Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rebellion in Ferguson update

Ferguson Rebellion addressed by Universal African People’s Organization (2014-08-21) [link]

"Ferguson Police Reportedly Shot Pastor Renita Lamkin With Rubber Bullet During Protest (PHOTOS)"
2014-08-14 by Yasmine Hafiz for "The Huffington Post"[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/ferguson-pastor-shot-police-rubber-bullet_n_5678973.html]:
A pastor said she was shot with a rubber bullet on Wednesday during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, as clashes with police continued over the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
Renita Lamkin, an African Methodist Episcopal church pastor, told The Huffington Post that she was "standing in the middle of the street, with people behind me, and the police were in front of me." Lamkin said she was attempting to mediate between police and protesters the demonstration and told the police, "They're moving, they're leaving."
"And then there was a pop!" she said, as a rubber bullet struck her stomach.
Photos of her injuries have added to protesters' questions about the use of such projectiles, which can cause serious wounds [http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/08/10_tweets_munitions_in_ferguson.html].
Tensions with police have mounted since Brown's death on Saturday as crowds of protestors have demanded accountability and answers. The teen was walking with a friend on the street to his grandmother's house when he was pulled over by an officer. St. Louis police have said the shooting happened after Brown got into an altercation with the officer, whose name has not been released. As protests continue, with many residents saying the shooting was racially charged, images of tear gas, rubber bullets and tanks have horrified Americans watching the news unfold.
A widely circulated Instagram of Lamkin's injuries shows a large, bloody bruise. She said she was hit while standing, because her motto is, "Pray on your feet!"
‏Posted at @iamTnaz [https://twitter.com/iamTnaz/status/499911036950937601]: Rev. Renita Lamkin was praying and protesting with us yesterday and she was shoot with a rubber bullet… [http://instagram.com/p/rrjFXUw891/]

Jon Swaine [https://twitter.com/jonswaine], a reporter with The Guardian, witnessed Lamkin protesting while "calmly repeating, 'Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.'"

According to reports, she was part of a group of people who had gathered outside of the Ferguson Police Department to demand the release of Alderman Antonio French, who was arrested and later released [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/antonio-french_n_5677157.html].
A Vine post said, "This pastor was shot with a 60 cal rubber bullet but she's still here fighting the good fight and protecting others!"

Posted by Tef Poe/FootKlan at @TefPoe [https://twitter.com/TefPoe/status/499768123675795457]: We are outside the Ferguson PD demanding the release of Antonio French [http://instagram.com/p/rqiGDBirjB].

Tef Poe [https://twitter.com/TefPoe], a St. Louis-based recording artist recording many scenes of protest, wrote: [begin excerpt]
For all of those that claim this is a joke or think we are being irrational this lady is a pastor she was praying while they shot her .. We were outside waiting for the release of Antonio French and the armored vehicles showed up ! Tell me why this is acceptable? How is this right ? Mike Brown is more than a trending topic people are out here fighting for his legacy! We will have justice Ferguson Police Department your days are numbered I promise you this!!!!! hands up don't shoot !
[end excerpt]

Lamkin said her main goal was for "everybody to go home. The police and the people." She added, "We're not here to fight the police. We're here to fight the system."
After his release, French shared a picture of Lamkin on Twitter


Lamkin's son, rapper and recording artist Darren Jackson [https://twitter.com/yodarrenjackson], shared a photo of her protesting on Instagram, commenting, "Praying for my mom. Wishing I could be there with you on the front lines."

Lamkin said the best way for people of peace to heal the community's wounds is to "love people, love people. Listen to them."
"All people want is to be validated, to know their lives have value. People just want their voices to be heard," she said. "The people are hurting, and they need to be heard. And if you don't give people the opportunity to be heard, they'll take the opportunity to be heard."

White-American "KKK" calls for reward for security agent who murdered New African in Ferguson, Missouri (2014-08-14) [link]

"Police Murder in Ferguson, Missouri: March on Ferguson Is Needed to Demand Justice!"
2014-08-15 by Jim Hays for "the Organizer":
St. LOUIS -- Walking down the middle of the street in their home town of Ferguson, Missouri, Mike Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were technically jaywalking. But in no way was a violent response, much less a police execution -- which is what Brown's father has called it -- warranted.
There was a time when the residents of the African American community districts in North St. Louis City had better conditions. Many had good jobs with better wages in auto, electrical, ship building, and steel. Entire factories have since closed down or moved out of town. Poverty -- with an overall unemployment rate of 20%; and more than double that for Black youth -- is the order of the day in the suburbs of North St. Louis County.
These are districts that not long ago were predominantly white. But the government structures of these communities do not reflect the changing demographics of these areas. For example, 69% of the population is African American -- but only 16% of the City Council, the mayor, and three city cops are Black. The are no Black members on the Ferguson/Florissant school board.
Police harassment and abuse, especially of Black youth, is commonplace. There is a long record of police brutality by both Ferguson and St. Louis County police. One need only to remember the police murder of Anna Brown in Richmond Heights last year.
The facts of the Michael Brown public execution are well known given the public statements by his friend Dorian Johnson and by Ms. Mitchell, who were eye witnesses to the multiple shooting of this teenager. So far the police has not revealed the name of the killer cop.
The case has now been taken over by the St. Louis County Police Department -- but the community has absolutely no confidence in the ability of the St. Louis cops to police their own. Many community leaders and Black politicians have called for a federal investigation. Yet these investigations take a long time and often result in the cover-up of truth and justice.
What is really needed is an immediate National March of labor and community leaders in Ferguson to demand full justice for Michael Brown. An important step in this direction would be the creation of an independent civilian police review board with subpeona powers in St. Louis County.
What's also needed in the North County of St. Louis are independent labor-Black community candidates for City Council and school boards!
Bring to Justice the Murderer of Michael Brown!
For a National March on Ferguson!
For independent labor-community candidates in North St. Louis County!
UPDATE (August 15): The St. Louis City police were withdrawn from Ferguson on August 14, and the state's highway patrol has taken over, headed by a Black officer. Promises have been made that the name of the officer who murdered Michael Brown will be released and that reforms of the police department will be instituted. Labor and community activists in North County and elsewhere know full well that no changes will take place if there aren't powerful, independent mass actions to demand that the killer cop be brought to justice and an independent civilian review board is put into place. -- J.H.

"Ferguson Police Busted – Attempt To Defame Shooting Victim Blows Up In Their Face (VIDEO)"
2014-08-18 by Nathaniel Downes [www.addictinginfo.org/2014/08/18/ferguson-pd-busted]:
When the Ferguson police department released the name of Darren Wilson, they also chose to release video footage which they claimed was of Michael Brown robbing a convenience store for some cigars.

The problem is, the video shows Michael Brown at the register, paying for the cigars.
"Michael Brown, Ferguson Victim Paid For His Rellos" [http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=maA1FUJqhew]:
From observation, it looks as if he had tried to buy more, but then was unable to afford it, hence why he left several packets on the counter. This prompted the store owner to come out from behind the counter and have a discussion with him, which prompted the shove witnessed in the full video.
Whatever words were exchanged between the man in the video and the store owner, they were not considered very serious, as the store owner nor the employees did not report a theft at the store [http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/18/1322560/-Ferguson-Store-Owner-Says-NO-ONE-From-His-Store-Called-Cops-To-Report-Cigar-Theft]. According to the stores attorney, the owners were bewildered when the police approached them demanding the surveillance tapes.
The store owners are now afraid of themselves becoming a target, due to the Ferguson PD’s attempt to tie their store to the fateful shooting. A gross abuse of police authority, one which now puts someone else at risk.
Even if Michael Brown were a petty thief, this does not excuse the cold-blooded shooting death of the 18-year-old. Of course the right-wing took the robbery claim at face value, and began labeling Michael Brown as a ‘thug‘ who did not deserve due process.
But instead it looked like he was a teenager who was enjoying a few cigars which he purchased at the local store. The store owners did not claim he stole from them. Video evidence shows him paying for the cigars found on him. The police attempt to paint Michael Brown as anything but a victim is a complete and total fraud.
Michael Brown was to start college last Monday, and was preparing to start his own business upon graduation [http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/11/justice/michael-brown-missouri-teen-shot/]. Officer Wilson cut short a promising young man before he could truly get his start in the world. It is a story so tragic due not to this isolated case, but for how common this is in America [http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/08/17/its-not-just-ferguson-a-white-police-officer-kills-a-black-person-nearly-two-times-a-week-in-america/].
The United States is racing the results of decades of legitimized racism. Ever since President Reagan made it ok to bash the poor, so long as they were black [http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/10/14/welfare-queen-myth-must-die/], the progress in race relations in this country has been undone. Now we are facing the obvious result of this criminalization of African-Americans in the US. Is it not time to say enough is enough, and stop putting the blame on the victims?

The Police report

Amanda Wills
6:01 PM - 19 Aug 2014
Armored trucks and police dogs already in place in #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/iZnmIbXRhF

Armored Tanks In Ferguson
CNN's Anderson Cooper reports that armored tanks could be seen in Ferguson as night fell on the embattled Missouri town.
Unrest has shaken Ferguson in the days following the shooting death of a black teenager at the hands of a police officer.

"Veteran Cop: 'If You Don't Want To Get Shot,' Shut Up"
2014-08-19 posted by Nick Wing at [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/ferguson-pastor-shot-police-rubber-bullet_n_5678973.html#666_veteran-cop-if-you-dont-want-to-get-shot-shut-up]:
Sunil Dutta, a 17-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and professor of homeland security at Colorado Tech University, has a suggestion for victims of police violence searching for someone to blame: Look in the mirror.
In a column published Tuesday in The Washington Post titled, "I’m a cop. If you don’t want to get hurt, don’t challenge me," Dutta responds to mounting criticism of the policing tactics on display in Ferguson, Missouri, amid the hyper-militarization of law enforcement and accusations that officers have violated the First Amendment rights of both demonstrators and journalists covering the events. In a particularly telling passage, Dutta argues that citizens could deter police brutality if they were simply more cooperative, even when they're unjustly targeted.
"Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you," he writes. "Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?"

"ACLU: Ferguson police report on Michael Brown's death violates law; Heavily-redacted document omits key public information"
2014-08-22 by Jason Sickles for "Yahoo News" [http://news.yahoo.com/ferguson-releases-incomplete-police-report-on-death-of-michael-brown-221844542.html]:
A police report on the death of Michael Brown is missing key information and violates Missouri open records laws, an ACLU attorney told Yahoo News on Friday.
The two-page document, which the Ferguson Police Department released only after pressure from journalists and civil liberties advocates, is largely redacted or left blank. The most egregious omissions are the victim’s name and a description of the offense – the fatal shooting of Brown.
“They are breaking the law,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri.
The report, obtained by Yahoo News through the Missouri Sunshine Law, lists only the date, time and location. Fields for the type of incident, name of the complainant, and a summary of the circumstances are redacted.
“I’ve never seen an incident report that didn’t contain a description of the incident, at least on some basic level,” said Don Tittle, a veteran Texas civil and criminal attorney. “It makes you wonder if they don’t want to commit to a story.”
(Offense report filed by the Ferguson Police Department in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown, 18, was killed by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. The shooting is under investigation [http://www.scribd.com/doc/237538105/Michael-Brown-Offense-Report].)

(Offense report filed by the St. Louis County Police Department in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown, 18, was killed by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. The shooting is under investigation [www.scribd.com/doc/237539197/St-Louis-County-Offense-Report].)
The report comes nearly two weeks after Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, in broad daylight in the middle of a residential street.
Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson has said Wilson was attempting to get Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, to stop walking in the middle of the street when the officer realized the pair fit the description of suspects being sought in the theft of cigars from a nearby convenience store.
A scuffle ensued and, according to Jackson, a shot was fired inside the officer’s squad car as Brown attempted to grab Wilson’s gun.
But Johnson has told reporters that it was Wilson who was the aggressor and that Brown never went for the weapon. Instead, Johnson says Wilson shot his friend while Brown was trying to flee but had stopped and put his hands up in surrender.
The death has sparked nightly protests in the mostly-black St. Louis suburb. Allegations of racism and a lack of transparency about the shooting have been at the heart of sometimes violent clashes between demonstrators and police. Chief Jackson waited nearly a week before revealing the name of the officer who shot Brown at least six times.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit to try and compel Ferguson to make the disclosure [http://www.aclu-mo.org/download_file/view_inline/1262/535/]. But their attorney told Yahoo News that the incomplete police report just adds to the mistrust in Ferguson.
“It doesn’t tell us anything,” Rothert said. “We have to imagine what is there because it is all redacted.”
Missouri’s Sunshine Law [http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C600-699/6100000100.HTM] states law enforcement agencies must promptly provide incident reports that include among other things, “name of the victim and immediate facts and circumstances surrounding the initial report of a crime or incident.”
Devin James, a contract spokesperson hired by the City of Ferguson since Brown’s death, told Yahoo News that questions about the report’s missing information “are beyond the scope of what my team can respond to.” He referred questions to City Attorney Stephanie Karr, who didn’t immediately reply.
Officer Wilson, 28, is on paid leaving pending the outcome of multiple investigations. A St. Louis County Circuit Court grand jury began hearing testimony about the shooting this week. The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating possible civil rights violations.
The state investigation is being conducted by the St. Louis County Police Department. A copy of their offense report does list Brown as the victim, but doesn’t give a summary of what happened [http://www.scribd.com/doc/237539197/St-Louis-County-Offense-Report].
The county’s report reveals that the larger metro department didn’t receive a call on the Aug. 9 shooting until 12:43 p.m., about 40 minutes after Brown was killed.
“So we have no idea what happened during those 43 minutes,” Rothert said. “It just adds to the complete lack of transparency about what happened.”
Last week, Chief Jackson gave members of the media 19 pages of police documents, photos and video from a convenience store robbery that occurred shortly before the fatal shooting. Police said they believe Brown and Johnson had just stolen cigars at the store before crossing paths with Officer Wilson on their way home.
“They have obviously taken the shooting of Michael Brown less seriously than the alleged robbery of cigarillos,” Rothert said. “That’s pretty disturbing.”

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