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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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Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

So, from what some of what I’m reading in comments and articles and tumblr (I remembered my old password) the pro-police people are saying the protesters were gassed because they had begun to loot a McDonald’s, which locked down and called for help. What the protesters were ‘looting’ is milk to cleanse the eyes of tear gas victims.

My blood. It is boiling. As an activist myself, I am so sick of only seeing the side of those in power represented on the mainstream media. The people who are defending those cops don’t even know what they are talking about.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

The video is dark and hard to see but it apparently depicts police throwing gas at people who are in their own yards. https://vine.co/v/M3iWetEFMPu

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

Just watched the video, and that is very obviously an armored vehicle rolling through a residential neighborhood and launching either smoke bombs or tear gas at people. That is just unconscionable.

Also, in my Tumblr adventures tonight, I have found this quote by Charles Clymer and I have to share: “White people might be afraid of being accused of racism, but people of color are afraid of being killed because of it.” (Note: I also appreciate the line this is a play off of. The oppression of all minorities are so closely intertwined that the concept of choosing to fight for only one group doesn’t even make sense to me.)

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

“Looting” is such a disgusting, racialized term. Look at the way it was used in the wake of Katrina, where white people were described as having “found” food and other necessities while black people were described as having “looted” them. Except same images, person towing stuff through flooded city, but difference descriptions of what they were doing based on race.

cloudiah
6 years ago

I remember in the wake of the LA uprising following the Rodney King verdicts, I was visiting my fairly conservative relatives in San Diego and we got into a discussion (which was probably a mistake) about “looting” — and I got totally unexpected support from my Baptist cousin-in-law. She said, “I saw a man on TV, and he was coming out of a grocery store with a big box of Pampers and a jug of milk. I can’t begrudge any parent doing what they need to do to take care of their babies when all heck is breaking loose outside.” I’ve always been fond of her since that day.

cloudiah
6 years ago

And not to be too ominous, but I hear “calling in the National Guard” and it evokes US labor history for me. Traditionally, the National Guard was called in when the powers-that-be expected to have to use violence against strikers and were afraid their local police would be reluctant to shoot at the people they saw every day.

On the other hand, it appears that local law enforcement are all too willing to shoot at the people they see every day, as long as they’re Black.

Maybe it’s just not possible to be too ominous about this situation.

Shadow
Shadow
6 years ago

Maybe it’s just not possible to be too ominous about this situation.

I don’t see how the way this has unfolded can cause anyone to think otherwise. You know what’s sad? The moment that I had some genuine hope that things would get better is when that senator got tear gassed. I thought (with no small amount of disgusted cynicism) that here was something that can’t. and won’t, be ignored. And yet, here we are.

When the press are being so blatantly and openly threatened and suppressed and things still don’t change, everyone really has to take a long, hard look at the Land of the Free.

maistrechat
6 years ago

So, while the reddit crowd was initially fairly sympathetic towards the protestors, the hivemind has taken a strong turn the other direction. Just like with the Martin shooting, the physical size of the murdered teen keeps growing (I saw a highly upvoted comment claiming Martin was over seven feet tall) and the racism keeps getting stronger and stronger.

The whole thing looks like a tragic version of the ending of the Blues Brothers, where the “law enforcement” attempts keep escalating and escalating to absurd heights totally out of proportion to what is actually going on and creating more and more havok in the process.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

So, women can’t be allowed to care about a black guy being shot? Well, fuck that noise. This woman (a pastor!) was shot with a rubber bullet while praying for peace and justice at a demo. (And yes, she’s also white!)

Social justice is a feminist issue, even if a given issue doesn’t immediately concern women. And racism is an issue that white people can and MUST deal with, along with sexism, LGBT-phobias, etc. These issues are all not only parallel, they are intersectional. So dealing with them intersectionally and in parallel makes perfect sense; after all, bigotries tend to cluster, so why shouldn’t the responses to them? All anyone has to do is make the mental connections…and do what they’d want someone else doing for them if they were in the same boat. (Which we all are, of course — even if it doesn’t appear that way at first.)

If a woman gets blamed for a man raping her, an LGBT person gets bashed for “upsetting” the homophobes, Palestinians are getting bombed out of house and home in Gaza because Hamas this and that, and a black kid gets blamed for a white cop shooting him, it’s obvious that there are things in common here. The problem is victim-blaming, either way. That’s an injustice by definition, and it cannot be left unaddressed. Or unprotested.

BTW: This is from the Onion, but it hurts too much to laugh…this sort of mindset is all too likely exactly what kids like Mike Brown and Trayvon have to deal with all the time. All the same, it points up just how ridiculous and impossible it is to go blaming victims. If you have the stomach, or just need a sardonic laugh, go ahead and read.

Otherwise, there’s this:

(Apologies if anything I’ve linked has been posted already; I’ve been offline for the last few days due to a lightning strike that fried my phone line and modem, and just got back on last night. I’ve been skimming the threads and playing catch-up. Hope I haven’t stepped on anyone’s toes!)

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

I wish I had the money and support network that would allow me to travel to protest, but I don’t. Even if I did, as an asthmatic I am afraid of dying from being tear gassed or pepper sprayed. That or just getting shot to death by cops. One day, I’m going to have to get over that and just do it anyway. Things have gotten so out of hand in this country.

That little boy could have died. These nonlethal weapons aren’t nonlethal in all cases and our police force does not care.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

The grocery store has released the video showing Brown paying for the cigars.

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

The store owners are very concerned that they are going to be targeted by the police.

Tasha Batsford
6 years ago

It was a brave move on their part from everything I have read … I applaud them for it.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

This past weekend, our older son went to visit a friend of his. When it was time to come home, his dad (my husband) was away and couldn’t pick him up. So he walked home.

When he got home, I made sure to text my husband to let him know he’d gotten home all right. We were both quite relieved.

This is how we live today. We don’t teach them fear, but the fact that they don’t leave the house that often doesn’t seem like the biggest problem.

Phoenician in a time of Romans
Phoenician in a time of Romans
6 years ago

The grocery store has released the video showing Brown paying for the cigars.

Wow – do you think anyone in the police force will be held to account for lying about the situation?

Yeah – I can hear the cynical laughter from here…

strivingally
6 years ago

[Content note: violence, medical ickiness]

Aaaaand the (external) autopsy report appears to show no signs of a struggle and matches more closely with eyewitness reports that Brown had his hands up and his head down, then it does with the police account of the incident. The lawyers are saying it’s proof that he was surrendering when shot, but the medical examiner is hedging his bets and saying it’s not impossible he was charging into the cop with his head down.

Source: Michael Brown shooting: family says autopsy shows teenager was surrendering when killed

No wonder the authorities didn’t release all the info at once. None of it seems to be helping them much.

The grocery store has released the video showing Brown paying for the cigars.

Is there a link for that, bewilderness? If that’s confirmed it pretty much destroys the entire police attempt to circumstantially incriminate Brown after the fact.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

The grocery store has released the video showing Brown paying for the cigars.

Oh boy, would I ever love to see that. Gonna see what teh googlez coughs up for me.

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

I thought I saw an article confirming that Michael Brown paid for the cigars last night, but I was so exhausted and burnt out that I went to sleep instead of following up. Now I can’t find any of the links. For the sake of those who might be following along, could you post a link thebewilderness?

For anyone who enjoys biting wit in these troubled times, here is John Oliver’s take on this.

Unimaginative
6 years ago

Here’s one take of the video of Brown apparently paying: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1017210083

Here’s Popehat talking about why the alleged robbery may or may not matter if Wilson is ever charged: http://www.popehat.com/2014/08/17/lawsplainer-how-mike-browns-alleged-robbery-of-a-liquor-store-matters-and-how-it-doesnt/#more-22589

In sum: it’s irrelevant, and serves only to muddy the waters, at which it may succeed.

strivingally
6 years ago

And here’s an article about the problems with Ferguson PD’s need for cash and how it contributes to harassment of black people. On top of the other background stories that have come out about the town, this definitely contributes to the picture of a place where black people have a reason to fear the police overstepping their authority.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

The grocery store has released the video showing Brown paying for the cigars.

Ho
Lee
Shit

I thought it was shameful and dishonest that they used shoplifting as an excuse for killing a teenager. These cops are scum. They shouldn’t be putting people in prison. They show be put in prison.

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

The video of Michael Brown paying for the cigars is irrelevant to the case, true. But it does prove just how dishonest the police have been in their dealings during this case and that is important evidence. Everyone should know just how deeply their manipulation and lies run. I couldn’t even find an article about Michael Brown’s innocence when I googled it, and that just infuriates me. One of these mainstream news sites need to be on top of the truth.

All right, I’m going to read the rest of these links now.

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

I meant to say the video was irrelevant to Michael Brown’s murder, but not irrelevant to the actions of the police. Just to clarify.

strivingally
6 years ago

It gets better (and by better, of course, I mean much worse). The prosecutor who’d ultimately make the decision about whether to charge Darren Wilson, and what with, is the same guy who’s worked closely with the police for 23 years and whose father was a cop, killed in the line of duty. Oh also he slammed the decision to replace the local PD cops with State troopers, claiming it was an insult to the police officers.

Funnily enough there’s a big push from the community to try and get a special prosecutor appointed, and take this guy off the case. For some wacky reason they think he might be a little biased in favour of the police.

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

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

Jon Oliver said it well. Even if he stole the cigars, it would be completely irrelevent. Theft does not get the death penalty. Literally the only reason it was brought up at all was because the police needed to find some way to subtly hint that Michael somehow deserved it.

Basically this.

I’m white. I was given a small sword by a friend that I carried home one night. I was swinging it around for fun (I know), and somebody driving by must have called the police. Not only was I not shot (or even cuffed or really threatened), but after explaining what I was doing and being called an idiot, the police officer drove me home and gave me back the sword without filing a report.

Fuck. The. Police.

Shadow
Shadow
6 years ago

There’re few people that can bring a smile to my face even when the topic is so damn depressing. John Oliver stands tall among the greats in that list.

To add on to the “theft/=death penalty” point: “Jackson gave no further information about the incident that led to Brown being shot multiple times, but revealed that the 18-year-old was the lead suspect in a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store, where a box of Swisher Sweets cigars valued at $48.99 was stolen and a clerk was allegedly shoved.”

I’d like to reiterate that: lead suspect in a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store, where a box of Swisher Sweets cigars valued at $48.99 was stolen and a clerk was allegedly shoved

An 18 yr old teen is dead, and their justification is that he might have stole some Swishas and pushed someone. Are you fucking kidding me!!

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

That video is fascinating and I hope it’s either authenticated or debunked soon. The thing is, Brown’s friend said they did steal the cigars. If the video of Brown paying him is real, why the inconsistency? Was the friend intimidated into making a false confession?

Of course, as everyone else said it doesn’t matter if Michael Brown shoplifted because the penalty for that is not death. I’m just curious.

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

From the Popehat article that Unimaginative linked us to, I want to share the following paragraph;

Whether or not they released the surveillance video in response to a public records request, as they claim, the Ferguson Police Department undoubtedly knew that the news would reach the pool of prospective jurors in any criminal or civil case against Officer Wilson, telling them facts that they might not hear in court. They knew that the media would run with the story, and that the media would run with it multiple times: first to report it, then to ask why the police released it, and possibly a third time in a mock-self-critical analysis of whether they were played. The effect in the public’s mind is to emphasize the point Mike Brown was a robber, with the subtext so he probably had it coming.

And this,

The alleged robbery matters because nearly everyone accepts the subtext that a robber deserves to be shot even if he’s unarmed. People who say “look, he was a robber” accept it, as do the people gleefully digging through Mike Brown’s life to find things to dirty him up3 But more insidiously, many of Mike Brown’s champions accept the narrative of just deserts as well. When Mike Brown’s supporters say that he had no record, that he was a high-school graduate, that he was never in any trouble, and that he was going to college, they advance the narrative that because of these things he did not deserve to be shot as he stood, unarmed, attempting to surrender. This implies that had been a dropout with a record, he might have deserved it.

I was just guilty of trying to prove that Mike Brown wasn’t a bad kid, but it absolutely shouldn’t matter. Of course, I think most of those who are trying to assert he wasn’t bad are doing so to retaliate against all of the people who are actively trying to make him look worse than he was, but that doesn’t mean it’s an ideal response.

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

WWTH: To be honest, I’m just as curious as you are. I just want the facts, and seeing a situation like this where there is just so much shifty business going around is really frustrating. I want to yell “JUST TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED SO I CAN DEAL WITH THIS, DAMN IT!!!”

Angry protesters, I relate to thee.

Robert
Robert
6 years ago

This is a very good point – some of the defense of Brown / criticism of the police has followed the script of ‘some people do deserve to be shot down in the street *but he wasn’t one of them*’. There are very few people I would put in the first group; nobody unarmed would qualify.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

The cops arrested a holocaust survivor and aimed their weapons at people from Amnesty International. They have threatened journalists and I don’t know what they’ll do next. I knew it got bad during Occupy. I still didn’t think it could get this bad. They’re using sound cannons in residential areas where children live. This is inhuman.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

I’m not sure if anyone else has linked this, it came up as a suggestion in my Tumblr feed:
http://iftheygunnedmedown.tumblr.com/

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

There are white people on Twitter saying that the protesters shouldn’t have protested if they didn’t want to get tear gassed.

Fuck those people.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

Doesn’t your constitution have something about the right to freedom of assembly?

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Yes. It explicitly says that in the 1st amendment. The same amendment that supposedly guarantees free press.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

pallygirl,
We haven’t had that for over a decade now. It’s on paper, but in practice it’s a very different story.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

Just remember, we only bomb other countries to give them the same freedom we enjoy here.

/s

oraclenine
oraclenine
6 years ago

I just got called a ‘racewhore’ and a ‘liberal hack’ in the Ed Show’s twitter stream by someone who earlier said they were hoping-

Let me find it again-

“hoping they will send the military to stop these animals from burning down their towns”

Then they hashtagged it #furgeson. Can’t be bothered to learn to spell the name of the town and call peaceful protesters animals.

All in all I think the fact this person disapproves of me is a great compliment.

Lea
Lea
6 years ago

It’s only a matter of time before the cops start using drones on us too.

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

I am about to rant it up here, but I will try my hardest to stay coherent.

In my opinion, limiting freedom to assemble so that it essentially ends at midnight means Americans only have freedom to assemble during certain hours of the day. This is how you step on someone’s toes. No adult appreciates being told they have to be inside by midnight. What makes it worse is I just KNOW that if they kept all those militant toys and costumes out of the equation, most people would have been back home by midnight of their own free will! Unless you amp a crowd up by physically threatening their well being people tend to get tired and head home around ten. Under normal conditions, only the most dedicated people would remain by midnight. When I was involved in Madison’s mass protests against Scott Walker, protests that lasted for months, cops were usually stationed like security guards in there normal uniforms and left everyone alone. When the cops were friendly, the protesters were friendly in turn. And vice versa. Protesters in Madison were at their most aggressive only when unlawful shit was going down. When bills were passed with half the house out of state and only Republicans in attendance, that’s when we got pushy. When we were told to leave the capitol building because our presence was an inconvenience, that’s when shit started to get tense.

This situation in Ferguson is even worse because a young man was murdered (a far greater trauma than corrupt politics) by the very authorities who are paid to control the citizens. The people are both more afraid and angrier than my peers in Madison (and rightly so) while the police are acting more like the invading army in Red Dawn than local police officers. I might be a particularly reactive person in that I respond very strongly to the body language and energy around me, but everyone responds to the energy around them in some way. And when the atmosphere resounds with the injustice of having a police force who has murdered one of your own set against your community only because the community has raised it’s voice in protest of that very murder? It’s more injustice than anyone should ever be expected to bear, and yet it is the protesters who have been, are still being, treated like the enemy here! This tension is the fault of those who have abused their positions of power, meaning the the police. It is unjust that the protesters are the ones being made to pay for those sins.

As for the press, keeping them in one small spot where they can’t even film half of what’s occurring is not freedom of press. It’s censorship. But it gets worse. When I was watching the live feed of Ferguson tonight the police department were stating that the reason the press had to be controlled is because the press was inciting violence. The press! Not the tanks, guns, tear gas, or straight up murder of the innocent; oh no, clearly those crazy young hoodlums just want their chance to be on TV. Those manipulative mangy shitlords. They know better, but they’ll never let on because they can cause harm for as long as they can feign ignorance. Oh, and one last tidbit; Fergusons police department wants to review their approach toward media presence, but not because they are wrong. They think limiting the media further will quiet dissent. I want to run screaming into a dark cave right now, so if anyone feels the same I can promise you company.

Just one more thing. The first amendment is getting trounced here, but if anyone even glanced in the direction of gun rights right now 2nd amendment folk would lose their mind. And that just eats at me because the second amendment only guarantees the right to bear arms. If we made every gun except shotguns and hunting rifles illegal people would still have their right to bear arms. Yet those people who are soooo worried about perceived limitations on their prized second amendment? Who claim that they are the ones who really truly adore and follow the constitution? Where are they when a critical amendment is in danger? On the side doing the oppressing, that’s where.

Okay, I think I’ve exhausted myself. I got a little emotional for a while there, but it’s safe to approach now. Carry on.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

I’m really sorry for you guys in the US. The rest of us have had police fuck up, but your police fuck ups seem to be a feature and not a bug. 🙁

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

Shadow and Kirby Warp, I’m glad to know that I at least managed to bring some appropriate humor and good points to this open thread. Praise be to John Oliver!

I’m not being the best conversationalist here, and I do apologize for that. When I get wrapped up in a major case of Social Injustice I get a little lost. I’ll work on that, I promise.

Pabu
Pabu
6 years ago

Pallygirl: America just has this military culture that causes strife for all us Americans who don’t secretly want to be warlords, or married to one.

I often quote the Rise Against lyric; “Something I can’t change/ I was born in a place/ That lives by the sword.” I should consider myself lucky to live in a first world nation, but I wish I was born in literally any other first world country instead. With maybe one exception.

strivingally
6 years ago

As far as music appropriate to this situation goes, I’m torn between The Expatriate Act, by The World/Inferno Friendship Society…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQqZQj2ag5o&w=420&h=315%5D

strivingally
6 years ago

… or Handlebars by Flobots.

“I can hand out a million vaccinations
Or let ’em all die in exasperation,
Have ’em all healed of their lacerations
Or have ’em all killed in assassinations.
I can have anybody sent to prison just because I don’t like ’em,
I have it all at my command, I can do anything with no permission…”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLUX0y4EptA&w=560&h=315%5D

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

Lea | August 19, 2014 at 1:20 am

It’s only a matter of time before the cops start using drones on us too.

Well, yeah. They already have them in the air, spying on us. It’s only a matter of time before they arm them.

I wish I was kidding.

Howard Bannister
6 years ago

So much of the media is being so disappointing right now–repeating back police claims without the slightest critical thought, repeating completely irrelevant details… like, say, that Michael Brown had been smoking pot. Sometime in the last… well, probably in the last week, but potentially in the last ten months. (if that’s confusing to you, Wiki has a good explanation of the difficulties of telling just how much pot a person had, and when they had it)

Which is totally irrelevant to the story.

Six shots from a distance–that’s the official autopsy report by the police. That’s the fact that we should be talking about. But we’re not.

So it’s nice when one of the media actually starts talking about the details that matter.

Shaun DarthBatman Day
6 years ago

How do I upload an image from my computer?

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

If you want to share an image to this blog, you’ll need to use a sharing site such as Flickr or Tumblr. Then paste the link into your comment.

Ally S
6 years ago

@Shaun

On WordPress? You can’t do that, unfortunately. You need to upload an image to hosting website like imgur or photobucket first and then link to the image in your comment.