The civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri is bad and has continued to get increasingly worse. The shooting death of 18 year old Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson has sparked rioting and looting, which has caused widespread aggression by police (riot squads and use of tear gas) which in turn as sparked more rioting and looting. It has turned into a war zone. Prior to today, they didn’t release the officer’s name because of death threats he has received, not just from local residents but from around the country. Although community leaders are asking for peace and have requested everyone to try and remain calm for the duration, tensions still appear to be increasing. Just today I heard that the Justice Department is investigating to make a determination of whether Michael Brown’s civil rights were violated, parallel to the investigation of the State of Missouri and Ferguson County.
It’s great the Justice Department officials are acting so quickly, as people have doubts that the state and county will be completely objective, at least I can say that I have doubts about them being fair. In other cases of police use of excessive force, I am unaware of the Justice Department getting involved so soon, conducting their own parallel investigation. This is why I strongly believe in the criminal justice laws. Some people do survive their bouts with police and pursue avenues to clear their name. I tackled this case not long ago in my blog in the case about Shannon Nyamodi. This is why I so strongly support the rights of the accused. We often get angry when we hear about someone protecting a criminal’s rights; but those constitutional laws really do not exist for the criminal. They exist to protect the innocent who get tangled up in criminal matters. But nonetheless, that doesn’t apply here. Michael Brown, unfortunately had to die. So he’s not around to fight to clear his name. Hopefully he’ll have people to fight on his behalf.
But sadly, it’s a common thing for the police to abuse their authority. Immediately coming to mind are the Rodney King (California) investigation, the Sean Bell (New York) investigation, and the Trayvon Martin (Florida) investigation, and these cases generated more questions than answers – which is why the Justice Department got involved in them. But they didn’t get involved until after many weeks had passed in those cases. In the state of Maryland where I live, the Prince George’s County Police Department was notorious for their use of excessive force, and the Justice Department got involved long the incidents took place. I think when a police agency engages in questionable tactics, there should be a federal probe launched immediately, especially for this Ferguson police force, since black residents have complained that the officers routinely harass them and use excessive force. Furthermore, the discriminatory hiring practices of the Ferguson police force has prevented more black officers from being hired, halting the integration of the department.
Today, a new and very credible witness has emerged, discounting the version of events that the Ferguson police has been telling. Apparently this new witness corroborated the what two previous civilian witnesses reported, none of whom knew each other and presented their reports independent of the other two. Now that’s big. Huge! Equally as huge is the part of the story that two journalists were detained while they were interviewing witnesses and gathering information for their news story, one of whom was allegedly assaulted and thrown into the soda fountain. They apparently were detained because they took too long packing up their bags and leaving the scene. That fact alone speaks conspiracy to me. Maybe these journalists were close to uncovering some facts to further support these officers’ misconduct.
With all that has happened, I’m glad the Justice Department has quickly stepped in to investigate. I think they should step in quickly more often. A quick Justice Department investigation will benefit everyone. If police officers are justified in the amount of force they use, they would want that determination made as quickly as possible. If on the other hand officers are found to have abused their police powers and used excessive force, the victims and their families would want to know that as quickly as possible. It’s a win-win for all parties. It should be a priority for the feds to immediately investigate matters when local police have been accused of misconduct.
Whatever the outcome is, I hope it all comes to an end soon. I’m afraid those Ferguson police officers are going to hurt someone with their unorganized response to the riots.