The new sin/crime:
On Sunday the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist and television host, mentioned that voter turnout in Ferguson, Mo., was a mere 12 percent in the last election, and pledged to help boost that number with a registration drive. Twelve percent, he said, was “an insult to your children.” He wasn’t the first to think of channeling the anger over Mike Brown’s death in this particular direction. Twitter users on Saturday noted voter registration tables in front of the makeshift memorial where the unarmed teenager was shot by a police officer.
Encouraging more participation in the democratic process in a community that feels alienated from political power — hence the demonstrations — seems like an obviously good idea; and one that’s particularly compelling because it’s so simple. Voting is an alternative to protesting in the streets.
And yet, the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, Matt Wills, denounced the plan.
Mr. Wills told the right-wing website Breitbart: “If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is. I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”
On another right-wing site, Red State, Dan McLaughlin also argued that there was something indecent about the registration drive. Ferguson presents an opportunity for “Right and Left” to find “common ground,” he wrote. But “the minute you turn your energies into just another effort to register Democratic voters and fire up the Democratic base in advance of an election,” he argued, “the harder you make it to keep the common ground from vanishing in the fog.”
Then, the other day, this:
The stars of North Carolina’s Moral Mondays movement took the stage on Labor Day at Charlotte’s Marshall Park to condemn the state’s record on voter suppression and racial profiling, and urge the community to organize and turn out at the polls this November. Just a few hundred feet away, police cuffed and arrested local LGBT activist and former State Senate candidate Ty Turner as he was putting voting rights information on parked cars.
“They said they would charge me for distributing literature,” Turner told ThinkProgress when he was released a few hours later. “I asked [the policeman] for the ordinance number [being violated], because they can’t put handcuffs on you if they cannot tell you why they’re detaining you. I said, ‘Show me where it’s illegal to do this.’ But he would not do it. The officer got mad and grabbed me. Then he told me that I was resisting arrest!”
Thinkprogress had an update this afternoon:
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department held a press conference about the incident Wednesday. They said they believe their officers behaved appropriately, and Deputy Police Chief Kerr Putney told reporters that officers routinely take a person away from the scene of a disturbance to “ease the tension,” and said the arrest was “sparked primarily by Turner’s non-compliance.” Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham and several other supporters of Turner say they will continue to call for a full investigation.
Of course he behaved appropriately!
Look, here is how it works with bad cops and shitty police departments. They approach a person who is doing nothing wrong and mess with them. The person says “WTF are you doing?” The bad cops then arrest them for non-compliance or resisting arrest or some other bullshit. If they are lucky (translation: white or in public with lots of witnesses), they get taken to jail and get screwed with a while and released. If they are unlucky (translation: black or there is no one around with a camera), they get beaten, sometimes to death, and then taken to jail or the morgue.
In either case, the resisting or bullshit non-compliance charge is dropped 99% of the time (75% of statistics on the internet are made up) because there is no underlying charge. Regardless, the chief and FOP will stand behind the cop.
Freedom smells like tear gas and feels like plastic handcuffs in America. Especially if you are a person of color or “foreign” looking- and it doesn’t matter your station in life.
*** Update ***
According to the NY Post, only 6.2% of resisting arrest charges in NYC are prosecuted. So I was wrong- it’s not 99%, it’s 93.8%. My bad.