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Open Thread: The death of Michael Brown and the situation in #Ferguson

Police_Shooting_Missouri-0fe27

Beyond appalling.

Please post useful links, pics, videos. I will update this post with more.

Video of demonstration, police firing teargas and rubber bullets.

Ferguson Is 60 Percent Black. Virtually All Its Cops Are White.

Elon James White Twitter feed

Google News Realtime coverage of Ferguson

 

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blahlistic (@blahlistic)

@ redpoppy..i saw one of those open- carry, “come and take it” bumperstickers on my way to work, and…
. It occurred to me that if you replaced the cannon on said sticker with a strap- on- dildo, the meaning of the slogan would * really *change …

Someone linked an app that might be useful for NYC dwellers.
http://www.nyclu.org/app
I’m hoping that other regional versions, or a national clearinghouse, will come about.

blahlistic (@blahlistic)

Sorry, will can further topic deviations. Unfortunately, I have a very gruesome sense of humor, will stow. Sorry.

redpoppy
redpoppy
6 years ago

@blahlistic– LOL I would love a bumper sticker like that.

katz
6 years ago

Blahlistic, yeah, I’d appreciate you not joking around on this thread. But feel free to go over and put it in the general open thread.

redpoppy
redpoppy
6 years ago

Sorry, too!

Nequam
Nequam
6 years ago

The cops have decided people shouldn’t protest after sundown.

There’s some kind of gallows humor joke to be made about sundown towns here, but I think if I tried I would start screaming until nothing came out but blood.

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

Speaking from outside the US, I’ve always been gobsmacked at the levels of violence by cops there. My bedside table usually has a crime novel of one sort or another, I used to think that the casual corruption and extreme violence was there for dramatic effect. Not for a while now.

The one thing that struck me like a bolt of lightning, given my perspective, was that when the Ferguson cops called in the St Louis County people, they turned up with a SWAT team of 70, read that again SEVENTY, officers. I doubt very much that South Australia even has 70 swat trained officers, let alone available at a moment’s notice. (Then I checked. The population of the Adelaide + suburbs region is 1.2 million. for St Louis County it’s just over 1 million.)

The second thing has also struck a lot of other people. The parallels to the 60s and 70s. Lousy Canuck included one side-by-side pair of images that a few other people have used. http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2014/08/13/rachel-maddow-on-the-record-of-racial-disparity-in-ferguson/

Though I suspect that any attempt to poke flowers in the barrels of those guns would meet with exactly the same reaction the action would have got 50 years ago if it had been the black protesters rather than the college kid war protesters. (Though I always admired those people – I think they were dealing with National Guard rather than local cops, which can make a difference.)

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

Speaking of cops with guns. Has anyone yet come up with a coherent explanation for the blokes on top of that vehicle pointing their guns at an unarmed group of people?

Why?

It looks like something from Cairo or Syria.

blahlistic (@blahlistic)

It’s not that I don’t feel outrage, either. But it’s also that…I spent my 20’s marching around about stuff like this. Discrimination in the justice system, police brutality.
It. Never. Fucking. Goes. Away, it seems like.

We’ve made a stunning amount of progress on LGBT stuff, probably because LGBT stuff isn’t as big a threat to the power structure as advertised.
But systemic discrimination based on skin color, police abuse of power…
It really disgusts me that we can’t move past this shit.
If I run around outraged all the time, I make my health even worse. And the shit does not get any more fixed.

How does one deal with outrage that just keeps on festering?

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

It’s related to the pathologizing of black men that happens in the US, and the the police are especially awful about. The comment I made about the kid with the puppy wasn’t a joke, there really was a recent case where a 14 year old black boy was tackled to the ground by the cops when he was just standing there holding a puppy, and the justification given was that the cops thought he was looking at them in a threatening way. You have to have a lot of preexisting socialization that pathologizes black boys as violent and dangerous in order for something like that to happen and the cops to think that’s an acceptable reason to give for attacking a child. Minus the pathologizing attitude towards young black boys it’s hard to think of a less threatening image than “child with puppy”, but American society frames black boys as scary and dangerous all the time, and that attitude is then used to justify use of force in situations where that force would otherwise be seen as completely unreasonable. You see it in the way sentencing is handled too, with black boys not being given the sort of leeway that kids are normally given and being framed as if they were older and more responsible for their actions and more dangerous than boys of other races of the same age.

So yeah, the cops here are more violent than in a lot of other places in general, but in terms of the incident that started all this it’s not just about that, it’s specifically about the way that American society frames black boys and young black men, and the way the cops think they can get away with acting as a result of that.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

You see it to a lesser extent with black girls and women too, with the cops sometimes being physically aggressive towards them in a way that most people would see as outrageous if directed at a white woman, or even more so at a white little girl. It’s in that context that you can have the image mildlymagnificent describes above show up and not have the entire country have the same reaction to it she’s having.

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

it’s hard to think of a less threatening image than “child with puppy”, but American society frames black boys as scary and dangerous all the time, and that attitude is then used to justify use of force in situations where that force would otherwise be seen as completely unreasonable.

But a fair average quality police officer who’s been _trained_ to keep in touch with the community would use such a golden opportunity to establish or enhance relationships. And there are very few interactions less loaded than “I used to have a dog when I was your age. It was fun.” or “I’ve got one like that at home, but she’s mostly tan. She’s three years old now.” or “How old is yours?” or other normal, predictable Awwww, cuuute, conversations everyone engages in when there are big-eyed puppies involved.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

They’re not, though. In fact all available evidence appears to point to them being trained to think that viewing a black child just standing there holding a puppy as a potential violent criminal is normal and reasonable.

Shadow
Shadow
6 years ago

@mildlymagnificent

But a fair average quality police officer who’s been _trained_ to keep in touch with the community would use such a golden opportunity to establish or enhance relationships. And there are very few interactions less loaded than “I used to have a dog when I was your age. It was fun.” or “I’ve got one like that at home, but she’s mostly tan. She’s three years old now.” or “How old is yours?” or other normal, predictable Awwww, cuuute, conversations everyone engages in when there are big-eyed puppies involved.

The problem is, POC are not seen as part of the community by so many precincts and cops. This is especially true for Black and Latin@ communities. That sort of interaction is reserved for White boys and girls. POC are not part of the community, we are the suspects. Cops are much more likely to cultivate relationships with informants than they are to cultivate a relationship as the protectors they’re supposed to be

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

And I wish we could brush this off as just being a problem with the police, but it isn’t. The way the police relate to black boys and men is both a product of the surrounding society and sustained by it. Seeing white people react to random black men who’re just walking around minding their own business with visible fear was one of the strangest things about moving to the US for the first time for me. This idea that black people, especially men, are inherently scary and dangerous is really deeply embedded in American culture.

blahlistic (@blahlistic)

…fearing black or darker people is reacting to a false signal. Trusting white or light-skinned people is also reacting to a false signal.
It is a totally useless way to determine whether a person is a threat or not. Simply from a threat- evaluation perspective, it’s useless data

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

I don’t know why the surprise reading this. But I’m not just shocked, I am also surprised.

This tweet was linked by a commenter on a Pharyngula thread. https://twitter.com/yarens1/status/499781723970740225/photo/1

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

http://wearecitizenradio.com/

Citizen Radio is covering the police brutality.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

Warning:
Citizen Radio does mostly chat and comedy for the first 20 or so minutes of the show.

Tells you everything you need to know about racial politics in the US.

Honestly, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often, given that the police seem to murder black men all the fucking time.

Johanna Roberts
6 years ago

I hope everyone in the area is staying clear of and is safe from the police. This is tragic and the jerkass who did it needs to be brought to justice. That poor boy, his friends and family…

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
6 years ago

This morning is the first time my local news has mentioned Ferguson. And they merely deemed the situation to be “violent protests” without appropriately identifying who is perpetuating most of the violence — the police. Alderman French has been arrested, a state senator was tear gassed Monday night as she stood with peaceful protestors, they shot tear gas at the Al Jazeera news van while they attempted to set up their cameras to report, they’re shooting rubber bullets at peaceful protestors, they’re arresting journalists, they’ve instituted a no fly zone above the city….this is infuriating and terrifying.

Chie Satonaka
Chie Satonaka
6 years ago

And listening to “progressive radio” all morning — they are talking Ferguson on Bill Press all week, then Stephanie Miller starts and opens every single show with Robin Williams talk. WHAT THE FUCK.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

I forgot to add “QFT”.

Bonelady
Bonelady
6 years ago

This makes me so sad. I grew up in very sheltered circumstances compared to most of the other Americans posting here, in a small rural community 50 years ago (I’m 59), where I was raised to regard the police as my friends. Over the past 30 years or so, that attitude has eroded almost totally. When we as a society frame our metaphors as warfare, however, we get war rather than protection. When we have a war on crime or a war on drugs, we should not be surprised when we get a police force who consider themselves soldiers, and anyone who is not them as being the enemy. It affects the types of people who apply for the job, who is selected, how they are trained, and how they do their job. I think this metaphor goes back to Prohibition at least, if not farther, and will not be easy to change, but we must change it if we are going to prevent this needless and senseless killing and abuse of minorities. Sorry for the screed…

cloudiah
6 years ago

Slept through most of this discussion. It’s so infuriating. The racism, the militarization of the police, just everything.

Thanks, David for the Open Thread, and thanks to Shadow for posting that Clap video.

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

Last month I finally sat down and watched Fruitvale Station.

All I can think of is the Martin Luther King quote… “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

we should not be surprised when we get a police force who consider themselves soldiers, and anyone who is not them as being the enemy. It affects the types of people who apply for the job, who is selected, how they are trained, and how they do their job. I think this metaphor goes back to Prohibition at least, if not farther, and will not be easy to change, but we must change it if we are going to prevent this needless and senseless killing and abuse of minorities.

Glad someone has the same vaguely uncomfortable feeling I’ve often had – that a lot of bad attitudes around policing in the US have their origins way back in Prohibition.

Though it’s worth looking at what some real military folk think of the “militarisation” as shown in Ferguson. https://storify.com/AthertonKD/veterans-on-ferguson?utm_content=storify-pingback&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&awesm=sfy.co_hpXF&utm_source=direct-sfy.co&utm_campaign

Takeaway quotes …

The general consensus here: if this is militarization, it’s the shittiest, least-trained, least professional military in the world,

A few people have pointed it out, but our ROE regarding who we could point weapons at in Afghanistan was more restrictive than cops in MO.

pecunium
6 years ago
mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

Thanks for that.

I was thinking about you when I read those observations from other soldiers.

Lids
6 years ago

Ugh what is happening there is so fucked up. I know as a white person I can never really understand or feel the same way POC (especially black people) feel about cops, but god I fucking hate them anyways. I can’t not hate cops when I see what they do to people. Cops are supposed to be justice and this? This is not justice. All the thousands of other unprovoked attacks on black people? Not justice. So while I can’t fear and hate them in the same way because I am white, god I can still fucking hate them. I hope this situation prompts a better governance for police – someone should be able (and willing) to stop police from overstepping themselves and hurting people who did nothing and who they know did nothing. Anyways, my thoughts are with Michael’s family and the community of Ferguson.

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

The first bit of sensible, if not good, news out of Ferguson.

The St Louis County Police will be relieved of duty in Ferguson and replaced by State and Federal officers. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/14/1321549/-Missouri-Governor-announces-St-Louis-County-Police-to-be-relieved-of-their-duties-in-Ferguson

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

One ironic note. The killing of Michael Brown was the first and only homicide in Ferguson this year.

cloudiah
6 years ago

Things that don’t get you shot in the US if you’re a white man: pointing weapons at federal officers.

Someone should start a tumblr. Maybe there already is one.

Ally S
6 years ago

The perpetrator is now being fully doxxed by Anonymous. His full name has already been released. Oh shit.

pecunium
6 years ago

Worse, they have doxxed the wrong person.

Bonelady
Bonelady
6 years ago

Something I should have included above-that although law enforcement in tha US has taken on a military metaphor, many of its personnel have no real experience wirh rhe real military and base their metaphor on TV, movies and military fiction, which have varying degrees of accuracy, which is probably why veterans are finding this situation so foreign, I think. (Goodness, what a sentence.) Ferguson would probably be better off if the Army was in charge of law enforcement. (I think it was in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (book, not movie) that all police had to be military veterans.)

strivingally
6 years ago

!

It’s early, but this is the tweet of the day. RT @XaiaX: Looters stealing camera equipment in Ferguson: pic.twitter.com/Q2GmGVY84z— daveweigel (@daveweigel) August 14, 2014

freemage
freemage
6 years ago

Meanwhile, right next door in Illinois, the local ACLU came out with a study showing that PoC drivers are far more likely to be asked to consent to a search of their car, far more likely to grant consent, and far LESS likely for such a search to yield actual contraband. (Similar stats, BTW, apply to dog-sniff searches.) The police officials interviewed insist that there’s no racial profiling going on, and that there’s no intimidation factor driving the higher rate of consent granted–but then you look at Ferguson, and realize that there’s no way Mike Brown’s name is NOT going through the head of a person of color who has just been pulled over on a random stop. The police brass needs to understand, and account for in training, that the intimidation factor is there, no matter what the officer is doing, and the officer needs to moderate his behavior to account for that.

strivingally
6 years ago

Just to be clear, the link I put up earlier depicts this incident: Al-Jazeera America crew fired upon with tear gas, police take down their equipment.

FIRST AMENDMENT WOOHOO

jared
jared
6 years ago

What I find troubling is the secretiveness of the police. It seems based on what I have read that information on what actually happened, what was the reason for the shooting, and more info on the officer who shot. It troubles me that the Ferguson police department seems like they are hiding information to the public. In addition their police department is virtually all white in a town that has a large African American population.

I think that Obama is going to begin a federal investigation into this matter and have the FBI start an investigation. The problem is these police officers in Ferguson have been shooting rubber bullets on the crowd which was filmed on TV. It reminded me of the “occupy wall street” protests in 2011 where the police shot tear gas into a throng of protesters.

All the rubber bullets do is exacerbate the problem and get people more angry and scared. It does absolutely no good to shoot rubber bullets on a peaceful non violent group protesting as they are protected under the US constitution.

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

This has got to be one of the worst pieces of racist atrocity in recent history. I have been ashamed by so many things that the US has done from slavery, Vietnam, Nicaragua, etc. etc. etc. that it is difficult for me to feel more ashamed, but I plan to try. The comparison with the way the WHITE Bundy criminals were handled with kid gloves is appropriate — and they are the people who are always complaining about “jack-booted Federal thugs.” Fifty years from now people may look back at Ferguson the same way they look back at Bull Connor and the Birmingham police using dogs and fire hoses on civil rights demonstrators in 1963 or the Chicago police riot at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 — incidents that provoked a national revulsion and brought about some degree of positive change.
We elect our first black President and a young man murdered by police for walking while black — it makes my mind reel.
The ironic thing is that it seems like racism is beginning to lose its grip, particularly among young people. But that simply makes older racist people, including many cops, even more desperate in their racism. Obama’s election caused a lot of racist whites, seeing that so many other whites voted for him, to feel that the country as they know it was slipping away, and that has brought oceans of anger and hatred out of the shadows.
I just hope that every fair-minded person will look at Ferguson and want to vomit, and that this WILL turn out to be some kind of turning point in the understanding of just how prevalent and devastating racism in the US is.

Ally S
6 years ago

Fifty years from now people may look back at Ferguson the same way they look back at Bull Connor and the Birmingham police using dogs and fire hoses on civil rights demonstrators in 1963 or the Chicago police riot at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 — incidents that provoked a national revulsion and brought about some degree of positive change.

I think you’re right.

Ally S
6 years ago

Twitter has suspended the account that was posting the info about the St. Louis police department.

Ally S
6 years ago

Also, today there is supposed to be a nationwide Moment of Silence vigil, and now all of the event pages regarding the vigil have been deleted. All of them. This is quickly becoming frightening.

GrumpyOldMan
6 years ago

Ally, I HOPE I’m right. If I’m not, I can’t think of what it would take to wake this country up.

Ally S
6 years ago

Sorry, I should amend that. What I meant to say is that this whole situation is becoming more and more frightening by the hour. I don’t want to downplay the terror and despair that the people of Ferguson are facing. I’m a WOC, but I don’t suffer from antiblackness, and even non-black POC need to be careful in not silencing the voices of black POC.

freemage
freemage
6 years ago

You know something else that hurts? When I was in high school and college, I knew guys who went into the police academy. One of them was easily the most fair-minded, easy-going, sincerely good people I ever had the honor to meet. The notion that, over the years, he might’ve become a cop like we’re seeing here, or that he might’ve at least turned a blind eye to other cops like that, chills me to the bone.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

I’m concerned that if Obama speaks about this, the right will be become even more adamant that Michael had it coming and the protesters are savage beasts. On the one hand, I think he should speak up about this issue. Because it’s an important national issue. On the other hand, look what happened when Obama said “Trayvon Martin could be my son.”