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Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who commands the security effort now in Ferguson, said at a 2 a.m. press briefing Tuesday that most peaceful protesters in the city should be applauded for their behavior. He then asked for their help in restricting future demonstrations to daylight hours to discourage criminals from infiltrating their ranks at night.

I spoke with a deputy sheriff friend this morning. His take on this was enlightenging: "Almost anyone can have a gun here and although cops don't talk about it much you never know whose going to be armed so you assume everyone is. It is a lot easier to get ahead of this in daylight than at night. I hate rowdy crowds at night. They are really dangerous."

Johnson noted that most of the protesters threatening police weren't demonstrators. Instead, he said, they were criminals working under the cover of night and bent on using Molotov cocktails, guns and fireworks to ignite greater discord between law enforcement officers and the peaceful protesters.

Ray Gillam, a community activist and expert on gangs, said: "Gangs love this kind of thing. It destabilizes the neighborhood. It makes their case - we have to defend ourselves. The messier it is the more they can operate."

In an interview this morning during a walk around the neighborhoods Johnson noted that "We use tear gas because that clears the crowds where armed criminals can hide mixed in with legitimate protesters and the media. We can't get too close."

Congressman Jim Clyburn, a veteran of the protest movement, in an interview on August 19 on The Ed Show, has join Johnson is calling for morning and early evening protests noting his own experience in marching, in demonstrating, in getting arrested. He suggests that the morning event be a march and the evening event a rally at a common spot. In this way, the demands get aired, and the crowd and police are kept safe. He admits that lawless elements using the crowd as a mask require that community leaders work with the  police in order to ensure the effectiveness of the message.

I recommend this story at Planet POV as an The Revoluton Will Be Criminalized Unless You're White as a companion piece to my Diary here. The opening paragraph....

Are you angry at your government because you see them as oppressive and out of control? Do you respond to what you view as an outrage committed by law enforcement by forcefully protesting? Do you believe that it is a battle for the future of our nation?

Then (choose one of the below):

a. If you are black: You are a thug, an animal or the enemy of your community.

b. If you are white: You are a patriot, someone of principle, a defender of our democracy.

There couldn’t be a more literally black and white contrast between the way the Right Wing portrays the protests in Ferguson over the killing of an unarmed teenager by police and their stonewalling and the far more threatening and hostile action of the white militias who swarmed Cliven Bundy’s ranch and pointed guns at law enforcement officers after his cattle were held because he owed $1 million in grazing fees.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

    by murphthesurf3 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 12:34:01 PM PDT

  •  unsubstantiated fearmongering (3+ / 0-)

    I'm not buying it. I've watched hours of coverage (to the extent that the media is not being interfered with or arrested by police) and where's the objective evidence for any of these claims.

    •  I am relating police fears- how real they are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ichibon, Anak

      I cannot say. I live here and there are lots of guns in lots of hands. That much is evident.

      "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

      by murphthesurf3 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 01:18:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are a lot of armed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VeloDramatic

      and dangerous people in Ferguson.   They are the police.

      Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

      by BenFranklin99 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 04:24:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I am convinced from statements from (0+ / 0-)

        members in the community, and the media that there are weapons in the crowds as well...not as many...not as lethal but hidden in the masses.....the Ferguson "militants" and two gangs have been named.

        "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

        by murphthesurf3 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 07:02:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting that in places like Austin, and Dallas (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murphthesurf3

          any angry crown of Whites would be expected to have a goodly number of people with weapons, even WMD and yet you don's see the military out pointing guns at them and gassing them because, guns.

          Pick just about any sports venue in a 2nd Amendment state and there is likely to be a fight between opposing fans who might be armed.  There are no tear gas firing cops or snipers on military transport vehicles.

          Watch, it they force daylight demonstrations you will see armed cop copters over Ferguson.  I am surprised they haven't already, using night vision.

          •  I agree with you about the double standard (0+ / 0-)

            Open carrying (and aiming) gun lovers at the Bundy ranch threatening federal agents and the agents back off....

            "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

            by murphthesurf3 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 09:40:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I thought police were brave heroes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon

    This argument is that there can be no civil rights because something could happen. It was typical of police to send a provocateur into a crowd to throw a bottle so that a police riot could ensue.
    Are the police defending themselves or upholding the Constitutional rights of protestors which is the law of the land and for what they are being paid? I think the answer is rather obvious

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 01:12:00 PM PDT

    •  "No civil rights" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      doc2

      So, being able to march at night is the core of civil rights. You make some interesting assumptions here.

      "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

      by murphthesurf3 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 01:19:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Time place and manner restrictions (0+ / 0-)

        on freedom of speech are permissible, but they have to meet a high bar.

        The first is that they must serve an important government interest.  That hurdle by itself would, at a minimum, require the government in Ferguson to demonstrate that police undergo substantial risk when the populace demonstrates at night. So far they've alleged all sorts of gunfire, Molotovs, and projectiles - without providing real evidence of any of it, except for looting in areas distinct from the protests.

        Yes. Speech being free at all times and places, barring truly exigent circumstances, and then being constrained only in the most narrowly tailored way, is at the core of civil rights.

        The real USA Patriot Act was written in 1789. It's called the Bill of Rights.

        by nicteis on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:46:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When I hear people like Holmes, Clyburn and (0+ / 0-)

          Lewis say that night marches are inherently problematic I bow to their experience in the civil rights front line.

          "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

          by murphthesurf3 on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 04:25:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I would note that the only people threatening (6+ / 0-)

    to show up armed are various White Supremacist groups. Cops would do very well to fear these folks as some of them are wont to take out cops who cross their paths.

    As far as crowds infiltrated by gangs, it seems a bit of a stretch to me as there has been one person shot so far, I think and scattered reports of gunfire, many of them unsubstantiated.  I would also note that there were reports in the first day that two dozen police cruisers had been destroyed by rioters but that has not resurfaced.  Therefore the PD has a credibility problem with the community and nation.  Releasing the store video did not help nor did turning out several police depts in full riot gear and/or SWAT gear did not help the situation.

    Point is that the curfew hurts the community as people still have to get to work or run out for milk or take a kid to the ER.  from what admittedly little I have seen, the cops are not exercising any common sense so sitting in your driveway violates the curfew or standing on your front porch.  Locking down a community so ordinary people cannot live their usual lives is a sure recipe for disaster.  Trying to claim that demonstrators are infiltrated by outside agitators and outside gangs legitimize police over reaction  while de-legitimizing community leaders who are then accused of not being able to "control their people"

    Sorry but I have seen all of this before and know the drill.  PD would be so much better off simply being straight with the community

    •  Captain Johnson is not suggesting a curfew.... (0+ / 0-)

      He wants to see a limit on demonstrations. In later comments he, and some others including community leaders, said that an agreement between law enforcement and community groups is what might work best.

      As to whether the fears are real or not. I do not know. But the fears are real. Your point re. white supremicists is well made and taken. Out here, in my neck of the woods, that is a very significant worry.

      As to gang activity- I lived in the inner city for many years and still have contact with community organizers in Chicago- and they agree that for gangs disorder like this is win-win.

      "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

      by murphthesurf3 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 01:39:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Deliver up Darren Wilson to arraignment... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mint julep, Sylv

    and the demonstrations quiet down.

    The cops are trying to justify their heavy-handedness and demands for total control.

    You know what kind of society you call it when cops have total control of situations?

    And you know what has also happened? Cops "informally" promising troublemakers leniency to show up at protests.

    The police PR fraternity is out in full form trying to minimize the botch that the Saint Louis County Police Department SWAT units have made of this situation.

    It won't wash.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 02:34:43 PM PDT

    •  So mob justice? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justanothernyer

      That is the other side of the story.

      The grand jury is part our judicial system. Are you suggesting that when a crowd goes into the street and makes a demand - the demand should be met to quell the disturbance.

      Is that a precedent you want established. Think of a Tea Party crowd. Think of those yahoos at the Bundy Ranch...who should have been arrested.

      "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

      by murphthesurf3 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 02:51:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Darren Wilson is obviously (0+ / 0-)

        ...a dangerous man who could kill again with little provocation.  Other dangerous men don't get the luxury of a delayed grand jury action.  Most with this degree of evidence are detained almost immediately after the state determines their identity.

        Justice delayed is still justice denied.  And it is very clear that not matter what else happens that justice will be denied in this case just every other police extrajudicial murder over the last few years.

        Demonstrations to ask the prosecutor and grand jury to stop sitting on their hands hardly constitutes mob justice.

        Mob justice would have gotten revenge on Wilson or one of the other police officers at the scene during the four hours they left his body lying on the ground.

        50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

        by TarheelDem on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 03:26:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know that.... (0+ / 0-)

          6 years on the force with no disciplinary incidents...

          Now...is it your position that any officer involved in a lethal shooting should be locked up or are you so certain of the accounts you have read, heard or seen that you have reached your own verdict.

          There is justice...but the word applies to both sides.

          Two weeks is not an excessive amount of time for an investigation that leads to a decision to charge or not to charge especially when a grand jury has been impaneled.

          Mob justice is not justice no matter who does it. Lynching...really?

          BTW....everything I know about this case leads me to believe that police procedure in Ferguson is wrongheaded but that this officer was wrong but i am not going to set my opinion in a superior position to the legal proceedings.

          "It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness." (Adlai Stevenson in praise of Eleanor Roosevelt) (Glowing Candle Avatar Adopted in 1986)

          by murphthesurf3 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 07:12:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Of course that would mean people who work in (0+ / 0-)

    the day time couldn't participate.

    It would be one way to force the body count down but not the resentment.  

    Nor would it lessen police overuse of threats and violence against civilians, but not necessarily reduce crimes of vandalism.

    it would mean the cops could get a good nights sleep I guess.

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