Ferguson, Missouri

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Highlander
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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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chaglang wrote:A local justice system broken enough to spark rioting can't hold one of its own accountable? Shocking. Isn't this how every movie about Mississippi in the 1930's begins?


Except in Mississippi there were clear protagonists and antagonists. For all that went on that led to Brown's demise, the kid attacked a cop without provocation and that much is known. He introduced an amount of randomness to the situation where anything could happen. In Mississippi, the situation was generally premeditated racial attacks by people angry that the Yankees took their slaves away. Lets not try to compare the two situations.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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Seems like the end result is comparable.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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grovester wrote:Seems like the end result is comparable.
Yes. But there is a big difference between getting killed because you're in an altercation with a cop and being killed solely because of your skin color while you're not harming anybody.

When you make poor choices, the chances of something bad happening are greater than if you had made good choices. Michael Brown made some bad choices that day and it had unintended consequences. That does NOT mean he deserved to die - he surely didn't. It just means the consequences of his poor choices were much greater than if he had made better choices.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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Don't go all akp on me.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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aknowledgeableperson wrote:Well, it's not like Wilson was found innocent but that the grand jury felt (whatever the vote) there wasn't enough evidence to charge. What was interesting in the press conference announcing the grand jury decision was the statement about how so-called witness statements did not agree with the evidence presented, how some witnesses changed their statements over time, how some admitted they did not actually see the incident, how some witnesses could not be located along with other items concerning statements.
.
And it would have been nice if a criminal jury had gotten to see that evidence with a competent prosecutor making the case. Listening to the prosecutor's statement, you'd be forgiven for thinking he worked on Wilson's criminal defense team.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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KCMax wrote: And it would have been nice if a criminal jury had gotten to see that evidence with a competent prosecutor making the case. Listening to the prosecutor's statement, you'd be forgiven for thinking he worked on Wilson's criminal defense team.
Well said.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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A local justice system broken enough to spark rioting can't hold one of its own accountable?
Guess that depends on one's viewpoint, doesn't it? Would the results last night have been any different if there was a trial and Wilson was not convicted or there was a hung jury? For some there would only be justice if Wilson had gone to trial and found guilty, anything else would not be acceptable.

I can picture a trial now. A dream team of defense lawyers outclassing prosecutors, much like the OJ trial. Witnesses called by the prosecutors and their testimony picked apart by the defense especially when the testimony conflicts with other witnesses and the physical evidence.

Burden of proof greater in a court trial than in grand jury proceedings. In a grand jury it would take only 9 votes out of 12 for an indictment but in a court trial all 12 would have to agree to convict.

Was Justice served? Again, what was one looking for? Was Wilson held accountable for his actions? If you wanted a conviction then no.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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One thing that I am curious about re: riots in Ferguson - why, if the idea is to shock, provoke, and potentially effect change, would you want to tear down your own community, versus the actual seats of power in STL?

No one in STL gives a shit about "anything" in North County, and never will. But you could make a pretty good scene burning Clayton businesses to the ground, parading through the streets of Ladue (which have been and will remain closed to these folks for generations), or at the least making STL County courthouse and admin buildings the dominant point of protest. That is the county seat, after all, the hub of the region. And more importantly, mid-county is the hub of privileged, generational wealth, "private places", the hierarchy of expensive college prep schools and clubs; many of the things that make STL seem insular and frankly segregated. Why not start there if you want to be noticed?

At any rate, destroying your own forgotten community seems counterproductive no matter how you slice it.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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rxlexi wrote:One thing that I am curious about re: riots in Ferguson - why, if the idea is to shock, provoke, and potentially effect change, would you want to tear down your own community, versus the actual seats of power in STL?

No one in STL gives a shit about "anything" in North County, and never will. But you could make a pretty good scene burning Clayton businesses to the ground, parading through the streets of Ladue (which have been and will remain closed to these folks for generations), or at the least making STL County courthouse and admin buildings the dominant point of protest. That is the county seat, after all, the hub of the region. And more importantly, mid-county is the hub of privileged, generational wealth, "private places", the hierarchy of expensive college prep schools and clubs; many of the things that make STL seem insular and frankly segregated. Why not start there if you want to be noticed?

At any rate, destroying your own forgotten community seems counterproductive no matter how you slice it.
My guess is the great majority of people that want change are actually peacefully protesting, and a few hundred opportunists who don't care about change are rioting and looting, but they get the TV cameras on them.

But rioting after this actually makes a lot more sense than say, rioting after your baseball team wins the World Series, or rioting after your your head football coach resigns due to a pedophilia scandal.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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My guess is the great majority of people that want change are actually peacefully protesting, and a few hundred opportunists who don't care about change are rioting and looting, but they get the TV cameras on them.
Good point and I agree. I guess I would just think that if you want to be noticed in STL, whether for the wrong reasons (looting) or the right ones (activism), North County just isn't the place to do it. The region will just go on as usual, thankyouverymuch.

A more visible sense of protest "must" include the actual places of power, not just the neighborhoods that those in power wrote off 40 years ago. IMO.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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rxlexi wrote:
My guess is the great majority of people that want change are actually peacefully protesting, and a few hundred opportunists who don't care about change are rioting and looting, but they get the TV cameras on them.
Good point and I agree. I guess I would just think that if you want to be noticed in STL, whether for the wrong reasons (looting) or the right ones (activism), North County just isn't the place to do it. The region will just go on as usual, thankyouverymuch.

A more visible sense of protest "must" include the actual places of power, not just the neighborhoods that those in power wrote off 40 years ago. IMO.
Agree.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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rxlexi wrote:One thing that I am curious about re: riots in Ferguson - why, if the idea is to shock, provoke, and potentially effect change, would you want to tear down your own community, versus the actual seats of power in STL?
Riots with property damage/violence also occur when a sports team wins a major series. If there's one thing about humanity, factions of people will always do things that don't make any sense - over and over again.

BTW, I partly grew up very close to where the burning happened, near Old Halls Ferry/I-270. Is beyond sad to see, a sunken feeling. This has been and will continue to be a long term problem with no reasonable solution in sight. They can't use reason to get out of this. Giving them what they want also won't solve things. Conjuring up supernatural forces to fix things (prayer) not going to work - another bizarre human behavior that doesn't make sense. Is harder for someone to have sense of purpose if they feel oppressed, that is what needs to be addressed. Hope not to see it but N County STL has gone over a hump of no return where cop killing and more random acts of violence are more likely how a few too many will vent, maybe for years. The next few months may set the tone.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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At work we use to have a saying that in a crowd 95% of the people cause no problems, it's the other 5% you have to worry about (nothing scientific about the numbers, they are just numbers being used). There was a brief discussion on CNN this morning between two men on location. While they had points of agreement there were some points where they differed. I think the guy's name was Van Jones that was making the point that the crowd could be divided into three groups. One being the peaceful protestors, which was the large majority of the crowd. The 2nd group was small but wanted to have some destruction, brought baseball bats and so on. A very small third group wanted more. This was the group that set the fires and he even thought there was a pattern to the setting of the fires.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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aknowledgeableperson wrote:Well, it's not like Wilson was found innocent but that the grand jury felt (whatever the vote) there wasn't enough evidence to charge. What was interesting in the press conference announcing the grand jury decision was the statement about how so-called witness statements did not agree with the evidence presented, how some witnesses changed their statements over time, how some admitted they did not actually see the incident, how some witnesses could not be located along with other items concerning statements.
I thought what was much more interesting in the press conference was that it took thirty minutes of mental gymnastics to explain how there wasn't enough evidence to bring charges, something that federal grand juries manage to do virtually every time. I was also very interested in how McCulloch came across more like Wilson's defense lawyer than a county prosecutor (I see now that Max already covered this). If a prosecutor wants an indictment, he can get an indictment. Conflicting evidence is something for a (petit) jury to sort out as the finder of fact in a real trial, not a convenient excuse not to go to trial in the first place.

I'm very interested to read the witness statements to see what they actually said, because the only two specific examples of conflict that he cited were that some witnesses apparently claimed Wilson came up on Brown already on the ground and fired a bunch of rounds into him (?????, never heard this one before), and your favorite bit that some witnesses thought he'd been hit in the back and then "changed their stories" when the autopsy came out (which we've been over again and again, so not gonna rehash it once more). Do they conflict with each other or with the physical evidence on any substantive matters? I'm also interested to see to what extent, if any, any of the prominent witnesses changed their stories, including admitting that they didn't actually see the events unfold. I specify "prominent," meaning the big ones we already knew about, because McCulloch clearly cast a wide net if he has witnesses saying Wilson walked up on Brown's body and pumped bullets into him on the ground, and because the ones we already knew about all claim to have had pretty good views of the shooting. I started to look into this last night, but unfortunately the transcript is nearly 5,000 pages long so it takes time. I skimmed through the first 550 or so, which left me in the middle of Dorian Johnson's testimony (which, for what it's worth, seemed unchanged from what I recall him saying before, but much more detailed here).

I also thought it was very interesting how much McCulloch harped on witnesses changing their stories before he recapped the event and included that Wilson knew of the alleged robbery -- something the PD has, itself, changed its story on.
IraGlacialis wrote:And regardless of views on the case itself, can we at least agree that the actions of the rioters and looters over this night are inexcusable?
No. http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/in-defense-of-looting/
Highlander wrote:
chaglang wrote:A local justice system broken enough to spark rioting can't hold one of its own accountable? Shocking. Isn't this how every movie about Mississippi in the 1930's begins?


Except in Mississippi there were clear protagonists and antagonists. For all that went on that led to Brown's demise, the kid attacked a cop without provocation and that much is known. He introduced an amount of randomness to the situation where anything could happen. In Mississippi, the situation was generally premeditated racial attacks by people angry that the Yankees took their slaves away. Lets not try to compare the two situations.
This is complete bullshit. It is absolutely not "known" that Brown "attacked a cop without provocation." What precipitated the struggle at the car is a key point of contention. The grand jury obviously made its decision but that doesn't mean it's now "known" that this or that happened.
AllThingsKC wrote:
grovester wrote:Seems like the end result is comparable.
Yes. But there is a big difference between getting killed because you're in an altercation with a cop and being killed solely because of your skin color while you're not harming anybody.

When you make poor choices, the chances of something bad happening are greater than if you had made good choices. Michael Brown made some bad choices that day and it had unintended consequences. That does NOT mean he deserved to die - he surely didn't. It just means the consequences of his poor choices were much greater than if he had made better choices.
I agree, it's the victim's fault.
rxlexi wrote:One thing that I am curious about re: riots in Ferguson - why, if the idea is to shock, provoke, and potentially effect change, would you want to tear down your own community, versus the actual seats of power in STL?
When people are actually asked that the reply is surprisingly consistent: it's not "their own" community, they don't own any of it. They don't own much of anything at all.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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Conflicting evidence is something for a (petit) jury to sort out as the finder of fact in a real trial, not a convenient excuse not to go to trial in the first place.
Something interesting from your fivethirtyeight article:
The third possible explanation is more benign. Ordinarily, prosecutors only bring a case if they think they can get an indictment. But in high-profile cases such as police shootings, they may feel public pressure to bring charges even if they think they have a weak case.

“The prosecutor in this case didn’t really have a choice about whether he would bring this to a grand jury,” Ben Trachtenberg, a University of Missouri law professor, said of the Brown case. “It’s almost impossible to imagine a prosecutor saying the evidence is so scanty that I’m not even going to bring this before a grand jury.”

The explanations aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s possible, for example, that the evidence against Wilson was relatively weak, but that jurors were also more likely than normal to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Yes, there are the witness statements but there is also the physical evidence that needs to be considered, which in this case might be very weak or actually supports Wilson. And weak evidence is a good excuse not to go to trial. Given the physical evidence I wonder how many of those "eye witnesses" would actually be called as a witness at a trial? And if called how would they stand up under defense questioning? CNN has an interesting video interview with Piaget Crenshaw on their website. She would definitely need some serious prep if she was called to the stand.
The grand jury obviously made its decision but that doesn't mean it's now "known" that this or that happened.
Which could apply both ways about what is "known". But, yes, the grand jury did make its decision, a decision which, even with a lower standard of proof that a court trial has, basically said there isn't enough to bring this to trial.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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Highlander wrote:
chaglang wrote:A local justice system broken enough to spark rioting can't hold one of its own accountable? Shocking. Isn't this how every movie about Mississippi in the 1930's begins?


Except in Mississippi there were clear protagonists and antagonists. For all that went on that led to Brown's demise, the kid attacked a cop without provocation and that much is known. He introduced an amount of randomness to the situation where anything could happen. In Mississippi, the situation was generally premeditated racial attacks by people angry that the Yankees took their slaves away. Lets not try to compare the two situations.
We don't know that this was unprovoked. We have what the officer said, and we have conflicting witness testimony. This is not a settled point. It doesn't look like it will ever be.

See, I'd say that everyone in Ferguson (and apparently much of St. Louis County) lives in a situation where anything can happen to them, just by virtue of the color of their skin. Local law enforcement and the municipal and county government have pretty clearly taken on the role of the aggressors at the expense of black residents. This may not be happening as an explicit strategy (which does make it different from Jim Crow laws), but the results are as if it was.

Apparently it's been going on for years.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the- ... m-poverty/

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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phuqueue wrote:I agree, it's the victim's fault.
No. I didn't say it was Darren Wilson's fault.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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i heard that paintfumes slapped that police horse in kc tonight.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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Well then... if they are so sure about that, then I sincerely hope that they have a plan to build something constructive out of the ashes.
And if this is explicitly anti-police, I'm honestly curious to know what they want to replace it with.

Personally, I don't think such a mentality constructive at all.
Maybe it's because I personally know people from the STL metro from various backgrounds/vocations that I've become all hippy-dippy naive about this and would like something to be worked out that benefits all rather than this being a war where one side "triumphs".
Despite the disillusionment they feel, no black person I know from that area wants to be identified by the actions of those looters; not even in the context that the author gives. And despite their frustrations, no LEO wants to be known by the community as some racist upholder of the "establishment".
How can this feedback loop of distrust be broken?
Last edited by IraGlacialis on Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ferguson, Missouri

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aknowledgeableperson wrote:
A local justice system broken enough to spark rioting can't hold one of its own accountable?
Guess that depends on one's viewpoint, doesn't it? Would the results last night have been any different if there was a trial and Wilson was not convicted or there was a hung jury? For some there would only be justice if Wilson had gone to trial and found guilty, anything else would not be acceptable.

I can picture a trial now. A dream team of defense lawyers outclassing prosecutors, much like the OJ trial. Witnesses called by the prosecutors and their testimony picked apart by the defense especially when the testimony conflicts with other witnesses and the physical evidence.

Burden of proof greater in a court trial than in grand jury proceedings. In a grand jury it would take only 9 votes out of 12 for an indictment but in a court trial all 12 would have to agree to convict.

Was Justice served? Again, what was one looking for? Was Wilson held accountable for his actions? If you wanted a conviction then no.
In this case it may not have mattered, since rioting had already occurred and there was a group of people who were probably going to riot regardless of what happened (save a guilty verdict, which wasn't going to happen) but I think that a difference between this case and Zimmerman is that in the Zimmerman case, as badly prosecuted as it was, and as bad a job as the police did in collecting and preserving evidence, we were able to watch things play out in court. Had we been able to watch this play out in court, and had it become clear (as I think it is) that there is not enough conclusive evidence either way to convict, there is a possibility that things would have simmered down.

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