The continuing drama that is Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of black eighteen-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer has entered the realm of the surreal.
Recently some members of Michael Brown’s family supposedly assaulted and robbed other family members who were selling ‘Michael Brown Memorabilia’ on a Ferguson Street. Reportedly stolen was a box of cash as well as a quantity of “I Am Michael Brown” t-shirts. Entrepreneurship at its best.
According to the official police report, at least one family member had to seek medical treatment as a result of being struck in the face with a pipe or club of some sort, wielded by another family member. (Would love to sit around THAT Thanksgiving Day dining room table in a few weeks.) Since there have been no arrests it’s assumed that the disagreement was settled out of court, and financial restitution was agreed upon. Or perhaps a licensing fee was paid. Pity the poor Ferguson cop who had to respond to this call.
Being civic-minded, Michael Brown’s mother asked that the police report not be released, which is certainly understandable since it probably doesn’t paint a pretty picture of Ferguson as a place to start up a new family-run business. The authorities erred on the side of openness and the police report was released after all.
Michael Brown’s mother has accepted an invitation by the United Nations to travel to Switzerland to speak before a group of America-hating nations about ‘police brutality’ here in the U.S.. Apparently the UN isn’t picking up the tab for all of her travel, since efforts are underway to raise funds so that she can make this trip. The recent box of cash and t-shirt sales should help with this.
Ferguson activists are trying to arrange “rules of engagement” with the police in anticipation of civil unrest following the Grand Jury decision being released, which it’s anticipated will be a ‘no true bill’ clearing Officer Darren Wilson. This should happen fairly soon. Good thinking on their part to plan ahead like this.
The activists want the police to NOT use armored vehicles, presumably so that the officers cannot take cover behind them when the shooting starts. They also don’t want any officers mounted atop armored vehicles since that allows a better field of vision for the officer to communicate threats to other police. They want the police to recognize “free zones”, where the rioters can run to for safety after shooting at the police. These “free zones” will prevent the police from entering and arresting the rioters who just shot at them, since they are now in a “free zone”. Sounds entirely reasonable I’m sure.
The activists have also sought an agreement that the police will NOT use police batons or TASERS on them, or engage them with police dogs while they are rioting.
Activists have sought an agreement that the police will NOT use tear gas or other chemical agents, and will also NOT fire rubber bullets at the rioters. (Considering what the police have endured over the last couple of months following Michael Brown’s death, I suspect most of the police would be happy to oblige the activists in this regard and only use REAL bullets.)
Interestingly the activists have made no assurances to the police that they won’t be shot at, assaulted, buildings set afire, or that looting, pillaging, and plundering will not occur. There are a number of other demands the rioters have made public, but they sounded rather foolish and silly (unlike these), so I don’t list them here.
One might consider all of this drama playing out to be tailor-made for a Hollywood movie, or perhaps even a mini-series. ‘The Ferguson Insurgency’! Or ‘Idiocy’, whichever is more appropriate. But it’s more likely that this drama will just continue to play out on the streets of Ferguson in the coming days and weeks, and it will most assuredly have a sad ending. Michael Brown will still be dead because he grew up in a dysfunctional urban environment. Police officers will be injured (hopefully nothing serious), and the news media will have several hours of film footage to use to fill in broadcast hours during those slow news days when they do ‘retrospectives’.