Thursday, August 14, 2014
Police or Paramilitary Force?
What the hell is going on. And why?
The Huffington Post's Ryan J. Reilly and the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery were arrested Wednesday evening while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer last week. The journalists were released unharmed, but their detentions highlighted the town's ramped up police presence, which has left numerous residents injured by rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas during protests held every night after Brown's death.
SWAT officers roughed up the reporters inside a McDonald's, where both journalists were working. Reilly snapped a photo, prompting cops to request his identification. "The officer in question, who I repeatedly later asked for his name, grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag," said Reilly, who appeared on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" shortly after his release to recount the arrest.
"He used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck." "They essentially acted as a military force. It was incredible," Reilly said. "The worst part was he slammed my head against the glass purposefully on the way out of McDonald's and then sarcastically apologized for it."
More on this shocking story Here.
So the police have:
1) Killed an unarmed teen
2) Fired tear gas & rubber bullets at mostly peaceful protesters
3) Arrested & blocked media —
There'll be a lot more written over the course of today. For now, more politics and policy below the fold. And a huge THANK YOU to the reporters covering Ferguson.
How many times have we read on conservative blogs that President Obama is "shredding the Constitution?" How many times have conservative pols, pundits, and bloggers accused President Obama of fundamentally changing this country? Meanwhile, the police in Ferguson, Missouri, and other cities across the country have violated the most fundamental Constitutional guarantees.
It's not the president who is slamming reporters' heads against walls for being reporters and performing their constitutionally protected rights, it is an out-of-control police presence, which is under the jurisdiction of the individual cities and towns' leadership -- the mayors and city/town councils. When will this be addressed by them?
Meanwhile, what is happening in Ferguson and other cities where unrest occurs is a national disgrace.
Read this account by the Washington Post reporter, Wesley Lowry, on the Gestapo-like behavior of the police in Ferguson.
One of the commenters here at P.E. doesn't think newspaper reporters should cover conflicts and disaster zones -- presumably because it interferers with the police's Nazi-like behavior.