Murder in the First

This MSNBC interview with an eyewitness to the Michael Brown shooting (which, unless you have twitter, you probably haven’t heard about because every major network has simply refused to cover the story in any detail whatsoever) is absolutely chilling:

The police say the officer shot Brown after the teen shoved the officer and tried to wrestle the officer’s gun from him. But a number of witnesses, including Johnson, refute those claims. And in the wake of the shooting, the Ferguson Police Department has asked the St. Louis County police to step in and take over the investigation.

***

About 20 minutes before the shooting, Johnson said he saw Brown walking down the street and decided to catch up with him. The two walked and talked. That’s when Johnson says they saw the police car rolling up to them.

The officer demanded that the two “get the f—k on the sidewalk,” Johnson says. “His exact words were get the f—k on the sidewalk.”

After telling the officer that they were almost at their destination, Johnson’s house, the two continued walking. But as they did, Johnson says the officer slammed his brakes and threw his truck in reverse, nearly hitting them.

Now, in line with the officer’s driver’s side door, they could see the officer’s face. They heard him say something to the effect of, “what’d you say?” At the same time, Johnson says the officer attempted to thrust his door open but the door slammed into Brown and bounced closed. Johnson says the officer, with his left hand, grabbed Brown by the neck.

“I could see the muscles in his forearm,” Johnson said. “Mike was trying to get away from being choked.”

“They’re not wrestling so much as his arm went from his throat to now clenched on his shirt,” Johnson explained of the scene between Brown and the officer. “It’s like tug of war. He’s trying to pull him in. He’s pulling away, that’s when I heard, ‘I’m gonna shoot you.’”

At that moment, Johnson says he fixed his gaze on the officer to see if he was pulling a stun gun or a real gun. That’s when he saw the muzzle of the officer’s gun.

“I seen the barrel of the gun pointed at my friend,” he said. “He had it pointed at him and said ‘I’ll shoot,’ one more time.”

A second later Johnson said he heard the first shot go off.

“I seen the fire come out of the barrell,” he said. “I could see so vividly what was going on because I was so close.”

Johnson says he was within arm’s reach of both Brown and the officer. He looked over at Brown and saw blood pooling through his shirt on the right side of the body.

“The whole time [the officer] was holding my friend until the gun went off,” Johnson noted.

Brown and Johnson took off running together. There were three cars lined up along the side of the street. Johnson says he ducked behind the first car, whose two passengers were screaming. Crouching down a bit, he watched Brown run past.

“Keep running, bro!,” he said Brown yelled. Then Brown yelled it a second time. Those would be the last words Johnson’s friend, “Big Mike,” would ever say to him.

Brown made it past the third car. Then, “blam!” the officer took his second shot, striking Brown in the back. At that point, Johnson says Brown stopped, turned with his hands up and said “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”

By that point, Johnson says the officer and Brown were face-to-face. The officer then fired several more shots. Johnson described watching Brown go from standing with his hands up to crumbling to the ground and curling into a fetal position.

His story is easy to corroborate- forensics will be able to determine how close he was when he wa shot, whether he was shot in the back, what the fatal killing shot was and what the angle of the shot would be for it to have happened, etc. If this eyewitness account is accurate, this was premeditated murder, one would think, as the officer stated before hand that he was going to shoot him. IANAL, but that seems like intent premeditation to me.

BTW- would forensics be able to determine whether or not his arms were up when he was shot if he was shot in the torso? Wouldn’t the bullet penetrate the muscles differently if his arms were in the air or by his side?

And why will they not release the cops name? WTF kind of shady sit is that?

195 replies
  1. 1
    Goblue72 says:

    It’s mourning in America.

  2. 2
    Glocksman says:

    And why will they not release the cops name? WTF kind of shady sit is that?

    I think I read somewhere that a lot of FOP contracts prohibit the department from releasing names of those under internal investigation for a period of time.

    That said, if charges are filed, the name is officially public information at that point.

    If the eyewitness is right and forensics backs the testimony up, if this cops skates, then something stinks of corruption and racism in Missouri.

    OT.

    My only experience with Missouri law enforcement is when I visited St. Louis late at night during the late 80’s.
    Me and a buddy were just sitting in my car watching some late night marathon race get started and a cop pulled up behind us.

    As neither one of us were drinking or doing anything else wrong, we wondered if we were going to be harassed because of my Indiana license plates.

    It turned out that the cop wanted to ask my buddy if he’d mind helping him out by moving the police car half a mile up the road at the nearest intersection because he had to follow the runners on foot.

    Evansville cops would sooner cut off their left nuts than let a civilian, let alone one from out of state, drive their police car anywhere.

    Jeff said ‘sure’, moved the car up the road, got out, and when the cop arrived, handed him the keys.
    Even 30 years later, the whole experience seems surreal.

  3. 3
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Welcome to Misery! We’re as racist, batshit insane as the racistist, batshittiest insane state in the country.

    They haven’t released his name because shut up, that’s why.

    How I ever let my wife talk me into moving here…

  4. 4
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    FWIW it is not intent that differentiates first and second degree murder. Both require intent to kill. Instead, the difference is premeditation. And here, the statement you cited is probably enough to establish premeditation.

  5. 5
    Lurking Canadian says:

    It will soon be revealed that the deceased was armed with a nearby bit of sidewalk, making the shooting self-defense.

  6. 6
    rikyrah says:

    Ferguson, MO, is 67 percent black, and its police force is 94 percent white
    Updated by Lauren Williams on August 12, 2014, 9:50 a.m. ET @laurenwilliams

    Ferguson, MO, is a black town. In 2010, the St. Louis suburb was 67.4 percent black and 29.3 percent white. But if you looked at the city’s leadership, you would never know it.

    From the Los Angeles Times:

    Ferguson’s police chief and mayor are white. Of the six City Council members, one is black. The local school board has six white members and one Latino. Of the 53 commissioned officers on the police force, three are black, said Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson.

    As my colleague Dara Lind has pointed out, a state report on racial profiling revealed that last year, 86 percent of traffic stops and 92 percent of all arrests in the city were of black residents. For anyone who didn’t understand the context of Ferguson residents’ anger and frustration, and why the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager Saturday caused it to bubble over, think of these arrest stats. Then compare the demographics of the city to the demographics of its police force and city council.

    http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014.....cent-white

  7. 7
    beth says:

    This just sucks right from the get go. Even if there had been no shooting, who the hell do the police in that town think they are that they can talk to citizens like that? From what I’ve seen there’s no one with a lick of sense in a position of authority in that town – they’ve done nothing but rachet up the tension every single day.

  8. 8
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    It is my understanding that MO’s governor has requested that the Feds take over the investigation.

  9. 9
    Mudge says:

    This is the sad result both of the militarization of the police and their increasingly godlike attitudes. They seek to make the law on the street and have everyone obey. And, increasingly other police lie to protect their co-workers. The “servant of the people” attitude is lost.

  10. 10
    Keith G says:

    If the eyewitness testimony is accurate (and the level of detail sure makes it seem so), this is going to be a very easy case for an independent investigation to close and present to a D.A.

    Since the FBI is now involved, and they are not investigating their own, I am not going to invest time worrying about how this could go wrong. This seems to have been a horrifying crime and now I think one that will be dealt properly.

  11. 11
    jrg says:

    And why will they not release the cops name?

    Because Spike Lee has a Twitter account.

    If the cop is charged (and he should be, if the evidence supports the allegations against him), his name should be released. I think it’s appropriate to avoid any vigilante “justice” until then, given the level of violence that is occurring.

  12. 12
    C.V. Danes says:

    He was guilty of walking while black. That’s not what the police report will say when it calls it a righteous shooting, but that was the cause.

  13. 13
    Rafer Janders says:

    BTW- would forensics be able to determine whether or not his arms were up when he was shot if he was shot in the torso? Wouldn’t the bullet penetrate the muscles differently if his arms were in the air or by his side?

    Not necessarily, and probably not. It’s not that exact a science.

  14. 14
    RSR says:

    First saw that interview via CBC. Sad that foreign press covers this better than domestic.

  15. 15
    RSR says:

    >>And why will they not release the cops name? WTF kind of shady sit is that?

    teachers’ BS rankings are public information, but a cop’s name isn’t? They just make this stuff up as they go along.

  16. 16
    Keith G says:

    @Mudge:

    This is the sad result both of the militarization of the police and their increasingly godlike attitudes. They seek to make the law on the street and have everyone obey. And, increasingly other police lie to protect their co-workers. The “servant of the people” attitude is lost

    Or it might just be that a person was given a badge and a gun who was unable to handle that responsibility. All professions have a certain number of bad actors among their membership. This dude may be one example. The problem is, when such a person is a cop, a hell of a lot can go wrong. We might have to wait a bit to see what issues were directly at play here.

    This is not to deny that the conditions you mention are an important set of problems.

  17. 17
    Botsplainer says:

    So have the intrepid chiefs of the Ferguson and St Louis police departments coordinated on shredding enough of the perp cop’s disciplinary file so as to feel free to release his name yet? Can the Ferguson city fathers be a little more deferential to the desires of the police department? How about the county officials directing public safety across the entire St. Louis area?

    Have they given his family enough time to move their belongings from his house, while they move him to some undisclosed safe location?

    Have they given him enough time to erase his facebook profile and his PoliceOne postings?

    How badly do they really want this to spread into the rest of the St. Louis metro area, into toney white neighborhoods and shopping areas while police are sent from other jurisdictions into Ferguson to quell disturbances and gas journalists and homeowners?

    So long as he’s safe from public rage, that’s all that matters.

  18. 18
    Botsplainer says:

    PS – Just once, I want to see a Boy in Blue take a needle for this shit.

    Let it be a lesson.

  19. 19
    El Caganer says:

    So much for “post-racial” America. Jesus Christ.

  20. 20
    Belafon says:

    It’ll be interesting to hear interviews from the people in the other car.

    @rikyrah:

    Ferguson, MO, is 67 percent black, and its police force is 94 percent white
    Updated by Lauren Williams on August 12, 2014, 9:50 a.m. ET @laurenwilliams

    Ferguson, MO, is a black town. In 2010, the St. Louis suburb was 67.4 percent black and 29.3 percent white. But if you looked at the city’s leadership, you would never know it.

    From the Los Angeles Times:

    Ferguson’s police chief and mayor are white. Of the six City Council members, one is black. The local school board has six white members and one Latino. Of the 53 commissioned officers on the police force, three are black, said Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson.

    Talk about explaining the pictures from last night.

  21. 21
    lol says:

    @Keith G:

    Thanks Not All Cops Man!

  22. 22
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @C.V. Danes: Just this. I was thinking the same thing as I read John’s post.

    Gawd, this reeks of “post-racial” American, alright. The fact that the networks are ignoring this story is further evidence that destroying the Village is a matter of acting to save the Republic.

  23. 23
    Ben Cisco says:

    @RSR: Domestic press will be on it as soon as they can dig up manufacture something that makes Michael Brown history’s greatest monster (since the last black kid got assassinated). That, and going into detail re the “riots.”

  24. 24
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    This is the sad result both of the militarization of the police

    @Mudge: Not so much. The military is pretty fucking strict about when you can use force and, if you do, you’d better be able to make a case as to why.

    I’d welcome a police force that was a tenth as disciplined as the military. It would be a vast improvement. My local cops (and the ones is Misery, sounds like) are your typical 21st century cops, nothing more than gang members without the command structure and punishment for fucking up that gangs impose on their members.

  25. 25
    shortstop says:

    Has Mo Brooks weighed in to lament how all this criticism is proof of the war on whites?

  26. 26
    shortstop says:

    @lol: I don’t think most people believe it’s all cops or even most cops. What concerns us is that cops tend to protect and cover up for each other. If good cops were more assiduous in rooting out bad cops, you wouldn’t have this problem. But the culture goes deeply against that from the top down, and it seems to be getting worse, not better.

  27. 27
    Botsplainer says:

    Mismanagement of this crisis by white officials is going to spread this across St. Louis, with demonstrations at the homes of mayors, police chiefs and prosecutors.

    Some of them could be deemed to be deserving of a burnout.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/...../13884695/

    Chief Thomas Jackson had said he would reveal the officer’s name by noon Tuesday. Timothy Zoll, spokesperson for the Ferguson Police Department, said due to the threats there is now no timetable for release the officer’s name.

    Authorities were vague about exactly what led the officer to open fire, except to say that the shooting was preceded by a scuffle of some kind with a man. It was unclear whether Brown or the man he was with was involved in the altercation.

    Investigators have refused to publicly disclose the race of the officer, who is now on administrative leave. But Phillip Walker said he was on the porch of an apartment complex overlooking the scene when he heard a shot and saw a white officer with Brown on the street.

    A protest in front of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch’s office was scheduled for Tuesday.

    It is as if they are trying actively to meet the whirlwind.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @shortstop: Well, it’s pretty obvious that not walking on the sidewalk is the equivalent of Operation Barbarossa, so there’s that.

  29. 29
    max says:

    IANAL, but that seems like premeditation to me.

    Sure. But they also left that kid’s body out on the street for 9 hours, effectively damaging the forensics by letting him cook.

    Tell you how this is gonna go – after investimigatin’, they’ll determine that they can’t determine anything, so the DA will not indict, because cops have hard jobs, unlike garbage men. He might get indicted by the feds, maybe. If he does somehow get indicted, it’ll be for manslaughter and he’ll skate in front of a mostly white jury. At most, he’ll lose his job.

    Dallas area has had at least four unjustified shootings in the last 18 months and no one got fired, much less busted.

    max
    [‘I have seen this enough times over 30 years to know how this works.’]

  30. 30
    Mudge says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Militarization in the sense that the police now own armored personnel carriers and such that allow routine police actions to be conducted like swat exercises.

  31. 31
    big ole hound says:

    All cops are gun humpers who will shoot at anyone who questions their bullying. I blame this on the aftermath of 911 and all the money the feds gave these small locals to upgrade their weapons, create SWAT teams and the macho attitude this created. I hope one of these NRA open carry gun nuts shoots a white cop pulling this shit and becomes a “good guy with a gun”….in Florida.

  32. 32
    kc says:

    Didn’t see the whole thing, unfortunately, but I saw part of it. That kid is a good witness.

  33. 33
    kc says:

    @max:

    Sure. But they also left that kid’s body out on the street for 9 hours,’

    Jesus, was it 9 hours? Really? For God’s sake, why?

  34. 34
    NonyNony says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    My local cops (and the ones is Misery, sounds like) are your typical 21st century cops, nothing more than gang members without the command structure and punishment for fucking up that gangs impose on their members.

    If you believe that cops today are any different than they have been for the last, oh, 150 years I’d invite you to check out some history books.

    The only difference between 21st century cops and 20th century cops and 19th century cops is the massive amounts of military-grade hardware that SWAT teams have these days. There have always been bad cops and there have always been not-as-bad cops who refuse to “sell out” the bad cops and instead circle the wagons around them to protect them.

    The difference now is that we hear about it a lot more frequently due to social networking and the Internet. Even 20 years ago this might have been a dust-up in St. Louis that nobody outside of Missouri heard much about (since it isn’t in LA or New York).

  35. 35
    kc says:

    @rikyrah:

    Man, sounds like the Justice Dept just needs to take over that entire town.

    That place is due for some major changes.

  36. 36
    shortstop says:

    @kc: As an emblem of their contempt for his value as a human being. And to fuck up the evidence.

  37. 37
    Tom Q says:

    Okay, two things:

    I fully agree that many policemen do their jobs properly and well. But it’s a long-standing tenet of being a police officer that no one within the fraternity gets criticized, no matter how flagrant their behavior — “us against them” prevails in all cases. The police department is not the only profession so insular (most lawyers won’t criticize even the worst sleazeballs who practice law, people in the news business are shy about publicly putting down the Fox News empire), but it does seem to be the one place where it’s viewed as a righteous tradition.

    Can someone explain how a town with a 67% black population elects a white mayor, especially one who’s insensitive to the black population? Is there some sort of Jim Crow in place?

  38. 38
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @max: Yep. I was 19 years old when Clifford Glover happened and I learned what it meant to be black in White America.

  39. 39
    kc says:

    @shortstop:

    It seems that way, doesn’t it? I can see a couple of hours, to take lots of pics of the scene and position of the body and so on, but 9 hours? NINE hours?

    I would really like to hear the PD explanation for that.

  40. 40
    Botsplainer says:

    @NonyNony:

    The only difference between 21st century cops and 20th century cops and 19th century cops is the massive amounts of military-grade hardware that SWAT teams have these days. There have always been bad cops and there have always been not-as-bad cops who refuse to “sell out” the bad cops and instead circle the wagons around them to protect them.

    That is a complete falsehood. The big difference in this era of professionalization of police departments is that they will call you “sir” while beating you and will repeatedly ask you to stop resisting as they tase and manhandle you.

    It is a big improvement.

  41. 41
    kc says:

    @kc:

    I mean, maybe there is a good explanation . . . I just can’t think what it might be.

  42. 42
    Belafon says:

    @max: I’ve watched those in Dallas happen, since I live in a suburb. As for Brown, that still won’t cover up where the bullets entered the body, nor will it significantly mess up how close the cop was when each bullet was fired, because a lot of that will be determined by how far the bullet penetrated.

  43. 43
    kc says:

    @Botsplainer:

    That is my favorite cop trick. repeatedly yelling “STOP RESISTING,” for the cameras and spectators, whilst pounding on a fully restrained nonresisting civilian.

  44. 44
    Mandalay says:

    And why will they not release the cops name? WTF kind of shady sit is that?

    Well the shit is really gonna hit the fan now. The police had previously promised to release the name today, but now CNN claims:

    Ferguson police will not release the name of the officer who shot a teenager in the St. Louis suburb because of threats made to another officer who was falsely outed on social media as the shooter, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told CNN.

  45. 45
    Craigo says:

    @Belafon: The distance is determined by the presence (or absence) of burns caused by the muzzle blast: A starburst pattern under the skin for a contact wound, burnt and blackened entry wound edges for a near contact wound, and stippling from unburnt powder grains for an intermediate shot.

    Penetration is not an issue, as the velocity of the round doesn’t drop appreciably until it has traveled several meters. (And hollow points, which virtually all police departments use, do not penetrate far anyway).

  46. 46
    Chris says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!:

    Not so much. The military is pretty fucking strict about when you can use force and, if you do, you’d better be able to make a case as to why.

    I’d welcome a police force that was a tenth as disciplined as the military.

    Are you ex-military?

    Genuinely curious because I’ve heard this argument before, and always wondered if it was true or if it was just due to the fact that – between “support the troops!” and the fact that modern wars happen on the other side of the earth – we’re less likely to hear about it when the military fucks up like this.

    Certainly there are Iraqi and Afghan civilians who report interactions with U.S. military personnel that little different from the kind of stories we hear about bad cops. And I’ve heard more than a few U.S. military personnel I know (mostly peacetime, I admit, so maybe bad sample) dismiss these things basically the same way the cops do. You know, “well I’m sure the hajjis were up to something!” “Hey, if you never wore our uniform, you’re not allowed to talk about this.” “Look, why does the liberal media always have to make such a big deal out of it?”

    I don’t take it for granted that there’s a similar Blue Code of Silence in the military, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were, which is why I’m curious if you’ve got firsthand experience with this.

  47. 47
    flapjack says:

    “Why won’t they release the name”

    Why do you think? Innocent till proven guilt. Ever heard of that?

  48. 48
    Mudge says:

    @Mandalay: Let me see..black kid gets threatened on the street and is killed. Policeman is threatened on social media and is hidden and protected. Policeman as victim is now in force.

  49. 49
    shortstop says:

    @Mudge:

    Policeman as victim is now in force

    Out of curiosity, I just took a look at the views being posted on the “Ferguson Friends and Neighbors” Facebook page. I almost threw up. This country is so fucked up.

  50. 50
    Belafon says:

    @Craigo: I stand corrected. Thanks for the information.

  51. 51
    some guy says:

    @Keith G:
    You really are an embaressment to the human race

  52. 52
    Belafon says:

    The police haven’t interviewed Johnson yet (Daily Kos link). He’s being represented by a former mayor of St. Louis.

  53. 53
    Cacti says:

    As a native of the area, I can tell you that St. Louis is one of the most racially segregated urban/suburban areas in the country.

    And as rikyrah mentioned above, even in the majority black areas, the police forces are almost always majority white.

  54. 54
    daverave says:

    @Keith G:

    Yep, the FBI that will not permit its interrogations to be recorded is sure to be above the fray on this investigation. Put me down as not as confident as you are that this is “a horrifying crime and now I think one that will be dealt properly.”

  55. 55
    Cacti says:

    @Mudge:

    Let me see..black kid gets threatened on the street and is killed. Policeman is threatened on social media and is hidden and protected. Policeman as victim is now in force.

    Not surprised at all.

    Last year, we saw a black teenager who was walking home get put on trial for his own murder, while the serial domestic abuser who stalked and shot him walked free.

  56. 56
    NonyNony says:

    @Botsplainer:

    The big difference in this era of professionalization of police departments is that they will call you “sir” while beating you and will repeatedly ask you to stop resisting as they tase and manhandle you.

    Only if you’re white.

    The big difference is that these days Irish, Italians and Jews are all considered “white”. So … improvement?

  57. 57
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mudge:

    Militarization in the sense that the police now own armored personnel carriers and such that allow routine police actions to be conducted like swat exercises.

    So that cop was patrolling in an armored personnel carrier when he confronted the kids?

    This is enough of a tragedy — and a travesty — without having to say idiotic shit about it.

  58. 58
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Keith G:

    Or it might just be that a person was given a badge and a gun who was unable to handle that responsibility.

    There seems to be a very great deal of this happening in this country. I wonder why that is?

  59. 59
    brantl says:

    This whole thing sucks shit through an 8 inch pipe.

  60. 60
    Ken says:

    @C.V. Danes: He was guilty of walking while black. That’s not what the police report will say when it calls it a righteous shooting, but that was the cause

    Nah, WWB will usually only get you beaten and/or arrested for resisting arrest at the worst. He was guilty of the much more serious crime of not immediately obeying his natural superior, aka “disrespecting” a police officer, aka “Being Uppity”

  61. 61
    Cacti says:

    @daverave:

    Yep, the FBI that will not permit its interrogations to be recorded is sure to be above the fray on this investigation. Put me down as not as confident as you are that this is “a horrifying crime and now I think one that will be dealt properly.”

    My concern if it even goes to trial is the jury. The white officer will almost certainly ask the white judge for a change of venue to some redneck holler, or to wonder bread stepford suburbia, and will probably get it.

  62. 62
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cacti:

    The white officer will almost certainly ask the white judge for a change of venue to some redneck holler, or to wonder bread stepford suburbia, and will probably get it.

    Shades of Rodney King!

  63. 63
    Citizen_X says:

    @different-church-lady:

    So that cop was patrolling in an armored personnel carrier when he confronted the kids?

    Read the part you quoted again. That’s not what they were saying at all.

  64. 64
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ken:

    aka “Being Uppity”

    Lynn Westmoreland assures us that calling someone “uppity” has nothing at all to do with skin color.

  65. 65
    Lihtox says:

    @rikyrah: Why is Ferguson run by white people? Is it a simple matter of people not voting, or something more sinister?

  66. 66
    Mandalay says:

    @Belafon:

    The police haven’t interviewed Johnson yet

    And they probably won’t, since the FBI have taken over the investigation. I’m guessing that the delay may be purely a logistics issue due to the handover, but even so, it’s nearly three days since the killing and a witness has still not been interviewed. WTF? The optics of that look really bad however valid the reason for the delay may be.

  67. 67
    Mudge says:

    @different-church-lady: This was not a paramilitary situation and I never implied, much less stated, that it was. The question is how militarization has affected the police culture. In the military, there are soldiers and the enemy. If a typical policeman thinks of the public as the enemy, to be confronted and neutralized, rather than as citizens to be protected, we have problems.

  68. 68
    different-church-lady says:

    @Citizen_X: Militarization has squat to do with this hotheaded cop. It’s cultural corruption, not hardware.

    Oh fuck, why do I even bother? The only thing liberals are good at nowadays is creating rhetorical velcro balls.

  69. 69
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mudge: These kinds of conflicts existed for years before local police forces started getting toys. There’s no need to link these two issues here. Knowing his department had a tank probably had nothing to do with that cop going off because a couple of kids wouldn’t obey him.

  70. 70
    Cacti says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Shades of Rodney King!

    Pretty much.

    Because as we all know, only white people can impartially judge cases concerning people of another race.

  71. 71
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @different-church-lady: See Mudge at 68.

    The us vs. them attitude of a soldier (a necessary one, to break down a lifetime of socialization against killing, for most military recruits) is a major part of the “militarization” of the police. Especially against “potential perps”, that is, anyone with a melanin surplus.

  72. 72
    different-church-lady says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: You don’t have to be in the military for “us v. them” to exist — it’s part of basic human psychology. It’s not a militarization problem, it’s a police culture problem — “get the bad guys” goes amuck. It existed long long long before people got their teeth into the “SWAT teams” chew toy.

  73. 73
    Mike J says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Except it’s not. The police have *always* had an us had them attitude, long before they got rifles with extra pieces of plastic added to make them look cool.

    “Militarization” has nothing to do with this.

  74. 74
    justawriter says:

    Part of the problem is police paranoia because our gun drunk culture is good for about one dead cop a week according to the Brady Campaign (the brother of a friend of mine was murdered when he made a traffic stop in Minnesota two weeks ago) and the police fraternal organizations make sure every cop is aware when one of their “brothers” is cut down.The fact that the rate of cop deaths is very low is glossed over, which helps justify to the law enforcement community that they are only acting in self defense when they murder a kid.

  75. 75
    burnspbesq says:

    Two things.

    (1) on Sunday, there was reporting about a supposed witness who said that the victim had stopped trying to run away, and was facing the officer with arms upraised when shot. If that person actually exists and sticks to her story, you’ve got two accounts that are so contradictory that they can’t both be right. That’s a real problem for any potential prosecution.

    (2) no matter how credible you or I think this witness is, our assessment doesn’t matter. The assessment that matters is the prosecutors,’ and they will worry (as they should) about how the witness will hold up under what is likely to be vicious cross-examination at trial.

    Not only isn’t this “game over,” the team buses haven’t arrived at the stadium yet.

  76. 76
    drkrick says:

    @flapjack:

    “Why won’t they release the name”

    Why do you think? Innocent till proven guilt. Ever heard of that?

    Funny how much faster the picture (mugshot or FB) and the name go public when it’s a civilian. Ever notice that?

  77. 77
    different-church-lady says:

    @drkrick: And we can pretty much guarantee a “perp walk” will not take place.

  78. 78
    Mandalay says:

    @Mandalay:

    it’s nearly three days since the killing and a witness has still not been interviewed. WTF?

    Ruh-roh…..from a poster on DailyKos:

    The refusal to interview this person who was closest to the event under investigation can only be a part of a coverup. This is so they can claim that his memory was changed by time and by after the event recollection.

    Is that poster correct or paranoid? Any lawyers here?

  79. 79
    drkrick says:

    The original confrontation didn’t have much to do with militarization, but the hardware that’s been deployed to deal with escalate the situation certainly does. They used to have to call out the National Guard to be that provocative, now they can do it themselves. The resulting FUD will make for a much more defense-friendly jury pool if it comes to that.

  80. 80
    sparrow says:

    @rikyrah: Holy crap that is terrible. How can that be going on unless there are racist hiring policies at the dpt? I know I’m probably asking naive questions. Here in Baltimore our city is a similar % black but the police force is very mixed — most of the officers I have met were black. I don’t know how the relations are within the dpt, but at least in raw numbers it is not so awful as that. Jeez.

  81. 81
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay:

    Is that poster correct or paranoid?

    It’s Daily Kos: those two things are not mutually exclusive.

  82. 82
    different-church-lady says:

    @drkrick: Good observation.

  83. 83
    Keith G says:

    @some guy: I imagine that I might well be, but not for the reasons that inspired you to issue an insult without a premise. Give me some supportive info and I might be able to add to the list.

  84. 84
    kc says:

    @Lihtox:

    Was just discussing this on Twitter*. I perused Ferguson’s website earlier & it says there a three wards. Two council members are elected from each ward, & the mayor is elected at large. I’m wondering if the wards are drawn so that most of the black population is in just one ward? Just speculating.

    Could be some voter apathy too. Plenty of people don’t come out for local elections. If that’s the case in Ferguson, maybe that will change now.

    *Yeah, I broke down and started a Twitter account.

  85. 85
    Botsplainer says:

    @justawriter:

    Part of the problem is police paranoia because our gun drunk culture is good for about one dead cop a week according to the Brady Campaign (the brother of a friend of mine was murdered when he made a traffic stop in Minnesota two weeks ago) and the police fraternal organizations make sure every cop is aware when one of their “brothers” is cut down.The fact that the rate of cop deaths is very low is glossed over, which helps justify to the law enforcement community that they are only acting in self defense when they murder a kid.

    Year to date, only 27 police have died nationwide due to intentional gunfire.

  86. 86
    Mandalay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Oh fuck, why do I even bother?

    Oh fuck, why do you post a blatant strawman (“So that cop was patrolling in an armored personnel carrier when he confronted the kids?”), and then accuse the poster of writing “idiotic shit”?

    If you want to go down your shitty path of lies and distortion then expect to get called on it.

  87. 87
    kc says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Perp walks suck anyway. Just grandstanding by the prosecution and cops, attempting to humiliate defendants. They serve no purpose.

  88. 88
    kc says:

    @Mandalay:

    Do we think the Ferguson PD is that fiendishly clever? “Let’s not interview this guy now, so we can later claim his memory was tainted?”

    Seems unlikely.

  89. 89
    shortstop says:

    @kc: Indeed, but I admit to sophomorically enjoying them when they’re imposed on celebrities who’ve annoyed me.

  90. 90
    Suzanne says:

    FWIW, I have heard about this story on NBC and CNN multiple times in the past two days. Not that this excuses anything, but I think awareness of these sorts of horrors is growing, and that’s good.

  91. 91
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    Are you ex-military?

    @Chris: No. Defense contractor for the last 20 years. Job takes me all over the world. Would rather have cuffs slapped on me by MPs than any civilian police department in the United States. I will live to see jail and a judge if that were to happen. Can’t guarantee the same thing with civilian cops. Anywhere.

    Certainly there are Iraqi and Afghan civilians who report interactions with U.S. military personnel that little different from the kind of stories we hear about bad cops.

    Yes, and the difference is that these incidents are extremely rare in comparison to how often it happens in the US. Which is not to say they don’t happen or that they don’t get covered up, But again, I’ll take my chances with the shittiest squad the US military has to field than any civilian law enforcement agency.

    “Hey, if you never wore our uniform, you’re not allowed to talk about this.”

    Anyone who says this or anything like it is an asshole. Don’t listen to them.

  92. 92
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: You explain the linkage then. Explain to me how “militarization” lead to this one hot-headed cop killing someone with pretty much the same gear cops have been carrying for decades.

    This is what we do: take a specific instance and use it as an excuse to babble all our grievances. It’s why people tune us out. It’s not a straw man, it’s pointing out that this stupid ooze we do is intellectually sloppy. It doesn’t lead to any understanding or insight, never mind solutions. It just makes us look like a bunch of cranks.

    @kc: Agreed — I was noting that obviously a cop would never be subjected to it, even if charged.

  93. 93
    boatboy_srq says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: Perhaps the Blackwatering of the police would be a better way to put it. Events like these are less West Point than Fallujah, and less service than contractor.

  94. 94
    kc says:

    @shortstop:

    Yeah, I admit I’m shallow that way too. If (when) James O’Keefe gets arrested again, I’ll laugh and point if they perp-walk him.

  95. 95
    gian says:

    @NonyNony:
    Circling the Wagons happens in every profession. With cops and it’s a big event in public people notice.
    When someone clocks in at a minimum wage job for a hungover buddy no one really cares.
    When the stoned doctor screws up it’s often covered up too. To some extent it’s human nature trumping human decency.
    Convicting an on duty cop is tough because people don’t want to believe a cop would act that way

  96. 96
    shortstop says:

    @kc: Plus, it’s just fun to say “perp.” Perp, perp, perp.

  97. 97
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mandalay:

    Is that poster correct or paranoid?

    Neither. That person is flat-out MSU.

  98. 98
    Cacti says:

    @gian:

    Convicting an on duty cop is tough because white people don’t want to believe a cop would act that way

    Fixed that for you.

  99. 99
    Mandalay says:

    @kc:

    Do we think the Ferguson PD is that fiendishly clever?

    Well the idea might not occur you or me, and we might think that it’s fiendishly clever, but we are not cops and we are not lawyers.

    It may be a common and very well known tactic employed by the police in cases where a cop is being charged. I certainly can’t come up with a better explanation of why a witness to the shooting still has not been interviewed after nearly three days.

  100. 100
    different-church-lady says:

    @gian: But it seems to go deeper than that with police culture. It’s not that wagons get circled, it’s more that there’s an understanding that the wagons will be preemptively circled and the circle will allow you to do anything you want. It’s not a reaction to a bad situation, it enables bad situations.

  101. 101
    kc says:

    @Mandalay:

    I certainly can’t come up with a better explanation of why a witness to the shooting still has not been interviewed after nearly three days.

    Well, I can. You know, maybe they’re just really incompetent, or too busy covering their asses in other ways to talk to witnesses. All kinds of reasons. Just none of them good . . .

  102. 102
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Wil Wheaton @ wilw · 11h
    Hey Media? Maybe instead of sending cameras to Robin Williams’ house to be ghoulish, you could send cameras to #Ferguson to be journalists.

  103. 103
    kc says:

    @Cacti:

    I have noticed that whenever there’s a new story about a cop tasering the shit out of an unarmed grandma or unarmed pregnant lady or shooting a woman five times after being called by concerned relatives, there’s no shortage of people in the comments to the news stories who think deadly force is an acceptable cop response in any and all situations. Grandma didn’t back up quick enough? She had that tasering coming. And you’re right, I have the strong suspicion that 100% of these people are white.

  104. 104
    Cacti says:

    @kc:

    I have noticed that whenever there’s a new story about a cop tasering the shit out of an unarmed grandma or unarmed pregnant lady or shooting a woman five times after being called by concerned relatives, there’s no shortage of people in the comments to the news stories who think deadly force is an acceptable cop response in any and all situations. Grandma didn’t back up quick enough? She had that tasering coming. And you’re right, I have the strong suspicion that 100% of these people are white.

    In my own backyard of Maricopa County, AZ, I’m sure if you surveyed the local hispanic population, plenty of them believe that local law enforcement would be apt to harass, beat, or shoot them for no particular reason besides racial animus.

  105. 105
    beth says:

    @kc: I could swear I saw an interview with the police chief where he said that they believe this witness ran away at the beginning of the incident and couldn’t have seen what happened. I’m pretty sure it was on MSNBC and maybe on Al Sharpton’s show. Whether the other witnesses corroborate this or not, he didn’t say. I’ll see if I can find some video of the interview. I remember thinking that maybe it wasn’t a good idea for this kid to be giving interviews on tv since he’s probably going to be called to testify in a trial some day and heaven forbid any detail of his story changes.

  106. 106
    cbear says:

    @different-church-lady: You do understand that “militarization” refers to much more than the weapons deployed, don’t you? Cause it sure seems like you haven’t quite grasped that concept.

  107. 107
    Waynski says:

    @Botsplainer:

    PS – Just once, I want to see a Boy in Blue take a needle for this shit.

    I’d much prefer that no one gets the needle.

  108. 108
    Tom Betz says:

    @RSR: I saw the interview on Lawrence last night. Was watching because his coverage of Robin Williams’ death was the only TV coverage I was interested in. Ferguson was the second story, but they ran this interview, plus that of another eyewitness.

  109. 109
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mandalay:

    I certainly can’t come up with a better explanation of why a witness to the shooting still has not been interviewed after nearly three days.

    How about “because he was hiding from the cops?” Which would be perfectly rational behavior under the circumstances.

  110. 110
    Mandalay says:

    @different-church-lady: You fabricated a claim (“So that cop was patrolling in an armored personnel carrier when he confronted the kids?”) out of thin air, and then accused the poster of writing “idiotic shit”.

    The other poster did not remotely imply that, as several others here have already told you. You surely know it as well. You made stuff up, and now are making yourself look like a crank when you get called on it.

    This is what the other poster wrote in post 9:

    This is the sad result both of the militarization of the police and their increasingly godlike attitudes. They seek to make the law on the street and have everyone obey. And, increasingly other police lie to protect their co-workers. The “servant of the people” attitude is lost.

    Sounds about right to me. Have a problem with any of that?

  111. 111
    gwangung says:

    @burnspbesq: He reportedly had tried to make himself available to be interviewed, but was declined. Otherwise, not a bad reason.

  112. 112
    shortstop says:

    @Waynski: Agreed. But actually serve a sentence consonant with the crime? Yes, please.

  113. 113
    different-church-lady says:

    @cbear: So apparently “militarization” now refers to the fact that they wear uniforms and are organized into a force and get into conflicts?

    Because, hate to tell ya, but that’s been the case for quite a while now.

    Or perhaps people are thinking that “militarization” means cops increasingly think deadly force is just par for the course now. Which is a real problem, but a stupid way of describing it.

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay: It may also be that the local cops were told to stay away because the Feds were coming in and the Feds haven’t hit the ground yet.

  115. 115
    The Dangerman says:

    Perhaps instead of a single dashboard camera with a relatively small field of view, each car could be outfitted with several cameras to give a 360 degree perspective. Hell, wire up a GoPro on cops.

    An armed videotaped society is a polite society.

  116. 116
    Mandalay says:

    @burnspbesq:

    How about “because he was hiding from the cops?” Which would be perfectly rational behavior under the circumstances.

    Well that would certainly be a good explanation if it were true, but from Cole’s OP link:

    Freeman Bosley, Johnson’s attorney, told msnbc that the police have yet to interview Johnson. Bosley said that he offered the police an opportunity to speak with Johnson, but they declined.

    “They didn’t even want to talk to him,” said Bosley, a former mayor of St. Louis.

  117. 117
    Cacti says:

    @gwangung:

    He reportedly had tried to make himself available to be interviewed, but was declined.

    Brave kid.

  118. 118
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay: God damn, do you really not understand how exaggeration is sometimes used to make a point?

  119. 119
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mandalay:

    Not surprising. It’s an article of faith among cops that once someone has lawyered up, the chance of getting anything “useful” goes to zero. Particularly when the lawyer in question is probably already thinking ahead to a potential civil suit against the department.

    There are no clean players in this game.

  120. 120
    burnspbesq says:

    @Mandalay:

    Bosley said that he offered the police an opportunity to speak with Johnson, but they declined.

    And we accept that as true without corroboration?

  121. 121
    different-church-lady says:

    @burnspbesq: Dude, this is the internet — you’re obligated to immediately trust one side or the other. You’re not allowed to be skeptical about both.

  122. 122
    Someguy says:

    Nice post, Balko.

    Er, Cole.

  123. 123
  124. 124
    gwangung says:

    @burnspbesq: Some of us have IQs above room temperature. This is not a new statement.

  125. 125
    Mandalay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    God damn, do you really not understand how exaggeration is sometimes used to make a point?

    Sure. And I also know the difference between exaggeration and the deliberate misrepresentation you performed. The other poster had explicitly offered multiple reasons for why the situation arose, yet you chose to distort their position with a strawman. The more you dig your hole the more you look like a crank.

  126. 126
    cbear says:

    @different-church-lady: You seem to have an unique ability to willfully misconstrue almost anything said to you.

    Have you considered a career with the GOP or the RNC? I hear they’re looking for bright people like yourself to assist in re-branding the party.

  127. 127
    japa21 says:

    @Botsplainer: 27 in 32 weeks is pretty close to one per week.

  128. 128
    burnspbesq says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Dude, this is the internet — you’re obligated to immediately trust one side or the other. You’re not allowed to be skeptical about both.

    The sad reality is that at this point in the process, none of the players (with the possible exception of DOJ) cares about the truth. Everybody has an agenda, the truth is unknown, and the risk that the truth will damage your agenda is unacceptably high.

  129. 129
    Patrick says:

    @burnspbesq:

    So just because somebody gets a lawyer, he is not “clean” (as you put it)? What would you do if you were in his position?

  130. 130
    Mandalay says:

    @cbear:

    You seem to have an unique ability to willfully misconstrue almost anything said to you.

    This x1000.

  131. 131
    Craigo says:

    @burnspbesq: The police department were asked about that, and declined to comment.

  132. 132
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @different-church-lady: Maybe it’s me, but when trigger-happy sociopaths are given bigger and deadlier toys to play with, I don’t think “militarization” is an incorrect word to use. And as a member of the population who happens to be wearing the “wrong” shade of color, that makes me nervous.

  133. 133
    Mike in NC says:

    Last night they ran video of the local cops firing tear gas and rubber bullets at a crowd of protesters. The cops appeared to be really enjoying their work.

  134. 134
    burnspbesq says:

    @gwangung:

    Some of us have IQs above room temperature

    Is that all you have?

    This is not a new statement

    And anyone with an IQ above room temperature would understand that whether or not the statement is new is completely unconnected to whether it’s true.

    You’re embarrassing yourself with this nonsense. Please stop.

  135. 135
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mandalay:

    And I also know the difference between exaggeration and the deliberate misrepresentation you performed.

    There was no misrepresentation: I asked an absurd question to make a point and the answer to that absurd question — as should be obvious to anyone who isn’t habitually belligerent — is “No.”

    One might also note that I left the other observations alone, because they weren’t problematic in my view. I was only objecting to the lumping in of militarization.

    At any rate, Mudge has clarified, I now see it has to do with differing views of what “militarization” means, I don’t see the need to grandstand on it any further and it was probably my bad not to say that sooner. But please, do continue on with your faux-obtuse nitpicking — I wouldn’t want you to be untrue to yourself.

  136. 136
    kc says:

    @burnspbesq:

    How about “because he was hiding from the cops?”

    Except he came forward immediately (well, after justifiably fleeing the cop who shot his friend to death).

    I believe his lawyer said that they’d offered to make him available to talk to the cops and they weren’t interested.

  137. 137
    Cacti says:

    @Patrick:

    So just because somebody gets a lawyer, he is not “clean” (as you put it)? What would you do if you were in his position?

    Tax lawyer, esq. is a reflexive defender of law enforcement.

  138. 138
    kc says:

    @beth:

    I could swear I saw an interview with the police chief where he said that they believe this witness ran away at the beginning of the incident and couldn’t have seen what happened

    That does ring a bell.

    Of course if the chief said that, he’s full of shit because Johnson would still be a witness. He was there with Mike Brown before the confrontation and saw it start.

  139. 139
    CONGRATULATIONS! says:

    The sad reality is that at this point in the process, none of the players (with the possible exception of DOJ) cares about the truth. Everybody has an agenda, the truth is unknown, and the risk that the truth will damage your agenda is unacceptably high.

    @burnspbesq: You’ve just encapsulated, very neatly, the American legal system in two sentences. Both civil and criminal. Well done, counselor.

  140. 140
    kc says:

    @Waynski:

    Yeah, me too.

  141. 141
    different-church-lady says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: I agree with that. I just don’t think this very instance of police misbehavior* is an example of it. This could have just as easily happened thirty years ago.

    (*that word is too weak, but I’m drawing a blank right now for a stronger one)

  142. 142
    kc says:

    @burnspbesq:

    There are no clean players in this game

    .

    Aw, no. I’m sorry. As far as I can see, Dorian Johnson is “clean.” If you know of facts that indicate he isn’t, let me know. Getting a lawyer, in a situation like this, does NOT mean he’s not “clean.”

  143. 143
    burnspbesq says:

    @Craigo:

    The police department were asked about that, and declined to comment.

    Oddly enough, I don’t take that as corroboration. I’m funny like that.

    Look, it’s plausible that Williams’ counsel contacted the local cops and offered them an opportunity for an interview. It’s equally plausible that the offer came with conditions that the cops saw (correctly or incorrectly) as unacceptable. No competent lawyer ever allows the other side access to his/her client in a situation he/she can’t control. If you’ve ever read deposition transcripts, that’s what 98 percent of the crazy behavior is about–fighting to control the situation.

    There’s a PR war being fought alongside the legal war, and the cops’ alleged refusal to interview Williams is a big win in the PR war.

    Williams’ counsel’s first priority, like it or not, is to preserve his potential payday, i.e., a contingent fee paid out of the damage award in the civil suit. His second priority is to never let his client be alone in a room with the cops.

  144. 144
    different-church-lady says:

    Oh, and just a general apology here if I’m coming off like an asshole — it’s seems to be a thing I’ve had an unintentional flair for this week.

  145. 145
    carlweese says:

    @Mudge: Something I think might turn up here is the increasing incidence of steroid-induced rage behavior among police. The witness’s description is of a man with a hair-trigger response and huge anger-management problems (leaving race issues aside) The note about seeing the muscles in the cop’s forearm as he grabs the guy by the throat—it’s not just pro wrestlers and ball players who have psychotic side effects from using steroids to “get big.”

  146. 146
    Mandalay says:

    @different-church-lady:

    There was no misrepresentation: I asked an absurd question to make a point and the answer to that absurd question

    Except that you deliberately misrepresented YOUR “exaggeration” as the position of the other poster, then told them to stop posting “idiotic shit”. You seem to want to conveniently overlook that “idiotic shit” part.

    Several others apart from me have called you on your bullshit. You might reflect on that even if you don’t value my opinion.

  147. 147
    shortstop says:

    @Mandalay: @different-church-lady: I’ll give you each $10,000 (of Mitt Romney’s money) if you both shut up.

  148. 148
    different-church-lady says:

    @shortstop: Keep your Mitt’s money — at this point I’m volunteering.

  149. 149
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq: “Williams”? You can’t even get Johnson’s name right, yet you preen about being “funny like that” about facts?

  150. 150
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @burnspbesq:

    (1) on Sunday, there was reporting about a supposed witness who said that the victim had stopped trying to run away, and was facing the officer with arms upraised when shot. If that person actually exists and sticks to her story, you’ve got two accounts that are so contradictory that they can’t both be right. That’s a real problem for any potential prosecution.

    Cole

    At that point, Johnson says Brown stopped, turned with his hands up and said “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”

    Sounds like two accounts that match up to me. At least on one point. Am I missing another account or something here?

  151. 151
    Mayken says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Nice! Love me some Wil Wheaton!

  152. 152
    Cacti says:

    @kc:

    Aw, no. I’m sorry. As far as I can see, Dorian Johnson is “clean.” If you know of facts that indicate he isn’t, let me know. Getting a lawyer, in a situation like this, does NOT mean he’s not “clean.”

    Burnsie just can’t help letting his veneration of authority spill out from time to time.

    He also lets it show any time the subject is the Roman Catholic Church’s international sex abuse ring.

  153. 153
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @different-church-lady: Problem is, the way the police are presently responding to the African-American community’s justifiable outrage is very much a textbook example of “militarization”. I mean, they’re going out of their way to piss people off, and that’s wrong. Then again, to paraphrase the old cliche, “When you’re an AK-47, every problem looks like a target”.

  154. 154
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Or 60 years ago. Or 100 years ago. The “Thin Blue Line”/”Us Against Them” attitude has a long history. The only difference now is that many more people question the cops today when shit like this happens, and when the questioning begins, the Thin Blue Line now dons body armor, grabs M16s and deploys in front of the questioners by way of APCs.

  155. 155
    burnspbesq says:

    @shortstop:

    You can’t even get Johnson’s name right,

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Did I use his name? Is the description, “Williams’ counsel,” inaccurate in any meaningful way?

    Your desperation is really pathetic.

  156. 156
    flukebucket says:

    That’s a real problem for any potential prosecution.

    Ain’t gonna be no prosecution. A four week paid vacation at worst.

  157. 157
    Cacti says:

    I’ll also say that the fact Brown’s body was left to lie, uncovered, in the street for hours after his death makes it seem an awful lot like an execution and gibbeting by the Ferguson PD.

  158. 158
    kc says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    Yeah, the PD response to peaceful protesters has been REALLY heavy-handed.

  159. 159
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Is the description, “Williams’ counsel,” inaccurate in any meaningful way?

    The witness to whom you’re referring is not named Williams, you towering ass. Even with an assist, you can’t find your way through the fog of confusion.

  160. 160
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cacti:

    Seriously? Can you point to what it is I’ve posted in this thread that you’re referencing? Because whatever it is you’re inferring, you’re making it up out of thin air. Fuck off.

  161. 161
    cbear says:

    @different-church-lady:

    Oh, and just a general apology here if I’m coming off like an asshole — it’s seems to be a thing I’ve had an unintentional flair for this week.

    Oh, so you think you can just apologize and walk away now?
    Not so fast, lady–this is the internets and nobody gets to pull that kind of stunt. I demand that you keep up your end of the argument until everybody involved has beaten this horse to a pulp–or until Cole posts a cat picture, or a new injury report.

  162. 162
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @burnspbesq: Who is Williams? The witness’ name is Johnson.

  163. 163
    Cacti says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Did I use his name? Is the description, “Williams’ counsel,” inaccurate in any meaningful way?

    Your desperation is really pathetic.

    And if the facts aren’t on your side, pound the table.

    Excellent technique, counselor.

  164. 164
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @different-church-lady: @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    And it does seem like the cops can’t serve a search warrant without making it look like a scene from Saving Private Ryan. So there’s that, too.

  165. 165
    Craigo says:

    @burnspbesq: If the police could refute the statement, they would have. If such conditions were imposed, they could have said so. And you can bend over as far you like to make facts fit your preferred theory, or create exciting new ad hoc hypotheses for which there is absolutely no evidence at all. The rest of us have to work in the real world, not the one we create in our heads.

    I’ve worked as public defender, and I’ve never heard of the police refusing to interview a witness to a violent crime like this. Never. Can’t find him, yeah, that happens all the time. Already have my client dead to rights? Then they won’t waste time on an interview. But even if the witness is going to be favorable to the suspect, they ALWAYS interview. Anything a witness says can be twisted to fit the police version of events.

    Of course, I’ve never worked a case where the suspect was a cop.

  166. 166
    Cacti says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Seriously? Can you point to what it is I’ve posted in this thread that you’re referencing? Because whatever it is you’re inferring, you’re making it up out of thin air. Fuck off.

    Sorry Tax lawyer, I’m familiar with the table pounding technique, it doesn’t work on me.

    Your lack of self-awareness is your own problem.

  167. 167
    burnspbesq says:

    @Cacti:

    You and shortstop should get a fucking room. All either of you seem capable of is silly “gotcha” games about trivia. Fuck you both.

    When you’re ready to engage on substance, do let me know.

  168. 168
    Mandalay says:

    @Craigo:

    I’ve worked as public defender, and I’ve never heard of the police refusing to interview a witness to a violent crime like this. Never.

    Is it relevant to the delay that the case is being (or maybe “has been”?) handed over from the police to the FBI?

  169. 169
    different-church-lady says:

    @The Thin Black Duke: are we sure that we’re not using “militarization” as a synonym for “belligerence” in this example?

    I mean, hell, the last thing I’m going to argue is that there are no police forces see themselves as being “at war” with African-Americans. But if that’s the definition we’re going to use, then this “militarization” has been going on for decades, if not centuries.

    I’m not seeing the dysfunction that lead to this shooting as military in nature — I’m seeing it as a deadly intersection of systemic racism, corruption, and authoritarianism run amok.

    There’s doesn’t seem to be any reasonable doubt that the police force in Ferguson is deeply dysfunctional, and while I won’t be categorical, I will say I have no doubt they are representative of far too many other forces in this country.

  170. 170
    amk says:

    @burnspbesq:

    the cops’ alleged refusal to interview Williams is a big win in the PR war.

    moron.

  171. 171
    Craigo says:

    @Mandalay: I don’t think it has been – the FBI is conducting a review, but the St. Louis PD is still handling the death investigation for the Ferguson department so far as I’m aware.

  172. 172
  173. 173
    Laertes says:

    @burnspbesq:

    All either of you seem capable of is silly “gotcha” games about trivia.

    Well, serves you right for getting so huffy about the trivia. Now you look pretty silly and don’t seem to want to cowboy up and admit that you were wrong even about unimportant things. Why would anyone want to engage with you on something substantial when you flip your shit over the trivial stuff? There are grown-ups to talk to.

  174. 174
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq: “Substance” like your increasingly contorted theories for the PD’s failure to interview a key witness (Johnson? Williams? Jefferson? Washington? What was his name? Something black) in three days?

    This is why your local colleagues hold you in such low regard. Continual sloppiness, inability to comprehend presented information, refusal to admit any mistake…always with a heaping helping of unearned arrogance on top. Attractive!

  175. 175
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    @different-church-lady: Honestly, I think the only thing we’re arguing about now is semantics. As for myself, the reason I’m using the term “militarization” is because cops don’t look like cops anymore, they look like fucking soldiers, and “cops” and “soldiers” used to have different agendas a long time ago. Not anymore.

  176. 176
    Missouri Buckeye says:

    And in a strange coincidence, our current St. Louis County executive is black, but he just lost a primary to a white challenger. But that had a lot to do with scandals that happened during the current Executive’s term.

    Full disclosure: I voted for the white guy. But I had voted for the black guy in previous elections.

    We’re just experiencing an uncomfortable silence around town right now. We’ll see what happens tonight.

  177. 177
    NCSteve says:

    @Rafer Janders: If his hands were up, the bullet hole in his shirt is not going to line up with the wound.

  178. 178
    Missouri Buckeye says:

    @different-church-lady: I think the initial action by the cop doing the killing was “belligerence”. The reaction of the police departments to the protests is “militarization.”

    So it’s both.

    BTW, this is all about six miles from my home.

  179. 179
    kc says:

    @Mandalay:

    I think it is relevant, tho my understanding is that the case was handed over to the County PD. Which also hasn’t interviewed Johnson (or hadn’t as of yesterday). So I don’t know what their excuse is.

    I don’t think the FBI has taken over, though it is apparently doing . . . something there.

  180. 180
    jonas says:

    Well, a few years ago, that cop in Oakland shot Oscar Grant in the back of his head at point blank range, ON FILM, and was convicted of only involuntary manslaughter and served less than a year after claiming he thought his gun was a taser. I will be very surprised if this cop even gets that much.

  181. 181
    gian says:

    @Craigo:
    The APPLE reported it as the FBI opening a civil rights investigation. The big city took over the local investigation to reduce the potential for conflicts of interest. (Not that it will necessarily help)
    There’s probably an internal investigation with Ferguson PD too. So probably three different investigations into the same event by three different agencies with some sort of concurrent jurisdiction

  182. 182
    Penus says:

    @rikyrah: Lauren Williams! Her husband is an old friend.

  183. 183
    Cacti says:

    @gian:

    There’s probably an internal investigation with Ferguson PD too.

    Given that the Ferguson PD left Brown’s body to lie uncovered in the street for hours, I don’t have very high hopes for the professionalism of their review process.

  184. 184
    drkrick says:

    @NCSteve:

    If his hands were up, the bullet hole in his shirt is not going to line up with the wound.

    Damndest thing – the shirt just went missing from the evidence room.

    Not really – but would we be surprised?

  185. 185
    different-church-lady says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    Honestly, I think the only thing we’re arguing about now is semantics.

    I’m guilty of that far too often.

    As for myself, the reason I’m using the term “militarization” is because cops don’t look like cops anymore, they look like fucking soldiers, and “cops” and “soldiers” used to have different agendas a long time ago. Not anymore.

    To clarify, I am definitely NOT asserting that militarization isn’t a problem — it’s a thing and it’s real. I just don’t think it’s helpful to attribute every police corruption/brutality issue to militarization. In Ferguson, the initial shooting is not an example of militarization. The “crowd-control” response is an example.

    There are too many other examples of both available to us on almost a daily basis. But lumping them together doesn’t move us towards cracking the problem. They’re linked, but they’re individual components, and we can’t solve complicated problems without breaking them down first.

    I’m not trying to be didactic or boorish — I’m just trying to take the examination past easy winging. And perhaps I’m not qualified to do so.

    ETA: DEFINITELY not saying you’re the one doing the winging.

  186. 186
    gian says:

    @Cacti:
    I expect slightly inconsistent interviews with the witnesses with three different agencies doing interviews, which will muddy the water and create doubt or provide an excuse for preexisting doubt.

  187. 187
    different-church-lady says:

    @Missouri Buckeye: Agreed — see my similar statement at 185.

  188. 188
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    …and “cops” and “soldiers” used to have different agendas a long time ago.

    Police forces that are separate from the military are actually a relatively modern thing- early on in the Enlightenment Era, Paris in the 1660’s (yeah, I had to look up the date). And even then, the patrols acted more like soldiers, obeying rules of engagement rather than the letter of the law- and it’s continued that way across most of the world ever since. Even here, where we’d like to think that cops act first with the Constitution in mind…But I’m not so sure that the “good” cop isn’t in the minority.

  189. 189
    danah gaz says:

    @shortstop:

    : “Substance” like your increasingly contorted theories for the PD’s failure to interview a key witness (Johnson? Williams? Jefferson? Washington? What was his name? Something black) in three days?

    This is why your local colleagues hold you in such low regard. Continual sloppiness, inability to comprehend presented information, refusal to admit any mistake…always with a heaping helping of unearned arrogance on top. Attractive!

    That’s about the long and short of it.

  190. 190
    Cacti says:

    @Missouri Buckeye:

    How is it that Ferguson came to be governed like a 21st century Johannesburg?

    How does a city that’s 67.4% black end up with a white mayor, white police chief, and an overwhelmingly white school board, police department, and city council?

    It’s an honest question, b/c the whole thing seems kind of shady to me.

  191. 191
    M. Bouffant says:

    Here’s the militarization of the police: https://vine.co/v/MYZmwD9Dqhu
    Note cop pointing (possibly a beanbag or rubber bullet) gun at the photographer, armored cars in background, desert boots on cops, & gas masks that conveniently conceal the secret policeman’s identity.

    Baghdad or Ferguson? It’s your guess.

  192. 192
    Pococurante says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Perhaps instead of a single dashboard camera with a relatively small field of view, each car could be outfitted with several cameras to give a 360 degree perspective. Hell, wire up a GoPro on cops.

    I have one in my car. I think it should be standard equipment.

    Most of the nonsense, especially the lethal nonsense, that happens on the road is because people think they turn invisible when they get behind the wheel.

  193. 193
    J R in WV says:

    @japa21:

    So there were 27 deaths, so far. In 2008 there were 800,000 sworn police officers, so the death rate over 8 months is 0.00003375 using that older number. I’m betting there are more police officers today. Over a year it would be more like 0.000050625 using 800,000 police officers.

    That’s 5 one hundred-thousandths of a death per police officer – they do get paid to take that risk, don’t they? In a year, for 100,000 officers, that’s 1/2 a death! So scary!! Driving is more risky, actually. I’m sure more police officers die as a result of drunken driving – their own drunkeness, I mean.

    I know this is a dead thread, but people will read it, so I wanted to make the point that the fatality rate among police officers is extremely low, extremely!!

    Wiki says:
    In 2008, state and local law enforcement agencies employed more than 1.1 million persons on a full-time basis, including about 765,000 sworn personnel (defined as those with general arrest powers). Agencies also employed approximately 100,000 part-time employees, including 44,000 sworn officers.[2]

    This is where I got my numbers. I took the 27 deaths so far this year for the fact, and ran with it.

  194. 194
    mclaren says:

    @shortstop:

    Everyone on this forum knows that burnspbesq is a living breathing example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Unfortunately for the rest of us, this means there’s nowhere for burnsie to go but up.

    Look for him to be appointed Presidential counsel one of these days…

  195. 195
    steverinoCT says:

    Re: military professionalism. I was in the Navy 16 years; I’ve been out for 17. I was in submarines, and everyone is trained as part of the security force; plus I served as topside watch in port, carrying a .45 or shotgun. This is what I still remember; we had to learn it by rote:
    “Deadly Force: That force which a person knows, or should know, would cause death or serious bodily harm. It’s use is only justified in extreme circumstances, as a last resort, when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed.”

    Follows some more I’m not so sure of, regarding defending nuclear weapons.

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