Judging from the large number of actual combat veterans registering their disapproval of the actions taken by the Ferguson, Mo. police department, it is obvious that the ongoing escalation of the situation is due entirely to the incompetence and mismanagement by the leadership of that department, primarily, the Chief of Police, Thomas Jackson.
From the beginning, his actions and motivations seemed to be designed to protect and justify the actions of a cop who is alleged to have murdered an 18 year old, unarmed civilian. The lack of transparency in the investigation, and the attempt to portray the victim as a criminal low life, in an effort to infer the officer was correct in his actions, has only served to draw nation-wide attention to police brutality in America, and the problems of arming untrained ‘wannabe soldiers’ with state of the art military equipment.
I was not in the market when Michael Brown allegedly committed a ‘strong arm robbery’, but from multiple viewings of the video tape continuously looping on cable news, it looks more like the store clerk ran smack into Brown’s chest in an attempt to block his path, and Brown merely pushed him away, and then turned to face him when the clerk tried to come after Brown, a second time, causing the clerk to change his mind about pursuing Brown. Judging from the size difference, if Brown had tried to hit the clerk, or done anything more than push him aside, that clerk would have been damaged. He was not. There were no signs, or claims of injury, other than to the clerk’s pride.
Even if the allegation that Brown stole a few cigars is true, that hardly equals anything more than a petty shoplifting charge. Brown could have just as easily reached over the counter and stolen money, instead of cigars.
Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that Michael Brown had been a dangerous hardened criminal, fleeing after committing a violent major felony, at the time he was shot and killed. According to multiple witnesses, Brown was unarmed and getting to his knees with his hands in the air, when Officer Darren Wilson walked up on him, continuously firing his weapon into Brown, until he fell over dead. That constitutes First Degree Murder, and Wilson should be prosecuted for it.
Let’s say, again for the sake of argument, that Officer Wilson believed Brown was dangerous and a threat to his life (although, according to Chief Jackson, Wilson had no knowledge of the so called strong armed robbery at the time he stopped Brown. He stopped him for walking down the road and ordered him to move to the sidewalk). After the first shot caused Brown to face Wilson, putting his hands in the air to surrender, every shot thereafter constituted First Degree Murder.
A man on his knees, with his empty hands in the air does not constitute a threat to a police officer holding a gun in his hands, no matter what kind of crime that man allegedly committed, prior to that moment. Either Officer Wilson made a conscious decision to ignore that fact, or he was incapable of recognizing it. In either case, he is unfit to carry a badge and gun, and should have been eliminated from joining the force, to begin with,
assuming there is some kind of psychological screening done for Ferguson Police Department applicants, as in most other police departments.
In addition to looking into the problems of supplying local police with military equipment (i.e. the ‘wannabe soldier’ mindset looks for any excuse to play with the toys), there needs be an investigation into the screening processes of those departments, in order to eliminate the mentally, or emotionally unstable. In addition, there needs to be a greater focus on proper training, both in the use of the equipment, prior to receipt of it, as well as communication and public relations.
Clothes don’t make the man. Dressing up as a soldier, posturing and pointing weapons at the local residents, who are exercising their First Amendment rights, and pretending you are an occupying army, does not create an environment of calm and safety for those residents. On the contrary, it only serves to create fear and resentment of the police, who is supposed to be there to serve and protect the people of that community, not terrorize and threaten them.