Now how about all the other issues

The high of yesterday has settled in, and while it hasn’t worn off, I’m reminded that there are still a significant number of problems to overcome in the pursuit of equality. Here are some of the many issues facing the LGBT community:

Continue reading “Now how about all the other issues”

Now how about all the other issues
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Because he was bullied

Trigger Warning: Suicide

Photo: Folsom Cordova Unified School District

Ronin Shimizu was a 12-year old cheerleader…the only boy on the cheer squad at Folsom Middle School in Folsom, CA.

Ronin Shimizu was passionate about cheerleading.

Ronin Shimizu was bullied and called gay because he was a cheerleader.

Was being the operative term, unfortunately, because earlier this week, the 12-year-old killed himself.

Shimizu’s parents had reported the bullying to school officials on multiple occasions and the pre-teen was being home schooled this year because of the abuse, according to Sacramento station KXTV.

‘So sad to know that people can hurt you that way,’ student Allie Flahive told the station.

Another student said: ‘I heard that people called him gay because he was a cheerleader.’

The school principal informed parents of the suicide via email which read in part: ‘ … While do not know all of the circumstances surrounding Ronin’s passing, we will continue our work to maintain a safe, caring and positive school environment free from bullying and harassment.’

My heart goes out to his grieving family and friends.

I’m not a poet, but I felt the need to write something in response to this tragic death:

Because he was bullied

No more smiling face, nor joyful laughter.

Because he was bullied.

No more hearing his voice, nor watching him sleep.

Because he was bullied.

No more cheering, no more chanting.

Because he was bullied.

No more practice, no more games.

Because he was bullied.

No more rending of gender roles.

Because he was bullied.

No more breath. No more life. No more happiness. No more love.

Because he was bullied.

Because he was bullied

“Hands up. Don’t shoot.”

If you don’t know what that phrase means, you’re not paying attention to the events in Ferguson.  If you’re not paying attention to those events, then you’re missing out on ongoing violations of civil rights for Americans, as the police are infringing on their right to protest by telling them where and how they may protest, as well as subjecting them to tear gas and the LRAD sound cannon.  People are being harassed as they attempt to exercise their Constitutional rights.  The protest area is in a poor neighborhood, and people are having a difficult time getting to their homes if they’re outside the police barricade.   Even worse, for the people who are trying to sleep at night, that’s made difficult because who can sleep with a sound cannon being deployed?  Who can sleep when you only have window units for A/C, but you have to turn those off because the police are deploying tear gas around homes and in peoples’ yards?  People have to turn off the window units to avoid sucking in the tear gas and even then it’s hard to keep it out of their homes.  Added to all that stress, since school is still out, a lot of families don’t have enough food to feed their children, as school breakfasts and lunches are meals they were counting on so their children could be fed.   The situation in Ferguson has not gotten better.  It continues to be horrible, and I see no sign of it relenting.  If Darren Wilson were arrested, or at least detained…if the police report of the events around Michael Brown’s death were released…if the Ferguson PD’s autopsy report were released…if McCulloch were relieved of his duties…if a full investigation into the entire Ferguson PD were announced by the feds…any of these things could make the situation better.  Any of those things could work to allay the concerns of the community of Ferguson.  But none of that is happening. Why?  It’s a bunch of black people.  None of the people in power seems to give a rat’s ass about addressing their concerns.  That’s why people should care.  Black people are people deserving of the same rights as all others.  If they’re denied their rights…if they’re denied justice…no one is truly free.  So long as one person is not treated humanely with full access to the human rights we all [ostensibly] possess, then no one can claim to be free.  You never know when the next person to lose their human rights will be you.

Stand up.

Speak out.

Do not be quiet.

Do not settle for the status quo.

Be the change you want in the world.

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

One issue that gets brought up frequently by right wing pundits, racists, and ignorant people parroting what they hear without truly thinking about it is ‘black on black violence’.  This belief that black people are their own worst enemies, and that violence among blacks is such a devastating crime-above and beyond other crimes.

That’s a load of horseshit.

I’ll let Adrian Patrick explain why:

White on White Crime: In 2011, there were more cases of Whites killing Whites than there were of Blacks killing Blacks. Now, in the United States, a White person is almost 6 times more likely to be killed by another White person than by a Black person, according to FBI homicide data.
Whites commit the majority of crimes in America. The term "black on black" crime is a destructive concept that perpetuates an idea that blacks are somehow more prone to violence. This is untrue and is supported by FBI, DOJ and census (pdf) data. Yet the fallacy is so fixed that even Blacks have come to believe it.
It seems that the media in general...and white American society in particular prefer to focus on crime committed by Blacks (character assassination) because it is a way to shift blame & serves as a way to relieve them from the responsibility of murder, violence, prejudice and institutionalized discrimination engendered for generations by whites against blacks.
It offers a buffer against their responsibility, a way to deflect cause and effect. But the truth, and numbers, tell an absolute different story…in particular, whites are responsible for the vast majority of violent crimes. With respect to aggravated assault, whites led blacks 2-1 in arrests; in forcible-rape cases, whites led all racial and ethnic groups by more than 2-1. And in larceny theft, whites led blacks, again, more than 2-1.
In Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, she explains that the term “black on black crime” was coined as American cities underwent transformation as a result of riots, white flight and the onslaught of the drug trade. David Wilson, a professor at the University of Illinois, documents the phenomena in Inventing Black-on-Black Violence. Wilson says that instead of attributing increased crime activity to poverty, inequality and disenfranchisement, the media chose to blame "a supposedly defective, aberrant black culture."
In a 2010 piece published by The Root, "The Myth of Black-on-Black Violence," Natalie Hopkinson opines that journalists should follow the direction of the United Kingdom, where the Guardian newspaper banned the use of the phrase. A Guardian stylebook asked authors to ''imagine the police saying they were investigating an incident of white-on-white violence ... " Hopkinson concludes, "The term 'black-on-black violence' is a slander against the majority of law-abiding black Americans, rich and poor, who get painted by this broad and crude brush."
In summary, Blacks do need to work on things, but DO NOT USE THE TERM BLACK ON BLACK CRIME! This is Adrian X, and this is "Just My 2 Cents"
References:
1. http://callandpost.com/news/2013/aug/16/white-white-crime-more-prevalent-black-black/
2.http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2012/04/whiteonwhite_crime_it_goes_against_the_false_media_narrative.3.html
Samantha BattleWillie EdwardsTanja MayNatefan PageCampbellMykEl Djedi BakariiMarchon HuntMarche SandersCedric SandersChris MorrisLisa CarterNzinga La'veqKongo Real

The funeral for Michael Brown will be held Monday, August 25:

Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy and Rev. Michael Jones will officiate the funeral, the National Action Network said. The service will begin at 10 a.m. (local time) at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.

78 arrested overnight, most from Missouri, records show

Jail records obtained by NBC News show that at least 78 people were arrested overnight at the protests in Ferguson, Missouri — more than double the total reported by authorities — and that the overwhelming majority of them were from Missouri.
Of the 78, all but three were arrested for refusing to disperse, the records show. Two people, both from the St. Louis area, were arrested for unlawful use of a weapon, and a man from Rockton, Illinois, was arrested for interfering with an officer.
Authorities had reported early that 31 people were arrested overnight. Authorities early Tuesday blamed people from out of town for some criminal activity.

Remember all those journalists arrested by the police?  They aren’t mentioned as being among those arrested. I wonder why the media wouldn’t mention that.

I had a former friend of mine tell me that he got his news from tv sources without an agenda.  The above source is NBC. No agenda in reporting news, huh?  Riiiiiiiiiight.

The records reflect people who were booked into the St. Louis County jail. It is possible, but not clear, that others were booked at other jails.
The records show that 18 people from outside Missouri were arrested Monday night and early Tuesday. They came came from as far away as Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., and San Diego.
Police said that they were fired on and had Molotov cocktails thrown at them overnight. Several people who were arrested and spoke to NBC News on Tuesday, however, blamed the police for overreacting to the protesters.
One of the people arrested for refusing to disperse, Kyle Niere, 23, told NBC News by phone on Tuesday that he was dragged from his truck by law enforcement officers as he was trying to drive away from the protests.
“They drug us all out,” said Niere, who said he lives in Ferguson and was among a group of 12 people arrested. “Face-first on the ground, stepping on the back of our heads. They’re being brutal for no reason. None of us were violent. We were just there.”
Niere estimated that about 20 law enforcement officers, all from St. Louis County, descended on his truck. He said that they were protesting near the QuikTrip station, a landmark of the demonstrations, when police began firing tear gas.

The prosecutor in the Michael Brown case has a conflict of interest:

Overseeing possible charges in the shooting death of the unarmed teen falls on St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch, a Missouri native whose police officer father was killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was 12.
McCulloch's mother, brother, uncle and cousin also worked for the St. Louis police department. Those close family ties to the police — and a bellwether decision 14 years ago not to prosecute two cops who shot and killed two suspects in a drug bust — have raised doubts about his objectivity in deciding whether Ferguson, Missouri, officer Darren Wilson should be prosecuted for the Aug. 9 killing of Brown, 18.
“We don’t have any confidence in the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office,” Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, said last Friday during a visit to Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb where clashes have raged between protesters and police since Wilson, white, shot Brown, who was black. "I have no faith in him, but I do trust the FBI and the Justice Department."

I don’t know that I’d say I *trust* the FBI and the Justice Department. I do however, have more confidence in them than I do in McCulloch.  I have no confidence in him.  If doesn’t prosecute Darren Wilson, that is only going to inflame tensions in Ferguson and around the country.  I get the feeling that is exactly what is going to happen.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed started an online petition calling for a special prosecutor to be appointed, which has already gained more than 60,000 signatures. State Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley have also demanded McCulloch step aside. Mound City Bar Association, the oldest African-American association of attorneys west of the Mississippi, held a news conference Tuesday calling for McCulloch to recuse himself.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has said he won't remove McCulloch, although he also pointed out that it would be easy for him make the decision himself to step aside.
McCulloch is not taking inquiries from the media. But McCulloch's executive assistant, Ed Magee, told NBC News that McCulloch has no plans to hand over the investigation.
"Mr. McCulloch has been the elected prosecutor in St. Louis County since 1991. He has been re-elected every four years by a vast majority of the voters, including Aug. 5 of this year," Magee said. "He will continue to do his duties as the people have elected him to do."
Selby, the president of the prosecutors' association, cited those re-elections, plus McCulloch's broad range of experience as prosecuting attorney in the largest jurisdiction in the state, as reasons to have confidence in him.
"You put all those things together, and I can't think of a better prosecutor to be in a position to handle this case the way it should be handled," he said.
The decision on whether to ask for a special prosecutor is up to McCulloch himself, said Peter Joy, a Washington University professor of law.
"You typically only ask for a special prosecutor when there is a conflict of interest in doing your job," Joy said. "He doesn't believe that there is a conflict of interest."
Before he lost his leg, McCulloch wanted to do the same thing as his father, a St. Louis police officer who was shot in the head during a gun battle with a black kidnap suspect in 1964.
“I couldn’t become a policeman, so being county prosecutor is the next best thing,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch once.
Just months into his first term, he faced a test that attracted national attention: a riot at a Guns N' Roses concert in St. Louis injured 40 concertgoers and 25 police officers. McCulloch decided to charge frontman Axl Rose with misdemeanor assault and property damage, and vowed to chase him around the country on an arrest warrant. Rose ended up surrendering.
A decade later, McCulloch was the subject of protests when two officers killed a pair of men in a parking lot who had being convicted of drug and assault offenses in the past. The officers fired 21 shots at Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley; a federal investigation found the officers were justified because they feared for their safety.
Protesters and defense lawyers held demonstrations when McCulloch didn't prosecute the officers and described Murray and Beasley as "bums." He insisted that his father's killing, which was prominently featured in his first campaign ads, was an "incredibly irrelevant facet" to his decision.
Speaking with a community paper two years ago in his office, which is adorned with photos of his wife and four children, McCulloch said the trying events of his childhood have served as character-building experiences.
"You have these things and you suffer through them and deal with them. You don’t forget or act like they never happened, but you try to understand them," he told Ladue News. "I think all of it gave me great empathy for victims.”
The following link and information may not seem like it immediately relates to the events in Ferguson, but I trust readers will be able to figure out how it relates.  

The rise of ‘respectability politics’:

What started as a philosophy promulgated by black elites to “uplift the race” by correcting the “bad” traits of the black poor has now evolved into one of the hallmarks of black politics in the age of Obama, a governing philosophy that centers on managing the behavior of black people left behind in a society touted as being full of opportunity. In an era marked by rising inequality and declining economic mobility for most Americans—but particularly for black Americans—the twenty-first-century version of the politics of respectability works to accommodate neoliberalism. The virtues of self-care and self-correction are framed as strategies to lift the black poor out of their condition by preparing them for the market economy.
For more than half of the twentieth century, the concept of the “Talented Tenth” commanded black elites to “lift as we climb,” or to prove to white America that blacks were worthy of full citizenship rights by getting the untalented nine-tenths to rid themselves of bad customs and habits. Today’s politics of respectability, however, commands blacks left behind in post–civil rights America to “lift up thyself.” Moreover, the ideology of respectability, like most other strategies for black progress articulated within the spaces where blacks discussed the best courses of action for black freedom, once lurked for the most part beneath the gaze of white America. But now that black elites are part of the mainstream elite in media, entertainment, politics, and the academy, respectability talk operates within the official sphere, shaping the opinions, debates, and policy perspectives on what should—and should not—be done on the behalf of the black poor.

African-Americans should be treated with respect and dignity and have the full backing of the American justice system regardless of their appearance and presentation.  They shouldn’t need to conform to standards of what is acceptable to be treated humanely. Sadly, that happens all too often, as we see in my next link:

Wall Street Journal editor:  Eric Holder should tell Ferguson protesters to ‘pull up their pants’:

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley criticized the impending arrival of Attorney General Eric Holder in Ferguson, Missouri on Tuesday, saying Holder was there as part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to play “race-healer-in-chief.”
“These looters and rioters do not need to hear from the attorney general that criticism of Obama is race-based,” Riley told host Bret Bauer. “What they need to hear from this Black man in this position — the nation’s leading law enforcement official — is that they need to stay out of trouble with the law. They need to pull up their pants and finish school and take care of their kids. That is the message they need to hear.”

Notice what Jason Riley doesn’t mention:  the reasons people in Ferguson are protesting. He completely dismisses their concerns and focuses on what he perceives to be the problem with “those people”.  He views them as the black people left behind that need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make it to his level.  Is that when he’ll pay attention to their concerns? When they’re at his level?  Fuck that noise.

Also note that he characterizes the community of Ferguson as looters and rioters, which is a similar refrain heard often in the media about protests largely composed of African-Americans.  They aren’t looters and rioters Mr. Riley. They’re human beings who have been unfairly treated for a very long time who have seen a tragedy occur in the heart of their community and they want-and deserve-justice.  You’re too busy tut-tutting them for their appearance to be concerned.  You’ve risen above all that.   You’ve lost your way.

What to look for in dueling autopsies of Michael Brown

Police arrest dozens overnight in Ferguson as prosecutors prepare case for grand jury

White supremacy is the real culprit in Ferguson. The excuses just prove it

We’ve had enough of the police brutality, of the colorblind mythologies and post-racial rhetoric, of the sweet-talk, of the calls for non-violence; of mass incarceration and systemic poverty, of trigger happy cops and crying black mothers, of the Eric Garners and Renisha McBrides, theMichael Browns and Tarika Wilsons ; of black tears and white terror. Dr Martin Luther King Jr said in 1968 : “A riot is the language of the unheard”. Today, nearly 50 years later, black America demands to not only be heard but heeded – by any means necessary.
This week in Ferguson, Missouri, there has been more backlash over the resistance of a few black (and some white) protestors than the violence of white police. Meanwhile, according to organizers on the ground, it has mainly been (white) outsiders inciting violence to promote their own agenda. As the writer Sarah Kendzior tweeted : “White people coming to STL to provoke police violence against black residents and get them blamed”. More than blamed: black people are left to bear the brunt of the political mess white infiltration leaves behind, be it by the National Guard or outside organizers.
As Sean Beale, a 27-year-old local, told the Guardian: “If you don’t live here you don’t worry about the burning and looting. You don’t worry about stores closing, or losing your job, or walking for miles to buy food.”
But to focus more on the people’s resistance than the police repression that created it – even as tensions cooled in the streets on Monday night– is to participate in the dehumanization and devaluing of black life. To ignore the elders rallying for the sake of our babies and young people peacefully protesting on behalf of our future while some (white) visitors instigate disarray is morally reprehensible. Beyond Ferguson, the pattern is clear. Blacks are always to blame, even as we are brutalized by police, ghettoized by neoliberal policies, and disenfranchised by a racist criminal (in)justice system.
But that’s the crux of white supremacist racial logic: the problem with black people is … well, black people – not mass incarceration and the deindustrialization of urban America, not educational inequality and generational poverty, not 400 years of slavery, lynchings, and Jim Crow. To be black in America is to be victimized and then made responsible for our victimization. We built this country. But, apparently, it is we who are lazy and dependent. We are bullied politically, socially and economically. But it is we who are called “thugs”.
“There is never an excuse for violence against police,” President Obama said. Yet there are endless excuses for state violence against black people. For mass incarceration, there’s the “war on drugs”. For poverty and unemployment, there’s “a culture of laziness” and “government dependence”. For the educational gap, there’s the burden of “acting white”. For Eric Garner: “loosies”. And for Michael Brown, there are stolen cigarillos, jaywalking or anything the police can say to shift the narrative from their white supremacist practices to black “ghetto” culture.
It is to say that black lives do not matter, that our babies deserve death and despair, that our communities don’t deserve protection and justice.
Obama needs post-racialism like Bush needed the “war on terror”: to camouflage our contradictions, to exercise global dominance vis-à-vis a (neo)liberal-democratic narrative, to lie to the world. But with the numbers of black bodies unemployed, incarcerated and extrajudicially executed, what are to we to do?
No one person knows.
But we must act collectively and courageously. Alongside the immediate arrest of Darren Wilson, we must demand the demilitarization of law enforcement as well as the decriminalization of the black body. In addition to the withdrawal of the curfew and National Guard, we must demand the withdrawal of apartheid police forces and local governments where a black majority is ruled by a white minority. We cannot depend on the same police force that killed Brown to liberate us. In Ferguson and across the nation we must push for the implementation of community-oriented police models that include prevention, problem-solving, citizen engagement and community partnerships. There needs to be a cop-watch program in every city across America with a high concentration of people of color.
Also, we must recognize that naming Wilson as the killer without naming white supremacy as the culprit fails to address the root of racialized police violence. We must recognize, as Malcolm X did, that police brutality is a human rights issue that will not be solved simply by the passing of legislation. Our rallies must spark revolutionary action. Our marching must evolve into a sustainable movement. We must see that this is bigger than Brown and Wilson, than Ferguson or New York City. This is about the value of black life in 21st-century America.

 

“Hands up. Don’t shoot.”

"Hands up. Don't shoot."

If you don’t know what that phrase means, you’re not paying attention to the events in Ferguson.  If you’re not paying attention to those events, then you’re missing out on ongoing violations of civil rights for Americans, as the police are infringing on their right to protest by telling them where and how they may protest, as well as subjecting them to tear gas and the LRAD sound cannon.  People are being harassed as they attempt to exercise their Constitutional rights.  The protest area is in a poor neighborhood, and people are having a difficult time getting to their homes if they’re outside the police barricade.   Even worse, for the people who are trying to sleep at night, that’s made difficult because who can sleep with a sound cannon being deployed?  Who can sleep when you only have window units for A/C, but you have to turn those off because the police are deploying tear gas around homes and in peoples’ yards?  People have to turn off the window units to avoid sucking in the tear gas and even then it’s hard to keep it out of their homes.  Added to all that stress, since school is still out, a lot of families don’t have enough food to feed their children, as school breakfasts and lunches are meals they were counting on so their children could be fed.   The situation in Ferguson has not gotten better.  It continues to be horrible, and I see no sign of it relenting.  If Darren Wilson were arrested, or at least detained…if the police report of the events around Michael Brown’s death were released…if the Ferguson PD’s autopsy report were released…if McCulloch were relieved of his duties…if a full investigation into the entire Ferguson PD were announced by the feds…any of these things could make the situation better.  Any of those things could work to allay the concerns of the community of Ferguson.  But none of that is happening. Why?  It’s a bunch of black people.  None of the people in power seems to give a rat’s ass about addressing their concerns.  That’s why people should care.  Black people are people deserving of the same rights as all others.  If they’re denied their rights…if they’re denied justice…no one is truly free.  So long as one person is not treated humanely with full access to the human rights we all [ostensibly] possess, then no one can claim to be free.  You never know when the next person to lose their human rights will be you.

Stand up.

Speak out.

Do not be quiet.

Do not settle for the status quo.

Be the change you want in the world.

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.

One issue that gets brought up frequently by right wing pundits, racists, and ignorant people parroting what they hear without truly thinking about it is ‘black on black violence’.  This belief that black people are their own worst enemies, and that violence among blacks is such a devastating crime-above and beyond other crimes.

That’s a load of horseshit.

I’ll let Adrian Patrick explain why:

White on White Crime: In 2011, there were more cases of Whites killing Whites than there were of Blacks killing Blacks. Now, in the United States, a White person is almost 6 times more likely to be killed by another White person than by a Black person, according to FBI homicide data.
Whites commit the majority of crimes in America. The term "black on black" crime is a destructive concept that perpetuates an idea that blacks are somehow more prone to violence. This is untrue and is supported by FBI, DOJ and census (pdf) data. Yet the fallacy is so fixed that even Blacks have come to believe it.
It seems that the media in general...and white American society in particular prefer to focus on crime committed by Blacks (character assassination) because it is a way to shift blame & serves as a way to relieve them from the responsibility of murder, violence, prejudice and institutionalized discrimination engendered for generations by whites against blacks.
It offers a buffer against their responsibility, a way to deflect cause and effect. But the truth, and numbers, tell an absolute different story…in particular, whites are responsible for the vast majority of violent crimes. With respect to aggravated assault, whites led blacks 2-1 in arrests; in forcible-rape cases, whites led all racial and ethnic groups by more than 2-1. And in larceny theft, whites led blacks, again, more than 2-1.
In Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, she explains that the term “black on black crime” was coined as American cities underwent transformation as a result of riots, white flight and the onslaught of the drug trade. David Wilson, a professor at the University of Illinois, documents the phenomena in Inventing Black-on-Black Violence. Wilson says that instead of attributing increased crime activity to poverty, inequality and disenfranchisement, the media chose to blame "a supposedly defective, aberrant black culture."
In a 2010 piece published by The Root, "The Myth of Black-on-Black Violence," Natalie Hopkinson opines that journalists should follow the direction of the United Kingdom, where the Guardian newspaper banned the use of the phrase. A Guardian stylebook asked authors to ''imagine the police saying they were investigating an incident of white-on-white violence ... " Hopkinson concludes, "The term 'black-on-black violence' is a slander against the majority of law-abiding black Americans, rich and poor, who get painted by this broad and crude brush."
In summary, Blacks do need to work on things, but DO NOT USE THE TERM BLACK ON BLACK CRIME! This is Adrian X, and this is "Just My 2 Cents"
References:
1. http://callandpost.com/news/2013/aug/16/white-white-crime-more-prevalent-black-black/
2.http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2012/04/whiteonwhite_crime_it_goes_against_the_false_media_narrative.3.html
Samantha BattleWillie EdwardsTanja MayNatefan PageCampbellMykEl Djedi BakariiMarchon HuntMarche SandersCedric SandersChris MorrisLisa CarterNzinga La'veqKongo Real

The funeral for Michael Brown will be held Monday, August 25:

Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy and Rev. Michael Jones will officiate the funeral, the National Action Network said. The service will begin at 10 a.m. (local time) at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.

78 arrested overnight, most from Missouri, records show

Jail records obtained by NBC News show that at least 78 people were arrested overnight at the protests in Ferguson, Missouri — more than double the total reported by authorities — and that the overwhelming majority of them were from Missouri.
Of the 78, all but three were arrested for refusing to disperse, the records show. Two people, both from the St. Louis area, were arrested for unlawful use of a weapon, and a man from Rockton, Illinois, was arrested for interfering with an officer.
Authorities had reported early that 31 people were arrested overnight. Authorities early Tuesday blamed people from out of town for some criminal activity.

Remember all those journalists arrested by the police?  They aren’t mentioned as being among those arrested. I wonder why the media wouldn’t mention that.

I had a former friend of mine tell me that he got his news from tv sources without an agenda.  The above source is NBC. No agenda in reporting news, huh?  Riiiiiiiiiight.

The records reflect people who were booked into the St. Louis County jail. It is possible, but not clear, that others were booked at other jails.
The records show that 18 people from outside Missouri were arrested Monday night and early Tuesday. They came came from as far away as Brooklyn, Washington, D.C., and San Diego.
Police said that they were fired on and had Molotov cocktails thrown at them overnight. Several people who were arrested and spoke to NBC News on Tuesday, however, blamed the police for overreacting to the protesters.
One of the people arrested for refusing to disperse, Kyle Niere, 23, told NBC News by phone on Tuesday that he was dragged from his truck by law enforcement officers as he was trying to drive away from the protests.
“They drug us all out,” said Niere, who said he lives in Ferguson and was among a group of 12 people arrested. “Face-first on the ground, stepping on the back of our heads. They’re being brutal for no reason. None of us were violent. We were just there.”
Niere estimated that about 20 law enforcement officers, all from St. Louis County, descended on his truck. He said that they were protesting near the QuikTrip station, a landmark of the demonstrations, when police began firing tear gas.

The prosecutor in the Michael Brown case has a conflict of interest:

Overseeing possible charges in the shooting death of the unarmed teen falls on St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch, a Missouri native whose police officer father was killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was 12.
McCulloch's mother, brother, uncle and cousin also worked for the St. Louis police department. Those close family ties to the police — and a bellwether decision 14 years ago not to prosecute two cops who shot and killed two suspects in a drug bust — have raised doubts about his objectivity in deciding whether Ferguson, Missouri, officer Darren Wilson should be prosecuted for the Aug. 9 killing of Brown, 18.
“We don’t have any confidence in the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office,” Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, said last Friday during a visit to Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb where clashes have raged between protesters and police since Wilson, white, shot Brown, who was black. "I have no faith in him, but I do trust the FBI and the Justice Department."

I don’t know that I’d say I *trust* the FBI and the Justice Department. I do however, have more confidence in them than I do in McCulloch.  I have no confidence in him.  If doesn’t prosecute Darren Wilson, that is only going to inflame tensions in Ferguson and around the country.  I get the feeling that is exactly what is going to happen.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed started an online petition calling for a special prosecutor to be appointed, which has already gained more than 60,000 signatures. State Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley have also demanded McCulloch step aside. Mound City Bar Association, the oldest African-American association of attorneys west of the Mississippi, held a news conference Tuesday calling for McCulloch to recuse himself.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has said he won't remove McCulloch, although he also pointed out that it would be easy for him make the decision himself to step aside.
McCulloch is not taking inquiries from the media. But McCulloch's executive assistant, Ed Magee, told NBC News that McCulloch has no plans to hand over the investigation.
"Mr. McCulloch has been the elected prosecutor in St. Louis County since 1991. He has been re-elected every four years by a vast majority of the voters, including Aug. 5 of this year," Magee said. "He will continue to do his duties as the people have elected him to do."
Selby, the president of the prosecutors' association, cited those re-elections, plus McCulloch's broad range of experience as prosecuting attorney in the largest jurisdiction in the state, as reasons to have confidence in him.
"You put all those things together, and I can't think of a better prosecutor to be in a position to handle this case the way it should be handled," he said.
The decision on whether to ask for a special prosecutor is up to McCulloch himself, said Peter Joy, a Washington University professor of law.
"You typically only ask for a special prosecutor when there is a conflict of interest in doing your job," Joy said. "He doesn't believe that there is a conflict of interest."
Before he lost his leg, McCulloch wanted to do the same thing as his father, a St. Louis police officer who was shot in the head during a gun battle with a black kidnap suspect in 1964.
“I couldn’t become a policeman, so being county prosecutor is the next best thing,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch once.
Just months into his first term, he faced a test that attracted national attention: a riot at a Guns N' Roses concert in St. Louis injured 40 concertgoers and 25 police officers. McCulloch decided to charge frontman Axl Rose with misdemeanor assault and property damage, and vowed to chase him around the country on an arrest warrant. Rose ended up surrendering.
A decade later, McCulloch was the subject of protests when two officers killed a pair of men in a parking lot who had being convicted of drug and assault offenses in the past. The officers fired 21 shots at Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley; a federal investigation found the officers were justified because they feared for their safety.
Protesters and defense lawyers held demonstrations when McCulloch didn't prosecute the officers and described Murray and Beasley as "bums." He insisted that his father's killing, which was prominently featured in his first campaign ads, was an "incredibly irrelevant facet" to his decision.
Speaking with a community paper two years ago in his office, which is adorned with photos of his wife and four children, McCulloch said the trying events of his childhood have served as character-building experiences.
"You have these things and you suffer through them and deal with them. You don’t forget or act like they never happened, but you try to understand them," he told Ladue News. "I think all of it gave me great empathy for victims.”
The following link and information may not seem like it immediately relates to the events in Ferguson, but I trust readers will be able to figure out how it relates.  

The rise of ‘respectability politics’:

What started as a philosophy promulgated by black elites to “uplift the race” by correcting the “bad” traits of the black poor has now evolved into one of the hallmarks of black politics in the age of Obama, a governing philosophy that centers on managing the behavior of black people left behind in a society touted as being full of opportunity. In an era marked by rising inequality and declining economic mobility for most Americans—but particularly for black Americans—the twenty-first-century version of the politics of respectability works to accommodate neoliberalism. The virtues of self-care and self-correction are framed as strategies to lift the black poor out of their condition by preparing them for the market economy.
For more than half of the twentieth century, the concept of the “Talented Tenth” commanded black elites to “lift as we climb,” or to prove to white America that blacks were worthy of full citizenship rights by getting the untalented nine-tenths to rid themselves of bad customs and habits. Today’s politics of respectability, however, commands blacks left behind in post–civil rights America to “lift up thyself.” Moreover, the ideology of respectability, like most other strategies for black progress articulated within the spaces where blacks discussed the best courses of action for black freedom, once lurked for the most part beneath the gaze of white America. But now that black elites are part of the mainstream elite in media, entertainment, politics, and the academy, respectability talk operates within the official sphere, shaping the opinions, debates, and policy perspectives on what should—and should not—be done on the behalf of the black poor.

African-Americans should be treated with respect and dignity and have the full backing of the American justice system regardless of their appearance and presentation.  They shouldn’t need to conform to standards of what is acceptable to be treated humanely. Sadly, that happens all too often, as we see in my next link:

Wall Street Journal editor:  Eric Holder should tell Ferguson protesters to ‘pull up their pants’:

Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley criticized the impending arrival of Attorney General Eric Holder in Ferguson, Missouri on Tuesday, saying Holder was there as part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to play “race-healer-in-chief.”
“These looters and rioters do not need to hear from the attorney general that criticism of Obama is race-based,” Riley told host Bret Bauer. “What they need to hear from this Black man in this position — the nation’s leading law enforcement official — is that they need to stay out of trouble with the law. They need to pull up their pants and finish school and take care of their kids. That is the message they need to hear.”

Notice what Jason Riley doesn’t mention:  the reasons people in Ferguson are protesting. He completely dismisses their concerns and focuses on what he perceives to be the problem with “those people”.  He views them as the black people left behind that need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make it to his level.  Is that when he’ll pay attention to their concerns? When they’re at his level?  Fuck that noise.

Also note that he characterizes the community of Ferguson as looters and rioters, which is a similar refrain heard often in the media about protests largely composed of African-Americans.  They aren’t looters and rioters Mr. Riley. They’re human beings who have been unfairly treated for a very long time who have seen a tragedy occur in the heart of their community and they want-and deserve-justice.  You’re too busy tut-tutting them for their appearance to be concerned.  You’ve risen above all that.   You’ve lost your way.

What to look for in dueling autopsies of Michael Brown

Police arrest dozens overnight in Ferguson as prosecutors prepare case for grand jury

White supremacy is the real culprit in Ferguson. The excuses just prove it

We’ve had enough of the police brutality, of the colorblind mythologies and post-racial rhetoric, of the sweet-talk, of the calls for non-violence; of mass incarceration and systemic poverty, of trigger happy cops and crying black mothers, of the Eric Garners and Renisha McBrides, theMichael Browns and Tarika Wilsons ; of black tears and white terror. Dr Martin Luther King Jr said in 1968 : “A riot is the language of the unheard”. Today, nearly 50 years later, black America demands to not only be heard but heeded – by any means necessary.
This week in Ferguson, Missouri, there has been more backlash over the resistance of a few black (and some white) protestors than the violence of white police. Meanwhile, according to organizers on the ground, it has mainly been (white) outsiders inciting violence to promote their own agenda. As the writer Sarah Kendzior tweeted : “White people coming to STL to provoke police violence against black residents and get them blamed”. More than blamed: black people are left to bear the brunt of the political mess white infiltration leaves behind, be it by the National Guard or outside organizers.
As Sean Beale, a 27-year-old local, told the Guardian: “If you don’t live here you don’t worry about the burning and looting. You don’t worry about stores closing, or losing your job, or walking for miles to buy food.”
But to focus more on the people’s resistance than the police repression that created it – even as tensions cooled in the streets on Monday night– is to participate in the dehumanization and devaluing of black life. To ignore the elders rallying for the sake of our babies and young people peacefully protesting on behalf of our future while some (white) visitors instigate disarray is morally reprehensible. Beyond Ferguson, the pattern is clear. Blacks are always to blame, even as we are brutalized by police, ghettoized by neoliberal policies, and disenfranchised by a racist criminal (in)justice system.
But that’s the crux of white supremacist racial logic: the problem with black people is … well, black people – not mass incarceration and the deindustrialization of urban America, not educational inequality and generational poverty, not 400 years of slavery, lynchings, and Jim Crow. To be black in America is to be victimized and then made responsible for our victimization. We built this country. But, apparently, it is we who are lazy and dependent. We are bullied politically, socially and economically. But it is we who are called “thugs”.
“There is never an excuse for violence against police,” President Obama said. Yet there are endless excuses for state violence against black people. For mass incarceration, there’s the “war on drugs”. For poverty and unemployment, there’s “a culture of laziness” and “government dependence”. For the educational gap, there’s the burden of “acting white”. For Eric Garner: “loosies”. And for Michael Brown, there are stolen cigarillos, jaywalking or anything the police can say to shift the narrative from their white supremacist practices to black “ghetto” culture.
It is to say that black lives do not matter, that our babies deserve death and despair, that our communities don’t deserve protection and justice.
Obama needs post-racialism like Bush needed the “war on terror”: to camouflage our contradictions, to exercise global dominance vis-à-vis a (neo)liberal-democratic narrative, to lie to the world. But with the numbers of black bodies unemployed, incarcerated and extrajudicially executed, what are to we to do?
No one person knows.
But we must act collectively and courageously. Alongside the immediate arrest of Darren Wilson, we must demand the demilitarization of law enforcement as well as the decriminalization of the black body. In addition to the withdrawal of the curfew and National Guard, we must demand the withdrawal of apartheid police forces and local governments where a black majority is ruled by a white minority. We cannot depend on the same police force that killed Brown to liberate us. In Ferguson and across the nation we must push for the implementation of community-oriented police models that include prevention, problem-solving, citizen engagement and community partnerships. There needs to be a cop-watch program in every city across America with a high concentration of people of color.
Also, we must recognize that naming Wilson as the killer without naming white supremacy as the culprit fails to address the root of racialized police violence. We must recognize, as Malcolm X did, that police brutality is a human rights issue that will not be solved simply by the passing of legislation. Our rallies must spark revolutionary action. Our marching must evolve into a sustainable movement. We must see that this is bigger than Brown and Wilson, than Ferguson or New York City. This is about the value of black life in 21st-century America.

 

"Hands up. Don't shoot."

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):

 

 

Ferguson protests would be more peaceful without the police

Weapons of the Ferguson Police Department

The Ferguson Police Department has access to an array of weapons.  Some of them are controversial, like the LRAD Sound Cannon:

Developed by the LRAD corporation to broadcast messages and pain-inducing “deterrent” tones over long distances, LRAD devices come in various iterations that produce varying degrees of sound. They can be mounted to a vehicle or handheld. The device produces a sound that can be directed in a beam up to 30-degree wide, and the military-grade LRAD 2000X can transmit voice commands at up to 162dB up to 5.5 miles away.

[…]

The LRAD corporation says that anyone within a 100 meters of the device’s sound path will experience extreme pain. The version generally utilized by police department (the LRAD 500X) is designed to communicate at up to 2000 meters during ideal conditions. In a typical outdoor environment, the device can be heard for 650 meters. The 500x is also capable of short bursts of directed sound that cause severe headaches in anyone within a 300-meter range. Anyone within 15 meters of the device’s audio path can experience permanent hearing loss. LRAD claims the device is not a weapon, but a “directed-sound communication device.”

It’s not a weapon, but it can cause permanent hearing loss.  Perhaps it was not created as a weapon. But its use in Ferguson, given the devastating effects this device can cause, definitely qualifies it as a weapon.  

The images at this link include shots of the multiple weapons brought by the police in response to the protests in Ferguson.

Tear gas was used against citizens of Ferguson in their own yards.  

The people of Ferguson were not the only ones the police used tear gas against.  Apparently those news crews from Al-Jazeera America were a big threat.

Oh, and those rubber bullets that aren’t lethal?  They can still do powerful damage.  You would not want to get hit by one of them.  A woman who was helping to calm down the crowd during one night of the protests was hit by a rubber bullet (image at the link).  I sure as heck wouldn’t want to get hit by that.

The Ferguson Police Department was completely unjustified in deploying such weapons against the protesters.  The protests were overwhelmingly peaceful and they were met with police forces and weapons one would expect in a war zone.  No force should have been brought to bear against them in the first place bc they were not involved in the looting and rioting, and what little of that that occurred doesn’t require a SWAT team response.  No, the response from the Ferguson PD treated the protesters as if their mere presence was a threat to public safety (an argument many are now making of the PD itself).  A group of largely black people get together to protest the treatment by their police, to demand justice for Michael Brown, and express their anger at the handling of the investigation into Brown’s death…that’s totally a reason to bring in military grade weaponry.  They’re just a bunch of uppity black people demanding justice and equality in a peaceful manner.  They deserved their treatment by the Ferguson PD, amirite?  

Weapons of the Ferguson Police Department