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When the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery and his counterpart from the Huffington Post were arrested inside a McDonald's, something bigger happened. The St. Louis County Police revealed a lack of awareness that's contributed both to the horrific killing of Michael Brown and the ridiculous response to the subsequent protests.

"It's fine if you want to stay, but if you don't leave, we can't protect you."

That was the message in so many words from the police to Lowery before the arrest was made.

Patrons working in the McDonald’s, which reporters had been using as a staging area near demonstrations, were ordered to leave, Lowery said. When the journalists said they were working members of the media, the police told them that was fine, but they couldn’t guarantee their safety.
Ask Lowery and company a couple of days ago, and they'd probably tell you that they were in Ferguson to cover a case of police brutality - a murder - and the subsequent military-style protest response that turned a peaceful demonstration into a dangerous, violent one. Ask them today and they'd certainly tell you that.

That Ferguson Police believe they must "protect" seemingly "good" guys from the "bad" guys out in the street reveals too much about their mindset. Remember, of course, that this entire ordeal began because a cop emptied his pistol into an unarmed citizen.

Toward the end of Breaking Bad, Walter White had a conversation with his wife, Skyler. During that talk, Skyler suggested that they might not be safe, that Walt would never know when a person might knock on the door ready to do him harm.

Walt responded in now iconic fashion: I Am The Danger. I Am The One Who Knocks.

At least Walt knew it. Here's a clue to the occupying officers in and around Ferguson: You Are The Danger.

Don't try to sell people who look like me - a lily-white middle class guy - or a nice-looking reporter, though admittedly not-white, that we need your protection. You are the one who knocks, and we know that we're significantly more likely to be injured, assaulted, or killed by someone like you than we are by the young black kids you've painted as so dangerous. I'm not playing your game. And I don't need your protection against "those people." I'd rather be with "those people," singing songs and screaming for justice, even if it means you hit me with your rubber bullets and your tear gas canisters.

Originally posted to Coby DuBose on Criminal Injustice, Race, and Poverty on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 03:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges.

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