We need to be talking about what is happening in Ferguson, MO right now.
After looting was reported on Sunday at the close of the vigil for Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was executed by a police officer, police and riot squads have stepped up their presence in the town. (It should also be noted that the police showed up in riot gear DURING the vigil, long before any looting or property damage occurred.) At this point, the police have closed off the entrances to the town, barred reporters from entering, and have turned their militarized presence on protesters. These are just a few of the reports, tweets and images that came out of Ferguson over night.
First - MSNBC has spoken to Dorian Johnson, a friend of Michael Brown and an eyewitness to the shooting. He reports that the police have thus far declined to take his statement (after being offered an interview via his legal representation).
He states that he and Brown were walking to their destination when a police office pulled up and told them to "get the fuck onto the sidewalk." When they responded that they were nearly to their destination, the cop actually backed up in his car and shouted out them, then attempted to open the door to get out. The door hit Brown, at which point the cop grabbed Brown through the open window and put him into a choke hold. This was the "struggle" for which the cop felt justified to shoot this teenager. Once Brown was shot the first time, he and Johnson both ran. Brown was shot a second time in the back, at which point he turned around and loudly said "I don't have a gun - stop shooting!" He was then shot several more times, from a distance of about 10 yards away.
After there was looting on Sunday evening, the paramilitarized police force rolled into Ferguson and have been shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters. Protesters have been putting their hands up as a symbol of Michael Brown's lack of resistance.
Here, a cop points an automatic rifle at a local Alderman filming events:
And here, men who were filming the protest are told by police to get on the ground as tear gas is thrown at them.
There are reports of racist language being shouted by police at protesters.
Now, it seems, there are reports that police are blocking journalists from doing any further reporting on the clash between protesters and police.
The police have, at this point, effectively militarized the area of Ferguson, MO. No word yet on when the name of the police officer responsible for killing Michael Brown will be released. What we do know is that this is what happens when a group of people are systematically and routinely be told they are less than . . . and when another group of people are allowed to have their power and prejudices flourish, virtually unchecked.