A young man was shot multiple times and killed by police after reportedly getting into a physical altercation with an officer, fighting him inside the cruiser, and attempting to take his gun. Reports vary as to how many times he was shot, and if he was attempting to surrender while he was shot.
That led to massive riots in Ferguson, a town to the north of St Louis proper, in St Louis County.
Tonight, a mall was attacked by rioters in one of the more upscale areas of the county. Mall was on lock down and tear gas was used. Reports of people throwing bricks off of overpasses along Interstate 240.
Looks like St Louis is in for a tough couple of days ahead. This is a highly segregated city with most of the "crime areas" in the north part of the county.
That is the most misleading headline I've ever read. Regardless of your read on the shooting in Ferguson, this is an anti-police violence demonstration, not a "race riot" which somehow implies there's a) a riot, which there is not and b) this is somehow between races, not between the police (who are multiracial) and the demonstrators (who are also multiracial).
But, there are riots going on. Unless you don't think looting and burning businesses, and fighting so much in a mall that they have to call police in and secure the mall is rioting. Or tossing bricks off overpasses. Or cops having to use tear gas to disperse crowds.
Apparently, this all started with alleged shoplifting at the now burned out QuikTrip. That led to the confrontation that led to the shooting.
On Sunday, during what was planned as a peaceful protest/vigil, a bunch of people descended on the QuikTrip, smashed out the windows, stole stuff (including wheeling out an on-site ATM), and set the place on fire. (The QT staff initially locked themselves in the back, then escaped.) Looting then expanded to neighboring businesses. The consensus is that those involved were not locals.
As a result, the police took a no tolerance policy last night and essentially shut down the neighborhood by forming a human shield and using non-lethal force (rubber bullets and teargas) in an effort to stop a repeat performance.
Given the situation, I think they did a pretty good job. The only thing they couldn't seem to control were the sensationalist tweets going out under the #Ferguson hashtag, which mostly focused on a few dramatic images and complaints that the news networks weren't really covering it.
Is "Race Riots" a better way of saying "Cops shoot unarmed person for absolutely no reason with no justification" or "Cops unleash wave after wave of tear gas upon peaceful mourners" or "Cops already moving to cover up shooting"? I can never tell.
Things calmed down for a bit, then flared back up last night. The officer's name was released yesterday. They also revealed that Mike Brown had stolen from a convenience store earlier in the day, but the officer wasn't aware of that crime at the time of the incident.
The guy was obviously no angel(and the looters/rioters aren't helping that side's cause), but now it's just up for debate whether he deserved to be shot repeatedly and left to die in the street. I guess I fall on the "didn't" side of that.
John Oliver ripped into pretty much everything about the response to this. I don't want militarized police. Sorry. I don't believe this armored division of cops is going to stop ISIS or China or even the eventually alien invasion. Kid was shot multiple times, once or twice, I can maybe understand, but this many and in the head. Yeah, this Darren Wilson maybe an ok guy, but he is a shit cop.
I'll just say that it seems to me that there was a wrongful use of excessive force used here. But I think until we know more it's so so hard to know.
I know I was trained to always pull the trigger 4 times if I pulled it once. So multiple shots doesn't surprise me. The biggest difference between when I was a cop and today is officers draw their weapons a lot more than we did. I made 4 felony arrests in my relatively short time as a cop (total of 5 years military and civilian) and drew my weapon twice, never discharged it.
I think the media has been a problem. They have reported some things that are speculative and inflaming both. The police in ferguson have been like most police departments, trying to protect their own until the shooting investigators are done, which takes a bit (A friend of mine took out a guy with three shots from the right rear - dude had a large knife and was a couple feet away from a woman he was menacing. "Stop" didn't stop him. The shooter squad took almost 3 weeks to clear him as a good shoot). Seems like in this case they should have shared their preliminary results of the inverstigation or even that an investigation is going on. Because there was an ongoing investigation as there always is when an officer discharges his or her weapon.
It's difficult to place any of the blame on the people there but there has been damage done, looting. Cops trying to disperse crowds do what they can do. What are they supposed to to, give that area up?
These are always difficult situations. It looks like there was a terrible mistake or possibly even a criminal act on the part of the officer. The friends and family of the guy are understandably upset - but cops are familiar with the friends and families of sociopaths the cops shot being upset too. Cops still have to keep the peace.
Does the death of the young man (by mistake or by intended criminality, or possibly, possibly by righteous deadly force) give people the right to illegally protest, violate various laws - and should the police still enforce laws during this time?
We'll be back right after order has been restored here in the Omni Center.
That the universe was formed by a fortuitous concourse of atoms, I will no more believe than that the accidental jumbling of the alphabet would fall into a most ingenious treatise of philosophy - Swift