SWAT Team Shows Up In Ferguson, Detains Reporters Live Tweeting Their Actions

from the incredible dept

We’ve been debating internally whether or not to cover the mess that is currently going on in Ferguson, Missouri. There has been plenty of attention paid to the protests and the failures by police there — and we frequently cover problems with police, as well as the militarization of police, which was absolutely on display in Ferguson (if you’ve been under a rock, police killed an unarmed teenager there last week, leading to protests over the past few days — and the police have been handling the situation… poorly, to say the least). However, the situation was changing so rapidly, it wasn’t entirely clear what to cover. The pictures from Ferguson of a very militarized police force were disturbing, and we’ve been thinking about writing something on that (and we may still). However, this evening, things got even more ridiculous, as not only did the SWAT team show up, but it then arrested two of the reporters who had been covering the events: Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post. Both had been vital in getting out the story of what was happening on the street.

Here are a few of their tweets (prior to being arrested):

And then, soon after those and other tweets, another reporter, Jon Swaine from the Guardian, reported that he saw two reporters detained by police in a McDonalds:

Lowery and Reilly each had live tweeted the police entering the McDonald’s, followed by a long silence from their accounts:

A fourth reporter on the scene, Matt Pearce of the LA Times, contacted the police chief about the situation, who was apparently surprised at the turn of events and said he’d order them released:

Soon after, both Lowery and Reilly tweeted about their experiences, which were not exactly pleasant.

I’m sure that we’ll have more on this whole thing, but as GideonsTrumpet notes, Lowery and Reilly were technically detained, not arrested, “which is far more insidious” because there’s no accountability. No charges to challenge. Nothing. It’s just a way to silence the press who were diligently getting the word out there on what they were doing.

There are all sorts of very questionable activities going on in Ferguson, including intimidation and threats against the protestors exercising their right to assembly and free speech. Detaining reporters in the middle of that is just the latest in a long string of “fuck your constitutional rights” by the (very heavily militarized) police down there.

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Comments on “SWAT Team Shows Up In Ferguson, Detains Reporters Live Tweeting Their Actions”

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Jay (profile) says:

Re: Anonymous involved, too?

That was dumb. That caused the Ferguson police to shut down. However, it seems that wasn’t the “hacker” type Anonymous who do such hacks.

I would take it with a grain of salt because you have to remember that the FBI and other LEOs are known for trying to go after mass group gatherings and undermine them in a number of ways.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

First Amendment Fear

Maybe, just maybe, they are starting to realize that the First Amendment does not define the press:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

and that everyone might be the press. A formerly small but annoying class (that had some special privilege if they jumped through the correct hoops), that is now potentially huge; and possibly annoying in very different ways.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: First Amendment Fear

made this point a while back: ‘the press’ are PROXIES for US ALL, exercising their free speech/reporting rights on behalf of ALL OF US…
the press doesn’t have ‘special rights’ we mere citizens don’t have, they have the SAME RIGHTS we ALL HAVE, they are simply exercising them on our behalf…
WE ALL have those rights, just that some individuals are exercising them on our behalf in their news gathering actions to inform us all…
not as if reporters are supposed to dig up all this info, interview public officials, etc ONLY to keep that information personal and private to themselves, and thus are allowed those rights as a privileged classp; no, that research and reporting is done on behalf of all of us…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: First Amendment Fear

or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press

Freedom of the press means a freedom to print or have printed and disseminate what one wants to say. That is it is protecting what the founding fathers did, print and circulate political pamphlets that opposed the existing government.
Note for the regular trolls, that means at ones own expense, and does not meant other people have to disseminate your speech for you.

David says:

Re: Re:

How does it not make sense to get the ID from somebody who waves around equipment indicating that he plans his best to serve as material independent witness to any occuring events in a situation of general unrest?

“Glad you are here to stand witness, please give your ID in case we need to call on you, and please make sure that you don’t get in the way when doing your civic duty in order to minimize the danger for yourself, us, and others.”

Nothing wrong with that as far as I can see. Except that is not exactly what seems to have transpired…

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Asking for ID is one thing, and could be reasonable in some cases for the reason you state, now, how they respond if the person refuses, that’s the important part, as, unless you’re being arrested, I don’t believe you’re obligated to give them any personal information if you don’t care to.

Also, if a cop is going to ask someone for their ID, I’d say it’s only fair that they return the favor, listing name and badge number for the record.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Asking for ID is one thing, and could be reasonable in some cases for the reason you state, now, how they respond if the person refuses, that’s the important part, as, unless you’re being arrested, I don’t believe you’re obligated to give them any personal information if you don’t care to.

I think in most jurisdictions you’re required to identify yourself (not necessarily by presenting photo ID) if asked by police. Otherwise they can detain you while they determine your identity.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“you’re required to identify yourself”

I think this is a technicality (my inner pedant is the one that cried out), but my understanding is that you are not required to identify yourself. However, if you don’t identify yourself, the police do, as you say, have the power to detain you until they can determine your identity — so it’s in your best interest to do so anyway.

SolkeshNaranek (profile) says:


Ferguson chief tells me @WesleyLowery and @ryanjreilly’s arresters were “probably somebody who didn’t know better.”

Am I the only one that finds the above statement (from the chief of police, no less) deeply disturbing?

Members of a SWAT team are supposed to be very seasoned officers which receive extra training in weapons and tactics.

The fact that the police chief thinks they are “probably somebody that didn’t know better” speaks volumes about the type of officers and their qualifications that have been put on a SWAT team.

No wonder the situation is getting so out of control. Based on these recent revelations, I would not be surprised if at some point the police completely lost their composure and started firing into the crowd at random (Kent State ring a bell for anyone (although that was the National Guard in that incident)).

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Disturbing

Members of a SWAT team are supposed to be very seasoned officers which receive extra training in weapons and tactics.

But not, apparently, in the law and what is, and is not, legal.

Or, even worse, perhaps they do know the law, and in particular are aware of the difference between the law on the books, and the law in practice.

Arresting or ‘detaining’ someone for taking pictures/video of the police? On the books, not legal. However, since no judge has the spine to actually punish cops who do so, in practice such arrests/detentions are effectively legal.

Javarod (profile) says:

Re: Disturbing

Not a real surprise, consider that the Ferguson PD never released a statement on the shooting before the STLCPD did their press conference the next day. And then there’s the answer given when a state Senator asked if she’d be gassed again. Oh, and the one about the fact that only 3 of the 53 officers on the force are black is because black kids don’t want to be cops. FPD’s incompetence is incredible, in fact according to Breaking News the STLCPD has announced that they’re no longer going to be involved. I think the next announcement will be the firing of the police chief.

sorrykb (profile) says:

Reporters and reporting

And for updates on what’s happening on the ground, we have
1) a bunch of accidental citizen-reporters and a few big and small media outlet reporters (bravo to the ones who stayed).. On Twitter.

2) A collected live feed… On Reddit.

and… god help us…

3) A live video feed from Alex Jones. $%#$$ INFOWARS has more live coverage than the biggest TV news organizations in the U.S. (But I can’t bring myself to click on their feed. I just can’t. There were a couple other live feeds up earlier, but they seem to have stopped.)

And as to the response of the police chief when told that his SWAT team had assaulted and arrested two reporters

Ferguson chief tells me @WesleyLowery and @ryanjreilly’s arresters were “probably somebody who didn’t know better.”

I believe the “didn’t know better” had nothing to do with the chief’s concerns about freedom of the press, and everything to do with: “oh shit this time we attacked people who might have some influence with people in power”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Reporters and reporting

This is insightful because you indirectly tell others who might not know who Alex Jones is to shun anything he does. If Bill Cooper hadn’t been shot by the cops in november 2001, that would be an ex-high ranking Navy Intelligence officer to listen to, but he wasn’t given much time to live in this new millenium.

Proof? Try and call Alex Jones to discuss Bill Cooper. lolz will ensue.

Digger says:

Missouri cops need to be jailed, all of them.

I doubt that there’s more than a handful of decent cops in the entire state. Most of the “township” cops are out to rake in as much cash, generate as much fear and play power games with anyone and everyone they can, all while allowing Busch (beer) family members to get away with vehicular homicide and murder.


Every township needs to be cleaned and and re-zoned into something sensible with federal oversight until such time as the kindergarten cop mentality that is so prevalent in that state disappears.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Missouri cops need to be jailed, all of them.

I know a guy like that who had lots of potential in life, but due to a massive brain concussion he had, while on some psychedelic drugs nonetheless, trying to bring a refrigerator 6 stories high without any equipment with his girlfriend….who slipped and had him go down with the fridge which destroyed his nose and front teeth (looks like an ex boxer now). He started to act even weirder after this (he had a fucking concussion on LSD and some other stuff). Her girlfriend called an ambulance, but the cops showed up, for no particular reason, she didnt mention the drugs.

Since then that guy’s life is ruined, cops all mess with him in a 1000km radius, he carries around a police snooper just to protect himself (not kidding), it helps him get away from where he is in time before they arrive in case he happened to walk the streets while looking “different”.

sorry bout the long story, but that’s in Canada, where I imagine most of you imagine things are massively different.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Missouri cops need to be jailed, all of them.

Two of the major metropolitan areas where I live have their police forces under federal oversight because of the level of abuse they engaged in. And you know what? Although it hasn’t fixed all the problems by a longshot, it has made the situation a bit better. There are, at least, fewer straight-up murders committed by the police.

Javarod (profile) says:

Re: Missouri cops need to be jailed, all of them.

What they need to do is reduce the number of towns out here, its ridiculous. A county of 524sq miles has 90 incorporated municipalities, and 45 unincorporated areas. The biggest problem with the police is that they have to justify their existence, which as you can imagine is hard with this many towns.

Anonymous Coward says:

As someone who lives in the St. Louis Metro area...

I can tell you that the St. Louis police are on alert, as are police in other nearby communities. The police are nervous and fear this could spread. Some acts of vandalism, smash and grabs, etc., have occurred as far away as south St. Louis, and Ferguson is in north St. Louis near the airport. But the local tv stations (e.g., http://www.kmov.com for local news coverage) say these are just thugs trying to cash in on the unrest.

There was another police shooting today in Ferguson–apparently a guy in a mask with a gun took a pot shot at a cop who then shot back. The guy is in critical condition at a local hospital right now. At least he’s not dead which probably would inflame the situation. A state rep. was tear gassed, and she’s black.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: As someone who lives in the St. Louis Metro area...

I don’t live there any more, but I grew up next to Ferguson and have family scattered in and around the area, so I’m there often enough.

As a white middle-aged male, I don’t fit the pigs’ profile of A Bad Guy, so I largely escape the harassment and bullying, the assaults and arrests, the fabricated charges and the rest. But not everyone is so lucky, and this time, the incident ended with Michael Brown dead. (Because of course a kid a few days away from going to college decided to attack an armed police officer, well, just because. Right.)

The pigs there routinely beat, intimidate, insult, and arrest citizens for the crime of being black — and then they lie, lie, lie about it. Everyone knows this. And their reaction is a mix of fear and rage — as should be obvious by now. The Ferguson police aren’t there to “protect and serve”: they’re an organized, armed gang with a very long history of threats and violence.

The only difference between today and last week, last month, last year, is that NOW there are outside reporters getting a taste of it. Nothing else has changed.

Michael Brown was murdered by a racist thug with a badge, and in all likelihood, he’ll get away it because the cops have spent the last several days destroying incriminating evidence and fabricating exculpatory evidence. Of course they have: it’s what they do. It’s how Ferguson works.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: As someone who lives in the St. Louis Metro area...

I know a friend in the US who has a friend who made the “crime” of paying for a new plasma tv, cash, while black. Store owners called the cops.

He wasn’t arrested but was majorly questioned about how come he had 800 dollars in cash.

And I never want a cashless society, it would be such bullshit, some people hacked your paypal account and your bank kicks you out ? Well I guess you’ll have to do without any money now bro.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: As someone who lives in the St. Louis Metro area...

Wow, really? Once again, I feel lucky for being a middle-age white guy. I would absolutely have paid cash for a purchase like that (I generally don’t use a card unless I’m paying more than a couple of grand). I’ve never anyone raise an eyebrow, let alone call the cops.

Rekrul says:

Re: As someone who lives in the St. Louis Metro area...

I can tell you that the St. Louis police are on alert, as are police in other nearby communities. The police are nervous and fear this could spread.

It should spread! Not the vandalism and looting, but the protests.

Cops in the US have far too much impunity to beat or kill people and then explain it away as they were afraid for their safety, or they were just following procedure. See a kid with what seems to be a gun? Shoot him to death first and ask questions later! Guy won’t comply with your demands? Beat him to death! Old woman won’t sign a ticket? Taze her!

Not all cops are bad, but a large number of them have become thugs who think that questioning their authority should be a capital crime.

Anonymous Coward says:

and the USA isn’t fast becoming a Police State? are you kiddin’ me? and the more police forces are allowed to spend tax dollars on things like Water Cannons, armored vehicles, crowd dispersal vehicles, drones, the list goes on and on, the less control there is of those police forces. it can only lead to worse things and sooner or later there will be violent clashes because the people want to be led, not herded!!

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Small Town SWAT is Different From Big City SWAT.

Big City SWAT is paid men who are being exempted from their regular duties, and that implies a certain choosiness. Small Town SWAT is something different. It’s a kind of unpaid volunteer reserve, enthusiasts like George Zimmerman, who are given a uniform, and allowed to blast away at targets on the police department shooting range, more or less on the theory that this will keep them out of mischief. You know how that works… if one of them actually gets a paid police job, he turns up once or twice at the meeting to brag, and then drops out. So small town SWAT tends to fill up with the wannabees, who have not been able to convince anyone to put them on the payroll.

I think you can assume that the Ferguson police chief called the SWAT out, put a gun in the hands of someone like George Zimmerman, because the situation had worsened beyond what his comparatively small number of _paid_ officers could handle. Ferguson may be legally a city, but economically and sociologically, it is part of St. Louis, and potential rioters and/or protesters will have been driving in from all over the larger city. The Ferguson police chief must have not wanted to admit he was out of his depth and hand over to either the county sheriff or the state governor (the commander in chief of the Missouri National Guard).

The greatest fear of the city fathers of such small towns is annexation by the adjoining big city. The city fathers would lose their jobs. One can see how this would preclude asking for help.

sorrykb (profile) says:

Re: Small Town SWAT is Different From Big City SWAT.

Not so different, really.

Escalating violence and stupendous arrogance by police is as much a problem in big cities as in small towns. (And I say that as a resident of the city who helped make SWAT such a popular thing. Darryl Gates left LAPD 20 years ago, but his legacy lives on. Unfortunately.)

Wherever police power is not checked by strong oversight and accountability, a culture of abuse is inevitable. The militaristic escalation just makes it worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, I’m sure that every “protester” was in on the planned looting beforehand. They even had a meeting on who would loot which business.

fyi: according to reports, it started out peaceful and police started the shit then it spread. This is classic antagonistic riot mongering, the police seem to enjoy it.

Digger says:

Re: Re:

But when the “cops” sole intention is to harass, maim and murder people who have done absolutely nothing wrong, so that they incite riots, instigate violence just so they can escalate with bigger guns and more violence, then it is the police that need to be apprehended, in the same manner that they “apprehend” people themselves.

The cops are responsible for all of the violence through their own criminal activities, any and all violence, damages, injuries and other crimes need to placed squarely on the officers shoulders, all charges should be filed on the cops involved as they instigated the entire tragedy.

Illegal stops.
Instigating riots
Police brutality
kidnapping (what they call detaining – it’s illegal)
violating the constitutional ammendments equates to treason, and should be treated as such

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I looked at those pictures and saw men who should have their guns taken away for an appalling breach of gun safety. You never ever point a gun at people unless you you at least have the right to shoot them because there is an immediate threat to life. An angry unarmed crown does not count as an immediate threat to life.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

So those first two photos…if it weren’t for the word Police on their uniforms, I would have thought that those guys were US Army, and my first thought would have been “Isn’t the US Army forbidden by law from being active within the US, outside of their bases?”

Actually, states are forbidden from using the army to enforce law, but…

The government has the power to order the armed forces into action on American soil in order to stop things like a rebellion, insurrection, domestic violence, etc. So basically the second that the government feels there’s any serious threat to their power, you’ll be seeing real tanks and soldiers on US streets.

Digger says:

Re: Re:

Uhh – if I was just standing there, and an officer pulls a gun on me (as part of a crowd), I’d pull mine and kill the fucker in self defense as it sure looked like he had the intent of killing me or someone else.

That’s the part that the cops forget.

If they pull their weapons first, it’s every citizen’s right to defend themselves against the criminal-cop that is illegally drawing their firearm.

Digger says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Basic human right to defend your life, it doesn’t require documentation from anywhere.

If someone, I don’t care who they are, pull their guns out and aim them at you, while you are just standing there, doing nothing illegal, then hell yes you have a right to defend yourself.

Cops are people, and unfortunately, in Missouri a majority of them are also criminals and deserve anything they get for illegally drawing their weapons, up to and including being killed, which would only improve the situation there.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Basic human right to defend your life, it doesn’t require documentation from anywhere.”

If a cop pulls a gun on you when performing his duty, I don’t think that automatically constitutes a threat to your life that justifies a lethal response. There can be circumstances where it would, of course, but those are the exceptions and not the rule.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

My question was whether the assertion that it’s your right to pull a gun on a cop when they pull a gun on you is accurate. I don’t believe that it is.

I wasn’t addressing the ethics of the situation.

You two are talking about different things. He’s making a claim about natural rights, and you’re asking about legal rights.

sorrykb (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Uhh – if I was just standing there, and an officer pulls a gun on me (as part of a crowd), I’d pull mine and kill the fucker in self defense as it sure looked like he had the intent of killing me or someone else.

And you’d be shot dead. And probably a whole bunch of people around you would be shot dead. And the police would have legal justification for shooting you. Yeah. Great idea.

Anon says:


Why do SWAT need to dress like soldiers? Green or camouflage? What, they’re going to hide in the trees? What happened to police officer blue? What’s with the backpacks? Are these guys going on a 25-mile forced march with rations, or are they supposed to be able to move with minimum hindrance?

And who thought the solution to the town’s problems was to get rid of the reporters? Did these idiots dream it up themselves, or did the officer in command also lack the basic understanding about the difference between a constitutional state and a war zone? What possible rationale to clear people out of a McDonalds -but not the employees? Selective or what?

Whatever (profile) says:

Having seen some video clips (including on Huffington Post) of people pretty much getting in the way of riot police to film them, I am entirely surprised that there were not more arrests. The right to film police doesn’t mean the right to impede them or get in the way of a police operation.

The solution to the towns problems are not simple – the police appear to be way over the line, but the public reaction is equally past intelligence. Rioting, looting, and destroying things doesn’t solve the issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

” Rioting, looting, and destroying things doesn’t solve the issue.”

“If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

— Frederick Douglass

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Rioting, looting, and destroying things doesn’t solve the issue.

Neither does the threat of attack dogs, tear gas, and fully armed fucktards who apparently, and according to their own supervisor, “don’t know better.”

Keep backing someone into a corner, and eventually they’ll fight. Fact of the matter is that filming them is entirely necessary, and they deserve all the notoriety they’re getting – the world is watching, and apparently, the police still don’t understand the implications of that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

” “Rioting, looting, and destroying things doesn’t solve the issue.”

Keep backing someone into a corner, and eventually they’ll fight. “

Looting is theft. Rioting puts the lives and livelihoods of NON-INVOLVED parties at risk of harm. Destroying things belonging to innocent third-parties gains what exactly for the perpetrator? Fighting back against the/an oppressor is one thing, harming other people (including members of their own community) is entirely another.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Keep backing someone into a corner, and eventually they’ll fight

no, eventually they will bust the windows out of the local electronics store and empty it out, and do the same to the local 7/eleven too.

Point is if you want to fight, fight. Don’t use it as an excuse to rip off and destroy other people’s business and property.

Socrates says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Sanctioned vandalism?

The police claim that a struggle over a gun caused the kid to be shot 8 times inside a van is quite telling. The claim that those protesting gunning down the kid is looters, is week sauce too. And it is very unlikely to be true.

Looting by independent opportunistic criminals is most likely, followed by police purposefully letting vandalism and looting go undisturbed. Less likely is looting initiated by the police, though it happens for various reasons. Least likely by far is looting by those mourning the assassinated kid. An important reason is WHY they showed up to protest in the first place, and whom they consider themselves to be. Nobody loot to prove they are not the criminals.

(Nor is protestors looting for food relevant in Ferguson).

When citizens unmask vandals and looters at protests they frequently turn out to be police. Typical daft excuses is that they need to do it to “blend in” or “build cred”. Vandals have also very obviously been smashing things for a long time in front of the MSM, before equally obviously let go, while protesters being prevented from unmasking them, by the police.

Police staging riots, looting and vandalism would not welcome recording devices. Though someone even remotely interested in fighting crime would actively encourage documentation.

Zonker says:

Re: Re:

When the police themselves are lawless, they promote lawless behavior in others. Do as I do, not as I say is the message they are sending.

Rioting, looting, and vandalism is the natural consequence of lawless behavior from those tasked with enforcing the law. Law abiding citizens defending themselves from police brutality are distracted from protecting their own property, and the police are too busy assaulting innocent civilians to enforce the laws they themselves won’t obey.

John William Nelson (profile) says:

Technically arrested, not detained

Technically, you’re arrested if you’re cuffed and processed, and not allowed to leave an area. Whoever said that was “technically being detained” must be reading from the cop’s handbooks because often get confused about when and how they can stop folks. A real easy bright line for most judges is when the cuffs go on.

It is also technically false arrest and false imprisonment.

Although, to make it even more confusing, the technical terms “arrest” and “detention” are different for some specific regulatory and procedural situations.

Nevertheless, as far as Constitutional rights are concerned, this was “technically” an arrest, plain and simple.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Technically arrested, not detained

A real easy bright line for most judges is when the cuffs go on.

Do you have any reference for that? I’m not finding anyone saying cuffs = arrest.

“An arrest is a seizure of a person in which the subject is 1) required to go elsewhere with police, or 2) deprived of his freedom of movement for more than a brief period of time, or 3) subjected to more force than is reasonably part of an investigative detention. “

Are handcuffs always not reasonably part of an investigative detention? Not sure, but I could see courts ruling that as a detention by that definition.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Technically arrested, not detained

Handcuffs can absolutely be used with a detention without it rising to the level of arrest. For example, if there’s a bar fight, the police might just handcuff everybody involved until they can sort out who acted criminally. Those people aren’t arrested, but detained.

If you’re arrested, you’ll be processed. If you’re detained, you’ll just be allowed to leave once the police have finished.

Javarod (profile) says:

Don’t forget about Alderman Antonio French, a former reporter who’s been one of the best sources for information there, he was arrested and held overnight for unlawful assembly. This on top of… lets see, they threatened to arrest him on Monday, tear gassed a state Senator, arrested 2 reporters, tear gassed another Huffington Post reporter, tear gassed an Al Jazeera news crew that was setting up, then dismantled their equipment, and rolled up on another news crew and tear gassed them. And did we mention the No Fly Zone over Ferguson?

Matthew A. Sawtell (profile) says:

A government is a shadowy reflection of its people...

… so is anyone really surprised anymore? In the end we, as Americans, have no one to blame but ourselves. We have no Monarchy, Oligarchy, or ‘Strongman’. Whether we call ourselves a Democracy or a Republic, the onus of responsibility has been ourselves and ourselves alone. Trouble with treating this country like a 3rd World Hellhole is that you eventually will be treated as if you live in a 3rd World Hellhole.

Anonymous Coward says:

There was a rap concert in town two nights ago, over in Earth City. The cops were so paranoid it was going to turn into a real riot, they had over 200 police waiting in full SWAT gear. Well, it was more than normal swat gear. These guys are armed to the teeth, geared up with as much (or more) equipment than a full blown military unit.
I’ve seen plenty of cops in riot gear, this pales in comparison. Most people are not being violent at all even in Ferg… but the cops are reacting as if they’re in the middle of the post Rodney King LA riots.
This goes far beyond racism. That’s just the surface issue. People in general are sick of the police acting as tyrants, and if thecops keep going with the heavy handed response the situation could easily explode.

Anonymous Coward says:

death threats

I am in no way condoning any of what has transpired, but why is no one on here bringing up the fact that several local officers were receiving death threats long before the cavalry arrived? That must be part of the discussion. It weighs on the decisions the cops make as to how they have been responding. It doesn’t justify the response, but it definitely affects their decisions. If you’ve been reading the news, all of those officers are from surrounding communities because the local guys are under protection.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: death threats

“why is no one on here bringing up the fact that several local officers were receiving death threats long before the cavalry arrived?”

Were those threats cited as being a part of the reason for the response? If not, then it’s not really very relevant.

“all of those officers are from surrounding communities because the local guys are under protection.”

So the officers involved weren’t the ones who received the death threats, then? That makes the threats even less important.

Zonker says:

Re: death threats

All of this could have easily been avoided by the police simply doing their job: arrest and put to trial the alleged murderer in their ranks where a civilian jury can determine if he/she is guilty or not. Instead they hide and refuse to even name the alleged guilty officer as a clear demonstration that they are above the law and may kill anyone at will without penalty.

How could this behavior not result in death threats and riots against them?

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