As communities across the country wait on pins and needles for a Ferguson grand jury’s decision on whether or not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Mike Brown, artist Molly Crabapple breaks down at Fusion how the St. Louis suburb has once again made clear the police’s contentious relationship with black communities.
When communities attempt to police the police, they often get, well... policed. In several states, organized groups that use police scanners and knowledge of checkpoints to collectively monitor police activities by legally and peacefully filming cops on duty have said they've experienced retaliation, including unjustified detainment and arrests as well as police intimidation.
The Mayor of Newark has ordered an investigation into how a teenager's arm was broken as police cleared the street of school protestors. The students had blocked the street near the headquarters of the Newark Public School District to protest against the superintendent's new policies. But now there are questions about police tactics and how the teenager was injured.
Should the National Football League suspend or ban any player caught assaulting a wife or girlfriend? That seems to be the conventional wisdom since video emerged of running back Ray Rice knocking his wife unconscious in an elevator, even as reports surface that many more NFL players have domestic-abuse records.
Are the police departments of Ferguson and St. Louis County, Missouri, involved in a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the case of Michael Brown’s murder? It seems disturbingly possible, given their actions over the past month, hiding basic evidentiary information from the public in direct violation of the state’s sunshine laws—and perhaps not even gathering it in the first place. This raises the further possibly that evidence is being hidden from criminal investigators as well, particularly since the investigators have shown no great interest, much less zeal, in getting to the truth of the matter.
A dozen part-time UPS workers in Minneapolis took protest action on the job August 22, after discovering ties between Missouri law enforcement and a company, Law Enforcement Targets, whose shipments we handle each day. Some of us removed the company’s packages from trucks that would deliver them to law enforcement. Others, in solidarity, refused to ferry these packages to their intended trailers.
In the days after Michael Brown’s death, we watched a sadly familiar story play out. The media ran pictures of him staring sullenly into the camera and making “gang” signs with his hands. They emphasized his weight and large frame, listened to his music and declared it “violent hip hop.” For their part, the police made certain to pair pertinent details about his death with seemingly irrelevant details about his life: releasing the long demanded name of the officer who shot him alongside surveillance footage of an unrelated shoplifting incident, leaking a toxicology report indicating that Brown had “marijuana in his system” at the same time they released an autopsy confirming that he’d been shot six times.
Word spread quickly in Bloomington last night (8/16) that the governor of Missouri had declared a state of emergency and curfew in Ferguson. Within an hour, a spontaneous demo came together, starting at People’s Park, where we discussed the situation and shared our anger. 30 people, anarchists and others, then took the streets, circling downtown, chanting and distributing more than 700 flyers.
As you may have heard, a young black man named Michael Brown from Ferguson, Missouri was shot many times and killed by a police officer on August 9 of this year. A bit of a caveat before my rant: I'm angry and it comes out a bit here. Sorry not sorry.