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.