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Doktor
14 Aug 14,, 11:04
I have been watching a lot of news about it, still can't figure out if there were no other options to call the Police to be more restrained when using deadly force.

Maybe an American can shed a light on this for me.

zraver
14 Aug 14,, 14:45
I have been watching a lot of news about it, still can't figure out if there were no other options to call the Police to be more restrained when using deadly force.

Maybe an American can shed a light on this for me.

A violent but unarmed black man got into a confrontation with a cop who shot him 10 times. Community protested. The mostly white and heavily militarized police response lead to a riot. Since then groups like the NAACP have stepped in to keep all further community protests peaceful, but the police response is still massively violent. They have even begun arresting and harassing the media. In Missouri, a black man is 66% more likely to be arrested than a white and much more likely to be stopped and searched even though whites are more likely to be carrying contraband. The police will still not release the name of the killer cop, who is now enjoying an extended paid vacation at the expense of the very community he traumatized. The names of the cops arresting reporters are likewise not being released. A real tour de force in why militarized police are a bad idea.

Oh, and most of the politicians at the local, state and federal level have conveniently begun a graduate level course in belly button fuzz inspection.

Bigfella
14 Aug 14,, 16:24
To summarize: different day, same shit.

SteveDaPirate
14 Aug 14,, 17:03
Missouri has a legacy as a slave state, and there is still a lot of racial tension. This is particularly true in the more populous urban areas such as St. Louis (where Ferguson is).

I live in Kansas City, which straddles the Kansas-Missouri while Ferguson is part of the city of St. Louis on the opposite side of Missouri.

A chunk of land on the east side of Kansas City is essentially a black ghetto. Only 1 in 3 of the rundown houses are occupied, there are no businesses to speak of, and most of people who live there haven't worked in generations. Access to food is a huge issue because most people there do not have cars, there is no public transportation, and any grocery store that tries to serve the area is robbed blind and forced to close.

Every few years there is a new government plan to try to improve the area but it always fails. When incentives were given for people outside the area to move there, the new residents were viewed by the current inhabitants as invaders and pushed back out. When jobs programs were setup, nobody showed up because there are no businesses in the area within walking distance, and almost nobody there works.

Yet as intractable as our problem seems in Kansas City it is mostly confined to an isolated area while the rest of the metro area is fairly well integrated. The City of St. Louis has significantly greater racial tension than Kansas City, and instances like in Ferguson where the police force is almost entirely white while the occupants of the area are entirely black is a recipe for a powder keg. The protests have predictably shifted from being about the boy who was shot to being about the general grievances in the black community in St. Louis.

Doktor
14 Aug 14,, 18:44
To summarize: different day, same shit.

I don't think so. Someone decided enough is enough. Just wondering if all the rioting will bring something better to the table and if there was a better way.

kato
14 Aug 14,, 20:10
A real tour de force in why militarized police are a bad idea.
Is it really a "militarized police" force in Ferguson? Because the pics i've seen show them armed, armoured, equipped and engaging on a similar level to what European riot police forces have been dragging around since at least the 70s or 80s. Sure, there's a couple guys walking around in camo with M4s and other mil equipment, maybe 20, maybe 30% of officers, but that's about the same share of the force that over here in times of similar mid-level tension would don their full gear and receive a FN FAL or G3 out of the basement arms locker of the station to back up the other guys armed with their duty MP5 (Although over here these guys would at least know that you don't point guns at people unless you want to shoot them. Especially if they carry a camera).

The problem in the USA is more that there apparently aren't really any mid-level protests. You either get the proverbial "five guys on a street corner holding up signs" or you get full-blown rioting with looting, burned-down buildings, deaths etc. Ferguson is smack in the middle of the latter corner.

omon
14 Aug 14,, 21:41
What is going on in Ferguson? .

sad shit, either way you look at it.

zraver
15 Aug 14,, 00:44
Is it really a "militarized police" force in Ferguson? Because the pics i've seen show them armed, armoured, equipped and engaging on a similar level to what European riot police forces have been dragging around since at least the 70s or 80s. Sure, there's a couple guys walking around in camo with M4s and other mil equipment, maybe 20, maybe 30% of officers, but that's about the same share of the force that over here in times of similar mid-level tension would don their full gear and receive a FN FAL or G3 out of the basement arms locker of the station to back up the other guys armed with their duty MP5 (Although over here these guys would at least know that you don't point guns at people unless you want to shoot them. Especially if they carry a camera).

The problem in the USA is more that there apparently aren't really any mid-level protests. You either get the proverbial "five guys on a street corner holding up signs" or you get full-blown rioting with looting, burned-down buildings, deaths etc. Ferguson is smack in the middle of the latter corner.

Actually after the first night the NAACP stepped in and kept it peace. It has been the police instigating violence, hiding their faces and badge numbers and trampling first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and of the press. Europe may have a history of militarized police forces, but the US doesn't. What you see as normal, we see as dangerous and anti-liberty. I also wonder if Euro-cops, recruit from the bottom of the barrel, protect cops with testi-lying and free vacations for acts of violence, have a steroid problem and shoot as many people and dogs as US cops do. For all the problems I have with the federal government, federal cops are generally much more restrained and much more likely to respect constitutional liberties.

TopHatter
15 Aug 14,, 01:16
Is it really a "militarized police" force in Ferguson? Because the pics i've seen show them armed, armoured, equipped and engaging on a similar level to what European riot police forces have been dragging around since at least the 70s or 80s. Sure, there's a couple guys walking around in camo with M4s and other mil equipmentThe media gets far better ratings when they talk about "tanks" (otherwise known as the same wheeled vehicles they've had for decades) and "military-style weapons" (otherwise known as the same rifles they've had for decades).

What irritates me just a little are US military vets claiming that these police officers are carrying more firepower than they (the vets) did patrolling the streets of Iraq.

Um, ok?

While I'm sure the personal gear and small arms very similar (and why shouldn't they be, considering we're talking about full-blown riots here), I'm wondering then, why the police haven't deployed M2 Browning heavy machine guns, shoulder-fired rockets, TOW antitank missiles and fragmentation grenades?


The problem in the USA is more that there apparently aren't really any mid-level protests. You either get the proverbial "five guys on a street corner holding up signs" or you get full-blown rioting with looting, burned-down buildings, deaths etc. Ferguson is smack in the middle of the latter corner.Quite well said. That is indeed the case the majority of the time. Either carrying signs or tearing the heart out of the neighborhood....and people wonder why the police are armed and armored? :confused:

Bigfella
15 Aug 14,, 01:41
I don't think so. Someone decided enough is enough. Just wondering if all the rioting will bring something better to the table and if there was a better way.

Incident between black person & largely white police force. Black folks get angry & protest/riot. I can't be bothered counting just how many incidents along these lines have happened since Watts in 1965, but its rather a lot for an affluent Western nation (or for some 3rd world ones). Nothing new in this story, all that changes is the location & a few of the minor details.

zraver
15 Aug 14,, 02:18
The media gets far better ratings when they talk about "tanks" (otherwise known as the same wheeled vehicles they've had for decades) and "military-style weapons" (otherwise known as the same rifles they've had for decades).

What irritates me just a little are US military vets claiming that these police officers are carrying more firepower than they (the vets) did patrolling the streets of Iraq.

Um, ok?

While I'm sure the personal gear and small arms very similar (and why shouldn't they be, considering we're talking about full-blown riots here), I'm wondering then, why the police haven't deployed M2 Browning heavy machine guns, shoulder-fired rockets, TOW antitank missiles and fragmentation grenades?

Quite well said. That is indeed the case the majority of the time. Either carrying signs or tearing the heart out of the neighborhood....and people wonder why the police are armed and armored? :confused:

DOJ report that studies multiple riots show that most riots occur after police begin using force to disperse the crowd. There was a riot in Ferguson on night 1, since then the violence has been initiated by the police.

TopHatter
15 Aug 14,, 02:21
DOJ report that studies multiple riots show that most riots occur after police begin using force to disperse the crowd. There was a riot in Ferguson on night 1, since then the violence has been initiated by the police.

I'm not disputing that. I'm just saying that some of the narrative here is exaggerated, absurd or decades old news.

kato
15 Aug 14,, 07:40
Europe may have a history of militarized police forces, but the US doesn't.
Back in the 60s and 70s, US police had M8 Greyhounds and fielded shotguns with bayonets for close-in work backed up by Tommy Guns. In the 80s and 90s, they had V-100s and M14s. Not really much difference.


I also wonder if Euro-cops, recruit from the bottom of the barrel, protect cops with testi-lying and free vacations for acts of violence, have a steroid problem and shoot as many people and dogs as US cops do.
Structurally, same guys over here. Except for shooting people, since that's not covered by esprit de corps. If you have larger organizations - since police is organized at state or fed level here -, you can break up these tight-knit groups though, pushing such people into specific outfits (usually larger riot police units).

Triple C
15 Aug 14,, 11:45
Dok,

Insofar as I can see, the police is more greatly feared in the USA than most European and democratic Asian countries.

Maybe the riot police in the US are no more militarized than European counterparts; I haven't been in European riots enough to call the difference. But "beat cops" on regular patrols inspire much fear and everybody give them a wide berth. They shoot an awful lot of people for all kinds of things, liking trying to surrender one's wallet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Amadou_Diallo), walking near a perpetrator (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/15/justice/times-square-police-shooting/), being taken hostage (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2595582/Cop-shot-killed-university-student-held-hostage-cleared-wrongdoing.html), or contemplating suicide when holding a knife (http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=9db_1389855116). (Warning: Last video filmed from the body cam of the officer during the shooting). Bottom line is that many Americans suspect, perhaps rightly, that their cops are too prone to using their guns.

Coupling the perception that cops are inclined to use excessive force with the problem of a nearly all white police force in a nearly all black neighborhood, and you have a volatile situation. It bears mentioning that witnesses allege the black man was shot 20 ft (6 meters) away from the patrol vehicle as he was backing off from the altercation while showing his hands. I am having a hard time being convinced that no mistakes were made on the side of the shooter.

Most reports coming out say that a change of police tactics have quieted things down a bit.

SteveDaPirate
15 Aug 14,, 15:45
In some ways I tend to see what is happening in Ferguson in a positive light. After the initial rioting, things have calmed down, the governor of Missouri has state police patrolling Ferguson, and protests are proceeding mostly peacefully.

I like to see people pushing for change because it is a good indication that they care enough about their community and its governance to try to fix their problems.

astralis
15 Aug 14,, 16:22
triple C,


Insofar as I can see, the police is more greatly feared in the USA than most European and democratic Asian countries.

yes, historically police forces in the US were seen as an aberration. most cities didn't have a police beat until the 1860s-1890s.

moreover given the 2A here, police must deal with armed criminals to a greater extent than europe.

mix in racial tensions and you got a really bad brew. this whole affair was a demonstration in boneheadedness, and it seems pretty clear, a culture of impunity in the Ferguson police force.

TopHatter
15 Aug 14,, 16:25
After the initial rioting, things have calmed down, the governor of Missouri has state police patrolling Ferguson, and protests are proceeding mostly peacefully.

Agreed, and it certainly helps when the police don't default to an immediate massive overbearing presence...the problem there is, if they hadn't responded in force immediately, and Ferguson went full-blown Los Angeles circa April 1992, the police then get to explain why they weren't prepared for mass-rioting. It's a Catch-22 situation all around.

And then of course you have assholes like this:


A small group of young men wearing matching red bandanas across their faces and St Louis Cardinals baseball caps pledged to continue clashing with police and rejected the change in tone.

“It doesn’t matter that the dude has a black face,” said Kloud, 25. “They’re all cops.” However the majority of people expressed cautious optimism that the peace could hold as calm reigned at 8.30pm. Link (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/15/ferguson-disarming-tactics-of-highway-patrol-pay-dividends-as-calm-descends)

astralis
15 Aug 14,, 16:44
far easier for the police to deal with a small group of young idiots with the community on their side than otherwise.

seriously, whichever moron thought that sending out a SWAT truck with a sniper perch was a good idea should be cashiered. also, the casual use of force against reporters also speaks volumes about how the local police deal with people. if this is how they treat obvious members of the national news media, how do you think they treat the local populace?

cirrrocco
15 Aug 14,, 21:26
far easier for the police to deal with a small group of young idiots with the community on their side than otherwise.

seriously, whichever moron thought that sending out a SWAT truck with a sniper perch was a good idea should be cashiered. also, the casual use of force against reporters also speaks volumes about how the local police deal with people. if this is how they treat obvious members of the national news media, how do you think they treat the local populace?

astralis and the weird this is that it was the St louis county force that had all that military equipment and i am surprised they even went along with this overt presence

Triple C
17 Aug 14,, 06:01
Missouri governor imposes curfew in Ferguson - CNN.com (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/16/us/missouri-teen-shooting/index.html?hpt=hp_t1)

Police publishes a video of Brown in a cigar store shoplifting/robbery(owner was shoved). Brown family's attorney confirms the incident at the cigar store to KSDK, local TV station. Riot ensues. Curfew declared in Fergusson.

citanon
17 Aug 14,, 07:43
I have no opinion on Michael Brown.

I am troubled by the increasingly militaristic nature of police equipment in the United States, partly due to massive transfers of surplus equipment from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the transference of military tactics into local police forces. There is no small amount glamor associated with SWAT and that's being increasingly reflected in ways that police forces are operating. I think there is a serious requirement for SWAT capabilities and they do strengthen homeland defense, but then you see scenes like below and I just think, WTF, REALLY?!! That guy pointing the AR-15, what was the threat he was aiming at? Did he think that the news reporters is going Al Qaeda on him in the middle of a Missouri street?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKCkfnmH9uU

But I don't think the equipment is at the core of the issue. The core of the issue is the willingness of the police to assert their authority and escalate situations that can be deescalated, the willingness of the police to resort to force to deal with situations that can be dealt with without resorting to force, and finally the overaggressive use of deadly force.

During the past two decades the mantra of police forces in response to criticism of this type is that they are protecting the lives of the officers. Well, the police also has a duty to protect and serve the community. They have to accept a certain level of risk and the training has to reflect this.

There is no clear and sharp dividing line, but the overwhelming opinion amongst my friends across the political spectrum is that the scale is now tipped too far towards use of force and self-preservation by the police. Most see police as potentially dangerous and aggressive, and I find that very troubling.

Triple C
17 Aug 14,, 10:25
According to NYT, DoJ asked Fergusson PD not to release the video because it might rile up the protesters which they did and it did.

citanon
17 Aug 14,, 11:39
According to NYT, DoJ asked Fergusson PD not to release the video because it might rile up the protesters which they did and it did.

Oh no, let's not tell people the truth because it might make some people mad. :rolleyes:

Monash
17 Aug 14,, 15:58
Based on the limited information I have gleaned from various news sources the seems to be a greater than average 'disconnect' between the local PD and the community it supposed to be Policing by which I mean there appears to be little or no community engagement and liaison prior to the shooting and certainly no attempts (I'm aware of) by the local Chief to reach out to local civic leaders after it occurred. In any event they also seem to have gone strait from the shooting to very heavy 'by the book' /lock down style Policing with little tolerance for even potentially peaceful protests - normally you would expect other steps in between.

I also get the distinct impression that few if any of the Ferguson PD live in the areas they were patrolling in riot control mode until recently and wouldn't want if they had the chance. In short there is a real 'them' and 'us' mentality in both camps which is not helping the situation. It would be interesting to see the racial composition of the local force compared to Ferguson Township in general, also the stats on how many members of the local PD actually live locally vs how many 'bus in' from other communities. In any event when tragedies like this occur you usually try to start with intensive community liaison using well established and respected local contacts, lots of media work stressing your willingness to consult and meet with those affected and intensified standard patrolling before going into full riot control mode. Then again maybe they tried all that already and it simply didn't work - I don't know.

The Ferguson PD also seems to have spent up big on all sorts of Post 911 para-military equipment (unless they are borrowing gear from other local counties or using pooled assets). Again such equipment has its place if if all other efforts to quell large scale civic disturbances have failed but they are not generally regarded as the first option you pull from the tool kit.

In any event all of the above is based on very limited impressions I have gained from media reporting which I take always take with a grain of salt. I could be entirely wrong about all of the above and am happy to admit it. One thing for certain though, the Ferguson PD are certainly not 'winning' the current PR war.

DonBelt
17 Aug 14,, 18:30
It would be interesting to see the racial composition of the local force compared to Ferguson Township in general, also the stats on how many members of the local PD actually live locally vs how many 'bus in' from other communities.

It's been pretty widely reported that the police force is almost all white ( all but 2 members is what comes to mind) and the population of Ferguson is 70% black. What I wonder more is what is the makeup of the city government? Why would they hire an all white force to police a mostly black populace given the history of racial relations in this country? One would assume that being an elected body, they would reflect the electoral wishes of the population. Perhaps no one votes?

citanon
17 Aug 14,, 18:55
The Ferguson PD also seems to have spent up big on all sorts of Post 911 para-military equipment (unless they are borrowing gear from other local counties or using pooled assets). Again such equipment has its place if if all other efforts to quell large scale civic disturbances have failed but they are not generally regarded as the first option you pull from the tool kit.

The kit comes from various Federal grant programs for homeland defense and DoD initiatives to transfer surplus military equipment (especially armored vehicles) from the War on Terror to domestic police departments across the country. Many departments now have small army style special weapons and tactics units and Federal agencies with law enforcement power but primarily regulatory roles, such as the EPA (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/11/epa-facing-fire-armed-raid-alaska-mine/?page=all), also have SWAT units.

These programs have no doubt increased the capabilities of the police departments, but it's also caused problems regarding overuse of heavy handed tactics.

Twain
17 Aug 14,, 19:00
If I may, I live fairly close to Ferguson and needless to say this has been on the news 24/7 locally. I'll try to give a rundown of the events in Ferguson.

The start of the whole mess was the shooting of Michael Brown, He was walking in the street near W. Florissant Ave, a local ferguson police officer told him to get out of the street and walk on the sidewalk. According to the Ferguson police he was walking in the middle of the street but this may or may not be true as the police officer in question had to reverse his car in order to confront michael brown, so obviously the police officer was able to at least get past him on the road. I'm not saying the police are lying, just saying that there are questions about the circumstances here. After the police officer reversed his car and confronted Brown, apparently a struggle ensued. I have no idea just how violent the struggle was because there are different accounts of what happened. The ferguson police reported that Brown attempted to take the officers gun, one shot was fired from inside the police car, then more shots were fired up to 35 feet away from the police car. Several days after this incident the ferguson police released information that brown was a suspect in a nearby robbery, the police office in question was aware of the robbery but not that Brown was implicated in it. They implied but did not directly say that the officer was checking out Brown in connection with the robbery. The autopsy has been completed except for toxicology results but the police are not releasing any information about the autopsy so officially only the police, coroner and the prosecuting attorney know how many times he was hit or how many total shots were fired.

There are several people who claim to have witnessed the incident but apparently none of them saw the start of it and their stories are not consistent with each other. The other boy that was with Brown has told multiple versions of the story.

Moving on the to riots/protests. These are not huge city wide riots the area of the actual protests is about 5-6KM long on one street and the entire 5 km street is not full of people along it's entire length. Just a guess but at it's largest, I would be surpriesed if the total number of people ever reached 5000 at one time.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/W+Florissant+Ave,+Ferguson,+MO/@38.7308365,-90.2679245,13z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x87df4984127c569f:0x1b96fcd2498e4 b04?hl=en

They have had day and night protests there mainly peaceful. There are also two distinct groups involved in the protests, one larger group that is definitely peaceful, they even cleaned up the area at the end of their protests, It is mainly led by local clergy and politicians. The second group is the problem. Over half if not most of this group is not local and they are coming in from other areas around St Louis. The local clergy based groups have tried to discourage them with limited success. These people have also helped local businesses that got looted to clean up and re-open for business.

How things got out of control.

The ferguson police handled this very poorly in the first place, releasing information about the shooting in bits and pieces seemingly to their own benefit. Personally I am not sure if this is intentional or just incompetence on their own part. As things escalated the Ferguson police found themselves overwhelmed, so they called in other city police departments and the St Louis County police. The St louis county police handled things just as poorly as the Ferguson police, call it an attitude of confrontation. Things continued to escalate until you all saw the footage of the police firing tear gas and bean bag guns at reporters and arresting reporters. All the evidence seems to indicate that the St Louis county police were the ones responsible for the assaults on reporters and the large amounts of tear gas used. Apparently what happened was that once they decided to clear the protesters from the area, they fired tear gas at anyone in the area and advaced down the street firing tear gas in front of them and down each side street they passed.

The next day, several local police departments notified Ferguson and the St Louis county police that they would no longer be offering assistance in Ferguson because of the aggressive tactics that were used. The unspoken implication behind that was, we won't help as long as the County police are in charge. At this point the Governor stepped in and put the Missouri highway patrol in charge. I'm not sure he has the legal authority to do this but at that point, no one was going to argue with him as most of them wanted to be completely clear of any responsibility for what might happen. One thing to keep in mind, Missouri has a statewide highway patrol, not a state police department. They have very limited training and capability in handling matters like this. The other problem with this is the highway patrol district covering this area has a total of 150 officers to cover 11 counties, 24 hours a day 7 days a week so they can't do it by themselves. Some police departments assisted on the first night the highway patrol was in charge but not all and some who did at least show up, stayed on the sidelines and watched.

Things went very well this first night until about midnight, the clergy based peaceful protesters went home and the remaining few hundred troublemakers got out of control again. Quite frankly there were not enough police to control the situation. Calls to the Ferguson and St Louis County police were turned away and referred to the Highway patrol. Basically Ferguson and St Louis county police were doing everything they could to make the highway patrol look bad.

MOving forward to last night. The governor imposed a midnight to 5 am cufew over a limited area of ferguson. The Highway patrol brought in reinforcements from other areas of the state and it appears The St Louis county and ferguson police got told to get their act together and assist the highway patrol. My guess is the governor had a very unpleasant conversation with them. So Last night midnight comes and all but about 150-200 protesters left the area and went home. These last few started advancing on the police, so the police first told them to go home. The next step when they continued to advance was that the Police fired soke bombs at them, a few scattered and left. The remaining ones then got hit with some tear gas, much smaller amounts than was used the other night. They then scattered and left the area.


There are a lot of details that I didn't include so if anyone has any questions just ask.

citanon
17 Aug 14,, 19:09
It's been pretty widely reported that the police force is almost all white ( all but 2 members is what comes to mind) and the population of Ferguson is 70% black. What I wonder more is what is the makeup of the city government? Why would they hire an all white force to police a mostly black populace given the history of racial relations in this country? One would assume that being an elected body, they would reflect the electoral wishes of the population. Perhaps no one votes?

Or maybe the voters cared more about a capability out of the police than its make up. From the riots and the strong arm robbery video it looks to me like Ferguson is a tough place. Most of the people who bother going to the polls in the previous years might have felt the need for protection by the police. The department's relations with the community might even have been pretty good until this incident dramatically upended relations.

A similar thing happened in Fullerton, CA a couple of years ago. In that case race was not a factor and Fullerton is not a rough neighborhood and yet it really changed relations between the community and the police.

Death of Kelly Thomas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Kelly_Thomas)

The protests in Fullerton did not turn into a riot, but on the other hand it's not clear that Ferguson residents are the ones rioting either. They were out on the street protesting but many claimed that the looters were unfamiliar faces from out of town.

So what quite possibly is happening is that you have the community out on the street protesting, the police initially responding in appropriately to a situation they've never faced before, making people angry, and criminal elements coming in from all over the place to take advantage of the situation.

Twain
17 Aug 14,, 19:19
Or maybe the voters cared more about a capability out of the police than its make up. From the riots and the strong arm robbery video it looks to me like Ferguson is a tough place.

Just to explain, Ferguson is what I would call lower middle class, not wealthy by any stretch but definitly not poverty stricken. As to the violence, I go there fairly regularly and I'm not afraid to go anywhere in that city. Just like any city, you just use common sense and be aware who and what is around you. There are much much worse neighborhoods in St Louis.

As to the 70% black town with a 90% white police department, That part of St Louis has experienced over the last 20 years a "white flight". Many of the whites in the area moved to neighboring St Charles county, a comon occurrence in most of norht st louis county

citanon
18 Aug 14,, 08:57
A history of police riot control tactics in the US:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5QjIu706as

Bullfrog
18 Aug 14,, 10:54
Re. Police Militarization
This is just theory crafting as well, feel free to tell me I'm full of it haha

I think the War on Terror has a lot to do with it, along with "Domestic Terrorism" that seems to be a more and more common talking point of our politicians and media to label people of a differ opinion. Though I've yet to see any real acts of terrorism from either political side, claiming they are does have it's effects on the tactics and attitude deployed by the police and other security agencies... A little off topic but I believe EA new video game uses Gadsden flag to represent the terrorist political views... These tactics and attitudes are also pick up from the military. From the most likely sources: Veterans who learned lessons in Iraq and Afghanistan when acting as peace keepers and are unable unlearn those lessons for a new sit of rules on how to treat American civilians and are now employed as an police officer and is influencing the Police behavior. The other is military bases where they learn tactics and techniques to be fielded for crowd control. Of course neither of these are how you should treat American civilians. This isn't a war zone where you're acting as peace keepers and your only real option is to act aggressively and treat people with a unconstitutional level of caution. Which is what "Militarization" really means IMO.

To me.. The police having military like equipment is fine as well as the discipline that comes with military training. The issue is them adapting the aggressive social behavior and tactics of the military. My friend who is a sheriff has told me that an co worker of his who is ex military will completely break down your gun if you give it to him. Like the American civilian and his M&P9 is comparable to an possible terrorist with an Ak-47 in Afghanistan, and you're seeing more and more dog shootings, and searches with out warrants, Civilian shootings, and over all aggressive behavior from the police and I believe the cause is because of "Domestic terrorism" (Which I've yet to see) and lessons learn from the War on Terror.

Domestic terrorism is the fear tactic that promotes the cautions that in returns leads police departments to militarization, and the War on Terror is means to achieve the level of caution they believe they need to stay safe. Then you have situations like this where the Police act overly aggressive towards protesters and it turns into a riot, or ignores an Americans constitutional rights.

IMO, if we need a military for domestic reasons, we have the National Guard. Which I believe the Missionary Governor just called in.

Bigfella
18 Aug 14,, 10:58
What an unholy bloody mess. Another battle in the culture wars. Pity about the real body.


Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager whose death at the hands of police has sparked protests around America, was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy performed has found.

One of the bullets entered the top of Mr Brown's skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him, and caused a fatal injury, according to Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner for New York City, who flew to Missouri on Sunday at the family's request to conduct the separate autopsy. It was likely the last of bullets to hit him, he said.

Mr Brown was also shot four times in the right arm, he said, adding that all the bullets were fired from the front.

The bullets did not appear to have been shot from very close range because no gunshot powder was present on his body. However, that determination could change if it turns out there is gunshot residue on Mr Brown's clothing, to which Dr Baden did not have access.

US Attorney-General Eric Holder said on Sunday that the Justice Department would conduct its own autopsy, in addition to the one performed by local officials and this private one because, a department spokesman said, of "the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family".

Read more: Ferguson teenager Michael Brown was shot six times, twice in the head, autopsy shows (http://www.smh.com.au/world/ferguson-teenager-michael-brown-was-shot-six-times-twice-in-the-head-autopsy-shows-20140818-105aam.html#ixzz3AjROFfeC)

Monash
18 Aug 14,, 11:59
As to the 70% black town with a 90% white police department, That part of St Louis has experienced over the last 20 years a "white flight". Many of the whites in the area moved to neighboring St Charles county, a common occurrence in most of north st louis county

More or less confirms my first impressions i.e. that the local PD had no 'connection' with the community they were Policing, which is always a bad thing. If you live in or near the community you patrol, do some of your shopping there, eat out in its restaurants, have your kids go to school nearby, etc people get to know you, your families and your colleagues - at least a little. This means that when something bad like this shooting happens at least some of the locals are prepared to give you some benefit of a doubt pending an official inquiry. For that matter half your job as a GD patrol officer is or should be about building up local relationships - even when you don't live nearby. How else do you get intel and support from the public if some of your officers aren't out of their cars and building bridges. Its good basic Police work.

Doktor
18 Aug 14,, 13:41
How we'd cover Ferguson if it happened in another country - Vox (http://www.vox.com/2014/8/15/6005587/ferguson-satire-another-country-russia-china)

Triple C
18 Aug 14,, 16:56
Comedy is the only escape!

Twain
18 Aug 14,, 17:20
More or less confirms my first impressions i.e. that the local PD had no 'connection' with the community they were Policing, which is always a bad thing. If you live in or near the community you patrol, do some of your shopping there, eat out in its restaurants, have your kids go to school nearby, etc people get to know you, your families and your colleagues - at least a little. This means that when something bad like this shooting happens at least some of the locals are prepared to give you some benefit of a doubt pending an official inquiry. For that matter half your job as a GD patrol officer is or should be about building up local relationships - even when you don't live nearby. How else do you get intel and support from the public if some of your officers aren't out of their cars and building bridges. Its good basic Police work.

That's certainly an issue here, local relationship building. Unfortunately here in the US even if the police force lives locally, they rarely get out of their cars. It's been shown over and over again that a police officer walking down the street and getting to know people in the neighborhood is much more effective than a bunch of police driving around in their cars all the time. It's been an ongoing debate with the police arguing "it's more dangerous for us to walk around than drive around" and "we can't catch criminals who are in cars if we are walking" and the other side arguing that you can't know what is going on in a commuty if you never leave your police car. The end result being, politics as usual until something like Ferguson gets out of control.


I'm guessing a lot of you have seen that Brown was shot 6 times including once in the top of the head, which was probably the last shot fired at Brown. This explains the reluctance of the Ferguson police to release any information. Currently they are witholding any official autopsy results until the toxicology results are back, which will take another 4-5 weeks. Basically they are hoping that the results indicate that Brown was very high on something.

I'm having a hard time seeing how the Ferguson police are going to justify this shooting. Brown was hit 6 times and there are indications that more than 6 shots were fired and so far there is no evidence that any of them were fired at close range. I don't doubt that there was a physical altercation, but with the evidence available so far it doesn't appear that the shots were fired during the physical altercation, which is what the Ferguson police had implied earlier.

Moving on to the riots last night.

At approximately 9pm last night things got ugly again. The peaceful protesters had already left the area leaving what looked like about 2-250 protesters in the street. The crowd started advancing on the Police command center carrying rocks, brisks and molotov cocktails. I watched this live on televison and saw this myself. The police quickly gathered together in the street behind their tactical vans and started firing smoke bombs and tear gas. Rocks were thrown and there was an attempt to block the further advance of the police by placing large rocks in the street that failed. The protesters apparently are using bottles of booze to make some of their molotov cocktails. (looked like vodka or rum) Needless to say these didn't work too well. There were molotov cocktails made with gasoline as well. Numerous shots were fired, to my knowledge no police were hit and I don't know how many protesters were hit. The police (as of last night) said they had not fired their weapons. Something to take note of, the protesters are not a homogenous group as there are reports of them shooting each other and fights breaking out among them. My suspiscion is that there is a considerable amount of gang participation in the violent part of the protests and they are using this as an opportunity for revenge against each other. I can't verify that, it's just a suspiscion I have based on local reports.

gunnut
18 Aug 14,, 21:14
A violent but unarmed black man got into a confrontation with a cop who shot him 10 times. Community protested. The mostly white and heavily militarized police response lead to a riot. Since then groups like the NAACP have stepped in to keep all further community protests peaceful, but the police response is still massively violent. They have even begun arresting and harassing the media. In Missouri, a black man is 66% more likely to be arrested than a white and much more likely to be stopped and searched even though whites are more likely to be carrying contraband. The police will still not release the name of the killer cop, who is now enjoying an extended paid vacation at the expense of the very community he traumatized. The names of the cops arresting reporters are likewise not being released. A real tour de force in why militarized police are a bad idea.

Oh, and most of the politicians at the local, state and federal level have conveniently begun a graduate level course in belly button fuzz inspection.

On the other hand, an uncooperative, white, schizophrenic man was restrained by 6 cops in Fullerton, CA, and died during the struggle. Community protested, but did not riot. No looting occurred. No militarized police were called (and we have plenty of those around here). The case went to trial.

The police response in Ferguson was over the top, but the locals didn't exactly help their cause by rioting and looting.

gunnut
18 Aug 14,, 21:25
More or less confirms my first impressions i.e. that the local PD had no 'connection' with the community they were Policing, which is always a bad thing. If you live in or near the community you patrol, do some of your shopping there, eat out in its restaurants, have your kids go to school nearby, etc people get to know you, your families and your colleagues - at least a little. This means that when something bad like this shooting happens at least some of the locals are prepared to give you some benefit of a doubt pending an official inquiry. For that matter half your job as a GD patrol officer is or should be about building up local relationships - even when you don't live nearby. How else do you get intel and support from the public if some of your officers aren't out of their cars and building bridges. Its good basic Police work.

This may help you understand the history of our police and their philosophy.



Carl Cannon: The L.A. roots of militarized police

BY CARL M. CANNON / STAFF COLUMNIST

Published: Aug. 15, 2014 Updated: 6:12 p.m.

Competing theories on curbing crime and keeping the peace in America’s teeming municipalities have long preoccupied law enforcement. “Community policing” is one approach. The harder-edged “proactive” policing is another.

Now a new technique has forged itself into the national consciousness – “Ferguson policing,” let’s call it.

If Ferguson policing’s precepts are murky, perhaps that’s because its proponents don’t feel obliged to explain it to the media or community activists – cops just arrest them, instead.

Who knew the 53-officer police force in Ferguson, Mo., even had all that military equipment and SWAT gear? Why do they have it? The answers – and how Missouri’s highway patrol ended four nights of rioting – take us back in time and into the rich history of the storied, influential and, sometimes, notorious Los Angeles Police Department.

A century ago, about the time Hollywood was establishing itself, civic leaders in the City of the Angels realized they had an actual metropolis on their hands. With the Progressive movement in vogue, reformers fashioned a city charter that diluted the power of political parties, thereby weakening patronage. They set out to create a professional police force not beholden to political bosses, and less corrupt than its counterparts back East.

It took a while to blossom, but it did. The upright Sgt. Joe Friday of “Dragnet” fame was fictional, but he was not a myth. Jack Webb and the department he portrayed on television became a national role model for honest cops. But this virtue came with a price, one hidden from view until some cataclysmic event – the Watts riots in 1965 or the Rodney King drama in 1991-92 – exposed the underlying flaw in Los Angeles’ style of government.

The city charter that allowed the department’s professionalism to develop also engendered its unaccountability, and its isolation. The autonomy granted the police chief virtually ensured a political rivalry between the chief and mayor, and when South Central went up in flames in 1992, Mayor Tom Bradley and Police Chief Daryl Gates were not on speaking terms.

That estrangement complicated the city’s response to the riots, but the problems were long in the making. Watts took place at the end of the 16-year-reign of William H. Parker. Famously incorruptible, Parker was also so emotionally remote that “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, a former LAPD officer, reportedly based Mr. Spock on the chief.

To Parker, the two traits went together. His officers were trained to keep citizens at arms’ length, the better – or so Parker thought – to resist temptations for bribes and favoritism. It worked, but only up to a point. Sgt. Friday was famous for his “Just the facts, ma’am” dictum.

The limits of the Parker approach became apparent during Watts, which started over a traffic arrest and escalated into rioting that claimed 34 lives. Parker himself called for support from the California National Guard. Activists found soldiers patrolling the streets of Los Angeles a fitting symbol. They had long considered the LAPD an occupying army. Parker had the opposite reaction: He wanted those toys for his officers.

The rush to militarize was on, epitomized by SWAT units. Their deployments have increasingly come under scrutiny when they do things like storm minor drug offenders’ houses in the middle of the night, shooting pets and terrorizing spouses with automatic weapons – sometimes at the wrong addresses – or when they’ve ponderously established perimeters around active crime scenes while victims were being shot in homes or schools.

They’ve also been used as crowd control, even during peaceful demonstrations, which is what happened in Ferguson. Some consider this a misapplication of SWAT, but the real problem is deeper: this was its original function, developed in Delano, Calif., by police looking to control – some would say intimidate – Cesar Chavez’ striking United Farm Workers. It was Daryl Gates, a Parker protégé, who liked what Delano was doing. By 1967, Los Angeles had its own SWAT units.

After the department’s SWAT team prevailed in violent confrontations with Black Panthers and SLA guerrillas – and with help from a Hollywood television series named “S.W.A.T.” and generous Justice Department grants – thousands of U.S. police departments began buying the high-powered weapons, body armor and other SWAT accoutrements.

At the same time, under the tenure of Chief Ed Davis, the LAPD embraced “community policing.” It started with the “Basic Car Plan,” which divided L.A. into management districts and assigned patrolmen to each one. Basic Car was supplemented by Neighborhood Watch programs that brought officers into private homes for brainstorming sessions on reducing crime.

Davis supplemented these innovations with “Team Policing,” assigning lieutenants, detectives and juvenile officers to specific neighborhoods. The results were impressive. As crime rates spiked nationally, they remained static in Los Angeles.

In the 1990s, New York City took Team Policing to another level. The NYPD divided the city into grids, held police commanders accountable for their sectors, encouraged aggressive stop-and-frisk policies and generally projected an aggressive stance.

Whatever the relative merits of community policing versus proactive policing, at the time of the Rodney King trial, the LAPD under Daryl Gates wasn’t really doing either one, partly because it was woefully understaffed.

Fifty of Ferguson’s 53 police officers are white, in a town two-thirds black. In response to civic unrest after last week’s police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, those officers turned out in force, in all their riot gear and SWAT splendor, while the brass stonewalled the community, and street cops arrested journalists.

But if Chief Parker’s ghost still lives, so does the spirit of Ed Davis. This guardian angel made his appearance Thursday, in the form of Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson, a Ferguson native. Tasked with quelling tempers, Johnson walked with marchers, hugged them, and talked openly to reporters.

“I grew up here, and this is currently my community and home,” Johnson said. “When I see a young lady cry because of fear of this uniform, that’s a problem. We’ve got to solve that.”

Staff opinion columnist Carl M. Cannon also is Washington editor of the website RealClearPolitics.


Carl Cannon: The L.A. roots of militarized police - The Orange County Register (http://www.ocregister.com/articles/police-631847-parker-policing.html)

Twain
18 Aug 14,, 22:56
On the other hand, an uncooperative, white, schizophrenic man was restrained by 6 cops in Fullerton, CA, and died during the struggle. Community protested, but did not riot. No looting occurred. No militarized police were called (and we have plenty of those around here). The case went to trial.

The police response in Ferguson was over the top, but the locals didn't exactly help their cause by rioting and looting.

The locals didn't riot and loot in Ferguson either. The locals are protesting but on the whole the rioting and looting is not being caused by locals. It is being caused by people from outside the local area. Trust me, I live near there and this statement has very little to do with the reality of the situation. When the police broke up the riot the last two nights, the rioters ran to their cars and left the area, they didn't run to local houses.

gunnut
18 Aug 14,, 23:52
The locals didn't riot and loot in Ferguson either. The locals are protesting but on the whole the rioting and looting is not being caused by locals. It is being caused by people from outside the local area. Trust me, I live near there and this statement has very little to do with the reality of the situation. When the police broke up the riot the last two nights, the rioters ran to their cars and left the area, they didn't run to local houses.

Interesting...

How come outsiders didn't come to Fullerton to riot and loot the place?

If the locals are not responsible for the looting and rioting, then can we still blame the police for heavyhanded tactics? Maybe the locals should support the police's heavyhanded tactics to quell the riot brought to their community by outsiders.

Repatriated Canuck
19 Aug 14,, 00:14
Actually after the first night the NAACP stepped in and kept it peace. It has been the police instigating violence, hiding their faces and badge numbers and trampling first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and of the press. Europe may have a history of militarized police forces, but the US doesn't. What you see as normal, we see as dangerous and anti-liberty. I also wonder if Euro-cops, recruit from the bottom of the barrel, protect cops with testi-lying and free vacations for acts of violence, have a steroid problem and shoot as many people and dogs as US cops do. For all the problems I have with the federal government, federal cops are generally much more restrained and much more likely to respect constitutional liberties.



I completely agree. I will cite our RCMP and the Australian Federal Police as pretty good examples even if they also have their issues.

Also, the police in Paris look like the Ghestapo. European police look like the military and not all that approachable.

Twain
19 Aug 14,, 00:19
Interesting...

How come outsiders didn't come to Fullerton to riot and loot the place?



I'm not familiar with the situation in Fullerton so I won't speculate on that. You however, do seem to be familiar with it, perhaps you would like to elaborate on that?




If the locals are not responsible for the looting and rioting, then can we still blame the police for heavyhanded tactics?



Since these same heavy handed tactics were applied to peaceful protesters and press in the area, including firing beanbag guns and tear gas at the press and peaceful protesters, I'd say it's safe to assume the police behaved inappropriately.




Maybe the locals should support the police's heavyhanded tactics to quell the riot brought to their community by outsiders.

I can tell you that the locals are not happy with the rioting and looting. More than one local group has stood in front of a local business with arms locked together to protect them and that after their protests, they actually cleaned up the street afterwards. They have also shown up at local businesses that have been looted to help the owner clean up and re-open for business. The locals are not happy with the rioting and looting, they live there and have to deal with it everyday, they definitely don't want their town trashed. As to what response they expect from the police, I suspect they want what everyone wants, a police response appropriate and commensurate with the situation, wouldn't you?

You won't see these type of details in the national news because they don't make a good story or get ratings. The situation here is much more complicated than "70% Black Community of Ferguson Riots" or "Heavy Handed Police Response triggers More Riots"

tuna
19 Aug 14,, 00:40
I still don't want to comment on the initial situation leading to the shooting, as I'm not sure what the facts are. The fact that it seems the police keep changing their story doesn't inspire me to trust them, but I admit to be biased against the police and I try to resist acting on that bias.

However, the initial militarized reaction was way overboard, which seems to be the norm lately.

While I'm not a fan of cops having heavy equipment in the first place, once the protest became a riot they did become appropriate equipment. I think the problem is that the cops seem to want to use their toys too often, which then leads to their be needed.

What saddens me though, is that not one word was spoken against this militarized mentality when the city of Watertown was locked down on un-declared martial law in the hunt for the Boston marathon bombers. Intimidation, in my opinion, is a good weapon against rioters/looters with the option of force being downgraded based on reaction of the mob. Intimidation of peaceful protestors, is a crime. And intimidation of an entire city during the hunt for one teenager, should result in jail time for those involved.

Sitting Bull
20 Aug 14,, 05:54
It appears that the bastion of tolerance for dissent we all know as Egypt, is urging U.S. authorities to show restraint:

BBC News - Ferguson unrest: Egypt urges US to show restraint (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28855811)

Monash
20 Aug 14,, 13:20
I can tell you that the locals are not happy with the rioting and looting. More than one local group has stood in front of a local business with arms locked together to protect them and that after their protests, they actually cleaned up the street afterwards. They have also shown up at local businesses that have been looted to help the owner clean up and re-open for business. The locals are not happy with the rioting and looting, they live there and have to deal with it everyday, they definitely don't want their town trashed. As to what response they expect from the police, I suspect they want what everyone wants, a police response appropriate and commensurate with the situation, wouldn't you?

You won't see these type of details in the national news because they don't make a good story or get ratings. The situation here is much more complicated than "70% Black Community of Ferguson Riots" or "Heavy Handed Police Response triggers More Riots"

And therein lies the problem from a Policing perspective. Whoever is in command of current operations in Ferguson (BTW is it still correct that the local PD had been 'stood down' at least in a command role?) will also know that a lot of the locals aren't violent protesters looking for trouble. The problem is sorting the sheep from the goats. British Police forces have turned this skill into an art form of sorts at least as far as soccer hooliganism is concerned - and they have contained crowds to work with. But it is a hard skill to master when your not operating in an environment where you encounter riot scenarios on a regular basis, which lets face it most US local P.D.s don't. Presumably there is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment is terms of contacting and coordinating with local community groups to try and address this problem and of course this won't make the news. Pity there wasn't more of this sort of thing before the shooting.

Monash
20 Aug 14,, 13:31
It appears that the bastion of tolerance for dissent we all know as Egypt, is urging U.S. authorities to show restraint:

BBC News - Ferguson unrest: Egypt urges US to show restraint (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28855811)

Just a rather pathetic and transparent attempt by the new government over there to draw the heat from current US/EU/UN concerns about the thousands of Egyptian citizens who died in unreported circumstances during the recent crackdowns on civil descent over there. In which light if Z and some other forum members have a bee in their bonnets about about bad Policing practices in the US they should take at close look at 'Policing' in other parts of the world far removed from the US.

Bigfella
20 Aug 14,, 15:38
It appears that the bastion of tolerance for dissent we all know as Egypt, is urging U.S. authorities to show restraint:

BBC News - Ferguson unrest: Egypt urges US to show restraint (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28855811)

Now you know what some other nations feel like when the US or some other Western power with its own share of problems & plenty of blood on its hands gets to moralizing. You certainly aren't obligated to pay attention, and Egypt has no moral high ground (though it does apparently have US support despite some rather nasty recent massacres); but as the world's number one generator of pious & often hypocritical lectures it might be useful to take a moment to think about what it is like to be on the other end of one.

This whole mess is the result of a particularly American set of failings to do with a collision of race, poverty, policing & politics. If you are going to dish it out then learn to take a bit too.

Twain
20 Aug 14,, 15:50
And therein lies the problem from a Policing perspective. Whoever is in command of current operations in Ferguson (BTW is it still correct that the local PD had been 'stood down' at least in a command role?) will also know that a lot of the locals aren't violent protesters looking for trouble. The problem is sorting the sheep from the goats. British Police forces have turned this skill into an art form of sorts at least as far as soccer hooliganism is concerned - and they have contained crowds to work with. But it is a hard skill to master when your not operating in an environment where you encounter riot scenarios on a regular basis, which lets face it most US local P.D.s don't. Presumably there is a lot going on behind the scenes at the moment is terms of contacting and coordinating with local community groups to try and address this problem and of course this won't make the news. Pity there wasn't more of this sort of thing before the shooting.

Filling in some details on this:

The Missouri Highway Dept is in charge now. They have changed tactics, when things start to turn violent, a group of 15 or so police will move in on the crowd and arrest those that they see as being agitators and then quickly move back.

Another development last night was that the local clergy were out in fairly large numbers urging the crowd to remain peaceful.

The last report I read about Monday night was that 47 people were arrested, 14 of them were from out of state, some as far away as California, Texas and New York. Another 18 were from the city of St Louis which is (depending one location) anywhere from 10-20 km away. The residents of Ferguson are now publicly asking the people who are not from Ferguson to just go home.

Quite honestly, much of the St Louis area is just plain embarrassed that this is happening here.

Twain
20 Aug 14,, 15:52
Can't edit that, Should be Missouri Highway Patrol, the missouri highway dept patches holes in the road :red:

SteveDaPirate
20 Aug 14,, 21:21
Now you know what some other nations feel like when the US or some other Western power with its own share of problems & plenty of blood on its hands gets to moralizing.

That is a fair criticism. I think the US tends to go a bit overboard with trying to come up with moral reasons to defend it's interests and poke other countries.

I also happen to think that the US has done a pretty good job of "showing restraint". Despite the potentially overzealous arrests (and subsequent releases) of reporters and such, I'm not aware of any deaths caused by the authorities during the riots/protests. The show of force with police who appear equipped for combat does not appear to have translated into casualties.

Squirrel
21 Aug 14,, 03:07
Riots and looting are tactics.

As Twain has eluded to, there are plenty of outsiders exploiting this situation. In LA, during the Rodney King Riots, there was an immensely important development that went largely ignored by the press.

A former neighbor of mine enlightened me to this reality that I began to see firsthand while living in LA. During the riots, certain gangs and organizations acted smartly and looted choice businesses: gold, guns, and drugs. They amassed HUGE fortunes, and established not only connections that were previously outside their range, but CONTROL over activities within their "hoods".

I would wager some choice challenge coins that this is/has happened in Ferguson.

Regardless of what happened there (FULL DISCLAIMER: I support the Police), numerous groups have probably moved in, and will do all that they can in order to advance their own objectives. It's just smart business.

Bigfella
21 Aug 14,, 04:31
That is a fair criticism. I think the US tends to go a bit overboard with trying to come up with moral reasons to defend it's interests and poke other countries.


I've been restrained in my comments here precisely because the police force in my home state has an appalling record when it comes to shooting unarmed people. it is easy to get preachy in the moment & forget our own circumstance. At work yesterday a colleague stated talking about 'only in America' in relation to this & I reminded her just how bad police shootings have been in Victoria until recently. We just get so used to what happens in our own sphere that it is 'normal'. The same thing can happen elsewhere and it is jarring. In this instance a bit of turnabout might help folk think about what they have processed as 'normal' in US society (like the amount of people who get shot, no matter who the shooter).


I also happen to think that the US has done a pretty good job of "showing restraint". Despite the potentially overzealous arrests (and subsequent releases) of reporters and such, I'm not aware of any deaths caused by the authorities during the riots/protests. The show of force with police who appear equipped for combat does not appear to have translated into casualties.

I would agree with that. What interests me more here is just what a riotous society America is. Not just extreme examples like this one - sparked by a death. The number of riots resulting from far more mundane things like sporting events is shocking to me. Some folk like to point to particular ethnicities, but it seems to happen across demographics. I can literally think of a handful of riots in Australia over the past 35 years, and only one of them (Star Hotel, Newcastle late 70s) was remotely as large or destructive. Maybe my nation is just lucky.

Twain
21 Aug 14,, 07:35
I would agree with that. What interests me more here is just what a riotous society America is. Not just extreme examples like this one - sparked by a death. The number of riots resulting from far more mundane things like sporting events is shocking to me. Some folk like to point to particular ethnicities, but it seems to happen across demographics. I can literally think of a handful of riots in Australia over the past 35 years, and only one of them (Star Hotel, Newcastle late 70s) was remotely as large or destructive. Maybe my nation is just lucky.

Riots are a function of population density. The population of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois (three adjacent states) is nearly equal to the entire population of Austalia. California alone has a bit over 1 1/2 times the population of Australia. The St louis metro area alone is about 12% of the total population of Australia. The total US population is about 14 times that of Australia.

There is no doubt that we have problems, especially in certain areas, but broad brush strokes rarely paint an accurate picture.

Bigfella
21 Aug 14,, 10:12
Riots are a function of population density. The population of Missouri, Iowa and Illinois (three adjacent states) is nearly equal to the entire population of Austalia. California alone has a bit over 1 1/2 times the population of Australia. The St louis metro area alone is about 12% of the total population of Australia. The total US population is about 14 times that of Australia.

There is no doubt that we have problems, especially in certain areas, but broad brush strokes rarely paint an accurate picture.

Twain,

You'll have to forgive me if this reply seems impatient. Don't take it personally, but when I see a godawfuly stupid argument repeated over and over and over again I just get a bit cranky. I don't know who keeps telling people about this 'population density' bullshit as a way of comparing nations, but they need to stop. NOW! This argument has been done on this forum several times & I've had it elsewhere. The idea is so transparently absurd that it continues to amaze me that intelligent people repeat it over and over and over.

Allow me to break it down for you. Populations in a state or a nation don't get assigned an individual piece of land for each person. They live in towns and cities (big things, lots of people, sure you've heard of them). This might come as a shock, but we have towns & cities in Australia. We don't all live on kangaroo farms throwing shrimp on barbies (BTW, they are prawns, we changed it for the insular American market). In fact, we are one of the most highly urbanized societies in the world. Always have been. Over one third of our population of 22 million lives in just two cities, Melbourne & Sydney. Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth add another 4 million and the sprawl north & south of Sydney (think a smaller version of the Boston-Virginia corridor) probably one to 1.5 million more. Throw in Hobart, Canberra & Darwin plus satellite cities of Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth and you can throw in another couple of mill easy. That is probably two thirds of the population in an absolutely tiny fraction of the nation. Getting the picture?

It gets more complex (oh no!!!), because we don't experience population density passed on how big a city an hour or two's drive away is. We experience it based on how big our cities are, and in particular the part of the city we live in. So, it doesn't matter how many people there are in Ohio or California if they live in urban areas with the same population density as cities in Alaska or Kansas. If you look at the population density of Sydney or Melbourne they are very similar to major US cities - taking into account that we don't measure our cities based on bizarre C18th notions of 'city & county' that mean suburbs don't get counted in 'city' numbers. With the exception of NYC, most US cities have a very low population density - many of them lower than Australian cities and certainly lower than most large European cities. Canadians live on a smaller proportion of their nations that Americans do of theirs.

Population densities in specific urban areas can be a factor in some phenomena such as crime rates & perhaps, under the right circumstances (of which there must be a number) riots. This, however, does nothing to help your argument. In fact, it probably harms it as most Americans of all ethnicities live in relatively low density suburbs. I live in a suburb that has always had a relatively high population density - higher than the vast majority of US cities. I think the last major riot in Melbourne was in 1923.....by striking police.

I'm afraid the broad brush here was in your hands and you didn't do very well with it.

So, just file that argument away under 'complete bullshit' and look for another reason or reasons.

Twain
21 Aug 14,, 10:31
Twain,

You'll have to forgive me if this reply seems impatient. Don't take it personally, but when I see a godawfuly stupid argument repeated over and over and over again I just get a bit cranky. I don't know who keeps telling people about this 'population density' bullshit as a way of comparing nations, but they need to stop. NOW! This argument has been done on this forum several times & I've had it elsewhere. The idea is so transparently absurd that it continues to amaze me that intelligent people repeat it over and over and over.

Allow me to break it down for you. Populations in a state or a nation don't get assigned an individual piece of land for each person. They live in towns and cities (big things, lots of people, sure you've heard of them). This might come as a shock, but we have towns & cities in Australia. We don't all live on kangaroo farms throwing shrimp on barbies (BTW, they are prawns, we changed it for the insular American market). In fact, we are one of the most highly urbanized societies in the world. Always have been. Over one third of our population of 22 million lives in just two cities, Melbourne & Sydney. Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth add another 4 million and the sprawl north & south of Sydney (think a smaller version of the Boston-Virginia corridor) probably one to 1.5 million more. Throw in Hobart, Canberra & Darwin plus satellite cities of Melbourne, Brisbane & Perth and you can throw in another couple of mill easy. That is probably two thirds of the population in an absolutely tiny fraction of the nation. Getting the picture?

It gets more complex (oh no!!!), because we don't experience population density passed on how big a city an hour or two's drive away is. We experience it based on how big our cities are, and in particular the part of the city we live in. So, it doesn't matter how many people there are in Ohio or California if they live in urban areas with the same population density as cities in Alaska or Kansas. If you look at the population density of Sydney or Melbourne they are very similar to major US cities - taking into account that we don't measure our cities based on bizarre C18th notions of 'city & county' that mean suburbs don't get counted in 'city' numbers. With the exception of NYC, most US cities have a very low population density - many of them lower than Australian cities and certainly lower than most large European cities. Canadians live on a smaller proportion of their nations that Americans do of theirs.

Population densities in specific urban areas can be a factor in some phenomena such as crime rates & perhaps, under the right circumstances (of which there must be a number) riots. This, however, does nothing to help your argument. In fact, it probably harms it as most Americans of all ethnicities live in relatively low density suburbs. I live in a suburb that has always had a relatively high population density - higher than the vast majority of US cities. I think the last major riot in Melbourne was in 1923.....by striking police.

I'm afraid the broad brush here was in your hands and you didn't do very well with it.

So, just file that argument away under 'complete bullshit' and look for another reason or reasons.


You sure know how to make someone feel welcome, I was enjoying my time posting here but if this is the way people reply here,, ADIOS MF

Doktor
21 Aug 14,, 14:13
Gee, quitting over Internet argument?

Population density doesn't make riots? Really? I was living fine while I was alone, the more we become, the issues rose. Wink, wink, wink.
Nothing scientific here, just an observation.

Bigfella
21 Aug 14,, 15:26
You sure know how to make someone feel welcome, I was enjoying my time posting here but if this is the way people reply here,, ADIOS MF

Really? You get one exasperated & sarcastic but factually detailed reply to a crap argument & you sulk? Your problem isn't this place, it is the entire net. This place is pretty damned civilized compared to most. You got off lightly. Lucky you didn't piss the Colonel off, you'd be in therapy for years. Drink a cup of coffee princess, the interwebz ain't the place for you.

Bigfella
21 Aug 14,, 15:28
Gee, quitting over Internet argument?

Population density doesn't make riots? Really? I was living fine while I was alone, the more we become, the issues rose. Wink, wink, wink.
Nothing scientific here, just an observation.

The two are linked, but not country by country.

Sorry if I was too harsh on you there Doc. I'll post you some Kleenex.

SteveDaPirate
21 Aug 14,, 15:51
What interests me more here is just what a riotous society America is. Not just extreme examples like this one - sparked by a death. The number of riots resulting from far more mundane things like sporting events is shocking to me.

BF,

I think that the greater total population in the US would be a cause of more riots overall when compared to most of our western counterparts without necessarily actually having more riots per capita or per land area. Just as the EU has more riots than France (but don't tell the French, they may go on strike and have a riot :biggrin:)

I imagine that to someone living outside the US it would seem like we have riots taking place regularly here, but from the perspective of someone living here we don't hear about riots in the US, we hear about a riot in LA or NY. Considering that both of those cities are ~ 2000 km away from me those riots may as well be in London or Perth from my perspective. The recent unrest in Ferguson is new to me since it is in my general region.

Bigfella
21 Aug 14,, 16:19
BF,

I think that the greater total population in the US would be a cause of more riots overall when compared to most of our western counterparts without necessarily actually having more riots per capita or per land area. Just as the EU has more riots than France (but don't tell the French, they may go on strike and have a riot :biggrin:)

I imagine that to someone living outside the US it would seem like we have riots taking place regularly here, but from the perspective of someone living here we don't hear about riots in the US, we hear about a riot in LA or NY. Considering that both of those cities are ~ 2000 km away from me those riots may as well be in London or Perth from my perspective. The recent unrest in Ferguson is new to me since it is in my general region.

That may well be the case Steve, though I've been trying to think of it in a 'per capita' sort of way. It is hard for me to compare to Europe because it would involve a detailed knowledge of a bunch of nations, so I can only compare to my own. As I said, I can think of less than 10 events that any reasonable person could call a 'riot' since 1979 (actually closer to 5), and only one of those resulted in much damage - the 1979 one. There was some property damage as payback after the Cronulla riots, but that was not a riot itself, but an organized retaliation. Even taking into account a population that is 15 times Australia's the US does seem to have more. With one exception I don't recall sports fans rioting here, and that was a tiny group who damaged a single store.

Maybe it is just a perception thing, but it does seem to happen more often in your part of the world.

SteveDaPirate
21 Aug 14,, 17:44
BF,

I think you are probably correct. What is the perception from Australia about riots in the US as compared to the EU regarding frequency/severity etc.? I tend to think of the EU as having more riots than the US, but my perspective is obviously biased considering where I live.

Doktor
21 Aug 14,, 21:40
The two are linked, but not country by country.

Sorry if I was too harsh on you there Doc. I'll post you some Kleenex.

Lately, for some reason people tend to send me offerings. I wont riot, chill.

Albany Rifles
21 Aug 14,, 22:36
BF,

I am not too sure about this statement I would agree with that. What interests me more here is just what a riotous society America is. Not just extreme examples like this one - sparked by a death. The number of riots resulting from far more mundane things like sporting events is shocking to me.

We had a particulalry bad stretch in the 1960s and early 1970s...but the tectonic societal shifts we faced were massive.

But there have not been too many in the US since then. The LA Riots for sure....but I am trying to figure our when we last had a large riot....and Ferguson ain't that large. I know...I was in some riots during the 1960s.

Their have been some demonstrations which turned violent (I am thinking the various protests in Seattle for the G20 summit and others a few years ago) but it never really rose to the level of what we define as a riot. I am basing that on what has to occur in order for the National Guard in an area has to operate an EOC and start moving troops.

Boisterous gatherings after a sporting events do occur (my alma mater grew famous for couch burnings after big football wins) but usually the police arrive and disperse the crowd and the firmen put out the fires. But those aren't riots.

In fact, looking at the list below, our neighbors to the north seem to be a much more boisterous than we!

Sports riot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_riot)

As for the rest of your posts, spot on.

Still, for all of our faults, and we do have a lot of them, we seem to do a little better at assimiliation than most societies.

Pedicabby
21 Aug 14,, 23:43
In fact, looking at the list below, our neighbors to the north seem to be a much more boisterous than we!

Sports riot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_riot)




Yeah but it's over hockey so it's not really bad.:biggrin:

troung
22 Aug 14,, 01:53
The truth about libertarians, police and Ferguson's fury
John Stossel

By John Stossel
Published August 20, 2014
FoxNews.com
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Libertarians warned for years that government is force, that government always grows and that America’s police have become too much like an occupying army.

We get accused of being paranoid, but we look less paranoid after heavily armed police in Ferguson, Missouri, tear gassed peaceful protesters, arrested journalists and stopped some journalists from entering the town.

ADVERTISEMENT

One week before the rioting began, Fox News aired my documentary on the militarization of law enforcement, “Policing America.”

That show didn’t stop some left-wing commentators from making the bizarre claim that libertarians like me have been silent about Ferguson.

Libertarians get accused of being paranoid, but we look less paranoid after heavily armed police in Ferguson, Missouri, tear gassed peaceful protesters, arrested journalists and stopped some journalists from entering the town.

I can’t force them to read my columns, or Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) article titled “We Must Demilitarize the Police” or libertarian Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-Mich.) condemnation of the police for “escalating” tensions with “military equipment.”

Although it was government, police and government-supplied military equipment that provoked the conflict (plus property-rights-violating looters), leftists still found ways to blame libertarians and advocates of private gun ownership.

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Tom Toles depicted a sarcastic TV viewer watching news from Ferguson and sniping that “I’m sure the NRA has an interesting solution for this” -- as if overzealous police are the fault of people who believe in individuals’ right to defend themselves.

Other pro-big-government commentators just questioned the sincerity of libertarians, saying that if we were in power, we would become authoritarians and defend the police.

It’s true that once people are in power, they often grow fond of authority and less interested in liberty. But I don’t see why this is an argument against libertarians -- who warn about this problem all the time -- instead of an argument against all those who are actually in power and shameless about wielding that power.

But since leftists are so easily confused, and since there’s plenty of blame to go around, let’s list who’s to blame for what:

--The police do not have the right to execute suspects, unless there is no other way of stopping them and they pose an immediate threat to the safety of others.

--Michael Brown, assuming current interpretations of security footage are correct, robbed and bullied a store clerk right before he was killed by police. That may well mean he was violent and dangerous, but even violent people should be brought to trial, not gunned down.

--Individual cops may feel threatened -- and may be threatened in the course of doing their jobs -- but they still do not have the right to use more force than is necessary. Too often, panicked or angry cops pump multiple rounds into already-wounded suspects, as appears to have happened to Michael Brown.

--Yes, centuries of white people abusing the civil liberties of blacks have left many blacks resentful of police power, and in recent years, white police officers have shot, on average, two young black men every week. But none of that justifies violence and looting like that which followed Michael Brown’s death. Criminals who ransack stores are always wrong to violate the rights of innocent third parties.

--Peaceful protestors should not be lumped in with looters and subject to curfews by police. Most looters are opportunists, not people making a political statement. Police and angry citizens alike have a duty to distinguish between protesters and criminals.

--The Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and opportunistic politicians all pushed the idea of heavily arming local cops, even in places more rural than Ferguson. “Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors?” wonders the Cato Institute’s Walter Olson.

He notes that a man identifying himself as a veteran from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division reacted to video of police in Ferguson by tweeting, “We rolled lighter than that in an actual war zone.”

If authorities arm cops like soldiers, they may begin to think like soldiers -- and see the public as the enemy. That makes violent confrontations more likely.

John Stossel is the host of "Stossel" (Thursdays at 9 PM/ET), a weekly program highlighting current consumer issues with a libertarian viewpoint. Stossel also appears regularly on Fox News Channel (FNC) providing signature analysis. Click here for more information on John Stossel.

The truth about libertarians, police and Ferguson's fury | Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/08/20/libertarians-police-and-ferguson-fury/)

Bigfella
22 Aug 14,, 02:54
The truth about libertarians, police and Ferguson's fury | Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/08/20/libertarians-police-and-ferguson-fury/)

Decent article once it got past the apparently mandatory culture wars whining. It hints at an issue which surfaces at moments like this: there are people in certain communities - overwhelmingly minority ones - who feel a bit like they are dealing with an occupation force directed at them rather than a police force designed to help them. That isn't to say that the perception is entirely fair, but neither is it entirely unfair. The killing of unarmed people by police simply emphasises the point to people in the community.

Issues like this might help Americans understand how people in other nations feel about the US military clomping about their nations. If Americans in America with al the supposed protections at law they have can develop such a poor relationship with a police force, how might non-Americans react to an American military with vastly greater force at its disposal.

Albany Rifles
22 Aug 14,, 18:57
BF,

Good analysis.

One of the worst things Rick Sanchez did in 2003-2004 in Iraq were the presence patrols...M1s and M2s rolling through Iraqi cities and towns.

Not well received.

TopHatter
22 Aug 14,, 19:14
I am in clear agreement with much of Stossel's article, with a few exceptions:

--Michael Brown, assuming current interpretations of security footage are correct, robbed and bullied a store clerk right before he was killed by police. That may well mean he was violent and dangerous, but even violent people should be brought to trial, not gunned down. And if Michael Brown was a violent danger to the police officer that shot him? Darren Wilson was clearly injured in the confrontation, albeit not to extent that it's been reported. A blanket statement like "violent people should be brought to trial, not gunned down" is disingenuous at best. Even an unarmed person is capable of serious injuring or killing another human being.

--Individual cops may feel threatened -- and may be threatened in the course of doing their jobs -- but they still do not have the right to use more force than is necessary. Too often, panicked or angry cops pump multiple rounds into already-wounded suspects, as appears to have happened to Michael Brown. Too often, already-wounded suspects are not deterred by their injuries and advance upon an officer with clear intent to do harm. The 9mm is not a man-stopper, rather like the .38 that was replaced with the .45ACP for that very reason.

ajhax
22 Aug 14,, 19:14
Maybe it is just a perception thing, but it does seem to happen more often in your part of the world.

Bah! You are too impressed by Americans. Look no further than India for the riotous paradise. Police shooting innocents is nothing. We manage to kill each other on bloody cartoons :biggrin:

My hunch is among many other reasons, cultural diversity may also be a reason behind higher number of incidents of riots in USA when compared to Australia. I don't know much about both countries but at least some statistics on diversity suggests that USA has overall more heterogeneous population compared to Australia.

Fractionalization (http://www.nber.org/papers/w9411)
Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country* - Springer (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1024419522867)

Gun Grape
22 Aug 14,, 20:03
And if Michael Brown was a violent danger to the police officer that shot him? Darren Wilson was clearly injured in the confrontation, albeit not to extent that it's been reported. A blanket statement like "violent people should be brought to trial, not gunned down" is disingenuous at best. Even an unarmed person is capable of serious injuring or killing another human being.

But thats why cops have many tools to use. Escalation of force applies here. A cop is normally equipped and trained with, sap gloves, night stick, pepper spray, tazer and sidearm. So why was the first thing used against an unarmed person the gun?


--Individual cops may feel threatened -- and may be threatened in the course of doing their jobs -- but they still do not have the right to use more force than is necessary. Too often, panicked or angry cops pump multiple rounds into already-wounded suspects, as appears to have happened to Michael Brown. Too often, already-wounded suspects are not deterred by their injuries and advance upon an officer with clear intent to do harm. The 9mm is not a man-stopper, rather like the .38 that was replaced with the .45ACP for that very reason.

And neither is the .45 a MAN STOPPER. Or all pistol rounds are man stoppers. It all depends on target placement. Neither a .22 or a .44Mag is going to drop a man with 1 shot to the gut. That doesn't mean that you keep pumping rounds into the person until the slide locks to the rear either. The cop is required to assess the situation continuously and act accordingly.

We have quit holding cops, and others, to that high standard.

citanon
22 Aug 14,, 23:11
But thats why cops have many tools to use. Escalation of force applies here. A cop is normally equipped and trained with, sap gloves, night stick, pepper spray, tazer and sidearm. So why was the first thing used against an unarmed person the gun?

Those are certainly valid questions but there are certainly also factors that could explain the officer's actions. Some reports have the officer being pummeled repeatedly by Brown moments before the shooting, suffering fractures around his eye sockets. In that case, I think he is well justified in ruling out anything short of his Tazer and sidearm - he had just gotten his ass kicked, no need to try that again. Considering Brown's size and the alledged violent encounter he had just experienced, the limited capabilities of the Tazer, the limited space and reaction time, and the lack of backup, I think the officer would have been justified in drawing his firearm, if reports regarding his injuries and the fight were true.

So, really, the entire situation depends on what really happened. At this point there seems to be two different stories. We also have Brown seemingly involved in a strong arm robbery moment before, so I don't think we can rush to judgement.


The cop is required to assess the situation continuously and act accordingly.

We have quit holding cops, and others, to that high standard.

I agree and I think we need greater accountability for police actions and far greater restraint the use of firearms by the police.

SteveDaPirate
22 Aug 14,, 23:49
The 9mm is not a man-stopper, rather like the .38 that was replaced with the .45ACP for that very reason.[/COLOR][/B]

With modern expanding ammunition there is a negligible difference in terminal performance between a 9mm and a .45ACP. Neither one will stop an angry man unless it hits something important.

Bigfella
23 Aug 14,, 02:00
Bah! You are too impressed by Americans. Look no further than India for the riotous paradise. Police shooting innocents is nothing. We manage to kill each other on bloody cartoons :biggrin:


Any nation with a thriving effigy making industry isn't included in my comparisons.:biggrin: BTW, has anyone burned one of MS Dohni after the disaster in England?


My hunch is among many other reasons, cultural diversity may also be a reason behind higher number of incidents of riots in USA when compared to Australia. I don't know much about both countries but at least some statistics on diversity suggests that USA has overall more heterogeneous population compared to Australia.

Fractionalization (http://www.nber.org/papers/w9411)
Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country* - Springer (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1024419522867)

Not sure if that holds up as a reason. Close to 20% of Australians are overseas born. Add in people whose parents were born overseas & you get a large minority of the population who are no more than a generation or two from being foreigners. Most of America's 'diversity' comes from African Americans, who are overwhelmingly descended from people who migrated before Australia had more than a handful of white residents; or Hispanics, who are essentially a European sub-culture comparable to the large Italian, Greek or Yugoslav communities who migrated here after WW2.

I have no trouble accepting that America is a more diverse society in its own way, but the way that is constructed & expressed is more complex than people often allow for. Too much focus on melanin as a signifier of 'heterogeneity'. What I would be asking is why an ethnic sub-group that has been American for longer than most white Americans still feels excluded. Of course, none of this explains why largely white college students or sports fans riot when their sports teams win...or lose. No idea how heterogeneity impacts that.

One last thing. Europe, which beats both these societies for homogeneity, is considerably more riotous than Australia. Again, some of that is clearly related to issues of race & ethnicity, but most of it isn't. Violence surrounding sport is an interesting example. Australian rules football is the biggest sport in Australia. Every week hundreds of thousands of people go to watch games. I cannot recall a single riot or even large crowd brawl relating to the game. Ever. Might have happened, but it would be a very isolated incident. Rugby league has a slightly worse record, but only slightly. Soccer used to have a bad record, but that was when teams were based around ethnic communities. No one would be surprised that games between Serb & Croat teams used to end in brawls. Since the sport has been restructured such things are much less common & much smaller (in fact, relate to only 1 team in the comp). I've seen riots in Europe over basketball games (granted, if I had to watch so boring a sport live I might get violent) and of course soccer, while Americans & Canadians riot over everything but soccer as best I can work out.

Now that I think of it, maybe Australia is the odd one out, not America. Everyone else is crazy but us. ;)

Bigfella
23 Aug 14,, 02:11
This article covers some of the things I've been discussing. What is interesting here is not who is right or wrong, but the width of the gap in perception. it helps to explain not only why shootings such as this provoke such anger in largely black communities, but why so many other Americans don't understand the reaction.

I would be curious to see the figures on similar questions among the Hispanic community. My bet is that the gap with white America would still be substantial. Concerning that on an issue as fundamental as this the view third of the population most profoundly impacted should be so at odds with the majority. I don't know how you go about dealing with a gap in perception like this


The dispiriting saga from Ferguson, Missouri, provides another tragic window on decades of indifference to economic disparities - and on those fatal split seconds when police see black men as violent criminals rather than citizens. Ferguson raises anew the question of how many more unarmed black men must die before the nation declares this an all-American problem.

As unjustified as the August 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown was, and as much as it has dominated the news, white America has barely shrugged its shoulders. Evidence of that indifference came on Monday when the Pew Research Center released a national survey of attitudes about Ferguson and its meaning.

Asked whether the shooting in Ferguson ’’raises important issues about race’’, 80 percent of black respondents said it did. But only 37 percent of white respondents agreed. And while two-thirds of black people said the police response in the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting went too far, only a third of white people thought so. Only a quarter of white respondents said they had followed the story closely, compared to half of black respondents.

This is similar to Pew’s survey about the shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by neighbourhood vigilante George Zimmerman in a Florida gated community in February 2012. Although 78 percent of black Americans said the Martin shooting raised important issues about race, only 28 percent of white Americans thought so.



Thus the American conscience remains at bottom unperturbed, whether the name is Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, or Eric Garner, the unarmed New York City man choked to death last month by police after allegedly peddling untaxed cigarettes. It matters not that unarmed Amadou Diallo died of 19 New York City police bullets in 1999 or that unarmed Sean Bell died in a hail of 50 police bullets in Queens in 2006.

America remains unmoved to end these atrocities, despite unarmed Timothy Thomas dying from Cincinnati police fire in 2001 or unarmed Oscar Grant being killed by police in Oakland in 2009. Although Boston has not recently drawn national attention for police brutality, it cannot be forgotten how Accelyne Williams was literally scared into a fatal heart attack 20 years ago by a 13-member SWAT team. They burst into the wrong Dorchester apartment looking for drugs and handcuffed the 75-year-old retired black minister, who died 45 minutes later.

For all their valour, police too often remain harsh emissaries of society’s soft indifference, agents more of control than concern. It has been 22 years since the late Rodney King, the most famous modern unarmed black victim of police brutality, asked the wistful question, ’’Can we all get along?’’ The answer is that this nation refuses even to attempt to understand itself, let alone to try to get along.

White Americans take a stunningly Pollyannaish view of inequity, despite worsening income and wealth gaps, a black male unemployment rate double that of white males, continuing job discrimination, disparate prison sentences for non-violent drug offences and Obama-era efforts by Republican-dominated state legislatures to limit voting rights. In a Pew survey on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King jnr's ’’I have a dream’’ speech, only 13 to 16 percent of white Americans saw racial unfairness in workplaces, schools, health care, restaurants, or elections.

When the general white population sees no disparities, it is easy to see how the police, in turn, do not see full human beings in their crosshairs, especially when departments are disproportionately white. USA Today last week reported that nearly two black people a week were killed by white police in a seven-year period ending in 2012, based on its analysis of available FBI data on killings ruled justifiable homicides. Nearly one in five of the black people killed by police were under 21, while only one in 11 white people killed by police was that young.

In recent years, video-game experiments have demonstrated that police - and even college students - are quicker to shoot black people on the stereotyped perception they are more dangerous. Those stereotypes can be overcome with training, but one of the leading psychologists in this field, Joshua Correll of the University of Colorado, said the Ferguson tragedy is a reminder that ’’very few are doing this kind of training’’.

Very few do this kind of training because America has not yet retrained itself on its racial attitudes. There is no sign yet that Ferguson is inspiring national reflection.Only deflection.

Derrick Jackson is a columnist for The Boston Globe.


Read more: Ferguson shooting puts race under the spotlight again (http://www.theage.com.au/comment/ferguson-shooting-puts-race-under-the-spotlight-again-20140820-1064up.html#ixzz3BAWRsUyC)

Monash
23 Aug 14,, 04:16
I am in clear agreement with much of Stossel's article, with a few exceptions:

--Michael Brown, assuming current interpretations of security footage are correct, robbed and bullied a store clerk right before he was killed by police. That may well mean he was violent and dangerous, but even violent people should be brought to trial, not gunned down. And if Michael Brown was a violent danger to the police officer that shot him? Darren Wilson was clearly injured in the confrontation, albeit not to extent that it's been reported. A blanket statement like "violent people should be brought to trial, not gunned down" is disingenuous at best. Even an unarmed person is capable of serious injuring or killing another human being.

--Individual cops may feel threatened -- and may be threatened in the course of doing their jobs -- but they still do not have the right to use more force than is necessary. Too often, panicked or angry cops pump multiple rounds into already-wounded suspects, as appears to have happened to Michael Brown. Too often, already-wounded suspects are not deterred by their injuries and advance upon an officer with clear intent to do harm. The 9mm is not a man-stopper, rather like the .38 that was replaced with the .45ACP for that very reason.

Hmm, part of the solution to the problem Mr Stossel has identified i.e. "panicked or angry cops pump multiple rounds into already-wounded suspects" would be for Police forces around the country to only hire people who don't get panicked/scared/angry when unexpectedly placed in dangerous situations. Perhaps Mr Stossel would like a job in law enforcement - then he can teach and/or demonstrate the appropriate emotional control techniques himself ..... now to the the root cause of the multiple gunshot problem. Usually this comes down to one of two things:

A) You have two or more officers confronting an offender/suspect and one officer (correctly or not) opens fire, one or more of the other officers present then (correctly or not) also open fire, quite possibly instinctively on the basis that if shots were fired there must be a threat even if they don't see it in the single instant they have to make the shoot/don't shoot decision. This comes down to the number of hours spent each year on training in shooting discipline and tactics, experience and even such things as the physiological/personality issues. Some people are better at making decisions under pressure than others. Possible solutions - train GD officers up to SWAT level ($$$ please) and significant cultural change both local PDs and the communities they patrol - or hire Robocops for all your law enforcement needs.

B) A single officer fires multiple times (correctly or not) and continues to fire until such time as the 'threat' has been removed. Here the issues are legal, physical and physiological. Legally any person is entitled to use force (such as is appropriate to the circumstances) only up and till such time as the threat has been removed. So if person X starts a fist fight with person B, person B can't continue to punch/kick person A once A has stopped attacking and is attempting flee. Physical: modern firearms can discharge a large number of rounds in the time it takes for a threat to cease. I would rate my shooting skills as mediocre at best yet even I easily put 5 or 6 rounds in a target in two seconds on the range. Which brings us to the physiological issues. As any hunter will know, in the absence of a direct hit of the central nervous system and sometimes not even then there will often be a brief delay (say a couple of seconds) between the time a game animal is hit and the moment it 'drops'. The animal may already 'dead' on its feet but it still has enough oxygen/blood flow/nerve coordination left to run a short distance.

Same thing goes with people e.g. a LEO can engage someone advancing towards him with a club or knife etc and inflict what postmortem would be regarded as a fatal wound with their first shot. However the body of the attacker doesn't 'know' it's dead yet and his CNS is still functioning, albeit briefly. Unfortunately the LEO who was being 'threatened' doesn't know this either. Result - in the 2-3 seconds it can take for the victim to collapse multiple rounds are fired and as referred to above the officer is entitled to use lethal force up until such time as the 'threat' ceases.

Of course ideally this shouldn't happen but you can't train officers to shoot only once, stop, assess whether their first round has done anything and a threat still exists before shooting again - most of the time you wont even know if you hit something until much later. All shootings are different, sometime an officer might have the chance to shoot once then reassess, usually not though - engagement ranges are usually measured in terms of a couple of yards or metres. So insisting on a one shot/reassess approach would be a recipe for multiple LEO death. In the end often the only 'tell' you have re: the threat ending is when the victim collapses.

None of the above is an excuse for bad/shoot/don't shoot decision making. I just don't see any easy solutions without a whole of nation culture shift on use of force policies and/or technology - I want my phaser and I want it now.

Cheers

PS re: the whole 9mm/.45 stopping power thing. The whole issue is really about shot placement. Law enforcement in Australia use a variety of 9mm and .40 rounds and there hasn't really been much of an issue re: stopping power since they were adopted. I suppose you could in theory 'solve' the stopping power issue by just issuing Police with the hottest/heaviest calibres available e.g .44, .50 short etc. However LEAs have to manage a range of conflicting safety issues including above all else the need to avoid collateral damage and the risk of which is increases as you increase the power of the rounds you use in urban settings.

Triple C
23 Aug 14,, 09:48
There are two trainwrecks in this disaster. The cause of the Brown shooting is yet to be determined. Currently there isn't sufficient information, and such information might never be found, on whom blame should fall. We really don't know whether Brown was moving towards the patrol vehicle to execute an attack or away from it in attempt to flee at the time of the shooting and that seems to me the only legally relevant question.

The other problem which caused the ignition of communal outrage is the lack of professionalism of the various police agencies in St. Louis. Some officers are recorded to taunt protesters by calling them "animals" and telling them to "bring it", giving death threats to journalists, etc. One officer participating in riot control ops is recently outed for being insubordinate on social media, cracking jokes about punching Eric Holder in the face and mocking Captain Johnson, his commander assigned by the Governor. This kind of behavior wouldn't be tolerated in any kind of civilian corporate entity, let along the military. If one lacks the self-control to restrain from mocking your superiors on social media, it's hardly surprising that the locals take objection to having people like this patrolling the streets with guns.

Doktor
23 Aug 14,, 18:09
The Economist got it, too:

37743

Gun Grape
02 Sep 14,, 04:00
Stewart nails it.

Race/Off - The Daily Show - Video Clip | Comedy Central (http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/ufqeuz/race-off)

Monash
02 Sep 14,, 11:10
Media outlets are now reporting that all 50 Ferguson PD patrol officers will now wear donated 'Police cams' while on duty in an effort to help dispel community perceptions/concerns about the way they perform their duties. It will be interesting to see whether this and other measures have made a difference 12 months or so from now after some stats have been collected.