Issues

Not Helping: Ferguson PD’s Decision to Release Mike Brown Video Leads to More Unrest

 

The Ferguson, Missouri police department are officially in over their head.

 

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After a night of quelled unrest on Thursday, the town of Ferguson saw heightened tensions again on Friday evening as police  fired a teargas canister into a group of nearly 200 protesters outside a local convenience store.  The protesters were demonstrating at that exact location to object to what they see as a smear campaign perpetrated by the Ferguson PD against the slain Mike Brown.

On Friday at noon, Ferguson police released a video of two men, one of them allegedly Mike Brown, involved in a robbery where a box of cigars was stolen from a local convenience store.

However, later in the day Police Chief Tom Jackson said that incident had nothing to do with Brown later getting stopped and shot by officer Darren Wilson.  Jackson went on record by saying, “The initial contact between Darren Wilson and Mike Brown was not related to the alleged theft of cigars.”  Jackson went on to say that Wilson had no idea that Brown was even a suspect in the robbery and that the reason for the initial confrontation was simply due to Brown blocking traffic.

The lawyers for Mike Brown’s family immediately jumped on this conclusion and released a scathing statement directed at the Ferguson Police Department.

The statement read:

Michael Brown’s family is beyond outraged at the devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate piece mil information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.

There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution style murder of their child by this police officer as he held his hands up, which is the universal sign of surrender.

The prolonged release of the officer’s name and then the subsequent alleged information regarding a robbery is the reason why the family and the local community have such distrust for the local law enforcement agencies.
It is no way transparent to release the still photographs alleged to be Michael Brown and refuse to release the photographs of the officer that executed him.

The police strategy of attempting to blame the victim will not divert our attention, from being focused on the autopsy, ballistics report and the trajectory of the bullets that caused Michael’s death and will demonstrate to the world this brutal execution of an unarmed teenager.

The statement correctly points out the sheer absurdity of the decision to release the video in the first place. Since Chief Jackson knew that Brown was not stopped for being a robbery suspect, the release of the video itself served no purpose but to smear the reputation of Brown and to assassinate his character as a way to try and save face for the department. However, this strategy has backfired big time.  Despite finding a temporary refuge by appearing on Fox News, Jackson now has lost nearly all of his allies by allowing the release of the video.  The truth is that when Matt Drudge is criticizing you, you know that you’ve lost whatever Conservative support you might have once had.

As troubling as the release of the video and protests are, there now arises a larger, more troubling issue in Ferguson:  Jurisdiction.  After Missouri highway patrol captain Ron Johnson and his men came in on Thursday, it was assumed that they would now be taking charge of the Ferguson protests.

However, on Friday after the release of the robbery video, Johnson stated that he “would have liked to have been consulted” ahead of time about the video’s release and went on to say, “The information could have been put out a different way.”  In other words, not only is the Ferguson police department using poor judgment in releasing inflammatory videos, but they’re also going rogue.

Once we hear the results of the Mike Brown autopsy, we will begin to have a better understanding of what exactly happened last Saturday.  Until that point, Captain Tom Jackson and his men need to step down and relinquish their involvement in anything related to the Mike Brown incident.  They’ve proven to be inept, they’ve proven that they can’t peacefully deal with protesters, and they’ve proven they’re willing to engage in character assassination of a dead young man in order to save their own reputation.

There’s a reason Captain Ron Johnson was so successful with the protesters on Thursday:  He treated them as human beings.  He went out and talked to them, to hear their concerns.  He allowed them to embrace him and he returned those embraces.  He saw that in a community shocked by a brutal murder, the last thing they wanted was more militarized police in riot gear treating them like vicious criminals.  In short, he saw that they simply wanted to be heard in their calls of justice for one of their very own.

Something that the Ferguson Police Department has yet to figure out.

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