TwitterFacebook

Ferguson: Down the Rabbit Hole

How lies, obfuscation, and misleading information are making a bad situation in Ferguson worse
Crime • Views: 23,294

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson can’t get out of his own way. In his rush to paint Mike Brown as a strong arm robber, he’s released video that the Department of Justice considered incendiary and unrelated to the FOIA requests made by the press and other interested parties. In fact, the video appears to be only a portion of the overall incident in Ferguson Market and Liquor.

There is a significantly longer video that shows that there was much more involved here. And none of it rises to the level of a strong arm robbery. Rather, this is at worst shoplifting or petit larceny given that the amount that was allegedly taken was less than $50.

The tweet shows a longer video, but the store representatives confirmed that although a theft occurred, they chose not to pursue a criminal report (it was a customer in the store who called police - not the store employee).

The store owner wasn’t going ahead with charges, but that’s not dispositive. He might fear repercussions against him and his business (which has already been targeted by looters) and instead was likely to treat it as a shrinkage loss, rather than pursue a police investigation.

It’s much more dispositive that the Ferguson Police aren’t charging Dorian Johnson with any crimes, even though he was with Brown and appears to have taken some of the tobacco products (cigarellos) given to him by Brown on their way out of the store.

Yet, all of the video does nothing to shed light on why Mike Brown was approached by Officer Darren Wilson. That’s according to Chief Jackson himself. Chief Jackson has repeatedly stated that the only reason that Wilson approached Brown and Johnson was because they were walking in the street. It had nothing to do with the incident in the store.

Chief Jackson allowed his Department to issue a video that had only a tenuous relationship to the incident leading to Brown’s death, all while claiming that is was not related. Highway Patrol Chief Ron Johnson and the Department of Justice both thought as much - that this was unrelated to the events (and Chief Johnson was blind-sided by the release, learning of it only after the media did). Both knew and understood that the release of the video would only cause even more tensions and fingers pointed at a Department intent to cast aspersions on the man whom Officer Wilson killed.

It’s enough to make your head spin.

And yet, this is just the beginning.

This is a Department that is more interested in protecting itself than protecting the public or cleaning up its act. This is a Department that has no problem allowing the officer who shot and killed Brown to leave town. Far from attempting to gather all the pertinent information and interview all the relevant witnesses, the county prosecutors and the Ferguson PD and county police have appeared to engage in a haphazard approach to gathering the critical information. That’s even though criminal justice experts would caution law enforcement agencies to interview witnesses as quickly as possible so as to get the accounts down in writing. It’s as though the agencies involved at the local level are trying to put barriers up to a proper investigation.

This is a Department that had no problem in increasing tensions by withholding key information and details relating to the Brown investigation. Some of the information is justifiably withheld under Missouri Rev. Stat. 610.100. However, they’re using the shield as a club to thwart any look at the actions by the Department.

It’s no wonder that so many people are petitioning for a special prosecutor to handle the case instead of the county prosecutor, who has already indicated how he didn’t like how Gov. Jay Nixon put the highway patrol in charge of the security situation because the county police were using such heavy handed techniques. The prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, has long and deep ties with the police departments, and appears to put those ties ahead of seeing justice done. For instance:

In 2001, two undercover drug officers from Dellwood shot and killed two men on the parking lot of a Jack in the Box in north St. Louis County. The officers said the suspects, who had prior felony convictions for drug and assault offenses, tried to escape arrest and then drove toward the officers.

A subsequent federal investigation showed that the men were unarmed and that their car had not moved forward when the officers fired 21 shots and killed the suspects, Earl Murray and Ronald Beasley. The probe, however, also concluded that because the officers feared for their safety, the shootings were justified.

McCulloch didn’t prosecute the officers. He specifically drew the ire of defense lawyers and protesters, who had been holding demonstrations and threatened to block Highway 40,when he said of Murray and Beasley, “These guys were bums.”

This is just part of the reason why the Department of Justice is carrying out its own investigations. It’s why they’re going ahead with their own autopsy (and that appears to be in addition to the family calling in noted pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to carry out one as well).

No one who is an impartial third party is willing to trust anything coming out of the Ferguson PD and St. Louis County police, let alone the county prosecutor. That’s quite telling.

Here’s the thing though. There are multiple events from Mike Brown being shot through today that indicate that the local police forces operating in Ferguson have engaged in excessive force. There’s a way to reduce the incidence, and in the process save taxpayers and the community billions of dollars a year in costs. It involves requiring all officers on patrol to wear cameras. This not only protects the public, but the officers from baseless claims.

Over the last decade, claims against cities and counties across the country stemming from police incidents amounted to $22 billion. The special counsel to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department recently reported that between January 2013 and April 2014, 132 cases of excessive force against the department were closed by settlements or court verdicts, totaling $12,175,000. The largest payout in fiscal 2012-2013 was a jury award of $6 million, settled by the County for $3.9 million. The plaintiff in that case claimed that two deputies escalated a traffic stop into violence, pepper-spraying him, punching him in the head, kneeing him in the face, and slamming his head into the pavement. And don’t forget the attorneys’ fees that are often a key driver in the decision of whether or not to settle or proceed to litigation. In Los Angeles County, for every dollar spent on a payout in fiscal 2012, another dollar was spent on the lawyers, amounting to $43 million. Communities policed by officers wearing BWCs will see a dramatic decrease in litigation and the costs associated with it.

I’ve noted this before - it gives law enforcement the ability to learn from events on the ground - what to do and what not to do. And the costs are minimal compared to the gear that law enforcement agencies get handed down to them from the federal government (all the armored vehicles, helicopters, sniper gear, body armor, etc., which is ostensibly for protecting communities from a terrorism threat or mass casualty event and could potentially serve a legitimate purpose has instead been used to bloat budgets and prop up department requests for even more funds).

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Randall Gross
High School Gunman Was Homecoming Prince, Students Say
A student recently crowned freshman class Homecoming prince walked into his Seattle-area high school cafeteria Friday and opened fire, killing one person and shooting several others in the head before turning the gun on himself, officials and witnesses said. ...

6 minutes ago
Views: 18 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Rightwingconspirator
Friday Night Random Macro-Natures Texture, Light And Color
As much as I like to drive out to somewhere spectacular in pursuit of good landscape I often find it smart to shoot right at home. It also got me thinking about the kinds of images where most of the ...

28 minutes ago
Views: 45 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Eclectic Cyborg
Emergency message irks Cable subcribers, sends conspiracy theorists into frenzy
Around 8 am this morning my wife started grumbling the TV wasn't working. I reset the U-verse box as per usual but the problem persisted. It was clear right away this was something beyond a typical glitch because of an ...

2 hours, 13 minutes ago
Views: 94 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 4
FemNaziBitch
#NCVotesEarly: Because of That Time When the #NCGA Spent a Lot of Your Money to Mislead Women.
On DAY TWO of early voting in North Carolina, it's worth remembering (and reminding others to remember) that North Carolina's legislative leadership has doubled-down on CPCs since the last election, pumping hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars into these ...

11 hours, 49 minutes ago
Views: 132 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
Lumberhead
Journalists Don’t Like Obama’s Chill Temperament, but It’s Served Him Well - Vox
The hot temperament consequently tends to dominate in the ranks of the media. And the media love nothing quite so much as a politician who shares their disposition. It's not a coincidence that McCain is, on a durable basis, ...

13 hours, 9 minutes ago
Views: 168 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
EiMitch
Cracked: 6 Halloween Pranks for Sociopaths With Unlimited Budgets
cracked.com America's No. 1 holiday celebrating violence and candy is just around the corner, and this year it looks to be better than ever, as the glorious union of art and technology has given us several exciting new ways to ...

2 days, 22 hours ago
Views: 398 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Souliren
Natalie MacMaster Fiddle school
This is a short (under two minute) video of Natalie teaching a technique for "Athole Brose," in Cape Breton style.

5 days, 4 hours ago
Views: 375 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
MichaelJ
Amazing RED Camera Footage Kelly Slater’s 540 Air
More: Amazing RED Camera Footage Kelly Slater's 540 Air There's a reason why people refer to 11-time world champ Kelly Slater as "the king". This clip/maneuver is yet another ground-breaking moment in the history of surfing.

1 week ago
Views: 652 • Comments: 3
Tweets: 6 • Rating: 5
Skip Intro
The Scablands: A scarred landscape as strange as fiction
arstechnica.com

1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 787 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
blah blah ad hominem mumbo jumbo.
Daniel Johnston-True Love Will Find You In The End.
A simple, imperfect, brilliant song, by a fascinating man. Link

1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 685 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 2
 Frank says:

There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something we'd all love one another.