We’re not, you know, normally a news site, but as much as I would like to bring you celebrations of minor Simpsons characters or jokes about dirtbag Yeats right now, the city of Ferguson, Missouri is under violent, racist, militarized police occupation.
Since the police have all satellite news trucks out of the area and forbidden all media outlets to send in helicopters, the best video coverage right now is probably this live feed that’s been intermittently available.
Here’s a brief video of peaceful protestors in front of the Ferguson police headquarters chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
Friend of the Toast Rembert Browne has been sending out live updates on Twitter:
a block from this, terrifying black people blasting gospel music. so i get the reinforcements. pic.twitter.com/GxCoSe57MV
— Rembert Browne (@rembert) August 14, 2014
they shot tear gas canisters at us. we all ran. I fell and my phone broke. Tweeting from someone else’s phone. Jesus Christ.
— Rembert Browne (@rembert) August 14, 2014
Wesley Lowery filmed his own arrest at a local McDonald’s. The video is available here. The good folks at Reason have been covering the topic of civilians recording police behavior for the last few years, if you’re interested in reading more.
One cop silences another before he can reveal which member of the police force shot a rubber bullet into an unarmed woman’s head.
Jesse Berney writes about the police’s deliberately provocative behavior at the Blue Nation Review:
It’s not just their refusal to name the officer who killed Brown or their decision not to interview Johnson. More important than either of those is the continuing battle we have seen on the street between residents and police, night after night, since that cop shot Brown. The Ferguson police are armed to the teeth with military weaponry and equipment. They’ve restricted airspace above the city and told journalists they can’t come in. They have treated the people that they are sworn to protect like enemy combatants on a battlefield. They have disrupted peaceful protests. They have done everything possible to inflame tensions instead of easing them.
I don’t trust the Ferguson police. I don’t think they care what happened to Michael Brown. In a city that is two-thirds black with a police force that is overwhelmingly white, it isn’t surprising that a death like this occurred. It’s inevitable.
I don’t know how much of Dorian Johnson’s account is true. Eyewitness accounts are always unreliable, and certainly Brown’s friends and family have all the reason in the world to paint his actions in a positive light. But the account the police have told, with a teenager going for an officer’s gun, isn’t remotely credible. And with police continuing to show zero respect to the people of Ferguson, they aren’t giving us any reason to believe they’d tell the truth.
Jenn M. Jackson’s piece on white fear at Water Cooler Convos is absolutely undeniable:
White fear doesn’t just exist on an individual level. Yes, it was to blame when Michael Dunn shot and killed Jordan Davis, when George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, when Theodore Wafer shot and killed Renisha McBride, when Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant, when Officer Randall Kerrick shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell, and even now as we discuss John Crawford and Michael Brown. But it is much graver than individual animus.
You don’t have to be white to suffer from white fear. White fear causes upper-class black people to whitewash and downplay their own blackness just to achieve social ‘success.’ Perceived social benefits of ‘acting white’ cause many blacks to also fear ‘the other’ black people who might harm them or their families. But, make no mistake, it is a tool of oppression created by whites seeking unrelenting and perpetual dominance in the US.
Many (white) people believe it only exists between people because they choose to ignore its tentacle-like influences on public media, popular culture, education, immigration policy, and social welfare programs. They use their fear to justify their senseless aggression toward black and brown bodies. Then they sit as judge and jury indicting black teens for eating snacks, smoking weed one time, or running fast. Meanwhile, white teenaged boys live fruitful lives after mowing down entire groups of people while under the influence of stolen alcohol because they suffer from ‘affluenza.’ A drunk white murderer is worth more than a dead black honor student. Such is the function of white fear.
White fear is killing us. It is causing us to fear black skin. It is segregating neighborhoods. It is closing public schools. It is cutting welfare benefits to mothers and children. It is undermining a presidency. It is criminalizing black bodies. It is incarcerating black identities. It is limiting black potential. It is sexualizing black girls. And, it is shooting black boys in the streets of their own neighborhoods.
White fear is the single greatest cause of death for black people today and has been so since this country’s inception.
If you know of any reliable live feeds or local Missouri journalists you’d recommend we follow, please let us know in the comments.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.