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A Day in Ferguson, MO

I’m writing this post on Sunday night as chaos has just erupted once again in Ferguson, Missouri. And I’m sick to my stomach because I spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening in the town, joining the protestors, and my heart goes out to the community who are trying to keep it together while the world watches their town turn into a war zone every night.

You’ve probably been following the story, so I won’t go into the details. Mike Brown, and unarmed 18-year-old young black man, was killed by a police officer on Saturday, August 9 in the town of Ferguson, MO, a mostly black suburban neighborhood northwest of St. Louis. Every day and every night since the killing, citizens have taken to the streets in protest of this latest act of police brutality. The situations gets worse every night after dark as a highly militarized police force squares off against residents and protesters with tanks, riot gear, tear gas, rubber bullets, and sniper rifles, while looting and alleged gun violence have also erupted along the main strip.

That’s a very condensed version of the story, obviously. I live in Edwardsville, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. I’ve been watching the story unfold through our local NPR station and Twitter with horror. Our university community responded with a Town Hall to address the situation and its effects on our incoming students, young men and women, boys and girls, just like Mike Brown. On Saturday morning, I hit a bottom point of despair and, just then, I saw an email from Color of Change.org. It said to come march in Ferguson at 1pm. Not quite knowing what I was doing, having never taken part in a mass demonstration before, I packed a few boxes of granola bars to help give out to protesters and I went.

I arrived at 1pm to see smoke coming from the now infamous Quik Trip that had been looted and burned. There was a crowd there, and smoke coming from it. “Oh crap,” I thought. “What am I getting into?” As I got closer, I realized that the source of the smoke was several large barbecues. There was a huge operation going, with people making and handing out hamburgers, snacks, and bottles of water. I gave them my granola bars to add to the pile and went to find the march that was already underway.

Feeding the community in Ferguson

Feeding the community in Ferguson

The planned march was HUGE, peaceful, passioned, and full of people from all walks of life, as far as I could tell. People were clearly upset at the situation, as we chanted “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” and “No Justice, No Peace!” Volunteers were out along the march route directing traffic, handing out water and snacks, and there was just a sense of… togetherness. I don’t know quite how to describe it all, but I took lots and lots of photos and Vines along the way and posted to Twitter.

Marching in Ferguson

Marching in Ferguson

Later in the day, after some spontaneous direct action training with observers from Amnesty International and Organize MO, I went back to the Quik Trip where protesters were continuing to gather, eat, chant, waves signs, and even march up and down West Florissant. I joined in for a while, getting to listen to conversations and chat a bit with residents who were impassioned about the every day problem of racism, of the lack of justice for Mike Brown, and saddened by the situation unfolding in their community.

As evening approached, the police started to arrive en masse. Lines of officers, some in riot gear, lined up in front of the businesses on West. Florissant, and were treated to cries of “Is my son next?!” by the protesters. Some officers, however, walked in the impromptu march, chatting with protesters and trying to answer their questions. Soon, it was announced that a curfew was being put into effect in Ferguson from 12am-5am as a state of emergency was declared. Community leaders such as Antonio French and an organizer from the New Black Panthers made it clear over social media and with megaphones that they wanted everyone off the streets at midnight.

Protests continue at the Quik Trip

Protests continue at the Quik Trip

Meanwhile some of the Amnesty and OrganizeMO people met back at the church they were using as their headquarters to strategize how to deal with the curfew. The original plan was to start at the Quik Trip at 11pm and march down to street to the town of Dellwood, where the church was located, and continue protesting there. It made sense, since Ferguson itself is a small township that melds in with several other townships such as Dellwood. The protests would continue and not trespass on the curfew. Unfortunately, just as this was getting started, we got word that Dellwood was imposing a 10pm curfew. As the plan shifted to march towards another adjacent township, Jennings, we soon got word that it, too, had imposed a 10pm curfew. Ferguson was going to be boxed in so that by midnight, there would be nowhere else to go. After a quick training session on the role of observer and how to deal with tear gas and rubber bullets, the organizers decided their only choice was to stay in Ferguson and help whoever did decide to try and break the curfew. They were there to monitor police actions and provide assistance to those who needed it, physical, legal, emotional, mental, etc. Right at that moment, I realized that these people were heroes.

Filming the police

Filming the police

I managed to head back into Florissant before the neighboring curfews were instituted, and there was a sense of waiting all around the protest area. No one was quite sure how the curfew would go down. Again local community leaders (more heroes, IMO) like Antonio French worked hard to convince as many of their neighbors as possible that it was not worth a confrontation with the police to stay past the curfew. They wanted their neighbors SAFE. After all, it could all get started all over again at 5am as soon as the curfew broke.

The QT becomes a shelter against the rain

The QT becomes a shelter against the rain

I decided then that I would leave by the curfew, as the community leaders asked. After all, it was THEIR community and not mine, and the last thing I wanted was to be in the way. I had enough trouble earlier in the day deciding whether my presence was even appropriate, but the many thanks you’s from random citizens just for coming and taking part in the protests had already dispelled that. One more body in the crowd may not make a huge difference, but it is something. One more body helping to escalate tensions, however, would do no good.

I spent as much time as I could before I had to get out. Police were advancing, arguments among protesters were started and being diffused by designated peacekeepers and de-escalators, and several people said to me, with concern in their voice, “Go home. You don’t want to be here when it gets bad.”

The night before, local citizens were protecting businesses, without the help of riot gear.

The night before, local citizens were protecting businesses, without the help of riot gear.

I left finally at 11:30 feeling a bit guilty for doing so. Maybe I should pass myself off as media and stay in the “media pen”? But then am I condoning the restriction of the press? Would my presence help at all? Probably not, but my heart still broke when I watched the situation turn back to tear gas, rubber bullets, and even gunfire over the various livestreams, just as we’re watching again tonight.

I spent this morning looking back over my Twitter stream and photos and tried to process what went down. But I’m still not sure I can in any coherent way. That’s why this blog post has come off more like a report than I really wanted it to be. During the marches, during the protests, and even walking around the neighborhood, I felt empowered and I felt the power and frustration of the resident who were standing up to DO SOMETHING. I was warmed by the obvious dedication of the community leaders who are working day and night to unify their neighbors into positive action. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to get through to every single person, and they haven’t been able to stop the flux of incoming troublemakers who appear not to even be from the town. But they are there and they ARE heroes in my eyes, as are the observers and volunteers and even random protestors who came from all over the country to try and restore justice to Ferguson.

I don’t know how this is going to play out in the long run. Will there be more injuries and deaths? Will justice ever be found for Mike Brown? Will this affect long-term, positive change in communities across the US, or is it only going to make racial tensions worse?

I got a glimpse at a community fighting back against tyranny and the effects of centuries of oppression. But it was only a glimpse. If you are interested in learning the real story of what is happening down in Ferguson, I can point you to two sources in particular whose reporting of the situation closely matches what I saw there. Of course, there is the aforementioned Antonio French, who is fighting day in and day out for his community. There is also the liveblog and Twitter stream from St. Louis Public Radio who are really doing a great job at providing non-hysterical and well-rounded reporting.

If you are in the St. Louis are and you care about this at all, GO TO FERGUSON. Join the protestors and march. No, it’s not always pretty to see the lines of riot geared officers, the smashed windows, the anger and frustration on the faces of the people. But when I was marching, I felt welcomed. You will be, too, if you are there to listen, help, and stand in solidarity. You can also help Ferguson, and other communities in St. Louis, but donating a few hours to the St. Louis Food Bank. And, like I mentioned earlier, the protestors could always use more food and bottled water for the long days at nights.

If you are watching from afar, listen to the story, and be sure to spread the word about this situation as accurately as possible. Be careful what you retweet. You can also help the Brown family’s legal fund financially and the St. Louis Area Food Banks replenish the raided food pantries and replace the school lunches that children won’t be getting.

My thoughts to all in Ferguson. Please stay safe tonight and all nights to come. We’re thinking of you.

All photos and videos CC-BY-SA 4.0 by Nicole Gugliucci. That means you can use and adapt these photos as long as you attribute them properly and allow others to use them. 

Nicole

Nicole

Nicole is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at a small liberal arts college. Her home on the internet can be found at One Astronomer's Noise.

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32 Comments

  1. August 18, 2014 at 11:07 am —

    Thanks for posting this, Nicole. I’m watching from afar and am filled with so much emotion that I really can’t add anything of substance to the conversation. I just want to thank you to you and everyone up close taking part in these protests- it’s really important work that’s being done.

  2. August 18, 2014 at 11:48 am —

    It’s rather sad that this seems so familiar. We’ve had the same thing in South Africa so many times.

  3. August 18, 2014 at 12:26 pm —

    Thank you, Nicole. You might not think it, but you *are* a hero, along with everyone else trying to preserve freedom and democracy and justice, especially the citizens of Ferguson who are weathering this hurricane of oppression with such tremendous strength and dignity.

  4. August 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm —

    I strongly agree with protesters who demand a thorough investigation into the events surrounding Michael Brown’s death. I’m also tremendously concerned with the militarization of America’s law enforcement personnel. The results of that error have been demonstrated pretty clearly over the past week in the streets of Ferguson.

    I think it’s wrong, however, to characterize the events surrounding Micheal Brown’s death as “police brutality” before all the facts are known. This is not to suggest that police brutality doesn’t exist, or that poor minorities aren’t more likely to be mistreated by police authorities than those with the resources to bring a suit (although that’s becoming less and less a protection). But right now all we know for sure about the encounter between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson is that eyewitness accounts–a variety of evidence that has been shown on this very blog to be unreliable even when the witness doesn’t have an agenda–differ from official reports.

    I think it prudent to have all the facts before making such claims, especially in a case with such high stakes.

    • August 18, 2014 at 4:58 pm —

      I think enough facts are known to be discussing “police brutality”: unarmed teen shot in the head. That’s enough for me to have a discussion about brutality.

      • August 18, 2014 at 6:58 pm —

        The recent treatment of protestors is also police brutality, but it’s what happens when you treat the police as if they’re the military. (There is a place for SWAT teams, but it’s for dealing with terrorists and such, not peaceful activists.)

        • August 18, 2014 at 10:38 pm —

          Throwing Molotov cocktails and looting are not the typical activities of peaceful activists. I might be convinced, given the right arguments, that throwing a Molotov cocktail is a defensive tactic, but not looting.

          There’s plenty of blame to go around. None of which will help solve the immediate problem of Ferguson residents cowering in their homes trying to explain to terrified children that they won’t be hurt by all the explosions, shooting and shouting.

          Nonetheless, my comment was about the author’s characterization of the specifics of Michael Brown’s shooting.

      • August 18, 2014 at 10:47 pm —

        All I’m saying is we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Frame of mind and intent are important. Do you know what Darrin Wilson and Michael Brown were thinking in the moments leading up to the shooting? If you had a gun and a man as large as Michael Brown made it clear he intended to harm you what would be going through your mind? What would you do?

        • August 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm —

          I don’t know what I would do, but I don’t have any police/force training. If the training police are receiving for that scenario includes “shoot him in the head”, I think that’s a problem of excessive force. And if the training doesn’t include that but he did it any way, I think that’s murder.

          It’s true that we don’t have all of the information, but shooting an unarmed man in the head leads toward certain conclusions. And I don’t think getting to those conclusions requires jumping.

          • August 19, 2014 at 5:59 am

            “I don’t know what I would do, but I don’t have any police/force training. If the training police are receiving for that scenario includes “shoot him in the head”, I think that’s a problem of excessive force.”

            What scenario do you mean?

            Just to be clear, I don’t claim any special knowledge about what happened either, but let’s assume the official story is accurate. A 6′ 4″, 290 lb man has already physically attacked the cop, even attempting to get the cop’s gun, and now he’s made it clear he intends to do so again. Does the cop in this situation have a reasonable fear for his life?

            I don’t think you need any special training to answer that question. Nor do I believe you need special training to understand a person (cop or no) in fear for his life has every right to defend himself. I understand self-defense is often used to justify police shootings, some of which are extremely fishy when looking at a given situation in its entirety, but that doesn’t mean it’s ALWAYS wrong for a cop to kill another person in self defence.

          • August 19, 2014 at 8:28 am

            I see where we differ: I believe that police officers should be trained to deal with people who are physically larger than themselves and unarmed and you don’t think you need that to determine how to respond. We fundamentally disagree. Let’s leave it at that.

            What I would do doesn’t matter. I’m not going to answer that question, so stop asking me. It doesn’t add anything to the discussion and it is unknowable. Besides which, every decision I make in the heat of the moment isn’t one I’m proud of, so even if the answer is “I shoot him repeatedly in the head”, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be police brutality.

          • August 19, 2014 at 10:40 am

            “What I would do doesn’t matter. I’m not going to answer that question, so stop asking me.”

            ?? I only asked you once.

            “I believe that police officers should be trained to deal with people who are physically larger than themselves and unarmed and you don’t think you need that to determine how to respond. ”

            Bullshit. I never said cops shouldn’t be trained to deal with potentially life-threatening situations. On the contrary: I believe they should be required to do everything possible to preserve the safety of others, even those they reasonably believe may have committed a crime.

            At the same time, I can envision a circumstance when a cop may have to use deadly force against an unarmed person.

            “…even if the answer is ‘I shoot him repeatedly in the head’…”

            Is shooting another human “brutal?” Yes, it is. But I don’t believe a cop shooting someone in self defense is “police brutality” as the term is generally understood. Do you disagree with that?

            Once you’ve decided there is a need to use a gun to protect your own life then you shoot to kill, and you keep shooting until you believe you have ended the threat. Did Darren Wilson shoot out of fear or malice? If he shot out of fear did his negligence create the situation in which deadly force was required? I don’t think we have enough information to answer these questions.

            The bottom line for me is that Darren Wilson deserves the same presumption of innocence as Michael Brown. Until the facts are known it shouldn’t be assumed either did anything criminal.

      • August 21, 2014 at 6:23 am —

        It’s ok to have a discussion ABOUT police brutality given the context you mentioned. It is not ok to flat out LABEL the original incident as police brutality given what little we know about the investigation so far, especially without even hearing the officer’s official side of the story. I just don’t understand how doing so is taking the skeptical route.

    • August 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm —

      You’re not wrong, Boomer. I’m not the judge nor jury in the case. However, like Displaced Northerner said, all that we have seen is quite indicative of brutality in the original shooting. Although witness testimony alone can be suspect, I’m having trouble seeing a side of this, taking what we know into account, in which the officer didn’t overstep his bounds in use of lethal force. Also, brutality goes beyond just use of physical force and can include verbal attacks as well.

      In a perfect justice system, a well-researched court trial would be the final arbiter of that, but of course, we don’t live in that world.

  5. August 19, 2014 at 10:03 am —

    You may believe what you wish about what the police are doing in Ferguson, but how exactly do you explain that they have asked the 13 Amnesty International observers (the first time AI has ever sent observers within the US BTW) to stop observing? How is gassing the media who were inside of the ridiculous media pens warranted? Social media is showing the lie to the “for the public safety” cover that is too often swallowed as whole truth, it seems to come in handy not just in Syria and Egypt.

    There has been some looting , but the reports I have seen indicate that those who are doing most of the looting are from outside of Ferguson (of the nine that were charged for Monday’s looting for example, only two from Ferguson proper) and that the protesters themselves were actually stopping the looting. Does that change things in any way?

    There is a long history of this sort of public disregard by authorities, often along racial lines in this country, from the Tulsa race riots of 1921 where residential areas were firebombed from the air, to the MOVE standoff in 1985 Philadelphia that lead to the bombing of a residential neighborhood by police, to the LA riots in 1992 sparked by the brutal beating of a handcuffed black man and the acquittal of his police attackers. This situation is not exactly the same it’s true, but the history that has lead us here can’t be forgotten and the police should damned well know it at this point. Sure they are using sound cannons and CS gas instead of water hoses and incendiary bombs but the basic idea, that your first amendment rights only apply when you aren’t angry or black, is abundantly clear.

    tl;dr If you show up ready for war, don’t be surprised when a war breaks out.

    • August 19, 2014 at 10:25 am —

      Shit, I was going to add links.

      1921 Tulsa Race Riots
      1985 MOVE standoff
      1992 LA Riots

    • August 19, 2014 at 1:41 pm —

      I agree completely. The official response to this situation has been deplorable, if not constitutionally illegal. There’s been a “temporary” no-fly zone implemented over Ferguson (in the name of officer safety, dontcha know) since just a few days after the first protests began, preventing the press from getting a better understanding of the full police response. Gov. Nixon just reinstated it. Not only that, but reporters have been arrested for not following orders and/or for not keeping to certain areas… Because safety. It’s hard to believe authorities are able to get away with such blatant disregard of the law–everyone seems to be just accepting it.

      Showing up wearing military gear, pointing loaded weapons and gassing peaceful protesters while looters and vandals run wild doesn’t seem the best approach to engendering trust in the residents of Ferguson. They’ve now started denying citizens the right to even stop or stand near the QT store that was burned and served as the rallying point for protesters. Cops say they are dispersing the crowds because some are throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at cops, but I believe that sort of thing wouldn’t be happening if the cops weren’t trying to “control” a peaceful protest. At the same time, there is some evidence to suggest some of the violence and looting is an organized effort to keep the media interested. If that’s true then fuck those scumbags.

      Regarding the official investigation of the shooting: Trashing the victim is usually the first move in the typical police CYA playbook. The second is to not release detailed information about the actual incident itself. To be honest, I heard rumors that Brown had been involved in a robbery the day after he was shot (I live near STL as well). My first reaction to the rumors was to think it nothing more than racist ranting. Needless to say, I was very surprised when the video showing the robbery was released, mainly because I would’ve expected authorities to release it immediately. Beyond giving the cop a reason to detain Brown and Johnson in the first place, of course, the robbery isn’t really germane to whether the shooting was justified or not, and a strong-arm robbery certainly doesn’t justify an execution. But it certainly does tend to reinforce stereotypes, not to mention diverting attention from the officer among those who harbor stereotypes…

      At the same time, calling for the arrest of Darren Wilson doesn’t make any sense. If this were one citizen shooting another (like the Travon Martin case) I can see arresting the shooter. That’s not the case here. A police officer carries a weapon and is expected to use it in self defense when necessary. As long as there’s no reasonable suspicion Wilson committed a crime and/or is a danger to society at large (a history of misconduct plus strong forensic evidence, the accusation of a fellow officer, etc.), under Missouri law I don’t believe he can be arrested until a Grand Jury convenes. This is an unreasonable demand, and those calling for it should know better–they’re just playing to the crowd. If Wilson DID shoot Brown in cold blood he should be arrested and prosecuted. But just like anyone else, he deserves the due process of law (which includes a presumption of innocence).

      As I said, there is more than enough blame to go around.

      • August 19, 2014 at 2:30 pm —

        You’re right that calling for the officer’s arrest at this time is legally inappropriate and the fact that he is being paid during the investigation (which some have balked at) is probably a union regulation that can’t be changed. Revenge could be served that way but it wouldn’t actually be justice, but still there are a couple of issues I have nagging at me.

        The first is the disparity between Darren Wilson’s version of events and that of several eyewitnesses. If the officer’s story is correct I can almost understand his actions, I still think they were way excessive, but the case could be made. But if the eyewitness accounts are correct, if Michael Brown was running away before stopping and simply turning around, I’m not sure how that force used can be justified.

        And the second and biggest issue I have, one we can’t know the answer to for sure, is if Michael Brown were white would he be alive today? I have a suspicion that is nagging at my consciousness brought on by a society that deems a young black man as an automatic threat, one that may have conditioned the officer to truly see Mr. Brown charging him even while he was standing still, and one that subconsciously discounted that young man’s worth. It makes me weep for what we have become to tell you the truth, and I am not sure exactly what to do about it. But something must be done, something, but what?

        • August 19, 2014 at 3:07 pm —

          Reminding angry protesters at this point that arresting Wilson would be illegal won’t help, especially considering the cops seem so willing to bend/break other laws (restrictions on speech, press, assembly, etc.) when it suits their needs.

          I strongly suspect the truth of the shooting lies somewhere between the two stories. For example: witnesses who say Brown was running away while the cop shot at him could easily be confused; they heard the shot as the two struggled in the car, looked up, and saw Brown and Johnson running. To these witnesses, the cop appeared to be shooting at the pair as they ran. I’m not claiming this as fact, but I can see how it could happen that way.

          To be honest, for all my misgivings about the militarization of police and the concomitant disregard for individual rights, I do have a problem believing a cop shot someone who was surrendering in broad daylight. To me (my viewpoint), this is an extraordinary claim, and like all extraordinary claims will require extraordinary evidence to support.

          I feel your pain regarding the race issue. I’m not black, and although I didn’t grow up in a rose garden, I don’t think I can imagine what it must be like to grow up black in Ferguson, MO. Race relations around here are dismal (in my opinion).

          I don’t know what can be done to repair the racial rift, but the solution to avoiding dangerous social unrest following a police shooting (or any interaction between police/citizens) is to require all cops to wear body cameras–no exceptions. The devices should be tamper proof, and the rules should include stiff penalties for any attempts by officers to tamper. It would be much easier to divine the truth of Michael Brown’s shooting if Darren Wilson had been wearing a camera.

          Cops who argue against this common sense measure are idiots.

          • August 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm

            Just to be clear, I am white as well but I can see the writing on the wall.

            As for the account, some of that should be brought out by the autopsies (three as of now) and the investigations. Determining whether Brown was approaching or fleeing, facing Wilson or facing away, etc. and using corroborating testimony and reports should clear things up. But then some people still believe the was a second shooter in Dallas despite all the evidence so who knows.

            The camera idea is a good one, it worked for traffic stops it should work here. I’m not sure I would say all cops who are against it are idiots, they may not like the idea of being always monitored for any number of reasons from corruption (fuck them) to laziness (that’s too bad) to fear of reprisal for everyday conversations (say with a partner, which I would say is a real concern) or who knows what else. I would suspect that for most it’s a knee-jerk reaction to being told your boss will know everything you do, I feel I would balk at that myself.

          • August 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm

            A friend said to me, “One person’s extraordinary claim is another’s day-to-day life.”

            Here’s a small sample: http://www.salon.com/2013/08/22/10_shocking_examples_of_police_killing_innocent_people_in_the_war_on_drugs_partner/

          • August 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm

            Nicole- articles like the Salon one you linked to are important for providing context for the anger people are feeling with regards to Ferguson. It’s not one incident, it’s a disturbing pattern.

          • August 19, 2014 at 10:13 pm

            None of the cases described in the Salon article are about a cop shooting someone in broad daylight for nothing more than disrespecting the cop, which is the claim in the case of Michael Brown.

            I can’t even express how sad and angry it makes me that no-knock raids for the purpose of serving search warrants for suspected drug offenses are even legal in my country, the supposed land of the free. I just read today the fuckers in Atlanta that seriously injured a sleeping toddler with a stun grenade are refusing to pay his medical bills.

            I’m opposed to no-knock raids because of the danger posed by introducing violence and confusion to what are usually non-violent situations. Cops go into these raids with weapons drawn, ready to shoot anyone they perceive as a threat, and they sometimes make deadly mistakes. Policies which value the preservation of evidence above the safety of people only suspected of committing a crime–and any innocents that may be present–must end. They must end because innocent people dying as a result of them is no longer extraordinary.

            From what I’ve heard, the people calling for Darren Wilson’s arrest don’t believe he made a mistake amid the chaos of serving a search warrant. Instead, they appear to believe he committed a purposeful, brutal, wanton act of murder because someone responded to him disrespectfully. The fact this such an extraordinary claim is precisely the reason people are rioting.

          • August 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

            Actually, the reason there is rioting is because peaceful protests were met with military-like force and an extreme lack of compassion.

            The fact that the killing happened during the day might make malice forethought less likely but it does not rule out a mistake or incompetence.

          • August 20, 2014 at 8:18 am

            You’re right, I was being hyperbolic. Nevertheless, the pros for cops wearing cameras far outweigh the cons. In one case complaints against cops dropped nearly 90% when they started wearing body cameras. One might argue that’s because they behaved better knowing they were constantly watched, but it’s gotta be a load off not constantly worrying about the next brutality claim.

    • August 19, 2014 at 1:52 pm —

      BTW, this is the kind of thing that makes it hard to give cops the benefit of the doubt (written by cop and Adjunct Professor of Homeland Security and Criminal Justice at Colorado Technical University Sunil Dutta) :

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/08/19/im-a-cop-if-you-dont-want-to-get-hurt-dont-challenge-me/

      Excerpt:

      “Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?”

      He’s not wrong, he’s just an asshole. Bowing to authority is probably the safest response, but it also makes it all but impossible to exercise your constitutional rights.

      • August 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm —

        But he forgot the biggest one, don’t be a person of color. If you’re not a PoC all the others will be given leeway.

  6. August 19, 2014 at 2:53 pm —

    That’s a lot of words to just say “#notallwhiteys”

  7. August 21, 2014 at 6:14 am —

    Referring to the original incident of the shooting of Michael Brown as “police brutality,” before the full investigation is complete and the details are released is very unskeptical. I’m highly disappointed.

    • August 21, 2014 at 9:31 am —

      Yes, we wouldn’t want to offend the cop that killed an unarmed kid.

      Relax, we are not on the grand jury, our opinion that the excessive violence against Michael Brown constitutes police brutality does not constitute a definition, simply an opinion. And I will call it what I wish to call it which is murder plain and simple, not calling it by a specific name does not change what it is or what it represents. You are welcomed to be “very skeptical” of the term if you wish, just know that it comes across as dismissive of the victims and that you should proceed with caution. Just an opinion.

      • August 22, 2014 at 12:35 am —

        If you prepared to argue that, without qualification, ANY instance of a cop shooting dead an unarmed person is murder and police brutality, regardless of ANY extenuating circumstances leading up to it, I am not prepared to go there because it’s very unlikely we would come to any kind of common ground.

        I am still waiting for more information as to how the original physical confrontation started and what prompted Officer Wilson to begin shooting at Michael Brown, before I choose to call this an instance of “police brutality” or “murder.” If you think my belief that, given only what we know so far, the most appropriate reaction is a reservation of judgement, is being dismissive, I guess we just have a fundamental difference of opinion.

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