Ferguson, Missouri in the US is a Black township of St Louis. It is where Michael Brown, hands up, was gunned down by the police in broad daylight. The police let his body lie there for four hours. That was five days ago, August 9th 2014. Protests, mostly peaceful, have followed every day since.
Ad Hoc Committee for Justice on Behalf of Michael Brown
1. The officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown be IMMEDIATELY identified.
2. The same officer should be immediately fired and charged with murder.
3. The Ferguson Police Department “Protocol Handbook” be distributed throughout the Ferguson community.
4. The racial composition of the Ferguson Police Department should reflect the racial demographics of the community.
Another country: Protests were met with a violent police crackdown. Last night was the worst yet, like it was Iraq or Jim Crow Alabama, like a country with no right of peaceful assembly or freedom of the press:
- The police rolled down the street in armoured vehicles. They pointed guns at peaceful protesters. They used flash grenades, tear gas, sound cannons and rubber bullets on protesters.
- The police closed down a McDonald’s, violently arresting a reporter from the Washington Post and another from the Huffington Post. They were not doing anything wrong. They were not resisting arrest. The police also tear-gassed reporters from Al Jazeera America and took down their cameras – even though there was no violence coming from that direction.
- The police arrested a St Louis alderman, Antonio French, who has been steadily tweeting from Ferguson.
Police lies: The police say they were merely defending themselves – people were shooting, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. The press saw no such thing. Internet video from last night shows the police attacking peaceful protesters.
The police have not arrested or even named the killer cop.
The police have not interviewed the main eyewitness, Dorian Johnson. Thus their “investigation”. (After four days the FBI took it upon themselves to interview him – not their job.)
Militarization: The police are awash with military gear from the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stuff meant to destroy an armed, military enemy like the Taliban. And they are turning it on Ferguson! Like it was not part of America. It reminds me of Katrina.
Jelani Cobb, a writer for the New Yorker, was there last night. He noted:
If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you have a tank every protest looks like an insurgency.
All this shows a mindset of profound contempt, from the shooting of Michael Brown to the endless lies, to meeting citizen demands and questions with violence, to the violation of constitutional rights, to using military hardware on civilians, to not being serious about the investigation. You know, just as if Blacks were, as one Ferguson police officer put it, “fucking animals”.
Like Israel in Gaza there is:
- the disproportionate use of force instead of any serious attempt to talk to the other side,
- excuses of “self-defence”,
- the use of American military hardware on civilians.
People from Gaza were tweeting people from Ferguson on how to protect themselves from tear gas.