Ferguson - No indictment leads to riots

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Jorick, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. I'm curious about the general opinion of people on Iwaku about the mess that is Ferguson, Missouri right now. In particular, I want your thoughts on the grand jury's decision that there it was justifiable use of deadly force (thus no cause exists to charge the officer with any crime) and the rioting that happened after the announcement of this decision.

    For those who have little to no idea with what I'm talking about, back on August 9th there was an altercation between Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and 18 year old Michael Brown, though the details of it are horribly muddled by contradictory witness testimony. The facts are that at 11:53 AM a message went out over the police dispatch radio about a theft in progress at the Ferguson Market (the surveillance video of the event showed that Michael Brown was the thief who took a bunch of cigars and shoved the store clerk out of the way when he tried to stop Brown and his friend from leaving), but Officer Wilson was busy with handling another call at that time. At 12:02 PM, after the responding officers at the store said they couldn't find the described assailant nearby, Wilson found Brown and his friend walking down a road and called dispatch to say he'd stopped two men. At some point the officer realized that Brown matched the description of the theft suspect so he pulled his car over next to the pair. Brown reached into the cop car and had some kind of struggle with the officer in which he punched and scratched the officer and Wilson's gun came into play (Wilson says this was because Brown was trying to take his gun from its holster); the officer shot at Brown twice while in the car and hit him once in the hand. Brown ran away from the car and his friend ran off in a different direction, but Wilson got out and pursued Brown. Accounts differ on what exactly happened (some eye witnesses say Brown stopped and put his hands up in surrender, others including Wilson himself say that he turned back and ran at the officer), but the end result was that Wilson shot at Brown again (hitting him a total of 6 or 7 times) and Brown died as a result of these injuries. Some witnesses claimed Brown was shot in the back, but three separate autopsies were performed and found that this was not the case. One thing that a lot of people have pointed out is that Brown was unarmed during the altercation. The whole incident took less than two minutes, based on the time from Wilson calling in that he was stopping two men to the time of a witness posting on Twitter about having just seen the shooting.

    Due to the contradictory nature of the witness accounts, I suggest that anyone who isn't familiar with the case should go look up information for themselves. The above is just what I've been able to parse from the sensationalized coverage by various news outlets, with as much bias and nonsense stripped out of it as I could manage, but I could certainly be missing things.

    The case was sent to the grand jury to determine whether or not Darren Wilson should have any criminal charges pressed against him for the incident. The grand jury started deliberations on August 20th, and their decision was announced yesterday (November 24th). As previously stated, their decision was that there was no probable cause to indict Wilson for anything, meaning that based on the testimony and evidence presented and the state of Missouri's laws on when use of deadly force is authorized for police officers they found that the use of deadly force was legally justified in this instance. This law states that there are a variety of reasons why it may be necessary, but there are two circumstances in particular that authorize the use of deadly force by Missouri police which might be applicable to this case. First, deadly force is authorized if they reasonably believe that it's necessary to protect themselves "against death, serious physical injury, or any forcible felony." Second, use of deadly force by an officer is authorized "When he reasonably believes that such use of deadly force is immediately necessary to effect the arrest and also reasonably believes that the person to be arrested... Has committed or attempted to commit a felony." One thing of note is that neither of these provisions say the person must be armed for deadly force to be authorized, just that those conditions have to be met. Whether the grand jury said the shooting was justified just because of self defense, or because assaulting a police officer is clearly a felony, or because of a mix of both is currently unknown (or at least I can't find a clear answer about it right now), but these seem to be the only plausible bases for the lack of indictment according to all the lawyer opinions that I've found on the case.

    The ongoing mostly peaceful (there were instances of rioting and looting before this evening, particularly in August) protests turned violent pretty quickly after the announcement. People started throwing rocks and other objects at police officers around the protest sites within minutes of the news getting out. Gunshots were heard around the city, though apparently they were firing into the air rather than at anyone. Groups of people started going around flipping cars and breaking into stores and looting them. Some people started fires in both cars and buildings, and the tally of buildings totally destroyed by said fires currently stands at 12. A bunch of people were arrested for these activities, but so far there have been no reports of anyone being killed, just a plethora of property damage and injuries. There have apparently also been outbursts of violence from protestors in other cities, but I haven't looked into those yet.

    So, with all that laid out, I've got a few questions on two different topics for anyone interested in answering them. Or just talk about the situation in general and ignore the questions, whatever floats your boat. First, the lack of indictment. Do you agree with the grand jury's choice to not indict Darren Wilson? If you do not, do you think there is some sort of corruption or systemic racism at work here, or was it just a shitty and unfortunate decision, or was it something else? If you do agree, what convinced you of Wilson's actions being justified use of deadly force rather than a criminal act? Second, the rioting. What's your take on the Ferguson riot? Is it a reasonable response to a perceived injustice, an unfortunate case of mob mentality getting out of control, a few criminals taking advantage of the situation, or maybe something else entirely? This is by no means the first time something like this has happened. Why do you think these outbursts of group violence happen with such frequency when highly publicized deaths of young black men whose non-black killers are deemed not guilty of any crime (such as was also seen when George Zimmerman was found innocent of murdering Trayvon Martin)? Is it a simple matter of angry people lashing out against oppression in destructive ways, is it the fault of news media sensationalizing the cases and fanning the flames, or is something else to blame?

    I'll post my own thoughts on these questions later.
  2. http://ago.mo.gov/VehicleStops/2013/reports/161.pdf

    As far as the 'is there systematic racism going on' goes, I think that chart speaks loads. The fact that so many more black people than white people are stopped, searched and arrested for possession of contraband in Ferguson (extremely disproportionately so, despite the ratio between black and white citizens living there) despite the fact that searches of black residents are much less likely to discover contraband, says only one thing. When you discriminate against a group of people simply because of their race and entirely without reason, that's racism.
  3. Ferguson - No indictment leads to riots

    I am Tegan's complete and total lack of surprise.
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  4. All I can ask is: Are we sure this didn't happen in Florida's court system? Seriously, this state is literally the laughing stock of the country when it comes to shitty court decisions, and that's because the attorney general is a fucking moron.

    In all seriousness though,, I stayed away from this story the moment I first read what happened because I knew that it was going to be a racism thing, and not focus on the truth of the matter. The fact is cops, not just in Ferguson, but everywhere, are too quick to shoot first and ask questions later, and they aren't shooting to disarm/slow/injure, they're shooting to kill. My most likely unpopular opinion is that if it isn't a clear cut case of someone being armed, police should not be allowed to get away with shooting and killing someone. They should be charged with murder the same way I would if I randomly went up to someone and shot them.
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  5. Seattle has gone crazy. People were rioting down the streets last night. Shooting off fireworks. Getting in the middle of the damn freeway. They've gone nuts and the Seattle PD wasn't very happy about it.

    Just to clarify, it did have to do with the Ferguson Fiasco, as it should probably be henceforth named.

    This just ain't the way to prove a point.
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  6. Well, technically, if you're using a firearm, every shot has the potential to kill, even if you aim for "non-lethal" areas. One bullet ricochet or odd entry point and blam, there goes a main artery, target bleeds out in minutes. Bullet deflects oddly off a bone and shreds through several inches of flesh at an angle instead of exiting cleanly, blam, death by shock. As well, when using lethal force, the torso is simply the easiest area to aim at, and most police officers are woefully under trained in the United States to handle their various situations.

    There's also a lot of racially charged shit going on down there. ("No shit Brovo.") As it stands, the details of the case are unclear, and before anybody goes "BUT MAH WITNESSES~", may I direct you to something I learned while living in poverty: Snitches get stitches. Ferguson is not a high class town, and it's racially charged. Anybody talking about the case as a witness is going to be doing so in order to protect the conclave. That's why the police witnesses are anonymous and why witness testimony defending Brown proclaims several different scenarios: From Brown surrendering and being gunned down, to struggling for the gun and being gunned down, and so on.

    If anything, the jury made the right call. It's not right to presume that because the person killed was a black person that it was a crime based on racism. Now, that obviously doesn't excuse the fucked up police department response, or the fact that Furguson has way more black people charged for random shit than white people, but we can't judge the crimes of the individual based on the crimes of the collective. If we did, we'd have to assume Brown was a gangbanger based on L.A. alone. (Bloods and Crips, look them up.)

    As it stands, the Police had the more coherent and sensible story, whilst the witness testimony for Brown (and that's all Brown had going for him aside from his skin tone, and the fact that his skin tone is going for him at all is sad) was... Unreliable, to say the least.

    Still. This could have been productive. This could have been a trigger event to really talk about racism earnestly and honestly, to try and make sure this never happens again. This could have been the opportunity that those still suffering from racial oppression could have used as their springboard to jump into the overall topic of how black people really do still have to deal with racism every fucking day... Instead, they used it to yell profanities at cops, and when the judge didn't rule things the way they wanted, they resorted to violence.

    This is a tragedy not just because someone died (white or black shouldn't matter), but the fact that it could have been made into a magnificent and humbling lesson for the nation was instead ignored for an unironically hatred filled, vile-spewing response.

    The greatest tragedy from all of this is that nobody will learn a thing, blacks will still hate whites, and whites will still discriminate against blacks. And that is just sad. Six thousand years of human history and we still can't get past what colour of the rainbow a person's skin is. Blech. Blahh. This whole situation is upsetting.
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  7. I still don't believe that this was a human rights case. This is a police brutality case. I also don't understand how anyone can rally to the side of a criminal. He robbed a store and almost injured the store owner. Now I don't believe he deserved to die for it, but at the same time Micheal Brown tried to physically attack the officer before the officer even stepped out of his car. Which is also against the law. Unfortunately I took a long look at the damage that Micheal brown caused on Wilson's face aaaaand I see absolutely nothing other than a small bruise. If Micheal Brown was truly attacking the officer as strong and as much as he claims I'm pretty sure he would have attained a lot more than just a small bruise on his cheek. After seeing the bruises and such I've come to the conclusion that Micheal Brown was not a real threat to Wilson's life. Though at the same time I understand why Wilson fired his gun. It is possible that Wilson truly felt endangered and when one feels that way the human nature of self preservation strongly comes into play. It is only natural that he would try anything possible to defend himself. So ask the others here, what would you do if a man (and yes Micheal brown is a man not a teenager or a child since he is of legal age) attacked you and then turned around and charged at you what would you have done to stop it? Would you have shot him to in that situation. Another similar occurrence of something like this is seen during Halloween in haunted houses. We may mentally know that it is fake and we are safe but a chemical in the brain flares and the need to defend ones self over powers our senses and causes us to attack the scarers in haunted houses.

    Over all I don't understand why people are so upset because Wilson himself has stated that he is resigning from his job as an officer to appease the masses. Thus all this fighting and bickering is already pointless save for the fact that racial discrimination is still considered an issue with the minorities.
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  8. There is just so much wrong with the whole Fiasco.

    I won't make a call for who is guilty and who is innocent. There's so much controversy on evidence flying around that it's nearly impossible to make heads or tails of it all.

    The rioting and looting is doing the Ferguson family no good. The looting is abhorrent. The peaceful protesters voices are getting drowned out by violence. It's a real shame.

    Racism is real, but it goes both ways. Some of the most racist people I have ever met are African American. I'm not excusing racism on black people, just making a point.

    In the global scale of things, just check out whats been going on in Mexico city. Things are worse over there.
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  9. There are a couple problems with this. The first is how you retell the events of what went down between Michael Brown and Wilson, which you're basing entirely off of Wilson's own testimony. According to Dorion Johnson, Brown's friend who was with him during the incident, Wilson almost hit the two with his car, and then grabbed Brown around the neck through the window. Brown struggled to get loose from him, after which Wilson fired his gun twice while still in the car, hitting Brown in the arm. Brown and Johnson then tried to escape, after which Wilson pursued Brown. Not according to Johnson or any other of the witnesses did it at that point seem like Brown was rushing at Wilson, yet Wilson fired his gun six times. If Wilson really did feel endangered, I could understand why he would've fired his gun once. But self preservation does not justify firing your gun eight times at someone, especially not if you're a police who is trained to use your gun only as the very last resort. Even if Brown did rush at Wilson, which he according to the evidence did not, Wilsons actions are not justified. What happened that night was nothing short of cold blooded murder.

    This is a matter of human rights because Brown's case is merely one of many, and it needs to stop.

    Racial discrimination is very much an issue. Saying it's simply "considered an issue with the minorities" is despicable, because it dismisses the millions of people affected by it and who live in misery because of it.

  10. Okay first of all I didn't entirely base it off of Wilson's testimony but other eye witness accounts, and according to other eye witnesses he did charge at brown among other things. Also there are several witness accounts that conflict with Brown's friends. Also eye witness accounts in them self are unreliable because they can easily be altered. Also nine other people reviewed all thesw other witness accounts and if none of them stated that brown charged at Wilson then the verdict would have been different. Sadly I feel the jury may have been biased because it was predominantly whites. 9 whites and 3 blacks I think? And only nine (non)guilty votes are needed to decide the verdict. That's just how the system works though because in order to avoid a discriminatory verdict Wilson is given the right to a jury that represents him.

    Also I don't appreciate you calling me despicable and getting worked up over something you took out of context. So I am dismissing anything further you say on the matter. I won't tolerate being talked to like that.

    I was clearly unbiased in my post and even stated that I don't think that Brown was a threat.

    I don't agree with either side of this controversy. Frankly I feel both sides are to blame as well as the common people for allowing a corrupt system to even happen in the first place.
  11. The main issue I have with that statement is partly that my dad was a cop and if you know anything about the way that cops are trained, you know that it's to fire until the target is no longer a threat. No police officer is ever going to shoot just once. I'll even go as far as to say it's unreasonable to assume that any human being when feeling threatened would stop firing after the first shot.

    And when you say that the evidence states Brown did not rush at Wilson, what evidence? His friend's testimony? I'm not super well-informed about this case, so if there's more evidence than that, I'll concede, but of course the friend's testimony is going to be biased.

    All I really came to say, though, is that shooting eight times is not as outrageous as you make it sound. Police are trained to shoot to neutralise the threat, and I guarantee you they have seen people killed by criminals who had been shot once, but not enough to bring them down.

    I'm not necessarily saying Wilson was justified in shooting Brown at all because the circumstances are so unclear. I'm just saying if he did feel like his life was being threatened, then shooting multiple times is what he was trained to do.
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  12. I didn't call you despicable, because I don't think you are, I think a particular thing you said is. There's a wide difference, but I apologize if I hurt your feelings because of it. If you don't want to listen to me, that's your decision and I respect it, so if you've been reading up to this point then you can stop now if you'd like.

    And you are right, some witness reports do support Wilson's statement, although details of the testimony are not reported, I looked it up. I got them confused with an earlier article I read where the witness accounts stating that at the time had been deemed false (because they also said Brown assaulted Wilson to the point of near unconsciousness, which he did not), so I apologize about that. But it still remains that most of the credible accounts state otherwise. And if, as you say, eye witness accounts are unreliable, then there's no point in using them to give further credit to Wilson's statement, either, which leaves us not knowing what happened at all, because we would need Brown's own testimony to determine whether Wilson's account was even remotely close to the truth.

    Yes, you say you don't think Brown was a threat, but you also say you think Wilson shooting at him was justified, while I say that the sheer amount of shots fired is enough evidence to say it wasn't.

    Ultimately it's not the system's fault, the system is built on sound democratic reasoning, it's the corrupt people inside the system that need to change.
  13. Brown was unarmed, though. I think I'm right when I guess that most of those cases, where officers have been killed by criminals that hadn't been shot until "neutralized", those criminals were armed as well. As far as the evidence that states Brown did not charge Wilson, Philip Walker said he saw Brown walking towards Wilson "at a steady pace with his hands up" and that he "did not rush the officer". Michael Brady said he saw Wilson get out of the vehicle and "start walking briskly while firing on Brown as he fled". Piaget Crenshaw said "I saw the police chase him ... down the street and shoot him down.". Tiffany Mitchell said "As I pull onto the side, the kid, he finally gets away, he starts running. As he runs the police get out of his vehicle and he follows behind him, shooting. And the kid's body jerked as if he was hit from behind, and he turns around and puts his hands up like this, and the cop continued to fire until he just dropped down to the ground and his face just smacks the concrete.". James McKnight said he witnessed the shooting and that Brown held his hands in the air just after he turned to face Wilson. He stumbled toward the officer, but didn't rush him. Emanuel Freeman tweeted, as the shooting was going on, that Wilson fired twice at Brown while he was running away, and five more times after he turned around to face Wilson. They all say Brown had his hands up as Wilson shot at him. And I'm pretty sure cops are trained not to shoot at someone with their hands up, but I could be wrong.
  14. I greatly appreciate the fact that you applogized, and I admit I may have jumped the gun. It obvious you misunderstood me or something so I'm going to elaborate.

    "Racial discrimination is still an issue with the minorities."

    How is that dispicable? I am stating the obvious truth that minorities still feel discriminated against and that it is still considered an issue to them verses the people who don't think it's an issue anymore.

    What I said was not discriminatory, racist, for or against the cause, biased, hurtful to anyone, nor used as means to instigate.

    It was simply stating the truth that it is an issue which is something you clearly agree with.

    Also saying what I said and calling me dispicable isn't really that much different to me. What I say is a part of who I am and how my mind works. Judging by this and logically speaking saying something someone said is dispicable is still indirectly calling the person dispicable. That's just what I believe though and I don't expect you to think the same way. I'm just saying that people think like this so it's better to leave such hasty words out of a discussion.

    On another note I agree....6 shots was to much but I still don't know enough to say for certain that either side is wrong. I need more concrete proof like a visual from a street camera or something xD

    I think what I truly want is for people to stop being so hateful on both sides and work together to fix the issue. This is a time for giving, peace, and celebrating our love for each other. It's the holiday season.... :(
  15. Ooh, thanks for all the witness statements. I hadn't seen them.

    All I knew was that autopsy showed Brown was not shot in the back. As of 1984, police are only allowed to shoot fleeing suspects if they pose a danger to society. Super vague and subjective in my opinion, but if Wilson was shooting Brown while he was fleeing, I don't consider Brown's crimes enough to make him worth shooting while fleeing, but that's just my opinion. He might have seen it a different way.

    Talking about hands up, though, if you're already shooting and your target puts their hands up, it takes time for your brain to process that, and usually it's not enough time to get you to stop shooting before the guy is on the ground. Also, if your hands are up, you stay still. Someone can still be a threat with their hands up if they're coming towards you.

    I'm not saying what Wilson did was right at all, but if he did what he did because he was was genuinely in fear of his life, it's hard for a jury to indict. And I hate making things a race issue when they don't need to be (why can't it just be a cop shooting a man instead of a white guy shooting a black guy) but I'm not so naive in this case. If Wilson really was scared for his life, how much of that fear stemmed from Brown being a black guy? Would he have done the same thing if Brown was a white criminal?

    Probably not, because as a white man he probably doesn't feel as threatened by white men as he does by black men. And I think that's not right either, but it's a wrong based in our society.

    I went off on a tangent. My point is, I don't think what Wilson did is right, but I still am on the fence about whether I think he's a criminal, and furthermore I think the real problem is society's racism, not that it's something we can just fix, but things like this are just going to keep happening.
  16. Also wanted to add that being unarmed makes you no less of a threat. If you're ready to tackle a dude with a gun with just your bare hands, imho that makes you even more of a threat because now I think you're also crazy.
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  17. While I agree that a person's Statements are 100% a reflection of them, I also think it's important to know that one statement doesn't make up a person as a whole.

    I think I might of misinterpreted you earlier. I thought you meant racial discrimination was non-existent, and only considered and issue by people of minorities, which pissed me off. I think I understand now that that's not what you meant, so thanks for clearing it up, and I apologize for getting the wrong idea.

    I also agree that hate doesn't solve anything, but when things have been boiling for so long such as with the situation in Ferguson, an explosion was inevitable, and in a sense necessary. While there are some that have used the rioting as an excuse to do stupid shit, there are those who have used it positively, and have made their voices heard, which I think will lead to good things.
  18. What should be in question is whether what Wilson did was under proper police procedure/protocol. What other tools did he have to subdue someone? Taser? Pepper spray? Is it ever lawful to shoot an unarmed assailant? If so, when?

    Shooting to kill, or 'Authorized use of deadly force', only seems to be allowed when an officer or others are in sufficient danger, and all notable cases of that involve a weapon of some sort, or anything wielded as a deadly weapon capable of severe injury.

    'Unarmed man' doesn't sound like it fits the profile as far as I've read.

    So no it doesn't make you more of a threat than if you have a weapon. More of fool? Yes. An unarmed man is generally less threatening, however, and should not warrant deadly force unless you are already in a do or die situation. That doesn't sound like what happened here.
  19. Where were the riots when Caylee Anthony's mother was found Not Guilty?

    I don't understand it, honestly. I have no opinion one way or another on this case, other than there are ways to protest and causing fear and damage is not one of them.
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  20. I got this off the Wikipedia, and like I said earlier, I consider this vague and subjective, but it's why cops don't get indicted.

    "Law enforcement officers pursuing an unarmed suspect may use deadly force to prevent escape only if the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."