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Total arrests related to protests: 155
Refusal to disperse: 123
Burglary: 20
Unlawful use of weapons: 4
http://t.co/...
@WesleyLowery
Wesley Lowery:
Several people have been arrested more than once during the ongoing unrest in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb. The records show that the vast majority of the arrests (126) were of Missouri residents – primarily from the St. Louis area.

Nine of those arrested were of Illinois residents, six were from New York, five from California, three from Texas, two from Ohio, and one each from Georgia, Washington D.C., Alabama and Iowa.

The roster includes some journalists, including Ryan Deveraux of The Intercept. However, the list of arrests does not include the majority of journalists who have been detained or arrested, which numbers at least a dozen but could be higher.

Most are not from Ferguson, but surrounding St Louis county.
Reporting in non-Ferguson St. Louis County. There are problems here. Words sources have used: Crushing. Staggering. Entrenched. Unfixable.
@radleybalko
Yishai Schwartz:
Convicting Darren Wilson Will Be Basically Impossible
You can thank Missouri law for that

We may never know what actually happened during the violent encounter between teenager Michael Brown and policeman Darren Wilson. But legal judgments rarely happen with perfect knowledge and absolute certainty. In their place, we rely on presumptions and standards that guide our thinking and discipline our judgments. In general, we presume innocence. But when we know that a killing has occurred and can definitively identify who committed the act, our presumptions are supposed to shift. Now we are supposed to presume guilt, and it is the shooter who must prove that his actions were justified. Unless the shooter is a policeman. And unless the victim is a black male. And unless the shooting happens in Missouri.

In any clash of witness testimony, police officers begin at huge advantage. Although the courts insist that juries give policemen no extra credence because of their badges as an “essential demand of fairness,” that’s not how jurors actually think or behave. Large percentages of potential jurors readily admit to giving police testimony extra weight, and many more likely act on this implicit bias. And in this case, the favoring of police testimony is compounded by another more pernicious bias: racial prejudice. Extensive research shows that Americans are far more likely to believe that African Americans—and especially young black men—have committed crimes and display violent behavior. It therefore won’t take very much to convince a jury that Officer Wilson was acting out of self-defense.

Cop who pointed rifle at protestors and said “I’ll fucking kill you” suspended indefinitely: http://t.co/...
@ezraklein
More politics and policy below the fold.

Jill Lawrence:

If Obama wants to show personal passion, there is a way. He should take up the causes of voter registration and turnout in Ferguson, as Al Sharpton has done. Republicans call this exploiting a tragedy, but in reality it is promoting politics as a substitute for looting, shooting and street protests, in a place that needs to hear that message. Consider: Overall turnout in this year's municipal election in Ferguson was about 12 percent — "an insult to your children," Sharpton told mourners last weekend. Last year, according to research done for The Washington Post, black voter turnout was a tiny 6 percent — roughly one-third the level of white turnout.

As you'd expect, given those patterns, Ferguson has a white mayor, five white council members out of six, and a police force that is 94 percent white. The real shock is that this small St. Louis suburb is 67 percent black. There is no reason for blacks in Ferguson to feel isolated or hopeless. There is every reason for them to vote, and for Obama to remind them through exhortation and his very existence of the change that can be wrought at the ballot box.

Jennifer Bendery:
Missouri congressmen will meet with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday to discuss possible changes to a Pentagon program that provides surplus military weapons to police departments.

Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D) and Lacy Clay (D), who represents Ferguson, will discuss with Hagel the so-called "1033 program," which since launching in 1997 has provided billions of dollars in military equipment at no charge to local law enforcement agencies around the country. The effects of the program have been on full display this month in Ferguson, Missouri, where police have responded to mostly peaceful protests over the Aug. 9 killing of Michael Brown with a stunning display of force involving armored vehicles, tear gas, assault rifles and smoke bombs.

And in other news:

Sam Hall:

Chris McDaniel, the failed GOP candidate who is contesting the primary results for U.S. Senate, is continuing his fundraising efforts as the court phase of challenge kicks off.

Despite the odd timing, following the first hearing before Judge Hollis McGehee, McDaniel's campaign sent out a fundraising email asking people to contribute at least $35 to his efforts.

LA Times:
Clashes erupted Wednesday as security forces sealed off a sprawling seaside slum in the Liberian capital in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

Angry residents stormed barbed-wire barricades and threw stones at the troops, who fired shots in the air to drive them back, news reports said. Photographs from the scene showed a youth on the ground with blood pouring from his legs.

Fear and confusion have been spreading in the West African nation, where at least 576 people have died, more than in any other country affected by the deadliest Ebola outbreak on record.

David Rohde:
The U.S. government refused to negotiate or pay a ransom in Foley’s case or for any other American captives — including my own abduction by the Taliban five years ago.

With the help of an Afghan journalist abducted with me, I was lucky enough to  escape. But today Foley is dead and the Islamic State militants now say Steven Sotloff, a journalist for Time magazine whom the group also captured, will be killed if the United States does not stop bombing its fighters in Iraq.

There are no easy answers in kidnapping cases. The United States cannot allow terrorist groups to control its foreign policy.

One clear lesson that has emerged in recent years, however, is that security threats are more effectively countered by united American and European action. The divergent U.S. and European approach to abductions fails to deter captors or consistently safeguard victims.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The UK's 184-Year-Old Idea Of 'Policing By Consent (17+ / 0-)

    how about policing that isn't a projection of military power and control???

    The Revolutionary Document That Is The UK's 184-Year-Old Idea Of 'Policing By Consent'

  •  If the grand jury stalls long enough (13+ / 0-)

    theyre hoping the media spotlight will go away and all the protestors will give up and find something else to do.

    •  You have that right. This case should take about (4+ / 0-)

      3 hours to present to a grand jury.  More disturbing is the fact that the accused may testify.  His words, under oath, will be recorded.  No one truly facing a jury trial on a murder charge is going to testify in a judicial proceeding where any grand juror can ask any question, and the accused's lawyer cannot be present.  I bet that his statement will be not under oath, and no questions allowed by the presenting prosecutor.  Even that, however is a risk that few would take if the accused was not a cop, protected by the system.

      Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

      by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:56:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is inconceivable that Wilson will testify (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AlexDrew, TerryDarc, StrayCat

        before the Grand Jury. His lawyer won't let him for the reasons you stated. However, if he did, it would be the the benefit of the prosecution so I don't know why we would object.

        If you haven't read the Schwartz piece linked in the diary I would highly encourage you to. The laws in MO are significantly more favorable to Wilson than nearly all other states. It will be important that people following the case understand the challenge that the prosecution will face if Wilson is indicted.

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:36:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We would object (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cowdab, VClib, StrayCat

          Because it means the fix is in. As you say it would be insane for him to do so under any normal circumstances. If he did, it's because he's been promised it'll be safe for him to do so.

          That said, I haven't heard anything that says he's agreed.

          The Empire never ended.

          by thejeff on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:30:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually "The Fix" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TerryDarc

            it seems to me, is already in for every case involving police brutality or over-reach.  They are all but untouchable.

            I'm not sure what they would have to do in order to expose themselves to actual sentencing for the executions they carry out.  Even a cop wannabe like Zimmerman is given this protection.  

            When has anyone heard of actual punishment being meted out to a law enforcement criminal anything like it is to a civilian?

            "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

            by cowdab on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:14:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Oddly, a comment of mine was HR'd yesterday for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          westcoastdefender

          saying pretty much what Yishai Schwartz said.
            If not for the white cop shoots black man angle, the case would have been quickly reviewed and ruled justifiable because the law is what it is. And the law is similar in most states.
            Because of the disturbances, though, there is some chance that the officer might be indicted on a manslaughter or excessive force charge, but an objective jury, instructed in the law, is unlikely to convict.
            A trial would be held in St. Louis County and the jury would be drawn at random from a list of registered voters and a list of driver license registrations.
             IANAL, but I've seen this movie before.

      •  It would appear that I am wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AlexDrew

        and possibly Schwartz as well. The Missouri law isn't so unique. Nevertheless, it does remind people of the prosecution's burden.

        Regarding your comment on the Grand Jury, apparently the DA is going to have many witnesses appear before the Grand Jury so that they can determine first hand how strong the case is against Wilson. Given that they only meet each Wednesday, and this isn't the only case on their docket, that will take many weeks.

        "let's talk about that" uid 92953

        by VClib on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:44:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If every citizen who has ever been mistreated by (20+ / 0-)

    police registered and voted,

    our voting results would be more Black, more Democratic and more Progressive.

    Add mistreatment in financial transactions and employment relationships, and most levels of government would look and act very different.

    •  Goes beyond that. Who sits in the executive and (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rl en france, StrayCat

      legislative chairs of your local jurisdiction has far more consequence on your daily life and outcome in any dispute or disagreement with "authority" from getting shot to a bizarre tax assessment or assistance in an emergency. Yet, bizarrely, many turn out or vote the figurehead top of the ticket, who sits in the White House or governor's mansion.

      In Fergurson the numbers were completely insane. I'm going by memory of a graphic on one of the MSNBC shows, but if it serves, something like 47% of the black population turned out to vote for Obama, something like 6% to speak about just who governed the police and local officials in that off April. That April date is very likely by intent to limit turnout , just as Virginia has off-off year state elections so "newcomers" and such didn't tend to turn out and only "real Virginians" will take the time.

      As I said, insane. Get all hyped and vote for Obama, but "too busy" or "disinterested" to turn out to make sure those that hire and fire the top police officials aren't corrupt or racist or otherwise anti citizen in any police incident. Don't bother to look at and then vote on that prosecutor that seems to really just be a police defender even in the most questionable circumstances. Folks, by the time you are in the shit from local abuse from police to taxes it is too late to speak out with much effect. Quit voting upside down, top to bottom of tickets and elections. Doing so ignores the most immediate impact on our lives.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:34:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This part of the article quoted (27+ / 0-)

    is even more troubling
    http://www.newrepublic.com/...

    most people would probably imagine that policemen and citizens raising claims of justifiable homicide must meet a substantive burden of proof. But in Missouri, these justifications barely require any evidence at all.

    In other states, claims of self-defense need to be proven as more likely than not, or in legal speak, to a “preponderance of the evidence.” It’s still the state’s obligation to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant actually killed the victim. But once that’s established, the prosecution doesn’t also have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the killing wasn’t justified. That’s because justifications—like self-defense—require the accused to make an active case, called an “affirmative defense,” that the circumstances were exceptional. The logic here is simple: As a rule, homicide is a crime and justification is reserved for extraordinary cases. Once the state has proven that a defendant did in fact kill someone, it should be the accused’s obligation to prove his or her actions were justified.

    Not in Missouri. Instead, as long as there is a modicum of evidence and reasonable plausibility in support of a self-defense claim, a court must accept the claim and acquit the accused. The prosecution must not only prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, but also disprove a defendant’s claim of self-defense to the same high standard. Under Missouri law, all a citizen claiming self-defense or a police officer claiming to have fired while pursuing a dangerous criminal need do is “inject the issue of justification.” In other words, he only needs to produce some evidence (his own testimony counts) supporting the claim. Once he does so, “any reasonable doubt on the issue requires a finding for the defendant.” In Missouri, the burden doesn’t budge an inch, even after we know that the defendant has killed the victim. It doesn’t matter that there is certainty that Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown. As long as there is still the slightest possibility that Wilson acted in his own defense, Missouri law favors Wilson.

    I feel like the case is over before the jury has heard the evidence. Unbelievable.

    If this happens, I fear more will die in Ferguson.

    •  Maybe so (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mstep, Stude Dude, rl en france

      But with the demographics of the area.  
      http://quickfacts.census.gov/...

      It will be very hard to find a jury that the punditry expects to tow to that self defense high standard.

    •  That is the law in most states. If a defendant (7+ / 0-)

      raises a "prima facie" case of self defense, then the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a killing was NOT self-defense.  A prima facie case is not a "beyond a reasonable doubt" or even a "more likely than not" standard. It's a pretty easy standard to meet.  Generally, you can't just SAY self-defense, you have to have evidence that, taken alone, would suggest the possibility of self-defense. It's simply, are there ANY facts, if unrebutted, that would support a finding of self defense.  Practically speaking, it means is there a fact, standing alone, that would potentially show that the person shot was a significant physical threat to the shooter. And typically, a significant injury the could have been inflicted by the person shot (such as the officer's fractured  eye socket here, if that's what the medical records show) is going to be enough to raise the possibility that Brown at some point was a physical threat to the officer.  That will generally meet the prima facie standard.  (If the person shot had a deadly weapon that might be ANOTHER way of raising a prima facie case, but proof that the victim had a deadly weapon is not necessary if there's the threat of significant physical harm.)

       Then the burden shifts to the prosecution to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that at the time of the shooting, the person shot was not a significant physical threat to the shooter.

      This is not some freak of Missouri law, nor is it some special privilege given to police defendants. As I understand it,  it's the law in most states.  If I remember correctly (as this was also raised in the Zimmerman case, see here and here) it's the law in all states but Ohio, and applies to all defendants.

      •  oh good (0+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Hidden by:
        jqb

        I was hoping the self-appointed defender of killing black teenagers would chime in with another 1L analysis.  
        As pretty much everyone else has noted, even the very easy self-defense burden will be tough when you kill someone who was trying to run away.  

        you can shit on my face but that doesn't mean I have to lick my lips

        by red rabbit on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:29:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I can appreciate the standard of (0+ / 0-)

        "reasonable doubt" being a burden on the prosecution to overcome.

        Earlier in the article he raises reasonable doubt as the standard for this.

        What bothered me about the article was

        "Under Missouri law, all a citizen claiming self-defense or a police officer claiming to have fired while pursuing a dangerous criminal need do is “inject the issue of justification.” In other words, he only needs to produce some evidence (his own testimony counts) supporting the claim. Once he does so, “any reasonable doubt on the issue requires a finding for the defendant.”
        ...
        As long as there is still the slightest possibility that Wilson acted in his own defense, Missouri law favors Wilson."
        A 1 in x billion chance that DNA evidence is wrong is the slightest of possibilities yet so slight, juries seem to accept  that it is not a basis for reasonable doubt.

        "His own testimony counts" - is that solely enough since it's coming from a police officer?

        My concern is that he seems to infer a very slim standard: "slightest possibility" to achieving "reasonable doubt" in Missouri - distinguishing it from other states.

        Maybe he wrote it poorly or I've misunderstood.

    •  That's true in every state but Ohio. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, Pi Li, VClib, Kickemout, AlexDrew

      That's true in every state but Ohio.

    •  Not only that (which was the same problem (0+ / 0-)

      in FL) but a white person from St. Louis County taken at random is likely to support the police based on both national polling and the specific history of St. Louis County.  So the best that can probably be hoped for is a hung jury.  

      I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

      by AZphilosopher on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:24:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The prosecution, one would hope, would try (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li, VClib, AlexDrew

        to eliminate any potential juror who indicates that he/she would tend to give a police officer's testimony more credibility simply because he is a police officer, just as the defense would try to eliminate any potential juror who says that he/she would tend to disbelieve a witness solely because that witness is a police officer.  Unfortunately, that depends on potential jurors being completely honest in the voir dire process, and that's not always the case.

        •  Subtler than that even (4+ / 0-)

          It also depends on jurors being aware of their own prejudices.

          The Empire never ended.

          by thejeff on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:44:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unfortunately, that's an inherent part of our (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li, VClib, cowdab, OrganicChemist

            jury system.  Each juror comes to a trial with his/her own unique background, leanings, or prejudices.  There is no "perfect" juror who is an absolutely blank slate, and no juror who doesn't consider the evidence in light of that juror's own life experiences.  There's no way around that. The best the system can do is to try to eliminate those with the most overt biases, one way or another, from juries where those biases would play heavily into their decision.  There's no way to have a jury with 12 people with no preconceived belief system.  

            •  And usually it does not matter a lot in criminal (3+ / 0-)

              cases, as the prejudices do not count much.  But in racial cases or cases of police misconduct, the prejudices, admitted by the juror, denied by a juror, or not even recognized  by a juror colors how the evidence is taken in, remembered and analyzed.  Once done over the course of a trial,  it is very hard to change the result of the prejudiced thinking at every level of the mental activity the juror uses during the trial.

              Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

              by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:05:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hmmmm (6+ / 0-)

                Well, most criminal cases by definition involve testimony from a police officer, and it's true that all things being equal most jurors,  including African Americans in my experience, tend to give the benefit of the doubt  to cops in run of the mill criminal trials.

                It's actually the cases where there's some allegation of police misconduct (I'm not talking about shooting cases where legitimate  self defense is asserted)  that jurors tend to look at cops most skeptically. There's nothing worse than a lying,  crooked cop. Juries don't like them and either do prosecutors.  Cops do lie,  that's just a fact, and when I was a prosecutor if I thought a cop was lying (and it's happened) I wouldn't put him on the stand and if I couldn't make the case without him I'd nolle pross it.

                In experience most jurors,  no matter their race,  take their job seriously and try to set those biases they're aware of aside.  To do this completely is impossible,  of course, we're all human and have built in biases we don't even know we have.  But that's just something we have to live with if we are going try people by their peers.

                Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                by Pi Li on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:25:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What you say is true. When I have caught police (0+ / 0-)

                  lying under oath, I made them retract the lie by cross examining them.  The juries understood an came to a just and true verdict most of the time, but mist of the time is not enough in a criminal case.

                  Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

                  by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:42:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It has a lot to do with the DA's supporting cops (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn

              plenty DA's are racists too.

              I investigated a jury pool in white racist Queens county NY - and advised the law firm I was working for to not issue a challenge against a juror (who wound up being the foreman) in a cop killing trial.

              The white, old, male bias worked against the DA in that case.

              The foreman was an Italian-American bar/restaurant owner.
              Just so happens - he hated grifter cops, who lie, run up huge "freebie tabs" so was not inclined to believe the "truth pearls" dripping from the mouths of the men in blue.

              Most public defenders don't have the resources/ or the time (given their case loads) to do extensive investigation - and in certain areas can't get a jury that is open minded enough to listen to anything a black. poor. person of color has to say (or his lawyers have to say)

              The so-called justice system is bullshit when you are black.

              "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition." Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon

              by Denise Oliver Velez on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 11:42:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Finally, we agree on something: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Denise Oliver Velez
              There's no way to have a jury with 12 people with no preconceived belief system.
              Unfortunately for this country's black citizens, that "preconceived belief system" is formed by racist indoctrination. So jurors walk into the courtroom with their biases against black people, particularly young black men, firmly entrenched. Those racist biases predictably skew the results when black people are involved, whether they be the victims, the witnesses, or the defendants.

              It should hardly be surprising, then, that black people lack faith in our "justice" system. From their perspective, it does anything but dispense what could rightly be called justice.

              So when people (like you) demand that the legal process be allowed to take its course, with the implicit assumption that that process will result in a fair adjudication of the case, you're ignoring the extent to which the deck is stacked against this country's African-American citizens. For people of color, the so-called "justice system" is a means of oppression, not a means of redress.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:04:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  I'm wondering if his acquittal will be met (0+ / 0-)

      with demonstrations and rioting all over the country.  It seems to me that liberals and minorities are  just about up to their ears in this treatment.  It seems it will have to be them that make their demands loud and clear enough to be taken seriously.  The rest of us can only offer support where possible. There is quite a bit of 'possible' to offer.

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by cowdab on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:20:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If that killer cop fails to be convicted and (13+ / 0-)

    punished, anarchy will prevail. What "liberty and justice for all"? Zero.

    Thanks for the roundup, Greg!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:47:36 AM PDT

    •  anarchy is bad (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk, Terrapin, mstep, Stude Dude

      I hope you don't join the anarchy if your verdict is not the jurys verdict.

    •  Cops get off all the timed; they're the (4+ / 0-)

      overseer/enforcer class. He's protected; also he's white & white men have permission to lynch black men. It's in their rule book.

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:17:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Civil suit is better alternative? (5+ / 0-)

      Proving beyond a reasonable doubt that this was unjustified homicide will be very very difficult. (Juries generally have trouble seeing a cop as a criminal rather than "doing his job.") And an acquittal would risk setting off another round of demonstrations and police counter-measures.

      A civil suit for wrongful death and violation of Brown's civil rights, on the other hand, would serve the same function of having an open airing of facts (under oath, not three-steps-removed hearsay), and could result in a hefty judgment against the individual officer and the PD. And the standard of proof for civil cases is only "preponderance of the evidence."

      •  The individual cop doesn't pay; the city & maybe (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Little Flower, rl en france, StrayCat

        the union pay.

        I think the cop should be civilly liable, also.

        I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

        by a2nite on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:55:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In which the citizens of Ferguson will pay. That (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rl en france, VClib

        is the crazy irony of the civil suit route. It is not the officials, it is not the wrongdoer, it is the taxpayer of the jurisdiction that will pay. Assuming this was in fact a wrongful act by the police officer and a court finds for the family then it is indeed like having the condemned pay for the execution bullet.

        Just today the news is:

        The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to pay $5 million to the family of an unarmed, disabled man who was killed by police in a shooting captured on live television.
        Ok taxpayers, which fund do you want that taken from? Playgrounds? Streets? Don't even think of deducting it from "law enforcement" budgets!

        At best, some administrator or local official will take notice of the budget drain and begin muttering about accountability.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:45:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If they couldn't and didn't convict the cops who (0+ / 0-)

        beat a homeless man who was not resisting to death, as they did, they will let anything go. RIP Kelly Thomas.

        Justice was absolutely not served in his case and the DA's office was prosecuting, in fact the DA himself.

        There was NO justice for Kelly Thomas.

        The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

        by cany on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:13:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We can't impact the verdict, but there should... (6+ / 0-)

      ...be a trial, and at this point the Missouri process seems to be approaching, "you can't convict him so why go through the expense of the exercise?"

      This of course suggests that Missouri police officers have something akin to a 007 License to Kill when it comes to young men of color.

      Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:56:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whether there is enough evidence to convict (8+ / 0-)

        is an important consideration for any prosecutor prosecuting any defendant.  

        A prosecutor ethically is not supposed to prosecute a case against a defendant unless the prosecutor believes there is sufficient evidence to convict.  The jury doesn't always buy it, of course, but prosecutors have to believe there is enough evidence to convict before they bring charges.

        That's also the function of a grand jury.  The prosecution brings the evidence to a grand jury -- and the prosecution's evidence is generally not contested, since the defense is not present at the grand jury proceedings -- and the grand jury decides if there's enough evidence to go to trial.  

        It's not as simple as, "well, whether the evidence is sufficient to convict or not, let's have a trial so we can make a statement anyway."  That's not how our justice system works.  Every defendant accused of a serious crime -- including defendants accused of heinous acts -- is entitled to have a grand jury or a judge (at a preliminary hearing) decide that the evidence against him is sufficient before that defendant has to go through a trial.  In our justice system, we don't allow prosecutors to bring cases against defendants where there is not sufficient evidence to convict, but the prosecution wants to make some kind of statement anyway.

        That's why the investigation in this case is so, so, so very important.  And it's why everyone following this case, from any perspective, should be glad that there are, if I recall correctly, 40 investigators from the FBI on the ground in Ferguson investigating this case.  

        •  how quaint (4+ / 0-)

          prosecutors indict, try cases, and get convictions for murder based on much flimsier evidence than we already have here, and many prosecutors know the evidence is flimsy and don't care.  Look at the history of wrongful convictions across the U.S.  There is a long tradition of DAs working hand in hand with the cops to get "someone", especially when the victim is a white woman and the accused is a black man.  You don't have to be a lawyer for almost twenty years like me to know this, just follow our criminal justice system for any length of time.  

          you can shit on my face but that doesn't mean I have to lick my lips

          by red rabbit on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:47:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We don't have all the facts, of course. (5+ / 0-)

            Unless the 40 FBI agents are there doing nothing.  And  "we" don't yet have the forensic pathology results, not the results of any examination of the surrounding physical evidence, nor any statement from Wilson as to his version of the story (I'm sure a statement from him had to have been taken shortly after then incident, but we haven't seen it), nor any statement as to how his facial injuries were obtained, nor any conclusions as to how many shots were fired, whether one was fired in the car and by whom, etc.

            I would agree with you that if the only evidence that would be presented at a trial, by either the prosecution or the defense, was the testimony of the three or four eye witnesses who have spoken to the press, that likely would be enough to convict.  But since there's absolutely no way that's the only evidence that would be presented at a trial, it's incumbent on the prosecutors, I think, to have a fuller understanding of all the relevant evidence and to present that to the grand jury.  

            •  On the other hand, the grand jury is supposed to (0+ / 0-)

              determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused committed it.  The Grand Jury is not supposed to hear and rule on affirmative defenses that have not been raised at that stage of the proceedings.   An affirmative defense is only raised by pleadings at the time after an arraignment.   Inciting the accused to testify as to such a defense is just a way for,the prosecutor to protect a stone killer.

              Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

              by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:13:48 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Of course the grand jury process (6+ / 0-)

          Assumes that the prosecutor is actually trying to get the indictment. If he's not, the whole process falls apart.

          The Empire never ended.

          by thejeff on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:51:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with that. And I think that seasoned (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li, VClib, OrganicChemist

            ADA's, OTHER THAN McCollough, are presenting the case to the grand jury.  

            •  But chosen by him. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pelagicray, cowdab

              The Empire never ended.

              by thejeff on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:40:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure. He will have to assign it to someone in his (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pi Li, VClib

                office.  Typically, those offices have certain ADA's who prosecute potential murder cases (usually the most experienced prosecutors, especially in very high-profile situations, will get these kinds of cases), and the assumption is that this case will go to those prosecutors.  

                If the case is presented to the grand jury and tried by some of the office's most experienced ADA's in trying murder/homicide cases, I think there's no real basis to complain.  That would be exactly what he would do in any other high-profile homicide/murder case.  If, on the other hand, he sends it to someone who has no real experience in these kinds of cases, then I think it's fair to ask if the assignment was made on the basis of some ideology.  

                •  Experience isn't the question. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cowdab

                  It's whether the ADA he sends softballs the case.

                  As the saying goes, he could get the grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. He could also get them to not indict the ham sandwich.

                  Any prosecutor could get either outcome from the grandjury here. Just present the police version of the story, let Wilson testify with no real questioning and there's no indictment.
                  Just present the 3 witnesses who've spoken publically and downplay or ignore the other evidence and you've got an indictment.

                  The Empire never ended.

                  by thejeff on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:18:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Look (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    coffeetalk, AlexDrew, OrganicChemist

                    From what I understand there are two ADA's presenting to the grand jury. One was already working with that grand jury, and the other was the desk attorney who took the original call regarding the shooting.  And apparently one of them is an African American.

                    So there's no evidence that these attorneys were hand picked, or would slow-walk, "softball" or otherwise "throw" the case as some have alleged. Zilch.

                    The grand jury, which is reported to be "diverse",  has been empaneled for quite some time so is already experienced in hearing evidence and from witnesses.  

                    The DOJ will be watching every element of this case, and will have access to all the evidence that the DA does.

                    So I just think maybe we should wait for some kind of evidence of misconduct on the part of the DA's office before we start engaging in speculation about them throwing the case (not saying you're doing that).

                    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                    by Pi Li on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:08:04 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  The ADA's were hired by and answer to the DA. (0+ / 0-)

              And they probably know which side of the bread the butter is on.  A no true bill in this case would be a complete miscarriage of justice.  Furthermore, presenting the case over months, when there is, including eyewitness testimony, forensics and med examiner testimony, is 3 to 4 hours at most.   No cross examination, and very few questions of each witness.  I have presented many grand jury cases, and this is how it goes unless there are considerations other that determining probable cause.

              Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

              by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:19:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  FBI and Justice may or may not play any role in (0+ / 0-)

          the local decision to go to trial or even a prosecution if there is a trial. Feds don't do "murder" except in very limited circumstances. The local prosecutor, and there are real questions about this one, may disregard FBI findings entirely. There is no "victim's defense" in such a trial to call such evidence either.

          All Justice and the FBI work here is in possible aid of a federal civil rights violation case. Remember how that goes?

          The FBI arrested 18 men in October 1964, but state prosecutors refused to try the case, claiming lack of evidence. The federal government then stepped in, and the FBI arrested 18 in connection with the killings. In 1967, seven men were convicted on federal conspiracy charges and given sentences of three to ten years, but none served more than six. No one was tried on the charge or murder. The contemptible words of the presiding federal judge, William Cox, give an indication of Mississippi's version of justice at the time: "They killed one ni---r, one Jew, and a white man. I gave them all what I thought they deserved." Another eight defendants were acquitted by their all-white juries, and another three ended in mistrials.
          (The Murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman & Michael Schwerner - Civil Rights Case  Infoplease.com with my emphasis)

          And there is an underscoring, a loud bold, of what I said above.  Insane. Get all hyped and vote for Obama, but "too busy" or "disinterested" to turn out to make sure the people with most direct effect on governance of your life, including sometimes whether you live or die, aren't actually your enemies.

          The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

          by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:23:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, a trial will occur. (0+ / 0-)

        The pressure is far too much for a prosecutor to ignore. But it will be impossible for 12 jurors to agree to convict a police officer of murder. Maybe some lesser crime.

        You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

        by mstep on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:28:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I tend to think there will be a grand jury (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li, VClib, AlexDrew

          indictment.  Frankly, I think it's politically better for McCollough to get an indictment.  Since he won't actually be trying the case, if his office gets an indictment and the jury fails to convict -- or convicts of a lesser charge -- then he's off the hook, and can point to the jurors.  

          •  Well, the truth is spoken. McCullogh is just (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Theretherethere, dallasdunlap

            another corrupt politician who cares more for his political career than his oath of office.  How far down into the swamp of self interest and injustice are you willing to go?

            Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

            by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:25:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting, given the doubts about justice here (0+ / 0-)

        and national attention—though I note that is much lower among whites as Dionne point out—how Missouri insists on doing this the hard and worst way.

        Even if there were no question about the prosecutor, and there are quite a few over decades, the principle of avoiding even the appearance of taint would indicate the easy way to calm things would be to bring in a highly respected special prosecutor preferably from outside the local jurisdictions. Given the questions and heat and to avoid the appearance of taint, to reassure both locals and the world of his integrity, one would think McCulloch would ask for that.

        The fact that he is not, that the state is not and that with all the questions being answered in drips and drops, bungles and such, indicates to me half a continent away and with no plans to even touch down in the state on the way somewhere that there is no intent to be above reproach. It smells of pandering to a local and state dynamic in which it is better to take "outside" heat and protect a political position.

        I saw the interview with Senator McCaskill, a person I once thought highly of, and my first reaction to her hard defense of McCulloch and his office holding on to this case was she too is more interested (as Senators are) in protecting some flank among a segment of Democratic and other voters in Missouri than the appearance of a possible real taint. She dropped many points in my estimation there, but then I don't count among her voting bloc. Might be time to primary her unless she really is the best we can hope for out of that state.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:05:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the path they took in Florida (4+ / 0-)

          naming Angela Corey as a Special Prosecutor in a high profile case. That one didn't work out so well.

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:52:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Depends on the intent of "special" there. If the (0+ / 0-)

            intent is to reinforce trust in the system and law then you pick one that is transparently expert and without prejudice. If you want to make sure the opposite occurs you pick one to ensure that and take the heat, such as it may be.

            The theoretical point in all such cases is to take prosecution out of the hands of an entity with either real or the appearance of too many connections with the prosecuted to do real justice and put it into the hands of someone less prejudiced. That is precisely why federal special prosecutors deal with things the normal Justice prosecutors are seen as being too close to the prosecuted to do without the appearance of interest beyond the law. That is precisely why an appointed prosecutor is not generally tasked with investigating accusations of White House or DoJ impropriety.

            Missouri, from the governor down, from my relatively unbiased viewpoint is now pretty deep in the appearance of something that smells.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:52:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  No kidding (4+ / 0-)

            In fact, in Florida the original State Attorney, who would normally have handled the case, didn't think there was enough evidence to convict, which is why no charges were filed initially. So we had a lot of protests demanding a prosecution, and as a result a special prosecutor known for filing cases for political reasons.

            The result was..gasp...a case that didn't have enough evidence to sustain a conviction (that doesn't mean Zimmerman was innocent). IMO, McColloch doesn't think he has enough for a conviction either, and by taking it to a grand jury I think he's essentially just trying to demonstrate impartiality in the process. For the people who are upset about the grand jury, I'd submit that the choices are either a grand jury or no (State) prosecution at all.

            Again, that's not to say that Wilson is "innocent"...just a statement of the reality of how difficult it is to convict a cop where there's a reasonable theory of self defence. We'll see if there's one here when all the evidence comes out.

            Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

            by Pi Li on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:54:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Really? (0+ / 0-)
              I'd submit that the choices are either a grand jury or no (State) prosecution at all.
              As several legal experts have pointed out quite a few cases go to trial without grand jury participation. Preliminary hearing before a judge seems to be one alternative.

              I haven't done the homework, but I'd be pretty much surprised if quite a few trials have not taken place of poor and black "perps" completely without benefit of grand jury review. If the shot kid here had been accused and arrested of beating the brains out of one of his neighbors with about the same level of "evidence" the case would I suspect not have sat in grand jury proceedings for weeks and months.

              The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

              by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:05:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes yes of course (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                qphilo, coffeetalk
                As several legal experts have pointed out quite a few cases go to trial without grand jury participation. Preliminary hearing before a judge seems to be one alternative.
                Cases go to trial all the time without grand jury. Almost all the cases I tried didn't involve a grand jury.

                But in a case like this, where, IMO, the DA doesn't believe he has enough evidence to sustain a conviction, the grand jury is a way for him to balance that against, um, other interests. Let's not pretend politics aren't at play here.

                I haven't done the homework, but I'd be pretty much surprised if quite a few trials have not taken place of poor and black "perps" completely without benefit of grand jury review.
                You don't have to do any homework, I can tell you you're correct. If this was a black kid, shooting another black kid, there would be no grand jury. There would have been an arrest that day and charges would be filed by now. And the black kid would most likely be sitting in jail the whole time. The criminal justice system treats cops differently, period. So do juries.  No question about it. That doesn't make it fair, it's just how it is.

                So it's either the DA does what his experience tells him, that it's almost impossible to get a conviction on a cop in circumstances like this (assuming there's a reasonable self defence theory), in which case there's no charges at all, or he takes it to a grand jury.

                And in any event, a grand jury is better for the prosecution. In a prelim the defence would get an early preview of the evidence the State intends to present, whereas the grand jury is done completely in secret.

                Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                by Pi Li on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:14:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Precisely. And that is also precisely why with (0+ / 0-)

                  the real questions about this prosecutor in particular, the volatility of the situation and the publicity itself (eyes of the world upon you stuff) would in most cases mandate avoidance of any appearance of lack of vigor. That is why at this point a reasonable conclusion can be made that forces other than strict appearance and effective following of the law are in play with the prosecutor, the governor and the senator. Given the actors, racial politics and appeasing prejudice is very much suspect and they don't seem to give a fart about that appearance.

                  And there is why at this point I'm concluding Missouri, in the form of its government, is being somewhat stupid. The best and quickest way to pull all sorts of fangs would be to find someone with the record of integrity to present a prosecution case. It might never satisfy some of the community, but at least people like myself and some others at a distance I know would not be thinking there is far more commonality than I'd suspected with another state starting with "M" and ending in "i" down the river and its behavior decades ago.

                  The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                  by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:40:28 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib
                    The best and quickest way to pull all sorts of fangs would be to find someone with the record of integrity to present a prosecution case.
                    Is there any evidence that either of the experienced ADA's presenting the case to the grand jury, one of which is an African American and neither of which is McColloch, lacks integrity?

                    And keep in mind, neither of them were hand picked by McColloch for the case. One was already working with this grand jury, the other was the desk attorney on duty who responded to the shooting.

                    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                    by Pi Li on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:48:46 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There is plenty of video and statement evidence (0+ / 0-)

                      that many in the community do not have confidence in the office run by McColloch. That includes a number of elected officials and, today, an attempt to deliver a petition to a public official in a public building rebuffed by police threatening arrests. Seems to me there is something in the Constitution about a right not to be infringed there.

                      They may be wrong in their suspicion, but the appearance of a problem certainly is building. Really, really good "optics" for the St. Louis area and the state there—sarcasm fully intended.

                      If Missouri wants to add to the perception among those of us watching from around the nation and world that it really does have something to hide it is doing a good job so far.

                      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

                      by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:46:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Ps: It actually seems stupid. A fairly quick way (0+ / 0-)

            of defusing a number of questions would be to carefully pick a sterling legal type as special prosecutor, there must be some such person in the state, and get that over with. By not doing so the question of why keeps festering.

            So far it is a speculation, but based on Nixon and McCaskill responses to the idea I have to wonder if they don't fear a "white" or "police" backlash if they took or supported such an obvious way to defuse things.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:57:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  The do have this. Se the video of the mentally (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FogCityJohn

        ill guy executed by the cops in north St. Louis County.  They lied about the event, said he had a knife up ready to strike.  They lie all the time, and the only purpose for such is to keep the privilege of determining life or death as to black males.

        Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

        by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:09:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Afghanistan expels NYTimes jounalist (11+ / 0-)

    Calling Article 'Divisive,' Afghanistan Orders Expulsion of Times Correspondent

    Which I suppose is showing progress compared to how Afghan officials handled things during David Rohde's time there.

    The attorney general of Afghanistan on Wednesday ordered the expulsion of an American correspondent for The New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg, and barred him from re-entering the country.

    The action, the first public expulsion of a Western journalist since the Taliban regime, came less than a day after the office of the attorney general, Mohammad Ishaq Aloko, issued an order prohibiting Mr. Rosenberg from leaving the country while he was under investigation.

    Both orders related to an article written by Mr. Rosenberg that was published Tuesday by The Times. It said that high-ranking government officials were discussing forming an interim government as a possible resolution to the country’s current electoral crisis — an action that would effectively amount to a coup.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:48:30 AM PDT

  •  It's the system (13+ / 0-)

    To prosecute an individual criminally  you have to have certainty, which is hard to come by.  That's not needed to reform organizations or fire the management.  

    Situations like the killing in Ferguson call for replacement of the police chief and taking the department into receivership until all the officers are vetted and retrained.  It's clear that there is a gross failure in recruiting, management, leadership and training.

    Mandatory Gun Insurance would provide for victims, encourage safety and not be an excessive burden on gun owners. How to do it at Gun Insurance Blog. I also make posts at Huffington as Tom Harvey.

    by guninsuranceblog on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:49:05 AM PDT

  •  Chris McDaniel.....a sailor marching in an Army (5+ / 0-)

    parade.

  •  Start using better words. Some laws already exist (10+ / 0-)

    at the federal level - so frame the arguments, charges and indictments in those terms.

    For Darren Wilson, the jury should investigate extreme or excessive use of force alongside murder.

    For officer #gofuckyourself and those behaving like him, charges should be filed that fall under the federal umbrella as "acts of domestic terrorism" - he was willfully and maliciously abusing his authority, presenting a clear & present danger to the public and private property, while willfully and intentionally obscuring his identity to avoid identification and accountability - which demonstrates a knowledge on his behalf that his actions were wrong, extreme, and likely criminal as well as an intent to perform such actions and instill terror in his target victims.

    If folks insist on approaching such abuses as "domestic terror," the powers that be might finally realize that the public is dead serious (no pun intended) about no longer tolerating it. And if the public - perhaps with media support - keep framing it that way, and don't let up, who knows?

  •  Rick Scott is so bad to dodge questions... (13+ / 0-)

    How bad is he, you ask?  He's so bad that...

    A Rick Scott Dodge So Bad That We Decided to Launch a New Site

    If you’re reading this post, you probably already know that Rick Scott won’t answer questions. After all, you are the very people asking them and receiving the same canned responses over and over and over and…let’s just cut to the chase.

    Today, American Bridge is launching AskRickScott.com, a site dedicated to cataloging the ever-growing collection of Rick Scott dodges.

    And our newest Scott-ism added to the site comes from his press avail this morning. Scott was asked about one of his least favorite topics — his shady trips to King Ranch — and, well, he proceeded to Rick Scott harder than he’s ever Rick Scotted before:

    That's right, he told reporters to "Ask other people" in response to a question.  Un.be.lie.vable.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:58:00 AM PDT

  •  When the Feds get him yeah, otherwise I (6+ / 0-)

    don't see him getting indicted.

    The police have permission to lynch black man with a gun. It makes the white power structure secure.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:05:38 AM PDT

  •  So Holder shows up in Ferguson... (0+ / 0-)

    full of hugs for Ron 'we didn't shoot any protesters for the 11th night in a row!' Johnson and praises the local PD... hopeless.

    •  unrealistic expectations (10+ / 0-)

      are best tempered with some degree of reality.

      for one thing, easier for Holder to do anything if he doesn't come in with metaphorical and verbal guns blazing.

      it isn't what they say, it's what they do.

      "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

      by Greg Dworkin on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:38:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hope you're right... nfc (0+ / 0-)

        The republicons moan, the republicons bitch. Our rich are too poor and our poor are too rich. Ferguson Foont

        by Josiah Bartlett on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:18:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And AG Holder cannot be making statements (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hoghead99, Pi Li, rl en france, VClib

        about the guilt or culpability of any potential defendant while an investigation is still ongoing, if that's what people expect.

        I understand that people here may have made up their minds about the guilt of the officer, but when you are in a position of power over the possible prosecution of a defendant (no matter how heinous the crime) you are not supposed to have your mind made up before the investigation is complete, and before things like the forensic pathology are complete.  

        At this time, what AG Holder needs to be pushing is that there be a full and fair investigation of all the facts surrounding this shooting.  

        •  More horseshit. Prosecutors speak of the guilt of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cany

          People accused of crimes in the press all the time.  Press conferences are called by DA's and US Attorneys upon arrests or upon the return of indictments regularly.  As dor a fair and full investigation, that will not happen, as, for one thing, all of the brass was picked up by the cops before their placement at the scene was documented.  The police car was moved without measurements being taken, and the chief of the Ferguson police department went on the tv with patent lies.  There will never be a fair and full investigation because one is now forensically impossible.  In addition, eyewitnesses were not interviewed for days after the shooting, and photographic evidence was seized, and not tagged.  The chain of evidence for so many physical  items in this case has been broken that justice can not be done no matter the outcome of judicial proceedings.  And this was done purposefully by the police.

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:39:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have wondered about that forensic evidence (0+ / 0-)

            (e.g. bullet casings) etc. Where was the information you have on this gotten? I have not seen that presented anywhere up to now.

            The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

            by cany on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:37:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  From a variety of sources, and from reasonable (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cany

              inferences from reporting and police pressers.  There is a real problem here with the fact that the scene was treated far differently from a homicide scene where there is. O suspect, or the suspect is a civilian.

              Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

              by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 04:38:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  "A model of community-based policing" (0+ / 0-)

        is what Holder told Johnson... that's akin to 'heckuva job Brownie' and does not inspire much confidence.

    •  Holder has to present an impartial image (0+ / 0-)

      to the public, or it taints the DoJ's findings.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:54:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, it took a while, but it looks as if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JaxDem, StrayCat

    A Story has finally been agreed upon:

    http://www.foxnews.com/...

    One does wonder why this took so long to come out--
    this page out of the george zimmerman playbook:

    "Butbutbut he was beating on me!"

    ...as if....

    •  Interesting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat
      The source claims that there is "solid proof" that there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson for the policeman’s firearm, resulting in the gun going off – although it still remains unclear at this stage who pulled the trigger. Brown started to walk away according to the account, prompting Wilson to draw his gun and order him to freeze.
      Granted, this is the unsubstantiated word from an unnamed source leaking the police department's story, but apparently Wilson drew his gun after the first show was fired? That should be easy to verify.

      The Empire never ended.

      by thejeff on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:56:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to see that holster. Ordinarily, police (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cany

        holsters are designed so that the trigger is not available to a finger until the weapon is drawn.  So, how could Mike Brown cause the gun to fire.  By the way, I understand that the door was closed during this alleged altercation.  How could a sitting person pull Mike Brown into the car?  Is the officer right or left handed?  Is there any evidence of a hole in the police car from a shot?  Where is the hole if one?   If the cop pulled his gun while in the car, and shot, how is that Mike Browns fault?

        Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

        by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:46:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone Demanding Justice for Brown: (7+ / 0-)

    Yishai Schwartz's article is a must read. This:

    Under Missouri law, all a citizen claiming self-defense or a police officer claiming to have fired while pursuing a dangerous criminal need do is “inject the issue of justification.” In other words, he only needs to produce some evidence (his own testimony counts) supporting the claim. Once he does so, “any reasonable doubt on the issue requires a finding for the defendant.” In Missouri, the burden doesn’t budge an inch, even after we know that the defendant has killed the victim. It doesn’t matter that there is certainty that Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown. As long as there is still the slightest possibility that Wilson acted in his own defense, Missouri law favors Wilson.
    Thus the endless discussion regarding details of the shooting; i.e. distance between Brown and Wilson, total number of shots fired, wound pattern on Brown's body, whether Wilson shot Brown as he was running away, etc., don't matter all that much in regard to the trial of officer Wilson.

    Crucial questions such as why did Wilson shoot at Brown after Brown turned toward him and raised his hands to surrender-- Wilson can simply claim "I was shooting as he turned around; it all happened so fast".

    Again, we know how witness testimony is handled in trials of police officers. The officer's testimony typically is considered more credible than witnesses by a jury.

    http://thenewrepublic.com/...

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:44:14 AM PDT

    •  As I said in my comment above, (5+ / 0-)

      I think that's the law in most states, and applies to all defendants.  It's not just Missouri law, and it's not just this defendant.  

      •  Understood. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        I'm just pointing out Schwartz's piece goes a long way in answering the main question of the diary; "Can Darren Wilson be Convicted?"

        If Missouri's law is common in other states, that would help explain why there is so few criminal convictions of police who kill unarmed, low/no threat people.

        "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

        by Superpole on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:24:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, it is not the law in all states. Mere (0+ / 0-)

        injection of the issue is not usually enough.  Some evidence must be presented for the prosecutor to rebut.

        Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

        by StrayCat on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:48:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What I don't get is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hoghead99

      how can somebody whose running away be a deadly enough threat to you to warrant shooting at them? Since when do police shoot at runners? Brown lived in the apt complex. It wasn't like he was going to run so very far away, he would never be caught. Officer "Shoots First" could have picked him up later, and written that all important ticket for "walking in the f**king street." I don't see how this can be anything but willful murder.  

      •  Cousins BF killed by St. Louis cop... (0+ / 0-)

           ...for running from a traffic stop (speeding). This in 1965... Ran away on foot, shot dead by St. L. PD.

        Compost for a greener planet.............got piles?

        by Hoghead99 on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:55:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If the prosecution can prove beyond a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li, VClib

        reasonable doubt that he was, in fact, running away when the deadly shot was fired, then that would probably result in a conviction.  

        Yes, there are some witnesses who will testify to that, presumably.  (We have heard statements to the press, but we are not privy to exactly what they told investigators nor to what they will say under oath to the grand jury.)  And if the only evidence that existed was the statements of those particular witnesses, then the prosecution can likely meet their burden of disproving self-defense.  But, of course, there's likely to be a lot more evidence than the statements of these witnesses and we do not yet know if that evidence, ultimately, will tend to corroborate those statements or tend to contradict those statements.  

  •  Missouri Compromise 2.0 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, JG in MD, Josiah Bartlett, mstep

    The original Missouri Compromise said that slavery would not be allowed in any new US territories north of the 36th parallel, except Missouri. Missouri still insists on its own interpretation of laws, including the cops can use deadly force on unarmed black males for no reason rule. Self-defense, you know. And besides, those ni$$ers are gettin' uppity.

    The first Missouri Compromise was a horrible idea, causing an intra-state civil war in the midst of the Civil War. This new Missouri Compromise not to recognize the normal protections afforded all citizens under the Constitution in the rest of the country is much of the cause of this mess and will not end until Missouri police and state officials decide to conform their behavior to the same laws as the rest of the country.

    It is not easy to see what you are not looking for, or to know what it is you do not know.

    by kosta on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 05:44:35 AM PDT

  •  Just a thought for reflexive Holder (9+ / 0-)

    bashers:  you were wrong about him not acting on Katrina prosecutions.  You were wrong that BP would get off with no criminal charges.  You are wrong that Wall Street and Bankster fraud is ignored.  You were wrong about DOMA and DADT.  Maybe you could wait on your predictions that DOJ will do nothing.  

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:01:47 AM PDT

    •  The problem in all cases (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I love OCD

      seems to be that US law is too complex, and prosecution always takes too long. When people want justice, they don't want to wait 3-4 years after the crime occurs. The Justice dept. can prosecute the Furguson police department for violation of the victim's civil rights, but by all accounts, those cases take years and years.

      You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.

      by mstep on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:41:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree! It took a new administration and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tb mare

        several years to get action on the racists after Katrina.  What I believe about Holder is that he takes the time necessary to build a case solid enough for a strong win.  There's calculus in that, which I personally approve of- don't rush to bring a case you might lose because that loss gives the guilty a clean slate and the guts to go further next time.  His careful maneuvering in the BP case has left BP open to numerous civil suits over actions they've already pled guilty to.  He could only assess nominal fines, the states and citizens harmed now have a fertile field to plow for damages lawsuits.  And no one involved is shielded from civil suits.  He and Obama seem to prefer effective to sexy and dramatic.  I love that about both of them.  

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:26:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not worried about Holder (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I love OCD

      I think he's been good, and he seems to be popular with the younger people in and around Ferguson.
      The city and county officials are the ones who aren't trustworthy, and for good reason.

      you can shit on my face but that doesn't mean I have to lick my lips

      by red rabbit on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:52:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Same thing applies to Obama. People have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I love OCD

      been wrong about him since 2009 and haven't learned one damn thing about jumping to conclusions.

      Sinbad on dodging sniper fire in Bosnia - "What kind of president would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife...oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'"

      by askew on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:23:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Katrina (4+ / 0-)

      Those Katrina prosecutions were scandal plagued, and resulted in the resignations of several AUSA'S.

      Since its the same criminal section of the civil rights division investigating Ferguson, we have to hope for better this time.

      Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

      by Pi Li on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:44:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read a report 3 days ago that.... (0+ / 0-)

        several of the people implicated in that scandal are still on staff and none have been prosecuted. I would think that at least perjury or contempt charges would be forthcoming. Do you have anymore info on this. I only read a synopsis of the judges lambastation (my new word) of them.

    •  Not sure who the "reflexive Holder bashers" are... (0+ / 0-)

      but he's not off to a great start in Ferguson and there have been more than a few front page diaries over the years complaining about how soft he's been on Wall Street.

      Do you agree with Holder that the handling of the Ferguson protests has been "a model of community-based policing" and if not, why is he exempt from criticism for saying it?

      •  You don't go in, as the big guns sheriff, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yahzi

        swinging.  Ever.  You go in as a compatriot trying to improve a tough situation.  Publicly we're all working together.  Privately, that's where you make it clear how big your guns are and what you expect the locals to do.  I have NEVER understood Progressives, people who despised Cowboy Bush's tough guy talk and Cheney's chronic assholism, are so disparaging of Obama's unwillingness to swagger, trash talk, or engage in Cheneyism.  IOKIYD is not the change I voted for.  I don't need daddy to beat up the mean kids, I need a leader to restore dignity to the office.  

        I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

        by I love OCD on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 12:05:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Greg's straw man on parade! (0+ / 0-)

          There's plenty of room between 'going in swinging' or with 'guns blazing' and celebrating police brutality, which is what Holder did.  Let's stop being ridiculous, okay?

          •  Really? "Celebrating police brutality" is (0+ / 0-)

            reasonable?  I missed the statement where he said that, obviously.  Was he wearing a clown nose?  Just wondering what you see, or is it hearing thing that causes these stretches of the imagination?  We need some Politics 101 symposia on DKos.  It would reduce blood pressures on all sides.

            I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

            by I love OCD on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 02:15:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Have you not been following the protests in (0+ / 0-)

              Ferguson?  Do you disagree with the vast majority of people on DK, including its namesake, that the police have been conducting themselves much like an invading army?

              If you can be genuine enough to concede that much, then consider that Holder told Ron Johnson, the Highway Patrol Captain in charge of the police response, the following:

              'my man, you are the man!'

              ... and if there were any doubt left that he approves of the tactics being employed, he referred to them as ...

              'a model of community-based policing'.

              I ask again, do you agree with Holder on this?  Are you down with tear gassing peaceful protesters... roughing up the press... searching churches?

              •  Of course I'm following, and commenting (0+ / 0-)

                and spreading the word elsewhere as well.  What I don't understand, on a political site with savvy people, is the blindness to politics.  A) Did Holder praise the doughy white Captain?  I didn't hear that.  B) Does Holder stand a chance of effecting change if he walks into a racist cop shop and starts out calling it a racist cop shop?  I don't think so.  I teach piano, and I manage groups very well.  I NEVER critique until I've done one or both of two things:  point out what was done well, and mention my struggle with a particular aspect that needs correcting.  If I started out with "You know if you practiced scales the way I told you to that run wouldn't have been ragged, you wouldn't have missed 3 notes and you wouldn't have messed up the tempo."  I start with "I really love the way you "feel" this piece.  You seem to be struggling with the long runs on page 2.  I've found it really helpful to play the scale several times before I tackle the whole piece.  It gets the notes into your fingers so you don't have to focus so hard on individual notes.  That also keeps your tempo consistent."  Who's going to hear the most progress next week, teacher 1 or teacher 2?  How do we teach people effectively?  Beat them up or find a way to feed the better wolf?  

                I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                by I love OCD on Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 07:10:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Captain Ron Johnson is black, not white... (0+ / 0-)

                  and Holder DID praise him, profusely (see my previous response to you).  

                  The very same Ron Johnson who has been in charge of police officers pepper spraying credentialed journalists / peaceful protesters and then lying about it, roughing up and arresting the press / protesters, justifying cops in tanks and body armor pointing guns at the press / protesters with unsubstantiated and / or disproven claims of danger to the police, blaming a handful of 'outside agitators' for what has been almost universally agreed upon as police aggression.

                  If you think Holder's hugs and attaboys were appropriate, or just smart politics, don't be surprised by the continued use of a militarized police force against the very public they are sworn to protect.  Don't mourn the loss of your right to peacefully assemble or complain about the media not covering it because you were too clever by half and let it happen without saying a word... or even worse, decried those who did.

                  •  Yeah, Ron Johnson was allowed one day of (0+ / 0-)

                    model community police work.  He deserved praise for that day.  Pretty sure Holder is aware that he was then undermined because he showed the white guys how to do it and hurt their feelings.  Didn't he have one day of unified command before Nixon brought in a team of white guys to share the job?  Whatever.  Keep criticizing the people who are doing the job from your safe keyboard.  And never let details muddy up your outrage.

                    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                    by I love OCD on Sat Aug 23, 2014 at 03:15:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's one thing to be misinformed... (0+ / 0-)

                      and another to contradict yourself but to then be smug about it?  

                      Please.

                      Do some research (from what must be an unsafe keyboard because you know, hypocrisy) on when Captain Johnson took charge, what happened under his watch and what he's been saying about it, then get back to me.

                      Or continue to flush your credibility down the toilet, your call.

        •  I have actually met those people (0+ / 0-)

          One person conceded that what she wanted out of Obama was a Bush, but on her side.

          There is a huge section of the electorate that thinks the President is King and just wants his royal favor. Not to go all Chuck Todd, but it's a disease that affects both sides (though not equally).

  •  Honestly (0+ / 0-)

    As much as I'd like to see Wilson convicted or the Ferguson PD disbanded/restructured, if the only thing that comes out of this is the PD actually installing those vehicle and vest cameras and needing them on for all interactions, that's going to make a huge difference.

    The Empire never ended.

    by thejeff on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:59:39 AM PDT

  •  Federal money used to "trickle down" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rl en france, StrayCat

    to local governments through distribution to states to fund programs and directly through earmarks for projects. That is when Congress worked. Thanks to neo-liberalism, "small government" conservatives and specifically Tea baggers, this no longer is the case. With the exception of defense spending. Ferguson shows clearly how out of balance all of this has become. "Billions" of dollars worth of surplus military equipment has been given free of charge to local police agencies! WTF!! So we've bankrupted our states and towns, and made millions suffer because the rich don't pay taxes and "there is no money." I hope people wake up and demand money redistribution instead of the redistribution of military equipment.

    •  jhogg - I think those are apples and oranges (0+ / 0-)

      There is no budget required to give stuff away, but it takes real cash to fund local services.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:59:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. But the end result is horrific. (0+ / 0-)

        The only hawk I like is the kind that has feathers. My birding blogs: http://thisskysings.wordpress.com/ and canyonbirds.net

        by cany on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:43:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Tax payer money (0+ / 0-)

        is going for the bloated defense budget. We pay for all of this stuff, stuff sometimes the pentagon doesn't even want. The surplus stuff still works, so it must be being replaced, thus making it surplus. So we paid for these things originally, we pay for the replacements and our local police forces are given the useable old stuff. Now the local governments have to pay to maintain this crap putting further strains on their budgets. My point is more federal money used to be used constructively at the local level. Now we get military grade equipment. After the federal money to states and local communities was cut, there have been budget problems in all but the richest communities. Distribution of money vs. distribution of military equipment.

        •  jhogg - Nope (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li, OrganicChemist

          The DoD isn't ordering new MRAPS to replace the ones they are giving to local law enforcement. The armed services are downsizing as the use of significant infantry personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan ends. The material given to local LEOs isn't being re-ordered by the DoD. Your comment makes no sense. Giving stuff a way isn't the same as giving cash. If you stopped giving away stuff, it wouldn't improve the cash.

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 03:02:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sweat in Africa -- Ebola finds its way (0+ / 0-)

    This outbreak is different. It rides on sweat. In urban areas of Africa that amounts to a tsunami of transfer agent.

    -- The Patrick Sawyer (PatSaw) data point from Nigeria yielded an observed R-zero reinfection rate at 8.

    -- Poisson Distribution tells us the odds of throwing off a variable with a given hypothesized average success rate.

    1. Hypothesized value for Average Infection Rate/lambda --
    2. -- matches to to random variable as observed --
    3. = with 0.xxx likelihood

    If 2 is the value for Average  Infection Rate, then the chance of seeing an actual value at 8 infections from one patient is 0.001.
    For the range 2 through 15, here are the likelihoods of seeing exactly 8 infections from one patient:
    2 -- 8 = 0.001

    3 -- 8 = 0.008

    4 -- 8 = 0.030

    5 -- 8 = 0.065

    6 -- 8 = 0.103

    7 -- 8 = 0.130

    8 -- 8 = 0.140

    9 -- 8 = 0.132

    10--8 = 0.113

    11--8 = 0.089

    12--8 = 0.066

    13--8 = 0.046

    14--8 = 0.030

    15--8 = 0.019

    And so forth and so on.

    For an event with 8 successes, that goes with a true average of 2 only 0.001 of the time.

    However, earlier outbreaks presented R-zero at 1.83 and 1.34. But this is not your earlier strain of Ebola virus in the same environment as those outbreaks.

    Those were rural environments. This outbreak is moving through cities.

    Applying prior experience to design and fund health care responses is not justified. Toss it.

    So what do we need ???

    $5,000,000,000. Yesterday.

    The right "yesterday" goes to May 1st when it hit its first city. And the alternative looks to be massive outbreak experience -- as many as 50,000,000 dead in Africa alone.

    Do every piece of analysis using R-zero at 8. What else ???

    Note: Since malaria is reaching its own peak season in the epidemic region, there's a measure of wishful thinking in ascribing fresh illness to malaria. Obviously a sweat-borne virus has advantages in Africa that rival airborne viruses.

    Also, even after successful treatment a patient remains capable of causing infections with semen for 6 weeks after release from hospital. Causing infections with sweat ??? We don't know.

    "The illiteracy of our children are appalling." #43

    by waterstreet2008 on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:37:05 AM PDT

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