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AdLib On August - 13 - 2014

ferguson-police

By now, most of America is aware of the shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, a killing that was initiated by that police officer insisting that Brown stop walking in the street.

In New York, police used a merciless choke hold on Eric Garner and killed him, despite his many pleas for them to stop because he couldn’t breathe.

In Los Angeles, a homeless woman, Marlene Pinnock was walking along the side of the freeway when a Highway Patrol officer ordered her to stop and when she didn’t, he threw her to the ground and savagely punched her in the face…to protect her from harm, the CHP alleges.

All of these victims of police violence and in the first two cases, murders of unarmed civilians are African American and in all cases, the first response from the police organizations responsible for the murders and brutality was to justify these horrendous acts. Justify it…excuse the beating, suffocation and shooting of American citizens who were just walking and harming no one (police stopped Garner for selling loose cigarettes) , the very people they are supposed to be protecting…unless police have a more black and white definition of who they are supposed to protect and who they aren’t.

These are just three recently publicized situations out of many similar situations that African Americans see happening frquently across the United States. The combination of racism embedded deeply in police forces and the new era of aggressive policing makes for a deadly threat to innocent Americans who are African American.

Add to that, the militarization of police forces which has turned them from a philosophy of protecting and serving the community to responding to even minor situations en masse with armored vehicles, military gear and combat uniforms complete with helmets and gas masks and we see an America that only used to live in dark science fiction stories.

And what makes the killing and ongoing conflict in Ferguson many times worse is the police department’s response to it all, which has been to inflict even greater hostility upon its community, using brutal and overkill tactics on those who are protesting including using tear gas (even on people protesting in their own backyards), rubber and wooden bullets, aiming their semi-automatic military rifles at protestors and issuing ominous threats to any media trying to cover their assault on their citizens.

Yes, this is happening in your United States of America.

Absolute generalizations are necessarily flawed, there are many police officers who are white and not racist, black, Latino, Asian, many who haven’t a racist bone in their body and believe in their proper duty to protect and serve the people in their community. But as monicaangela noted in her recent comment:

Facts About Current Officers

The sampling of current officers was comprised of 2,698 fulltime officers from twenty-one different states. A total 1,116 of the 2,657 officers asked to complete a confidential questionnaire, did so. This equates to a response rate of 42 percent. An additional forty-one officers provided confidential interviews. The following facts were revealed.

· In response to “Please describe the first time you witnessed misconduct by another employee but took no action,” 46 percent (532) advised they had witnessed misconduct by another employee, but concealed what they knew.

· In response to the question “At the time of the incident occurred, what did you think would happen if you revealed what had taken place?” the five reasons listed most often were: I would be ostracized (177 times); the officer who committed the misconduct would be disciplined or fired (88 times); I would be fired from my job (73 times); I would be “blackballed” (59 times); the administration would not do anything even if I reported it. (54 times)

· 73 percent of the individuals pressuring officers to keep quiet about the misconduct were leaders.

· Eight percent (40) of the 509 officers who admitted to intentionally withholding the information about officer misconduct were upper administrators. The upper administrators of the average American police department comprises only five percent of the agency.

· The average age of an officer who covered up an incident for the first time was 31.4 years of age.

· The average years of experience when they first took part in the Code of Silence was 8.2 years.

· 449 of the 532 officers were male, while 74 were female.

· Of the 532 who confessed they had participated in the Code of Silence, 252 were pressured to keep quiet by the officer(s) who committed the misconduct and 118 felt pressure from uninvolved officers. The remaining 162 officers advised they covered up the incident even though they were not pressured.

· Excessive use of force was the most frequent situation over which the Code of Silence occurs, with 217 were excessive use of force circumstances.

· The five most frequently offered solutions for controlling the Code of Silence from the 532 officers who confessed to taking part in it were: Conduct good ethics training (listed 46 times); More consistent accountability (listed 20 times); Ensure open communication between officers and leaders (listed 16 times); Provide an anonymous reporting system (listed 14 times) and Protect whistleblowers (listed 10 times).

http://www.aele.org/loscode2000.html

So even good officers are often intimidated out of stepping up to protest the abuse of power by their police forces.

Though this isn’t new, the new visibility of police demonstrating their disregard for the rights and lives of African Americans, coming on the heels of increasing murders of black men and women by white citizens, encouraged by the Stand Your Ground laws in many states, makes this a dangerous and racially threatening time for African Americans.

And before white Americans step back in relief that they don’t have to be worried about how their police force has been turned into a military-styled army, consider what happened across the country during the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Coast to coast, from Los Angeles to New York, police forces descended on the peaceful protests using military vehicles and tactics, liberally attacking protestors with flash grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray in overwhelming force, marching on them in full military gear and using military vehicles to intimidate citizens and enforce their domination of citizens.

Racism and abuse of power in police forces have always been a problem but consider the visual change of police riot squads over the decades, primarily after 9/11 and the massive funding provided to police across the country to remake themselves in a military mode.

Riot Police in Tennessee – 1960’s:

 

Riot Police in California – 1970’s

Riot Police in New York – 1980’s

 

Riot Police in New York – 1990’s

 

Riot Police in Denver – 2000’s (after 9/11)

 

Riot Police in Ferguson, Missouri – Now

 

Over the years, we’ve looked at other nations, especially the oppressive ones, whose police looked so militaristic and overkill. Now, we are one of them.

Here in Los Angeles, I recently attended a community event where police attended to meet and greet those living in the area. The Mayor even stopped by. The sentiment was the healthy type that seems to be disappearing across America nowadays, that police and citizens are partners in the community and that communication and collaboration is vital. Citizens of all races were chatting and associating with police, the mood was positive and pleasant. This is not difficult for a police force (and Mayor) to make happen, it only requires the will and principles to do so.

Instead, in Ferguson, Missouri, we see a virtually all white police force assaulting their community that is 70% black in a military-style overkill and treating them as the enemy. If the community is the police’s enemy, aren’t they then the enemy of their society? Shouldn’t it be the police that are “arrested” at this point instead of the entire community? If they aren’t serving the people, who are they serving? Just themselves, their power and their enforcement of white racial superiority?

The FBI is now investigating this killing of Michael Brown by a police officer so those who believe in justice can have some hope that the truth will come out and if this officer is guilty of murder, he is convicted and sentenced for it.

Meanwhile, the militarized police state that many Americans are living under, even if it has little direct impact on them today,  will remain unchanged unless citizens and communities come together to pressure their cities to return their police to being public servants instead of an army that’s independent, unanswerable and free to be adversarial to their community.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

194 Responses so far.

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  1. NoManIsAnIsland says:

    Exceptionally well said, AdLib — even for you!

    In Ferguson, Missouri, we’ve just seen the collision and violent
    combustion of two huge problems in the United States — outrageous racial suppression and runaway militarization of local police forces.

    You wrote “Justify it…excuse the beating, suffocation and shooting of American citizens who were just walking and harming no
    one…the very people they are supposed to be protecting…unless
    police have a more black and white definition of who they are supposed to protect and who they aren’t.”

    Unfortunately, far too many police DO have a “…more black and white white definition of who they are supposed to protect and who they aren’t!”

    Consciously or not, you’ve identified the grave problem in a nutshell: White racist police believe they are supposed to protect white people and not protect black people. Even worse, they think it’s open season on black people and consciously look for ways to harm them.

    This is a rather dismal prescription for racial harmony, not to mention equal justice under law.

    • Nirek says:

      NoMan, since you are near the scene, can you shed some light on whether this is a festering of the “old south” and “rebels” type feelings on the part of the “police” or is it something else? How dense is the population in Ferguson?

      If what you say is true and I have no reason to doubt it, then it sounds like the civil war all over again.

      • NoManIsAnIsland says:

        Oh boy, Nirek, I can shed a LOT of light for you and
        will start here and now.

        Although Missouri was a very southern-leaning border state in the Civil War, it was largely the influence of great numbers of German immigrants fleeing oppression in their native country who helped keep Missouri on the Union side in the war.

        Most people don’t know it, but Missouri saw the 2nd greatest number of battles of all the states — mostly small scale engagements and fierce guerilla skirmishes — but some major battles, too; and the scars of the Civil War are, 150 years later, still as raw to some in this state as they are in many states of the deep south.

        It’s not the Civil War all over again. In a number of ways it’s as if the Civil War had never stopped. Many Missourians regard blacks as inferior and wish they were still slaves. I could go on, but I think you may already be getting a clearer picture of the consequences of unresolved issues between the races in St. Louis and much of the rest of Missouri.

        Of course the racial problems of Ferguson are mirrored in many other cities in many other states that didn’t even exist as states during the Civil War. Missouri’s dark past isn’t completely responsible for the current crisis, but it hasn’t
        helped it, either.

        But despite these problems, the city of St. Louis is a center of liberal political thought and the bastion of the Democratic Party in the state.

        At the same time, St. Louis remains the 9th most
        segregated city in the U.S. Ferguson is about 12 miles from St. Louis, with a few other contiguous cities in between.

        Ferguson was settled around 1855 and was incorporated as a city in 1894. It was mostly white for much of its history but now is about 73% black and 25% white. This notwithstanding, it has a white mayor and a white police chief, with 50 white police officers and 3 black officers.

        The chief has tried to hire more black officers, but fewer blacks than whites want to be police officers and Ferguson, like most other cities in St. Louis County can’t offer the salaries of the St. Louis City and the St. Louis County Police forces. The city and county, therefore, get most of the black recruits.

        Ferguson covers 6.19 square miles. The estimated population in 2012 was 21,135, and the population density is 3,400/square mile (I
        didn’t actually know these figures — I just
        looked them up!).

        This is just the briefest of overviews, but I hope
        it helps you. But as the devil is in the details, there are a lot more details that would give you more insight into how Ferguson blundered into a totally preventable catastrophe.

        • Nirek says:

          NoMan, thanks for the reply. Your insight is valuable to me as you are there. I am trying to understand more clearly what is happening in my own country.
          This helps me , thanks again.

          • NoManIsAnIsland says:

            You’re welcome, Nirek. I’m always
            glad to help when I can.

            Thinking back on it, my short
            history of Ferguson’s and
            Missouri’s racial difficulties is
            perhaps a little over-simplified
            and overdrawn to keep it at a
            reasonable length. But it
            remains basically accurate,
            I think.

            What I didn’t say and should
            have mentioned is that there
            are legions of progressive
            Missourians — including socially
            liberal, traditional Republicans —
            who devote much time and energy
            to advancing the cause of full
            equality under law for ALL
            minorities, while also trying to
            liberate the racist reactionaries
            from the chains that keep THEM
            yearning to live in an idealized
            fantasy world of pre-Civil War
            bliss that never was.

            We aren’t where we should be
            yet. But even given the huge
            setback in Ferguson last
            Saturday, we have made
            significant progress over the
            years and will make more —
            despite the efforts of the
            Cracked Teapot Party-
            controlled Missouri State
            Legislature to trash our
            state in its demented race
            to the bottom!

            • Nirek says:

              NoMan, I’ve never been to MO. I plan to stay where I am and have been all my life except for the military bases my Dad brought us to. And of course my own army days.

              I’m learning more here than the schools ever taught me about our history. Too bad the schools don’t teach history that is real and civics. That is one thing I was taught, civics. It has guided me throughout my life. Voting is a civic duty as well as privilege, IMO.

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks NoMan, very appreciated!

      Yes, that’s exactly what I intended when I wrote “black and white definition”, police there and in many cities do indeed seem to think that the phrase “Protect and Serve” only applies to white residents and “Potential Suspect” applies to all black residents.

      I remember a story a few weeks ago about Klansmen being removed from a southern city’s police force. What a surprise.

    • AdLib says:

      Kalima, well, the Ferguson cops are facing the same kind of threat as our soldiers did in Iraq. Oh wait, the situation in Iraq wasn’t just peaceful protests, my bad.

  2. kesmarn says:

    This is another encouraging sign:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/capt-ron-johnson-marches-protesters-ferguson-article-1.1904210

    State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson marches with protesters today.

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, I am glad that this is the policy now being used but listening to Johnson in interviews, it seems like a package deal, “Okay, we’ll treat you citizens decently now but let’s all forget about the racist, militarized police force that attacked you for days.”

      It’s almost like a battered wife who’s being treated with care after her latest beating, she’s consumed with gratitude for being treated with the level of respect…she should have received anyway.

      I’m very upset about how swiftly the criminal behavior of the police is being buried.

      • NoManIsAnIsland says:

        I take your point, AdLib, but after studying Capt. Johnson over a period of several days and reading very good things about him, I’m convinced he’s the real deal and isn’t trying to cover up the outrages of the Ferguson and St. Louis County police forces.

        I’m sure he feels just as strongly about the civil
        rights violations as we do but as a tactical consideration has decided since he has to work with them, this isn’t the right time to register his disgust at their transgressions.

        I just got done watching him at a press conference I recorded this morning, and he made his disagreement very clear several times at how the situation was being handled even after he was brought aboard.

        But I’m a native Missourian from St. Louis — I live in the county about 9 miles (as I wrote in an earlier post) as the St. Louis JIM Crow flies from the scene of Michael Brown’s violent death. And despite any efforts of others to bury the criminal behavior of the police, I think justice — or at least a substantial measure of it — will be done in the end.

        The dangers of what will almost undoubtedly happen if it isn’t are already clear enough even to the most unreconstructed of the area’s powers that be. We don’t need even a mini-Watts East riot and more needless deaths.

  3. monicaangela says:

    The protesters in Ferguson MO are out in full force again today. This isn’t going to end with a military onslaught.



    But how did all of this get started in the first place?


    • AdLib says:

      monicaangela, sure sees to me that now that these criminal police actions are a day in the past, they’re being whitewashed away. Laws were broken by many police and their leaders…and we’re just supposed to let them get away with that because they’ve stopped breaking the law for the time being?

      This guarantees that nothing will change and nothing will discourage police and their leaders from more such racist and oppressive actions.

      Is there anyone who will pursue some kind of justice against these rogue police?

      • monicaangela says:

        There is someone AdLib, that someone is us, the people of this nation. Our representatives are responsible for this, they created it, and it is up to us to force them to rescind the law they passed that put this type of equipment in the hands of local and State police.

        Although the images seemingly shocked members of Congress, the issue of police militarization was born in Washington and has been percolating for years. The images out of Ferguson may finally serve as a tipping point needed to prompt lawmakers to reform the policies that allow local police forces to acquire Defense Department equipment without having to say much about how it’s used or where it ultimately ends up.

        With billions in equipment already disbursed across the country, it may seem too late to put the genie back in the bottle. But public advocates pressing for change say there’s plenty Washington can do to curb the disbursement of such equipment — and even potentially take some of it off the streets.

        We acquiesced when the children of Sandy Hook were taken from us, we acquiesced when it came to trying to get legislation to get guns off of our streets, guns that could potentially wind up in the hands of criminals. I sincerely hope all of those who have young children, young cousins, your nieces and nephews, and all of those who have friends that have young children etc., to realize what kind of world we are providing them if we allow this to continue. Not only do we have criminals assaulting us on our streets, we also have those who are supposed to protect and serve us doing the same thing. 9/11 has caused this nation to become hysterical, the fear has gripped some so terribly they are willing to give up their rights.

        It is time for us to return our minds to Patrick Henry, we need to remember his famous speech which ends in the following manner:

        It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

        The entire speech can be read here: http://www.history.org/almanack/life/politics/giveme.cfm

        Although it is from another time, the sentiment and the cause is somehow eerily tantamount to what is happening to the people of this nation today…not from an enemy from without, but from our own government within.

  4. kesmarn says:

    Friends, please tell me what you think of this latest event. There’s a video in this article that shows a mall cop (of all people) macing a black man whom all witnesses say is the wrong person in the scenario.

    What’s more disturbing is that the “real” police totally backed the rent-a-cop.

    http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/08/13/mall-cop-ignores-white-guy-screaming-racial-slurs-maces-african-american-bystander-instead-video/

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, what is it with guards or police that shut down and refuse to listen as they robotically continue with whatever task they’ve chosen? They don’t care about truth or fact, they just decide to do something and mindlessly continue to do it.

      So clearly a racist act, the guard was called to stop a white shirtless racist who was harassing people and when he gets there, he maces a shirted black man?

      I mentioned to KT, there is no law to prevent the other protestors from wresting that guy free from the mall cop nor from that guy just going to the sidewalk and once no longer on private property, the guard would have no jurisdiction to touch him or arrest him.

      But no one should have to go to any such lengths to avoid racial persecution.

      • kesmarn says:

        AdLib, I think part of the problem is that they’re afraid to lose face. They’ve already gone to a certain point in their error and they feel that if they say: “OK. Time out, people. Tell me what actually happened here.” And then the result is that they have to let their “suspect” go, they’ll look foolish.

        Which is a pretty stupid reason to take away someone’s civil rights. But human pride is so strong that a lot of awful things have been done for the sake of it.

        It was good to get the info you provided on what is and isn’t private property and the limits to what can be done in either situation. Unfortunately — I think this will be valuable information to have down the road. Thank you!

    • monicaangela says:

      And yet again we have proof positive of racial bias….


      • monicaangela says:

        I read this in an article this morning. It really speaks to the psyche of the young man who was pepper sprayed, and to what racism in this nation is doing to some young African Americans:

        Valor Security Services, which employs the security guard, told KING that the guard gave multiple warnings.

        “Please know these actions are never done without warning and careful consideration,” Valor spokesperson Scott Born insisted in a statement. “It is always our goal to try to resolve all situations as peacefully as possible.”

        Valor declined to tell KING if the guard was still working for the company. The Seattle Police Department was investigating the incident.

        For his part, Wilford (The young man who was pepper sprayed) said that he would like to speak with management at Westlake, and he has not ruled out legal action.

        “I’ve been treated like that all my life, so it kinda brushes off,” Wilford explained to The Stranger. “I’m from the South, I’m from New Orleans. I’ve seen the worst of it.”

        “People here seem to be more secretive about their not liking black people, or their racism,” he added. “I’m so used to it I don’t know what’s wrong and what’s right half the time.”

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/08/14/mall-cop-ignores-racist-harassing-seattle-protesters-and-pepper-sprays-black-bystander-instead/

      • kesmarn says:

        Thank God, the bystanders got involved in this case. Not to much avail though, I’m afraid. Not at this point, anyway.

        • monicaangela says:

          I have been trying to find information as to what happened to the young man that was arrested..there doesn’t seem to be any further information after the bystanders were removed from “private property.” I found it very interesting that the police officer that came to the scene was not interested in listening to the many, many witnesses to this incident. I sure hope that young man sues that Mall Cop for every cent he has. It appears he is definitely in the wrong in this case.

          • Since when is a shopping mall considered to be “private property?” The female cop kept telling citizens to get off private property. Is it shopping by invitation only? They just make up the fricken rules as they go along!

            I’m glad to see so many witnesses speak up in defense of Mr. Wilford.

            Mr. Wilford should not only sue the mall cop, but the owners of the mall that hired him.

            • AdLib says:

              KT, any property on which there is a business is private property so even malls which are considered a public place are still private property.

              Streets, sidewalks, government buildings and parks are examples of public property, that is, property owned by us through our government.

              So they do have the right to have such racist security guards detain black men for no reason…but they don’t have the right to act without justifiable cause to protect their business so he should sue their asses.

              If this kind of thing was to happen to anyone else, they just need to get off that property (sidewalk or street) and that guard has just lost his primary authority (he’d have to provide convincing evidence in court that justified his attacking someone on public property or be convicted of assault). If he pursues you once you’ve left their property, you have every right to defend yourself from being attacked or run away.

              And there is no law against citizens interfering with security guards so those other protestors could have just wrestled that man away from the guard and hustled him away to safety.

              Not that you’re thinking of all these things in the moment but good to keep in your hip pocket.

            • And I agree kes and Monica, He should also sue the police department for negligence. Both the mall cop and the city police let the real trouble maker walk away, scott free.

            • monicaangela says:

              Spot on KT, also the police department. The police officer that was suppose to be there to protect and serve the community was doing anything but…I guess it was because he was on “private property,” maybe that put the Mall outside his jurisdiction. Maybe that is why he felt he shouldn’t interfere with the Mall Cop who as the regular cop said, “was just trying to do his job.” These cases get more and more obvious and more and more absurd everyday.

            • kesmarn says:

              I agree on all points, Homie! I was wondering the same thing. Who knew that malls were private property? Are we trespassers every time we go shopping?

              I think those were protesters against the situation in Gaza who witnessed this whole event. Probably a good group to have around when there’s injustice going down…

              I think this man would have a strong case for a lawsuit, to say the least. And that’s the way to hit them where it hurts too. I’d also add in the local police who refused to step in and de-escalate the situation as defendants in that lawsuit.

  5. Adlib--Great article. A small note (and I might be wrong). the militarization of the civilian police departments started before 9/11. The helmeted armored cops in SS-black uniforms were a feature of the Seattle WTO protests. It was about the same time that the FBI started lumping non violent protesters and violent protesters together in terms of response tactics.

    I think we’ve gone too far down this road already. Some of the reporting Michael Ruppert did before his death was about the military aid to police departments and how it was linked to networking of all law enforcement computers and other communications systems. In effect, everything one police department is doing can be analyzed by anyone on the network with the appropriate rights. There’s a whole segment on law enforcement in the documentary Apocalypse, Man. Worth ten minutes of your time (it’s Segment 2 on Youtube). Ruppert had been in the LAPD and had continued inside sources inside the law enforcement community.
    We’re in for bad times.

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks misterbadexample!

      You are right, the militarization of police forces started before that, I believe in the 1990’s when the U.S. military was authorized to be able to sell excess military equipment to police forces.

      Police relied then and now on the seizure laws (articles have been written about how abusively police use those laws now because they need the money they get from them) for the money to buy the tools of war to use against their own communities.

      There needs to be a killing of that authority and an end to the militarization of police forces. There is no need for mine-resistant vehicles to be owned and driven by police. None.

      We need to demilitarize our police and increase community policing.

    • monicaangela says:

      I agree Misterbadexample….Case in point:


      • I was there the day after the shootings, in solidarity with the anti-war protesters.

        • monicaangela says:

          My sister and I was also there the next day. My cousin was there the day of the shooting and was one of those in the crowd to the right of the soldiers who opened fire on the crowd. She recounted up unto the day of her death the events of that day, and I truly don’t believe she ever got over witnessing what happened there.

  6. AdLib says:

    Here is video of an attack on peaceful protesters in Ferguson last night by St. Louis County police. The attack begins around the 6:00 minute mark. It is terrifying, as the police begin with using an ear piercing sound attack first then launch a barrage of flash bangs, tear gas and rubber bullets, pushing their attack deeper and deeper into neighborhoods and firing into people’s homes and yards.

    This is not America.


  7. AdLib says:

    The racist oppression we’re all seeing in Ferguson is so openly exercised, it seems surreal in this era that it’s happening in broad daylight. And when their follow up act is to assault the press and keep them from informing citizens as to what is happening, how have they not become like warlords in Afghanistan, this is their territory and they’ll dominate their people however they choose.

    In a way, the Ferguson Police are to America as ISIS is to Iraq, an invading force that is self-righteous and sees any who don’t conform to its wishes and beliefs as enemies who should be met with violence.

    The decades of racism in America are now joined by the fascism of the militarized police forces across this nation and that makes for a frightening reality of what America has devolved into. If this doesn’t cause the people of this country to demand a de-militarization of their police forces, the ultimate future of this country looks very bleak and totalitarian.

    Here’s a preview and a link to KSDK’s story and astounding video of how the Ferguson Police went out of their way to launch a physical attack on those from the press (KSDK and Al Jazeera crews) who were covering last night’s violent military actions against peaceful citizens:

    One of the photojournalists walked to the intersection of Highmont and West Florissant where he documented what appeared to be an altercation between police and an individual they were detaining along West Florissant. About 15 seconds into his video recording, bright lights can be seen shining at his position. Approximately 30 seconds later, as he continues to record video the sound of an air rifle firing can be heard followed by a “thud.”

    According to the 23-year veteran of television news, a “bean bag round” hit his camera equipment, and he retreated back to his original position on Highmont.

    […]

    Approximately five to 10 minutes later, video recorded by the other photojournalist shows police at the intersection of Highmont and West Florissant fire what appears to be tear gas at the Al Jazeera America crew station nearby. The crew of three people is set up with television lights and a camera in front of their mini-van. The video shows the apparent tear gas billowing smoke directly in front of them. The KSDK crew says the canister hit the Al Jazeera America van.

    The KSDK crew says the Al Jazeera America crew was yelling, “We’re the press.” The Al Jazeera America crew can be seen running away from the van on video. Then two police officers can be seen taking down the crew’s television lights and tilting the TV camera toward the ground.

    http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2014/08/14/crews-hit-with-bean-bags-tear-gas/14042747/

    • monicaangela says:

      This is what privatizing police training gets us…Paid Mercenaries policing our streets.

      • confuseddemocrat says:

        monicaangela: Actually this is what happens when we disproportionately spend money for “security” at the expense of other intervention strategies and social programs

        We get a police state that is the envy of every two-bit third world dictator

        • monicaangela says:

          Are we becoming a police state? Five things that have civil liberties advocates nervous

          1. Indefinite military detentions of U.S. citizens

          2. Targeting U.S. citizens for killing

          3. Arresting witnesses for recording police actions

          4. Using GPS to track your every move

          5. Surveillance drones spying on American soil

          http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/the-daily-need/are-we-becoming-a-police-state-five-things-that-have-civil-liberties-advocates-nervous/12563/

        • Nirek says:

          C D, you hit the nail squarely on the head!
          Too much spent on “security” and way too little on programs to help with interventions and social programs. Let me also add that the minimum wage should be increased and more jobs (good jobs).

        • monicaangela says:

          Hear, hear!!!! We do have a peculiar habit of spending our money for everything but the citizens of this nation. We give it away in the bucket loads for every cause around the world we can find, and have a complete fit if we have to provide SNAP for a family that our politicians are refusing to extend unemployment benefits for. We continually say we don’t have money for this, or we don’t have money for that when it comes to our citizens, that goes from Social Security to Medicare/Medicaid, and just about any other benefit that the citizens of this nation pays taxes for…no money for infrastructure in this nation, but billions for a fake Iron Dome for Israel, not to mention billions every year for weapons to help them continue their system of apartheid….this nation is completely lost…our priorities are for the super wealthy only and everyone else in the nation be damned.

    • kesmarn says:

      Good Lord. Among the myriad disturbing aspects of all this is the fact that poor AlJazeera just cannot catch a break. They’re being arrested, tear gassed, shot at and imprisoned all around the world.

      I guess that’s what happens when you attempt to get the truth out.

      Also — interesting side note — people who’ve checked in on the NRA’s website are finding them curiously silent on this whole Ferguson situation. Strange. For a group that rants endlessly about the imminent likelihood of the US being taken over by hordes of “jack-booted thugs” in militarized police departments, in this case they don’t seem to be alarmed.

      Wonder why… ?

      I think we all know.

      • monicaangela says:

        I know we all know. Where are the militants, where are those that would protect the people from the authoritarian police force in this nation? Do they only come out for the types like Bundy, someone who by the way was really breaking the law and had not been shot at, had not had one of his children killed…Someone who decided to through it all, do the country a service and tell us all about Black people in this nation and how they may have been better off under slavery…does that tell you anything? :)

        • kesmarn says:

          It definitely does, monica.

          Where are all those Bundy cowboys riding into town on their horses with their six-shooters by their sides, ready to take back the “real ‘Murrika”?

          Strangely absent. Which they usually are when they sense that they might actually get hurt.

  8. AdLib says:

    So what happens when a rogue police force turns against American citizens and the press and attacks them, violating one after another Constitutional right?

    Right now the city of Ferguson has become a separate and sovereign state that is not beholden to The Constitution of the United States. The questions have been rightly asked about where the local politicians are since most are silent and hiding but when an armed force takes over a part of the U.S. and displays that they will not abide by the nation’s most basic laws, shouldn’t the federal government send in their forces to disarm that rogue militia and protect the American citizens who need their protection?

    In light of the Cliven Bundy incident, where ANOTHER rogue militia took over a section of the U.S., it is high time that the federal government used it’s superior military force to make a statement to the people of this nation that Americans will be protected by their government from lawless military groups and that no such groups will be allowed to take over parts of this nation.

    This is a national issue and goes to the very heart of whether or not the federal government will stand by as our democracy is overthrown by armed groups, city by city.

  9. Kalima says:

    Grenade launchers? Really? So what’s next, drones and carpet bombing? 😯

    —-

    Why the feds are putting grenade launchers in the hands of local cops

    http://news.yahoo.com/why-feds-putting-grenade-launchers-134100393.html

  10. sillylittleme says:

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
    — Martin Niemöller

    Can we start the revolution now?????

    • AdLib says:

      slm, it’s disappointing how people can stand by when terrible things are happening to other people simply because it doesn’t affect them.

      People always need to remember that just because the weapon of abuse is pointed at others, that doesn’t mean it can’t be turned and eventually pointed at them.

    • monicaangela says:

      This is quickly becoming one of my favorite quotes. :)

  11. monicaangela says:

    So let’s try this again….

    AdLib,

    As promised, I have completed the connection of ACADEMI to police training in the U.S. It didn’t take much research, all I had to do is read their page on Wikipedia. Imagine this:

    Academi is an American private military company, founded in 1997 by Erik Prince. Formerly known as Blackwater, the company was renamed “Xe Services” in 2009, and “Academi” in 2011. The company was purchased in late 2010 by a group of private investors who changed the name to Academi and instituted a board of directors and new senior management. Prince retained the rights to the name Blackwater and has no affiliation with Academi. The company received widespread publicity in 2007, when a group of its employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians and injured 20 in Nisour Square, Baghdad.

    Academi continues to provide security services to the United States federal government on a contractual basis. The Obama administration contracted the group to provide services for the CIA for $250 million. In 2013, Academi subsidiary International Development Solutions received an approximately $92 million contract for State Department security guards.

    In 2014, the company became a division of Constellis Holdings along with Triple Canopy and other security companies that were part of the Constellis Group as the result of an acquisition.

    Blackwater USA was formed in 1997, by Al Clark and Erik Prince in North Carolina, to provide training support to military and law enforcement organizations. *****Note, I am putting emphasis on “Law enforcement Organizations. ++++++ This means this company has since 1997 been involved in training police in this nation.

    From Mother Jones in 2009:

    Confronted with images of corpses floating in the blackened floodwaters or baking in the sun on abandoned highways, there aren’t too many people left who see what happened following Hurricane Katrina as a purely “natural” disaster. The dominant narratives that have emerged, in the four years since the storm, are of a gross human tragedy, compounded by social inequities and government ineptitude—a crisis subsequently exploited in every way possible for political and financial gain.

    But there’s an even harsher truth, one some New Orleans residents learned in the very first days but which is only beginning to become clear to the rest of us: What took place in this devastated American city was no less than a war, in which victims whose only crimes were poverty and blackness were treated as enemies of the state.
    It started immediately after the storm and flood hit, when civilian aid was scarce—but private security forces already had boots on the ground. Some, like Blackwater (which has since redubbed itself Xe), were under federal contract, while a host of others answered to wealthy residents and businessmen who had departed well before Katrina and needed help protecting their property from the suffering masses left behind.

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2009/08/secret-history-hurricane-katrina

    Back to Wikipedia:

    In 2010, a group of private investors purchased Xe’s training facility in Moyock, NC and built a new company around it named Academi. The new ownership instituted a board of directors and entirely new management system, including a full compliance and governance program.

    The Academi Board of Directors includes former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former White House Counsel and Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Jack Quinn, retired Admiral and former Director of the National Security Agency Bobby Ray Inman, and Texas businessman Red McCombs, who serves as Chairman of the Board. Jack Quinn and John Ashcroft both serve as independent directors of Academi.

    In May 2011, Academi named Ted Wright as CEO. Wright hired Suzanne Rich Folsom as Academi’s chief regulatory and compliance officer and deputy general counsel. The Academi Regulatory and Compliance team won the 2012 National Law Journal’s Corporate Compliance Office of the Year Award.

    In 2012, Brigadier General (ret.) Craig Nixon was named the new CEO of Academi.

    2014: Constellis Holdings
    A merger between Triple Canopy and Academi, along with other companies that were part of the Constellis Group package, are now all gathered under the Constellis Holdings, Inc. umbrella. The transaction brings together an array of security companies including Triple Canopy, Constellis Ltd., Strategic Social, Tidewater Global Services, National Strategic Protective Services, ACADEMI Training Center and International Development Solutions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academi


    So basically it appears to me what we have here is the military and politicians uniting to take over law enforcement training and policing through those they have trained in this country. They virtually have cornered the market so to speak. Just as the Carlyle group has done.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    There is one thing for sure. We really do need to take our country back. Not as the Tea Party wishes, after all, they are embedded with/in bed with these corporations that are taking over this nation and other nations around the world. We need to start investigating politicians, ex politicians, also ex Presidents and start cleaning house..this of course is My Humble Opinion. This is also the reason we are beginning to see more and more of these militaristic incidents occurring on the streets of our nation. We have gone from Lynchings to out right executions of minorities and the poor on the streets of this nation. African Americans have gone through this since slavery, other minorities are beginning to see what it has been like, and all of this is happening with the tax dollars of the very people who are being denied their rights.

    The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights.

    Any person with eyes to see, ears to hear, an education above the fourth grade and an understanding of what it is to be human and a citizen of this nation, or any nation for that matter should be able to see the U.S. Constitution and the rights of the citizens of Ferguson Missouri are being trashed right before our eyes by “PUBLIC SERVANTS,” State employees, employees that are being paid by the citizens of that state for protection and those employees are giving them the exact opposite. Democracy? Fredoom? I think not.

    • AdLib says:

      monicaangela, this could have been a post all on its own, well done.

      One additional institutional change that Republicans including Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes helped to install in government is putting the rich and powerful above the law.

      Nixon may have quit because of Watergate but he used the Presidency like a Bond Villain and got away with everything else. Reagan and his cronies escaped any prosecution over Iran-Contra and of course Bush got away with lying America into a war and committing war crimes. Wall Street got away with robbing the nation and destroying the world economy.

      I think the first big change there needs to be is a restatement of this being a nation of laws that apply to all and that the powerful can and should go to jail when they commit crimes.

      I saw Governor Jay Nixon of MO in his press conference today and he made clear, he wants to “look forward”, meaning no police will be held responsible for breaking the law. Nothing will change if those officers and the police force aren’t held accountable.

      I hope the news organizations who had reporters arrested sue the police there, that innocent citizens who were peacefully protesting come together and sue the police for wrongful arrests and that the DoJ brings charges against them for violating the Constitutional rights of American citizens. I won’t hold my breath but I sure hope some people who can, hold their feet to the fire because of the message it will send to the lawless and powerful all around the nation.

      • monicaangela says:

        Thank you AdLib!

        I never think my comments are good enough to actually be worthy of an actual article. I am mostly here to support or debate those like yourself who actually have something clever to say. In regards to what is happening in Ferguson MO….

        I believe the Department of Justice should take over every aspect of this case. I believe this goes to the fabric of law in this nation, I believe it is an issue of human rights, and the failure to follow the constitution by the police and government officials of Ferguson MO. I believe the police chief in Ferguson as well as the police chief who sent the S.W.A.T. team from St. Louis should be brought up on charges and replaced…I think a million things right now, but let’s face it this board/thread is too small to contain them. This is a teachable moment in this nation. This is evidence of the fact that we are faster than we think losing our civil rights. Not just minorities, but all citizens in this nation, especially those who shrug their shoulders and say “oh well, there must have been something those people did that is causing this reaction from the police.” All I can say is…..WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

        • AdLib says:

          monicaangela, have to disagree with you on that, you’ve written some remarkable comments that are deserving to be posts. All members are invited and encouraged to post articles, hope you’ll consider it!

          My concern right now is that because the Highway Patrol has been brought in and the militarized police of St. Louis and Ferguson have been sidelined, the conversation from the officials is all about, “Forget about what happened before, just be happy things are better now.

          No. The St. Louis County Police and Ferguson Police broke the law, violated the Constitution and they need to be prosecuted just as everyone they stop who have broken the law is prosecuted.

          Do those police let people go after they break the law simply because they’ve stopped breaking the law?

          Who is going to prosecute or sue these criminal police?

          • monicaangela says:

            When public officials fail to provide justice to people injured by lawless police officers, victims of police brutality have only one remedy—bringing a civil rights case against the officers. Prosecutors do not want to file charges against police officers. Police departments do not want to expose police brutality or challenge the word of their own officers. Police internal affairs systems rely on police officers to investigate fellow police officers. But in a civil suit, the victim of the police misconduct, represented by a civil rights lawyer, investigates the incident and presents it to a jury.

            The citizens of Ferguson MO need to file a civil suit against the police department.

  12. Nirek says:

    Ad, do you think that the police have been militarized since 9-11? The big cities have gotten lots of money from “homeland security” funds. Here in Vermont our police have gotten some new radios and vests. No Hummers here!

    I feel that our small town and cities are pretty safe from the police abuse.

    • AdLib says:

      Nirek, it actually started before that when a provision was put in place that allowed the military to sell excess military equipment to police forces…who use asset forfeiture laws and Homeland Security funds to buy them.

      9/11 sure turbo-charged it though!

  13. pinkpantheroz says:

    The local Council should defund the police department, denying the racists their power. Police work for US! Power-hungry ratbags who think a uniform, badge and guns give them domination over those they feel superior to have no place in a modern police force. I wonder if the show ‘Cops’ will ever be game enough show anything like this!

    • AdLib says:

      ppo, I think the local government is white and supports police oppression. It’s going to be up to the black residents who represent a majority there to throw them all out of office and put in their own people who will take control of the town and police force.

    • monicaangela says:

      Spot on PPO, and NO, cops will not be televising anything as real as this….it actually shows what REAL cops do “in the line of duty.” This is a revolution, and as we know, revolutions are never re-aired until the names, causes for the situation, and truth have been edited out. :)


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