Icelandic markets to demographics other than heterosexual men

It’s no secret that all across society, sex is used to sell products and services. Drive down the highway. Power up the computer. Turn on the television. From overt images that mimic sexual acts to sell food or vehicles to seemingly innocuous images used to sell body enhancement products, our society is permeated with suggestive or provocative images of sex.  What continues to strike me in our culture though, is that so often, sexual imagery in advertising is tailored to the heterosexual male gaze. Where is the marketing for people *other* than hetero men?

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Icelandic markets to demographics other than heterosexual men
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Sometimes I despair

By now, most USAmericans who pay attention to politics are probably aware of The Donald’s inane idea to build a wall between the U.S./Mexico border. Ya know, to keep out all those rapists, murderers, and drug dealers that he’s worried are pouring into this country (a belief he holds and has no qualms about sharing despite his failure to produce supporting evidence):

Donald Trump said he would force the people of Mexico to build his vowed border wall to keep immigrants out of the United States, warning that if his order was not fulfilled, he would do something “severe.”

When asked how he might force the country to build this wall, Trump said in an interview that aired on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, “you force them because we give them a fortune. Mexico makes a fortune because of us. A wall is a tiny little peanut compared to that. I would do something very severe unless they contributed or gave us the money to build the wall.”

The 2016 presidential candidate added: “I’d build it. I’d build it very nicely. I’m very good at building things.”

I wonder-scale of 1 to 10…how big is his ego? Hell, it’s probably so big it breaks the scale. In any case, the idea has been called moronic, unrealistic and costly, and ridiculous. Trump has given no consideration to the difficulties in constructing a wall more than 1,900 miles long*, across a varied topography, and through a fair amount of private land. But that’s not what he’s concerned about. No, for him, the important thing is preserving the United States for “us” by keeping “them” out. Trump’s frothy mix of xenophobia and racism has found purchase with some of the brightest stars among the dregs of humanity including:

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Sometimes I despair

No, that does NOT look like sex

Remember Daniele Watts, the black woman recently detained by police in California?  Witnesses called the police claiming that she and her boyfriend were engaged in lewd acts in public view.

Watts — best known for her role in the Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained — told BuzzFeed News the incident happened Sept. 11. She had just dropped off a friend at a diversity showcase when she met up with Lucas, who was in a parked car near CBS’s Studio City production facility. Then the couple started kissing.

“I sat on his lap in the front seat of the car and we start making out,” Watts said.

Soon thereafter, a man from a nearby office came out and asked Watts and Lucas to “stop putting on a show.” Watts stressed to BuzzFeed News that she and Lucas were fully clothed and only kissing, but said they stopped anyway. She got out of the car and eventually called her dad to ask about family.

Watts criticized the police (justifiably in my opinion) for detaining her for no reason, and being racially motivated to do so.  Here’s the audio from Watts’ detainment acquired from TMZ:

Officer: Who’se the owner of the car?
Brian: That’s me.

Officer: And registration?

Brian: Nah. Unintelligible.

Officer: What about her ID?

Brian: Well I have her passport.

Daniele in background on phone: Daddy? Daddy can you hold on for one second? Hold on. Hold on. What’s the issue? (To Officer)

Officer: Somebody called the police saying there was lewd acts in the car. Doesn’t matter I have to ID you.

Daniele (Crosstalk): There’s no lewd act happening…we’re not doing anything.

Officer: Somebody called…

Daniele: I’m on the phone with my dad. This is my boyfriend, sitting in the car.

Officer: I want to see your ID. Somebody called which means it gives me the right to be here, so it gives me the right to identify you. By Law.

Daily Kos columnist Frank Vyan Walton interjects:

Someone calling gives him the right? Is that all it takes?
Isn’t that what we heard when somebody called to report a strong-arm robbery at the Ferguson Market, even though nobody working there felt the need to make that call? It’s still an open question that there even was a robbery in the first place. I’m at 60/40 that there might have been. But the point is that after encountering Michael Brown and initially telling him and his friend to “Get the fuck on the Sidewalk” and leaving – it would seem that that bystanders call is what made Officer Wilson GO BACK. Then the madness did ensue, and Michael Brown ended up dead.

Someone called about Kajiema Powell shoplifting and having a knife. Even if he cared more about the bystanders than the Police at the time, he still ended up Dead.

Someone called about Darrien Hunt walking around with a sheathed, blunt, Katana. He ended up Dead.

Someone called about John Crawford holding a BB Gun in Walmart. He ended up Dead.

Someone called about Jonathan Farrell trying to “break into their house” when he was really trying to get help after a traffic accident. He ended up Dead.

Someone called police when Chris Lollie was sitting in on a bench in an apparently public area waiting to pick up his kids. He refused to provide Police ID, so they Tased and Beat him into Submission. Not dead, but not unharmed.

Someone called the Police when 18 year-old Steve Lohner was walking down the street in Aurora CO with a shotgun over his shoulder. And after refusing to give police his ID, he was went on his way with merely a citation – and his shotgun. And an attitude. But then Steve Lohner looks like this… so… yeah.. whatever.

Back to the audio:

Daniele: Do you know how many times I’ve been called… the cops have been called just for being Black? I’m black and he’s white I’m just being real.
Officer: That is not…

Daniele: I’m just being really honest Sir.

Officer: Who brought up a Race Card?

Daniele: I’m bringing it up because…

Officer: I said nothing about you being black. [Edit: Actually he did according to Brian in the CNN interview shown below when he first walked up – but it’s not included in the audio]

Daniele: And I have every right to be here.

Officer: And I have every right to ask for you ID.

Daniele: And I have a right to say “No”.

Officer: No, you do not have a right to say “No”.

Daniele: Ok, well you can take me down to the court office and I can make a scene about it.

Officer: No.

Daniele: And you know what? I have a publicist. And I work as an actress at a studio.

Officer: I’m probably interested, that you have a publicist, but I’m gonna get your ID anyway.

Daniele: No, I’m going to say “No”. If you’d like my ID you can say that I’m resisting arrest…

Officer: There’s no resisting, you’re just interfering.

D: I’m saying that I’ve not done anything wrong. I’m on the phone with my father, my step-mom is dying…
O (Interrupting her as he does constantly) : Do you know that probable cause is?

D: Yes, and I have not… what is your probable cause?

O: I have probable cause.

D: I’m sitting here talking on the phone to my father.

O: We received a radio call. (Turns to Boyfriend) Can we have her ID please?

D: NO! You may not. You may not have my ID.

O: Send me a female officer please?

D: Please, please do.

O: I’m gonna get your ID one way or another. [In this post Ray Rice Era, anyone else feel a chill at these words?]

D: Fine. You can do whatever you like.

O: Yes. Yes, I am.

D: (Talking to Phone) Daddy? (Unintelligible – Voice grows fainter as she walks away)

O: Thank you for bringing up the Race Card, I Never Hear That.
[Not passive aggressive are we?]

D: (On Phone) Daddy I can’t believe it. (Unintelligible) All the things that are (Unintelligible), talking to the cops right now. I can’t make out with my fucking boyfriend in front of my fucking studio…

O: [Sarcastic] There ya go.

Boyfriend: We were like in our garage….

(Daniele getting more excited in the background): I don’t have to give him my ID. It’s my right (starts shouting) to sitting on the fucking street corner and make out with my boyfriend. It’s my right.

O: Keep yelling it really helps!

D: My dad wants to talk with you.

O: Nope.

D: Here he is on speaker phone. Daddy your own speaker phone.

Daddy on Phone : (Unintelligible)

D: He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care. I doesn’t matter you can call the cops on somebody. You can call the cops on somebody and all of sudden your a criminal. I’m just gonna walk away (voice grows fainter)

O: Great. I’d already be gone. Just so you know. I’d already be gone.

Boyfriend: (Garble) do you need my license?

O: I already have your license. I’d already be gone.

B: Yeah. (In exasperation) Oooohhh god.

O: Yeah. I’d be gone.

D: I don’t understand how we live in a free country where in at a parking lot and I’m making out with my boyfriend and I get arrested…
O: [To other officers] Gotta be careful. Little emotional.

D: How do we live in a free country? (Unintelligible) .. for nothing.

O: What’s your first name?

D: Sobs

O: Why do you think you’re in handcuffs.

D: Sobs.

O: Do you think we put you in handcuffs? Did we put you in handcuffs or did you do it?

O: (Incredulous) Did I put myself in handcuffs? (Yes, it is as crazy a question as it sounds)

O: Who do you think put yourself in handcuffs? (This is a direct quote, I swear to God!) Who do you think put you in handcuffs?

D: I think this Officer right here put me in handcuffs.

O: No! I think you did the minute you left the scene.

D: Yes, because i was….

O: Do you see?

D: …treated like a criminal…

O: Do you see the gentleman here in handcuffs? Is the gentleman here in handcuffs before you? No, he’s not.

D: (Sigh) Do you think that I’m stupid?

O: I don’t think you’re stupid at all. [Yes, apparently you do!]

D: What’s your first name Officer Parker?

O: My name is Sargent Parker and that’s all you need to know.

D: Why don’t…why do you need to know my first name but I don’t know yours?

O (Overtalking her, again!) Because I need to identify you as the source of radio call.

D: I think I’d like to identify you to my publicist, what’s your first name?

O: Now you see why your in handcuffs?

D: Why are you afraid of the news getting out that you’re arresting somebody – who was making out with her boyfriend?

O: I’ve been on the news many times.

D: Awesome.

Other Officer: (Unintelligible)
Danielle: Because you told me to turn around and face the wall, and I didn’t. Did he tell me to stay or did I tell him I was walking away while talking to my dad?

Officer Parker: (Unintelligible)

D: Did you hear him tell me to stay here?

Parker: You can’t walk away ma’am.

Boyfriend: He didn’t say anything as you walked away…

D: You didn’t say anything to me as I was walking away. [He was too busy complaining he “could have been gone” – saying it five times – to her boyfriend]

D: There is no reason, because I literally walked away from him – I was on the phone with my dad.
O: (To other officers who I assume now have her ID via her boyfriend): They both have no…

Other Officer: No Probation.

O: Not wanted for Murder? Nothing, right?

Other: No.

O: Do you see what time it is? 15 minutes ago, I would have been gone. [One more time quoting the opening line of “Oh Sherrie” and this guy is gonna owe Steve Perry some royalty money!]

D: What because I wouldn’t give you my ID? That was enough for me…

O: It is enough ma’am. It is enough. [Or rather it’s Not without a Hiibel in this jurisdiction]

D: That’s fine. This is not a problem for me.

O: Ok.

D: I’m gonna get all of your names.

O: It’s obviously a problem for you.

D: What is a problem for me, is that you think you’re better than me. And you think you have more power than me.

O: Oh. (Calmly, matter of factly) I do have more power than you.

D: … and that’s not true.

O: Yes.

D: So I’m gonna show you. You’ll see. Because we’re all equal, and (getting excited) that’s what our country is based on. The land of the free and the home of the brave. We are all equal.

O: Do you need paramedics? You want me to call paramedics for you?

D: (Sarcastically) Sure. I’d love a tranquilizer. (Unintellible)..in cuffs, yeah. It’s really exciting to see where my mind went.

O : (Still talking while she’s talking): I could call paramedics for you?

D: Just the fact that you just told me you have more power than me makes me want you wanna be (unintelligible) somewhere…

O: (Whining) But I do have more power than you here.

D: This situation, just because you have me in handcuffs does not mean you have more power than me

O: Oh, I do. When I tell you to do something you have to do it, that’s the law ma’am. [Kinda not!]

D: Clearly I didn’t have to do, because I still didn’t.

O: Do you want to be out of handcuffs?

D: I don’t know. I could sit here and talk to you all day, I’m just enjoying myself. [That’s gotta burn since “I coulda been gone…” six times now!] And if you have more charges for me, go ahead bring ‘em up.

O: We actually have no charges now. [No, kidding – so why is she in handcuffs still?]

D: So why am I still in handcuffs? [Yeah, why?]

O: Because you’re legally detained.

D: So why am I legally detained? [Here we go ’round the mulberry bush.. the mulberry bush.. the.. oh you get it.]

O: I asked if you wanted me to take the handcuffs off? [What is this a fucking game to him? Why do you need her permission for that?] Do you want me to take the handcuffs off?

D: I don’t know I want to make another Youtube video.

O: (Chuckles) You took something that would take five minutes and made it thirty. [I can see him pouting inside, that Coffee & Donut he was on his way to get so had his name on it!]

D: That’s great. I’m glad, because you guys are really showing me something about my country right now…

O: Mmmm.

D: And I’m really enjoying this conversation. [Guess whose got the power now? He wants to go, she’s making him stay!]

O: Ok. As soon as we’re done here we’ll show you a little more.

D: Great. Great. Can I have my phone please? Am I still required…

O: You’re still being detained.

D: Alright, we’ll let’s just make sure.

O: Yes.

D: Shall we take some selfies while were here? Y’know tweet about it, got arrested today.

O: You didn’t get arrested.

D: Oh, I got detained today. The cops thought that I was a threat. Oh, that’s good yeah.

O: No, actually the cops never called, we didn’t call, somebody else did. We’re here for a reason. [Yeah, it used to be called Miscegenation, but we’re much more civilized folk now!]

D: To protect and serve the people in the office up there, who were personally offended I’m making out with my boyfriend down here…

O: Wanna hear something even funnier?

D: I’ll bet there’s at least one person up there whose a racist. [Or at least a fucking busybody prude!] I’ll bet you, you’re a little bit racist.

O: Wanna hear something even funnier? We were about to have coffee. [What did I tell you!]

D: Yeah, god. It could’ve been a nice hot cup, but instead you gotta deal with me.

O: It would’ve been five minutes. [God, what a whiner!]

D: I know, and I’m still enjoying it. Cuz instead of fucking around in a coffee shop you get to fuck around with me. Public Service. You guys work for us don’t you?

O: I don’t work for you.

D: Isn’t that what you’re oath is, “To Protect and Serve”?

O: I work for anyone who calls for police service

O: This just took longer than I assumed.
D: I mean hey, this is your job.

O: Are you guys done with your DFI’s?

D: If you guys have to deal with crazy batshit fuckers like me every day…

O: You are?

D: That’s what you signed up for, I signed up for freedom. I thought America was the land of the free and home of the brave, y’know. I’m pretty fucking brave, but I don’t go around putting people in handcuffs, so y’know… I guess we all have our destinies. I serve freedom and love, you guys serve – uh – detainment. That’s cool. That’s fine.

O: I might have one (garbled) I’ll see you guys. Go ahead and take the cuffs off.

D: I hope when you’re fucking your spouses that you really feel like, alive y’know? That you feel thankful, full of gratitude for the freedom that you have. That you share with people of this country every day. I’m saying all this with love, y’know, really.

Female Officer: Do you want the handcuffs off right now?

D: Well, y’know I could sit here and shoot the shit with you guys all day, cuz I haven’t done anything wrong.

Female Officer: Stand up, turn around if you want the cuffs off.

D: Well this has been fun guys, really.

O: That’s it.

D: Really it has been.

O: It hasn’t been fun for me. [Awwww… it’s gonna get worse man]

D: I know, and that’s why at the end of the day I really have a lot of compassion for you guys.

O: [Talking over her, Again!] It’s not been fun for me.

D: Cuz you get to go around making people feel like they’re powerless. And you walk around with this full sense of power that’s not real, because at the end of the day… if you don’t work for me, if you say that you don’t work for me, that you’re not here to serve the people of this country…

O: I .. uh…I

D: …then you’re not living up to what you’re here for.

O: At any time, has anybody said anything disrespectful to you? [Oh, geez there were about 5 or 6 smartass rude degrading comments (“Little Emotional Here”, “Do you need a paramedic?”, “Keep yelling it really helps”, “I do have more power!”) by my count! But if he means swearing, Nope.]

D: You guys signed up for it, they’ve all said disrespectful things to me…

O: (As if talking to a child) What did they say?

(Pause)

O: What did they say that was disrespectful?

D: Y’know If I felt like you were coming from a place of love [and not snide condescension]

O: I’m not.

D: Exactly.

O: Did they say anything disrespectful to you at all? [Man, he’s like a dog with a bone… “I coulda been gone… did they say anything…” just can’t let GO!]

D: Yeah.

O: Tell me one thing that they said disrespectful?

Other Officers getting impatient: Sargent we really are leaving!

O: Yeah, I’m the Boss of everybody.

D: Y’know what’s interesting about all this? I don’t even know what…

O: Hey, I thank you. Heh heh…

Now TMZ is claiming that Watts and her boyfriend were having sex; and they have pictures to prove it. Or they think they do.  You tell me:

I see Daniele in clothes, and both her legs. I see a hand in the sunroof, and what looks like them making out. No sex though. The picture is a bit unclear so perhaps there is hanky panky in another shot.
Doesn’t look terribly different from the first image. Just a different angle. still see clothes on Daniele. I know you can have sex with your clothes on, but this image is far too unclear to support the claim that they definitely were having sex
I’m sensing a pattern here. The witnesses claimed the couple were having sex, but didn’t actually verify if that was the case. These pictures were taken, but they don’t show the couple having sex. They show-at best-the couple being intimate. These images support Watts’ comments that she and her boyfriend were making out.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any fucking.  Yes, it’s possible it happened, but these photos certainly don’t offer conclusive proof.  I think the witnesses needed to mind their own fucking business, bc there is nothing criminal about a black woman making out with her white boyfriend, unless you think like a white supremacist.

I certainly don’t think she needs to apologize for anything.  Civil Rights leaders in Los Angeles disagree:

Civil rights leaders Friday called for a “Django Unchained” actress to apologize after claiming Los Angeles Police Department officers racially profiled her.

Project Islamic Hope President Najee Ali, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson and other civil rights leaders held a meeting at 9:30 a.m. denouncing Daniele Watts after a recent incident.

There’s something wrong when you’re trusting TMZ to be a reputable source of news.

No, that does NOT look like sex

More Ferguson Links

Ferguson’s black community must not be given the same ‘justice’ as Trayvon Martin


 

The real looting of Ferguson: its black citizens never had a chance to get by


 

‘We need to communicate. That’s key. But we need justice for Michael Brown’

Ardester Williams is writing to Barack Obama the old-fashioned way, with paper and a postage stamp, to tell the president about the day in June when he shot a man.

“He was swinging at me, and he was much bigger than I was,” said the 73-year-old security guard at a Ferguson clothing store. “I had to draw my gun and shoot him. But I shot him in the foot. I’m writing to the president to tell him that the whole concept of police training is backwards. They should train them to shoot people dead as a last resort, not the first.”

All law enforcement should be trained how to defuse a situation, and lethal force should be a last resort.  Also, if police aren’t skilled enough to shoot to injure, they ought to receive better training.

A little further down West Florissant Avenue, Shiron Hagens is staffing a tent on a part of the street that just a few nights ago was clouded by tear gas and smoke from a burning convenience store, as protesters and the police clashed over the killing of Michael Brown. She is registering local residents to vote, in part to raise support for a petition to recall Ferguson mayor James Knowles, a white Republican, after he said that the upheaval of the past two weeks was not about race.

“There’s a mistrust right now,” she said. “The way to overcome mistrust is to talk. But there’s no way to have a conversation when you have a mayor who says there’s no race issue here. Michael Brown died because he was black.”

This is why it is important for the citizens of Ferguson to exercise their constitutional right to vote.  They need a mayor who represents them, not one that dismisses their concerns.

(read the rest here)

 

‘Would Michael Brown still be here if we voted for the right people?’

The group of Ferguson residents clumped around the makeshift memorial at the spot where a police officer shot Michael Brown readily admitted that two weeks ago they had little idea who ran their city.

They paid no attention to the fact that, while two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are African American, all but one of the members of the city council is white. Or that the mayor is a Republican. Or who the police chief is.

Brown’s death has changed all that. People who are frequently alienated, largely devoid of leadership and have not bothered to vote, often because they did not believe elections would change anything, are suddenly paying attention to who controls the levers of power in Ferguson.

“I didn’t know the council was white until Mike happened,” said Major Terrell, 29. “There’s a lot of people talking about it now.”


Police Departments Shouldn’t Become Dumping Grounds for Weapons Makers

In a brilliant August 17 segment of Last Week Tonight, HBO host John Oliver ripped into small towns that have equipped their police with war-like military equipment. One town was Keene, New Hampshire, where their military-grade armored personnel truck was acquired to protect critical targets –– like the annual Pumpkin Festival. Another was Doraville, Georgia. Oliver showed a wild video clip from the Doraville Police Department’s website, with a Ninja-dressed SWAT team going for a joyride in a souped-up armored personnel carrier, all set to a heavy metal song called “Die MotherF***er Die.”

In a visit to Doraville last week, I asked Officer Gene Callaway why his sleepy town of 8,000, which hasn’t had a murder since 2009, needed an armored personnel carrier (APC). “The vehicle provides Doraville with a scalable response and ensures the safety of police officers,” he answered. Scalable response? Safety of police officers? Doraville has never been a crime-ridden town. “We at Doraville are proud to be ranked 39th in safest cities in Georgia,” Callaway himself bragged. It seems the most useful task the APC performed was pulling 18-wheelers back onto the salted lanes of Route 285 during snowstorms. Oh, and let’s not forget that “the kids love playing on it” when it rolls up to the county fair, Callaway told me.

Doraville’s armored vehicle is a gift from Uncle Sam, as part of the billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment now flowing from the federal government to state and local police departments. Not only is it an incredible waste of taxpayer money, but it gets people–including children–accustomed to seeing military vehicles on their streets. Worst of all, it is causing police to act like soldiers, especially since one of the stipulations of getting this equipment is that it must be used within one year of receipt.

The Doraville Police, embarrassed by the negative publicity from their video, took it down (they insist that the theme music was unauthorized). Now on their website you can see much more benevolent images, such as three smiling police officers, one dressed as Santa Claus, with two young girls who are the recipients of the “Santa Pop Program” that pairs police with “less-fortunate children.”

But let’s face it. Military toys, constantly dangled before the police at law enforcement exhibits and fairs, are hard to resist. And with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security giving out this stuff for free, why not get some hand-me-downs? Doraville and Keene are just two of thousands of cities and towns throughout the nation that have successfully applied for surplus equipment from a federal government agency.


What Military Gear Your Local Police Department Bought

Since President Obama took office, the Pentagon has transferred to police departments tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.

In May, The New York Times requested and received from the Pentagon its database of transfers since 2006. The data underpinned anarticle in June and helped inform coverage of the police response this month in Ferguson, Mo., after an officer shot Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

The Times is now posting the raw data to GitHub here. With this data, which is being posted as it was received, people can see what gear is being used in their communities. The equipment is as varied as guns, computers and socks.

The Pentagon-to-police transfer program is not new. Congress created it during the drug war, as a way to increase police firepower in the fight against drug gangs. But since 9/11, as the Pentagon geared up to fight two wars, then drew down as those wars ended, the amount of available military surplus has ballooned.

Now, after a week of confrontation between protesters in Ferguson and heavily armed police, members of Congress are criticizing the trickle down of military gear.


The New Authoritarianism in an Age of Manufactured Crises

What is missing in the recurring debates that dominate Washington politics is the recognition that the real issue at stake is neither the debt ceiling nor the state of the economy, but a powerful form of authoritarianism that poses a threat to the very idea of democracy and the institutions, public values, formative cultures, and public spheres that nourish it. The United States nears a critical juncture in its history, one in which the rising forces of market extremism – left unchecked – will recalibrate modes of governance, ideology, and policy to provide fantastic wealth and legal immunity to an untouchable elite. The politics of disconnection is just one of a series of strategies designed to conceal this deeper order of authoritarian politics. In a society that revels in bouts of historical and social amnesia, it has become much easier for the language of politics and community to be appropriated and distorted so as to deplete words such as “democracy,” “freedom,” “justice,” and the “social state” of any viable meaning.


What I’ve Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings

A few days ago, Deadspin’s Kyle Wagner began to compile a list of all police-involved shootings in the U.S. He’s not the only one to undertake such a project: D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News & Review, has been attempting a crowdsourced national database of deadly police violence. We asked Brian to write about what he’s learned from his project.

It began simply enough. Commuting home from my work at Reno’s alt-weekly newspaper, theNews & Review, on May 18, 2012, I drove past the aftermath of a police shooting—in this case,that of a man named Jace Herndon. It was a chaotic scene, and I couldn’t help but wonder how often it happened.

I went home and grabbed my laptop and a glass of wine and tried to find out. I found nothing—a failure I simply chalked up to incompetent local media.

A few months later I read about the Dec. 6, 2012, killing of a naked and unarmed 18-year-old college student, Gil Collar, by University of South Alabama police. The killing had attracted national coverage—The New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN—but there was still no context being provided—no figures examining how many people are killed by police.

I started to search in earnest. Nowhere could I find out how many people died during interactions with police in the United States. Try as I might, I just couldn’t wrap my head around that idea. How was it that, in the 21st century, this data wasn’t being tracked, compiled, and made available to the public? How could journalists know if police were killing too many people in their town if they didn’t have a way to compare to other cities? Hell, how could citizens or police? How could cops possibly know “best practices” for dealing with any fluid situation? They couldn’t.

The bottom line was that I found the absence of such a library of police killings offensive. And so I decided to build it. I’m still building it. But I could use some help. You can find my growing database of deadly police violence here, at Fatal Encounters, and I invite you to go here, research one of the listed shootings, fill out the row, and change its background color. It’ll take you about 25 minutes. There are thousands to choose from, and another 2,000 or so on my cloud drive that I haven’t even added yet. After I fact-check and fill in the cracks, your contribution will be added to largest database about police violence in the country. Feel free to check out what has been collected about your locale’s information here.


 

Why the People of Ferguson Can’t Trust the Cops

Several African-American men share with Truthout their stories of abuse at the hands of police, and after 12 days of continuous demonstrations against the shooting of an unarmed teen, Michael Brown, it appears that the community is in it for the long haul.


Four Things You Probably Don’t Know About the Ferguson Protests

 

 


WATCH: TX police draw guns on mother and young children they mistook for gun-waving males

Police were responding to a 911 call about a tan-colored Toyota carrying four black males, one of whom was waving a handgun out the window — which is why Kametra Barbour is confused as to why she and her four young children in a burgundy red Nissan Maxima were pulled over.


 Fox host kicks off two black lawyers after they accuse her of ‘distracting’ from Brown’s death

I’m surprised they were brought on in the first place.  This is FOX News we’re talking about.  They’re not exactly friendly to black people.


More Ferguson Links

Racism in American society (plus more Ferguson)

Artist T.I. takes to Instagram to express his thoughts:

“Look at us….America has created a monster. The result of ignoring & mishandling an already fragile spirited, recently enslaved, presently oppressed race/generation of people. Look at us. We’re the monster that now refuses to be dismissed, overlooked,& ignored. We were brought to this place,unaware of our own cultures,religion,& traditions therefore,we created our own. Now look at us. For years we’ve been crying out for the nation to address the substandard education systems & disparaging treatment of our citizens in communities across America. Our people have had an increasing lack of opportunities for generations.

There have been homes broken,lives shattered,and futures lost on your watch….unanswered. Look at us. How long can u expect a nation/race/generation of people to be blatantly disrespected? Spoken to and treated with arrogant tones of insignificance. Our fathers,uncles,brothers& role models were killed& Imprisoned more often than educated. Now look at us. Our friends,& relatives Murdered and cast aside without thought,as though your human life is more valuable than ours. How long can that go on without consequence?

Now Look at us. How long can u continue to pass the buck & make excuses of why u can’t do today what should have been done yeste-year? Although I DO NOT support the negative responses & actions of my people in light of dis tragedy….I WILL NOT condone your lack of effort to show any urgency to improve the treatment of our people, nor the living conditions in our communities. Your refusal to address these life altering issues makes events such as these seem inevitable. Although I too am at fault to a degree & I admit that I may not have all da answers… I do have a fun fact for you. Insanity is…Going about things the same way,expecting a different result. U wanna different result? U must take different action. What else do u expect? Look at us!!!”

Why won’t they release the incident report?

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters last week that media requests forced him to release an incident report and video that allegedly shows Michael Brown robbing a convenience store and stealing a box of cigars. But he has yet to release another incident report documenting Brown’s killing, which various media outlets have also demanded.

“All I did — what I did was — was release the videotape to you, because I had to,” Jackson told reporters when asked why he released the robbery footage. “I’d been sitting on it, but I — too many people put in a FOI request for that thing, and I had to release that tape to you.”

Jackson later said that officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot Brown, stopped him because he was walking in the middle of the street, not because he was a robbery suspect.

The two incidents took place about ten minutes apart, according to USA Today, and generated two different police reports.

But even after nearly two weeks of protests, which grew increasingly contentious the night following the release of the video tape, the incident report for the shooting remains secret.

The Ferguson police department did not respond to a Freedom of Information request from The Huffington Post asking for copies of the FOIA’s related to the robbery incident report.

The department also did not respond to questions from HuffPost about why the Brown incident report or Brown’s autopsy have not been released.

“How do you pick and choose and decide what—the press has asked for a lot of stuff. That’s the only thing you’ve released,” Rev. Clinton Stancil of St. Louis said on Democracy Now. “How did you come to that decision? What was your decision-making process?”

Not every story related to Ferguson will fill you with tears of rage.  This one produces tears of joy:

A teacher in North Carolina has raised nearly $80,000 to feed students from low-income families in Ferguson, Mo., who would ordinarily be getting free lunches at public schools in the St. Louis suburb but can’t because the start of the 2014-15 school year has been delayed twice as a result of civil unrest.

The 11,000-student Ferguson-Florissant School District was supposed to start classes Aug. 14 but now is scheduled to open Aug. 25, assuming that the unrest that resulted from the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of a black teenager by a police officer has stopped. This year, the high-poverty district was planning to start a federal program that allows all students to receive free lunches, not only those whose family incomes qualify them for free and reduced-price lunches, according to this report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Ferguson-Florissant is considered a high-poverty school district because many of its students qualify for free and reduced-price lunches — 68 percent of them last year, though it is likely that the real percentage is higher but some families never filled out the paperwork, the newspaper said.

Wishing to help the students in Ferguson, Julianna Mendelsohn, a fifth-grade teacher in Bahama, N.C., came up with the idea of starting a fund on the Internet to raise money so that the St. Louis Area Foodbank could feed students and their families, according to takepart.com. She started a fundraising campaign on Fundly.com that has raised nearly $80,000, which had been her goal.

(via Daily Kos)

She’s actually raised even more than $80K. As of this writing, she has helped raise almost $150K.  You probably can’t see the smile on my face, but you can imagine it.  The community of Ferguson is dealing with so much injustice.  I can only imagine how much of a relief this will be to them.

Jim Hoft’s Unsourced Claim That Officer Darren Wilson Had an “Orbital Blowout Fracture of the Eye Socket”

More dangerous open-carry antics

How would that situation have gone if the guy was black?

John Crawford III was shot and killed by police in a Wal-Mart for the crime of carrying a BB gun…that he picked up in the toy aisle.  One of his killers is back on the job. You’ll *never* guess Crawford’s race or the officers::wink wink:: It’s like they’ve stopped pretending to value the lives of black people in the US.

Incidentally, I just got through walking my dog, Krystal:

(isn’t she just so precious).  I’ve lived in this neighborhood for nearly 11 years, and neither I nor my roommate have had any problems (my best buddy, Micah, who passed away in 2010 did have an incident while he was living with us.  He was driving home from work one night and as he made a turn into our subdivision, the rear drivers side window of his car was hit by a bullet. Nothing ever became of this, but he was very unnerved by the incident.  So were E and I.)

Anyway, while walking her we passed a home with a police car in the driveway. Given the events in Ferguson, as well as the treatment of People of Color by police across the US (for yet *another* example: Cop Tasers compliant teen into fit of seizures: ‘He was trying to kill my son,’ says mom), for a brief second, I had a flash of “I’m walking down the middle of the street just like Michael Brown was”.  I wasn’t doing anything wrong (I guess technically I was, since I was walking in the middle of the street, but it’s a residential area with very, very little traffic). The thought didn’t last long, but that’s something most white people don’t have to think about.  That’s part of being white and having privilege.  You get to move through life with-on average-fewer obstacles than People of Color.  Having privilege is not a bad thing. It isn’t something you can ‘opt in/out’ of.  It’s about a host of benefits (which are often invisible until you come to recognize your privilege) that you are granted by society by virtue of being born white.  For more on white privilege, check out Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. I urge everyone-especially white people-to read the article.

 

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Racism in American society (plus more Ferguson)

More Ferguson, MO and militarization of the police

One of Missouri’s top newspapers is under fire.  

The Columbia Daily Tribune recently published what many consider to be a racist cartoon:

The Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune is facing a bit of heat today after running the above cartoon by Gary McCoy on Wednesday’s editorial page, with people pointing out, “Dudes, that some real racist bullshit you got there.”

Of course it didn’t help that the Trib ran it in conjunction with the buttoned-down racism of Rich Lowry from National Review, who wants the blacks to quit making the normally super-nice police officers — who punish jaywalking with summary execution in the street — become even meaner and try to kill them in larger numbers which would be much harder for conservatives to defend.

Not that they wouldn’t try.

Yup. Racist.
It’s characterizing {largely BLACK} protesters as looters and rioters, instead of people with a long standing series of legitimate grievances against the government (this is racist for a variety of reasons, one of which is that this is a prejudicial view of black people that many Americans hold-that they’re thugs, thieves, scoundrels, and criminals with little redeeming value-this view is held not based on reality, but based on biases and prejudices held by people which they refuse to confront and examine; it’s also racist for the art-specifically the way black people are rendered in the cartoon). The cartoon makes the same mistake a lot of people have made-treating the looters (the people rioting have been the police) as if they represent the community of Ferguson, when in actuality a great many of them are from out of the St. Louis area, and there aren’t that many of them. Shifting the story to “Mike Brown stole stuff” or “Mike Brown was a threat to Officer Wilson” or “People stole tvs” moves the focus away from the violations of civil rights perpetrated against a community for a very long time, up to and including the execution of Michael Brown, and continuing through the brutal tactics of the police in response to protesters. On top of that, it ignores the role the police have played in denying reporters their constitutional rights. The people of Ferguson want, and deserve justice and accountability from the police as well as the government and they haven’t gotten that. This shit about rioting and looting is a smokescreen. A diversion from the story that matters-the denial of the constitutional and civil rights of African-Americans (and the press).

 

Elementary teacher suspended for asking white student ‘cops’ to shoot black ‘Michael Browns’

A Gun Happy toon:

The case of Michael Brown: Missing police reports, anonymous sources and shoddy journalism

Tiffany Mitchell was a witness to the killing of Michael Brown.  

Donors Choose Drive for #Ferguson

Officer Is Suspended After Telling Media in Ferguson: ‘I Will F*cking Kill You’

A police officer has been removed from his post after he pointed his gun at a group of people documenting events in Ferguson on Tuesday night and threatened to kill them, St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman told Mashable.

“On Tuesday, August 19, 2014, shortly before midnight, an incident occurred wherein a St. Ann police officer pointed a semi-automatic assault rifle at a peaceful protestor after a verbal exchange,” Schellman wrote in an email. (St. Ann is a St. Louis suburb not far from Ferguson.) “It was at this time a St. Louis County police sergeant walked over and immediately took action, forcing the officer to lower the weapon, and escorting him away from the area.”

 

The St. Ann police officer involved in the incident has been relieved of duty and suspended indefinitely, Schellman added, satisfying a request the ACLU sent to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Wednesday afternoon requesting they do just that.

 

Facebook talk on #Ferguson, race causing a friend fallout, chilling relationships

The end of childhood: How the violence in Ferguson will change its children:

Angela Mitchell-Phillips’ predominantly white church had a “come to Jesus” moment on race last weekend.

Her minister leaned over the pulpit and said something like: As God is my witness, I better not ever hear of anybody in this parish calling another human being an animal.

The congregation turned pin-drop silent. Mitchell-Phillips looked around the pews.

“I bet somebody did it,” she thought. “I bet he saw it on Facebook. And I bet he was pissed.”

The moment points to how raw and tense the issue of race has become in St. Louis, and around the country, since Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot 18-year-old, unarmed Michael Brown and the volatile days of protests since.

 

The end of childhood: How the violence in Ferguson will change its children

There’s a moment when a child confronts an unfairness so big it changes the way he or she looks at world.

It could be a significant trauma − abuse, a loss − or a simple awareness that the rules don’t apply to everyone the same way. There’s a moment when we question what we’ve been taught or assumed to be true in a way that shakes the ground underneath us.

For the past several days, some children in Ferguson have seen a slain teenager on the street, killed by a police officer, a childhood symbol of protection. They’ve witnessed police in riot gear in clouds of tear gas, night after night, heard barking dogs used to try to control the unrest, angry shouts from protesters and police. Th
ey have heard shots fired and seen a building burned, glass shattered.

“I know that in the coming days, weeks and months children will continue to re-experience this,” said Marva Robinson, president of the St. Louis chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists. It’s not just those living nearby, but also those who have been watching the news with their parents. Children could have nightmares for years to come. They may be hypersensitve or hypervigilant around law enforcement, Robinson said.

 

From their parents, they may be hearing about how their community is treated unfairly, targeted or hated. Instead of new backpacks, they may carry a sense of devaluation, anxiety, fear with them too as they head back to school.

What is the eventual impact of being exposed at a young age to violence and a feeling that the police can’t or won’t protect you? You build up a wall of mistrust. You are closed off to persons of authority. You find it hard to trust the guidance of school professionals or others who may want to help you. You see them as part of a system that killed someone who looks like you or doesn’t care about children who look like you.

“If they were innocent before this, the seeds are being planted in them of feeling dehumanized,” Robinson said. Those seeds bloom into a cycle that perpetuates scenes like what we are seeing in Ferguson.

Isn’t the loss of this innocence yet another injustice, which should outrage us and motivate us to do something?

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Holder’s stop in Ferguson is deeply person:

Attorney General Eric Holder flew to Ferguson, Mo., on Wednesday as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer leading an investigation into a police shooting.

He also arrived as an African-American who said he understands the racial tensions that have fueled days of protests that have been marred by violence and mass arrests since the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

“I am the Attorney General of the United States, but I am also a black man,” Holder told Ferguson residents at a community meeting. “I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over. … ‘Let me search your car’ … Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.”

Holder was here primarily for briefings on the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into possible civil rights violations related to the fatal shooting. He offered perhaps his most forceful and personal assessment yet of how the 18-year-old man’s shooting has reignited a long history of racial “mistrust and mutual suspicion.”

As protests unfold, dad tells son racism lives:

Darius Pikes’ 10-year-old wants to know why black men are harassed.

Pikes tells his son the answer is racism.

“My son has asked me: Why is it that black males are harassed? He’s asking why is it, the police are supposed to protect and serve the citizens, then why does it seem like they’re bullying the citizens? He actually used that word,” Pikes said. “He said, can the principals of the schools, can they come and talk to the people about bullying because they talk about it in school.”

Pikes has been teaching for 13 years, currently as a music teacher in Ferguson, Mo. The death of Michael Brown, a black teenager, has sparked protests here for more than a week. Brown, who was unarmed, was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. For Pikes, the incident is a chance to have important conversations.

“A lot of the kids are confused about what’s going on, but I think this is a really good opportunity to talk to them about racism because racism is alive and well,” Pikes said.

The situation in Ferguson presents an opportunity for parents to speak with children about issues of fairness, said Jennifer Baker, director of the Robert J. Murney clinic in Springfield, Mo., which offers counseling and psychological services.

Parents should acknowledge to their children that bad things happen, but added that they should not unnecessarily expose their children to violence. Parents should also tell children they do everything they can to keep them safe.

Baker said parents can ask children questions about how they respond when they think situations are unfair or whether they have ever treated someone different because they were not like them. For children older than 10 or so, more specific conversations about racism may be appropriate, she said.

 

Petition asking cops to wear body cameras passes 100K:

A petition asking the White House to look into requiring all state, county and local police to wear lapel cameras has reached 100,000 signatures.

Obama administration officials have said they will respond to petitions that reach that threshold.

Late Tuesday, the petition, created by “J.C.” of Hephzibah, Ga., reached the required number. As of noon Wednesday, it had more than 128,000 signatures.

 

Mike Brown Law. Requires all state, county, and local police to wear a camera.

Create a bill, sign into law, and set aside funds to require all state, county and local police to wear a camera. Due to the latest accounts of deadly encounters with police, We the People, petition for the Mike Brown Law. The law shall be made in an effort to not only detour police misconduct (i.e. brutality, profiling, abuse of power) but to ensure that all police are following procedure and to remove all question from normally questionable police encounters as well as help to hold all parties within a police investigation accountable for their actions.

 

While the White House’s We the People Web page allows anyone 13 and older to create and sign a petition to the government, it doesn’t guarantee any action.

If a petition reaches 150 signatures within 30 days, it becomes searchable on the site. If it reaches 100,000 signatures within another 30 days, administration officials say they will respond to the petition. The police camera petition was created Aug. 13.

For a law to be passed, a Congress member would have to create a bill, have it pass committees within the House and Senate, have it pass votes of the full House and Senate and have the president sign it. Any initiative that has a cost associated with it would need to have a funding source.

ME:  I wish this stood a chance of becoming a reality.  Sadly, given our government,
this probably has no likelihood of passing, even if it became a bill.

St. Louis Police Release Video, Calls From City Shooting:

On Tuesday, two officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shot and killed Kajieme Powell, who was 25 years old.

Powell was suspected of shoplifting energy drinks and donuts from a convenience store. The shop owner, believing that Powell was carrying a weapon, contacted police. Another witness, Ald. Dionne Flowers, who represents the area and owns a beauty salon in the same block, noticed that Powell was acting erratically and also called police. Flowers told police she saw a second knife, though only one was recovered at the scene.

Powell approached the officers when they arrived, yelling at them to shoot him already. When he ignored commands to drop the knife, the two officers fired a total of 12 shots. Chief Sam Dotson said the knife was like a steak knife.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said it will act with complete transparency. It has released the 911 calls, dispatch audio, video of the shoplifting, as well as cell phone video of the police shooting taken by a witness.

Documenting the Arrests of Journalists in Ferguson:

On Aug. 13, 2014, police in Ferguson, Missouri, assaulted and arrested two journalists for allegedly failing to exit a McDonald’s quickly enough while on a break from covering the protests. Since then, police actions against journalists in Ferguson have escalated in severity and frequency. Many have been tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets and at least nine more have been arrested.

It should go without saying that these arrests are a gross violation of the reporters’ First Amendment rights, and attempts to prevent journalists from lawfully doing their job on the streets of Ferguson are downright illegal. We will be documenting each journalist arrest below and are filing public records requests for the arrest records of the journalists who have been assaulted, detained, and arrested in Ferguson. All requests are publicly available on MuckRock.

Lessons from Ferguson: Police Militarization is Now a Press Freedom Issue:

The situation in Ferguson, Missouri—where four days ago the police killed an unarmed teenager—took another disturbing turn yesterday as cops decked out in riot gear arrested and assaulted two reporters covering the protests, Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly, as they were sitting in a McDonald’s, quietly charging their phones.

The arrests were undoubtedly a gross violation of the reporters’ First Amendment rights, and both the attempts to stop them from filming and their assault by police officers were downright illegal. But there’s another issue at play here, an issue which has led to the environment in which cops think they can get away with these acts: the militarization of local police.

The public has been gripped these last few days by disturbing photographs of police with automatic assault rifles, snipers, tear gas, body armor, tanks, LRADs(Long Range Acoustic Devices) facing peaceful, unarmed protesters in Ferguson. As managing editor Ryan Grim noted in Huffington Post’s statement their reporter’s arrest, “Police militarization has been among the most consequential and unnoticed developments of our time, and it is now beginning to affect press freedom.”

As folks who have closely followed criminal justice issues (or the Occupy Wall Street protests from two years ago) know, this is a problem that has been brewing for years. The quintessential book on the issue was written last year by journalist Radley Balko, who now covers criminal justice issues at the Washington Post. The ACLU also released a comprehensive report about police militarization earlier this year.

 

Joe Biggs, Reporter Threatened By Cop In Ferguson, Speaks Out

More Ferguson, MO and militarization of the police

“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 Update

The community of Ferguson, MO is still engaged in protests.  In the last 24-36 hours, we’ve seen the following:

(1) Police in Ferguson tear gassed unarmed peaceful protestors, including children. Again.
(2) Police in Ferguson driving a MRAP (because IEDs are a problem in suburbia?) played chicken with a group of people on foot.
(3) Police in Ferguson fired teargas into people’s yards and houses. Again.
(4) Police in Ferguson harassed/threatened media.
(5) Police in St. Louis arrested a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor for standing in a doorway.
(6) A CNN anchor wondered on air why the police in Ferguson weren’t using water cannons. She got an epic side-eye from her (black) co-anchor for this.

(thanks Esteleth)

As I’ve mentioned, the police have not made the situation better.  They would be better served laying down their weapons and joining the protesters.  One commenter at Pharyngula, Desert Son, OM, actually recommends this as a reasonable course of action, and I agree with him:

Here’s a genuine idea to try in Ferguson:

The police lay down their arms and disperse peacefully.

The police do this.

I suspect the result would not be an increase in violence and rioting. I suspect the result would be a mix of somber reflection on the tragic death of Michael Brown and a celebratory street-party expression of solidarity, compassion, and a renewed desire for tomorrow to be just a little bit better for just a little bit longer.

Amended suggestion: The police lay down their arms and join arm-in-arm with the protesters decrying the systemic oppressions—both micro- and macro-—in which we all play a part by virtue of cultural infusion.

Sadly, I don’t think this is even an option the local or state authorities are even considering.

Police in Ferguson are firing tear gas canisters manufactured during the Cold War Era:

As reported last week in Yes! Magazine, our ongoing analysis of the less-lethal weapons used in Ferguson shows the large majority of spent munitions found in the city have been produced by two US based less-lethal contractors: Combined Tactical Systems, a Combined Systems, Inc. product line used by the St. Louis County Police Department, and Defense Technology, a division of The Safariland Group, used by the local Ferguson Police Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol. In addition to munitions manufactured by these two companies, we have uncovered evidence of the use of two tear gas canisters so old that they cannot be positively dated.

St. Louis-area resident Andrew, who asked to be identified by his first name only, posted photos on his Instagram from the protest on Wednesday, August 13. The self-identified “firearm enthusiast” says he “wanted to document a part of history,” and wished to observe police weapons from the front lines. “I got some pretty strange looks,” he acknowledged. He bagged all the spent munitions he and a friend could find, and posted photos later.

One of Andrew’s photos from Wednesday night displays an arrangement of spent munitions, including types that protesters had not yet posted. Among them: two clearly outdated riot grenades manufactured by Smith & Wesson Chemical Company, a division of Smith & Wesson that was eliminated in the late 1980s, according to the company’s history.

Since Brown was killed, police from both Ferguson and St. Louis County have fired on protesters with rubber-coated bullets, pepper balls, beanbag rounds, tear gas, and other less-lethal ammunition on an almost nightly basis. The expelled debris made its way across social media, and eventually to national broadcasts. But before the national media descended on Ferguson, the community was subjected to gas on their own properties; on the night of August 11, police fired tear gas on residential streets. Residents photographed canisters, still smoking, in their and their neighbors’ front yards.

Andrew provided us with additional exclusive photographs that show the impact damage to these vintage canisters. While most canisters detonate and mostly remain in one piece, these were not intact, sustained a lot of damage, and could have sent shrapnel flying. Andrew witnessed, “police throwing tear gas canisters by hand,” rather than shooting them from a modern munitions gun or rocket launcher. He believes that these could have been the Smith & Wesson canisters. The area on the canisters where the handles attach appears to be rusted, an obvious safety and containment hazard. Andrew notes that the vintage canisters are made of “some pretty solid metal.”He later found what he thinks may have been a handle from the Smith & Wesson grenades, and notes that its metal is lighter than the metal of the canisters, perhaps tin.

What’s left of the labels identifies the products as Smith & Wesson Chemical Co. Riot Control Grenades, although it is unclear whether the gas inside is CS or the older CN. Although CN (2-Chloroacetophenone) is still manufactured and is the active ingredient in Mace, CS gas (0-Chlorobenzalmalononitrile) is “more stable, more potent and less toxic” and is commonly used in riot control agents. Smith & Wesson once manufactured CN gas, which has been phased out for United States use in favor of safer CS gas. Smith & Wesson packaged their CN gas in canisters similar to the ones found in Ferguson and Egypt. Yemeni security forces deployed CN gas against protesters there during the spring of 2011, causing extreme reactions including convulsions and muscle spasms. The physical effects among protesters were so severe that they initially believed they were being hit with nerve gas.

[…]

Similar products and models are listed occasionally on auction sites for collectors of antique and vintage firearms and ammunition. A Cold War-era Smith & Wesson grenade identification training poster owned by the Canadian Museum of History displays a model similar to one of the two older cans, listed as a “No. 5 Blast Dispersion Grenade.” A grenade container on an ammunition enthusiasts’ message board similar to the canister in the poster shows a manufacturing date of 1982, along with CS as the type of gas contained. (The label on one of the canisters found in Ferguson appears to read “Instantaneous Discharge,” rather than “Blast Dispersion.”) Similar vintage Smith & Wesson canisters were identified in Egypt at the height of the protests that eventually toppled Hosni Mubarak’s regime in 2011, one with an expiration date of either 1980 or 1990. Modern chemical munitions, including those manufactured by Defense Technology and Combined Tactical, have a five-year warranty and expire five years after their date of manufacture.

Social media reporting during the Arab Spring brought new evidence ofexpired tear gas sales, drawing criticism from human rights organizations. Amnesty International, in particular, criticized the United States for selling military leftovers to oppressive governments such as Egypt’s and Bahrain’s. Tear gas has not been used this wantonly in an American city in modern times; even its deployment against WTO protesters in 1999 and Occupy Oakland in 2011 was isolated and largely away from residential areas. Chemical munitions deployed in residential areas can be deadly: Physicians for Human Rights, an independent organization, recorded 34 tear gas related deaths in Bahrain from 2011 to 2012, many from inhalation in close or confined spaces.

The chemical weapons convention prohibits the use of chemical munitions in war; the weapons sales angered activists and rights groups who saw it is as evidence of American companies profiting from attacks on protesters. Anexception to the chemical weapons convention, to which the United States is a signatory, is the use of chemical munitions for domestic law enforcement purposes; it is under this allowance that tear gas and other chemicals are now deployed in Ferguson.

The legality of the use of expired and/or vintage munitions must still be explored, but deploying such a weapon against a civilian population, especially in residential areas, demonstrates a significant disregard for health impacts. Outdated and expired tear gas canisters are ignitable waste as defined by the EPA Resources Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 and subject to containment and disposal as required by the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law.

(read the entire article here)

Overpoliced and Underprotected:  In Michael Brown Killing, Neglect of Black Communities Laid Bare

Eugene Robinson Ι The Rage in Ferguson Comes From the Ones Left Behind:

But the violence in Ferguson tells of a deeper, more fundamental narrative about what African-Americans have done, and what has been done to them, in the decades since the urban riots of the 1960s — the fire last time.

Tempted to conclude that nothing has changed? Please note that the Missouri highway patrol commander, brought in to bring proportion and discipline to what had been a provocative local police response, is black. The attorney general who interrupted his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to order a Justice Department investigation and a third autopsy is black. And, of course, the president and commander in chief — who also took time from a Vineyard holiday to address the crisis in Ferguson — is black.

Also note that this undeniable evidence of progress on the issue of race — which would have been unimaginable when Harlem exploded in 1964 over the police shooting of a 15-year-old boy — makes no apparent difference to the young men who have been rampaging through the streets of Ferguson.

Why not? Because the tremendous gains achieved by some African-Americans have not just left some others behind but made their situation more desperate and hopeless than it was 50 years ago.

When the unrest in Ferguson is over, I predict that there will be a flood of ambitious journalism seeking to assess the status of black America. Most of this analysis will be ignored because it will so contradict what many Americans see every day with their own eyes.

Millions of African-Americans took advantage of the opportunities created by the civil rights movement to climb into the middle class — and in some cases far beyond, as exemplified by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Yet millions of other black Americans did not reach the middle class. This group, mired in poverty and dysfunction, finds the paths others took are blocked. They live in neighborhoods with failing schools that cannot prepare them for today’s economy. Secure, high-paying blue-collar jobs are a thing of the past. Racial bias in policing means they are much more likely to be arrested and jailed for minor nonviolent offenses, such as drug possession, than whites who commit the same crimes.

Increasingly, these African-Americans who were left behind are invisible. Their neighborhoods either get gentrified — which means they can no longer afford to stay there — or simply bypassed by development. What happens in poor black neighborhoods has less and less to do with the everyday lives of middle-class Americans, white or black.

Yet in Ferguson and other such pockets across the nation, millions of young black men and women grow up knowing that the deck is stacked against them. Did Michael Brown have a chip on his shoulder? Not according to his friends and family, although the convenience store video suggests otherwise. Would it be understandable if he did? Might he have wondered if white kids, living in more affluent parts of town, routinely got hassled by the police for jaywalking?

In Ferguson, the Violence of the state created the violence of the street

St Louis police fatally shoot ‘erratic’ man with knife near Ferguson

It would be nice to hear fewer stories of the police shooting and killing people.   Can’t they aim for a leg or foot?  Why do so many shoot to kill?

More Tweets:

Arrested for being out at night without Free Papers.

zellie

Missouri Lt. Governor:  We need Anglo-American justice in Ferguson, not racial protests:

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) on Tuesday called for Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to reinstate the curfew in Ferguson to allow the justice system — which he said was a product of “Anglo-American civilization” — to do its job.

Following Monday night’s clashes with police in the wake of the death of slain teen Michael Brown, Kindler told MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow that Nixon had been wrong to end the curfew in Ferguson.

“I don’t understand an argument for not reinstating it,” he insisted. “I don’t understand that. I’m not trying to be overtly political. I am saying, the people of Ferguson, the people of the state of Missouri are crying out for leadership.”

Before Farrow ended the interview, he asked the lieutenant governor if he agreed with Ferguson Mayor James Knowles that “the perspective of all residents” was that there was no “racial divide” in the city.

Kinder said there was “no question” that race was playing a role in what was happening in Ferguson.

“We do not do justice in America in the streets though,” he argued. “We have legal processes that are set in motion, that are designed after centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence tradition, they’re designed to protect the rights and liberties of everyone involved.”

“That includes the Brown family, for justice for them and for the community. It also includes the officer who has not yet been charged,” he added. “Our constitutional and our Bill of Rights protections have to be followed here, and we do not do justice in the streets.”

“That’s one of the great advances of Anglo-American civilization, is that that we do not have politicized trials. We let the justice system work it out.”

Yes, it is 2014, and yes, you’re reading  of politician using coded language to say that “white peoples’ justice is superior to black peoples’ justice” as if the two are separate, and one is superior, while the other is inferior. He treats non-violent protests as if they’re not Constitutional rights of all Americans, and he seems to think that protesters are treating the streets of Ferguson as a courtroom.  This man is ignorant of what the community in Ferguson wants, and he clearly has prejudicial beliefs about black people, as well as as some biases about the superiority of white people that he really ought to reexamine.  Yes, I’ll remind you that this is 2014.

Ferguson Update

Robin Williams has died

News media across the US (and likely other parts of the world) have reported that Robin Williams died on Monday.  The cause of death is a suspected suicide.

The star was found dead at his home in Tiburon, Calif. Monday, leaving Hollywood and the comedian’s many fans in a state of shock.

His death is a suspected suicide, officials in Marin County say, although the manner of death has not yet been revealed.

Williams, 63, was found unconscious and not breathing at approximately noon local time, and was pronounced dead shortly after.

Williams’ daughter, Zelda, 25, who is shown as a baby in the final post on the actor’s Instagram account, tweeted early Tuesday morning, “I love you. I miss you. I’ll try to keep looking up.”

His wife, Susan Schneider, also issued a brief statement on Monday: “This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken.”

Robin Williams was a highly successful comedian and actor.  He starred in a slew of Hollywood movies. The ones I’ll remember him most for were The Birdcage (1996), Insomnia (2002), Good Will Hunting (1997), Popeye (1980), and Hook (1991) (though he starred in many, many more movies).  He was also the star of tvs Mork & Mindy.

Williams battled a cocaine addiction through the late 1970s and early 1980s.  The death of his good friend John Belushi and the birth of his son convinced him to quit drugs and alcohol (though he suffered a relapse in 2003).

Celebrities, especially successful ones, are often held to a higher standard.  They’re seen as role models for children and how to be responsible.  When they act in a manner at odds with that image, people heavily criticize them, as if to say “you’re supposed to be better than this”.  People are often surprised to see celebrities dealing with alcohol or drug addiction, or to hear of them dealing with mental illnesses such as depression.  There should be no surprise.  There should be no higher standard.  Celebrities are just as human as everyone else. They aren’t better than anyone, nor are they worse than anyone else.  They have greater public exposure.  They have a public platform that many of us don’t have.  But that doesn’t make them better or worse.  It’s just a higher profile.

That higher profile does not make celebrities immune to mental illnesses.  They strike people from all walks of life.  Here are a few statistics on mental illnesses:

  • more than 14 million Americans struggle with major depression
  • 1 in 4 adults experiences a mental illness in a given year
  • roughly 20% of youths from 13-18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year
  • 70% of youth in juvenile justice system suffer from at least one mental illness
  • $193.2 billion-the amount it costs the US in lost earning each year from serious mental illnesses
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (above homicide)

Here are figures on substance abuse in the United States:

  • The average age of first experimentation with drugs is 13, and for alcohol it is even younger. Drug use has been classified as a major problem for kids as early as fourth grade by the students themselves.
  • Alcohol is the most widely used drug in America. It is the third largest cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease and cancer. Alcohol and tobacco use are a significant “risk factor” in heart disease and cancer. It accounts for over 100,000 deaths per year in this country alone. It is also the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24.
  • Alcohol and other drugs contribute to over 50 percent of all suicides and over 50 percent of all violent crimes.
  • Over 60 percent of admissions to emergency rooms are either directly or indirectly due to drug or alcohol usage.
  • Over 50 percent of all traffic accidents involve the use of drugs or alcohol, with many of these being fatal.
  • It is estimated that drugs and alcohol are a factor in at least 80 percent of domestic violence incidents.
  • Alcohol and drug use contributes to 60 percent of all sub-standard job performance and at least 40 percent of all industrial accidents.
  • Alcohol and drug addiction are treatable. However, it is our most untreated disease in the United States. It is estimated that 35 out of 36 alcoholics never receive treatment of any kind. This number is increased significantly when drug addiction of all kinds is included.
  • More than 60 percent of college women who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases, herpes or AIDS were intoxicated at the time of infection.
  • 28 percent of all college dropouts are alcohol users.
  • Between 1986 and 1996, Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests were highest for 21-year-olds.
  • Individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 are involved in more than one-third of all alcohol related traffic accidents.
  • 95 percent of all college campus violence is alcohol related.
  • More than 40 percent of all college students with academic problems are alcohol users.

As these numbers attest, mental illness and drug addiction are serious problems faced by millions of Americans and the impact is staggering.  The number of affected Americans is likely even higher given that those coping with mental illnesses or drug addiction do not exist in a vacuum.  They have families and friends who are all affected to one degree or another.

The passing of Robin Williams affords the opportunity to reexamine our approach to the treatment of substance abuse and mental illnesses.  One area that needs significant work is public perception.  There is a tremendous stigma attached to people who have substance abuse problems or have a mental illness.  People are treated as less than worthy of love and care simply because they have abused cocaine or alcohol.   If you’ve abused heroin or LSD, many people see you as broken, or a complete fuck up.  The effects of depression are dismissed by people every day. Those who suffer from the Black Dog are told to get over it, or quit whining.  Those approaches do nothing to combat the problem of what people are going through, and do quite a bit to make things worse.  I hope that in the wake of Robin Williams’ passing, people will come to show greater care and compassion to those who suffer from substance abuse problems and mental illnesses.   If we could open our hearts and display less apathy and more compassion, who knows how many families could be spared the grief that comes with a loved ones’ suicide and who knows…? Maybe more good people would remain among the living.

Robin Williams has died