The Washington Post Reports: Federal Civil Rights Charges Unlikely Against Darren Wilson In Ferguson Murder of Michael Brown.


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From The Washington Post, who don’t know jack shit:

 

Federal civil rights charges unlikely against police officer in Ferguson shooting

 

October 31

 

Justice Department investigators have all but concluded they do not have a strong enough case to bring civil rights charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., according to law enforcement officials.

 

When racial tension boiled over in Ferguson after the Aug. 9 shooting, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. traveled to the St. Louis suburb to meet with city leaders and protest organizers in an effort to bring calm. He assured them that the federal government would open a civil rights investigation into the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, but that investigation now seems unlikely to result in any charges.

 

“The evidence at this point does not support civil rights charges against Officer Wilson,” said one person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

 

Justice Department officials are loath to acknowledge publicly that their case cannot now meet the high legal threshold for a successful civil rights prosecution. The timing is sensitive: Tensions are high in greater St. Louis as people await the results of a grand jury’s review of the case.

 

Many supporters of Brown say they are already convinced there will be no state-level indictment of the officer. Federal officials have wanted to show that they are conducting a full and fair review of the case.

Justice spokesman Brian Fallon said the case remains open and any discussion of its results is premature. “This is an irresponsible report by The Washington Post that is based on idle speculation,” Fallon said in a statement.

 

Other law enforcement officials interviewed by The Post said it was not too soon to say how the investigation would end. “The evidence we have makes federal civil rights charges unlikely,” one said.

 

A lawyer for the family of Michael Brown, Benjamin L. Crump, said he would not comment “on something that is not official.”

 

James P. Towey Jr., Wilson’s attorney, did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment.

 

The Justice Department is continuing its broad investigation of the policing practices of the Ferguson Police Department, which could result in wholesale reforms and reorganization. The department on Friday announced an agreement with the city of Albuquerque intended to overhaul the way its police department uses force, the result of one such civil rights investigation.

 

At a forum this week organized by the Aspen Institute and the Atlantic, Holder indicated that similar reform could be called for in Ferguson.“It’s pretty clear that the need for wholesale change in that department is appropriate,” Holder said.

 

Federal law sets a high bar in bringing civil rights charges against a police officer because prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer intended to violate someone’s constitutional rights.

Authorities faced a similar challenge in the investigation of George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. Under federal law for hate crimes, prosecutors have to show that someone has been victimized intentionally because of a racial or other bias.

 

Law enforcement officials have said privately that there is insufficient evidence to bring federal charges in that case, although the two-year probe technically remains open.

 

The investigation of the Brown shooting is being conducted by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under a federal statute that makes it a crime for a person with government authority — the legal term is “acting under color of any law” — to “willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

 

Sometimes the department is successful. In 2010 prosecutors won convictions of two New Orleans police officers for civil rights violations in connection with the killing of a man and the burning of his body during the disruption that followed Hurricane Katrina. The officers have appealed their convictions.

 

Holder and other officials have decried recent news reports about investigative findings in the Ferguson case that have revealed new but conflicting details about the three-minute encounter between Wilson and Brown. Some of those details potentially corroborate the officer’s accountthat the killing was an act of self-defense and could complicate a civil rights case against Wilson.

 

The St. Louis County autopsy report, published Oct. 21 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was interpreted by some forensic pathologists as indicating that Brown may have struggled for control of Wilson’s gun during their initial altercation, but they also said the evidence was inconclusive.

 

After two shots were fired inside Wilson’s patrol vehicle, the officer got out and Brown fled but later turned around as Wilson continued firing. Some pathologists said the report indicates — but not conclusively — that Brown’s hands were not over his head. Several witnesses said his arms were raised in surrender when the officer shot him again.

 

Rachel A. Harmon, a law professor at the University of Virginia and a former prosecutor in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said it is especially challenging to prove a civil rights case beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

“There is an extra burden in federal civil rights cases because the statute requires that the defendant acted ‘willfully,’ ” Harmon said. “It is not enough to prove that he used too much force. You have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did so willfully.”

 

Harmon also said that if Wilson “genuinely believed he was acting in self-defense,” then his actions are not considered “willful,” meaning he did not intend to deprive Brown of his constitutional rights.

 

Brown was shot a total of nine times, including three times in the head, according to the county autopsy.

 

Dorian Johnson, the 22-year-old who was with Brown when the two encountered Wilson, has said the officer was the aggressor and did not act in self defense.

 

David Klinger, a former Los Angeles police officer and professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said enduring disputes over what happened likely raise reasonable doubt that would make a successful civil rights prosecution almost impossible.

 

“The autopsy report is devastating because it raises doubts about him standing still with his hands in the air in surrender,” said Klinger, who shot and killed a suspect in the line of duty when he was an officer. “If you have a halfway competent lawyer, the defense could raise reasonable doubt with this.”

 

Samuel Bagenstos, a former Justice Department principal deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights and now a law professor at the University of Michigan, said that the obstacles prosecutors face in the Ferguson case are typical, as are the frustrations of Brown’s supporters.

 

It is common to have a situation “that looks like a constitutional violation and may well be an injustice,” Bagenstos said. “But sometimes the Justice Department does not have the ability to bring a civil rights case under the statutes it enforces.”

 

Now for some facts and truth in reporting……..

 

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Ferguson Grand Jury Leaks Crucial Information From The Michael Brown Case. Prosecutor and Grand Jury Should Be Dismissed.

 

Ferguson Grand Jury Leaks Crucial Information From The Michael Brown Case

 

Published on Oct 23, 2014

Joe Madison The Black Eagle. The grand jury in the Michael Brown Ferguson, MO case has leaked serveral key pieces of information from their deliberations. Madison is calling for the grand jury to be dismissed and for a new group to be selected.

 

 

 

Brown’s Autopsy Report Was Taken Out Of Context, Says Forensics Expert

 

Published on Oct 23, 2014

“Judy Melinek, one of the forensic experts who was quoted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday about the Michael Brown autopsy report, is taking issue with how the newspaper portrayed her comments.

The key piece of Melinek’s analysis, according to the Post-Dispatch’s original report, was that the report of Brown’s autopsy ‘supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound. If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun.’” *

 

 

 

Michael Brown Autopsy Facts & Truth:

 

It appears CNN has decided to out right lie about an autopsy report “leaked” TO CNN, the #FergusonOctober protest and everything Black in general. The MilitantNegro™ will not allow CNN to lie.

 

Michael Brown Autopsy Results by Doctor Baden

 

Published on Aug 20, 2014

There has been some false info and altered images circulated surrounding Mike Brown’s physical body. Watch this video for the source findings. Spend the 20 minutes to understand what medical and science professionals know about the shooting of Michael Brown.

 

 

 

New Michael Brown shooting Contractors Witnesses describe Scene

 

 

 

 

Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck At Least 6 Times

 

From The New York Times:

 

Autopsy Shows Michael Brown Was Struck at Least 6 Times

 

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By FRANCES ROBLES and JULIE BOSMANAUG. 17, 2014

 

FERGUSON, Mo. — Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a police officer, sparking protests around the nation, was shot at least six times, including twice in the head, a preliminary private autopsy performed on Sunday 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 Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, who flew toMissouri 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, 18, was also shot four times in the right arm, he said, adding that all the bullets were fired into his front.

 

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

 

Dr. Michael Baden, right, and Prof. Shawn Parcells in Ferguson, Mo. Dr. Baden, based in New York, examined Michael Brown. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Dr. Michael Baden, right, and Prof. Shawn Parcells in Ferguson, Mo. Dr. Baden, based in New York, examined Michael Brown. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said 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.”

 

The preliminary autopsy results are the first time that some of the critical information resulting in Mr. Brown’s death has been made public. Thousands of protesters demanding information and justice for what was widely viewed as a reckless shooting took to the streets here in rallies that ranged from peaceful to violent.

 

Mr. Brown died last week in a confrontation with a police officer here in this suburb of St. Louis.

 

The police department has come under harsh criticism for refusing to clarify the circumstances of the shooting and for responding to protests with military-style operational gear.

 

“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Dr. Baden said in an interview after performing the autopsy. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”

 

Dr. Baden said that while Mr. Brown was shot at least six times, only three bullets were recovered from his body. But he has not yet seen the X-rays showing where the bullets were found, which would clarify the autopsy results. Nor has he had access to witness and police statements.

 

Dr. Baden provided a diagram of the entry wounds, and noted that the six shots produced numerous wounds. Some of the bullets entered and exited several times, including one that left at least five different wounds.

 

“This one here looks like his head was bent downward,” he said, indicating the wound at the very top of Mr. Brown’s head. “It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”

 

He stressed that his information does not assign blame or justify the shooting.
“We need more information; for example, the police should be examining the automobile to see if there is gunshot residue in the police car,” he said.

 

Dr. Baden, 80, is a well-known New York-based medical examiner, who is one of only about 400 board-certified forensic pathologists in the nation. He reviewed the autopsies of both President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and has performed more than 20,000 autopsies himself.

 

He is best known for having hosted the HBO show “Autopsy,” but he rankles when he is called a “celebrity medical examiner,” saying that the vast majority of what he does has nothing to do with celebrities.

 

Dr. Baden said that because of the tremendous attention to the case, he waived his $10,000 fee.

 

Prof. Shawn L. Parcells, a pathologist assistant based in Kansas, assisted Dr. Baden.

 

“You do this for the families,” Mr. Parcells said.

 

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The two medical experts conducted the four-hour examination Sunday at the Austin A. Layne Mortuary in St. Louis. Benjamin L. Crump, a lawyer for Mr. Brown’s family who paid their travel expenses, hired them.

 

“The sheer number of bullets and the way they were scattered all over his body showed this police officer had a brazen disregard for the very people he was supposed to protect in that community,” Mr. Crump said. “We want to make sure people understand what this case is about: This case is about a police officer executing a young unarmed man in broad daylight.”

 

A spokesman for the Ferguson Police Department, Tim Zoll, said the police had not seen a report of the autopsy and therefore had no comment on it.

 

Dr. Baden said he consulted with the St. Louis County medical examiner before conducting the autopsy.

 

One of the bullets shattered Mr. Brown’s right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone. The last two shots in the head would have stopped him in his tracks and were likely the last fired.

 

Mr. Brown, he said, would not have survived the shooting even if he had been taken to a hospital right away. The autopsy indicated that he was otherwise healthy.

 

Dr. Baden said it was unusual for the federal government to conduct a third autopsy, but dueling examinations often occur when there is so much distrust of the authorities. The county of St. Louis has conducted an autopsy, and the results have not yet been released.

 

He stressed that his examination was not to determine whether the shooting was justified.

 

“In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police, I would say, ‘You’re not supposed to shoot so many times,’ ” said Dr. Baden, who retired from the state police in 2011. “Right now there is too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting.”

 

No matter what conclusions can be drawn from Dr. Baden’s work, Mr. Brown’s death remains marked by shifting and contradictory accounts more than a week after it occurred. The shooting is under investigation by St. Louis County and by the F.B.I., working with the Justice Department’s civil rights division and the office of Attorney General Holder.
According to what has emerged so far, on Saturday, Aug. 9, Mr. Brown, along with a companion, Dorian Johnson, was walking in the middle of Canfield Drive, a fistful of cigarillos in Mr. Brown’s hand, police say, which a videotape shows he stole from a liquor store on West Florissant Ave.

 

At 12:01 p.m., they were stopped by Darren Wilson, a police officer, who ordered them off the road and onto the sidewalk, Mr. Johnson, who is 22, later said.

 

The police have said that what happened next was a physical struggle between Mr. Brown and Officer Wilson that left the officer with a swollen face. Mr. Johnson and others have said that it was a case of racial profiling and police aggression from a white officer toward a black man. Within minutes, Mr. Brown, who was unarmed, was dead of gunshot wounds.

 

The sequence of events provided by law enforcement officials places Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson at Ferguson Market and Liquors, a store several blocks away on West Florissant Ave., at about 11:50 a.m. After leaving the store with the cigarillos, the two walked north on West Florissant, a busy commercial thoroughfare, toward Canfield Drive, a clerk reported to the police.

 

Mr. Brown was a big man at 6-foot-4 and 292 pounds, though his family and friends described him as quiet and shy, a homebody who lived with his grandmother.

 

It is about a 10-minute walk from Ferguson Market to the spot where Officer Wilson, 28, with six years’ experience, approached Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson.

 

The police tell of an officer who was enforcing the minor violation of jaywalking, as Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson ignored the sidewalk and strolled down the middle of the road instead.

 

The morning after the shooting, Chief Jon Belmar of the St. Louis County police said that Officer Wilson was leaving his police car when Mr. Brown “allegedly pushed the police officer back into the car,” where he “physically assaulted the police officer.”

 

“Within the police car there was a struggle over the officer’s weapon,” Chief Belmar said. “There was at least one shot fired in the car.” At that point, the police said, Officer Wilson left his vehicle and fatally shot Mr. Brown. “More than a few” shell casings were recovered from the scene.

 

Mr. Johnson, who declined to be interviewed, has described the events differently in television interviews. While he and Mr. Brown walked, he said, Officer Wilson stopped his vehicle and told them to get on the sidewalk. When they refused, Officer Wilson slammed on his brakes and drove in reverse to get closer.

 

When the officer opened his door, it hit Mr. Brown. With his left hand, Officer Wilson reached out and grabbed Mr. Brown by the neck, Mr. Johnson said.

 

“It’s like tug-of-war,” Mr. Johnson said. “He’s trying to pull him in. He’s pulling away, that’s when I heard, ‘I’m gonna shoot you.’ ”

 

A neighbor, Tiffany Mitchell, said in an interview with MSNBC that she heard tires squeal, then saw Mr. Brown and Officer Wilson “wrestling” through the open car window. A shot went off from within the car, Mr. Johnson said, and the two began to run away from the officer.

 

According to Ms. Mitchell, “The officer gets out of his vehicle,” she said, pursuing Mr. Brown, then continued to shoot.

 

Mr. Johnson said that he hid behind a parked car and that Mr. Brown was struck by a bullet in his back as he ran away, an account that Dr. Baden’s autopsy appears to contradict.

 

“Michael’s body jerks as if he was hit,” Ms. Mitchell said, “and then he put his hands up.” Mr. Brown turned, Mr. Johnson said, raised his hands, and said, “I don’t have a gun, stop shooting!”

 

Officer Wilson continued to fire and Mr. Brown crumpled to the ground, Mr. Johnson said. Within seconds, confusion and horror swept through Canfield Drive. On that Saturday afternoon, dozens of neighbors were at home and rushed out of their apartments when they heard gunshots.

 

One person who claimed to witness the shooting began posting frantic messages on Twitter, written hastily with shorthand and grammatical errors, only two minutes after Officer Wilson approached Mr. Brown. At 12:03 p.m., the person, identified as @TheePharoah, a St. Louis-area rapper, wrote on Twitter that he had just seen someone die.

 

That same minute, he wrote, “Im about to hyperventilate.”

 

At 12:23 p.m., he wrote, “dude was running and the cops just saw him. I saw him die bruh.”

 

A 10-minute video posted on YouTube appeared to be taken on a cellphone by someone who identified himself as a neighbor. The video, which has collected more than 225,000 views, captures Mr. Brown’s body, the yellow police tape that marked off the crime scene and the residents standing behind it.

 

“They shot that boy ’cause they wanted to,” said one woman who can be heard on the video.

 

“They said he had his hands up and everything,” said the man taking the video, speaking to a neighbor.

 

Mr. Brown’s body remained in the street for several hours, a delay that Chief Jackson said last week made him “uncomfortable.” Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who has been active in this case, said on ABC on Sunday that the body had remained in the street for nearly five hours.

 

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At one point, a woman can be heard shouting, “Where is the ambulance? Where is the ambulance?” The man taking the video, who remained off-camera, said, “God rest his soul. He’s gone.”

 

Thank you The New York Times

The above autopsy report released on August 17th, 2014 makes this autopsy report from The Washington Post, garbage, exactly like the Washington Post, who should stick to reporting the news and not predicting the news.

 

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Remember the days when ALL media reporting was reliable, honest, fact based and truthful? Remember when we trusted and believed what was reported in newspapers, TV reports and radio newscasts? Those days are long gone. MSNBC, CNN, Fox and even PBS have all made serious speculation errors in the recent past. Who can you trust to report facts, researched news and tell us what is and not what “they” want it to be?

 

If the Washington Post can’t supply anything other than “one person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity”, why not sit their asses down and shut the fuck up, until they have a source they can name? Now read this…..”Justice spokesman Brian Fallon said the case remains open and any discussion of its results is premature. “This is an irresponsible report by The Washington Post that is based on idle speculation,” Fallon said in a statement.”

 

Mr. Fallon is a NAME who speaks without “condition of anonymity.” Like I said, Washington Post, sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.

 

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Rashad Robinson, ColorOfChange.org: #JusticeForMikeBrown


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A grand jury announcement in the case against Police Officer Darren Wilson is expected any day now — and recent reports seem to indicate that Wilson will not be charged for killing Mike Brown.1 It’s painfully unjust and a direct result of Governor Nixon’s failure to lead. Instead of intervening in prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s mishandling of this case, Governor Nixon has chosen to sit idly by.

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There is still time for Gov. Nixon to do what’s needed to secure justice for Mike Brown. Will you demand a special prosecutor before it’s too late?

 

Unless Gov. Nixon takes action, Darren Wilson will not be held fully accountable.Prosecutor McCulloch has refused to step aside or provide Mike Brown’s family with a fair and just trial of their son’s killer. But Gov. Nixon has both the responsibility and influence to move McCulloch off the case and restore integrity to Missouri’s criminal justice system.

 

Last week, Governor Nixon responded to growing public outrage by announcing a Ferguson Commission to investigate the economic and social conditions “underscored by the fallout to Brown’s death.”2 However, the commission has no power to enforce change and does nothing to make our communities any safer. Instead of a toothless political initiative, we need Gov. Nixon to show the necessary leadership to intervene and secure a special prosecutor. Every day, since Mike Brown’s death and the tragic St. Louis police killing of VonDerrit Myers Jr. and Kajieme Powell, inspired Missouri youth have been out on the streets organizing around a bold vision of America that is free of racially-motivated police and vigilante violence.3 It’s time for Governor Nixon to follow their courageous example.

 

Justice in Missouri starts with justice for Mike Brown. Take action to help increase pressure on Gov. Nixon to protect the civil and human rights of Black Missourians.

 

Thanks and peace,

—Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Lyla, Jamar and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
October 29th, 2014

 

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From Josh Michtom

Public defender, bandleader, father. Thinking about class, race, language, and law. Hartford, Connecticut.

 

Excessive Use of Force Isn’t About Rogue Cops. It’s About Policy.

 

White fear and a presumption of black dangerousness are built into the way police and courts operate.

 

A few years ago in juvenile court, a police officer was testifying about approaching my client, a teenager who more or less fit the description of someone who had recently stolen a pack of gum from a convenience store. At about 11:00 a.m. on a Sunday in the summer, my client, along with two other young men, was sitting on the front steps of an apartment building. When the police car pulled up to the curb in front of them, none of the three men reacted. They just sat there talking. When the door to the cruiser opened, no one ran. No one reached for a gun. According to the officer’s testimony, the three didn’t even seem to look up. Then, the cop testified, he drew his gun and pointed it at the three men as he walked toward them.

“Had any of the men made any suspicious movements?” I asked.

“No,” said the cop.

“Did you have any reason to think the men were armed?”

“No.”

“So why did you draw your gun?”

Trial lawyers are taught never to ask a question to which they don’t already know the answer, and I was breaking that rule when I asked the last question. But I figured no possible answer could hurt my client. Still, the cop’s answer stunned me:

“I was outnumbered.”

I looked around the courtroom, making a show of quietly counting on my fingers the other people there – the court reporter, opposing counsel, the clerk, the judge. Then I asked the officer, “Are you outnumbered right now?”

It is hard to imagine moving through the world and seeing every other human being around you, no matter how ordinary, as a threat. If I lived like that, I wouldn’t leave the house. But police are trained to see the world that way, and for at least fifty years, our courts have ratified their worldview.

In court decisions and training manuals, the term “officer safety” comes up again and again, a shorthand for the inoffensive notion that cops have an inviolable prerogative to use force to protect themselves. But “officer safety” exists as a concept because we believe in a complementary but more sinister concept: civilian dangerousness. In a highly segregated society with a 400-year history of white fear of black violence, where criminality and blackness are deeply intertwined in the imagination of the majority, civilian dangerousness means black dangerousness. Culture teaches the members of our disproportionately white police forces to view young men of color with fear and suspicion. Police training reinforces the idea that every interaction with a civilian is a tactical operation fraught with peril. This is a recipe for interactions that turn into violent confrontations. This is our policy, and we are seeing its logical results around the country.


White fear of black men has a very long history in this country, and innumerable innocents have seen the business end of a noose because of it. But the police procedures and legal presumptions that enshrine white fear today began to calcify in the 1960s. Toward the end of that decade, black Americans found themselves in possession of a series of long overdue legal victories that seemed to be good only on paper. The Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act were the law of the land, but the South and much of the North still operated by the law of a sheriff’s gun. School integration, too, was a battle won and yet lost. And of course, the unfair economic advantages of centuries of oppression were only being refined and entrenched, as TaNehisi Coates has eloquently explained. So when urban black America was finally convulsed by the sort of violence that we would expect from anyone in the face of such vicious and unceasing abuse, many white Americans, the bulk of them probably apolitical, some of them supporters of the civil rights movement, were suddenly and decidedly afraid.

Not surprisingly, then, white flight hit its stride in the 1960s, timed perfectly to fuel the burgeoning suburbanization that the interstate system had made possible. Then, in the 1970s, the manufacturing economy that had drawn blacks from the South began to fizzle. The cities, which had lately become appreciably blacker, now became appreciably poorer as well. A divide was growing in this country, between the suburban, predominantly white middle class and the urban, predominantly black working class. Into this climate came police militarization: as Tamara Knopper and Mariame Kaba observe in Jacobin, “[T]he militarization of US police can be traced back to the mid1960s. . . The social anxiety and fear engendered by the Vietnam War and domestic urban rebellions led by black people provided license for the police to turn these new products on the marginalized populations of inner-city America.”

As downtowns deteriorated, suburban whites had fewer and fewer reasons to visit cities at all, and less and less contact with people of color. It became easier and easier to imagine black Americans as a faceless horde, unified in their hostility toward authority in general and white people in particular, and cloistered in fetid cities that were to be avoided at all costs. It wasn’t an accident that when Boston’s seedy downtown entertainment district was dubbed the “Combat Zone” by journalists in the 1960s, the name stuck – the concept of city-as-war zone resonated in the suburbs. At the same time, Readers Digest and Look began a sporadic series of salacious stories on urban welfare fraud. In 1976, Ronald Reagan, who probably did the scary-urban-black-people trope better than anyone in politics, made the largely fictional phenomenon of “welfare queens” the signal element in distinguishing himself from Jimmy Carter. By 1980, Billy Joel could catalog his own craziness in a song with just three examples: “been stranded in the Combat Zone,” “walked through Bedford Stuy alone,” and “rode my motorcycle in the rain” – never mind that the people who lived in Bed Stuy had to walk through the neighborhood alone all the time. Joel was a suburban white person singing to other suburban white people, and they knew what he meant.

The development and institutionalization of this social anxiety can be neatly tracked just by looking at decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, where “officer safety” has developed into a talisman to be invoked against any restraint on the exercise of police power. By expanding, again and again, what may be done in the name of officer safety, the Court has made manifest its perception that there is a corresponding growth in the danger posed to police by civilians, and the measures that police must take to protect themselves. In practically every case that has defined this body of law, the civilian involved was black.

The high court considered police officer safety as a justification for a cop’s action for the first time in 1968, in the landmark case of Terry v. Ohio. That case involved a veteran beat cop who noticed two men standing on a street corner in downtown Cleveland in 1963. Here is how the Supreme Court explained the beginning of the encounter:

At the hearing on the motion to suppress this evidence, Officer McFadden testified that while he was patrolling in plain clothes in downtown Cleveland at approximately 2:30 in the afternoon of October 31, 1963, his attention was attracted by two men, Chilton and Terry, standing on the corner of Huron Road and Euclid Avenue. He had never seen the two men before, and he was unable to say precisely what first drew his eye to them. However, he testified that he had been a policeman for 39 years and a detective for 35 and that he had been assigned to patrol this vicinity of downtown Cleveland for shoplifters and pickpockets for 30 years. He explained that he had developed routine habits of observation over the years and that he would “stand and watch people or walk and watch people at many intervals of the day.” He added: “Now, in this case when I looked over they didn’t look right to me at the time.”

Detective McFadden followed Terry and Chilton, who seemed to be taking turns walking down the street, looking into a shop window, and then returning to the corner. The officer thought they might be preparing a robbery. Ultimately, the officer approached Chilton, Terry, and another man, Katz, who had all gathered in front of the store. The officer asked them their names, they answered, and then, without saying anything else, he patted each one down and discovered that Terry and Chilton had a gun each.

From this set of facts, the Supreme Court drew the following conclusion: “We cannot say his decision at that point to seize Terry and pat his clothing for weapons was the product of a volatile or inventive imagination, or was undertaken simply as an act of harassment; the record evidences the tempered act of a policeman who in the course of an investigation had to make a quick decision as to how to protect himself and others from possible danger, and took limited steps to do so.” And thus was born the Terry stop – the idea that police can conduct a warrantless search if they have a reasonable suspicion that there is a threat to their safety.

Since then, the breadth of what officer safety will justify has expanded. In 1973, in United States v. Robinson, the Court upheld an officer’s full search of a man who was being arrested for driving with a revoked license. This wasn’t just a search for weapons — the officer did that and found none. Instead, after finding no weapons, the cop took a cigarette pack from the man’s pocket, opened it, and found heroin inside. Still, the justification for that search was officer safety, which the court felt was only properly protected by full searches for any arrestable offense. The court declined to accept the notion “that persons arrested for the offense of driving while their licenses have been revoked are less likely to possess dangerous weapons than are those arrested for other crimes.” Think about that: the Supreme Court said that anyone stopped for any arrestable crime (jaywalking, say, or selling untaxed cigarettes) is as likely to present an immediate danger to police as a person arrested for murder or armed robbery. It’s a bold step away from the circumstances of Terry, where the officer had some concrete reasons to think an armed robbery might be in the offing. In Robinson, the Supreme Court said, in essence, “every suspect is dangerous.” And of course, it is the police who determine who the suspects are.

By 1977, officer safety had become a reflexive invocation entirely divorced from specific facts. In Pennsylvania v. Mimms, the Court extended Robinson beyond arrestable offenses to any interaction between a cop and a person in a car, saying that a routine traffic stop was enough justification for an officer to order a driver out of the car and pat him down, even without actual indications of danger. “The State freely concedes the officer had no reason to suspect foul play from the particular driver at the time of the stop, there having been nothing unusual or suspicious about his behavior. It was apparently his practice to order all drivers out of their vehicles as a matter of course whenever they had been stopped for a traffic violation.” But, said the high Court, “we think it too plain for argument that the State’s proffered justification – the safety of the officer – is both legitimate and weighty.”

In the nine years between Terry and Mimms, the danger faced by police on the job had grown, in the perception of the Supreme Court, from something to be conceded only in particular circumstances (men who appeared to be preparing for an armed robbery) to something to be presumed whenever cops interacted with civilians. And who were those civilians? When the Supreme Court quoted Detective McFadden’s testimony that Chilton and Terry “didn’t look right” to him, it left out another detail revealed in the same hearing: they were black. So, too, were Willie Robinson and Harry Mimms.

In 1989, the Supreme Court synthesized some of its accumulated ideas about officer safety in Graham v. Connor, a case involving a man who sued the police for using excessive force in detaining him. Most importantly, the Court ruled that police use of force should be judged not from the perspective of a judge or an ordinary citizen, but from the viewpoint of a reasonable police officer. And “[t]he calculus of reasonableness must embody the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”

That view of the peril of police stops persists, and it informs police procedure. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, on a web page titled “Traffic Stops are Dangerous,”

Many officers are killed each year and thousands more are injured in traffic related incidences. For example, in 1999, over half of all officer, line-of-duty deaths were related to traffic incidences. In addition, when the use of weapons at the traffic stop are added, the percentage of traffic related deaths is over 55 percent. Every stop for a traffic violation has the potential for danger.

Routine traffic stops, as they are sometimes called, sometimes turn out to be anything but routine. Officers find uninsured drivers, drivers with suspended licenses, impaired drivers, illegal firearms, drugs and fugitives. Discoveries like these are all in a day’s work for many officers. This is why officers are trained to place a great deal of emphasis on their safety and take a defensive posture at the stop until the risk of confrontation or injury is diminished.

The takeaway is that police work is highly dangerous and routinely presents highly volatile, unpredictable scenarios. As the NTHSA website suggests, this is the fundamental assumption that girds police training materials. A survey of widely used police training literature by law professor Seth Stoughton, himself a former police officer, reveals that

[f]rom the time they are in the police academy, officers are taught that their single overriding goal every day is going home at the end of the shift. One of the most popular police training texts instructs officers to make tactical thinking a constant part of their working lives by considering, as they approach each encounter, their response to possible resistance. Police operating procedures enshrine the concept of tactical awareness. Suspicion is not reserved for suspects; a safety-conscious officer approaches witnesses and victims with similar care. An officer will take steps to control a scene well before they initiate contact with someone. For example, an officer who is going to conduct a traffic stop may delay by following the target vehicle until they reach an area that will provide some tactical advantage. Officers are trained to approach pedestrian stops in a similar manner; they select the location and environment, so far as possible, before commanding a civilian to stop.

Here’s the problem: the assumption that police work is especially dangerous is wrong. On-the-job police fatalities are statistically rare; the profession is not among the nation’s most dangerous. Despite the notion — oft voiced by defenders of police accused of using excessive force — that cops must be eternally vigilant against assailants who will grab their weapons, that basically never happens. Of the roughly 780,000 law enforcement officers in the United States, only 105 died in the line of duty in 2013, and only 30 of those deaths were from hostile gunfire of any kind (including, presumably, incidents involving their own service weapons). A thorough analysis by Professor Stoughton revealed that police interactions with civilians are almost never “tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving,” as the Supreme Court described them in Graham v. Connor. In the Tulane Law Review, Stoughton writes, “in 2008, officers used or threatened force in less than 2% of approximately forty million civilian interactions.” And even the Supreme Court’s theory that automobile stops are especially dangerous for cops crumbles under scrutiny: In Robinson and Mimms, the high court relied on a single study that indicated that 30% of incidents where cops were shot began with traffic stops (the NHTSA offers the even higher rate of “more than half”). As any student of basic statistics will tell you, that figure reveals almost nothing about how dangerous traffic stops are. (There could be three million traffic stops, only three of which resulted in officers’ being shot, and the statistic would still hold true as long as seven officers were shot in other types of encounters). A 2001 review of ten years of national traffic stop data in the Journal of Criminal Justice estimated the risk of a police fatality during a traffic stop at between 1 in 6.7 million and 1 in 20.1 million.

Why, in the face of these data, does police training continue to tell officers that they are targets? And why do courts continue blithely to ratify this view, holding cops blameless for conduct that would get most of us charged with a felony? The answer is in another set of data: Studies and polls routinely show that white Americans, and the American public in general, perceive blacks to be more violent than other groups and more prone to drug abuse, although neither of those assertions is demonstrably true. Americans generally overestimate the percentage of violent crimes attributable to blacks.

We live in a nation where white and black people continue to live in separate neighborhoods, where most white people don’t have any black friends, and where police forces and judiciaries are significantly whiter than the communities they serve. In that context, it’s not really surprising that police training and practices are adversarial toward black people, that courts approve of the approach, or that the white majority largely fails to understand or be moved by the situation.


There’s a video, taken on September 4 of this year, of a white South Carolina Highway Patrol Officer stopping a black man for a seatbelt violation. The man, Levar Jones, has already parked at a gas station and is getting out of his car when the officer, Sean Groubert, pulls up and asks to see his license. Jones does pretty much what you might expect – he turns around and leans back into his car, as if to retrieve something. And then, in an instant, Groubert is screaming, “Get out of the car! Get out of the car!” as he runs toward Jones. It takes Groubert less than one second to say that, and then he shoots Jones multiple times from just a few feet away:

Jones (who was unarmed) survived, and Groubert was fired and charged criminally. But when you listen to Groubert’s voice in the second before he starts shooting, you can hear something clearly: fear. He really thought Jones was dangerous, and he was well trained in how to react to danger. The South Carolina Public Safety Director described the shooting this way: “I believe this case was an isolated incident in which Mr. Groubert reacted to a perceived threat where there was none.” But the incident is not isolated. We are a nation that has trained its police to treat people of color the way the white majority always has — the way that Sean Groubert treated Levar Jones: perceiving a threat where there was none. As long as that perception continues, young men of color will continue to be needlessly beaten, and sometimes killed, at the hands of the police.

 

Thank you Mr. Josh Michtom. Vist Mr. Josh Michtom at his blog  

 

Josh Michtom 

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Public defender, bandleader, father. Thinking about class, race, language, and law. Hartford, Connecticut.

 

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Gov. Nixon: Don’t Let Darren Wilson Get Away With Murder. Hold All Officers Fully Accountable In Michael Brown’s Death.


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Sign the Petition to Governor Nixon: Don’t let Darren Wilson get away with murder; secure justice for Michael Brown

 

It’s been nearly two months since officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old, unarmed Black teenager, Mike Brown — and no one has been held accountable. County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch has done everything in his power to avoid holding Wilson accountable, while state Governor Jay Nixon stands idly by.

 

Without a special prosecutor, the Missouri justice system will fail Mike Brown. Police officer Darren Wilson will most likely not be fully disciplined for this brutal murder and could remain on the police force; a danger to Ferguson residents and a stark reminder that the justice system so rarely protects Black victims. But there is still time to change the story in Ferguson.

 

We need widespread public action to increase pressure on Governor Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor right away.

 

McCulloch could have charged Wilson immediately, but chose to convene a grand jury instead. He then refused to recommend charges to the grand jury, a move that discourages jurors from indicting.1 In 23 years as County Prosecutor, McCulloch has not prosecuted a single police shooting.2 Given this shameful history of denied justice, it’s clear that McCulloch is incapable of securing justice for Mike Brown. The world is watching, and the one person with the power to do something is Governor Nixon, who has a responsibility to the Black voters that supported him. It’s time for him to act.

 

On October 22, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a “Ferguson Commission” tasked with studying the “the conditions underscored by the fallout to Brown’s death.” 3 The commission will be made up of experts appointed by the Governor and will have no legislative power to enforce it’s findings on how to create a safer, more just Ferguson. A commission is not enough. The road to addressing the deep seated racism and police violence targeting Black Missourians begins with the arrest and prosecution of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.With a grand jury announcement expected any day, now is a critical time to increase pressure on Governor Nixon and make it clear that he has an obligation and responsibility to restore integrity to Missouri’s criminal justice system.

 

Join us in demanding that Governor Nixon remove McCulloch from this train wreck of a case, and appoint a special prosecutor to take over.

 

Thanks and peace,

ColorOfChange

 

Sign the Petition to Governor Nixon

 

SIGN THE PETITION Please.

 

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Ferguson And St. Louis, Missouri Open Carry March: Saturday October 25th, 2014. THIS Is How You Shut THAT Down.


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“Open Carry” Marchers In  Ferguson, Missouri.

Open Carry” Marchers In Missouri.

 

“Open Carry” Marchers Meet Head On With #FergusonOctober Protesters

 

Sometimes things happen and you wonder how much stupidity went into making that thing happen. Yesterday in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as other Missouri locations, open carry morons decided to stage marches to support their non support of a bill that is going to require gun owners who want to open carry to get educated on gun safety, get some gun training and get a permit allowing them to open carry. In their minds all I just mentioned is wrong and a violation of their 2nd amendment rights. Now you might comprehend why I called these nice folks, morons.

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A group of ARMED caucasians are allowed to assemble, march and gather in Ferguson, Missouri with police protection and support, complete with smiles…..while starting on August 9th, 2014, peaceful UNARMED Michael Brown protesters have been maced, pepper sprayed, tear gassed and have endured assault rifles, shotguns and sniper rifles being aimed on and at them.

 

 

An Open Carry group marched yesterday day in St. Louis, with the full intention of being given a citation in order to take their case to court, thus ridding the state of any implementation of gun sense laws. The group takes issue with a bill which they feel (but they aren’t sure) suggests that carrying a weapon would require a permit and training and somehow that’s a bad thing.

 

The armed group of Open Carry supporters met head-on with St. Louis protesters and things didn’t work out in their favor.

 

Echoing the die-ins during the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, this protester was dead on arrival so to speak, with an Open Carry advocate standing over him.

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A picture is worth a thousand words.

 

Indecent exposure: This is Jeffry, the genius who organized the march.

 

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Armed Open Carry protesters headed toward a park filled with unarmed black protesters. This is reminiscent of the unarmed black Ferguson teenager who was killed by the hands of a police officer

Small Group Of “Open Carry” Fanatics March Through St. Louis With Guns On Display

 

This is how Missouri greets armed caucasians exercising their 1st amendment rights……….

 

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This is how Missouri greets UNARMED Michael Brown murder protesters exercising their 1st amendment rights……….

 

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PoliticusUSA’s Justin Baragona was on the scene Saturday afternoon when a smaller than expected group of open carry enthusiasts descended on downtown St. Louis for a march. Per the group’s leader. Jeffry Smith, the march was supposed to be to raise awareness about Missouri Amendment 5. The law is supposed to strengthen the state’s gun laws. Per Smith’s view, he feels that Missouri’s law can be interpreted in that anyone is allowed to openly carry firearms anywhere in the state, whether or not they have a conceal carry permit. Smith and others that showed up Saturday afternoon wanted to engage people in conversation over Missouri’s law and the 2nd Amendment.

Prior to the march starting, protesters from Ferguson, representatives from Amnesty International and gun control advocates appeared on the scene. Chalk outlines of bodies were drawn on the pavement in front of the open carry group. Other protesters held up signs decrying open carry laws and gun deaths. St. Louis music artist and activist Tef Poe arrived and spoke to the protesters who had gathered. He also sent a tweet pointing out that there were children playing nearby while a group gathered with their guns on full display.

 

The march finally started around 1:30 PM local time, roughly a half-hour after it was supposed to begin. It was apparent at that point that the number of actual open carry supporters was far less than what was initially anticipated. Justin figured that there were about 25 actual marchers. There were far more counter-protesters and media covering the march.

 

The march went from City Garden in downtown St. Louis to the St. Louis Arch. The mostly white gun carriers walked through the streets with nary a worry in the world. A handful of police were on the scene and followed the march. However, there was no confrontation. Also, police were dressed casually and treated the march as no big deal. This is in stark contrast to police reaction to demonstrations in Ferguson and the Shaw neighborhood recently.

 

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‘Open Scary Not Welcome': Protesters target ‘lily white’ open carry march in St. Louis

 

 

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Two men are hosting Saturday what they’re calling the St. Louis Open Carry/Firearm Education Walk to the Gateway Arch. According to the event’s Facebook page, the purpose of the walk is “to raise awareness of the right to keep and bear arms under the Federal and Missouri State Constitutions.”

 

 

 

This is what you face if you are NOT lily caucasian when protesting in Missouri………….

 

Hands Up Don’t Shoot – Stand Up For Your Rights

 

 

Rules of the march were few:

SLUNG long guns are welcome *with proper muzzle control*, as are holstered pistols.

This is an educational walk, not a militia gathering, so please leave “Don’t Tread On Me!” flags/clothing, signs, camo, and grungy clothes at home.

Children (unarmed of course) are welcome and encouraged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Plot Thickens: Vonderrit Myers’ Family Releases Autopsy, Lawyers Say Findings Conflict With Police Reports.


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By Rebecca Rivas Of The St. Louis American

 

Vonderrit Myers’ family releases autopsy, lawyers say findings conflict with police reports

 

Vonderrit D. Myers Jr. was shot eight times, mostly on the back of the legs and one fatal shot to the side of the head, according to a private autopsy report.

 

Myers’ family hired pathologist Dr. Cyril H. Wecht to conduct a study of the gun wounds from Oct. 8, when Myers was shot and killed by an off-duty St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer.

Six bullets struck Myers on the rear part of his body and the other two were “not directly frontal,” Wecht said. One shot hit him on the right side of the face, between the eyebrow and the ear. Another shot struck him on the side of his left thigh.

 

Wecht said he did not know the order in which the wounds were inflicted. However, he said the head wound would have rendered him unconscious immediately.

 

Jermaine Wooten , one of the family’s lawyers, said the report’s findings –showing almost all shots from behind – contradict the story of the police officer, who has not been identified. Wooten said police representatives have told them that Myers was facing the officer the entire time.

 

Wooten said Myers had to have been facing away from the officer for the first shots because he could not have endured the two shots to the side and remained standing. The head wound rendered him unconscious and the shot to his left thigh shattered his femur, dropping him immediately.

 

Wooten said eye witnesses have said that Myers was unarmed when the officer, a 32-year-old white male with six years on the force, fired 17 shots at him.

 

The lawyers met with the police department’s medical examiner Dr. Michael Graham, who said Myers’ DNA does not appear on the gun that Myers was allegedly carrying.

 

“If he had been carrying the gun, it would have had his DNA,” Wooten said.

 

The medical examiner’s full report won’t be complete for another couple months, Wooten said.

 

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Mr. Militant Negro™

Mr. Militant Negro™

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