Reporter Arrested In Ferguson Absolutely Destroys Joe Scarborough Over Criticism | PoliticusUSA

During Thursday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough decided to criticize Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery over his actions that led to his arrest in Ferguson Wednesday evening. Lowery, along with Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly, was arrested while sitting and writing in a McDonald’s in Ferguson. Lowery filmed the encounter with the police officer and posted it when he was released from custody hours later. The actions of the St. Louis County and Ferguson police towards media and protesters on Wednesday night caused Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to relieve local law enforcement and bring in state and federal police and authorities. [Read more]

How Did America’s Police Get So Militarized? | Mother Jones

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott’s handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot. [Read more]

How Police Are Keeping Journalists From Doing Their Jobs in Ferguson | National Post

“I want to get you out of here,” a St. Louis County police officer tells me and my colleague Reena Flores as we try to walk down the sidewalk to cover Wednesday night’s protests for National Journal.

“No,” I reply.

“Come forward please for your safety,” he says again. [Read more]

The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson | The Intercept

The intensive militarization of America’s police forces is a serious menace about which a small number of people have been loudly warning for years, with little attention or traction. In a 2007 paper on “the blurring distinctions between the police and military institutions and between war and law enforcement,” the criminal justice professor Peter Kraska defined “police militarization” as “the process whereby civilian police increasingly draw from, and pattern themselves around, the tenets of militarism and the military model.” [Read more]

Rep. Steve King says the Ferguson P.D. can’t be racially profiling because everyone there is black | Salon

On Wednesday, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said there was no need to be concerned about racial profiling on the part of the Ferguson police because the protesters are all of one “continental origin.” He was talking about North America … right? That has to be it.

He appeared on Newsmax TV yesterday to discuss the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Congressional Black Caucus’ call for the Department of Justice to investigate a history of racial profiling by the town’s police. [Read more]

Echoes of Michael Brown’s Death in St. Louis’s Racially Charged Past | The Atlantic

When I was a kid growing up in St. Louis, my friends and I were willfully blind to everything but baseball. Our holy place was Sportsman’s Park, the brooding, gothic pile of steel on St. Louis’s North Side, where the city’s two professional baseball teams, the Cardinals and the Browns, played. From the outside on a dark night, the ballpark loomed up like a cathedral, a study in hooded arches. At first you glimpsed only flashes of green sliced by rusting steel columns. It took a minute to adjust to this—baseball was still in black and white on television, and here was a new world of blinding whites and greens. The chalky basepaths and the balls themselves seemed to be an unworldly, incandescent white. [Read more]

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot:” Peaceful Protests Across the Country Last Night | Mother Jones

After four nights of heavy-handed police response, a missing-in-action governor and the general appearance of a war zone, things were much calmer in Ferguson, MO, Thursday night. Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald Johnson was put in charge, and he pledged to strike a more respectful tone with protesters. It showed in the images that poured out of the small town north of St. Louis and other rallies around the country, many using the #NMOS14 hash tag to honor victims of police brutality. [Read more]

Jaywalking? | MSNBC

When Thomas Jackson, the police chief of Ferguson, Missouri, talked to reporters this morning, it was mostly to give information about Michael Brown, not the shooting that killed Michael Brown. Jackson shared the name of the officer who shot the unarmed teen, Darren Wilson, but also released details about Brown allegedly stealing cigars from a convenience store shortly before his death. [Read more]

Meet the St. Louis Alderman Who’s Keeping an Eye on Ferguson’s Cops | Mother Jones

If you watched some truly jaw-dropping Vines of tear-gassing and smoke-bomb-throwing from Ferguson this week, chances are they came from Antonio French, the social-media-loving St. Louis alderman who’s been spending lots of time with the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, since the shooting of Michael Brown. He also spent a night in jail after Ferguson police arrested him late Wednesday, initially without giving a reason and later saying it was for “unlawful assembly.” (He captured the moment of his arrest in a Vine, naturally.) French still hasn’t been given any documents related to his arrest, but he’s back to keeping his Twitter followers—there are now nearly 80,000 of them—up to speed on what’s happening on the ground. [Read more]

Ferguson’s citizen journalists revealed the value of an undeniable video | The Guardian

In Ferguson, Missouri this week, the public has turned the notion of “see something, say something” back on the state, via a digital tool of enormous power: online pictures and video. Their efforts – which began days before reporters descended when Twitter user @TheePharaoh posted pictures immediately after a police officer killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown – have helped bring international attention to both Brown’s death and law enforcement’s disproportionate response to the ensuing protests. [Read more]

Tape Everything | Slate

If you’ve ever had the distinct displeasure of calling a customer service hotline, you’ve probably heard a soothing voice tell you that “this call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes.” It can be comforting to know that there is, in theory, at least, someone out there monitoring customer service representatives who make life more difficult rather than less. Customer service representatives dealing with abusive customers can take comfort in this kind of monitoring too, as it can shield them from false accusations of bad behavior. By reviewing recordings of calls gone wrong and calls gone right, meanwhile, trainees can learn from the sometimes trying experiences of others. What’s not to like? [Read more]

Ferguson’s weaponized cops and America’s long, ugly history of police violence | Salon

What we have witnessed over the past week in Ferguson, Missouri, represents the collision of two sinister forces in American society: the widespread militarization of police forces from coast to coast, and the long and sordid history of police violence against African-Americans in particular, and any and all threats to the dominant social and economic order in general. These things are connected, to be sure. Both can be described as reflecting a paranoid and profoundly racist worldview that has long been endemic within American nationalism, the worldview that connects the Know-Nothings and slavery defenders of the 19th century to J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthy, Strom Thurmond and the Tea Party. [Read more]

We Created a Policing Monster By Mistake | Mother Jones

Although I’ve avoided writing about Ferguson for private reasons, I almost wrote a short post yesterday in order to make one specific point. But it turns out to be OK that I didn’t, because Annie Lowrey wrote it for me and did a better job than I would have.

The point of her post is simple: Two decades ago violent crime really was out of control, and it seemed reasonable to a lot of people that police needed to respond in a much more forceful way. We can argue forever about whether militarizing our police forces was an appropriate response to higher crime rates, but at least it was an understandable motivation. Later, police militarization got a further boost from 9/11, and again, that was at least an understandable response. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog