15 August 2014

Rand Paul On Fergurson, Missouri

The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is an awful tragedy that continues to send shockwaves through the community of Ferguson, Missouri and across the nation If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot. ~ Senator Rand Paul
Yeah, ditto that. If that is, in fact, what happened, then the officer should be charged, at the very least, with manslaughter - perhaps even murder.
Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”?
Paul calls for the demilitarization of local police. I agree. Read the whole article by Paul here, in Time.


E.J. said...

I kind of asked the same questions myself, "how did a small town such as this come to acquire heavy military weaponry," and "why do they need it?" I never even heard of this town until all this stuff started to happen.

That being said, there is never really any excuse for looting and rioting.

ropelight said...

Senator Rand Paul might want to consider that when a police officer encounters teenagers obstructing traffic it's part of his job to tell them to get out of the street and onto the sidewalk. And, when the descriptions of two strong-arm robbers broadcast over police radio closely match the teenagers (Michael Brown was 6'4" tall, nearly 300 lbs, wearing a red baseball cap, and in possession of the stolen cigars.) it's also part of the officer's job to stop and identify them.

As for the series of events which subsequently resulted in Brown's untimely death, we have yet to hear from Officer Wilson. Although we have heard from Brown's accomplice in the strong-arm robbery and eye witness to the shooting, Dorian Johnson, who paints a gruesome picture of cold blooded execution.

As for the demilitarization of local police departments, it's absolutely appropriate for potential presidential candidates to raise such issues. However, the facts surrounding the shooting incident are presently so unclear and so emotionally charged that conflating the two issues fails to do either one justice.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Right E.J.

RL - I agree and don't mean to suggest there's not two sides to this. That being said, I've become increasingly troubled by what appears to be more and more over-aggressive tactics in modern law-enforcement. And I speak as someone who worked very closely with law enforcement for 12 years.