St. Louis County police will be withdrawn from Ferguson, Mo., Gov. Jay Nixon will announce Thursday, in a law enforcement shift for a town where anger over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager have sparked violent protests.This may have been the most visibly incompetent police response in a decade, and yes—it can all be chalked up to the apparent desire or need for local police departments to kit themselves out in Iraq-era military gear that makes them look like they're about to storm Fallujah. The protests were—are—about excessive police force that in this case led to what to witnesses are describing as an outright murder, and the response has been to systemically prove the residents right.
When you have television reporters being attacked with tear gas so that their camera equipment can then be disassembled by "police," how must residents be treated when reporters are not there? If a national reporter can get handcuffed and have his head slammed into a window by an officer for being in McDonalds when the authorities don't want him to be, what has been going on while the cameras were not watching? When you've got seventy-plus officers in full military garb, wearing not police uniforms but infantry gear, sitting on the top of armored vehicles and pointing sniper rifles at a daytime crowd of people of people singing, is that the act of a protecting force, or an occupying one?
When residents are protesting the violence of your police force, maybe don't point sniper rifles at them while they're singing. There's not a damn non-sociopathic person alive who you can point a gun at and have them like you more. When you point rifles at reporters asking for directions away from town, you've made it perfectly clear how much contempt you have for any American who isn't sitting in the same armored vehicle as you are. This has been a clusterfuck of staggering proportions. It seems crafted precisely to demonstrate that residents do not, in fact, have the "rights" other police forces might grant their citizens. The people of Ferguson are, unmistakably, being treated like animals.
Right now Ferguson residents are protesting because they don't trust their own police force. They see them not as protectors of the community, but as occupiers. Looking at the pictures, they're not wrong.