Ferguson mid-day line | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ferguson mid-day line

Posted By on Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Seems like we could use a thread on this. 

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*Gov. Jay Nixon said he "deeply disagreed" with the release of surveillance video Friday. "That action was not helpful...it's just not right," he said, saying it was an attempt to "disparage" the victim. Brown's family called it "character assassination" of their deceased son. The release of the video led to  further outrage, protests and riots last night. Nixon ordered a midnight curfew. A small number of protesters defied the curfew; seven were arrested and the police used tear gas. One person was shot and is in critical condition. 

Excellent roundup of the events of last night here from Ryan Reilly, one of the reporters previously arrested by Ferguson police.

*The federal Department of Justice has ordered a second autopsy of Michael Brown

Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner. This independent examination will take place as soon as possible. Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation.

*Here's a rare chance to agree with conservative Mark Steyn: 

The most basic problem is that we will never know for certain what happened. Why? Because the Ferguson cruiser did not have a camera recording the incident. That's simply not credible. "Law" "enforcement" in Ferguson apparently has at its disposal tear gas, riot gear, armored vehicles and machine guns ...but not a dashcam. That's ridiculous. I remember a few years ago when my one-man police department in New Hampshire purchased a camera for its cruiser. It's about as cheap and basic a police expense as there is. ... In 2014, when a police cruiser doesn't have a camera, it's a conscious choice. And it should be regarded as such.

*Another conservative, Ross Douthat of the New York Times

But the military hardware issue, the BearCats and grenade launchers and what we’ve seen unfold in Ferguson — that does seem easy, uncomplicated, clear. Crime rates rise and fall, but crime-fighting is a constant for police; dealing with terrorism and insurrection, however, decidedly is not. Yet for decades we’ve been equipping our cops as though the Symbionese Liberation Army were about to come out of retirement, as if every burst of opportunistic lawlessness could become another Watts, as though the Qaeda sleeper cells we feared after 9/11 were as pervasive in life as they are on “24” or “Homeland.”

And this is where it’s ended: with a bunch of tomfool police playing soldier, tear-gassing protesters, arresting journalists and turning Ferguson into a watchword for policing at its worst.

Time to take their toys away.

*Reilly documents the approach to policing taken by Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, in lieu of paramilitary tactics: respectfully communicating with protesters in the community. 


*If you missed it, I recommend Jelani Cobb's report from Ferguson for the New Yorker online earlier this week: 

The day began with questions about why a young man was killed just days before he was due to begin college. It ended as a referendum on the militarization of American police forces. There is a feedback loop of recrimination playing in the streets of Ferguson. With the thinnest of rationales, the police here responded to community anger in the self-justifying language of force, under circumstances that call for a more humane tongue.

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