Friday's release of video footage alleging that Mike Brown, the young man executed by Ferguson, Missouri cops was fleeing a robbery stinks to high heaven. The first question should be why did the police wait for five days before accusing Brown of something called a "strong-arm robbery" - which sounds like shoplifting run through one of Frank Luntz's focus groups. It is an obvious attempt to denigrate his character or to otherwise "niggerize" him so as to make the cop who murdered him into a victim. We saw a similar tactic used on Trayvon Martin after he was gunned down by the loose cannon, self-anointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in the Florida shooting. Zimmerman predictably got off after the scary black criminal bogeyman stigma was pinned to the dead teenager Martin who wasn't alive to give his side of the story.
Very timely in that right when there is a national uproar over the ongoing militarizing of the police that such a surveillance video would just happen to fortuitously pop up to diffuse the outrage, smack down politicians who are speaking out and reincarnate the bread and butter race-baiting strategy of Richard M. Nixon himself. Senator Paul, who drew accolades for his Time column "We Must Demilitarize the Police" will now be relentlessly targeted by the neo-confederate racist scum of the GOP party base until he walks back his statement about Mike Brown from the piece:
Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.
This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.
Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.
The video release and subsequent conflicting statements from the local cops in Ferguson only served to reignite the situation a day after the paramilitary goons were called off in favor of the Missouri Highway Patrol in managing the protests. People should be pissed, this is total bullshit and is such a ham-handed attempt to suppress any attempts to reign in the lucrative miltarization of the police that it is a testament to the thorough systemic corruption of the state-corporate media in bothering to air it at all. The argument now being that as long as it is a young black man or teen suspected of wrongdoing (in America every young black man is a potential target) then it is acceptable to make an extrajudicial murder by the cops a justifiable punishment for shoplifting.
The calm was shattered in the aftermath of the video release and conflicting statements, as per a story from The Guardian entitled "Ferguson police clash with Michael Brown protesters againovernight":
Police in riot gear clashed overnight with small groups of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri amid signs of renewed tensions over the shooting of an unarmed teenager by a local patrol officer.
The flareups, breaking a period of relative calm, came after police released surveillance footage that implicated Michael Brown, 18, in the theft of a packet of cigars from a convenience store a few minutes before he was shot. Brown's family condemned the revelation as a "character assassination" designed to smear the teenager and divert attention from the actions of police.
One of the flashpoints in the early hours of Saturday came at the store where the robbery was alleged to have taken place. Police fired a teargas canister at a crowd of around 200 people who had gathered there. Some protesters threw bottles at officers in riot gear and shouted "hands up, don't shoot", the chant that has come to characterise the protests. According to some accounts, Brown had his hands up when he was shot.
A small crowd later looted the convenience store. A meat market was also looted and other businesses had windows smashed. Police did not intervene.
Not that it is ever acceptable to engage in looting - I generally adhere to the concept that looters should be shot - it was ironic that the convenience store from which the surveillance footage was allegedly taken from was one of the targets. Again, I just keep coming back to the question of why did it take five days for the police to release the video, the name of the shooter and their cover story?
Generally when something bears the scent of horseshit that it is generally exactly that.