ACLU: Ferguson police report on Michael Brown’s death violates law | Yahoo

A police report on the death of Michael Brown is missing key information and violates Missouri open records laws, an ACLU attorney told Yahoo News on Friday.

The two-page document, which the Ferguson Police Department released only after pressure from journalists and civil liberties advocates, is largely redacted or left blank. The most egregious omissions are the victim’s name and a description of the offense – the fatal shooting of Brown. [Read more]

Ferguson Feeds Off the Poor: Three Warrants a Year Per Household | The Daily Beast

The Ferguson Police have now released a video that shows police Officer Darren Wilson receiving a commendation six months before he became known to the whole nation as the cop who gunned down an unarmed 18-year-old.

The irony is obvious to anyone who watches the footage of this proud young officer receiving the award at a ceremony in the City Council chamber as Ferguson’s six council members applaud. [Read more]

Black women are killed by police, too | Salon

It is impossible to turn my eyes away from Ferguson, Missouri.

As law enforcement continues to use military weapons to terrorize protesters seeking justice for slain teen Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, the ache in my soul is primitive and all-encompassing. [Read more]

A Former Marine Explains All the Weapons of War Being Used by Police in Ferguson | truthout

As smoke hangs over the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, it’s important to understand its source. Some of this understanding will require us to reassess the history of police militarization in the United States. This will mean acknowledging its origins in the aftermath of the Watts Riots (1965) and the birth of the SWAT team shortly thereafter. It will mean noting the conservative reaction to the Warren Court’s civil libertarian protections in the 1950s and 60s to President Nixon’s launching of the drug war at the end of that same tumultuous decade. It will mean harping on President Reagan’s wholehearted embrace of racial policing and mass incarceration in the 1980s. It will mean interrogating the devastating effects of the 1208 Program (1990), which became the 1033 Program (1996), both of which authorized the transfer of military hardware to domestic precincts, a practice that has only accelerated in the wake of the Battle of Seattle (1999) and the attacks of September 11, 2001. The basic contours of this trajectory can be found in Radley Balko’s Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces (2013). As Tamara K. Nopper and Mariame Kaba argue in Jacobin, however, any serious reckoning must account for the ongoing dehumanization of black people, tout court. [Read more]

Local Prosecutor Acts Like He is Darren Wilson’s Defense Attorney | PoliticusUSA

Amid the signs of a return to normalcy in Ferguson, it’s tempting to just move on to the next story.  Often, it’s “easier” to suggest that with the removal of outside agitators and the absence of dramatic film footage, the “problem” of Ferguson has been solved.

Actually, this overlooks the reasons for the protests. They began when eighteen year old Michael Brown was shot dead by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson PD police officer. Brown’s body was left uncovered for four hours. However, his death was the straw that broke the camel’s back, rather than the cause itself. [Read more]

Ferguson and Parallel Universes | The Nation

The radio host asked over the phone whether I was in Ferguson. “No,” I told him. “I’m watching the news unfold just like your listeners.”

By the time the first caller asked his question—why I and others were ignoring the role an “anti-social culture of thuggery or gangster rap” plays in teaching young people like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin to have no fear of consequences—the mistake in my assumption was clear. It seemed as if I was watching the news from Ferguson from a vantage point a universe away from that inhabited by host Jim Bohannon and, possibly, many of those who listened in on more than 500 stations nationwide Tuesday night. [Read more]

The Question in St. Louis County: Can Whites Empathize With Blacks? | The Daily Beast

So now, a grand jury sits in St. Louis County, taking testimony and parsing evidence. Yesterday we learned the racial makeup of that grand jury: nine whites, and three blacks. Which raises the obvious question: Can whites empathize with Michael Brown and the larger grievances Ferguson’s black community has with police? And can America more broadly value the experiences and concerns of black America enough to address them rather than dismiss them?

Arguably, many white people’s systematic inability to validate the experience of black America, let alone empathize, is in and of itself a profound version of racial bias. According to a poll released this week by Pew’s Center for People and the Press, 80 percent of black Americans think the shooting of an unarmed African American teenager in Ferguson “raises important issues about race.” Yet only 37 percent of white Americans agreed with the same sentiment; more whites (47 percent) think “race is getting more attention than it deserves.” [Read more]

Death in the suburbs: Why Ferguson’s tragedy is America’s story | Salon

A man in a black helmet and gas mask, assault rifle tucked at his side, shoots a fireball of tear gas into a dark, smoky sky. On the cover of the St. Louis Post Dispatch this Tuesday, the image looked like a still from a war movie.

Its setting, however, could not have been more banal: a six-lane blacktop, flanked with Sherwin-Williams, Sam’s Club, Burger King and other fixtures of suburbia. It’s called West Florissant Avenue, but check it out on Google Streetview: It might as well be Anywhere, U.S.A. [Read more]

The Two Very Different Worlds of Ferguson | Slate

We know the general public has widely divergent views of the Michael Brown shooting. In a recent Pew Research Center survey, 80 percent of blacks say that the shooting raises racial issues, compared to only 37 percent of whites. The same goes for views of police conduct toward the Ferguson protesters. Sixty-five percent of blacks say police went too far responding to protesters, compared to just 40 percent of whites.

When you consider the segregated lives of most blacks and most whites, this makes sense. Most white Americans live near other white Americans, and most black Americans live among blacks. Work notwithstanding, there’s not much overlap between the two worlds. [Read more]


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