Prosecutor Lays The Blame For The Ferguson Debacle At The Feet Of 'Social Media'

from the social-media-now-killing-more-unarmed-citizens-than-ever-before! dept

When prosecutor Robert McCulloch began his announcement of the grand jury's decision in Officer Darren Wilson's shooting of an unarmed Ferguson resident, he expressed his displeasure with a very familiar scapegoat:
On August 9th Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. Within minutes, various accounts of the incident began appearing on social media, accounts filled with speculation and little, if any, solid, accurate information...

The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything, to talk about, following closely behind with the nonstop rumors on social media.
One would have thought the most significant challenge would have been the investgation itself, rather than the words of multiple uninvolved parties. Government officials blaming outside entities for their own struggles and failures is nothing new. The normal, non-social media has taken numerous turns as the scapegoat du jour. But now it's more fashionable to blame the general public and their social outlets. When not blaming the public for talking about stuff, government officials blame the services themselves, villainizing them for providing platforms that criminals, terrorists and other malcontents might use.

Not included in the blame-shifting was the Ferguson police department's severe mismanagement of the "investigation," the decision to turn Ferguson into a lower-Midwest Afghanistan, the combativeness of the city's FOIA departments or the no-fly zone erected solely for the purpose of keeping the media out. No. As McCulloch saw it, the Twitter, Facebook, et al (but mostly Twitter) obstructed justice.

It's little surprise McCulloch has no affection for social media, especially when it's being used to highlight his inaccuracies.
If you're going to open up your discussion of a heated issue by pointing fingers at everyone else, you can expect to be ridiculed mercilessly. The Hollywood Reporter has collected some great responses to McCullough's opening gambit. Here are a few of the better ones I spotted while hanging out on The Twit last night.
Wil Wheaton referenced a classic board game.
It was social media, on the internet, with the smart phone.
Lowering the Bar's Kevin Underhill stopped presses, shouted "Here's your headline, boys!"
FERGUSON PROSECUTOR ANNOUNCES GRAND JURY HAS INDICTED SOCIAL MEDIA
God Himself:
Apparently Mike Brown was shot and killed by social media
McCulloch's "extended whine" (according to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin) has to be seen to be believed greeted with slow, disbelieving shakes of the head. In addition to blaming social media, McCulloch discussed the unreliability of eyewitness accounts, something cops and prosecutors tend to consider perfectly reliable when seeking to obtain warrants or indictments.


McCulloch didn't discuss his decision to take a (wholly fake) "impartial" stance during the grand jury deliberations rather than act as a prosecutor and drive for an indictment. His disingenuous nod towards "jury independence" was just a weak cover for his unwillingness to prosecute Darren Wilson. He also didn't discuss his family ties to law enforcement or his previous reluctance to pursue prosecution of police officers.

By the end of the press conference (which has been described as "bizarre" and "rambling"), McCulloch had made his views perfectly clear: the only person blameless in this incident is the officer who shot an unarmed man.

Filed Under: blame, ferguson, media, missouri, robert mcculloch, social media


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  • icon
    S. T. Stone (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:57pm

    I have but a simple statement to make on this specific part of the whole Ferguson debacle.

    Fuck Robert McCulloch.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:58pm

    He was right... mostly. It was a slightly different subset of social media that orchestrated this: online activism groups. I'm subscribed to mailing lists for several of them, because they do a lot of good, but... sometimes they also do something like this.

    I saw the story as it unfolded, a few days before it became national news, and what happened was very deliberate: It was Trayvon Martin all over again. What should have been a very simple, local case of a thug attacking a guy with a gun and then the inevitable tragic consequences befalling him got spun into a national media circus by people who want to incite another Rodney King-style race riot to call attention to their cause celebré.

    Yes, the heavy-handed police response was bad, but considering the riots already breaking out, it was certainly the lesser of two evils. (If you don't believe me, look up the statistics on the death tolls and property damage in the Rodney King riots!) They made the least bad choice they could have in a bad situation. Let's hope this finally gets put to rest now, at least until the next overly aggressive thug gets himself killed in a stupid way while happening to be black.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:04pm

      Re:

      So what? Remove the 1st Amendment?

      Way to go champ! It's like saying getting caught is the problem with crime instead of committing the damn crime in the first place.

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:18pm

        Re: Re:

        It's nothing like saying that, and I'm not sure what leap of logic leads you to that conclusion. What I said was that making sure a riot with immense costs to both property and life does not break out is better than letting it happen.

        Are you saying it's not?

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        • identicon
          Trevor, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          They held the press conference at 9:00 p.m., in the dark, and spent 40 minutes talking about how it was X, Y, and Z's fault before announcing the Grand Jury's report, in front of a large national audience.

          Yeah, they sure made sure "a riot with immense costs to both property and life [did] not break out..."

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          you are so totally missing the boat.

          It about the fact that the price tag associated with preventing such a riot is far more costly than the loss it will prevent.

          Sir, I can personally guarantee the safety of your daughters... all you need but do is send them my way without an cloths and I will see to their safety.

          You ignorantly do not understand what you have to trade in to achieve what you are wanting.

          You deserve neither liberty or security!

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It about the fact that the price tag associated with preventing such a riot is far more costly than the loss it will prevent.

            Not to the police, it isn't.

            Bear in mind, it was the Ferguson police doing this. Not Feds, not even the State of Missouri, not outsiders. The rabble-rousers have been trying to paint this as some sort of "us vs. them" scenario, but these police who did this are part of the "us"! They're people who live there, whose families and friends live there, and they would all be in danger if rioting broke out.

            If it was your judgment call to make, given the same understanding of those simple facts, can you honestly say you'd have made it differently?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think it is clear that the Ferguson Police are out of control. They repetitiously aimed loaded firearms at civilians. They have arrested people performing press related functions which is suppressing free speech, officers are on video antagonizing the crowds during the protest.

              I think having the extra manpower on hand was a wise decision, but at this point its clear that the behavior of the Police force in response has only fomented unnecessary anger from the protestors, which would only lead to increasing the risk of a longer and deadlier protest! It's like law enforcement is just pushing it till things boil over so they can shoot people and throw their authority around.

              And to be clear... it will always be an "us vs them" it has never EVER been anything other. Governments throughout history has visited far more death and destruction upon their peoples than any and ALL wars ever fought on this mud-ball.

              The state will always and ever be the greatest threat to mankind. This is the primary principle our founding fathers of the United States built our system of government on. Our police are being militarized... as proven by the picture show of the police in Ferguson. Full Assault body armor and weapons! They are literally dressed for WAR!

              They DAMN SURE see YOU as the enemy! No matter how much they lie telling you otherwise!

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              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:51pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                The state will always and ever be the greatest threat to mankind. This is the primary principle our founding fathers of the United States built our system of government on.

                You lose all credibility when you pull out a line like that.

                Yes, the Founding Fathers established a highly minimalist state. Do you remember what happened then? It failed miserably, very quickly, because they were too clever for their own good and ended up creating a government that was incapable of governing. It was called the Articles of Confederation, and it ended up being nothing more than a footnote in history.

                So they went back to the drawing board and greatly increased the power of the state for their second version. That one, American Government v2.0, was the Constitution, and it ended up as perhaps the single greatest success in the history of governance.

                History tells us that there is a far worse threat to mankind than the state, and that is the absence of the state. It seems I have to keep repeating this because people who can't see past one degree of cause and effect keep making the same mistakes, so here I go again:

                Power Exists. Period. Power is derived from resources, including people, money, natural resources, military might, and social influence, but in the end, it's all different forms of power, and it exists one way or another.

                Power always ends up getting concentrated in the hands of a few people at the top. Whether we're talking about a nation, a social club, a business, a family, or a church, there are decision makers at the top, and people below them. Beyond a certain level of size, intermediate levels of decision makers get added, and the whole thing replicates itself on a smaller scale. It's the fundamental social pattern of human nature, as inviolable as the laws of physics.

                When that doesn't happen, the organization falls apart. Perhaps the most notable example in recent memory is the Occupy movement, which is remarkable for having so much in the way of resources available to them, and yet utterly failing to accomplish anything of significance. A good deal of the blame for that lies in their conscious attempt to buck the fundamental pattern of human nature and be a "leaderless organization". That doesn't work, never has, never will.

                And when that doesn't happen on a large scale (city to nation size) and whoever was in power is no longer in power, that power doesn't simply vanish into happy sparkles, rainbows and more liberty for everyone, no matter what idealistic nonsense the libertarians fill your head with. What you get in the real world is a power vacuum, and if you think that makes for a better society than you'd get under even the very worst of tyrants, I invite you to spend some time in Somalia.

                Only two types of people claim otherwise: those who don't understand this principle, and those who do, and want to create one. It's hard to say which is a greater threat.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:36pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Wow... you missed that boat.

                  The State is indeed necessary for people that cannot self govern, which sadly, is the majority of humanity. For people like you and most others, the state is indeed necessary, but it still does not mean it is not your greatest threat. History is standing proof of what I say.

                  American is no longer anything of what it was, we will fall, because people like you now comprise the majority of this nation now and love the state more than your own liberty.

                  On the Occupy movement... not sure what bearing that has here or why you brought it up, so I am disregarding that.

                  Yes, the Constitution... indeed a great document and did make a great Nation out of the United States. Yet there is not a single one of the original 10 amendments sparred from assault. Who is responsible for that assault? The State? The People?

                  And one final point? Where did I say the state was to be abolished? I recognize the need for a state with plenty of people like you around... I cannot and would not want to deal with all of you cry babies... What I am saying, is that you put the state together then you recognize it for what it is... your greatest threat and ensure that you control it properly and not allow it to become corrupt as it has now.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 10:34am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Do not forget that America was founded and fought for against oppression and tyranny of England. Now the two governments are allies in a world full of the same. People still have a natural instinct for what is right and when they are being oppressed. That anger can be collective when favoritism exists making those ruling governed by a different set of laws and protections. Heros and Giants in history have stood up against the tyranny and rose up for the people who were so burdoned with oppression. There are all kinds of war fought in this world. Some for more noble causes than others. Fighting corruption and tyranny is a noble cause.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              When the majority of the population in the community is black and the majority of the cops on the force are white, the hiring managers at the police department are the ones who have created the us vs. them scenario.

              I don't know if it's the case with Ferguson, but when I worked for a law enforcement agency, a lot of the white cops in dominantly black communities lived outside of the community they patrolled.

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              • identicon
                jim, 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:31am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I think some people have to rethink the us versus them. Who are the us, the law abiders, the law breakers, the law enforcers? You have a city, city has and implies people, people implies groups, be it clicks, friends, good, bad. A city decides it's not nice to fight in the streets, or to impede traffic, so it makes it, the percieved wrong, into a law. And they hire someone to enforce the law. Simple so far. But the citizens have to pay for someone, so they hire overseers, and give them titles like city manager, prosecuted, etc... Now they are in a budget craze, and only one type of the citizenry volunteers to be wanting the job of enforcing the law, how do you attract others?
                All of you are saying only segregation works, whites police whites, black police blacks, I disagree. I read this between the lines, 1. I believe because of modern budget constraints, the cop was right, otherwise the cop would have been dead. 2. The prosecuted laid the blame on social media, he is wrong, he/his department should have been on social media to spread the word of what really was going on, they should use all social media to promote public safety. 3. They should be using all availabe resources to stop the " burn this place down" people, that not a builder, but a plant, a social worm, getting others to do his hate.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2014 @ 5:07am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  You forgot to mention why they need Judge Dredd patrolling the streets in poor neighborhoods.

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            • icon
              Tom Betz (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:48pm

              "these police who did this are part of the 'us'"-- Are you sure?

              If Ferguson police are anything like most police departments in the USA, odds are most of them DO NOT LIVE IN FERGUSON.

              http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/most-police-dont-live-in-the-cities-they-serve/

              Certainly , Darren Wilson doesn't. He lives about a half hour away, in Crestwood, a segregated white suburb of St Louis.

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              • icon
                Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:53pm

                Re: "these police who did this are part of the 'us'"-- Are you sure?

                ...which of course would see no ill effects if a major riot broke out a few miles away. Because chaotic societal disturbances always stay neatly confined to the arbitrary divisions we created in more peaceful times, right?

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                • icon
                  Tom Betz (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:49pm

                  Re: Re: "these police who did this are part of the 'us'"-- Are you sure?

                  In fact, yes. Damned straight that the white suburbs were insulated. Where do you think all the National Guard troops were stationed? Not in Ferguson...but in the surrounding white suburbs.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 1:35am

                  Re: Re: "these police who did this are part of the 'us'"-- Are you sure?

                  Of course Crestwood won't be affected very much. Neither will any of the other affluent, mostly-white suburbs to the west and south of St. Louis. They weren't affected back in the 60's and 70's either when protests took place in the city, because police made it a priority not to allow it.

                  Everyone who has read history, i.e., contemporary journalism, knows this. I know it because I was there.

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            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 11:14am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "The rabble-rousers have been trying to paint this as some sort of "us vs. them" scenario, but these police who did this are part of the "us"!"

              Wait, the Ferguson police are so fully integrated into the community that they are "us"? That puts them head-and-shoulders above the police forces in literally every city I've ever lived in!

              "If it was your judgment call to make, given the same understanding of those simple facts, can you honestly say you'd have made it differently"

              I can honestly say that I would have made the call differently, yes.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:59pm

      Re:

      Did you really put property damage in the same comment as human life.

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      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Large-scale property damage, such as that caused by riots? Yes, because that can have ripple effects that end up with more people dying.

        As I keep saying in posts on here, you have to think beyond a single degree of cause and effect.

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        • icon
          art guerrilla (profile), 26 Nov 2014 @ 7:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          @ mason big wheeler-
          thus proving you are inhuman and inhumane and have fallen victim to the propaganda which values profit uber alles: you have lost your soul to mammon...

          another capitalist pig who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing...

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 3:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Hypothetical:
            I am an honest business owner
            My business is burnt to the ground

            I cannot get food, I am forced to become homeless because my insurance doesn't cover it all

            I die.
            ---
            Property damage = damage to someone's life, their lively hood, their place of living.
            While the human life ranks above all property, disregarding material possession basically gives everyone a pass at destroying what others spent the blood and time earning. It's dehumanizing to say that they don't matter unless they get physically injured or die.

            This is not to say people are the things they own, but to just have empathy and understand how the world works please.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2014 @ 7:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              -I am an honest business owner
              -My business is burnt to the ground
              -I cannot get food, I am forced to become homeless because my insurance doesn't cover it all
              -I die

              A bit exaggerated, but I think I see where you're going with this.

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          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 1 Dec 2014 @ 10:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            thus proving you are inhuman and inhumane and have fallen victim to the propaganda which values profit uber alles: you have lost your soul to mammon...

            another capitalist pig who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing...

            Seriously? Have you read anything at all that I've posted on here on that particular subject?!?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:39pm

      Re:

      Why yes, of course it was social media that was responsible for the entire thing. The shooting had nothing to do with it and social media would have wiped up a storm regardless because they are evil doerz and terrorists that need to be stopped by any means possible.

      So, with that as a given, how do you propose social media be censored in order to quell the masses? Bonus points for the most egregious, painful and insulting way possible, as I'm sure there are those out there who would really get off on that shit.

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    • icon
      CK20XX (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 7:00pm

      Re:

      I want to believe this. I want to believe that the police over there are honest and dependable, but if this is true, then why is it that everything the law and government have done during the case has seemed specifically designed to make the disaster worse?

      At best, Ferguson seems a situation where neither side wants peace at all. If anyone over there still loves their fellow man, they should escape immediately.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 10:38pm

      Re:

      The problem is that you lose all credibility when you make the argument that
      local case of a thug attacking a guy with a gun and then the inevitable tragic consequences befalling him
      and you expect that the gun wielder is the innocent party because he is a police officer. It has not been tried before a judge and jury and at this point, irrespective of what any party says, if one is to be considered innocent until proven guilty then both should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

      We are in the unfortunate position that there will be no justice even attempted for the dead man in question. Certainly there is no justice attempted for the living man in question - he is just blanket considered innocent even though he has actually killed another.

      The end result is that no justice will be delivered to anyone. Not to the dead, not to the living, not even to the respective families.

      The family of the police officer will now face ridicule, hatred and abuse from those who believe that the police officer is guilty of murder, even if he is not. The family of the dead man will face ridicule from those who believe their son was a thief and thug, even if he is not.

      All this does is creates a us and them mindset. it will not surprise me to see this police officer and anyone associated with him killed in the months ahead. It will also not surprise me to see more killing of citizens in the months ahead.

      Yes, the heavy-handed police response was bad, but considering the riots already breaking out, it was certainly the lesser of two evils.
      Yet, how do you explain that an outside law enforcement group managed to calm the trouble (even if only briefly) without the use of heavy-handed response?

      If the police cannot calm things down by their simple presence then that is a very serious indicator that there is no evident respect for them and since respect and trust are earned we can only surmise that the police have only themselves to blame for this lack of respect.

      What you americans (of the USA variety) quite often forget is that you have an extremely valuable basis for your nation in your Constitution (and associated documents) but you actually don't value it. You are so prideful that, in effect, you still live in the lawless wild west of your past. You could have been a leading light but for well over a hundred years now you have been an arrogant blight. All pride and no humility as a nation.

      Instead of becoming great, you simple grate. Your law enforcement and your justice system are simply two examples where you as a nation have failed so badly.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2014 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re:

        Calm down you! The guy you're responding to is the irritating Hobbesian in the thread. And Hobbes was English. Or Scottish, I can't remember which.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2014 @ 2:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I was and still am calm. Sometimes one must lay out the case as it is and show that no justice is prevailing. I actually don't have a pigeon in this race. We have enough stupidity on all sides in my own country and we don't have anything like your constitution as a basis for governing the masses of cretins (as viewed from the heights of parliament) in our citizenry.

          Everything will go from bad to worse, freedoms will disappear and society will degenerate to the lowest common denominator. When that superstar of a politician/statesman turns up to fix it all, the world will rejoice and really go bad.

          So one should stay calm in the face on the ongoing troubles. It is better to lose one's head to Madame Guillotine than to lose one's head to uncontrolled emotion and rage.

          We need to go mow our lawns, weed our gardens and see to the lessons therein.

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    • identicon
      Zonker, 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:01pm

      Re:

      It was Trayvon Martin all over again. An unarmed young black male was murdered by a white visibly armed white male who claims self defense because they were afraid for their lives when they approached and initiated contact with their victim. The only difference is that Zimmerman, not a cop, was indicted without any grand jury hearing at all and Wilson, a cop, had a three month mock grand jury hearing and no indictment.

      People tend to riot when they witness injustice in their communities and face the constant threat of violence if they don't give up their right to assemble or have their grievances addressed, or when their favorite team wins/loses the Super Bowl. By the way, why is it a "race riot" when a minority group petitions for justice, but it's just a "wild party" when a bunch of drunk frat boys get violent and destroy property after a football game?

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  • identicon
    mcinsand, 25 Nov 2014 @ 1:59pm

    Where, oh, where is Michael Bloomberg when we need him most?

    We obviously need some common sense regulation and control of social media, with background checks, waiting periods, and bans on any messages longer than 148 characters long. Won't anyone think of the children?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:01pm

    More BS

    I saw the videos of the Police taunting and talking smack to the protestors. I have seen more than enough police brutality to last a life time.

    The Media (Social or Not) would not have had anything to show if the police were not corrupt and easily caught on camera pulling their BS.

    People need to calm down and stop the looting and protest peacefully around the Police Department, not destroying the community! It makes the entire protest a show of animal ignorance and brutality!

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    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:15pm

      Re: More BS

      Wait... so saying impolite things counts as "brutality"? Or only when a police officer does it?

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      • identicon
        Beech, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:24pm

        Re: Re: More BS

        I believe Mr. Coward meant to separate those two ideas, hence the period he used in there. Although the point could have been made more clearly, it takes more than a little effort to read his post as you did.

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        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: More BS

          Does it? The flow of the sentences clearly connects "Police taunting and talking smack to the protestors" to "police brutality." What takes effort is forcibly disconnecting them once the implications of what was just said are pointed out.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: More BS

            No, your bias is tainting your reading comprehension.

            You'd have to be imagining a "therefore" instead of a period to read his sentences as indicating that taunting is equivalent to brutality.

            If you like, turn the period into an "and."

            "I saw the cops taunting protesters and I have seen police brutality."

            The two, separate sentences indicate that based on the AC's experience of witnessing verbal and physical abuses by police officers, the AC concludes that the police are to blame for the bad media attention they get.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More BS

              No no no, he is right. The cops were there to help the protesters exercise their rights. Cops would never mace innocent bystanders or people sitting on a sidewalk, that sort of thing never happens.

              Oh and it is the fault of media for allowing dissemination of those slanderous videos.

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              • identicon
                Beech, 26 Nov 2014 @ 1:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: More BS

                "Oh and it is the fault of SOCIAL media for allowing dissemination of those slanderous videos."

                FTFY

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  • identicon
    Andyroo, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:02pm

    WOW

    This is not only about Ferguson and one cop this is about all the cops that have got away with murder even when there is clear evidence showing video of them committing murder.
    There are too many cases where people are warned not to interact with police but to calmly stand and let them talk don't argue or talk back or try to use your rights to go on your way.
    It was only recently that a college in the US gave a 3 day course on how to interact with cops in NYC when stopped and searched for no reason, and it was only recently that police got away with murder with a slap on the hand and a transfer or paid leave.

    All these cases prove one thing , police in general are not to be trusted and now nobody or very few people belive anything a cop says.

    the only way to resolved this is to have real investigations and court cases with a jury for every instance where a cop kills someone that is unarmed and to have every cop wear a camera that is on all day or all time they are in uniform, even if they are in a police station and those videos saved to a site they have no access to. Then if they shoot someone and they have turned their camera off they can be fired and have to defend themselves in court.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    LinuxSneaker (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:19pm

    Exponential Communication

    Isn't social media just communication on a wider scale? For someone to blame social media without mentioning those using using those platforms to incite violence is like blaming air for conveying speech between two people talking. If we must, blame physics!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Beech, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:26pm

    Hypothetical

    "McCulloch had made his views perfectly clear: the only person blameless in this incident is the officer who shot an unarmed man."

    Now--and bear with me here--in a purely hypothetical situation, if the cop tweeted/facebooked/emailed/social media'd at any time after the shooting, would he then be looking at charges?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:33pm

    He just misses

    The Good Old Days (tm)... when the county coroner could be counted on to document "hit in the head 39 times with a hammer" as "really determined case of suicide" ... when the local newspaper would properly report on a black field hand found with a 9" knife in his back as "died of natural causes".

    All these damn people with their instant videos of police pulling women from their cars and beating them, of police threatening and confiscating (and accidentally deleting evidence), of "theft at badgepoint"... well, this just has to stop. The people are just out of control.

    Well, not exactly. They are out of YOUR control Mr McCulloch - the world has changed. Get Over It. As real reporters used to say - "The Truth will out". Just happens instantly now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 2:40pm

    This isn't the first time...

    ...that he's defended police who shot an unarmed man. This incident is part of a pattern of behavior that's been repeated over decades, which is why it's necessary to view it in context in order to understand the community's anger.

    I grew up next to Ferguson. I'VE SEEN WHAT POLICE DO. I get to do that with impunity because I'm white and middle-aged and innocuous, so I get a pass. I can drive through without being stopped, harassed and written a ticket for some bullshit. I can walk with my hands in my pockets without worrying that some trigger-happy cop will think I have a gun and shoot me. I can have a conversation with cops without being belittled, insulted, called "boy", or being subject to veiled accusations. I can do all that and more because I happen not to be black.

    But it's not that way for most Ferguson residents. Police have behaved like an occupying military force suppressing an enemy population. Every day -- mostly in smaller ways that don't make national headlines -- they use the implied threat of violence: obey or get shot. obey or get maced. obey or get clubbed. obey, obey, obey.

    This is long overdue. Mike Brown's murder is just the catalyst and unless the systemic problems (including institutionalized racism) are fixed, there will be another catalyst one day and this will repeat. Ferguson isn't the only place where this exists -- this is a national problem and it'll require a national solution.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 4:29pm

      Re: This isn't the first time...

      Damn good post...

      No one is talking about just this right here!

      Ferguson is nothing more than the straw the broke the camels back, and the officers comments with "George Stephanopoulos" is only going to piss even more people off.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:57pm

      Re: This isn't the first time...

      But but Bill O'Reilly says there is no such thing as white privilege.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Javarod (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 11:01pm

      Re: This isn't the first time...

      The only thing that's changed in STL in 100 years, a black man no longer has to say 'yes massa', now he's expected to say 'yes officer'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2014 @ 7:53am

      Re: This isn't the first time...

      Stand up and be counted. Thanks for the crisply worded post.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:05pm

    Isn't a police radio social media for the police, They get one side of the story and fly in guns a blazing , but if the common people use the same methods they're wrong?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:20pm

    Maybe he wishes a Ministry of Truth existed...you know since the US government is already copying much of the things it's doing from 1984.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    drjimmy (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 3:54pm

    So it had nothing to do with a LEO shooting an unarmed person multiple times with one shot in the head? Which is basically the MO of a professional hit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2014 @ 5:13am

      Re:

      Exactly so. Notable also -- see the autopsy report -- is the location and angle of that shot. It was either delivered by someone about 13 feet tall (seems unlikely, don't you think?) or by someone willing to put a bullet into the head of a human being in the process of crumpling to the ground -- a human being who had already been shot multiple times and could no longer pose a threat to anyone.

      Brown might have survived the other wounds -- again, see the autopsy report. But this one was immediately fatal. It was a killshot designed to silence him forever, to ensure that his side of the story would never be heard, to (once again) show that whining cowardly weakling police officer lives mean everything and that citizens' lives -- especially black citizens' lives -- mean nothing.

      Just another day in America -- another day where police equipped with heavy arms and armor and torture weapons can claim that they "feared for their lives" and execute anyone they want without the slightest worry that they'll face justice. "Help! Police!" has a very different meaning to people of color in this country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:23pm

    In related news...

    This month, Swedish newspaper Expressen posted a video of a terminally ill Comical Ali in a hospital bed in the United Arab Emirates.

    We'll miss you, Baghdad Bob. Ferguson Bob (McCullough) has stepped into your shoes, but he just doesn't have your charm.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 6:55pm

    McCulloch handled the situation as best as he could. It was obvious that Wilson acted in self-defense early in the case. Eyewitness statements were wildly inconsistent and physical evidence soon proved most were fabricated. (These eyewitnesses should probably be prosecuted for obstructing justice and inciting civil unrest, btw.) So, given that McCulloch felt that no prosecution was justified he took the option of handing it over to a grand jury. If the grand jury decided not to indict after a quick look at the evidence then they would be criticized and so McCulloch decided to provide them with all the evidence. Although still subject to criticism, no one can say that they rushed to judgement. This decision makes it hard for the feds to successfully take further action and for Brown's parents to win a lawsuit. Justice has been served, imho.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 8:57pm

      Re:

      Actually I agree with the way the case was handled. The only thing I would ask for is that this new "innocent untill proven guilty" from a prosecutor gets applied in all cases and not just when a cop is in the line of fire...

      That will of course never happen. Unfortunately it is better to put a few extra innocent people in jail than having a few extra criminals go free.

      The things I have seen on the subject of public perception on punishment, points to average people reviewing specific cases are far softer than judges while at the same time they are thundering for higher penalties in general.

      Perception is formed by perspective. In most cases the perspective of the average man lacks the mitigating circumstances when judging a case and thus always favour increasing punishment unconditionally. Therefore "tough on crime" will win against reason any day of the week when the carreer of a prosecutor is on vote for DA and therefore the system is fundamentally flawed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Isma'il, 26 Nov 2014 @ 4:57pm

      Re:

      "McCulloch handled the situation as best as he could. It was obvious that Wilson acted in self-defense early in the case."

      I don't buy that argument for one moment. Professional law enforcement officers are trained to use non-lethal means to subdue a suspect. Furthermore, they receive special training that puts them at an advantage against the average unarmed citizen, training very similar to what the members of the military undergo. An officer's firearm is a weapon of LAST RESORT. "Officer" Wilson could have used a baton or tazer to subdue Michael Brown if he was truly posing a threat to him. Instead, he played the typical part of a racist cop on a power trip and murdered Michael because he could get away with it. "Officer" Wilson belongs behind bars as an example to other dirty cops.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 7:35pm

    Thankfully, the grand jury came to the correct decision based on evidence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2014 @ 7:35pm

    Your honor

    I didn't shoot him, Facebook and Twitter did!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan G Difino, 26 Nov 2014 @ 10:06am

    BULLSHIT

    The prosecutor decided to take what should have been a court case where a jury of 12 regular citizens makes the determination on the basis of the law, facts of the case, and whether or not their gut feelings tell them that this officer should not have been such a cowboy to begin with, and instead, handed it over to 12 people picked by a judge to decide if the case should even go to trial, pre-empting absolute justice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2014 @ 7:48am

    Tim, you did it again. Fantastic article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Nov 2014 @ 7:54am

    Comments are so much more fun on Techdirt than anywhere else. Keep the lawless system. It works!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 28 Nov 2014 @ 4:25pm

    No shit, Sherlok!

    "The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything, to talk about, following closely behind with the nonstop rumors on social media."

    Well, I'll be damned! That was absolutely honest, (although he obviously meant "followed" and not "following"...)

    Rare indeed is the occurrence of honesty among the fascist control enforcement gangs and their high paid mouth pieces!

    Obviously the statement was not vetted by the Feds' propagandist specialists before release....

    Of course the most significant challenge facing Law Enforcement in this case has been journalism and social media. Until they get control of the internet it will always be the most significant obstacle facing any official cover up.

    Its easy to cover up wrong doing when there is nobody spewing out facts to the public 24/7. But trying to keep the few functional reporters and the internet quiet long enough to inseminate the public memory with an acceptable official "story" is extremely expensive and time consuming.

    I mean hell, the actual investigation of the incident would have taken, what - thirty minutes - for a real investigator to ascertain what happened and why and who was responsible for what. But this was a "shock test" and there was no need for a real investigation since the fascists already had their "official" scenario cooked and ready to serve.

    All the effort spend by "officials" in this case has been to obfuscate and cover up the facts and you can bet that is a tough job when the public has a voice and a place to speak.

    And I'll bet you're still wondering why they have to kill internet anonymity and end net neutrality, right.

    ---

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TheLoot (profile), 28 Nov 2014 @ 8:27pm

    He's right about one thing: social media allows falsehoods and outrage to spread far and wide with no accountability or consequences. It's partially responsible for fanning the Race War and the violence and destruction that has occurred (though as the past has shown, it existed without it, of course).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      GEMont (profile), 7 Dec 2014 @ 6:10pm

      Re:

      "...social media allows falsehoods and outrage to spread far and wide with no accountability or consequences."

      Exactly the same as the newspapers and TV, albeit these only produce officially manufactured bullshit.

      But unlike the newspapers and TV, you can surf about and gather all the real information necessary to disclose the lie and post the data collected to point out the fallacy of the lie to others.

      "...no accountability or consequences."

      Ever heard of the Streisand Effect? It is only relevant to the internet and thus social media.

      It does not matter what the media is, or its means of dissemination - it is always your responsibility to prove the information valid before acceptance. If you shirk this responsibility, their is none but yourself to blame.

      At least the web, better than any other media to date, allows and promotes this process.

      ---

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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