Friday, August 15, 2014

Thoughts on Michael Brown and Ferguson, Missouri

I have been stunned by the reaction of the police in Ferguson, Missouri to the protests of the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who was walking with a friend down a street. The local police forces  have done just about everything wrong since the start of this whole mess. They are acting more like thugs than anything else.
I have watched the news feeds about this with the phrase What the Hell constantly coming from my lips, and I generally don't swear. This is the middle of The United States of America for God's sake! You don't bring out all your warrior toys to squash a citizen's right to protest in America! You don't issue a no fly zone over the city so news media can't use aircraft to see what you are doing from the sky. You don't deliberately throw tear gas canisters at an area set aside for journalists so they have to flee leaving their equipment behind which you then disable so it can't see what you are doing. You don't walk inside a McDonalds and take journalists into custody who were just sitting there taking notes on what they had seen only to release them the next day without charges or information about why they were detained or who was in charge of that decision. You don't dress up like Star Wars soldiers and drive to the protest in armored vehicles and tanks with snipers on top and bristling with weapons. You don't shoot blocks and rubber bullets at your fellow citizens for no good reason. You don't blanket the area in tear gas. You don't toss stun grenades, tear gas and flash bombs at your fellow citizens who are trying to peacefully protest. You don't try to hide your actions from the public by harassing and arresting reporters just doing their jobs. If these police are trying to say their fellow officer was justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown, their actions are surely NOT helping their cause.
This is the United States of America, not Baghdad! We are a free nation, not a Police State! What the Hell were they thinking?  And for those of you who don't know, I come from a policeman's family. My father served as a policeman in a city in the deep South for 30+ years and retired a lieutenant in a Sheriff's Department. I know from experience how the police should be handling this situation, and the way it has been handled is absolutely Wrong!

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