Ferguson protests would be more peaceful without the police

I’m convinced at this point that the protests would be a lot more peaceful without a police presence.  The protesters are justifiably angry, and the presence of the militarized Ferguson PD last week amplified those tensions (you really don’t need military grade weaponry to ensure the safety of protesters in a small middle American town).  The use of tear gas, the LRAD sound cannon, and rubber bullets is inflaming tensions. The community already feels as if law enforcement doesn’t care about them, and this is only solidifying those opinions.  Add in the fact that there continues to be no word on the detainment of Darren Wilson, and the community is not pleased with the actions of the police and National Guard.  

It is also important to remember that the press has been treated poorly as well.  Being shoved around, arrested, and threatened, members of the press have had their Constitutional rights infringed.  The actions of the police and National Guard are shameful.

Here is another roundup of links about the situation in Ferguson:

Protester wanted to help out, gets hit with tear gas instead:

The atmosphere in Ferguson is growing more tense after shots were fired near where protesters were gathering. News 4 was able to interview a protester from Austin, Texas who was hit by tear gas.

“I wasn’t there when it (tear gas) was initially fired,” Billy, a protester in Ferguson said. “I was coming back to help people.”

Billy said he had been following the events in Ferguson, saw the way protesters were being treated, and decided to travel to Ferguson to help.

“I felt like I needed to come,” he said. During the evening, Billy was hit by tear gas deployed by police. With eyes watering, he continued saying his biggest concern was helping younger citizens deal with their emotions.

 

Ferguson images by photojournalist Scott Olson.  Olson was one of the journalists who were arrested by police.  

 

Instagram photo of a man hit with tear gas.  I hope I’m never hit with this stuff.  Remember, tear gas has been banned in wartime, yet the police and National Guard think it’s just fine to use against civilian protesters.  

Tweets:

Photojournalist down.

Timothy Burke

So what happens now that the police in have violated this signed court agreement not to arrest journalists?

Trevor Timm

Can we all agree that Scott Olson completely nailed his arrest photo?

Ryan J. Reilly

Ferguson community members confront Revolutionary Communist Party who have been inciting people to fight police 

Alex Medina

They circled us, shot tear gas. We’re in bushes. Street we needed to get to car was blocked off by officers in armed vehicles.

Jaqueline Lee

Here’s the WTF reaction of reporters seeing the police opening prayer.

Ryan Binaco

(I’m curious about the context of the reaction to the prayer.  I obviously think prayer is useless, but I’m curious why reporters had a WTF moment. It’s extremely common for people to resort to prayer in an attempt to appeal to their deity of choice to intervene in a situation.  I’ve yet to hear of it working though, although come to think of it, proving that prayer works would be difficult.)

Constitution what? Put away that camera phone. We will shoot your face

Krys

Couple minutes ago a few bottles were thrown at police. Nights ago that would’ve been followed by gas.

Trymaine Lee

Tear gas has wafted up the street. Everyone’s eyes are burning.

Trymaine Lee

Cops demanding anyone not media to leave immediately. Media forced to designated area.

Trymaine Lee

Car driver offered to give a ride home to remaining protesters. Police stopped the car, guns drawn

Amanda M Sakuma

Photo of our reporter (rear) and being arrested last night in .

The Intercept

More media around the net:

MSNBC reports on police violence and clashes with the protesters and media:

The grief-stricken community of Ferguson was once again wracked by violence and chaos overnight Monday.

Police fired tear gas at protesters amid the sound of explosions, shots rang out and armored police trucks sped down Florissant Avenue. At least two people, both males, were shot “in the dark of night,” Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said at a press conference. Two guns and a Molotov cocktail were confiscated. There were two fires, one at a local business and another at an unoccupied residence, Johnson said. Police were hit with bottles and
rocks. Thirty-one people were arrested by 2 a.m. CT.

Johnson said police did not fire any bullets at protesters, whom he encouraged to turn out for demonstrations during the day.

“There is a dangerous dynamic in the night,” Johnson said, noting that the criminal activity overnight “came from a tiny minority of law-breakers.”

Sadly, a great many people will zero in on that tiny minority of law-breakers and treat them as if they represent all the protesters.  What those people did is completely wrong, but they shouldn’t be the focus of what’s going on in Ferguson.  Remember:

  • murder of unarmed black man by police officer,
  • mishandling of the investigation,
  • refusal by police to engage with community and give them answers,
  • introduction of military grade weapons on a peaceful population,
  • violation of 1st Amendment rights of citizens and press,
  • smear campaign against Michael Brown in an attempt to justify his murder,
  • use of excessive levels of force against protesters

This is what the focus should be on.  I’m fine with the media reporting on the looters or rioters, it’s news.  But that should not overtake the main story here, and that’s what has been happening in places (hell, I had an ex-boyfriend take me to task over my anger at the focus on the looters/rioters, and accusing me of making ignorant comments about the situation in Ferguson.  Ignorance is not an insult. We’re all ignorant of a great many things.  In this case though, I don’t think I’m ignorant of the situation, and he was unable to point out what I’d gotten wrong. Show me that I’m wrong.  Give me the evidence. Prove it.  If you can’t do that, you’ve no grounds to claim I’m ignorant.)

 

For people unfamiliar with Ferguson, here is a map of key areas (thanks MSNBC):

 

 

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Ferguson protests would be more peaceful without the police
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