Different Worlds

How the media would cover the events in Ferguson were this another country:

Chinese and Russian officials are warning of a potential humanitarian crisis in the restive American province of Missouri, where ancient communal tensions have boiled over into full-blown violence.

“We must use all means at our disposal to end the violence and restore calm to the region,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in comments to an emergency United Nations Security Council session on the America crisis.

The crisis began in August in Ferguson, a remote Missouri village that has been a hotbed of sectarian tension. State security forces shot and killed an unarmed man, which regional analysts say has angered the local population by surfacing deep-seated sectarian grievances. Regime security forces cracked down brutally on largely peaceful protests, worsening the crisis.

In response, ancient American tradition called for the gathering of a community tribal council known as a “grand jury” to weigh the case. On November 24, it announced there would be no charges against the responsible security forces. The stunning decision, which reflects the opaque and mysterious nature of the “grand jury” tradition, further outraged the already despondent local populace.

“”we can and should support moderate forces who can bring stability to America””

America has been roiled by political instability and protests in recent years, which analysts warn can create fertile ground for extremists.

Read the whole thing.

48 replies
  1. 1
    Jose Padilla says:

    I did see a tweet from a Daily Mail reporter in which he described the recent shooting in Cleveland as “child with toy gun in playground shot by police.”

    That’s not the way you’d see that event described in the US media even though its 100% factually accurate.

  2. 2
    rikyrah says:

    went to sleep with the images of Mike Brown’s parents on my mind.

    White people simply do not understand the fundamental lack of trust in law enforcement that exists within the Black community. And, they don’t understand why that undermines this country as a whole.

    I’m not talking about Pookey and Ray-Ray having no trust.

    I’m talking about my and the overwhelming swaths of Black America that gets up, goes to work everyday, and loves their family. The people like me, who have never had nothing more than a parking ticket in terms of ‘ infractions’.

    I do not trust law enforcement.

    If on a jury, I would never give them the benefit of the doubt.

    I wouldn’t trust a word that comes out of their mouths.


    I have three degrees and I have no more trust in law enforcement than Pookey.

    If you don’t understand what that means…

    oh well.

  3. 3
    Amir Khalid says:

    This is how all news stories about America should be written. Especially anything mentioning one or more of the Cardassian family.

  4. 4

    @rikyrah: I was unaware before the Obama presidency but not anymore.

  5. 5

    @Amir Khalid: Gul Dukat is in this country? He would make a perfect Presidential candidate for the Republicans.

  6. 6
    Gopher2b says:

    I finished the Wilson transcript. Absolutely terrible job. I’ve never had a target testify (because usually it’s crazy) but if all your statements are going to go unchallenged, why the hell not!! How does someone in s car get punched through the driver’s side window on the right side of his face? Who goes to a jury, presents a bunch of facts, and then provides no guidance? That is not how you do it.

    As for the indictment, I’m on the dense only because they would have lost at trial. On the one hand the government shouldn’t be in the business of indicting cases it knows it would lose, but on the other, this largely comes down to the credibility of the witnesses which is what petit juries are for.

    Tragic, all around.

  7. 7
    p.a. says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: nice one. Who would be the Pah-wraiths/Kosst Amojan?

  8. 8
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Gopher2b: You’re made of sterner stuff than I am to read the transcript. In a (semi) sane GJ proceeding I’d never advise a client to testify since you can’t unsay anything and they’d be on their own. But this was a whole different kettle of fish. I’m outraged, and ashamed that the system was so misused.

    I’m generally opposed to an indictment in an unwinnable case, but the standard is probable cause, and that wasn’t the standard used in this one. Or at least it seems not to have been, since there are all sorts of lesser homicides available. IAN licensed in MO.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Culture of Truth says:

    Good piece, though it underestates how unusual this particular grand jury was

    On the police, if you have worked in this field you know police are generally given the benefit of the doubt as they assumed to be telling the truth.

    Case I was recently worked on, involved a well-dressed white person in a wealthy white neighborhood, pulled over by white cop. White cop committed perjury, was caught by his own dashcam. So, kind of an idiot, too.

  11. 11
    Culture of Truth says:

    Yeah I read the whole transcript last night. I had no idea that Michael Brown was a superman impervious to bullets, able to sieze control of guns merely by looking at them.

  12. 12
    samiam says:

    Son of Steve Cole is like a one man angry mob with pitchforks.

    Reactionary, no critical thinking ability, easily influenced by grifters like Greenwald.

  13. 13
    Pogonip says:

    @Gopher2b: Was Michael Brown left-handed?

  14. 14
    Scott S. says:

    Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again” was written in the ’30s, and it’s depressing how completely relevant it still is today.

  15. 15

    @p.a.: The religious right? Or Wall Street? take your pick.
    @boatboy_srq: Thanks!

    ETA: The events in Ferguson reminded me of Mark Alaimo’s racist cop in Far Beyond the Stars.

  16. 16
    NCSteve says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Nah. Too cerebral.

  17. 17
    FlyingToaster says:

    @samiam: Why are you still alive, since you don’t live in a perfect universe? Sheesh.

  18. 18
    catclub says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): 538 article on how rare it is that a Grand Jury does not indict…. unless it is a cop.


  19. 19
    debbie says:

    @Scott S.:

    No less so than Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting”:


  20. 20
    beltane says:

    @Scott S.: Fashions may change but America and Americans are unchanging.

  21. 21
    NCSteve says:

    I’m only a civil litigator, but the one bit of received wisdom I have received from my criminal law brethren is that a D.A. can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. A no-bill is the result of a D.A. who didn’t want an indictment.

  22. 22
    Mandalay says:

    This is mind boggling, but appears to be slipping under the radar:

    The medical investigator did not take photographs at the scene of Brown’s killing because the camera battery had died, the grand jury heard.

    The investigator, who goes to the crime scene to collect evidence for the pathologist, also did not take measurements of anything at the scene because they “didn’t need to.”

    The investigator, whose name was redacted, said: “It was self-explanatory what happened. Somebody shot somebody. There was no question as to any distances or anything of that nature at the time I was there.”

    Nothing to see here, move along….

  23. 23
    hoodie says:

    Didn’t read the whole transcript, but the performance of the DA’s staff and the police was pathetic. No contemporaneous incident reports by other officers on scene, reliance on stale recollections, etc. Complete garbage. I doubt they could have been relied upon to prosecute the case even if the GJ had returned an indictment. Of course, it reflects racial biases and was no doubt an attempt to use the GJ process to whitewash a predetermined result. However, it’s also just pure incompetence, which is why that piece Cole cites is spot on. Fucking Americans who think this kind of thing is a vindication are no different from Russian lunkheads justifying Putin’s various transgressions. We’re at real risk of devolving into a third world shithole with fuckwits like these leading the way. No wonder Obama looked so defeated last night. Read the cover story in the Post-Dispatch on Ferguson unrest this morning, made the mistake of reading the comments. Scary.

  24. 24
    beltane says:

    @Mandalay: They obliviously didn’t even feel Brown’s parents and the public were worthy of a well-executed cover up.

  25. 25
    beltane says:

    @hoodie: We are a third-world shithole with a first-class propaganda outfit in Hollywood.

  26. 26
    Josie says:

    @rikyrah: It isn’t just black people who feel that way. Thirty or so years ago my husband, who was a criminal defense attorney, was trying quite a few drug cases. He told me then that agents lied on the stand all the time to show probable cause and the judges knowingly let them get away with it. They all disliked him intensely because he went our of his way to prove they were liars every chance he got. I doubt that things have improved since then.

  27. 27
    Gopher2b says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
    There absolutely was probable cause. And I guess if you’re not going to indict a case because it’s uneinnable then why bother going through the charade of presenting (but not really) an indictment.

    That being said, it was unwinnable because I think they decided early it was unwinnable. I have a lot of evidentiary questions (e.g. was Brown’s DNA in the gun like Wilson believed it would be, what happened to the Cigarillos because if they were in his pocket and not laying on the ground, Wilson is full of shit, where is the testimony from his family and friends he likely woke to after the incident, etc) and procedural questions (why does s cop who just shot someone leave a scene by himself w/o having to give s statement, why is the cop who shot dkmeone putting his own gun into evidence, etc).

    I also don’t believe Wilson about the events in the car and in more inclined to be his version outside the car. That being said, he escalated the situation and I don’t know what the law is on that.

    If there is a “there” there, you could have made this case.

  28. 28
    JoyfulA says:

    @Mandalay: DH sat on a jury trying attempted murder. The police had a confession but no tape “because they were out of videotape.”

    And nobody could go to K-Mart and spring $10 for some videotape?

  29. 29
    debbie says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    ’m generally opposed to an indictment in an unwinnable case, but the standard is probable cause, and that wasn’t the standard used in this one.

    The problem is that there’s no standard, period.

  30. 30
    scav says:

    Arrogance in Unfettered, Unaccountable Authority, thy name is Saint Louis, MO. You’ve a host of bretheran, but jesus, the Missouri clone is remarkable brazen with it.

  31. 31
    Chopper says:


    The case was unwinnable because the laws in this country are set up to provide legal justification and cover for police shootings. People are pissed about SYG in places like Florida, well it’s even broader when it comes to cops. It’s like that old South Park bit where the guys are hunting out of season but say its legal if you just yell out “they’re comin’ right for us!” before you pull the trigger.

    All the cop has to do is say the dead kid ‘went for his gun’. Doesn’t matter if the cop is the only witness.

  32. 32
    Liberty60 says:

    I’m white as a sheet, but I have lost faith in the police over the years, starting with the Rodney King beating, then the Los Angeles Rampart scandal, then on to the all too numerous to count instances of cops shooting innocent people and getting away clean.

    Now, whenever I hear about a cop getting shot in the line of duty, I think maybe he was a he-ro, America’s finest. Or maybe he was just a thug who got what he had coming.
    I don’t like feeling this way.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    Find out what time your local NPR station runs BBC World Service and listen to it today. I absolutely guarantee you that they will have a HUGE story on Ferguson and what enormous racist fuckups we are.

    McCullough doesn’t seem to realize that Mike Brown’s murder was and continues to be INTERNATIONAL news, not just national. His corruption has now been exposed to a world-wide audience.

    There’s a reason why this song has been going through my head since Brown was killed. The eyes of the world are watching us now.

  34. 34
    elmo says:


    Now, whenever I hear about a cop getting shot in the line of duty, I think maybe he was a he-ro, America’s finest. Or maybe he was just a thug who got what he had coming.

    I don’t ever have your first thought. Only your second.
    And yeah, I’m white as Caesar’s ghost.

  35. 35
    hoodie says:

    @Gopher2b: Campos at the Daily Beast talks about how the Supreme Court has clearly defined when it is appropriate to use deadly force:

    Because of that Supreme Court ruling, the grand jury in this case was instructed that—under current Missouri law—Wilson could have legally shot and killed Brown only if Wilson “reasonably believed that [Brown] was attempting to escape by the use of a deadly weapon or would endanger life or inflict serious physical injury unless arrested without delay, and [Wilson] reasonably believed that the use of deadly force was immediately necessary to effect the arrest of the offender,” to quote the standard jury instruction used in the state.

    That question would seem to hang on the credibility of Wilson as a witness regarding what happened at his vehicle and when and how Brown fled and why he pursued an unarmed Brown in a manner (i.e., without help from other officers) that increased the likelihood of the use of deadly force. He admitted he knew he could not physically subdue Brown alone after the altercation at the vehicle, so his own testimony provides probable cause for at least involuntary manslaughter, i.e., it was reckless to continue after Brown knowing he was not capable of subduing him and that Brown was not armed and had only committed a nonviolent crime. Sounds like he was pissed because Brown told him to fuck off, overpowered him and called him a pussy.

  36. 36
    Gravie says:

    I’ve just had a depressing FB exchange with my brother-in-law about the Tamir Rice shooting, which the b-i-l blames on “troubled youth with bad parents.” When I pointed out that he wasn’t a “troubled youth” but just a kid with a toy gun, we went down the rabbit hole. Well, the gun looked real. His parents probably bought it for him so they exercised bad judgment, etc. I finally had to come out and say that if he had been a white kid, I am 100% sure he’d have gotten the benefit of the doubt and would still be alive. Even the best-intentioned people just refuse to see it for what it was.

  37. 37
  38. 38
    Tone In DC says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Dukat, as ruthless as he was, would not be able to stand the G00per overlords for more than five minutes. The Jem Hadar would have no trouble with the wingers, IMHO.

  39. 39
    Lavocat says:

    @Jose Padilla: We’re all just lucky that the propaganda is so stupidly unsubtle. Still, so long as they repeat it enough, through the “proper” outlets, everything should all turn out just swell. I love Big Brother. I always have.

  40. 40
    Lavocat says:

    @rikyrah: Dude, I’m a fucking middle-aged, upper-middle class white attorney, AND I SURE THE FUCK DO NOT TRUST THE POLICE IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. Some of these fuckers don’t bat an eye at getting on the stand and perjuring themselves. I know – I’ve seen it.

    They’re SOP is simply: “WTF are ya gonna do? I’m a cop. WTF are you compared to me?”

    And don’t even get me started on traffic court. Due process? I don’t f’ing think so.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    Lavocat says:

    @Mandalay: Again: they are so self-assured and self-righteous in their hubris that they don’t need to bother with such things as facts. So much for the “show me” state.

  43. 43

    @Tone In DC: Jem Hadar were constructed by the Founders to be killing machines, but even the Jem Hadar had principles and an ethos.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    The Other Chuck says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism …

  46. 46
    celticdragonchick says:


    Dude, I’m a fucking middle-aged, upper-middle class white attorney, AND I SURE THE FUCK DO NOT TRUST THE POLICE IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. Some of these fuckers don’t bat an eye at getting on the stand and perjuring themselves. I know – I’ve seen it.

    They’re SOP is simply: “WTF are ya gonna do? I’m a cop. WTF are you compared to me?”

    And don’t even get me started on traffic court. Due process? I don’t f’ing think so.

    Quoted for truth.

    Every now and then, I entertain the notion that Robespierre, St-Just and the sans-culottes may have been onto something with these bastards.

  47. 47

    @The Other Chuck: Actually, I was thinking about the Jem Hadar from Rocks and Shoals and not going all Godwin.

  48. 48
    Ruckus says:

    As stated many times I’m white. An old white man. I haven’t had a ticket since March 89. The only other interaction with police is that I’ve called them about things like a neighboring business front door left wide open at night with all the lights out. I don’t trust them even when I’ve called them.

Comments are closed.