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Social Justice Link roundup, plus more on Ferguson

13 per cent of Ferguson cops have faced excessive force lawsuits

Demonstrations were sparked by the August 9 death of black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot six times by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who remains under investigation.

According to the Washington Post, six other Ferguson officers – five current and one former – have been named in civil rights lawsuits alleging the use of excessive force.

That means 13 per cent of the 53-strong department has faced such investigations, compared to a national average of around 0.5 per cent of all police officers, as calculated by the Cato Institute’s National Police Misconduct Statistics and Reporting Project.





Two white protesters arrived in Ferguson with pro-police signs

One of the two protesters held a sign supporting that shitweasel Darren Wilson.

The article says the police were on hand to rush the woman pictured above to safety, as it looked like the situation was becoming tense.

Curiously, one person tweeted this:





White People Educating White People About Racism So PoC Don’t Have To


Racism 101: Prejudice vs. Power
Any time a white person uses their own personal experience of prejudice (or a fabricated one) to demonstrate how whites suffer from racism, there is an underlying tendency to believe individual experience reflects broader social and structural realities. This is not the case. Just as one white person who was harassed by a person of color does not prove “reverse” racism, one Black president does not prove the end of racism. For the few white folks with hurt pride, there are thousands more with staggering social comfort who make hurt pride an exception to the status quo; for the few POC with class/political privilege, there are thousands more with staggering social oppression who make this privilege an exception to the status quo. How much white privilege does it require to think one painful confrontation is equally damaging as living with the daily reality of racism? And how much white privilege does it require to think one isolated incident, or even several isolated incidents, are equivalent to the constant violence of racism?



Incidentally, I like the disclaimer:

Disclaimer: white folks do not experience racism, the moderator and future contributors are no exception, and that isn’t what this blog is about. No one is here to discuss the experience of racism–only POC can do that. I am limited to creatively engaging the social reality of whiteness and what white privilege means in personal, political, and institutional terms. I will regularly use personal narrative and analysis to do so, seeing as my stories are the only ones I am entitled to tell.



14 signs we live in a rape culture

A rape culture is one in which sexual violence is the norm, and everyday practices normalise and even excuse rape. It’s a culture where instead of teaching people not to rape, we teach people not to be raped.

I’m going to list a few of the 14 signs, but please read the whole article.

7. Beliefs that reports are fake might be undermining efforts to prosecute rape

In contrast the CPS say false rape claims are “very rare” but they have warned that a “misplaced belief” such accusations are common may undermine efforts to investigate and prosecute such crimes. Rape crisis Scotland say false allegations are at about 3 per cent – the same for any other crime.


8. Richard Dawkins


Richard Dawkins caused outrage last month on twitter when he tried to rank which form of rape was worse – “date rape” or “stranger rape” – while making a logical syllogism.


12. Judge Mary Jane Mowat

Retired judge Mary Jane Mowat said this week that rape conviction rates will not improve until women “stop getting so drunk”. Rather than the onus to convict criminals being on the police, or the Crown Prosecution Service – or rapists not to rape – Judge Mowat said it was women who need to change: “It is an inevitable fact of it being one person’s word against another, and the burden of proof being that you have to be sure before you convict”, she said.

“I will also say, and I will be pilloried for saying so, but the rape conviction statistics will not improve until women stop getting so drunk. I’m not saying it’s right to rape a drunken woman, I’m not saying for a moment that it’s allowable to take advantage of a drunken woman.”




British woman ‘being held captive so her family can cure her gayness’

Christina Fonthes, 27, a translator and LGBT activist from Manchester, visited Kinshasa with her mother and younger sister on 11 August. But shortly into a stay with her aunt, friends say, her passport was taken by her mother. She was told the family wanted to keep her in Congo so that her sexuality could be “fixed”.

Ms Fonthes’ partner of three years, the BBC sports presenter Jessica Creighton, has been trying to raise awareness of her partner’s plight on Facebook and Twitter. She is now travelling back to the UK from China, where she was covering the Youth Olympics when she heard the news.



This just frustrates and angers me to no end.  When are we going to be treated like human beings with the right to engage in the relationships we choose without people attempting to force us into cages? That’s what is
happening.  People are trying to drag us into a cage.  The cage of heterosexuality-as if that’s the only possible way humans can express their sexuality.  As if it’s right to attempt to force someone change a fundamental aspect of who they are.  This really makes me want to rage at the world.  That people could work so hard to deny the human rights of others.  I hope this woman manages to escape the clutches of her family as soon as possible.



This woman’s funny, feminist cartoons are incredible






On Our Radar – Hatred, Denial, And The ‘Gay But’



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Social Justice Link roundup, plus more on Ferguson

This country needs to talk about Ferguson and more

From The Good Men Project, an article about a school district that banned the discussion of the events in Ferguson.

On Thursday, August 21, the following message was released to parents of students in Edwardsville School District 7–a district roughly 30 miles outside Ferguson, MO.

Subject: Discussion of the Ferguson/Florissant Incident

On Friday, August 15, 2014, and Monday, August 18, 2014, Dennis Cramsey, EHS Principal, and I were inundated with calls from parents complaining that some EHS teachers were biased and injecting their own opinion regarding the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18 year-old African American student, by a Caucasian police officer in the Ferguson/Florissant community. The general consensus of parents who called was that if the administration did not get a handle on this situation, there might be violence among students occurring at EHS.

As Superintendent, I will take full responsibility for not preparing administrators and staff members how to deal with this volatile situation. As a result, on Monday afternoon, the decision was made to cease discussion of the event because of the tension, emotion, and anger surrounding the Ferguson/Florissant events.

It was not our intent to ignore the educational relevance of these events. However, we felt it was important to take the time to calm a potential situation at the high school and to prepare administrators and teachers to approach this critical issue in an objective, fact-based manner. Everyone has an opinion – the sharing of which can be polarizing. Far too many facts remain unknown, and without these facts, none of us is in the best position to moderate between opposing views.




20 Powerful Protest Signs That Prove America Stands with Ferguson

Here are a few:



I’m not “there”, but I’d still be pissed off and blogging about it.

It’s nice when white people understand their privilege.  Now if only more of them did.



7 Things Worth More Than a Black Person’s Life in America

This will make you madder than you probably already are, because of how true it is.




6 reasons America must stop ignoring its black youth.




What We Mean When We Say ‘Race Is a Social Construct’


Our notion of what constitutes “white” and what constitutes “black” is a product of social context. It is utterly impossible to look at the delineation of a “Southern race” and not see the Civil War, the creation of an “Irish race” and not think of Cromwell’s ethnic cleansing, the creation of a “Jewish race” and not see anti-Semitism. There is no fixed sense of “whiteness” or “blackness,” not even today. It is quite common for whites to point out that Barack Obama isn’t really “black” but “half-white.” One wonders if they would say this if Barack Obama were a notorious drug-lord.

When the liberal says “race is a social construct,” he is not being a soft-headed dolt; he is speaking an historical truth. We do not go around testing the “Irish race” for intelligence or the “Southern race” for “hot-headedness.” These reasons are social. It is no more legitimate to ask “Is the black race dumber than then white race?” than it is to ask “Is the Jewish race thriftier than the Arab race?”

The strongest argument for “race” is that people who trace their ancestry back to Europe, and people who trace most of their ancestry back to sub-Saharan Africa, and people who trace most of their ancestry back to Asia, and people who trace their ancestry back to the early Americas, lived isolated from each other for long periods and have evolved different physical traits (curly hair, lighter skin, etc.)

But this theoretical definition (already fuzzy) wilts under human agency, in a real world where Kevin Garnett, Harold Ford, and Halle Berry all check “black” on the census. (Same deal for “Hispanic.”) The reasons for that take us right back to fact of race as a social construct. And an American-centered social construct. Are the Ainu of Japan a race? Should we delineate darker South Asians from lighter South Asians on the basis of race? Did the Japanese who invaded China consider the Chinese the same “race?”

Andrew writes that liberals should stop saying “truly stupid things like race has no biological element.” I agree. Race clearly has a biological element — because we have awarded it one. Race is no more dependent on skin color today than it was on “Frankishness” in Emerson’s day. Over history of race has taken geography, language, and vague impressions as its basis.

“Race,” writes the great historian Nell Irvin Painter, “is an idea, not a fact.” Indeed. Race does not need biology. Race only requires some good guys with big guns looking for a reason.




The complicity cost of racial inclusion



Ferguson fallout: Black Americans grapple with victim-blaming


When pol
ice in Ferguson, Missouri, released a video showing Michael Brown allegedly robbing a store and shoving around a clerk shortly before the unarmed teen was shot dead in a seemingly unrelated confrontation with an officer, many accused the department of engaging in deliberate character assassination — a tactic that some rights advocates say is commonly used against African-American victims of excessive force in an attempt to shift blame from perpetrators to victims.

Hassane A. Muhammad, chief operating officer for Black Lawyers for Justice, called the decision to go public with the footage an act of “visual provocation” that played into old stereotypes of black men as violent.

“It’s a common playbook used by police to criminalize black victims of excessive force,” said Muhammad, whose group has been active in the local protests that erupted — and at times turned violent — after the killing of 18-year-old Brown on Aug. 9 by police officer Darren Wilson. 

“Instead of giving us an ounce of justice, they would rather send in troops and spend taxpayer money to defend one white man,” Muhammad said. “It shows you how much value they place on his life versus Brown.”

Rights advocates say such character assassination operates on a broad level, through public discourse that lends credence to the victim-blaming theory of poverty or in the idea that lower-income communities are responsible for their conditions because of poor decision-making.

What connects the Brown shooting with cases such as that of Trayvon Martin — an unarmed black teen shot dead by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman in Florida in 2012 — is that both shooters perceived a risk, said Yohuru Williams, a professor of history at Fairfield University




Why the Feds are investigating Ferguson


This country needs to talk about Ferguson and more

Voting in Ferguson, a televangelist lies, and more

GOP Calls Ferguson Voter Registration Drive ‘Disgusting’; Terrified Community Will Start Voting

The executive director of Missouri’s Republican party could barely contain his rage when he learned that one of the facets of recent protests in Ferguson has been a voter registration drive. His reaction betrays a sense of entitlement that comes from living in an age of political apathy: citizens shouldn’t be allowed to vote for change when they see injustice in the world, that isn’t “fair.” Have we gone mad? That’s exactly what voters are supposed to do.
Like many economically distressed communities around the country, Ferguson’s voter turnout for the last few elections has been dismal. Just 12% of residents bothered to vote one way or the other in the last election. It may explain why Ferguson’s politicians are mostly white and mostly out-of-touch with the residents.


Right-Wing Media Continue To Decry Ferguson Residents Registering To Vote

Breitbart: “Liberal Activists” Are Promoting Voter Registration Drives That Local GOP Calls “Disgusting.” On August 18, Breitbart quoted the Missouri Republican National Committee executive director who attacked the registration effort as “completely inappropriate” and characterized voting rights advocates’ calls for Ferguson residents to “get on the juries, choose your leaders” as “liberal activism”


Fox News: Voter Registration Booths In Ferguson Show That “Protestors Aren’t Out There For Free Speech.” On the August 21 edition of Fox & Friends, host Anna Kooiman complained that Ferguson residents protesting the fatal shooting “aren’t out there for freedom of speech. They’re out there to push their side.” Co-host Clayton Morris responded, “Setting up a voter registration booth? Yeah, you think?”


Rush Limbaugh: Registering Voters In The Wake Of Michael Brown’s Death “Encompasses Everything That The Democratic Party Is.” On his August 19 radio show, Limbaugh also criticized the Ferguson voter registration drive, and condemned Democrats for “try[ing] to ramp up black turnout” by exploiting Brown’s death

Hey Look! Pat Robertson told a lie!

Televangelist Pat Robertson on his “700 Club” show today decided that repeating many right-wing lies about what happened in Ferguson during the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown would be a good idea.

Robertson called the unarmed college-bound teen a “giant” and surmised that he must have been on a “hallucegenic” [sic] or “PCP” because he “acted like someone who was crazy” who “beats the daylights out of” officer Darren Wilson. The octogenarian also wondered aloud why the police didn’t “do a blood test on that guy, on the dead man,” whom Robertson couldn’t bother to mention by name.

Robertson also repeated the lie that officer Darren Wilson’s “occipital bone was crushed.”

And he chastised Attorney General Eric Holder for standing up for the oppressed — which is in part his job.

“It just looks bad,” Robertson lamented — not once ever offering one word of sympathy for the death of Michael Brown.

I’m shocked, I tell you! SHOCKED that Pat Robertson displays not compassion for the death of a young unarmed black man.


Missouri Councilman Excuses His Racism As Being ‘A Very Active Republican’


Says it’s a feature not a bug.


okay but when you have holocaust survivors and people who were activists during the civil rights movement supporting mike brown and then KKK members and neo nazis supporting the officer you should be able to figure out which side is the right one.

(via blastortortoise)



(source: sand&glass, via angrynativefeminists)


Houston Gay, a 103 year old who marched with MLK 50 years ago, at a peaceful demonstration in Ferguson.

(source: zubat; via angrynativefeminists)


Voting in Ferguson, a televangelist lies, and more

Talking about male beauty

Andrew Wheeler is a blogger and writer for Comics Alliance. Last year he wrote an article about Henry Cavill, British actor who played Superman in the 2013 movie, Man of Steel.  During the article, Wheeler discusses the quality of Cavill’s acting ability, where he’s from, what he’s starred, in and more. He also talks about how attractive he finds Cavill (and I have to say, the scenes of shirtless Cavill when he’s saving the workers on the oil rig…yum yum):

How handsome is he, actually?
If you can’t see for yourself, let me make it plain; Henry Cavill is absurdly handsome. Implausibly handsome. He’s probably in contention for the title of “most handsome man that ever lived.” He’s so handsome that the entire entertainment industry has been secretly colluding to try to make him famous so they can put his face on things and sell them. He’s handsome.
Now, sure, some people will say, “Pfft, I prefer Benedict Cumberbatch”, and that’s OK. Weird, but OK. Henry Cavill is not the universal ideal; just the closest thing we have to it. If it weren’t for his very slightly bumpy nose he might actually be impossible to look at, but like a Persian rug he has one minor imperfection so as not to offend god.
Actually, he has two imperfections. He dresses terribly. Giant ties, ugly shoes, suits that fit like a balloon. Unless he gets a stylist post-Superman, watching Henry Cavill make fashion faux pas is going to become a new sport for supermarket tabloids.

In the United States, by and large, the discussion about movie stars often centers on the skills and abilities of male actors, and the appearance and beauty of female actors. In fact, that discussion extends beyond movie stars. Women are overwhelmingly valued for their appearance, rather than what they can do. Their worth is determined (by others) by how much they do or don’t eat, how much they do or don’t exercise, how much makeup they do or don’t put on, what type of clothes they wear, how they style their hair, how they look before, during and after pregnancy, and more. With men, the focus is much more on their skill set, their abilities, and their personality. The worth of a man is not determined by how he looks. Tabloid magazines don’t ceaselessly document what type of pants a male actor is wearing, how his hair looks on a windy day, or how well groomed his nails are. Yes, our culture does talk about men’s looks, but not the same way (or to the same degree) as we do with women’s looks. You can go to any bookstore and see men’s magazines (usually workout magazines) that focus on the appearance of men. They do exist, and they are part of the discussion. Unlike women, however, there isn’t an overwhelming focus on what men look like, nor is the value of men determined by their attractiveness.

One reader of Wheeler’s article  took issue with how he talked about Cavill’s attractiveness:


Reblogging to point out how revolting this article is. After an overly-long introductory geography lesson, the author goes on to talk about Cavill the way most writers discuss actresses—by valuing only his looks. It’s gross. It isn’t okay to talk about women that way, and it isn’t okay to talk about Superman that way either.

Wheeler’s response was perfect:


Hi. I’m the author of this article. As you reblogged with my comment in-line, I assume you wanted to make sure that I saw your response, and I think you raised an important point, so I hope you won’t mind if I reply.

First, I’m sorry that you didn’t enjoy the article, and I appreciate your point of view.

However, I don’t agree with you, and I stand by my piece.

Before I explain why I don’t agree, I want to acknowledge that this is an important debate. Our culture talks about women in limiting ways. They are too often reduced to their looks – their hair, their clothes, their weight, their make-up. Hillary Clinton is asked questions that no-one would ever ask her husband. Whether a woman is a scientist, an executive, a writer, an intellectual, she will too often be judged for her attractiveness, and if she’s thought too pretty, she’ll be demeaned, and if she’s thought not pretty enough, she’ll be ridiculed. It is awful and unacceptable.

This happens in acting as well. Men are asked about their performance; women are asked about their appearance. A female actress experiencing a bad hair day, undergoing weight loss, weight gain, plastic surgery, or wearing sweatpants to pick up the kids from daycare, is considered a matter for public scrutiny.

I don’t like the magazines that run those pictures. I don’t like those websites. I don’t like those TV shows.

But that doesn’t mean we can never talk about looks. Acting is both a performance and an appearance business. An actor’s look is part of the package they sell, both to the industry and to the audience. How a person looks – or how a person can look – is part of the job, by design and for a reason. It’s part of creating a character. Sometimes an actor gets work because he or she looks quirky, intense, unusual, intelligent, ordinary, familiar.

Leading actors usually get work because they’re beautiful. There are other factors, but beauty is typically essential, because most popular entertainment is glamorous and glossy. It transports us to a world where stunning people face dramatically implausible challenges.

I like that glamour and gloss. I like beauty. I wish our media showed us the full, diverse and inclusive range of beauty, because I would love to find out if Godfrey Gao or Daniel Sunjata or Alex Meraz or Mehcad Brooks or Sung Kang could carry an action franchise on his back, but even so, I want to watch beautiful people do extraordinary things.

So it seems disingenuous to pretend that these people aren’t beautiful, or to avoid talking about something that is intrinsic both to the work they do and to why they get that work. What an actor wears to pick up the kids from daycare is nobody’s business, but what an actor wears on the red carpet is something we’re expected to have an opinion about, because we’re being sold something.

It’s not the only thing we should have an opinion about. We shouldn’t only talk about looks. We shouldn’talways talk about looks. But it is part of the cultural conversation.

And if we’re going to talk about looks, I think it’s important to talk about men.

Beauty should not be a one-way street focused solely on the male gaze towards the female body. Our appreciation of beauty should run in all directions. As a gay man, I’m used to being told that I should not publicise my attraction to other men. Women face enormous challenges to the free expression of their sexualities.

The very idea that a man could be a sexualised for the appreciation of women is foundation-shaking stuff for some. I was conscious of that when I wrote an article for a comics website drawing attention to a leading man’s attractiveness. I believe that acknowledging sex and sexuality is important, especially for marginalised groups. Silencing those conversations only serves the status quo.

Let’s talk about that status quo for a moment. The corollary to allowing straight and bisexual women to talk about attractive men is that we allow straight and bisexual men to talk about attractive women, right? And therein lies a danger, because straight men already do that, and they do it to the extent that it feels like a woman’s only value is her attractiveness. That takes us neatly back to where we started. To say that we can sometimes talk about female attractiveness creates an excuse for when we always talk about female attractiveness.

I think we need to exercise intelligent discretion on that point, because across-the-board repression is not a good solution. We need to talk about attractiveness as part of a balanced cultural diet.

Was my article all about Henry Cavill’s looks? No. The article talks about who he is, where he came from, what he’s done. But his looks are a big enough part of the article to make the headline.

The premise of the article is an introduction to Henry Cavill. I’ve been a fan for almost ten years, and let’s be clear: I’m a fan because he’s gorgeous. Breathtakingly so. He’s not an exceptional actor, but he is an exceptional beauty. His looks are important to his work. His looks are remarkable, and I remarked on them. (I also mentioned his dress sense, and I should clarify that I’m only talking about public appearances. You can read Tom & Lorenzo on the same subject here.)

If the article had only been about his looks, I think that would have been OK too. We can talk about that one thing in a landscape that includes many other things. Beauty, and what we find beautiful, is part of the language of culture. I think it’s a worthwhile topic.

For female actors, beauty is sometimes the whole of the landscape, and a feature of everything ever written about them. That should not be the case.

Female and male actors should be treated equally and afforded the same respect. They should be asked the same questions.

Sometimes we should talk about their looks.

Thanks again for sharing your opinion.

Wheeler is right. There’s nothing inherently wrong with talking about the attractiveness of men or women.  The problem is when that discussion is overwhelmingly about beauty.  When the vast majority of the discussion is how someone looks, rather than how they look plus what they can do and who they are as a person that’s when there is a problem.  That’s a problem in the United States (and I imagine across the world).  It isn’t a problem to talk about the beauty of a man.  Not in the case of Wheeler’s article, because he also talks about other facets of Henry Cavill.  It’s also not a problem to talk about the beauty of a man in general bc society as a whole also discusses other aspects of men.  When society can catch up and do that very same thing to women–when a woman can be valued for her personality, her passion, her abilities, her skills, and her looks we’ll have made a greater stride toward equality. I look forward to that day.

Talking about male beauty

New Information about Ferguson

From Twitter:

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster said this when I asked why he came to visit protesters: “These are my bosses. I work for them.

Yamiche Alcindor

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster said a grand jury will be convened at 9 am tomorrow. He gave protesters the news

Yamiche Alcindor

GovJayNixon will not ask McCulloch to recuse himself from #MikeBrown case

Jason Rosenbaum

Missouri attny general: grand jury (3 people) for #michaelbrown case tomorrow includes one woman of color.

Durrie Bouscaren

Me:  This next one I include only to categorically, emphatically condemn it:

Chant of choice tonight is a variation of the “hands up/don’t shoot.” They end it with “shoot back” instead.

Rachel Lippman

Me: Do NOT do that.  Shooting back will escalate the situation, and could result in injuries and loss of life.  The way to protest loss of rights is not to infringe upon the rights of others.

Just talked to @slmpd commander John Hayden. He said they are prepared to let protesters stay here all night.

Rachel Lippman

Police trucks across the street from burnt#QT . Barking from caged K-9 units audible.

Joe Mike Leahy

Parker Jacobs from San Diego. He has first aid training and a first aid bag. Here for peace.

Willis Arnold

#Ferguson police department dress code : daytime – overtime – weekend

Anonymous Press

(you won’t understand the above Tweet unless you click the link)

Capt. Ron Johnson says police have been receiving calls of “shooters on top of buildings” in Ferguson

Jon Passantino

#Ferguson=no joke. Peeps at @CNN handed me THIS before I even got a mic on. #GasMasks for reporters — in USA? Yup.

Van Jones

6yo Alerion Smith asked his mom to bring him to protest. “When someone has their hands up that means they surrender”

Wesley Lowery

Protesters have begun marching in a group of 300. Staying out of the street, for the most part.

Robert Klemko

Mo. Highway Patrol is asking for ID to drive down Florissant. These teens declined to provide and we’re turned back.

Robert Klemko

SENDING A MESSAGE: Protestor tells those who’ve sparked #Ferguson violence to go home.

Eli Rosenberg

The United States rejects international criticism of Ferguson Police:

A State Department spokeswoman pushed back against countries like Egypt, Iran and China that have chided U.S. law enforcement for its handling of protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting death of unarmed Michael Brown.

Marie Harf said such countries, which, at best, have mixed records on human rights and free speech, should avoid comparing themselves to the United States.

“We here in the United States will put our record for confronting our problems transparently and honestly and openly up against any other countries in the world,” Harf said. “When we have problems and issues in this country, we deal with them openly and honestly. We think that’s important, and I would encourage the countries you named particularly to do the same thing.”

I can’t believe  State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf even uttered those words.  The United States does not confront it’s problems transparently and honestly.  In a great many cases, the problems aren’t confronted at all.  When they are, at best they just give lip service to the problem, without actually tackling the root of the problem.

  • We have huge issues with race, as we’ve seen yet again, in the ongoing civil rights and constitutional rights violations occurring in Ferguson, MO (problems which are *not* limited to that city).
  • We have major issues with our politicians and political parties that the mainstream media and the government refuse to address.
  • We have a Rape Culture that devalues women and normalizes, minimizes, and excuses rape, which is not discussed in the mainstream media or by the government.
  • We have the erosion of civil rights for People of Color that have been ongoing, and it doesn’t get addressed.
  • Capitalism is worshiped almost as much as christianity in this country and it’s created a huge gap between the haves and the have nots, and that’s rarely discussed.
  • Our educational system is slipping compared to other industrialized nations, and creationists keep trying to undermine science in the classrooms, and the MSM and government barely want to tackle that problem.
  • Our government is still involved in torturing suspected terrorists
  • Across the US, women face the problem of not being able to exercise the full extent of their reproductive rights, thanks to the efforts of the GOP and fundamentalist religious believers, and this problem is one that is not tackled head on.
  • The United States is involved in drone attacks in other countries which take innocent lives.  Do we see the US talking about this significant violation of human rights? No.
  • We have major healthcare issues in the United States, which the ACA only just barely begins to tackle.
  • We have people in this country who won’t accept that LGBT people are humans deserving of equality, and neither the media nor the government will tackle this problem head on.
  • We have a country with a huge problem with unemployment, yet the government certainly isn’t doing all it can to rectify that, nor are they being transparent about the extent of the problem.

Those are just some of the problems facing the United States.  We categorically do not deal with our problems honestly and openly. Half the time, the problems aren’t even admitted.  This country is in denial.  Deeeeeeeep in denial.   The US government has no right to claim a moral high ground on anything.

The National Bar Association has Filed a Lawsuit Against the City of Ferguson and the Ferguson Police Department Seeking Pertinent Information Related to the Shooting 

Earlier today, the National Bar Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Ferguson, MO and the Ferguson Police Department seeking any and all incident reports, investigative reports, notes and memorandums prepared by Ferguson Police officers, in-dash camera video, photographs, cellphone video and recordings in connection with the shooting death of Michael Brown.

The National Bar Association also sent a Preservation of Evidence Notice to both entities requesting that they preserve the police officers’ raw notes of all statements, observations, and data collected from the scene of the incident, specifically including the officer involved and all responding officers, officer detail logs from the crime scene, and video & photographic evidence related to the August 9, 2014, fatal shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent arrests of protestors in the City of Ferguson.

“There can be no full, fair and accurate accounting in any state or federal criminal or civil action unless any and all footage is carefully preserved,” stated Pamela J. Meanes, President of the National Bar Association. “We want to ensure the family of Micheal Brown and the residents of St. Louis understand correct measures are being taken to protect evidence regarding this tragic incident.”
In wake of the recent events taking place in Ferguson and across the country, the National Bar Association has developed a task force that will evaluate complaints of police misconduct and/or police brutality nationwide, an online petition has been created calling for an independent investigation for the death of Micheal Brown Jr. and an open book request has been filed in 25 cities and states for information on police actions.

The lawsuit comes days after the City of Ferguson Police Department released the name of Darren Wilson, the officer identified of shooting Brown.


New Information about Ferguson

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.  


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


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

Powers, the tv show?

Powers is a crime procedural comic book (by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming) set in a fictional world with superhumans called ‘Powers’.  The comic book focused on the investigation of superhero and supervillain cases by Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, members of a special homicide division called ‘Powers’.  Originally published by IMAGE Comics, the book later moved to Marvel Comics as part of their Icon Imprint.  A television show based on the comic book is set to debut on the Playstation Network in December 2014, the first of PSN’s original programming.  The cast of the show includes:

It was recently revealed that Shartlo Copley is set to play Christian Walker, while Michelle Forbes will play Retro Girl.

I haven’t regularly bought comic books in over a year, but when I was buying them, I found Powers to be quite enjoyable.  The idea of a police procedural-which is still enjoying popularity on the small screen-mixed with superheroes-which are hugely popular pretty much everywhere-is a perfect idea for tv.  I can’t wait to see how the show turns out.


Powers, the tv show?

Ferguson around the Net

Malkia Cyril argues that Net Neutrality is important in the civil rights struggles of African-Americans:

As hundreds of Black residents in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson march into another day of protests against the murder of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown; a threatened, but still open, Internet thrust the story into widespread, necessary visibility. It’s one of the reasons that keeping the Internet open is not an abstract issue for me as a Black person living in America, but a life or death one.

From digital activism that echoes local demands for police accountability, to the humbling bravery of Black bloggers that have traveled to Ferguson to speak truth to power–the open Internet is a critical battleground where Black communities can connect across geographic lines, fight media misrepresentation, and oppose the police violence we find in every city, in our own voices.

#Ferguson, and moments like this one that lay this nation’s greatest contradictions at our feet, is the reason a new generation of African American change-makers are demanding that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassify the Internet as a common carrier service. Too often, our lives depend on our ability to tell stories of the abuse of power, without interference from corporate gatekeepers.

As the people of Ferguson join the ranks of cities across the country raising their hands in civil disobedience against the systemic abuse of Black bodies by law enforcement agencies, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering network neutrality rules that would force Black Twitter and Black blogs to enter the conversation on police brutality through a digital “poor door”; their content tracked into a digital slow lane by expedient, piecemeal regulation that lets the largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) discriminate through a pay-to-play scheme called paid prioritization.

I would ask you to imagine the impact of an Internet with the legal right to discriminate; if you’re Black, though, I think you already know. Black cable isn’t bringing the story of police brutality in Ferguson to your kitchen table, the Black Internet is.

The media treats black victims differently than white victims:

On the afternoon of Aug. 9, a police officer fatally shot an unarmed, black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri. Details remain in dispute. Eyewitnesses have said that Brown was compliant with police and was shot while he had his hands up. Police maintain that the 18-year-old had assaulted an officer and was reaching for the officer’s gun. One thing clear, however, is that Brown’s death follows a disturbingly common trend of black men being killed, often while unarmed and at the hands of police officers, security guards and vigilantes.

After news of Brown’s death broke, media-watchers carefully followed the narratives that news outlets began crafting about the teenager and the incident that claimed his life. Wary of the controversy surrounding the media’s depiction of Trayvon Martin — the Florida teen killed in a high-profile case that led to the acquittal of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman — people on Twitter wondered, “If they gunned me down, which picture would they use?” Using the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, users posted side-by-side photos, demonstrating the power that news outlets wield in portraying victims based on images they select.

On Monday, Twitter user LordSWVP tweeted out a photo driving home another point: Media treatment of black victims is often harsher than it is of whites suspected of crimes, including murder.

Local store owner is aided by Ferguson community in the aftermath of his store being looted:

I had to immediately come over here, and I tried to get into the area. I couldn’t get into the area because the whole area was blocked. And I was like, ‘People are robbing my store, can I just go and put some boards on it?’ They did try, but then in the middle they changed their mind and said no, it’s too risky or something, please wait. They took my information and told me they’re going to call me as soon as the area is clean. That was about 1:45, 3:45 a.m., I’m just waiting.

Nobody calls me, so I just decide to come over. So I get here around 5, 5:30 a.m. There are a few people outside, some reporters were outside too, but the whole store was open, people could come in and out and take what they want at their leisure.

So that’s on the sad part. The good part is the people who were out here were waiting outside, they wanted to help me. So as soon as I got here, they said ‘Can I help you? Can I do this, can I do that?’ I wanted to take my time and clean as part of my therapy, as part of dealing with the situation. But some of them would not leave unless they did something to help, unless they got a hug or something. So that was very overwhelming, I didn’t think I’d come in there to be so overwhelmed by the community. So that’s very sweet.

Palestinian solidarity with protesters in Ferguson:

We the undersigned Palestinian individuals and groups express our solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, a young unarmed black man gunned down by police on August 9th in Ferguson, Missouri. We wish to express our support and solidarity with the people of Ferguson who have taken their struggle to the street, facing a militarized police occupation.

From all factions and sectors of our dislocated society, we send you our commitment to stand with you in your hour of pain and time of struggle against the oppression that continues to target our black brothers and sisters in nearly every aspect of their lives.

We understand your moral outrage. We empathize with your hurt and anger. We understand the impulse to rebel against the infrastructure of a racist capitalist system that systematically pushes you to the margins of humanity.

And we stand with you.

We recognize the disregard and disrespect for black bodies and black life endemic to the supremacist system that rules the land with wanton brutality. Your struggles through the ages have been an inspiration to us as we fight our own battles for basic human dignities. We continue to find inspiration and strength from your struggles through the ages and your revolutionary leaders, like Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Kwame Ture, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, Bobby Seale and others.

We honor the life of Michael Brown, cut short less than a week before he was due to begin university.  And we honor the far too many more killed in similar circumstances, motivated by racism and contempt for black life: Ezell Ford, John Crawford, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tarika Wilson, Malcolm Ferguson, Renisha McBride, Amadou Diallo, Yvette Smith, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Kathryn Johnston, Rekia Boyd and too many others to count.

With a Black Power fist in the air, we salute the people of Ferguson and join in your demands for justice.

Michael Brown: Facts and dog whistles

Actor Jesse Williams chastises the media over the narrative presented in Ferguson:

“We also have to talk about the narrative and making sure that we’re starting at the beginning. You’ll find that the people doing the oppressing always want to start the narrative at a convenient part, or always want to start the story in the middle. This started with a kid getting shot and killed and left in the street for four hours. I’ve never seen a white body left in the street for four hours in the sweltering heat. The cop doesn’t call in the shooting, the body isn’t put in an ambulance, it’s shuttled away in some shady unmarked SUV.

There’s a lot of bizarre behavior going on and that is the story, that’s where we need journalism. That’s where we need that element of society to kick into gear and not just keep playing a loop of what the kid may have done in a convenience store. That’s unfortunate, if that happened, that’s going to be factored in, like it or not. But we need journalism to kick in and start telling the story from the beginning, this is about finding justice for a kid that was shot, an 18-year-old that was shot, period.

This idea that because he stole a handful of cheap cigars, what’s that $5? I’ve lived in white suburbs of this country for a long time, I know plenty of white kids who steal stuff from a convenience store. [There’s] this idea that every time a black person does something, they automatically become a thug worthy of death when we don’t own drug crimes. We’re not the only ones who sell and do drugs all the time. We’re not the only ones that steal and talk crazy to cops.

There’s a complete double standard and a complete different experience that a certain element of this country has the privilege of being treated like human beings, and the rest of us are not treated like human beings, period. That needs to be discussed, that’s the story. That’s what gets frustrating for people — because you don’t know five black folks, five black men in particular, that have not been harassed and felt threatened by police officers. You can’t throw a rock and find five of them. We’re not making this up.”


Do you want to show support for Michael Brown and Ferguson?  Some helpful advice.

Janee Woods lists 12 things white people can do in the wake of Ferguson.  If you’re like, interested in fighting racism.  If you’re not, and you’d rather things just remain the same, then do nothing.  If you choose option #2, just know this: you’re a grade A asshole.

The reactions to the shooting of Michael Brown show stark racial divisions:

Blacks and whites have sharply different reactions to the police shooting of an unarmed teen in Ferguson, Mo., and the protests and violence that followed. Blacks are about twice as likely as whites to say that the shooting of Michael Brown “raises important issues about race that need to be discussed.” Wide racial differences also are evident in opinions about of whether local police went too far in the aftermath of Brown’s death, and in confidence in the investigations into the shooting.

The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Aug. 14-17 among 1,000 adults, finds that the public overall is divided over whether Brown’s shooting raises important issues about race or whether the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves: 44% think the case does raise important issues about race that require discussion, while 40% say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

By about four-to-one (80% to 18%), African Americans say the shooting in Ferguson raises important issues about race that merit discussion. By contrast, whites, by 47% to 37%, say the issue of race is getting more attention than it deserves.

An artist makes a statement about the situation in Ferguson:

There was some caution tape draped around the Love sign in Philadelphia two days ago. Yellow ribbon hung loosely beneath the iconic statue, the one with the “O” tilted just so, in Love Park, northwest of City Hall. In front of the sign, Keith Wallace wore a white t-shirt and blue jeans, a baseball hat in his left hand. An all-American uniform. His t-shirt was stained with what appeared to be blood. His right hand was palm-down on the pavement. His right ear was pressed up against the ground, his face looking back at the statue. Nearby, two individuals took turns holding a poster that read: Call Us By Our Names.
Wallace, 27, is a Philadelphia native. He went to Morehouse College and is pursuing an MFA in acting at the University of California, San Diego. He staged this hour-long silent performance on his last day home for the summer as a protest against the killing of Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was shot multiple times and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.
“It was something that’s been brewing for a while in my mind,” Wallace told me by phone. He was sick of seeing so many news reports about the murders of young black men. “You realize, in these cases, there’s a disproportionate amount of black men on the receiving end of this police brutality. And as a young black men, it strikes a different chord for me – it hits a little closer to home.”
“I just tried to think about a way I could use my spirit of activism coupled with my artistic passion to make a statement about what’s going on. So I just decided that for me, I’m a very image-driven artist. I think images speak louder than words can, most times. And so there’s some value in forcing a society to look at the most ugly parts of itself and just putting it out there for them to examine and discussed, and to be disgusted by, in the hopes of provoking some sort of dialogue or provoking some social change in an effort to eradicate some social ill, whatever that is.”
He settled on the rallying cry of “Call Us By Our Names” because “We hear about Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown. But there’s a slew of other faces and names who go unrecognized and unnamed,” he said. “And the media is slanted in cases where the victim is of color, passing them off as thugs, or gang- and drug-related. When it’s someone who is white, they’re ‘troubled’ or ‘disturbed.’”

Wallace also wanted to ensure he reached the biggest cross-section of people in the short span of time that he had. “I chose a place that has a very diverse community. All types of people come through Love Park. There was a Ukrainian protest the same day. There were Hebrew Israelites with a megaphone on the corner… I wanted to bring this to a group of people who I feel like might not experience this through the same lens that I do.”
He was expecting the police to make him leave within five or ten minutes. In a kind of inverse-Ferguson situation, the police instead respected Wallace’s right to peacefully protest; they stayed on the periphery “to make sure I was safe,” said Wallace, and shook hands when the protest was over.
Wallace enlisted two of his friends, Felicia Roche and Lee Colston II, to join him; they took turns holding up the poster and takin
g photographs. He couldn’t hear everything that passersby said and, as he spent the entire hour “motionless: I didn’t speak to anyone, I didn’t look at anyone.”
“Honestly, some of the things that were said were so ugly. And I’ve dealt with these kinds of issues before, and you hear about it all the time, but when it’s right in front of your face, it takes on a whole new reality. In trying to open other people’s eyes, my eyes were open, I had this complete revelation about this world we live in.”


Wallace had a sheet of paper handed out during his protest. As Philly in Focus reported, some of his statement read:
“I am racially charged not because I want to be, but because I have to be. I am racially charged because in certain instances, that hyper awareness may ensure that I make it home to my family at the end of the day. I am racially charged because I am not afforded the luxury to wander through life with my head in the (nonexistent) ‘post-racial America’ clouds. I see color because my color is seen, dismissed, devalued, and implicated as a threat everywhere I go. I am racially charged and if I make you uncomfortable by speaking out about it and calling attention to it, then I implore you to eradicate the ugliness I see every day in the world.”


Ferguson store owner:  Neither I, nor any of my employees dialled 9-1-1.

St. Louis local news is reporting that the Attorney for the Ferguson store, Jake Kanzler said the the Ferguson store owner, nor any store employee called the police to report any shoplifting of cigars, but, rather, a customer called the police.








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Ferguson around the Net

My thanks to Twitter Users plus more on Ferguson

I’m not on Twitter, but I have a lot of people to thank who are.

Thank you, Twitter users! You’re too numerous for me to try naming, and I would not want to forget anyone, but suffice to say, if you were Tweeting the events of Ferguson, you have my thanks.  Also, the people who were retweeting  deserve a round of thanks as well.

Twitter users were on the ground, reporting what was going on in Ferguson before the Mainstream Media was. They were giving accurate reporting (despite the vast majority of people not being reporters) from the start. Much of the information we have about what has happened in Ferguson has been the result of Tweets, both from reporters and civilians. These Tweets are evidence and should not be dismissed. In the court of public opinion-which is not the same as a court of law, where higher standards exist for determining guilt-Tweets very much qualify as valid evidence in coming to a reasonable conclusion about a given situation.

Please pay attention to the 5 facts that we know that are not in dispute in the following collection of Tweets (note that all these facts can be verified if one takes the time to verify them. The mainstream media should, by now have compiled a timeline of events to further verify.)
My point with all this is that this shitty “Let’s wait till we know all the facts” is preventing people from reaching *any* conclusion about the events in Ferguson and in fact is used by racist assholes who wish to support Officer Wilson’s murder of Mike Brown.

I have some 5 essential FACTS about the Mike Brown case. These are not in dispute & agreed upon by all sides.

1. According to the Police Chief Officer Darren Wilson DID NOT know about the stolen cigars & all agree the stop was just about jaywalking.

2. A struggle ensued at the window of the car. Dorian Johnson & 4 eyewitnesses saw it ONE way. We can assume Officer Johnson sees it another

3. Mike Brown fled on foot and got about 35 feet away from the truck. His body was found 35 feet away from the truck. So key.

4. Mike Brown was unarmed from start to finish. This is never in dispute.

5. Officer did not file a report and almost no witnesses were interviewed the day of the murder. This was well before DOJ intervention.

 (thanks to Shaun King for compiling this list)

My thanks to Twitter Users plus more on Ferguson

If you thought events in Ferguson were going to settle down

…you were wrong. 

Violence has erupted again.  Reports at the moment are unclear, but a short time ago, Gawker put up this article:

Reporters on the scene in Ferguson say the protests erupted into chaos as police began firing tear gas at crowds of protestors Sunday night—well before the official curfew time was set to begin—hitting media and children in the abrupt offensive.

It’s not clear what sparked the sudden violent turn just after 10 pm on Sunday. The St. Louis Police Department posted on Twitter around the same time that molotov cocktails had been thrown at officers, but reporters on the scene described a peaceful protest. Sports Illustrated’sRobert Klemko—who was also briefly arrested Sunday night— suggested on Twitter that police may have been responding to a march past a southern barricade.

He also writes that police are claiming their command center was attacked.


Information has been revealed about the autopsy of Michael Brown:

A private autopsy conducted on Michael Brown shows the 18-year-old was shot at least six times in the head, torso and arm, the New York Times reports.

According to the autopsy, Brown was shot at least three times in the face. At least two of those shots “would have stopped him in his tracks and were likely the last fired.”

According to the New York Times, Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner in New York, found a gunshot wound at the top of Brown’s skull “suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury.”

“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” he explained to the Times. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”

Baden—who conducted the autopsy at the family’s request and was not allowed to examine Brown’s clothing—said no gunpowder was found on Brown’s body, suggesting he was not shot at close range.

Baden told reporters Brown—who was not given medical attention—likely would not have survived the shooting

More Tweets coming out of Ferguson:

Police scanner eavesdroppers say cops requesting reinforcements from wherever they can get them.

Rory Carroll

Police just widened cordon outside , threatening to arrest anyone within a mile.

Rory Carroll

Cop just told photog to “back the fuck up or ill shot.”

Akilah Johnson

Police pointed weapon and me and Capt Johnson has threatened me with arrest. He has called squad car. V jumpy

Rob Crilly

Windows broken at Public Storage, some protestors yelling at guy who did it

Steph Lecci

Just spoke with Capt Johnson. They’ve quarantined me and two other journos. Not allowed to view Florissant. “They tried to take the command”

Robert Klemko

Cops stopped us. We explained ourselves. They said to walk away. We said why. They said command center was attacked. I said no it wasn’t.

Robert Klemko

Capt Johnson said walk away or be arrested. I started walking away. They followed and arrested us.

Robert Klemko

When they cut cuffs off minutes later, I held onto it. Johnson tried to take it. I said “it’s a ferguson souvenir.”

Robert Klemko

Entire goal was to document police action towards protesters. Johnson wouldn’t let us enter a visibly secured area.

Robert Klemko

Here is Ferguson news as reported in Australia:

On the ground in Ferguson

For days now, this community has been see-sawing between a fairly festive atmosphere in the street … when you have this outpouring of love and support for the family of Mike Brown and then down at the scene of the actual shooting, you have a completely different feeling of grief and prayer and shock.

Around town, there is graffiti on the walls, things like “The only good cop is a dead cop”, so there is still a lot of anger but at the same time, that graffiti was actually painted over within a day, I suspect by the community itself.

Protesters themselves have stopped the looters, this is a community that has no faith left in the police officers but are effectively now policing themselves.

[But] we have certainly seen a heavy FBI presence at the scene. Agents wanting to interview witnesses for this investigation will run in tandem to the investigations of the local police. All of this is just a sign of the extremely bad state of the relationship between the police here and this community.

Every person you talk to here feels personally affected by what has happened, they are painfully aware that even though it is Mike Brown who bore the brunt of it this time, it could have just as easily been any one of them lying dead in the street, they say.

They say it is part
of the reality of being a black man in America, that you are targeted and that you are the subject of heavy-handed treatment in a way that they just don’t see white members of this community being treated.

– US correspondent Jane Cowan


 Here is Robert McCulloch saying that the level of force deployed by the police is not excessive:

The show of force by police in Ferguson was not excessive. That’s what St. Louis County’s top prosecutor is saying the morning after a night of calm in Ferguson.

Robert McCulloch spoke to Kay Quinn this morning, about the violence in Ferguson, and about his strong feelings after St. Louis County’s police chief was removed from heading up the security detail there.

McCulloch says St. Louis County Police Chief, Jon Belmar, already had plans to scale back the security operation in Ferguson on Thursday, when in his words, Missouri governor Jay Nixon pops into town and takes over.

“The problem I had with the governor’s action is the manner it came about,” says McCulloch.

He’s been St. Louis county prosecutor for 17 years, and he knows Missouri governor Jay Nixon well.

McCulloch is offended Nixon replaced County Police Chief Jon Belmar as the commander of the security detail in Ferguson without even telling Belmar first.

“That was what really annoyed me about the governor’s action yesterday, aside from the fact that there was absolutely no legal authority for him to do that,” says McCulloch.

He says Belmar and Johnson had been working closely on the security detail from the start of the violence, that that the two had already decided to scale back the operation Wednesday night, when the governor arrived.

“So to come into town and not to talk to, certainly didn’t talk to me, certainly didn’t talk to Chief Belmar, didn’t bother to ask what is going on, what happened last night, where does it go from here, who’s doing what, the sort of things you would expect somebody to ask,” says McCulloch.

We also asked him about the militarization of the police presence.

Quinn: “Was the police response excessive in Ferguson?”

Prosecutor McCulloch: “No, I don’t think it was excessive at all.”

He says there’s a big difference between a show of force and the use of force. He also said officers on the front lines did a professional job.

“The abuse that they took on that line was incredible,” McCulloch said. “The show of force, by the time Thursday got around, was certainly above,” McCulloch added, “even though it was a show of force, even that it was the same show of force that it was Monday morning. It was certainly more than was necessary by Wednesday.” says McCulloch.

“But then again nobody knows what to expect until it happens, and when you see what happens, you say we don’t need it, let’s get it out of here,” says McCulloch.

He says he’s pleased the situation in Ferguson is calm again, and well aware of the national conversation about the police response. McCulloch adds the fact that no one was seriously hurt in the days and nights right after the Brown shooting proves the approach was appropriate.

“I know people for blocks around were affected by the tear gas,” McCulloch said. “But no serious injuries to the protestors that were out there, to law enforcement to residents in the area, and I think that’s something that kind of gets lost in the shuffle here.”

“But the use of force, while they were doing it under the circumstances, I don’t think was excessive,” says McCulloch.

As for the release of the name of the Ferguson officer involved in Mike Brown shooting, McCulloch said there are legitimate arguments for both releasing and withholding it.

He says he’d rather the officer’s name be withheld, but he understands the decision to release it.



If you thought events in Ferguson were going to settle down