Random Thoughts Reading Through the DOJ's Ferguson Police Report

1. You should read it. It's compelling, and it's like a look into Birmingham in the 1960s, except it's now. It makes you understand that the riots in Ferguson, Missouri, were not simply the result of the shooting death of Michael Brown. It was an explosion that the city had earned after years of abusing its black residents.

2. It's blatantly obvious that the white police just enjoyed screwing with the black residents for the sake of writing tickets to make money for the city. Sometimes, the cops were like cartoons, like something you'd see in a terrible film that tried to have a social conscience. For instance, "In October 2012, police officers pulled over an African-American man who had lived in Ferguson for 16 years, claiming that his passenger-side brake light was broken. The driver happened to have replaced the light recently and knew it to be functioning properly. Nonetheless, according to the man’s written complaint, one officer stated, 'Let’s see how many tickets you’re going to get,' while a second officer tapped his Electronic Control Weapon ('ECW') on the roof of the man’s car. The officers wrote the man a citation for 'taillight/reflector/license plate light out.' They refused to let the man show them that his car’s equipment was in order, warning him, 'Don’t you get out of that car until you get to your house.'"

3. This is not to mention that there had to be a culture of silence and racism for cops to get away with things like this: "In another case, from March 2013, officers responded to the police station to take custody of a person wanted on a state warrant. When they arrived, they encountered a different man—not the subject of the warrant—who happened to be leaving the station. Having nothing to connect the man to the warrant subject, other than his presence at the station, the officers nonetheless stopped him and asked that he identify himself. The man asserted his rights, asking the officers, 'Why do you need to know?' and declining to be frisked. When the man then extended his identification toward the officers, at their request, the officers interpreted his hand motion as an attempted assault and took him to the ground. Without articulating reasonable suspicion or any other justification for the initial detention, the officers arrested the man on two counts of Failure to Comply and two counts of Resisting Arrest." That charge, "Failure to Comply," simply means, "We're always right and you're always wrong."

4. You can read the parade of horribles. There's a breathtaking number of cases, of harassment, of violence against young teens, of beatings, of outright attacks. This is not to mention the verbal abuse, the racist jokes, the use of "nigger" like the Ferguson PD was made up of Southern cop caricatures. Except they aren't. They're real people charged with enforcing the law. Except they aren't. They're enforcing their law. They wanted to arrest blacks, and they pushed situations to their breaking point to try to get to do it. The report contains incidents during protests where the cops were purely trying to provoke a reaction so they could bring down the hammer.

4a. Often, the overreactions of the cops are so ludicrous it'd be laughable if it weren't appalling: "[I]n August 2010, a lieutenant used an ECW [a Taser] in drive-stun mode against an African-American woman in the Ferguson City Jail because she had refused to remove her bracelets."

4b. In other words, the cops are just abject dicks.

5. Let's focus in on one case - the unarmed, not violent 14 year-old after whom the cops sent a police dog to bite multiple times. Here's the story in full:

Appalling. Disgusting. Now let's say an adult was there, a man with a gun, and he saw the dog biting the kid and he saw the cops stomping his head. At what point do the cops become bad enough that they need to be stopped? At what point are they the bad guys? At what point would you say that the man with the gun needs to do something? Or that the community needs to do something against the cops? At what point would you not blame them if they did? (By the way, there's a whole section on the overuse of force against students by cops in schools.)

5a. Or, if it's you the Ferguson cops are attacking, at what point are you standing your ground? At what point does your self-defense count? Never, of course. You always have to let the cops do whatever they want and hope that someone gets a written reprimand for breaking your skull.

6. The final sickening feeling the Rude Pundit has reading this is caused by the knowledge that this is just one town and that in towns big and small, all over the nation, the same things go on, the same racism, the same violence against citizens, the same. It's a shame that it will probably take a Michael Brown in each town to shine a light on even a small part of it.

6a. Not that the cop who shot Michael Brown will face any charges.