All the Ferguson updates and then some.
What a nightmare Ferguson has become. Five days after the fatal shooting of unarmed teen, Michael Brown, and there’s still no consensus as to what actually happened. If you’re just jumping into this story, check out previous posts here and here.
Dorin Johnson’s Attorney
Yesterday I mentioned that the St. Louis Police who are handling the Ferguson cluster, have not yet interviewed Dorin Johnson, who claims he was with Michael Brown when Brown was gunned down by law enforcement Saturday. Johnson appeared on MSNBC in an interview with Chris Hayes, accompanied by his lawyer, Freeman Bosley, Jr.
Bosley is an interesting character himself. The former St. Louis mayer seems to have a checkered past, with “ethics violations” being a reoccurring theme. Last year, Bosley sent fundraising letters soliciting donations to cover his daughter’s college tuition. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, “Bosley said his daughter worked hard to finish in the top two percent of her graduating class at St. Elizabeth Academy. He said she deserves to go to a private school.” When the odd fundraising request was brought to light, Bosley vowed to return any donations received.
Earlier this year, the board governing Missouri lawyers moved to suspend Bosley’s law license for two years. The list is a pretty great read. Misuse of client funds and malpractice make appearances more than once.
St. Louis Police Department Hacked by Anonymous
Originally, the St. Louis Police Department planned to release the name of the law enforcement officer who shot and killed Brown. As violence escalated, SLPD opted not to release the identity of the officer in order to protect him. So Anonymous, the infamous hacking conglom got involved and called for a “Day of Rage,” because that’s helpful. According to CNN, Anonymous has the name of the officer, but CNN refused to announce the officer’s name on air.
Should The Public be Privy to the Officer’s Name?
Kevin Williamson at National Review has an interesting take on this question:
Here’s a microcosm of the relationship between state and citizen: We know the names of the nine people charged with felonies in the Ferguson looting, but not the name of the police officer at the center of the case.
The government is all discretion when it comes to one of its own. True, there have been threats against the police officer in question — but if any municipal institution is positioned to defend its members, it is the police. And are there no threats against private individuals who are arrested or investigated? Are there no threats against people in prisons? Police departments and prosecutors regularly release discretionary information that has serious consequences for the lives of private individuals, including those who have not been charged with or convicted of any crime.
If we take seriously the idea that political power ultimately resides in the people, then for the people to do their job and oversee the activities of the representatives they have elected to take care of their affairs, they need information. They are entitled to know the details of the case, including the identity of the officer and the details of his professional history. It is wrong to withhold that information. The investigation of the shooting cannot be evaluated in the absence of that knowledge.
This is just an excerpt, but I recommend reading his argument in its entirety.
Two Reporters Detained (Arrested?) Last Night
Should reporters be given special privileges in tumultuous and dangerous social settings? The people certainly have a right to know and it’s the job of the fourth estate to keep the people informed, right? Yeah, sorta.
A few years ago when Occupy was raping and pooping everywhere, I headed down to Occupy Denver. I’d been watching the Twitter feed and saw that riot police were moving in to clear Occupiers out of the park. It was within walking distance of my hotel and I had to check it out. Sure enough, a riot armor-clad calvary was moving in. I tried to stay on the outskirts of the activity. Close enough to see what was happening, but far enough away to avoid getting trampled or tear gassed.
As happens in these situations, I got caught up in the crowd and the next thing I knew, was face to face with a cop who had a gun pointed in my face. I threw up my hands, yelled “media” and got out of the way as quickly as I could. It was the first encounter I had with law enforcement trying to get a story, but wouldn’t be my last.
All of that to say, the expectation of special treatment by law enforcement in extreme situations is horrendously arrogant. If you want to be in the middle of the action, be in the middle of the action, but that doesn’t protect you from getting caught up in the mix.
You can read the Washington Post’s police encounter here.
Rep. John Lewis Calls for Martial Law
Police tanks provided by the Pentagon (we have a federal program that’s actively militarizing police departments) are working to “keep the peace” in Ferguson. So naturally, the Democratic response to extreme militarization is… martial law? It is if you’re asking Rep. John Lewis.
This Guy Really Wants to People to Stop Rioting
And he has a great point. “What we’re doing out here is not helping… Change isn’t going to come until we change it.” You’ll definitely want to take a few minutes to check this out:
President Obama Finally Weighs In
President Obama briefly touched on the situation in Ferguson today. No one was spared. He scolded the police, the protestors and anyone who might be doing something they shouldn’t be doing in Ferguson:
“When something like this happens, the local authorities including the police have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how they’re investigating that death and about how they’re protecting people in their communities. There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protest.”
Follow Kemberlee Kaye on TwitterDONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.