Tuesday, August 12, 2014
UPDATE: Second Night Of Rioting In Missouri Over Death Of Black Teen
Rioting in Ferguson, Missouri continued last night over the death of Michael Brown, 18, who was shot to death in an altercation with the police. The rioting spread to south St. Louis, with a shoe store, a Radio Shack, a bank, convenience stores and and other businesses targeted by gangs of looters who reportedly drove up and appear to have picked out their targets in advance.
The FAA has issued a temporary flight restriction for th earea surrounding Ferguson after a number of shots were fired at a police helicopter.
The name of the police officer involved was supposed to be revealed today, but Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson has refused to do so until actual charges are filed against the officer:
Jackson says this is due to death threats called into the police department and posted on social media.
Jackson also says there are social media rumors swirling with a name of Ferguson police officer, but this is not the name of the officer involved.
Some commentators on online news stories are posting photos claiming that they are the children of the Ferguson police officer, and Jackson says they are not.
The people who are doing this, of course, are the same ones who quiver with indignation when recalling the lynch mobs of the Jim Crow south. Amazing how things stay the same.
To his credit, Michael Brown Sr., the teen's father has been calling for peace and for an end to the violence. But apparently there are lots of people who look on this as a good excuse to act out, and there are others, like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Trayvon Martin lawyer Benjamin Crump swooping in like the vultures they are because they see an opportunity for cash and self-promotion in this tragedy.
We still don't know exactly what happened here. The witnesses are contradictory, with some saying Brown was shot in the car after a struggle over a police officer's weapon, others saying he was running away after being arrested, and others saying he had raised his hands 'in surrender' before being gunned down. We don't know why Brown was arrested, nor do we know if he was impaired or why he attempted to run away if that's what happened. We're going to have to wait for the investigation to be concluded by the FBI and the local police who are working together on this.
Everything I know about police procedure calls for subduing a fleeing unarmed suspect by non-violent means, sometimes quite forcefully.
So I see three possibilities here: (1) the officer involved, a six-year veteran may have had reason to believe Brown was armed (2) for some reason, the officer felt that he or she was unable to subdue Brown in a non-lethal way (Brown was 6'4" and muscular, and we could be talking about a female officer..police hiring practices have changed) and felt it was imperative he be stopped because he was a danger to public safety or (3) the officer simply lost control and overreacted, in which case the justice system will come up with an appropriate disposition.
I have no sympathy whatsoever for people who would use Michael Brown's unfortunate death as an opportunity to riot, destroy other people's property or otherwise cash in.
They deserve the maximum punishment the law allows, and to be shunned by decent society.