be established **only** through case law [the decisions of judges at the appellate level] and are frequently different from statute to statute. To be competent, I’d have to know a large number of cases specifically interpreting s242’s imputed subjective/objective test in light of different defendants and their assertions of different qualities believed by the defense to be relevant to the test. Currently, I don’t know any. I don’t even know if such a subjective/objective test exists for s242 [though I suspect it does not exist and thus there can be no case law relevant to a s242 subjective/objective test]. But I also don’t think that a US federal court is likely to be using a subjective/objective test in this context. So I won’t dwell.

    Now, get ready for the big hammer that makes all this frustratingly less-relevant-than-you-would-think: the case law on Qualified Immunity. As a spoiler, qualified immunity is a construct of tort law, but the principles of qualified immunity are used to illuminate what constitutes “should have known” and in other ways colors the interpretation of criminal civil rights enforcement statutes like 18 USC s242.

  193. rq says

    From Time: Negrophobia – Michael Brown, Eric Garner and America’s fear of black people.

    Even the most well-intentioned people sometimes have difficulty avoiding discourses that reinforce problematic notions of Black physicality. A few months ago, I got into a conversation with a mentor of mine, a Stanford administrator. This individual told a story of a visit to a penitentiary where there was a stellar performance of Shakespeare’s Othello by a cast of inmates. My mentor’s description of the lead, a brawny African-American male convict, will always fascinate me. In this person’s words, the thespian was a “large, beautiful, intimidating Black man.”
    This stream of modifiers—large, beautiful, and intimidating—is normally reserved for majestic, predatory beasts like tigers, bears, or dragons. It describes something both appealing and appalling, but not typically a human.[…]Phobic people hyperbolize a threat that is not actually present, and trip themselves into aggression. We as Americans must learn to see each other properly and not through the lens of phobia.

    Here’s an older article on Eric Garner: Spike Lee splices the choking footage with his film ‘Do the Right Thing’. TW for images of violence and death.
    And one more from Time, fatal arrests caught on camera, a video over time. TW for images of violence, police brutality, etc. It’s an autoplay video.
    (Both of these are from the July 20s, so before Michael Brown.)

  194. rq says

    As an aside, I wish I had more to say about the eye-witness discussion above, since I’ve had some discussion on this from a forensics point of view. Unfortunately, I’m woefully out of practice and knowledge on that front, but there’s a reason why eye-witness accounts have to be taken down A.S.A.P. after any event, especially traumatizing ones (and as far as I know, this is an aspect in police officer training)… which, oddly (ha.ha.ha.) did not happen this time (at least a lot of the eye-witness accounts are in the media, but that doesn’t count for much in the system).
    Anyway. Will be interesting how all this plays out.

  195. Pteryxx says

    rq: re problems with eyewitness testimony, most of it’s about mistaken identity (and how race affects that) and investigators cueing witnesses about what they saw (and how race affects THAT). In Mike Brown’s case, there’s no question of identity of either party and the known eyewitnesses have gone public mostly independently of each other, making statements of their own will in plain sight. (Except for Wilson who hasn’t verifiably made any statement at all.) The major issues with eyewitness testimony haven’t come up in this discussion. So I put the links mostly so readers can go educate ourselves further (and because that Al Jazeera episode is really impressive).

    We still have no idea what eyewitness testimony, if any (or “eyewitness” testimony, let’s say) is being presented to the St Louis grand jury. It’s prosecutor’s discretion and normal rules barring hearsay do not apply. Because the grand jury’s secret and closed to the public, there isn’t even any word on who’s going in and out of the room when they meet. I’m trying to watch for news that *any* of the eyewitnesses who were on Canfield and have gone public have been called to testify at all. McCulloch made all those sweeping public statements about how every scrap of evidence would be presented to the grand jury and to just be patient, but Ferguson doesn’t believe him and neither do I. He’s withheld evidence from a previous killing-by-police case that went before a grand jury and returned no indictment.

  196. Pteryxx says

    Rawstory: Police officers in Ferguson now wearing body cameras

    During protests on Saturday, Ferguson officers began wearing small body cameras clipped to their uniforms that recorded crowds, conversations and even some taunts by demonstrators, a police official said on Sunday.

    Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the cameras have been well received by officers.

    “They are really enjoying them,” he said. “They are trying to get used to using them.”

    The cameras were donated by two video surveillance companies, Safety Visions and Digital Ally. In a statement on its website, Safety Vision said it donated the cameras in the hopes that they could bring transparency to future investigations.

    “The city of Ferguson has gone through an unfortunate series of events and Safety Vision body cameras and flashlight DVR will assist in capturing prima facie evidence for investigations involving vandalism, looting, and shots fired,” the statement said.

    Very helpful for day-to-day policing when vandalism or looting happens directly in view of a uniformed officer.

    Guardian: Dayton protesters rally at Wal-mart where black man was shot dead

    The rally was the latest effort by people wanting to shed more light on the 5 August shooting of John Crawford III inside the store in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek. Police responded after a caller said a man was waving a gun; they say Crawford refused orders to put down an air rifle.

    An attorney representing Crawford’s family says Walmart surveillance video of the shooting shows it was unjustified.

    Signs and chants at the rally urged: “Release the tape.” Organisers said the Reverend Al Sharpton planned to come to the area in a few weeks’ time, to speak about the shooting.

    A special grand jury will meet on 22 September to consider charges in the case. Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine said releasing the surveillance video could raise issues of a tainted jury pool if the case results in a trial.

    Because releasing police statements saying the dead man was waving a gun and refused orders to put it down isn’t tainting the jury pool at all. *headdesk*

  197. Pteryxx says

    Wow, the body-camera story is getting repeated all over. Toronto Sun, CBC, BBC, Businesswire, MSN.

    Safety Vision’s website ( says it provides surveillance and rear-vision camera systems for mass transit, school buses, shipping fleet tracking, and law enforcement.

    From the press release:

    In lieu of recent catastrophic events occurring in Ferguson, MO, Safety Vision sent the police department five PrimaFacie® Body Cameras, and an SV-1600 Flashlight DVR. The city of Ferguson has gone through an unfortunate series of events and Safety Vision body cameras and flashlight DVR will assist in capturing prima facie evidence for investigations involving vandalism, looting, and shots fired.

    The Ferguson Police Department is thankful for Safety Vision’s generosity. “Safety Vision was the first company to contact us with the offer of a donation. We are currently using the PrimaFacie body cameras within the detective bureau when interviewing suspects that were involved in a looting incident. We are benefiting greatly from the body cameras. We especially like include high definition video capture and infrared illuminators; the infrared illuminators assist during nighttime investigations to provide clear vision as to where a person or evidence might be. We are quite grateful to Safety Vision for providing us with surveillance equipment at a time when it is much needed.” said Ferguson Police Officer, Tim Zoll.

    Safety Vision’s Prima Facie Body Camera is a one-of-a-kind wearable recording solution that includes a magnitude of unique features not offered with other body cameras, including: high-resolution capture of still images, the ability to record audio-only files without video capture, and a playback screen to review recorded data instantly. Other features include eight hours of recording life, 30 and 60 frames-per-second of recording speed, 3-45 hours of recording time, optional GPS, police radio interface, and more.

    From their previous press release, dated August 20:

    Safety Vision Offers Special Promotion on Body Cameras for Individual Police Officers

    Safety Vision announces a special promotion on body cameras for individual police officers. We would like to offer individual police officers a PrimaFacie® Body Camera for a special price of $449, which is discounted $130 from the MSRP price of $579.


    Unlike many other companies that offer body cameras, we do not require a monthly fee for cloud-based data storage, per unit. We do not offer the option to store your data because we do not want to charge you these fees. Recorded data can easily be stored on an internal video server and our team can help you with this. After purchasing a Prima Facie unit, it is all yours — no other fees attached. The average monthly fee for other body camera companies to provide data storage is $50 per month, per unit; over one year, the amount you would pay in storage fees would cover your Prima Facie, and then some! Don’t waste your resources by incurring monthly fees; get the Prima Facie and cut the costs!

  198. rq says

    re: eye-witness testimony
    I believe there’s a bit of a time factor, too, which – depending on whether Darren Wilson has made any recorded statements at this time – may come into play (reliability of memory over time, no baseline incident report, etc.). At least most of the eye-witnesses (not ‘eye-witnesses’) have been excellent in coming forward and putting down their version very soon after the shooting itself.
    Speaking of Darren Wilson, any particular reason why he’s still in hiding? Has he made any public statements, at all? Has anyone even seen him?

  199. Pteryxx says

    Iyéska, please feel free to add articles you find. There’s too much out there for rq and I to cover it all.

  200. Pteryxx says

    rq, I haven’t seen any word about Wilson at all. He and his entire family went into hiding right away, and he has made no public statements or appearances of any kind. The only news about his version of events has come through Ferguson or St. Louis police or through the Facebook hoax page mystery witness. McCulloch (I believe) said Wilson was invited to testify before the grand jury, but he wasn’t being compelled to testify, and as far as I know there’s been no word that he’s done so.

  201. rq says

    That imagery – pearls and spent shotgun shells – is just… so… romantic? What’s the word I’m looking for here???

  202. rq says

    This is the CBC article on the body-cams, very umm concise and pretty much what you have above. They still repeat a very neutral version of events:

    Law enforcement and witnesses gave differing accounts of what transpired before Brown was shot, with police saying the teen had struggled with the officer. Witnesses say Brown held up his hands and was surrendering when he was shot multiple times in the head and chest.
    The discrepancy has revived calls for officers across the county to be outfitted with body cameras to help capture an accurate record of police-involved incidents.

    There’s also a look into the commercial opportunities for body-cam companies (from August 22, so not new). That one also has a golden paragraph:

    What transpired between the officer Darren Wilson and Brown that day isn’t clear and while there are cellphone videos of the scene from witnesses after the shooting, there is no video from the police vehicle or from the perspectives of the two individuals involved

    I doubt they’re going to get much of a perspective from Michael Brown at this point. And Darren Wilson’s? I’m certainly not the only one who will not be trusting his word, at all, if it differs in any significant way from that of the actual eye-witnesses.

  203. Pteryxx says

    oh ffs, really news orgs everywhere?


    Police in Ferguson, Missouri, have begun using body cameras, three weeks after a white officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager.

    The death of Michael Brown, 18, led to weeks of often violent protests between local residents and the police.

    Differing accounts of what happened before Mr Brown was shot led to calls for the use of body cameras to record police interactions.

    “violent protests between local residents and police” ? What were the police protesting?


    Law enforcement and witnesses gave differing accounts of what transpired before Brown was shot, with police saying the teen had struggled with the officer. Witnesses say Brown held up his hands and was surrendering when he was shot multiple times in the head and chest.

    The discrepancy has revived calls for officers across the county to be outfitted with body cameras to help capture an accurate record of police-involved incidents.


    Some stores were looted in nightly protests, and police responded with riot gear and moved in military equipment to try to quell the turmoil.

    How about police allowing citizens and media to train video cameras on them without arresting them for it? That would help resolve said discrepancies too.

    /gonna need a new *headdesk* key…

    All these articles are bylined Reuters, by the way. They’ve just been tweaked more or less by the individual sites.

  204. rq says

    For you. Allows for a facepalming option, too, though it requires a bit of wriggling.


    It’s amazing how all the mainstream media has been repeating the ‘official’ story. About the struggle, and the possible charging, about the unclarity of events that occurred prior to Michael Brown’s death murder. None that I have seen have put down eye-witness reports first as truth, then as supported truth. Nobody has commented on the mysterious absence of Darren Wilson. Or police attitudes directly after the shooting. How the riot gear came out before the looting (maybe not all of it, but some of it, for sure). Playing it safe, maybe, but also playing it cowardly. A lot of these are huge media organisations – they can afford a bit of risk. :( Eh.

  205. rq says

    I read an article where her address was actually considered a lot better than that of several other public figures (including Obama), since she didn’t sidestep the race issue. There is the bothersome fact that she waited nineteen days before making any kind of a statement… So I’m not sure how to reconcile those two things. I don’t think she tied things together as well as she should have (or at all), as you mention. And you could have been a lot more harsh. :) The article is here, by the way – see what you make of it!

  206. says

    Well. Ok. I read two articles about her speech: one from Jezebel, and one from HuffPo. Neither of them included this paragraph (from your link):

    Imagine what we would feel and what we would do if white drivers were three times as likely to be searched by police during a traffic stop as black drivers instead of the other way around. If white offenders received prison sentences ten percent longer than black offenders for the same crimes. If a third of all white men – just look at this room and take one-third – went to prison during their lifetime. Imagine that. That is the reality in the lives of so many of our fellow Americans in so many of the communities in which they live.

    I’m going to go amend my post. Thank you.

  207. Pteryxx says

    From the LA Times story on Wilson’s fundraisers closing:

    The three officers listed on Shield of Hope’s state nonprofit records, Joseph Eagan, Timothy Zoll and Jeffrey Roorda, did not immediately respond to emails Sunday seeking more information about the fundraising efforts. Zoll is a public information officer for the Ferguson Police Department, Eagan is a city council member for nearby Florissant, and Roorda a member of the Missouri House of Representatives.

    Nor was The Times able to immediately reach the anonymous founder of the “Support Officer Darren Wilson” page, a user called “Stand Up,” who has raised $235,750 and who has not been officially certified as a verified recipient on the donation page. GoFundMe’s spokeswoman vouched for the anonymous donor in a statement to The Times, however.

    Roorda cited in #172 above:

    The bill’s sponsor is a former police officer who was fired from the Arnold, Mo., police department for allegedly falsifying police reports. According to the Missouri Court of Appeals’ narrative in their ruling upholding Roorda’s termination, Roorda was caught allegedly falsifying a police report to cover the actions of another officer. […]

    Besides being a State Representantive, Roorda currently serves as business manager of the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association. In this role, he has been an outspoken critic of placing cameras in police cars. […]

    Speaking about the [drug evidence] incident, Roorda told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that incidents like these are why the Police Officer’s Association opposes in-car cameras, saying also that video subverts justice.

    Zoll gave the statement thanking Safety Vision for donating body cameras.

    From HuffPo, the Darren Wilson Facebook group’s message about closing the fundraisers:

    Secondly, we understand your questions, concerns and frustrations with both GoFundMe accounts. Please note, NOBODY shut down the GoFundMe account because of any petitions floating around trying to close it and GoFundMe did not close them either. That decision was made by those closest to Officer Darren Wilson looking out for his best interest. We are doing our best daily to keep you updated (to the best of our ability) with all truths that come to us. That is our number one priority, to always be honest with our supporters.

    Rest assured, if you donated to either GoFundMe it will go to Officer Darren Wilson. We are constantly trying to find the best ways to support Officer Darren Wilson as we know our supporters want to keep helping as best they can.

    So, according to them, the fundraisers weren’t halted or shut down – they were completed. All the money raised is going to Darren Wilson.

  208. rq says

    they were completed

    Dunno, doesn’t sound like they were completed, so much as closed down for… reasons. The sentence “That decision was made by those closest to Officer Darren Wilson looking out for his best interest.” almost sounds like there’s a bit of outside pressure involved in the closing down of the fundraisers. Maybe they were asked kindly by – say – GoFundMe before being rudely and publicly cut off.
    Still don’t think any of that money should go to Darren Wilson (maybe to support his family, and to educate them about racism). Gross. He should be paying for all his own expenses.

  209. Pteryxx says

    “That decision was made by those closest to Officer Darren Wilson looking out for his best interest.”

    Personally I don’t buy that that statement means there’s been any outside pressure at all beyond public opinion. From the day Wilson’s name was released, if not before, the police narrative has been that he and his family were relocated for their own safety. Those fundraisers could have been closed for any reason at all, such as staying below a tax limit on charitable donations for all I know (speculating there) and the reason would *always* be that it’s Wilson’s closest protecting him.

  210. Pteryxx says

    I’m also impressed by the FB group’s emphasis on how honest they are, while telling their donors they’ve closed the fundraiser with no explanation.

    We are doing our best daily to keep you updated (to the best of our ability) with all truths that come to us. That is our number one priority, to always be honest with our supporters.

    They sound like Fox News.

  211. says

    Unlike many other companies that offer body cameras, we do not require a monthly fee for cloud-based data storage, per unit. We do not offer the option to store your data because we do not want to charge you these fees. Recorded data can easily be stored on an internal video server and our team can help you with this. After purchasing a Prima Facie unit, it is all yours — no other fees attached. Th

    Ah, no. No, no, no, no. I will not support any plan for any body cameras unless the footage is controlled by someone other than the police, ideally a civilian oversight board of some kind. The police can have copies too, I suppose, but the direct feed should not go to them.

  212. says

    Agreed. We already know that police officers routinely lie, falsify evidence and generally act dishonestly, especially to cover for fellow officers. Any such system would have to include an independent storage of the raw video, with options for freedom of information access.

    After all, if they’re not doing anything wrong, they have nothing to fear. Isn’t that what they keep telling us?

  213. Pteryxx says

    St Louis Today: HIghway protest postponed

    A planned protest to briefly shut down highways in the St. Louis area Monday has been postponed at the request of Michael Brown’s family, one of the protest organizers said.

    “This is a postponement,” organizer Zaki Baruti told reporters outside the Ferguson police department Monday afternoon. “Until our demands are met it’s still on the table – some kind of highway action. When we’re ready we’ll tell everyone about it.”

    Editorial: Annual school report cards highlight St. Louis disparity in poverty

    Every school building in the poor-performing districts is full of children who come to school hungry, with as many as 90 percent of them in some cases qualifying for the federal free-and-reduced-cost lunch program. In the high-performing school districts, only a handful of school buildings have even a third of children living in that level of poverty.

    Over the decades in St. Louis, we deliberately concentrated our poverty in specific geographic clusters and allowed school districts in those areas to bear the burden of dealing with the massive challenge of educating children dealing with the most difficult of life’s circumstances. In some cases — not all — we have devised a system that requires them to get by on less.

    For instance, always on the “golden” standard of school funding is the high-performing Clayton School District, spending $17,949 per student. Children in Riverview Gardens, including some who live at the Canfield Greens Apartments where Michael Brown was shot, get by on just more than half of that, $9,407. On average, the top 10 performing school districts in the St. Louis region spend about $1,600 more per student than the 10 at the bottom of the scale.

    This inequity feeds the anger that bubbled up in Ferguson. It is part of the separate and unequal society we have built in St. Louis over generations. The results are apparent in report cards that merely highlight the public policy decisions we have made as a region and as a state.

    More funding won’t solve what ails our troubled schools, but it absolutely has to be a part of the solution.

  214. Pteryxx says

    St Louis Public Radio: Department Of Justice Representatives Stress Communication At Friday Night Meeting

    Approximately 80 people met at St. Pual A.M.E. Church with the Justice Department officials.

    ”I feel in talking with people, the pain. I feel the anger. I feel the frustration; and I feel the need to be of service. And because of my job and with Eric because of his job we have to be neutral and we have to be impartial,” Valenciano said. “As a human being though, we all are angry, and we all are frustrated on one side or the other.”

    But many questions went unanswered.

    The representatives were unable to provide details regarding discussions between community representatives and government agencies such as the Department of Justice and FBI due to confidentiality agreements included in their mitigation work. That work is to ensure that all parties have a way to communicate.

    The DOJ representatives reiterated that confidentiality was a part of their practice. They were also unable to answer questions about any investigation of Officer Darren Wilson, stating that was not part of their department in the DOJ. Valenciano did stress that they attempted to speak with the Brown family early on and communicated with the family as early as Aug. 10.

  215. Pteryxx says

    …This is almost too disgusting but unfortunately it’s relevant.

    Rawstory – Oklahoma cop accused of raping black women finds supporters on social media

    Daniel Holtzclaw was arrested in August on charges of rape, forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery, and indecent exposure for allegedly sexually assaulting women while on patrol. He is being held on $5 million bond.

    Friends and family of the three-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department have created a Facebook page called “Justice for Daniel Holtzclaw.” They insist the criminal allegations against him are false, and have been using the page to try to sell shirts that read, “Free the Claw” and “#JusticeForDanielHoltzclaw.”

    More than 500 people have “liked” the Facebook page.

    Supporters of Holtzclaw have also launched a crowdfunding campaign on the website GoFundMe. The page was created by Holtzclaw’s sister, who hopes to raise $100,000 for her brother, according to The crowdfunding campaign has raised $7,390 so far.

    Thanks for linking that headdesking pillow, rq. *goes to stuff self in*

  216. says

    This is *very* interesting:

    The Press in Ferguson

    On the ninth night of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, Chris King, the managing editor of the St. Louis American, one of the country’s oldest black newspapers, got word from a protester that “outside agitators” were in possession of grenades. The St. Louis County Police Department had already fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators, and at the media, but the possible presence of grenades suggested escalating violence.

    King was monitoring the protests from home, via a combination of online streaming video, Twitter, CNN, e-mail, and texts. He picked up his cell phone—a battered Sprint relic, the letters on the space bar worn down to “Spa”—and, just before 10 P.M., he texted a high-level member of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department: “Guy w brown visor & white bullhorn running around was the guy who brought the Molotovs and may have grenades.”

    “White or black,” the police official texted back.

    “White man,” King wrote, still watching footage of the protests. He added, “Get that guy. He is dangerous.” (A law-enforcement source told me that the reports of grenades were credible, but that none were confiscated at the scene.)

    King’s actions, which may differ from those of more conventional journalists, come out of his history as an activist and an N.R.O.T.C. cadet. King, a bespectacled musician who grew up in Granite City, Illinois, a St. Louis suburb, has supported an array of causes over the years, including the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (a protest against the Shell Oil Company in Nigeria) and the Zapatistas, in Mexico. After college, at Boston University, he wrote for newspapers, including the Times, but he felt conflicted as a journalist. He tweeted recently that while working for newspapers he “never felt needed 1 single day.”

    But steady employment allowed him to continue as the lead singer for Eleanor Roosevelt, what he calls a “quirky folk rock” band, and it helped him to support his wife and child. Ten years ago, at the age of thirty-seven, King moved home to the St. Louis area and went to work for the American.

    The American’s coverage tends to be either positive or pointed—the paper’s mission centers on advocacy. The print edition, which has a circulation of roughly seventy thousand, comes out on Thursdays, and the Web site publishes daily posts. There are two full-time reporters (one was on maternity leave at the time of Michael Brown’s death, and the other, employed through a grant, is dedicated to health reporting), one part-time reporter, two photographers, and a full-time Web editor, who also reports. In addition to being the managing editor, King serves as the assignment editor, the copy editor, and the chief emissary for Donald Suggs, the publisher.

    Suggs was the chief of oral surgery at Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware. (His staff calls him “Doc.”) He chaired the Poor People’s march on Washington, in 1968. A serious collector of African art, he helped to found what is now the Museum of African Art, in New York. In 1981, he bought the financially struggling American, with the goal of giving the city’s black residents a voice. Suggs is black and of a certain age (he prefers not to reveal the exact number); King is white and in his forties. In tweets, King has described himself as “a desk jockey with a text-message game to the halls of power” and his boss as “a fearsome power player.” He told me that “Missouri State University started its Public Affairs Hall of Fame this year, and the three people inducted were Harry Truman, Jack Danforth, and Donald M. Suggs.”

    Suggs relies on King to carry out his vision for the paper and, by extension, for the African-American community. King describes Suggs as a modest person who prefers to work privately. “Our publisher has this newspaper so that he can make a difference for his people,” he told me. “Most of what he does, no one ever knows.” (Suggs spoke with me at length, but he was politely reluctant to talk about his back-channel influence. He did say, “The legitimacy of the American, in my view, is that we measure up to our responsibilities as professional journalists. We clearly are advocacy media, but we’re responsible to facts.”)

    According to King, as the fever worsened in Ferguson, Suggs “didn’t sit down and say, ‘Oh, why is the SWAT team bombing North County?’ Instead, he said, ‘Who can I talk to to make the SWAT team stop bombing North County?’ ” King said, “In addition to being a small newspaper staff covering a war in our own home town, we also had to fight back. My publisher taught me to go in after them. We went in after them.”

    King began broadcasting the American’s involvement in the events unfolding in Ferguson; along with tweets about prayer vigils and crisis-support services, he announced that he planned to contact Senator Roy Blunt and “ask him to go to Ferguson and see for himself the mess.” He also tweeted, “I am hammering people to get to Claire”—Senator Claire McCaskill—“to get to WH”—White House—“to get to Nixon. Jay needs to be made to shit in his shoes.”

    Channelling Suggs, King tweeted what could be called micro-editorials. (“It’s a matter of being forced to use political courage.”) When Jake Tapper, of CNN, expressed interest in interviewing a witness with whom King was publicly trying to bond, King tweeted, in response, “I am not encouraging him to do media and he told me he would not talk to me as a journalist. I am an advocate here.” At another point, he wrote, “Declaring yourself a reporter is an impediment, it seems. Social mediators are free to roam & report. I feel like this is changing journalism.”

    When a police official privately asked King to get word to St. Louis county executive Charlie Dooley that Governor Jay Nixon needed to declare a state of emergency and remove the county police chief, Jon Belmar, from command, King called Suggs. Suggs phoned his old friend Mike Jones, a senior policy adviser to the county executive and a former St. Louis deputy mayor. Suggs told Jones that the situation in Ferguson was “now out of control.”

    “He said the county police, as currently constituted, lacked the ability to get on top of the situation,” Jones told me. “He’s been a friend for over forty years, and we’ve known each other for thirty-five years of public life, and that’s the first time he’s ever called me and said, ‘Michael, I think you’ve got to do something, and here’s why.’ ” He added, “You cannot underplay the importance of the voice and the standing of the American inside the black community.” Of Suggs, Jones said, “He’s politically sophisticated, with a large world view and a first-class intellect. He’s got standing both in the black community and in leadership elements of the white community. He’s a disciplined, serious thinker, and he’s not going to casually come to a decision. What he thinks matters.”

    The next afternoon, Nixon announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol would assume command of police operations in Ferguson. Suggs’s conversations the day before had given county leaders the confidence to support such a high-profile change at a volatile time, Jones told me. “I’ll put it like this,” he said. “The publisher of the Post”—the St. Louis Post-Dispatch—“couldn’t have called me and convinced me of that.”

    (via The New Yorker)


    I’m heading to bed, but here is The St. Louis American’s website. There are a bunch of articles I’ll be checking out in the morning.

  217. rq says

    90 city schools fail to pass a single black or hispanic student on state tests.

    Pro-charter school group Families for Excellent Schools found no black or Hispanic kids passed the standardized tests — based on the more stringent Common Core standards — at 90 schools with diverse student bodies.


    At 31 city schools with a combined enrollment of 1,065 black students, none passed the state math exam. At another 28 schools, zero out of 613 Hispanic students passed the math test. State reading exams saw similar results.

    Citywide, 18.5% of black students and 23.2% of Hispanic students were proficient on state math exams in 2014, compared with an overall proficiency rate of 34.2%. Reading scores showed a similar gap.

    Claims processing centre to be built in Ferguson, with jobs for about 200.

    Ferguson’s mayor still trying and trying to make some kind of sense.

    But now, Knowles is facing a much steeper challenge: He’s become a prime target of anger after one of his city’s police officers shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. There’s been international scrutiny over Ferguson’s government structure. Specifically how its overwhelmingly white leadership doesn’t reflect a majority African-American community. And, at a forum organized by St. Louis Public Radio last Thursday, residents from Ferguson and other St. Louis area cities wanted Knowles to take responsibility and action for what happened after Brown died. […] “I will say this: I do sympathize and I do empathize as best I can, even with the background I have, with what’s being said,” Knowles told the crowd. “And I hope people will understand that I clearly do want to reach out. That’s what I’ve done.”

    Knowles said the city council has agreed to establish a citizen review board for the police. He also said the city’s police officers are getting cameras – something that wasn’t in place when Brown was shot.

    Reach out? He hasn’t done particularly well, I would say.

    Darren Brown’s fundraising pages still closed, unclear why. More on Roorda in a bit, though they repeat the same info in this article.

    That anonymous Facebook page in support of Darren Wilson? Certain kinds of comments have been disappearing. Maybe some people will question the honesty and integrity of these people after all.

    Roorda on a more in-depth look at the mysterious fundraiser:

    Missouri state Rep. Jeffrey Roorda, a Democrat who is helping to handle Wilson’s fundraising efforts, said the creator of that page is a teenage girl from the St. Louis area.[…] When The Times relayed Roorda’s story to the anonymous accountholder of the page purportedly created by the girl, however, an unidentified administrator responded: “I can tell you I have not worked with or spoken with Rep. Roorda. The information you have been given is false.”

    Roorda replied, “So what part’s false?” […] Once again, however, an anonymous administrator denied the story. “We can guarantee you the information is not correct,” a subsequent email said. “We cannot control what you may choose to report/publish but we do want you to know when information is inaccurate. We appreciate your understanding regarding this matter.” […] (Earlier this year, Roorda sponsored a bill that, in addition to other changes, would have kept the names of officers involved in shootings secret unless they were charged. Roorda told The Times he is no longer pushing for that legislation.)

  218. rq says

    I think this is the bill Roorda is supposedly not supporting anymore. Didn’t have time to read it in depth, though the relevant part is bolded (lower down).

  219. rq says

    Oh, just want to add this quote from Roorda:

    “I can tell you that every single voter in my district that I’ve talked to wants to reserve judgment on Officer Wilson and on Michael Brown until the facts are out there. … The people in my district just care about getting the facts and about justice being done.”

    Probably because he’s only talked to white people. :P

  220. rq says

    Gah, and this:

    After The Times published a version of this story on Sunday, users who posted financial questions about the fundraisers said their comments were being deleted from the Facebook page. In fact, the comments objecting to the deletions were also deleted.

  221. Pteryxx says

    Here’s all I could find about Joseph Eagan, the city councilmember and third officer listed for Shield of Hope.

    CBS local from 2011

    MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (KMOX) — Six months ago he was in a hospital after being shot in the face while conducting surveillance. Today a Maryland Heights Police Sergeant is on the campaign trail running for a seat on the Florissant city council.

    He was shot while sitting in an unmarked patrol car, by one of three young black men who apparently were attempting a carjacking. From the sentencing hearing of Marquise Lockhart (not the gunman) who pleaded guilty: St Louis Today

    Eagan, who joined the Maryland Heights Police Department in 1987, comes from a police family. The oldest of his three daughters, Kirsten, is new to the Creve Coeur police. His brother Andrew, a Hazelwood police sergeant, spoke at the hearing.

    He emphasized that police officers don’t do the job for the glory or the pay. “Remember,” he told Lockhart, “the next bullet a police officer takes can be one meant for your mother or a loved one.”

    Joe Eagan noted in his remarks that it was the 11th anniversary of the death of St. Louis County police Sgt. Richard Weinhold, killed when he led a team of officers trying to evict a man from a house.

    The sentencing hearing was also Lockhart’s 18th birthday.

    I want to point out that according to this and previous articles, the three would-be carjackers did not know they’d targeted a police officer. Apparently they realized it after Lockhart’s brother fired the shot. So talking about the heroism of police officers really isn’t relevant to this sentencing hearing. It is, however, part of the narratives that police and their families and community members in the Ferguson area tell each other.

    According to random commenters in 2011, while Eagan was running for city council, being wounded in the line of duty was part of his campaign narrative.

  222. rq says

    I guess it goes along with the usual upplay of military service, wounds, battle experience and personal sacrifice in general. Makes for a great narrative – “Look what happened to me, while I was out serving and protecting! I am worthy to hold power! Sure, it’s no war out there, but that could still have been you! or you! or your mother! So, in a sense, I have saved you all!”

  223. says

    I’m not Christian and wasn’t raised in it, so if I’m wrong I apologize, but does anyone else feel like there’s a bit of a dogwhistle in that, about Christ sacrificing for all kindsa folk, and so do police officers? “He took a bullet into his own body for your sins! Accept Him – the police officer, just like Christ told you to – accept Him into your heart!”

    Am I reaching?

  224. rq says

    Not really getting that… Just the usual hero-worship for people who ostensibly walk a part of the world so much darker than the ordinary person might. They tread where everyone else fears to go, kind of thing. Manly-man stuff. Maybe Christ ties into that somewhere somehow, but as a former catholic, I’m not really getting it. Interesting point, though.

  225. rq says

    This is a comment I wrote last night but things crashed and I couldn’t wait up for the re-boot:

    Portrait of Ferguson’s most tenacious protesters:

    A group of mothers remains posted up outside of the Ferguson Police Department. A tent city of teens and twentysomethings who’ve named themselves the Lost Voices are stationed in an empty lot next to a furniture store. Busloads of freedom riders from Black Lives Matter are marching Saturday from the Canfield apartments where Brown was killed to the Ferguson PD. Below are mini-portraits of some of the stalwart protesters and Brown family supporters, the ones who’ve been out since the beginning, and who plan on sticking around or coming back as often as they can.

    Funny, they didn’t shoot him first.

    More about Darren Wilson’s fundraisers, haven’t had the time to read it.

    Facebook vs. Twitter. Just a comparison.

  226. rq says

    Here’s a link to the HealSTL online store. Right now they only have t-shirts, but as the introductory tweet said, that $9 pays for one hour of work for one youth.

    More stress in the family: Michael Brown’s uncle collapses, here’s hoping it’s nothing serious. :/

    From Gawker: more photos of Darren Wilson. I had a moment where I felt almost bad for posting these photos, even though all other people in them have been blurred out. But they’re from various social media accounts, so they’re more or less public anyway. And anyway, not enough scrutiny and all that.

    Heh heh. “I support Darren Wilson…” but read the rest. It’s just a t-shirt.

    More on who’s behind the various support funds for DW: the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police. Huh.

  227. Pteryxx says

    Following up on Wilson’s fundraisers. All the sources are reporting the fundraisers were halted to straighten out tax questions. rq linked the Washington Post article above.

    The LA Times has a detailed follow-up (here.) One issue is the first Wilson fundraiser page, the one not associated with Shield of Hope. Roorda claims to know about the anonymous admin, but LA Times spoke to the admin who says Roorda is wrong:

    Missouri state Rep. Jeffrey Roorda, a Democrat who is helping to handle Wilson’s fundraising efforts, said the creator of that page is a teenage girl from the St. Louis area.

    “I think she thought she’d raise a few hundred dollars, and she ended up raising a few hundred thousand dollars,” Roorda said in a phone interview Monday night. After her page got popular, Roorda said, the young woman started receiving “serious threats.”

    Roorda said he doesn’t know how old she is or whether she’s a minor; he described her as a “teenage girl,” a “young girl.”

    When The Times relayed Roorda’s story to the anonymous accountholder of the page purportedly created by the girl, however, an unidentified administrator responded: “I can tell you I have not worked with or spoken with Rep. Roorda. The information you have been given is false.”

    Roorda replied, “So what part’s false?” adding that he hadn’t personally met the girl but that other police officials had met her to thank her. He guessed that perhaps the page’s creator was trying to protect herself from further threats.

    Once again, however, an anonymous administrator denied the story. “We can guarantee you the information is not correct,” a subsequent email said. “We cannot control what you may choose to report/publish but we do want you to know when information is inaccurate. We appreciate your understanding regarding this matter.”

    Roorda also claims to know about who’s running the Wilson-supporting Facebook page that was deleting comments:

    Also muddying matters in recent days was an anonymously run Facebook page called “Support Darren Wilson,” with more than 77,000 likes.

    In status updates over the weekend, the page’s operator had purported to know why the fundraising efforts had been halted but declined to share more information with supporters – some of whom saw their comments deleted after they raised questions about who was handling the money.

    At one point, the page exhorted followers to start a petition against the GoFundMe page run by the attorneys for Brown’s family, which had raised $317,143 as of Monday evening.

    “It’s a third-party thing,” Roorda said of the Facebook page. “It’s a fellow out of Texas who reached out early on, wanted to know how to help. We told him about the young girl’s charitable efforts, he put the page up, and has promoted those efforts.”

    Reportedly Roorda and the Shield of Hope folks are seeking advice from tax attorneys on how to fold the other fundraiser’s takings into the Shield of Hope one, and something about clarifying or solving the tax status of the collection as a legal fund, and the donations as tax-deductible for the donors.

    Roorda said GoFundMe rules prevent page creators from transferring the administration of donation pages to other users, which is why two pages for Wilson came to exist side by side. Roorda said tax attorneys for the police union were trying to figure out how best to handle the hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions, since donations for legal defenses are apparently not tax-deductible.

    “Before this, we were raising hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars to help pay for scholarships for children of cops, to pay for relief when an officer was hurt or killed in the line of duty,” Roorda said of Shield of Hope, which has existed for several years. “The epic proportions of this case is something that I don’t think anything was prepared for or expected.”

    I haven’t been able to find any activity by Shield of Hope, and neither has St. Louis Business Journal:

    Shield of Hope was granted 501(c)(3) status by the IRS in 2011, according to GuideStar records and is registered to 9620 Lackland Road. There are no form 990s filed with the IRS for the organization, thus revealing no revenue, assets or contributions for the charitable organization.

    The LA Times also covered Roorda’s history (see #172 and #281 on this page) and spoke with Joe Eagan:

    That Florissant city council member, Joseph Eagan, said in an email: “My affiliation with the charity has more to do with my work as a police officer than as a councilman. Essentially I believe in due process.” He alluded to an incident in which he’d been shot while on duty.

    “The suspect that shot me in the face at point-blank range received due process,” he said. “I think all Americans should.” Eagen added that he would let Roorda speak on behalf of the organization.

    (…he’s STILL on about being shot on duty, sheesh.)

  228. Pteryxx says

    rq #283 – looks like the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police is just telling donors to go to the same FOP Lodge 15. I’ll get to that.

    The Riverfront Times has details about the fundraising orgs and the tax situation:

    Representative Jeff Roorda tells Daily RFT he’s trying to determine whether Shield of Hope, the organization managing the donations, is legally allowed to spend the funds on Wilson’s legal defense since it is a registered 501c3 nonprofit. Most donors expected their money to pay for lawyers, legal fees and other expenses related to Wilson’s prosecution, Roorda says.


    Shield of Hope, founded years before Michael Brown’s death to support police officers, may be managing the donations, but it didn’t start the first GoFundMe page for Wilson. A teenage girl launched the first fundraiser, which raised $235,550, and asked Shield of Hope to take over after receiving threats, Roorda says.

    There’s a chance that because the girl, not Shield of Hope, oversaw the first round of fundraising, the money could be used toward Wilson’s legal defense. Roorda says supporters are considering channeling the funds through the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 15, which supports St. Louis County suburbs, including Ferguson.

    The Fraternal Order is a 501c5 nonprofit with different tax rules than a 501c3 like Shield of Hope. There’s just one hitch, Roorda says: If the donations to Wilson go through the order, they won’t be tax-deductible for the donors.

    Keeping in mind that I’m no expert on nonprofit filings – according to the Missouri Secretary of State page (here), the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 15 Charitable Organization *is* Shield of Hope. The FOP Lodge 15 was created in 2010 as a 501(c)3 according to its articles of incorporation, with charter number N01107456. On January 28, 2013, a modification was filed changing the name from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 15 Charitable Organization to Shield of Hope, with the same charter number. The Bizjournal article links to IRS information showing Shield of Hope’s EIN (Employer Identification Number) as 35-2397876, the same as NonprofitFacts lists for FoP Lodge 15. Finally, Shield of Hope filed its latest registration renewal on August 16, 2014.

    This should be a direct link to the name change document through Missouri’s SOS: (PDF)

  229. rq says

    The police keep fucking up.

    “I was getting ready about to cry. My hands started to get tired, but I kept them up,” said 9-year-old Trevon Jones.

    Eventually, the lone officer allowed Jones to reach into his pocket and show his firefighter ID. Jones said the incident traumatized his kids and changed their perception of police officers.

    It was all on camera, though, as the officer was wearing a body cam. But they’re going to have to work on their relationship with the fire department.

    A look at Governor Jay Nixon: what is he thinking?

    Missouri state Rep. Tommie Pierson, a black pastor who recently hosted Nixon at his church, described the governor as a man earnestly “searching for answers” amid incessant incoming criticism that Pierson called unproductive.
    “He’s frustrated, that’s for sure. I don’t know if he’s angry, but he’s frustrated,” Pierson said. “This is a complicated issue and this is an issue that he doesn’t know anything about, really. He hasn’t lived in this community.”

    So that’s what they’ve been doing: the actual eye-witnesses are being discredited. This particular piece goes after Dorian Johnson, the guy who was with Michael Brown when the officer first stopped them. Because he has lied previously to the police, he is obviously lying now.

    Johnson’s attorney, Freeman Bosley Jr., declined to respond on camera, but wrote that his client’s reported deception has “..nothing to do with a police officer shooting an unarmed man six times, two times in the head. This is called using excessive force.”

    Johnson’s lawyer seems to have a dry sense of humour, though. The last paragraph of that article really hurts, though:

    One unnamed witness, overheard in a YouTube video, appears to describe Brown coming towards the officer during the shooting. Since it appears nothing was captured on camera, jurors will be relying solely on who they believe, along with the physical evidence.

  230. rq says

    That leadership vaccuum? Could have been filled:

    But last week, Stenger, D-Affton, noted a county ordinance gives the county executive the power to declare a state of emergency – and temporarily gain the ability to give orders to the department. He said Dooley should have taken the opportunity “from the start.”

  231. Pteryxx says

    Via BB, most white kids attend majority-white schools even beyond what demographics would suggest. With nationwide county-by-county maps. Metrotrends: America’s public schools remain highly segregated

    The separation of races is most clearly seen in large metropolitan counties that hold the bulk of a state’s population and most of its students of color. For example, in Chicago (Cook County), the overall student population is about 25 percent white, 31 percent black, and 37 percent Latino, but 96 percent of black students attend majority non-white schools and 67 percent of white students attend majority white schools. In other words, white students tend to attend schools with other white students and black and Latino students attend schools with other students of color. Similar patterns emerge in other large midwestern cities like Detroit (Wayne County), Minneapolis-St. Paul (Ramsey and Hennepin County), and Indianapolis (Marion County).


    In Worcester County, MA, white students account for 73 percent of the overall student body and almost all of them (91 percent) attend a majority white school, while the few Latino and black students in the county (15 and 5 percent, respectively) typically attend majority non-white schools.

    In the South and Southwest, where the number of Latino students is growing especially fast, Latino students typically attend majority non-white schools with other children of color, while the few white children in these areas attend schools that are majority white.

  232. Pteryxx says

    Shaun King’s series of tweets on the ties between Roorda, Gov. Nixon and prosecutor McCulloch, per A. Noyd’s #281 above, as a Storify: (Link)

    So @RoordaJ -once fired for police misconduct & falsifying reports is now behind the Darren Wilson campaign. It makes so much sense.
    Tue, Sep 02 2014 15:51:29

    Shaun King@ShaunKing
    What also makes sense now is why @GovJayNixon backed out at the last minute of the Mike Brown funeral or appointing a special prosecutor…
    Tue, Sep 02 2014 15:52:18

    Shaun King@ShaunKing
    How could @GovJayNixon attend the funeral of a teenager while his close political ally raises half a mil for the man who murdered him?
    Tue, Sep 02 2014 15:53:30

    Shaun King@ShaunKing
    What is clear is this, @RoordaJ & @GovJGovJayNixonrosecutor Bob McCullough, all democrats funded by the same machine – are in this together.
    Tue, Sep 02 2014 15:55:57


  233. Pteryxx says

    More from Shaun King’s twitter stream, hand-copied in chronological order because Storify hates me. Starts here: (Twitter)

    For the kicker, see the two article quotes at the end of this (very long) post.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    At this point, for one to think that @GovJayNixon NOT appointing a special prosecutor was anything other than political is blind.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    I need you to understand two very ugly things about Prosecutor Bob McCullough. First one is quick, second is dubious & cannot be ignored.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    1. It is my understanding that Bob McCullough played a role in releasing the early video of Mike Brown at the convenience store.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    This next fact about Bob McCullough is beyond comprehension, but you have to understand, again, he does support @RoordaJ – a fired officer.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    In a 2001 incident, two police officers killed two unarmed men in St. Louis. The officers said they feared for their safety. Now get this…

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    Even though the two men, Murray & Beasely, were unarmed, Bob McCullough chose not to prosecute the officers who killed them. Not only that..

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    The officers, much like was done in the Sean Bell murder, lied and said the two men tried to hit them with their car, but get this…

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    A federal investigation found that the car the two unarmed men who were murdered by police were in, NEVER MOVED AN INCH.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    Furthermore, in his remarks about why he chose not to prosecute the officers, Bob McCullough called the murdered men “two bums”.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    I have an article that you have to read and share. It’s the definitive article on what we can expect from Bob McCullough on this case.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    Federal investigation shows officers lied about motive of killing unarmed men in St. Louis

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    This article shows how Bob McCullough has a track record of demeaning unarmed black victims of police violence ::

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    But, again, you must understand, that @GovJayNixon & Darren Wilson fundraiser @RoordaJ & Bob McCullough scratch each others backs.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    In a just world, @GovJayNixon & @RoordaJ @ Bob McCullough would lose their jobs over this mess, but it’s not just. They keep on rolling.

    Shaun King @ShaunKing · 23h

    In fact, I truly believe that the base of voters who support @GovJayNixon & @RoordaJ & Bob McCullough actually love how this has gone down.

    From the St Louis Today article: (online branch of the Post-Dispatch)

    McCulloch didn’t prosecute the officers. He specifically drew the ire of defense lawyers and protesters, who had been holding demonstrations and threatened to block Highway 40,when he said of Murray and Beasley, “These guys were bums.”

    After being criticized, McCulloch refused to back down, saying, “The print media and self-anointed activists have been portraying the two gentlemen as folk heroes and have been vilifying the police. I think it is important for the public to know that these two and others like them for years have spread destruction in the community dealing crack cocaine and heroin.”

    “These two and others like them”.

    And from Newsweek:

    Fourteen years ago, the two officers who shot Murray and Beasley were also invited to testify before the grand jury. Both men told jurors that Murray’s car was coming at them and that they feared being run over. McCulloch said that “every witness who was out there testified that it made some forward motion.” But a later federal investigation showed that the car had never come at the two officers: Murray never took his car out of reverse.

    An exhaustive St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigation found that only three of the 13 detectives who testified had said the car moved forward: the two who unloaded their guns and a third whose testimony was, as McCulloch admitted, “obviously…completely wrong.” McCulloch never introduced independent evidence to help clarify for the grand jury whether Murray’s car moved forward.

    On the last day of testimony, an investigator in McCulloch’s office read out a list of every interaction Murray and Beasley had had with law enforcement, even arrests that never resulted in charges.

    A few hours later, the grand jury voted not to press charges.

    That quote again… “an investigator in McCulloch’s office read out [to the grand jury] a list of every interaction Murray and Beasley [the two dead men] had had with law enforcement, even arrests that never resulted in charges.

    That’s in a town with 3 arrest warrants per household, disproportionately focused on the black population. Murray and Beasley were killed a few miles away from where Michael Brown also died.

  234. Pteryxx says

    Rawstory: Ohio’s attorney general fights release of video from Walmart shooting: ‘Trust the system’

    Beavercreek police officers said they shot John Crawford III on Aug. 5 after he waved what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle at other customers and refused to drop the weapon – which turned out to be an unpackaged BB/pellet rifle sold in store’s toy department.

    An attorney for Crawford’s family said surveillance video proved police claims were “absolutely incorrect,” arguing the surveillance video showed the victim talking on a cell phone as he leaned on the toy rifle like a cane when officers “shot him on sight.”


    Ohio law requires public officials to respond to records request within a reasonable time, but the attorney general’s office has not yet set a deadline to respond.

    DeWine has defended his decision not to release the video or other evidence requested by Crawford’s family and the media, saying he does not want to taint the grand jury pool.

    “I think that it is playing with dynamite, frankly, to release that tape at this point,” DeWine said. “And I think the dynamite simply is that it blows up and you can’t get a fair trial. That’s what we worry about.”

    Because, again, releasing the police statements that the dead man was waving a gun about and refused to put it down when police supposedly warned him somehow doesn’t taint a jury pool at all, but video evidence does. (See #172 above – “Video subverts justice”.)

    He appointed a special prosecutor, Hamilton County assistant prosecutor Mark Piepmeier, to present the case Sept. 22 to a grand jury, although Crawford’s family has asked for the case to be turned over to the Department of Justice.

    The liberal Plunderbund blog questioned the independence of the special prosecutor’s investigation, noting that DeWine’s daughter, Alice DeWine, advises Beavercreek police as part of her job as an assistant prosecutor in the Greene County prosecutor’s office.

    Authorities in Greene County turned over the case to the attorney general to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

    Piepmeier has contributed to the campaign of DeWine as recently as July 31, the blog reported, and the special prosecutor had previously donated to the campaign of the attorney general’s son Pat, a judge in Ohio’s 1st District Court of Appeals.

  235. Pteryxx says

    The Plunderbund blog referenced above links to a set of national prosecution standards from the National District Attorneys Association (PDF through Plunderbund) (PDF through which lays out conflicts-of-interest.

    One specific conflict involves family members who are also lawyers involved in a case. According to the standards, a “prosecutor should excuse himself or herself from the investigation and prosecution of any person who is represented by a lawyer related to the prosecutor as a parent, child, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner, or who has a significant financial relationship with the prosecutor.”

    In the case of John Crawford III, the 21-year old man recently shot and killed by police at a Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine faces exactly this type of conflict of interest. And a few others.


    Despite appointing a special prosecutor to the case, DeWine continues to remain directly involved, even though he promised the prosecutor would have “total independence.” This is especially true when it comes to releasing surveillance video of the incident. Just this week DeWine told the Dayton Daily News that he decided he has “every right not to release” the video after “consulting all the lawyers in [his] office.”

    A grand jury was originally scheduled to review the case on September 3rd, but it appears the new special prosecutor is on vacation until September 12th. In the meantime, DeWine’s office appears to be handling all requests from the press and from the Crawford family who, according to a letter obtained by Plunderbund, have specifically asked DeWine to “make a formal request to the United States Department of Justice … to being its own investigation.”

    Also from the standards, which I quote:

    The prosecutor should excuse himself or herself from any investigation,
    prosecution, or other matter where personal interests of the prosecutor
    would cause a fair-minded, objective observer to conclude that the prosecutor’s
    neutrality, judgment, or ability to administer the law in an objective manner may
    be compromised.

  236. Pteryxx says

    Another point I want to make, citing local coverage of Crawford being killed in Ohio. Dayton Daily News:

    A 911 caller said he saw a 6-foot black man waving a rifle-type gun at customers, including children. That prompted Beavercreek police to respond to Walmart in about three minutes. Beavercreek officials said Williams remains on administrative leave while Darkow is back at work. Officials have not said who shot Crawford.

    Since folks having this conversation have seen floods of blatantly racist commentary calling for more killings of black “criminals” and “animals”, since cops and people like Wafer (the killer of Renisha McBride) apparently see black people as an immediate threat, and since there’s evidence that black people – even children – are seen as older, bigger, and scarier than they actually are, even to harmless objects in their hands being perceived as guns;

    And, in a world where this sort of thing happens:

    WATCH: Heavily armed SWAT unit bursts through gamer’s door after prank call

    Everybody, police especially, really need to not take random 911 callers at face value. Just saying.

  237. Pteryxx says

    Not really related: Post-Dispatch parent Lee Enterprises reports Q3 loss

    Lee Enterprises, the Davenport, Iowa-based parent company of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reported a third-quarter loss of $9.5 million, as total operating revenue continued to fall.

    The company reported a nearly $2 million profit in the same quarter last year.

    That was as of August 7. I hope all the linking to the Post-Dispatch brings them some community and advertiser support.

  238. says

    From rq‘s link @ 287, this shows the depth of the problem:

    Don Cameron, a police trainer who does not work for Oakland Police and is not involved in the case, said the new officer was following protocol.

    “I don’t think it has anything to do with race at all. I think the officer, hey I’ve got a burglary in progress, there’s people right here, that’s a guy walking out of the location. I don’t know who he is,” he said.

    That’s correct, a trainer for a totally different department looks at that situation and says, “Yup. That’s what I train officers to do, all right!” Because there might have been a burglary (just because a burglar was reported doesn’t mean it happened, people make mistakes), so of course you just hold the first black person you see at gunpoint. Even if he has his small children with him, because everyone knows burglars always bring kids along when they’re breaking and entering. So, basically, what we need to do is fire all the police trainers first, then fire all the cops, then hire new trainers and then new cops. It’s the only way. We’ll probably have to import, or at least borrow, the first wave of trainers. Icthyic notes that the NZ police seem to have much better public interaction skills, so maybe them, but the supply might be an issue there; there’s only ~10,000 cops in the whole country, AFAICT, and they probably won’t be willing to loan all of them to us as trainers.

    Via BB, most white kids attend majority-white schools even beyond what demographics would suggest. With nationwide county-by-county maps.

    Another aspect of districting, as I mentioned in the homeschooling thread; the districts are very carefully drawn; gerrymandering to a very fine degree.

  239. Pteryxx says

    Another aspect of districting, as I mentioned in the homeschooling thread; the districts are very carefully drawn; gerrymandering to a very fine degree.

    Dalillama, my first thought was to go ‘But voting districts wouldn’t correlate with school districts, would they?’ But they’re both drawn largely from housing maps, and housing value maps… and those still bear the marks of redlining and sundown towns, combined with racial discrimination by real estate agents and home loan banks to this day.

  240. Pteryxx says

    The stories just keep on coming. WaPo:

    After a year with no answers in Fairfax police slaying of John Geer, family sues

    For Geer’s partner of 24 years and his parents, the grief was accompanied by waiting, they say. For information. For action. For answers from the prosecutors or police as to why a man who witnesses say was unarmed was shot in front of his home.

    Police and federal investigators have not released any information publicly about the case. They have not said whether they think the shooting was justified and have not released the names of the officers involved.

    “It’s been hell,” said Don Geer, John Geer’s father. “Frustrating to say the least — not knowing anything and having a feeling of helplessness, sadness, anger. Just wondering what’s going on and why nobody would tell us anything.”


    The officer who fired the fatal shot has been on paid desk duty for months, according to police officials. Fairfax Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said he spoke to the officer and Geer’s father last week, just before the one-year anniversary of the shooting, “letting them know I’m thinking about both of them.”

    But Roessler declined to release the officer’s name, per his department’s policy of withholding such information until a criminal investigation is complete. He said he did not know why the county and federal prosecutors have taken so long.

    “The stress that it puts everybody under,” Roessler said, “not knowing when anything will happen, it’s not a good place to be.”

    There has been no public uproar, no protests over the shooting of John Geer, in part because his family trusted the justice system to do its job, they said.

    Via Ryan J. Reilly.

    Ryan J. Reilly @ryanjreilly

    Family of a man killed by Fairfax County Police are speaking out a year after his death:

    Retweets 26
    Favorites 13

    8:11 AM – 3 Sep 2014


    And this is why we pass the messages on.

  241. says


    Dalillama, my first thought was to go ‘But voting districts wouldn’t correlate with school districts, would they?’

    That’s the thing: School districts are voting districts. School districts are a whole separate level of government, with separate elections and separate officials (School boards). They’re mostly smaller than other types of voting districts, and don’t necessarily correlate geographically with them, and they draw funding from separate property taxes levied on their district. That’s where the redlining comes in, of course, because the district lines are drawn with great concern for the ethnic makeup of the district, and housing in non white neighborhoods is consistently undervalued relative to equivalent housing in white neighborhoods. The poverty of the residents is only one piece of it, the other being that much of the housing is usually owned by outside (white) landlords, who benefit from the low property tax assessments on their rental properties and don’t suffer because the lost tax revenue doesn’t impact their neighborhood directly. (it does have larger ramifications that do negatively affect them, but these aren’t big-picture people we’re talking about; they’re short-sighted, tunnel-visioned money-grubbing twits (landlords, that is, in case it wasn’t clear)).

  242. Pteryxx says

    I should have put a trigger warning on my previous.

    The Washington Post article goes into detail with the full story of John Geer’s death, starting with a domestic dispute. His long-term partner called 911 when he got angry over her decision to move out. According to the family, who witnessed the whole thing, the police talked to him through a screen door for nearly an hour and then shot him when he lowered his hands below the level of his head.

    Geer’s family and friend said that as they pleaded with the Fairfax police for help, the officers took no action to assist the wounded man for an hour. When police broke down Geer’s front door about 4:30 p.m., officers had to step over the 46-year-old man’s body just behind the door. According to an autopsy, he bled to death.

    That night, Harrington and her daughters wanted to retrieve belongings and their cat from their home. Police said no. Geer’s body was still on the floor at 9 p.m. “I was dealt another blow,” Harrington said. “I had no idea he was still in there.”

  243. Pteryxx says

    Rawstory: FBI investigating suspicious police-involved shootings in Chicago

    The attorney, Daniel Q. Herbert, in a letter to the head of the Chicago police union dated Aug. 29, warned of the investigation and advised that officers not speak to investigators unless they have legal representation present.

    “It has come to my attention that the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office are investigating certain police-involved shootings, specifically ones in which an offender’s gun was not recovered,” Herbert wrote in the letter.

    “Furthermore, officers need to realize that refusing to speak with investigatory law enforcement agency in these types of situations is NOT a violation of any Rules or Regulations of the CPD nor is it an admission of guilt in any way,” he wrote.

    The letter to Dean C. Angelo, Sr., president of the Chicago branch of the Fraternal Order of Police, was published this week on the police blog Second City Cop.


    Chicago police fatally shot 13 people last year and for this year through Aug. 24 have shot 10, according to records with the Independent Police Review Authority and media reports.

    The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, which rq referenced above:

  244. Pteryxx says

    ThinkProgress: North Carolina Republicans Used This Exonerated Inmate To Scare People Into Voting GOP

    Two inmates with mental disabilities were released from jail Wednesday after 30 years behind bars for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl that new DNA evidence shows they didn’t commit. One of them, Henry Lee McCollum, 50, was facing a death sentence. Both he and his brother Leon Brown, 46, insisted repeatedly that they didn’t commit the crime. At the age of 19, McCollum was pushed to confess during a five-hour interrogiation in which he was not represented by an attorney, and Brown, just 15, signed confession shortly thereafter.

    McCollum said recently in an interview with the News & Observer, “I had never been under this much pressure, with a person hollering at me and threatening me. I just made up a story and gave it to them so they would let me go home.”

    But in the years before the brothers’ exoneration, the Republican party demonized politicians who sought to ensure justice for McCollum and other potentially innocent black men in death row. A campaign mailer issued by the North Carolina Republican Party in 2010 warned that McCollum “might be moving out of jail and into Your neighborhood sometime soon” because Democratic lawmaker Hugh Holliman voted for a law known as the Racial Justice Act. On the reverse side of the ad was an image of a man wearing a ski mask and holding a crow bar.

    The ad called Holliman a “criminal coddler,” depicting Holliman as a dangerous soft-on-crime candidate because he aspired to help those wrongly imprisoned and spare death sentences for the innocent:

    More background at the link.

  245. Pteryxx says

    rq: no it’s not. The entire Eugene Brewery District site seems to be down, probably because traffic crashed it. Trying to access a cache.

  246. Pteryxx says

    rq, this is from Google’s cache of the page. It links to a Facebook post. Rather than put the person’s FB here I’ll just put the cached text:

    Here is her post about this:
    This morning at 5:15 am, my boyfriend’s son was walking to his job as a baker. Suddenly, three EPD officers came out of nowhere and tackled him to the ground, handcuffing him, mashed up his face, twisted his hand, and injured his foot. He was completely taken off guard. He asked WHY they were doing this to him, and they wouldn’t reply. He offered to take a breathalyzer thinking maybe they thought he was intoxicated, they refused. He asked if the incident was being recorded, they replied that all three of their cameras were “broken”. Finally a sergeant pulls up, tells the officers to uncuff him and send him on his way without citation. Needless to say, we are FURIOUS. This is a young, responsible man with NO record, WALKING TO WORK, sober. After attacking him and releasing him, he went to work, but his hand was hurting too much to bake, not to mention he was very shaken up so his boss sent him home. This is not the first time the EPD has done this to people. They won’t arrive to take a report when someone has been raped (yes, this happened to an older, disabled woman in my neighborhood), yet they harass innocent citizens and the homeless on a constant. I’m disgusted and we want answers, now. The sergeant gave him his card, and my boyfriend just called to get more information.
    EPD. Protecting and serving the shit outta you.

  247. says

    Always good to hear news from the old hometown…</sarcasm> I was actually kind of surprised until I looked up the incident; I was wondering where they’d found a black person to assault in Eugene*, but it turns out it was a white guy this time.

    * As indicated by the statistics about segregation mentioned earlier by various folks, Eugene is pretty damn white; ~1.4% of the population is African American per the last census. There’s a significant Hispanic population, but pretty much all in one part of town. Likewise, many students at the university are from various parts of East Asia, notably Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, but outside of those two areas people are pretty much white as far as the eye can see.

  248. rq says

    So the Justice Department is set to investigate police actions in Missouri: similar stories from NBC, AP, NRP; will read and quote later.

    NYPD arrest human rights lawyer… for standing on the sidewalk. (What is this ‘standing on the [sidewalk/street]’ business, anyway?)

    Huq, who is Muslim, says the officers searched through her purse without probable cause, and took her to the precinct before her husband and children had even returned from the restaurant. When her husband went to go find his wife at the Midtown South Precinct, officers became suspicious of him because he had a last name different than his wife’s. “In America wives take the names of their husbands,” an officer allegedly told Huq.

    Like… fuck.

    Oh, Bill O’Reilly. Jon Stewart was only telling you where you went wrong, as usual – why so pissed off this time?

    Profiting from poverty in St Louis County:

    While in jail, she missed a job interview. She fell behind in her paralegal studies. When she finally got her day in court, she was told to change out of her jail jumpsuit into the same clothes she had worn for three days straight, and that had been sitting in a bag for the previous two weeks. She was brought into the courtroom to face the judge, handcuffed, in dirty clothes that had been marinated in her own filth. “I was funky, I was sad, and I was mad,” she says. “I smelled bad. I was handcuffed. I missed my kids. I didn’t feel like a person anymore.”


    Some of the towns in St. Louis County can derive 40 percent or more of their annual revenue from the petty fines and fees collected by their municipal courts. A majority of these fines are for traffic offenses, but they can also include fines for fare-hopping on MetroLink (St. Louis’ light rail system), loud music and other noise ordinance violations, zoning violations for uncut grass or unkempt property, violations of occupancy permit restrictions, trespassing, wearing “saggy pants,” business license violations, and vague infractions like “disturbing the peace” or “affray” that give police officers a great deal of discretion to look for other violations. In a white paper released last month (PDF), the ArchCity Defenders found a large group of people outside the courthouse in Bel-Ridge who had been fined for not subscribing to the town’s only approved garbage collection service. They hadn’t been fined for having trash on their property, only for not paying for the only legal method the town had designated for disposing of trash.



  249. rq says

    Missouri police organization speaks out against Nixon for Ferguson comments:

    “These comments clearly do not reflect what society wants and law enforcement expects, which is a complete and thorough investigation, regardless who the victim or defendant may be. Your use of the phrase ‘vigorous prosecution,’ suggests guilt before due process, which results in no justice for the families, law enforcement and society,” the letter says.

    A nice gesture.

    Meanwhile, Nixon is also doing stuff: like dropping the state of emergency, thus reducing his own powers to change things or do better (I understand he cannot name a new prosecutor if there’s no state of emergency – thus, effectively, removing the option to not have McCullogh on the case):

    Nixon said in his declaration that the emergency decree was no longer needed since peace appears to have been restored. The governor had earlier removed the National Guard, and now appears to be ready to do the same with the state Highway Patrol, which has overseen law enforcement in Ferguson for weeks. […] Nixon’s comments, while nuanced, were arguably his strongest public comments since the controversy broke several weeks ago. The governor also has maintained that there are legal questions as to whether he really could replace the prosecutor since McCulloch was elected to his office and has special constitutional protections as a result.

    And here is the text of the executive order (At the link above):

    WHEREAS, Executive Order 14-08 was issued on August 16, 2014, establishing a state of emergency due to civil unrest occurring in the City of Ferguson, Missouri; and

    WHEREAS, under Executive Order 14-08, state and local law enforcement agencies established a unified command to protect the citizens’ right to peacefully assemble and protest while providing security for the citizens and businesses of the City of Ferguson; and

    WHEREAS, Executive Order 14-09 was issued on August 18, 2014, activating the Missouri National Guard for the limited mission of providing security at the unified command center; and

    WHEREAS, the soldiers of the Missouri National Guard were released on August 26, 2014, and the unified command center was deactivated on August 27, 2014.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, JEREMIAH W. (JAY) NIXON, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Missouri, including Chapter 44, RSMo, do hereby terminate Executive Order 14-08, including the state of emergency established therein, and terminate Executive Order 14 09.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 3rd day of September, 2014.

    Well, I’m surprised (not): Michael Brown, it turns out, had no Class A or B convictions as a juvenile. No word on Darren Wilson’s records yet, though.

  250. rq says

    September 4, 1957. And schools are still segregated. :(

    France24 on the Justice Department investigation of Ferguson.

    The investigation, which could be announced as soon as Thursday afternoon, will be carried out by the Civil Rights Division and “follow a process similar to that used to investigate other police departments across the country,” the Post cited the officials as saying. [blding mine]


    President Barack Obama’s administration has already launched a separate federal investigation into whether the police officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, violated the teenager’s civil rights.


    Police in Ferguson came under sharp criticism, especially in the first several days of demonstrations, for arresting dozens of protesters and using heavy-handed tactics and military gear widely seen as provoking more anger and violence by protesters.

    A fairly neutral description, but nothing overly wrong as such. Wondering about the bolded part, and how that has worked throughout history (though I have a lot more faith in Eric Holder getting somewhere than pretty much all of the other parties involved).

    From the other similar articles:

    The U.S. Department of Justice will launch an investigation into police tactics in Ferguson, Mo., NPR’s Carrie Johnson reports, with a focus on looking for a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing.

    Federal authorities had held off on announcing a civil investigation into police actions in the St. Louis suburb because they were relying on law enforcement help to tamp down violence after 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white policeman.
    Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department has investigated police tactics in more than two dozen cities, sometimes finding mistreatment of minorities and patterns of excessive force. [bolding mine]

    The Associated Press notes that the wide-ranging report won’t be the first on the police department, the workforce of which is much whiter than the community it serves.

    Again, bolded bit: police, tamp down violence? Innnnnteresting.


    The investigation will look at the practices in the past few years of the police department, including patterns of stops, arrests and use-of-force, as well as the training the officers receive, the person said.

    The inquiry is separate from an ongoing civil rights investigation the Justice Department is conducting into the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. A local grand jury is also investigating the shooting, which set off about two weeks of unrest in the streets of Ferguson and became a flashpoint in the national discussion of police treatment of minorities across the country. Attorney General Eric Holder two weeks ago visited the St. Louis suburb, where he met with investigators and Brown’s parents and shared personal experiences of having himself been mistreated by the police.


    Police have said the shooting followed a scuffle that broke out after Wilson told Brown and a friend to move out of the street and onto a sidewalk. Police say Wilson was pushed into his squad car and physically assaulted. Some witnesses have reported seeing Brown’s arms up in the air before the shooting in an act of surrender. An autopsy paid for by Brown’s family concluded that he was shot six times, twice in the head.
    The new investigation, though, goes far beyond the circumstances of the shooting. It will look at the actions of a police department that is predominantly white even though Ferguson is about 70 percent black.[bolding mine]

    AP also mentions the previous investigation, in 2013:

    Some in Ferguson have said police disproportionately target black motorists during traffic stops. A 2013 report by the Missouri attorney general’s office found that Ferguson police stopped and arrested black drivers nearly twice as frequently as white motorists but were also less likely to find contraband among the black drivers.

    So, not a word about subsequent overzealousness from police in ‘policing’ ‘their’ community. More words devoted to the police version (which, interestingly, is word-of-mouth in all cases) than to eye-witness accounts.


    With the help of the FBI, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has been investigating last month’s fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, who was wounded several times by a Ferguson police officer. The shooting touched off several days of sometimes violent protest.

    But this new investigation would be much broader, looking at the conduct of the entire Ferguson Police Department over the past several years.


    Police officers in Ferguson have been the subject of a handful of lawsuits filed in recent years claiming that excessive force was used. In one case, four police officers were accused of beating a man, then charging him with damaging government property — by getting blood on their uniforms.
    Many black residents of Ferguson have accused their city’s police department of failing to represent the racial diversity of the St. Louis suburb. While Ferguson is about 65 percent black, roughly eleven percent of the city’s police officers are black. [bolding mine]

    First bold: Again, a very neutral statement – basically, protests just happened. Nobody was frustrated, nobody was using excessive force, nobody was standing up for themselves. Just happened.
    Second bold: I thought 3 out of 53 was less than 11%? Or have they hired/fired since?

  251. rq says

    Also, a repeat article on who is now in charge of public safety, one Daniel Isom II. He replaces Jerry Lee, who has resigned without mentioning specific reasons:

    He submitted a one-sentence resignation letter dated Tuesday that provided no explanation about why he is leaving the state public safety department.

    He did, however, resign in the wake of the Ferguson protests.
    Oh, and this:

    Later Wednesday, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson announced that the Guard and police from the city of St. Louis had completed their departure from Ferguson. Johnson declined to discuss when state troopers would cede authority in the West Florissant Avenue commercial corridor to local police, though he did say that fewer troopers are on the ground now.

    Are state troopers still officially in charge? Or has authority been handed back to Ferguson cops themselves?

  252. rq says

    More hours of training required to become a hairdresser than a cop:

    The State of Missouri has established, through its Board of Cosmetology and Barber Examiners, a minimum of 1500 training hours, or 3000 hours of apprenticeship, is required for certification. On the other hand, according to the website of the St. Louis County and Municipal Police Academy (SCMPA): “Graduates of the St. Louis CMPA are […] peace officers […] with 916 hours of training.” These 916 hours compose a six-month, non-residential program, with no other educational prerequisite other than just a high school diploma.

    And that isn’t just a US thing. To become a cop here requires 6 months at the police college (not sure on the specific number of hours). And that’s it. High school diploma (or maybe even grade 9, not sure on that either, will check!), 6 months of… learning the law, I guess, and then you can go out and do anything in the field of police, including highly specialized and scientific forensics work. o.o

    Charged for distributing literature, but all he was doing was encouraging people to vote.

    “They said they would charge me for distributing literature,” Turner told ThinkProgress when he was released a few hours later. “I asked [the policeman] for the ordinance number [being violated], because they can’t put handcuffs on you if they cannot tell you why they’re detaining you. I said, ‘Show me where it’s illegal to do this.’ But he would not do it. The officer got mad and grabbed me. Then he told me that I was resisting arrest!”

    Oh, and he’s black.

    More police! More police! Well, if they’re going to walk the streets unarmed and help seniors, children and other people cross the street, I’m all for it. :P

    Flordell Hills becomes the 58th municipal police department in the county of 1 million people. That doesn’t include the county police, which covers the third of the population that lives in unincorporated areas or in cities under contract.
    “In my opinion, the residents of Flordell Hills would be much better served contracting with the St. Louis County police,” said Rick Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, in an interview Wednesday.
    He said officers in larger agencies often are better trained and have deeper resources. The county police has about 750 officers.

    Hm. I think the phrases “better trained” and “deeper resources” can be interpreted rather freely.

    TRIGGER WARNING dead body. Been almost four weeks, now.

  253. rq says

    Police officers speak out against Nixon’s comments, spec. those regarding justice for the family. Because

    The Missouri Peace Officers Association says Nixon’s comments suggested guilt before due process for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

    I posted about this a few comments up, but this one has a link to the letter itself.
    (By the way, a few comments from Nixon are ‘prejudging’ the case, while releasing all kinds of irrelevant information about Michael Brown isn’t… Strange logic.)

  254. rq says

    This is from August 21, an interview with Herman B. “Dutch” Leonard, “the George F. Baker Jr. Professor of Public Management at Harvard Kennedy School and the Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, teaches leadership and organizational strategy and is co-director of the Program on Crisis Leadership at HKS.”

    GAZETTE: How unusual is it for the attorney general to get involved, and what does it tell you about what’s going on behind the scenes?

    LEONARD: It is highly unusual for the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in the United States to intercede personally in a specific enforcement matter. I think it signals a belief in the highest circles in Washington that the events in Ferguson are of critical national importance. And it signals (and is designed to signal) to all of those involved in the ongoing event — the investigation, the peacekeeping actions, the public relations, and so on — that the significance of this event goes far beyond the local domain in which it began.


    GAZETTE: To what extent is the ongoing chaos a function of that original incident, and to what extent is it a result of ineffective crisis management?

    LEONARD: I think you have to see it as a product of both. The original incident is tragic and emotionally intense, and in the absence of definitive information about what exactly happened (which will intrinsically take time to develop), it is fraught with issues and questions and ambiguities about who we are as a nation, about the extent of racism that may still be embedded in police and other institutions, about racial justice. […] Meeting that range of reactions with police officers in combat gear and armored vehicles is tantamount to further provocation, and sure enough it immediately escalated the situation by incensing some of the crowd. The situation called for calming and stabilizing influences and interventions. Confronting a crowd that is grieving the death of an unarmed teenager, whatever the exact circumstances of his death were, with a phalanx of police officers pointing military weapons and firing tear gas in the direction of the crowd from behind or within armored vehicles and wearing combat body armor is anything but calming. Trying to intimidate an angry crowd into submission by visibly threatening extreme violence is a recipe for the disaster we have been watching unfold.


    GAZETTE: It took several days of violence for state and local political officials, including the Missouri governor, the mayor of Ferguson, and various congressional representatives, to get involved in trying to quell the conflict between police and protesters. Did that leadership void contribute to the unrest? What should they have done and when?

    LEONARD: Given that it was nearly instantly predictable that this incident could erupt, leaders at practically all levels should immediately have adopted a forward-leaning stance, and they should have formed into a group to work on the situation together.

    There’s more at the link, about releasing the theft video and media arrests, but pretty common sense stuff in general (one would think).

  255. rq says

    Holder to hold Ferguson-related press conference this (US) afternoon. I probably won’t catch it in any way shape or form (work), but hopefully someone will have an eye or tab out!

    From the St Louis American, When trust breaks down, on the need to turn unrest into a movement.

    Many white St. Louisans – who have long considered themselves “liberal” or “progressive,” yet have been surprised by the unrest they’ve seen on their televisions – are asking themselves, “Why are they so angry?” and “Has this anger been there all the time? And if so, how did I not see it?” […]The next steps following the tragic killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer – and the equally tragic killing of 25-year-old Kajieme Powell by St. Louis City police officers – has to be to restore this broken trust. Only justice will do that – justice under the law – and if that is not possible, then we must change the law. […] The Public Safety Committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen will be meeting on Wednesday, September 10 at 10 a.m. in City Hall. The police chief is scheduled to present to the committee his department’s policy on the use of deadly force. This meeting is open to the public.

    However, it is up to the chairperson, Alderwoman Phyllis Young, to determine whether or not the public will be allowed to comment on this important issue. I and others have urged her to allow public comment. This is a critically important issue to our city, and people from the community, as well as organizations, have much to offer to this conversation.

  256. rq says

    Here’s a list of resources to teach #Ferguson, and other relevant material. Haven’t been through it, so I can’t say what’s in it, exactly.

    Urban Shield is holding a seminar in Oakland, CA.

    Four days of weapons on display, sessions on how to deal with terrorists (but none on how to de-escalate a crowd situation or talk someone down who is mentally ill).

    They should get on that.

    Warren, Michigan – cop hacks off woman’s hair (warning: video), because… because?

    Gregory tells us in some places she now has bald spots because Najor ripped her real hair out by the roots.

    Also, the officer refused to talk to media about the incident. At least Gregory has been freed of all charges.

    Another portrait of a protester, rapper (ooo!!) Tef Poe.

    He witnessed family, friends and traumatized residents scrambling around Canfield trying to grasp what was happening.

    Soon he was among those fighting off tear gas and looking down the barrels of assault rifles pointed at them by an overly aggressive, militarized police force as they attempted to peacefully protest.

    And here he was Saturday night, playing protest trainer and tour guide as several dozen Black Lives Matter riders took to the streets of Ferguson to see for themselves the city that had captured an international audience for three weeks.

    Person reviews book on slavery for the Economist. Says whites are made out to be villains. People are surprised. An interesting paragraph:

    Mr Baptist cites the testimony of a few slaves to support his view that these rises in productivity were achieved by pickers being driven to work ever harder by a system of “calibrated pain”. The complication here was noted by Hugh Thomas in 1997 in his definitive history, “The Slave Trade”; an historian cannot know whether these few spokesmen adequately speak for all. [emphasis mine]

  257. rq says

    We need a working definition of racism:

    erguson, however, has become a convenient stand-in for the real debate over racism and exactly what that is. We may have thought we walked away from the Twittered images of unrest in Ferguson with, at least, some verification that racism exists, but there’s really no working definition of the term going forward. […]
    It’s because society has managed to mangle and deliberately obfuscate terms like “racist” and “racism” to the point where they’re frequently misused and often ridiculed. Simply saying something that’s—ahem—off-color is greeted with “Oh, that’s so racist!” And that’s how a functional definition of racism gets mangled into something trivial and unimportant. We’ve become duped into caring more about what individual people say than what organized groups, institutions and systems are doing. […]
    And getting bent over images of cops brutally choking, beating and blasting people that look like you doesn’t necessarily address the issue, either. Not if it doesn’t help us identify the name and location of the racist infrastructure designed to encourage the behavior in the first place. Once we reach that point, we’ll end up realizing that the cops are underpaid pawns in this game, too.

  258. rq says

    Governor Nixon pretty much ignored Ferguson for five days, before getting around to actually dealing with the crisis.

    Copies of Nixon’s daily schedule provided upon the request of The Associated Press show that the governor continued to go about his routine business for several days after the shooting, splitting his attention between the unrest in Ferguson and items such as announcing grants to preschools and visiting the State Fair.

    Not until the fifth day after Brown’s shooting, after continued clashes between police and protesters, did Nixon clear his schedule and devote his time fully to managing the crisis in Ferguson. […]
    It “began with a shooting in a street, and, unfortunately, in our state and our country, that happens a lot,” Nixon said. “So your initial read on that sort of stuff is that’s something that’s best handled — and should be best handled — at the most local of levels.” […]
    “When it began burgeoning up, and we saw the level of potential problems that began to arise there — not just in folks protesting, but in the aggressiveness and what not — then I acted,” Nixon told the AP.

    I have some MSNBC to watch before I post it, in case anyone is still reading.

  259. rq says

    NYPD to have body-cams, plus Senator McCaskill on Ferguson ( Rachel Maddow video).

    Ferguson welcomes DOJ investigation (MSNBC article), with statements from Holder:

    Holder, who met with community members in Ferguson, said the consistent stories from residents who described systematic police targeting and excessive fines provide “compelling” concerns with the local law enforcement agency’s practices.

    “I don’t think there is any question that there is a basis to begin a pattern of practice investigation,” said Holder, adding that he received complete support on the probe from Ferguson’s mayor, city manager and police chief. ”The fact that we have pledges of local cooperation is an indication that there are issues felt even … at the local level indicating a need for us to work together to make the situation better.”

    Ddin’t get to watch this (darn those kids wanting to go outside!), but more from MSNBC (short video): <a href=""Rev. Al Sharpton on the backlash to progress.

    Chris Hayes on the DOJ investigation (MSNBC video).

  260. rq says

    Annnnd what could happen if there’s no indictment,

    Brown’s family can file a civil suit for money damages against Wilson claiming he violated Brown’s civil rights. And the family can sue the department for policies or procedures that contributed to Brown’s death. In addition, the Ferguson police could either discipline or fire Wilson if the department concluded he had used unreasonable force.

    (This is in addition to a potential criminal case.)

    Q: Is it enough that Wilson fired repeatedly on unarmed teen?

    No. The federal government has decided in a number of cases not to prosecute in cases where unarmed civilians were shot 40 or 50 times. […]
    Q: Does the law favor the police or the citizen?

    The police. Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the School of Law at the University of California, Irvine, wrote in The New York Times that Supreme Court decisions make it hard for citizens to hold police accountable for unreasonable use force.

    And more at the link, with a bunch of the usual ‘we don’t actually know what happened’ comments.

  261. rq says

    Here’s the St Louis Post-Dispatch on the civil rights inquiry into police behaviour in Ferguson.

    The Civil Rights Division will investigate whether Ferguson police have engaged in a pattern of civil rights violations, Holder said.


    In a press conference later Thursday, Belmar said he welcomed the federal scrutiny.
    “After 11 days of protests, not one shot was fired” by a county police officer, he said. “Our goal was the preservation of life, and we accomplished that.
    He said he has been in talks with the Justice Department since the days after the shooting and requested the department’s review Wednesday.
    The legacy of the St. Louis County Police Department is to be open and transparent, and I’m not afraid to have outside reviews in here — and I can’t think of a better time to do it.” [bolding mine]

    One wonders how they (the police) take themselves seriously sometimes. Chief Jackson was unavailable for comment.

  262. Pteryxx says

    rq, I’m still reading too (and trying to catch up). Been out sick. Thank you so much for keeping up with the main news out of St Louis. (And for MSNBC, which I’ve been neglecting).

  263. Pteryxx says

    In a press conference later Thursday, Belmar said he welcomed the federal scrutiny.
    “After 11 days of protests, not one shot was fired” by a county police officer, he said.

    That we know of, especially after the police disappeared the bullet from Aaten-White’s head. ((Cracked), etc)

  264. Pteryxx says

    Oh, and Belmar did specify a *county* police officer – which could mean technically the killing of Kajieme Powell by St. Louis Metropolitan police officers doesn’t count. They were under police chief Sam Dotson, not Belmar.

    However, obfuscating whose department did what may not help the police out that much:

    Holder has stepped up the pace of investigations of local police, with twice as many as any predecessor, according to the Washington Post. The Post has reported that at least 34 departments are now being investigated.

    Maybe they’ll find out who, if anyone, was actually in charge.

  265. chimera says

    Anyone interested in the relation between racism in the West (and in the U.K. in particular) and the emergence of jihad would profit from reading Maajid Nawaz’ Radical (2012) which spells this out in an immersive way. I’m reading it now. Curiously, Malcolm X plays a roll here. I wouldn’t have expected that. Lots of food for thought.

  266. Pteryxx says

    Apparently, there’s still shit going down in Ferguson. People are trying to access city hall, and not being let inside.

    Not the first time some cops or other have blocked City Hall. A couple of weeks ago, on Thursday the 21st, a line of police cordoned off City Hall and wouldn’t allow a party including State Senator Jamilah Nasheed to deliver their petition to remove Bob McCulloch as prosecutor. (They let Nasheed, only, in, after they’d claimed for a while that the building was closed and the governor (iirc) was not in that day.)

  267. rq says

    chimera and chigau @332, 333
    Heh, thanks. Just for a few moments there I felt like the Lone Ranger Commenter Who Can’t Let Thread Die or something. :)
    I do intend to continue, at least until there is some sort of notice from the Grand Jury. There’s just so many other investigations now, seems like it will never end. Which it probably won’t, really. Not ever, not for real.

  268. Pteryxx says

    Sorry rq, I keep having stacks of references and then not being able to post them. Likewise, I intend to keep watching for any news to come out of the grand jury, especially whether any of the real eyewitnesses get called or not.

    (Reference for my last – Maddow from Thursday, August 21, has footage of the police line around City Hall and Senator Nasheed demanding to be let in to see McCulloch. (Transcript), (Video)

    NASHEED: This is our First Amendment right. I`m an elected

    OFFICER: I know.

    NASHEED: Senator for the state of Missouri.

    OFFICER: Yes, ma`am.

    NASHEED: How dare you tell me I can`t go up —

    OFFICER: Ma`am, ma`am.

    CROWD: This is a public building.

    OFFICER 2: If you step over the line, you`re going to be arrested.

  269. chimera says

    Now that all the cameras have left, the hardest and most thankless work begins. One journalist I was following on Twitter left Ferguson for Burning Man. Can’t remember where he is now exactly. It’s like overhearing tourists say, “What country are we in again? Oh, Tuesday. Guess this is Paris.”

  270. Pteryxx says

    I looked at Twitter. Well, well, well.

    Matthew Keys ‏@MatthewKeysLive

    Documents prove no one FOIA’d the Michael Brown surveillance tape before #Ferguson police released it –

    10:35 AM – 5 Sep 2014


    Imani ABL ‏@AngryBlackLady

    Turns out no one in the media asked for that surveillance tape. #Ferguson police chief is a LIAR. | … #blacklivesmatter

    10:10 AM – 5 Sep 2014


    Imani ABL ‏@AngryBlackLady

    When #Ferguson police chief said he released the surveillance tape bc media FOIA requested it, I said someone should FOIA the FOIA requests.

    10:12 AM – 5 Sep 2014


    The linked article seems to be down due to traffic. I’ll see what I can do.

  271. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    That exchange between Senator Nasheed and the police officer…just…wow. “I know it’s your 1st amendment right and that you’re a senator but I’m going to arrest you anyway because reasons and I don’t care who knows about it.” Just…fuck.

  272. Pteryxx says

    Got through to The Blot’s article cache. If anyone else wants to see it, here’s the cache link through the big G: (link)

    “We’ve had this tape for a while, and we had to diligently review the information that was in the tape, determine if there was any other reason to keep it,” Jackson said at the press event. “We got a lot of Freedom of Information requests for this tape, and at some point it was just determined we had to release it. We didn’t have good cause, any other reason not to release it under FOI.”

    Jackson later said that the officer who fatally shot Brown — identified as Officer Darren Wilson — did not know that Brown had allegedly been involved in a robbery earlier in the day when the officer confronted Brown on a Ferguson road hours later. When asked by a reporter why the agency would release the surveillance tape, even though it appeared to have nothing to do with the fatal shooting of the teenager, Jackson replied: “Because you asked for it.”

    However, a review of open records requests sent to the Ferguson Police Department found that no news organization, reporter or individual specifically sought the release of the surveillance tape before police distributed it on Aug. 15.

    Last month, TheBlot Magazine requested a copy of all open records requests made by members of the public — including journalists and news organizations — that specifically sought the release of the convenience store surveillance video. The logs, which were itself obtained under Missouri’s open records law, show only one journalist — Joel Currier with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — broadly requested any and all multimedia evidence “leading up to” Brown’s death on Aug. 9.

    Other records that would have been subject to Currier’s request, including 9-1-1 call recordings and police dispatch tapes, have yet to be formally released by the agency.

    The logs contradict Jackson’s claim that “a lot” of reporters had specifically “asked for” the robbery surveillance tape through open records requests before his agency released the footage. The documents raise more questions about why the video — which, by the chief’s own admission, had nothing to do with the shooting death of the teenager — was released in the first place.

    A Ferguson police spokesperson did not return a request for comment.

  273. chimera says

    In Radical M.N. tells the story of when he was a 15 year old B-boy in London. At that time white skinheads were going on “paki-bashing” expeditions. One day he gets cornered alone, they’re all around him with knives and bats with nails sticking out of them. A white guy comes up and challenges the skinheads. They knife the white guy repeatedly and stomp his head and all that and M.N. is frozen in place. When the police finally arrive the skinheads are on the other side of the street jeering at them. But the police have to question him, M.N., the Pakistani, because obviously he’s the suspect. He tries to get them to go after the skinheads but the police won’t listen. By the time he calms down and gets his wits about him and is able to explain what happened to the police, the skinheads have vanished.

  274. Pteryxx says

    *headshake* general crap, all via Rawstory:

    Baton Rouge cop resigns after he’s caught texting desire to ‘pull a Ferguson’ on ‘n*ggers’

    Seattle police union: Officer’s angry online rhetoric doesn’t violate policy ‘per se’

    The full statement read, “If you don’t like the ‘militarized’ police, then don’t commit crimes—the odds of you encountering an officer drops dramatically when that single factor changes… Regardless of how you feel about the police, the sheepdogs will continue to protect the resentful sheep from the wolves.”

    Hall also supported fundraising efforts for Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9, touching off a series of protests both in that city and around the country.

    Hall wrote in one post, “In light of the Ferguson hashtag, DontShoot, I’m starting the hashtag #DontRobStores and #Dontpunchcops,” and blamed “media spin” for the attention garnered by the shooting and the demonstrations afterward. He also criticized Obama for expressing condolences toward Brown’s family.

    “Your actions speak louder than words Mr. President,” Hall wrote. “Your intentional division of this country and overt racism is an embarrassment.”

    Texas school districts militarize campus cops with free surplus weapons, armored vehicles

    A KHOU investigation shows that ten school districts in Texas have been acquiring the military surplus under a government program that allows them to load up at little to no cost.

    According to the investigation, the districts have acquired 64 M-16 rifles, 18 M-14 rifles, 25 automatic pistols, and magazines capable of holding 4,500 rounds of ammunition. Additionally, the schools stocked up on armored plating, tactical vests, as well as 15 surplus military vehicles.

    …Of course.

  275. Pteryxx says

    chimera #345 – there’s a similar scene in Slumdog Millionaire, where a mob’s beating up Muslims and the police don’t even turn their heads to acknowledge anything’s wrong, even when a man on fire staggers past them.

  276. Pteryxx says

    posted too quickly. When I watched it in a theater, I remember how the audience gasped in shock and went quiet when the police refused to do anything.

  277. chimera says

    M.N. also tells the story of when Pakistan was carved out of India. His grandparents who lived in what would become part of Pakistan were on their honeymoon in a part that would remain in India. Hindus suddenly had to flee south to get to India and Muslims were fleeing north to get to Pakistan because the idea was to make a separate country for each. They largely did this by train. Bandits of the opposing religion were attacking the trains that were arriving at destination with all dead on board.

    But I’ll stop there because it’s only tangentially related to Ferguson.

  278. rq says

    Hope you are well soon!


    Here’s more (from HuffPo) on the surveillance release lies:

    “A review of open records requests sent to the Ferguson Police Department found that no news organization, reporter or individual specifically sought the release of the surveillance tape before police distributed it on Aug. 15,” Keys writes. […] Perez also tweeted that, when asked, Ferguson Police spokesperson Tim Zoll couldn’t think of any specific requests for the tape.

    Requests for comment were not immediately returned by Chief Jackson or the Ferguson Police Department.

    Finishes up with the fact that there is still no incident report for Brown’s shooting.

    If Pteryxx’ link for the Baton Rouge cop doesn’t work, here’s the same story from Wonkette. (Couldn’t get through to the Rawstory article, my computer couldn’t find the server.)

    White? Like to open carry? Feeling belligerent? Never fear. Cops will talk you down. All is well. :P *retch*

    Here’s probably a ton of repeat information on the militarization of police, decent summary.

    Oh, weapons for campus police? Here, have some grenade launchers, too. For those student riots. Or something. (Show and tell?)

    It’s clear why a review of the program is in order, because it isn’t clear at all what sort of equipment these colleges are receiving. David Perry, the president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, told Politico that 1033 mostly funnels “small items” to college police forces for daily use. These could be anything from office supplies or uniforms or car parts, but it’s probably not all that tame. Campus Safety magazine recommends that universities take part in the 1033 program to cover a range of needs from storage units to grenade launchers. That is, after all, what the program was designed to achieve.


    Here’s a nice piece on that cop who raped 8 women: how he got caught: short story? “He messed up.” (actual quote)

    Holtzclaw’s mistake was pulling over the wrong person: A woman who, when he allegedly assaulted her, wouldn’t hesitate to call the police.

    TW for graphic description of her assault!!!!


  279. Ichthyic says

    there is still no incident report for Brown’s shooting

    well, from what I recall, there actually wouldn’t be, since Wilson never filed a report on the incident.

    if you see one before Wilson returns from his paid vacation, it basically would have to be invented whole cloth by the Ferguson PD.

  280. rq says

    (That last link has a heckofalot of information on the case, with explicit descriptions of another assault. It’s… yeah.)

    Racism in Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Do tell. The case is from 2013.

    Portrait of Michael Brown Sr., beautiful art.

    Inside that convention for warrior cops, Urban Shield. Good photos of some of the equipment they ‘need’. Wow.

    And one more on the guy who committed the crime of sitting while black while waiting for his kids.

    Those good cops who are out there? This is what happens. Intimidation and harrassment.

    Detective Joe Crystal became a target of intimidation for his entire department after testifying against other officers in a misconduct case. Following his testimony, he received threats from other officers, and even found a dead rat on his car one day.


    We frequently define a “good cop” as one who tries to stop the bad ones. If this is the common response to “good cops” it’s no wonder why there are so few.

  281. Pteryxx says

    further to rq’s link on giving 1033 military equipment to college campuses:

    The Pentagon’s 1033 program, which allows the Defense Department to unload its excess military equipment onto local police forces, has quietly overflowed onto college campuses. According to documents obtained by the website Muckrock, more than 100 campus police forces have received military materials from the Pentagon. Schools that participate in the program range from liberal arts to community colleges to the entire University of Texas system. Emory, Rice, Purdue, and the University of California, Berkeley, are all on the list.


    Several campus police forces have also been vigorously trained in paramilitary tactics since 2007. In a country where SWAT teams raid private residencies more than 100 times a day, mostly in neighborhoods where people of color live, the decision to train campus officers in this overindulged art is a vote in favor of racist policing tactics on the part of institutions of higher education, even before the training is ever put to use.

    That references this 2012 MoJo article:

    Meanwhile, many campus police squads have been educated in the art of war through regular special weapons training sessions by “tactical officers’ associations” which run a kind of SWAT university. In October, UC Berkeley played host to an “Urban Shield” SWAT training exercise involving local and campus agencies, the California National Guard, and special police forces from Israel, Jordan, and Bahrain. And since 2010, West Texas A&M has played host to paramilitary training programs for police from Mexico.

    In October, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte got its very own SWAT team, equipped with MP-15 rifles, M&P 40 sidearms, and Remington shotguns. “We have integrated SWAT officers into the squads that serve our campus day and night,” boasted UNC Charlotte Chief of Police Jeff Baker. The following month, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a SWAT team staged an armed raid on an occupied building, pointing assault rifles at the heads of activists, among them UNC students.

  282. Pteryxx says

    From MoJo’s Shane Bauer on the Urban Shield cop convention – among other things, they’re displaying hover drones, surveillance vans, armored trucks specifically for protests “because protesters might shoot at cops”, and 90-minute DNA testers to see if visa applicants really do have blood relatives in the USA. (Twitter)

    Roy Sakuba ‏@RoySakuba Sep 4

    @shane_bauer I’m not sure what’s more fucked up: DNA sampling for visa application, or the DNA database of US Citizens required for this.

    Brianne Bilyeu ‏@abiodork

    @shane_bauer But they have a backlog of rape kits in every damn place in the US because DNA testing is too $$$ *headdesk*

    11:32 AM – 4 Sep 2014


    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    Back at #UrbanShield this morning. The Marriott is crawling with SWAT teams today.

    7:56 AM – 5 Sep 2014


    Replies have noted very few women and, so far, no non-white people at all.

  283. Pteryxx says

    Taking note of the heavy presence of SWAT teams in police militarization. Remember earlier this week when 1033 forms did not show military weapons or vehicles given to either the Ferguson police nor St. Louis County police? (see #151, 153, 154, 166 on this page) ( article) SWAT teams operate with little oversight and in at least one state consider themselves immune to records requests:

    Ed Brayton quoting Radley Balko in June: MA SWAT Teams Claim to Be Private Entities

    As it turns out, a number of SWAT teams in the Bay State are operated by what are called law enforcement councils, or LECs. These LECs are funded by several police agencies in a given geographic area and overseen by an executive board, which is usually made up of police chiefs from member police departments. […]

    Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations. And it’s here that we run into problems. According to the ACLU, the LECs are claiming that the 501(c)(3) status means that they’re private corporations, not government agencies. And therefore, they say they’re immune from open records requests. Let’s be clear. These agencies oversee police activities. They employ cops who carry guns, wear badges, collect paychecks provided by taxpayers and have the power to detain, arrest, injure and kill. They operate SWAT teams, which conduct raids on private residences. And yet they say that because they’ve incorporated, they’re immune to Massachusetts open records laws. The state’s residents aren’t permitted to know how often the SWAT teams are used, what they’re used for, what sort of training they get or who they’re primarily used against.

    If Missouri (or other states) have similar structures, then their SWAT teams might be shielding their military-style equipment from open records requirements.

    More from the ACLU’s report on police militarization, quoted in Balko’s article: (WaPo)

    The ACLU filed public records requests with more than 255 law enforcement agencies during the course of this investigation. One hundred and fourteen of the agencies denied the ACLU’s request, either in full or in part. Even if the ACLU had received and examined responsive documents from all 255 law enforcement agencies that received public records requests, this would represent only a sliver of the more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies that exist throughout the United States, and thus would shine only a dim light on the extent of police militarization throughout the country.

    This, too, is consistent with my own experience. Among the excuses police agencies gave the ACLU for not turning over records were that the requested information “contained trade secrets,” that turning over such information could affect the effectiveness of SWAT teams and that the information requested was too broad, would cost too much to produce or wasn’t subject to open-records law. In short, we have police departments that are increasingly using violent, confrontational tactics to break into private homes for increasingly low-level crimes, and they seem to believe that the public has no right to know the specifics of when, how and why those tactics are being used.

  284. Pteryxx says

    via Daily Kos, NPR has done some analysis of the 1033 program information: MRAPs And Bayonets: What We Know About The Pentagon’s 1033 Program

    The 1033 program is the key source of the most visible, big-ticket, military item being sent to local law enforcement: mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs. Designed to withstand bullets, grenades and roadside bombs on the front lines of war, more than 600 of them have been sent to local law enforcement agencies in almost every state in the U.S., mostly within the past year. Los Angeles County, for example, has nine of these vehicles, six of which were obtained just this past March.

    But the program is a conduit for much more than just MRAPs. Since 2006, through the 1033 program, the Pentagon has also distributed:

    79,288 assault rifles
    205 grenade launchers
    11,959 bayonets
    3,972 combat knives
    $124 million worth of night-vision equipment, including night-vision sniper scopes
    479 bomb detonator robots
    50 airplanes, including 27 cargo transport airplanes
    422 helicopters
    More than $3.6 million worth of camouflage gear and other “deception equipment”

    The state-by-state organized dataset is available here: (Google Drive link)

  285. rq says

    A previously unheard eye-witness speaks to St Louis reporters, and strangely enough, his account matches up with all the other eye-witnesses (some of whose accounts are summaried in the article).

    His account largely matches those who reported that Wilson chased Brown on foot away from the car after the initial gunshot and fired at least one more shot in the direction of Brown as he was fleeing; that Brown stopped, turned around and put his hands up; and that the officer killed Brown in a barrage of gunfire. […] There is no way to determine how many witnesses have spoken to law enforcement without making public statements. The worker acknowledged that his account could be valuable to the case because he did not know either Brown or Wilson and had no ties to Ferguson. […] No witness has ever publicly claimed that Brown charged at Wilson. The worker interviewed by the Post-Dispatch disputed claims by Wilson’s defenders that Brown was running full speed at the officer.

    “I don’t know if he was going after him or if he was falling down to die,” he said. “It wasn’t a bull rush.”

    The article mentions this several times, that witnesses emphasize the lack of rushing towards Wilson.
    I wonder if the Grand Jury will take that into account. :P

    Pteryxx (just above)

    camouflage gear and other “deception equipment”

    Unless that camo and deception equipment is shades of stainless steel and concrete, how useful can it possibly be in an urban environment?? (I’ll grant rural areas, but still…)

  286. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @shane_bauer But they have a backlog of rape kits in every damn place in the US because DNA testing is too $$$ *headdesk*

    This tweet…the DA in Detroit who found the famous stash of 11k rape kits ended up having to organize her own fundraiser to get the ones tested that they managed to get through before money ran out again IIRC.

    Tony! @ 359

    From the imagination of the Ferguson police force when confronted with the knowledge that one of the bullets entered the top of Brown’s head.

  287. says

    It just seems wrong for police to be in camouflage gear – they’re supposed to be visible and identifiable as police, it’s part of the basic functions of the job. If they want to play at being soldiers, either join the Natl Guard or go play paintball with all the other warrior wannabes.

    Warriors are for wars. Police aren’t supposed to be at war with the people, they’re supposed to be serving and protecting the people.

    (Still reading every comment)

  288. rq says

    Tweet on that newly-released eye-witness evidence: “I’ve been told by confirmed source that the two construction workers who witnessed #MikeBrown shooting and said he had his hands up are White.” Because, yes, apparently, it matters… :( (from @MichaelSkolnik)

    Update on that non-existent surveillance request: apparently a ‘non-verbal request’ was made.

    UPDATE: Ferguson City Attorney Stephanie Karr released a statement early Saturday morning. She notes that many requests for documents and information were not made in writing because “the City’s website and email were down at several points during that week.” The release does not say whether any of those requests were for the robbery video.

    The statement:

    Within days of the tragic events on August 9, the City of Ferguson began receiving multiple requests for information and documents. While some of these requests were made in writing, many requests were made verbally due to the fact that the City’s website and email were down at several points during that week. City personnel cataloged all requests and treated them in the same manner as it would any Sunshine Law request. (The “Sunshine Law” is Missouri’s equivalent of the federal Freedom of Information Act).

    Several reporters, news organizations and others asked for documents specifically pertaining to Michael Brown. One such request was made by the St. Louis Post Dispatch. On August 12, 2014, the paper requested “all documentation concerning the events leading up to and including the shooting of Michael Brown” which shall include “incident, arrest and investigative reports, 911 audio, photos and video retained by the police department.” Another request, made on August 14, 2014, by Judicial Watch requested all records relating to Michael Brown and dated between August 1, 2013, and August 9, 2014.

    The Sunshine Law dictates that Governmental entities must respond to both general requests and specific requests and release all documents that are responsive to the those requests, unless those documents are otherwise closed.

    The Ferguson police department retained the incident and investigative report of the store robbery which occurred less than 10 minutes before the shooting. The reports, which included the surveillance video, concerned Michael Brown. Under the Sunshine Law, the police department had no reason to close these records and withhold them from the public.

    By the date of August 15, the City having reached its statutory deadline to respond to the information requests, released the store robbery reports, including the surveillance video.

    I call bullshit. Anyone else?

    Interesting point (via @ShaunKing): “NEWS :: Only way Darren Wilson’s gun could have been wrestled over is if he had already pulled it out.”

  289. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Even without knowing that about holsters, just picture someone reaching in through the driver’s side window of a car, past the steering wheel, across the driver’s body to get at a holster that the driver is damn near sitting on. It completely beggars belief that the only response to that is to pull the gun out, giving Brown easier access to it, and pulling the trigger. I mean here’s an idea: roll up your damn window.

  290. rq says

    Seven of Mine
    Step on the accelerator to jerk the car forward? Another option. It’s like Officer Wilson wasn’t too smart or something.

  291. rq says

    Ta-Nehisi Coates – In every black man’s eyes, death to the rebel. It’s a powerful read, on the importance of historical (re)presentation. Poetic excerpt:

    But the other part, and the reason I think those Malcolm shirts struck such a chord, was because so many of us were raised with this solemn, sepia-tinged, gospel-drenched, noble suffering view of black history. It’s like our story is basically massacre, after defeat, after massacre, after more defeat, after massacre, after defeat and then white folks deciding they’re tired of kicking the shit out of us. It’s like our whole story is marching into billy-clubs, amazing facts about the peanut, and a few Old Negro Spirituals.


    There’s another passage in which an enslaved black woman comes upon her mistress weeping uncontrollably over the latest news–she’s lost her only son. “Missus,” says the slave woman. “We is even now.” The “Missus” had, over the years, sold every one of this woman’s children into slavery in the deep south–all ten of them.

    I read those passages and got that old, stupid thrill again–Negroes with guns, Negroes fighting back. But more legitimately, I was, as I have been throughout all of this reading, simply stunned by the preservation of humanity–no, by the repeated assertions of humanity made by people who lived under a system specifically structured to destroy it.


    But to paraphrase Grant, I grow heartily weary of hearing of General Lee. I want to talk about us. How will we remember our heroes? What will those of us in Charleston, South Carolina have to say about Robert Smalls? About Robert Brown Elliot? In Holly Springs, Mississippi, who will raise a statue in memory of Ida Wells? Who will remember Hiram Revels and Daddy Cain? What does Baltimore have to say about Christian Fleetwood and New Market Heights? (Forgive me, but hyperlinks here are demeaning. These people deserve your own search.)

  292. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    rq @ 364

    Exactly. The narrative the Ferguson PD is telling amounts to Wilson handing the gun to Brown because drawing it actually removes a whole series of obstacles. The only way any kind of a struggle for the gun makes any sense is if Wilson drew it unprovoked and Brown was defending himself. And that’s even before you add the redundant safeties on the holster in.

  293. rq says

    Good move: Urban Shield not welcome in Oakland again. Could have refused them in the first place, but at least the mayor is taking a stand. Her statement:

    “The City Administrators Office will be asking our agent not to pursue another contract,” Quan said in a statement issued Friday evening.

    Protesters at Friday night’s rally [against Urban Shield], which started at 4 p.m., blocked Broadway for several hours, but police reported no arrests, citations, injuries or uses of force. The protest was organized by California Partnership, a statewide coalition of groups that advocate for policies and programs to end poverty.

    Quan said that in the wake of a controversial police shooting and protests in Ferguson, Missouri last month that drew a heavy-handed police response, Oakland officials have fielded questions about police use of military-style hardware.

    “It’s important to note that OPD has no military surplus hardware at all, and no fully-automatic weapons,” she said.

  294. Pteryxx says

    here’s the source for rq’s #362 about the holster:

    Interesting point (via @ShaunKing): “NEWS :: Only way Darren Wilson’s gun could have been wrestled over is if he had already pulled it out.”

    The screencap going around Twitter is from this text article about police wrestling with a man who did manage to grab an officer’s gun, from KATU of Portland, Oregon, in July 2013. (KATU)

    Bruce McCain, a former Multnomah County Sheriff’s captain, told KATU News that a big concern is about the officer’s holster.

    “The whole idea is if you’re in a scuffle, you cannot pull this gun out – even if you popped the top, this does not come out,” he said, demonstrating on his old holster with an unloaded Glock. (watch the video)

    He says holsters are typically designed with three security mechanisms to keep anyone from grabbing the gun.

    The Beaverton sergeant’s holster may have had only two safety features because his gun may have had a flashlight on it.

  295. Ichthyic says

    Some of these LECs have also apparently incorporated as 501(c)(3) organizations.

    uh, they shouldn’t have been legally qualified to incorporate as a 501c3 to begin with, since the organization’s function and purpose still fall under state purview, and all the salaries of the individuals involved are paid by the state.

    the ACLU should focus on revoking their 501c3 status. It really shouldn’t be hard.

  296. Pteryxx says

    from a commenter at Mammoth:

    The KKK discussion reminded me of this absolutely BLISTERING piece of satire done by the British show That Was the Week That Was in the wake of the murder of William Lewis Moore (a white protest marcher; his killer was not arrested and his KKK affiliation is unknown).

    This was a live performance in 1963 and it’s not much less relevant now. Warning: uses the N-word and blackface. (youtube link)

  297. rq says

    When whites just don’t get it, part 2:

    Nancy protested on my Facebook page: “We can’t fix their problems. It’s up to every black individual to stop the cycle of fatherless homes, stop the cycle of generations on welfare.”

    There was a deluge of such comments, some toxic, but let me try to address three principal arguments that I think prop up white delusion.

    First, if blacks are poor or in prison, it’s all their fault. “Blacks don’t get it,” Bruce tweeted. “Choosing to be cool vs. getting good grades is a bad choice. We all start from 0.”

    Huh? Does anybody really think that we all take off from the same starting line? […]
    But look at Asians, Mark protests on my Google Plus page: Vietnamese arrived in poverty — and are now school valedictorians. Why can’t blacks be like that?

    There are plenty of black valedictorians. But bravo to Asians and other immigrant groups for thriving in America with a strong cultural emphasis on education, diligence and delay of self-gratification. We should support programs with a good record of inculcating such values in disadvantaged children. But we also need to understand that many young people of color see no hope of getting ahead, and that despair can be self-fulfilling. […]
    Look, the basic reason young black men are regarded with suspicion is that they’re disproportionately criminals. The root problem isn’t racism. It’s criminality.

    It’s true that blacks accounted for 55 percent of robbery arrests in 2012, according to F.B.I. statistics. But, by my calculations, it’s also true that 99.9 percent of blacks were not arrested and charged with robbery in 2012, yet they are still tarred by this pernicious stereotype.

    Criminality is real. So is inequity. So is stereotyping.

    The United States Sentencing Commission concluded that black men get sentences one-fifth longer than white men for committing the same crimes. In Louisiana, a study found that a person is 97 percent more likely to be sentenced to death for murdering a white person than a black person. […]
    Yes, young black men need to take personal responsibility. And so does white America.

    Sad and frightening, shots fired in Ferguson… at grade 1 girls’ soccer game. :(

    Does Darren Wilson have a history of using excessive force? This man and his attorney say yes. Strangely, Wilson apparently earned a commendation from the department for this arrest. There’s Wilson’s police report of the incident at the link, so we can all read what ‘really’ happened. But guess what? Christopher Brooks, the man he arrested, is black…

    There was a solidarity march in Washington last night: solidarity.

    Short twitter video of the two workers who also witnessed Michael Brown’s shooting.

  298. rq says

    OMG, he’s out on bond. They reduced it to $500 000, and even though he’s considered a danger to the community, they let him out. On house arrest.

    Ferguson In Paris.

    Also seeing t-shirts with #MikeBrown on the front and #RunForJustice on the back: <a href=" so and so. They’re doing it as a regular thing: 6.30am on weekdays, 11.30 Saturdays and 8.30 on Sundays – running with their hands up. !! Creative.

  299. rq says

    The New Racism: first you deny that racism exists. “Then you smear the reputation of any black man who appears to be a victim.” And it goes on:

    They reject the mainstream picture of Brown: A typical teenager, struggling to carve an identity and a life out of his beliefs, actions, and missteps. In their minds Brown was a budding criminal, and Wilson a hero. Or, as one Wilson supporter said during a demonstration for the officer, “We’ll all see this in the end that it was a good shooting. You know, it was a good kill.” […]
    When people see black men, they think crime, and that cognitive link is so strong that some people will create “proof” to justify the association. Rather than treat Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown as typical teenagers turned victims, they’ll work to dismiss them as “thugs.” But this says little about the proliferation of those memes in right-wing media. Fear of black men is a bipartisan problem—not something unique to conservatives—and it’s unfair to say otherwise. […]
    In other words, to dismiss racism as a general concern is to also stand against the claim that in the deaths of Martin and Brown, race matters. Indeed, you have to deny that discrimination mattered for either victim. And to do that, you have to challenge their victimhood.

  300. Pteryxx says

    thanks rq, I’ve mostly been sick in bed. Sooo much to catch up on…

    Bill Moyers via Rawstory: Ferguson and the foreclosure crisis

    Nationally, 17 percent of homeowners are underwater — they owe more on their mortgages than their homes are actually worth. In Ferguson, that figure sits at 50 percent. Because so many homeowners are struggling, the town is ripe for institutional investors — often hedge funds or private equity groups on the coasts, thousands of miles away — to buy up homes, then rent them to low-income tenants. And that’s what has happened. Investment firms are responsible for roughly a quarter of all recent housing purchases in the town.

    Reference – NY Times Dealbook post

    But this issue too — specifically in Ferguson — comes back to race. In his cover story for The Atlantic,“The Case for Reparations,” Ta-Nehisi Coates pointed to housing as one key area of society in which racism has become institutionalized. The foreclosure crisis is one of his more recent examples:

    In 2010, Jacob S. Rugh, then a doctoral candidate at Princeton, and the sociologist Douglas S. Massey published a study of the recent foreclosure crisis. Among its drivers, they found an old foe: segregation. Black home buyers—even after controlling for factors like creditworthiness—were still more likely than white home buyers to be steered toward subprime loans.

    The chart below shows that people of color with good credit received high-interest mortgages or subprime mortgages far more often than white borrowers with similar credit. These mortgages were meant for only the riskiest borrowers. Because of their higher rates, houses purchased with these mortgages were harder to pay off, and were more likely to face foreclosure.

    Also Ferguson may have been a sundown town. From Jim Loewen, author of Sundown Towns: A hidden dimension of American racism: (

    He said today, “I think Ferguson was a sundown town, based on a statement in the published history of its neighbor, Kinloch, a majority-black town, but I have not confirmed Ferguson for sure.

    “Often former sundown suburbs, when they do ‘break,’ rapidly go majority black. Their white residents, having lived for years under the ideology that African Americans are bad and must be wholly kept from town, have an ideological reason to leave, once their town becomes interracial. All too often they sell at distressed prices to real estate intermediaries. In turn these agents can sell the homes to black families looking to buy in newly available ‘integrated’ areas for a premium.

    “The white families then move to a sundown suburb farther out and carry with them the contagion that ‘blacks wreck property values,’ since they sold for less than market value.

    “Ferguson meanwhile shows symptoms of what we call ‘second generation sundown town problems,’ such as an overwhelmingly white police force that (probably) formerly employed driving-while-black-style stops.

    Rachel Maddow also mentioned sundown towns in the context of Ferguson’s curfew, back on August 14. (video link), (transcript)

    James Loewen wrote that the town of Columbia, Illinois, made it easier
    for African-Americans to know when they were supposed to get out of town.
    Quote, “Columbia, Missouri, had a 6:00 p.m. whistle to warn blacks out of
    town.” That`s from 1941.

    Yesterday in Ferguson, Missouri, just outside St. Louis, Missouri,
    city and police officials posted a same about Michael Brown who of course
    was shot to death in Ferguson last weekend by a police officer. In their
    statement, Ferguson officials said, everybody mourned Mr. Brown`s death but
    asked protesters to please clear out before dark. Quote, “We ask any
    groups wishing to assemble in prayer and protest to so only during daylight
    hours and organized and respectful manner. We further ask all those
    wishing to demonstrate or assemble to disperse well before the evening
    hours, to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of our

    And that kind of message, dispersed well before the evening hours, it
    may sound one way to the officials who are making the statement, it may
    sound perfectly reasonable to those officials to ask protesters that they
    ought to clear out before dark. But that same message can sound very
    different if you grew up learning the history of sundown towns as a
    personal history, something that affected your uncles and aunts and
    grandparents personally.

  301. Pteryxx says

    Daily Kos: Fighting racism one keystroke at a time

    While I’ve focused on online racism in this post, the same problem exists for sexism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ethnocentrism, antisemitism, anti-Islam, anti-immigration, and all the other “isms” and haters.

    No one person alone can counteract the tidal wave of hate that swamps many websites. But each individual can help stem the flood.


    Since I’m on the net every day, searching for news sources for articles and for material to use in my classes, I’ve set myself a daily quota of pushback. I do about 10 per day (not counting efforts here at Daily Kos). It doesn’t take up a lot of my surfing/reading time. I don’t really participate much in Facebook or Twitter, other than to push a “post” button from here, but there are news outlets with comments sections I do use frequently. I also use video a lot, both here and for school. As disgusting as comments are on YouTube, they are pretty easy to flag, and to vote down.

    “A few keystrokes a day can drive racism away” is my new motto.

    Try it.

  302. Pteryxx says

    and via commenters on Kos: Mediaite

    “On Tuesday, a Chicago firefighter named Kevin O’Grady posted this photo to Facebook, claiming it showed Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson’s injuries following his shooting… the photo was actually of freestyle motocross rider Jim McNeil who died in 2011 after he suffered a crash during practice. The photo is from an earlier injury McNeil suffered in 2006.”

    citing Little Green Footballs

  303. rq says

    Your @378 is why I miss Crommunist on FtB, he had some really good posts on how institutionalized racism has become. I know he had posts on loans, criminal convictions, and (I think) hiring, and probably a lot more I don’t remember.
    Should probably go back and re-read some of them, for the information.
    (Also, re: sundown towns, the law in Ferguson about releasing police information on request… is called the Sunshine Law. Weird sort of coincidence/overlap, there.)

  304. rq says

    Oh! Russell Brand did a few episodes on Ferguson via The Trews, episode 123 is one of the first – I know episodes 124 and 129 are also on racism and Ferguson, and episode 134 is his response to Fox News, who apparently have taken to hating and attacking him publicly.

  305. Pteryxx says

    rq, thanks for the well-wishes :> I miss Crommunist too… he’s focused on music and Twitter these days. But I really wish someone at FTB were doing in-depth coverage of Ferguson and all the different issues coming out of it. (Well, besides us.)

  306. rq says

    I have a hard time considering my efforts as particularly in-depth, mostly due to the lack of perspective I could bring to a truly in-depth conversation. :) The information, though, is plentiful and sometimes overwhelming and that, at least, I can try to keep posting here. And a lot of it is in-depth discussion of the situation from people who need to be heard, so that’s good, too. Signal boost FTW!

  307. Pteryxx says

    Check out the Urban Shield coverage coming from Shane Bauer’s feed. He says more details will be in upcoming Mother Jones stories, but the bits he’s witnessed are extremely disturbing.

    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    Reiteration: This device blinds you for 10 mins & makes you sick by scrambling the liquid in your eyes. Out January.

    9:38 AM – 6 Sep 2014


    Verified – here’s the link to the vendor’s site. (Link)

    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    Today at #UrbanShield SWAT teams begin a 48 hour competition across 9 Bay Area counties. 35 teams. 31 scenarios.

    12:31 PM – 6 Sep 2014


    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    The Marines said they participate in the #UrbanShield SWAT competition to bring the tactics back to the military.

    2:09 PM – 6 Sep 2014


    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    UC Berkeley SWAT is briefed that a Muslim took a Jewish man hostage. He read a website on “jihad against Israel.”

    8:05 PM – 6 Sep 2014


    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    The Muslim in the #UrbanShield exercise had a bucket of chemicals to “hurt the Jew for what he’s done to his people.”

    8:06 PM – 6 Sep 2014


  308. Pteryxx says

    More from Bauer’s twitter feed:

    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    “If you don’t put your hands up you’re going to get fucking shot,” yells a US Marine at the #UrbanShield exercise.

    2:10 PM – 6 Sep 2014


    Responses mention that people who can’t immediately comply, due to mental or physical disability or simply not understanding English, don’t deserve to get shot for it.

    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    Here is the University of California, Berkeley SWAT team, which is used to respond to muggings of students.

    6:41 PM – 6 Sep 2014


    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    The logic at work at #UrbanShield is troubling: If SWAT teams are needed for muggings, pedophiles & suicide response, why have regular cops?

    8:18 PM – 6 Sep 2014


    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    Oakland mayor says #UrbanShield won’t be allowed back to the city. County sheriff spokesperson says yes they will.

    8:28 PM – 6 Sep 2014


    Monika BauerleinVerified account ‏@MonikaBauerlein

    @ACSOSheriffs Our reporter @shane_bauer just had Urban Shield media badge taken despite complying with all instructions. Please contact us.

    10:36 AM – 7 Sep 2014


  309. Pteryxx says

    SF Gate: Oakland will not host Urban Shield next year

    “As to Urban Shield itself: Urban Shield is a regional preparedness training exercise for law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services and has been held in Oakland for the past two years. The event will not be held in Oakland next year,” Quan said in a statement Friday. “The City Administrator’s Office will be asking our agent not to pursue another contract.”

    But officials from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which coordinates the conference, hit back at Quan’s statement.

    “Mayor Quan has had little to no involvement with Urban Shield. She does not have the authority to tell Urban Shield or anyone that they can’t come into the City of Oakland,” said Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the office.

    “We recognize that she can influence the Oakland convention center, but we find it amazing that the mayor of Oakland does not want better training for the cities’ first responders nor the hotel tax revenue, sales tax revenue, and low crime rate in the downtown area that Urban Shield and its 5,000-plus attendees has provided in the last few years to the City of Oakland,” he said.

    The mayor of the city of Oakland… doesn’t have authority to keep Urban Shield out of the city of Oakland. That makes sense.

    Quan posted the statement on her Facebook page. Before her message on Urban Shield, she noted that in the wake of Ferguson, the city had received questions on military hardware in the Police Department. “It’s important to note that OPD has no military surplus hardware at all, and no fully-automatic weapons,” she said.

    But if they need any, they can borrow it from UC Berkeley. /snark (until I review the 1033 forms)

  310. Pteryxx says

    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    Just talked to @ACSOSheriffs PR guy. Said they took our credentials for taking “unauthorized photos.” He won’t say where. We can’t go back.

    3:10 PM – 7 Sep 2014


    Shane Bauer ‏@shane_bauer

    For the record, @ACSOSheriffs, I wasn’t aware there were public places in the US where picture taking needed to be “authorized” by the cops.

    3:14 PM – 7 Sep 2014


  311. Pteryxx says

    I haven’t been able to dig through most of the 1033 information, but I have to wonder who in the Urban-Shield-defending Alameda County sheriff’s department ordered the scabbard and sword. (NSN #8465-00-965-167, 1 each, price $100.13, ship date 3/15/2012.)

  312. Pteryxx says

    Salon on George Jackson, black activism, and the prison industry:

    When George Jackson went to prison in 1960, there were 200,000 people in prisons around the country. When he published “Soledad Brother“ in 1970, the rate of imprisonment was the lowest it had been in 20 years, with 96 out of every 100,000 Americans in prison. When he was killed in San Quentin in 1971, there were 300,000 people incarcerated, a rate of about 200 per 100,000 people.

    Three decades later, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger refused to stay the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams because the Crips co-founder had dedicated one of his anti-violence books to George Jackson and other well-known black activists (proving, Schwarzenegger said in a statement at the time, that Williams had not been rehabilitated), one in 100 American adults is in prison — approximately 2.3 million people. As of 2011 one in 34 adults, more than 7 million people, is under some form of correctional supervision: prison, parole or probation. Five percent of the world’s population, the United States imprisons 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.


    George Jackson became so well known as a dissident in the California prison system that he was appointed a field marshal in the Black Panther Party and tasked with recruiting more prisoners to its ranks. He became the figurehead of a political and intellectual movement located in American prisons. He captured the ways that people in prison were active participants in the social movements of his day. “There are still some blacks here who consider themselves criminals — but not many. Believe me, my friend, with the time and incentive that these brothers have to read, study, and think, you will find no class or category more aware, more embittered, desperate, or dedicated to the ultimate remedy — revolution. The most dedicated, the best of our kind — you’ll find them in the Folsoms, San Quentins, and Soledads. They live like there was no tomorrow. And for most of them there isn’t.”


    Jackson’s obdurate stance has made him a permanent foe of prison administrators, who fear that his words will incite rebellion. This is especially true in California. Officials there so fear the writings of its most famous prisoner that even now his books, both his incendiary and posthumously published text “Blood in my Eye,” as well as “Soledad Brother,” are verboten from state prisons. Possession of his writings could land a prisoner in indefinite solitary confinement on suspicion of gang membership, itself a punishable offense in California’s sprawling prison system.

  313. Pteryxx says

    A detailed longread from the Washington Post: Stop and Seize

    There have been 61,998 cash seizures made on highways and elsewhere since 9/11 without search warrants or indictments through the Equitable Sharing Program, totaling more than $2.5 billion. State and local authorities kept more than $1.7 billion of that while Justice, Homeland Security and other federal agencies received $800 million. Half of the seizures were below $8,800.

    Only a sixth of the seizures were legally challenged, in part because of the costs of legal action against the government. But in 41 percent of cases — 4,455 — where there was a challenge, the government agreed to return money. The appeals process took more than a year in 40 percent of those cases and often required owners of the cash to sign agreements not to sue police over the seizures.


    The Post obtained hundreds of Black Asphalt records from law enforcement sources with access to the system.

    Among Black Asphalt’s features is a section called BOLO, or “be on the lookout,” where police who join the network can post tips and hunches. In April, Aurora, Colo., police Officer James Waselkow pulled over a white Ford pickup for tinted windows. Waselkow said he thought the driver, a Mexican national, was suspicious in part because he wore a University of Wyoming cap.

    “He had no idea where he was going, what hotel he was staying in or who with,” Waselkow wrote. The officer searched the vehicle with the driver’s consent but found no contraband. But he was still suspicious, so he posted the driver’s license plate on Black Asphalt. “Released so someone else can locate the contraband,” he wrote. “Happy hunting!”


    Anderson denied having drugs or large amounts of cash in his car. He declined to give permission for a search. Frye then radioed for a drug-sniffing dog, and the driver had to wait another 36 minutes for the dog to arrive.

    “I’m just going to, basically, have you wait here,” Frye told Anderson.

    The dog arrived and the handler said it indicated the presence of drugs. But when they searched the car, none was found. They did find money: $25,180.

    Frye handcuffed Anderson and told him he was placing him under arrest.

    “In Nebraska, drug currency is illegal,” Frye said. “Let me tell you something, I’ve seized millions out here. When I say that, I mean millions. . . . This is what I do.”

    Frye suggested to Anderson that he might not have been aware of the money in his vehicle and began pressing him to sign a waiver relinquishing the cash, mentioning it at least five times over the next hour, the video shows.

    “You’re going to be given an opportunity to disclaim the currency,” Frye told Anderson. “To sign a form that says, ‘That is not my money. I don’t know anything about it. I don’t want to know anything about it. I don’t want to come back to court.’ ”

    Frye said that unless the driver agreed to give up the money, a prosecutor would “want to charge” him with a crime, “so that means you’ll go to jail.”

  314. Pteryxx says

    The New Yorker ran a piece on civil forfeiture last August: Taken

    Russell, who moonlighted locally as a country singer, told Henderson and Boatright that they had two options. They could face felony charges for “money laundering” and “child endangerment,” in which case they would go to jail and their children would be handed over to foster care. Or they could sign over their cash to the city of Tenaha, and get back on the road. “No criminal charges shall be filed,” a waiver she drafted read, “and our children shall not be turned over to CPS,” or Child Protective Services.

    “Where are we?” Boatright remembers thinking. “Is this some kind of foreign country, where they’re selling people’s kids off?” Holding her sixteen-month-old on her hip, she broke down in tears.

    Later, she learned that cash-for-freedom deals had become a point of pride for Tenaha, and that versions of the tactic were used across the country. “Be safe and keep up the good work,” the city marshal wrote to Washington, following a raft of complaints from out-of-town drivers who claimed that they had been stopped in Tenaha and stripped of cash, valuables, and, in at least one case, an infant child, without clear evidence of contraband.


    In general, you needn’t be found guilty to have your assets claimed by law enforcement; in some states, suspicion on a par with “probable cause” is sufficient. Nor must you be charged with a crime, or even be accused of one. Unlike criminal forfeiture, which requires that a person be convicted of an offense before his or her property is confiscated, civil forfeiture amounts to a lawsuit filed directly against a possession, regardless of its owner’s guilt or innocence.

    One result is the rise of improbable case names such as United States v. One Pearl Necklace and United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins. (Jennifer Boatright and Ron Henderson’s forfeiture was slugged State of Texas v. $6,037.) “The protections our Constitution usually affords are out the window,” Louis Rulli, a clinical law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a leading forfeiture expert, observes. A piece of property does not share the rights of a person. There’s no right to an attorney and, in most states, no presumption of innocence. Owners who wish to contest often find that the cost of hiring a lawyer far exceeds the value of their seized goods. Washington, D.C., charges up to twenty-five hundred dollars simply for the right to challenge a police seizure in court, which can take months or even years to resolve.

  315. rq says

    Arresting protesters in Ferguson again. They set up that bail fund Organize MO or something? Apparently they’ve bailed out 150 people over this time, already.
    Oh, and the reasons for the arrest? Cops told people to walk on sidewalk, blocked sidewalk with cars, arrested people for walking around them.

    Shane Bauer set up a storify of four days in Oakland, if that works for anyone (regarding the Urban Shield stuff).

    And Shane Bauer’s first Mother Jones article on the convention, presumably one of several. Haven’t had time to read it yet.

  316. rq says

    re: charges for the arrested protesters in Ferguson:
    “So the charges are “failure to comply” and… drumroll please: MANNER OF WALKING! What the entire fuck?!”

  317. Pteryxx says

    rq, that Shane Bauer article in #398 is when he was thrown out of the American Correctional Association convention (prison companies trade association) a couple of weeks ago, not the Urban Shield convention. Similar situation though.

  318. Pteryxx says

    A New Yorker piece on for-profit probation companies published this June: Get Out of Jail, Inc.

    “We’re no different than a payday or a title-loan company, if our central purpose is collections,” Stephen Wallace, a criminal-court judge in his thirties, added. The trend, Wallace pointed out, is rooted in a financial crisis facing America’s small courts. “The legislature cut budgets so drastically that the judiciary have to be debt collectors,” he said.”


    Both transparency and oversight are currently in short supply, however. This past February, Human Rights Watch published a report that catalogued problems endemic in private-probation services across the South, including “easy opportunities for corruption,” the wielding of “coercive power” against debtors and their families, and “Kafkaesque” electronic-monitoring sentences for minor crimes, which subject offenders to steep surveillance fees. The report found that these problems were “not a consequence of probation privatization per se” but what comes to pass when “public officials allow probation companies to profit by extracting fees directly from probationers, and then fail to exercise the kind of oversight needed to protect probationers from abusive and extortionate practices.”

    Last fall, I spoke with Jack Long, a Georgia attorney who filed a habeas petition on behalf of a client who, after stealing a two-dollar can of beer from a convenience store, was ordered to spend a year wearing an ankle bracelet operated by a company called Sentinel Offender Services. The man wound up owing more than a thousand dollars to the company in fees and late-payment penalties, and started selling his blood plasma to keep pace. It wasn’t enough. Eventually, a judge whose court had an exclusive contract with Sentinel jailed him for the unpaid fees.

  319. rq says

    Ah, my bad on that, then. I sort of assumed since he said he’d have an article up soon on this situation, too. *blush* That’s what I get for rushing Eldest to school at 8AM. :P


    So, apparently “manner of walking” means jaywalking in the Ferguson police lexicon. Just in case anyone was wondering how much swagger is acceptable on the street. :P

    Grand Jury: an atypical approach. So, in addition to meeting once a week (only?), the members are actually taking part in investigative work, too. In a sense, that’s a relief, since it’s not just McCullogh presenting his ‘evidence’. See?

    Instead of telling grand jury members what charges they believe police officer Darren Wilson should face, they are leaving it open-ended for now and involving the grand jury as co-investigators.

    The prosecutor’s office is also presenting evidence to the grand jury as soon as it receives it, rather than waiting until the St. Louis County Police Department and the FBI have completed their investigations. Police probes are typically completed before a case is presented to a grand jury, county officials said.

    Still no word on who they’re actually talking to, though. Ah, but they do:

    As a result, jurors in the Wilson case are hearing from every eyewitness, seeing every telling photo, viewing every relevant video, and reviewing all DNA, ballistics and other test results from county and FBI labs, said Ed Magee, a spokesman for county prosecutor Robert McCulloch. They will hear testimony from Dorian Johnson, the friend who was with Brown when he died, but it is unclear yet whether they will hear testimony from Wilson.

    So that’s good, too, if they stick to that and don’t try to discredit any of the witnesses using the usual stupidly mean tactics. And yeah, basically, it’s McCullogh covering his ass:

    “The prosecutor may want cover, which they can get by sharing the responsibility with the grand jury,” McGraugh said. “So when the public reacts to what does or does not happen, they can go back to the fact that the grand jury played a large role in the decision. They can say, ‘We let these jurors, who are your peers, hear what witnesses had to say. This was their decision.’ ”


    McCulloch declined to step aside, but he is not presenting evidence to the grand jury, which usually means he won’t try the case himself, Magee said. But he is supervising the two attorneys in his office — Sheila Whirley and Kathi Alizadeh — who are presenting to the grand jury.

    Which means he’s not actually presenting himself – is this a good thing? He’s still supervising, but that one degree of removal might – might? – be enough to get something more from this grand jury than the usual full acquittal and justification for Darren Wilson. In a few words:

    Whirley has been with the office since 2001 and is the highest-ranking African American among the five black attorneys in the 57-member office. Alizadeh has been with the office since 1988 and is supervising the sex crimes unit. She is white.

    Alizadeh is also presenting evidence to the grand jury and will prosecute the case if they decide to indict Wilson.

    So… we’ll see?

    Videotaping police officers can: get you arrested.

    He grabbed his iPad and ran outside, standing across the street as the cops surrounded the home dressed like soldiers, issuing orders through a megaphone.

    When they spotted him, they accused him of “interfering” and ordered him back inside. When he asserted his right to be there, he was arrested.

    He said he was jailed for interfering and resisting arrest, two bogus contempt-of-cop charges.

    Video at the link.

    Also, videotaping police officers can: be used against misbehaving cops, which, according to Roorda, is a bad, bad thing. (youtube video)

  320. rq says

  321. rq says

    Since I can’t open twitter at work (it was a tweet about NYPD police holding retraining sessions on de-escalation and such), I’ll pull quotes from the otehr links, in reverse order:
    From The Guardian, the author of the book on slavery linked to above:

    In a review of my book about slavery and capitalism published the other day, the Economist treated it the same way that the tourist enslavers treated the testimony of Frederick Douglass on that slave-era ship long ago. In doing so, the Economist revealed just how many white people remain reluctant to believe black people about the experience of being black. […]
    But the Economist didn’t apologize for dismissing what slaves said about slavery. That kind of arrogance remains part of a wider, more subtle pattern in how black testimony often gets treated – sometimes unknowingly – as less reliable than white. The Economist reviewer was saying that the key sources of my book, African Americans – black people – cannot be believed. [which sort of relates to the fact that most of the eye-witnesses in the MB shooting are black, except for the last two workers who came forward… it was presented as really, really important that they were white]
    If you write about the history of slavery, you become used to the pattern: No matter how many accounts you cite from ex-slaves, people often say they need more information before they can accept what former cotton pickers say about how cotton picking worked. And when we’re talking about contemporary events, the presumptive doubt is just as bad.

    That last paragraph – that sounds like an awfulyl familiar, and common, pattern… hyper-skepticism is born when you simply don’t want to believe who or what you’re hearing.

    From Salon, more on the smearing of Michael Brown’s reputation:

    On Thursday morning, human ewok Charles C. Johnson released “exclusive” photos from slain teenager Michael Brown’s Instagram account. Johnson’s article claims that the new photos disprove the narrative that Brown was nonviolent. “In stark contrast to the ‘gentle giant’ portrayed in the national media Brown’s social media accounts reveal a misogynistic young man obsessed with drugs, money, and violence,” he writes. “[Brown] described his interest in ‘money, weed, and weather’ on his Instagram.” He then shows pictures of Brown posing for the camera while black, which, for Johnson, is the most incriminating thing one can do. […] Johnson’s argument does nothing more than demonstrate the criminalization of black existence, such that a picture of Brown’s face is “proof” of his violent past.

    And yes, he wants those instagram photos presented to the grand jury as … yes, proof of Michael Brown’s violent past.

    From Channel 3000, just a short piece on the protest in Madison I twitter-linked yesterday:

    Madison organizers say beyond Ferguson, their rally is also meant to show solidarity for addressing Dane County’s racial disparity.

    Pointing directly to October 2013’s ‘Race To Equity’ report, they say large numbers of Dane County’s black population are still living in poverty, incarcerated, and not getting a proper education.

    One of the lead organizers, Madison native Matthew Braunginn, who grew up in a biracial home, says he has personally witnessed many of those statistics. Braunginn feels Ferguson should provide an example for Madisonians to take action in respect to lingering tensions.
    “This is a great opportunity to have people use this as a platform to discuss the issues of the day. And if it so happens police are that issue, that’s fine. We welcome it. That’s constitutional rights in action,” Koval said.
    Dane County’s NAACP is currently planning a summit regarding local law enforcement’s use of military equipment.

    That military equipment is suddenly very high on everyone’s priority and awareness lists. As it should be.

    From St Louis Post-Dispatch, a rather naive look at a concert that supposedly brings harmony to the community.

    Some felt their town had been unfairly maligned through three weeks of international coverage of protests, looting and “militarized police” following the shooting death of Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, by a white Ferguson police officer.

    “People love Ferguson. The national media made us look like a city in crisis,” Fletcher [a former mayor of St Louis] said. “We’re all heartbroken. I’ve been in tears.”
    [I wonder, is he white?]
    “Most of Ferguson is successfully integrated,” [Dan Duncan] said. “Now it’s become emblematic of a city that went wrong with race. It’s not true.” [*ahem*]

    “There’s too much violence in our city, period – with the cops, with the kids, black-on-black, whatever,” Owens said. “It feels like a lack of humanity sometimes and it’s sad.”

    My biggest issue is with the inclusion of that black-on-black, like it’s the same kind of institutionalised violence as police brutality. Like he doesn’t need to mention white-on-white crime. Yeah, whatever.

    Also from the St Louis Post-Dispatch, a portrait of Patricia Bynes (also @Patricialicious on twitter), a Ferguson Township Democratic Committewoman. She’s been active on twitter, and apparently she’s pretty amazing:

    “I can’t think of anyone who spent more time there than she did,” said St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley. “She was there every night trying to keep everything calm, telling the demonstrators ‘let’s not loot, let’s not rob.’” […] She returned to the trail the following year to support Irene J. Smith in an unsuccessful bid to unseat St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

    The experience proved to be an “awakening.”

    “The real power is at the local level,” Bynes said. “It determines what stores come to a community, the number of jobs. It determines the layout of a city.”

    Her work on the Smith campaign, along with involvement with several nonprofits — including a charter school — subsequently delivered an appointment on the Ferguson Township Democratic Committee, which includes nominating candidates in some elections.
    “People kept asking me if I was afraid,” she said. “I wasn’t afraid for myself. But I was afraid of what might happen to further damage the community. Because I live here and I had to live with the consequences of what happened.”

    Bynes also served as a guide — helping the curious who wandered into the protest zone only to discover they had ventured “in way over their heads” toward side streets providing a safe passage home.

    “She was the most selfless angel up there,” said Jane Dueker, an attorney, Democratic activist and chief of staff for former Missouri Gov. Bob Holden.
    Invitations to appear on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and, most famously, Fox News followed.

    A still shot of an incredulous Bynes looking askance at Fox host Sean Hannity went viral. As did an exchange during the same interview in which Bynes, responded to Hannity’s offer to “educate” her on police brutality with a curt, “I don’t need your kind of education.”
    “This is not going away like it has before,” Bynes vowed. “I want to see people take this justifiable, righteous anger to the next level. And to also involve people who added fuel to the fire by ignoring the situation.

    “We’re going to get the conversation about racism out there. The business community needs to address it, the politicians need to address it, we all need to address it. It is a poison that has seeped into every institution here and every one of us is suffering.”

    Dooley sees in Bynes the type of leadership the region needs to elevate the post-Ferguson discussion into forward-thinking action.

    “She gives me hope,” the county executive said. “She’s a young, engaged, smart African-American woman and that is exactly what is needed right now.”

    Dueker concurs, calling Bynes “a building block for the community. Having her there makes me think we can reach solutions.”
    What Bynes will do moving forward is again fall back on advice passed along long ago by her father.

    “Ask questions,” she said her father told her. “And don’t stop until you get the right answer.”

  322. rq says

    There’s a bit of a blockquote fail starting with ‘My biggest issue’… hope everything’s clear from there!

  323. says

    Is the NYPD lying about the fatal 2013 crash involving a police officer that killed Ryo Oyamada, a 24-year-old student from Japan?

    Newly released video from NYC Housing Authority security cameras in Queensbridge appears to show that the NYPD is lying about a fatal crash that killed a Japanese student last year and may have tried to cover up the incident by discarding further video evidence. Although the NYPD has refused to release any video—which they previously claimed shows the NYPD vehicle with its flashing lights engaged—attorney Steve Vaccaro has obtained video from NYCHA through a Freedom of Information Law request.
    Some facts are not in dispute. Ryo Oyamada, a 24-year-old student from Japan who was residing near the scene of the crash, was killed by Officer Darren Ilardi at approximately 12:40 a.m. on the morning of February 21st. It’s believed he was crossing 40th Avenue near the intersection of 10th Street when he was fatally struck by Illardi, who was on duty behind the wheel of an NYPD cruiser.
    NYPD representatives told Oyamada’s father, the NY Times, and a local community meeting that Officer Ilardi was responding to a 911 call and had his flashing lights on while driving down 40th Avenue. Witnesses, however, told Gothamist and other media outlets the NYPD cruiser’s flashing lights were not turned on until after the collision.
    Officer Ilardi said he was responding to a 911 report of a knife assault somewhere on 12th Street south of 40th Avenue. At the 1:42 mark on Camera 2, several NYPD officers are seen leaving a police van and walking south on 12th Street. Their gait does not suggest any degree of urgency. The 911 call was later determined to be unfounded.
    Radio transcripts and other evidence provided by the City suggest that Officer Ilardi was not assigned to the knife disturbance, nor did he tell anyone he was responding to an emergency. In fact, two other NYPD units had already been assigned to the call.
    When Officer Ilardi and his partner were interviewed by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau shortly after the collision, those officers “set about changing the testimony of the sole remaining known eyewitness to the crash other than Ilardi—Ilardi’s partner, Police Officer Carman,” court filings allege.
    The most striking aspect of the video released by NYCHA may be what it omits. Camera 1, previously seen sweeping to show a wide expanse of 40th Street—including much of the block where Oyamada was killed—does not sweep back to the east to show the crash scene. Instead, the footage provided by NYCHA ends with the NYPD cruiser passing out of frame.
    Asked about the edited video, Vaccaro says, “We surmise that when the NYPD came to [NYCHA] hours after the crash, NYCHA presumably said, ‘Okay, here is our footage,’ and then preserved an extract of what they supplied to the NYPD. Then, in the ordinary course of their business, they overwrote the video that preceded and follows that extract. We are in the process of confirming this.
    “My opinion, as someone who has looked at many videotape extracts taken by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad, is that this is not normal, that [the NYPD] would cut off the video right before it depicts the crash scene. Usually it’s an overgenerous sampling of video.” The NYCHA footage in the NYPD’s possession has not yet been made public.

    I know this isn’t related to Ferguson, but it is yet *another* example of police departments acting reprehensibly.

  324. rq says

    Good news! (no sarcasm) Only a little and too late, but Ferguson council makes sweeping changes to court system:

    [Ferguson City Council] also announced sweeping changes to its court system, which had been criticized as unfairly targeting low-income blacks, who had become trapped in a cycle of unpaid tickets and arrest warrants. […]
    Among other things, the Council was scheduled to vote on capping how much of the city’s revenue can come from fines. The city also announced a one-month window to quash pending warrants, a major victory for the activists and lawyers who had pressed for change and were expected to force the issue at Tuesday’s meeting. […]
    “The bench warrants and traffic fines were a regressive tax on the poor and criminalization of poverty,” Ms. Ho said. “If people no longer receive these charges, that’s huge: It keeps people from getting stuck in modern debtor’s prisons.”

    The Arch City Defenders, a nonprofit legal group, and law professors at the St. Louis University School of Law recently wrote a letter to the mayor, James Knowles III, asking him to waive all pending fines and warrants for nonviolent offenses. The letter said that the warrants served as barriers to employment and housing and that waiving them would be an important conciliatory gesture to the community. […]
    “The Council believes that this ordinance 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’s Council said in a statement. “We are hopeful that the Council’s clear statement will encourage the municipal judge and prosecutor to explore and utilize alternative methods of sentencing, such as community service, to punish violators and deter similar unlawful conduct.”

    The “best” part?

    Some of the fees the city planned to eliminate, such as the $50 charge to revoke a warrant, were illegal in the first place, Mr. Harvey said.

    Like, not just excessive, but illegal. Who’s going to pay for instituting that one?

    31 days after the shooting, people are still marching (the second comment under that photo is nasty).

    Rapper Talib Kweli speaks about threats to his life by Ferguson PD:

    Was my life threatened in Ferguson? Oh, yeah. I had a cop telling me he was going to blow ‘my (expletive) head off.’ I was with poet Jessica Care Moore and activist professor Rosa Clemente. We got chased, and people next to me got tackled. The cops were tackling people like lions tackle gazelles.