› Video of St. Louis police shooting raises questions about officers’ story
Video released by the St. Louis Police of the August 19 shooting of 25-year-old Kajieme Powell, just miles away from the protests in Ferguson, raises questions about whether events transpired as police initially claimed.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson had told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Powell “pulled out a knife and came at the officers, gripping and holding it high,” yelling ”Shoot me now, kill me now.” Police said he was shot when he was “two or three feet” away from the officers.
The newly released video begins before police arrive on the scene. A bystander has followed Powell after he took energy drinks and muffins from a market without paying for them, and can be heard chuckling over Powell’s erratic behavior. Powell is seen slowly pacing around the scene of the eventual shooting before police arrive. When the officers enter and draw their guns, Powell ignores warnings to put down his knife, and advances on them. He then repeatedly yells, “Shoot me!”
But Powell does not appear to be holding a knife high, and he looks to be walking normally — and to be further than two or three feet from the officers — when they open fire, killing him.
In the United States, when a police officer shoots and kills someone, by instinct, by training, by matter of course, they immediately reshape reality to fit their course of action.
Whatever they have to do or say to make the unjustifiable justified, they will do.
They will lie, hide or destroy evidence, contradict the testimony of eyewitnesses, plant drugs or weapons, claim a wallet or a bottle of soda was a gun, claim the victims shot themselves (even with hands cuffed behind their backs), say they were being charged, say the victims tried to take their guns—whatever it takes to make the senseless make sense.
And because of their positions and uniforms, the public and the system are wont to believe the lies.
Sometimes, even when there’s video that contradict the police account of events, the public and the system are wont to evaluate it in a way that gives police the benefit of the doubt—especially if the victim is black and disabled.
The police have to be one step ahead of the criminal element, have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. You don’t want a community to be taken over by one or many criminals.
Lobbyist and NTOA Executive Director Mark Lomax
Police lobbyists aren’t going to let demilitarization happen that easily (via micdotcom)
The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, emerge from deeply ingrained racial, political, social and economic inequities, amongst which include a broad-based problem with the administration of policing in the U.S., particularly within black communities. As citizens and a collective of more than 400 sociologists, we are troubled by the killing of Michael Brown. We are troubled by the excessive show of force and militarized response to protesters who rightfully seek justice and demand a change in the treatment of people of color by law enforcement. We urge law enforcement, policymakers, media and the nation to consider decades of sociological analysis and research that can inform the necessary conversations and solutions required to address the systemic issues that the events in Ferguson have raised.
The relationship between African Americans and law enforcement is fraught with a long history of injustice, state violence and abuse of power. This history is compounded by a string of recent police actions that resulted in the deaths of Michael Brown (Ferguson, Mo.), Ezell Ford (Los Angeles, Calif.), Eric Garner (Staten Island, N.Y.), John Crawford (Beavercreek, Ohio), Oscar Grant (Oakland, Calif.), and the beating of Marlene Pinnock (Los Angeles, Calif.) by a California Highway Patrol officer. These events reflect a pattern of racialized policing, and will continue to occur in the absence of a national, long-term strategy that considers the role of historic social processes that have institutionalized racism within police departments and the criminal justice system more broadly.
Sociologists Issue Statement on Ferguson: 400 Sociologists Demand Justice and Change in Policing of Communities of Color
(H/T Sarah Dresser)
› Kansas City, Mo., cop under review after posting fake 'Michael Brown' picture to Facebook: report
A Kansas City, Mo., police officer landed in hot water after he allegedly tried to tarnish the reputation of Michael Brown — who was killed by a cop in suburban St. Louis — on his Facebook account.
That picture of a young Black man holding a gun that clearly isn’t Mike Brown, yet was spread around social media and websites by anti-Black racists saying it was Mike Brown was posted by a cop. Imagine that. A cop did this.
They did this to Trayvon Martin as well btw. Character assassination is their game.
› In Ferguson, Cops Hand Out 3 Warrants Per Household Every Year
Alex Tabarrok comments on the rather remarkable caseload of Ferguson’s municipal court:
You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant “low level harassment…