In the days following Mike Brown’s killing at the hand of a Ferguson police officer, people were teagassed in their back yards. The Mayor unilaterally placed a time limit on the first amendment. Peaceful protestors were arrested subjected to teargas and rubber bullets. Journalists were arrested. A State Senator was teargassed. Antonio French was dragged from his car, arrested and eventually released. No charges, no police reports. In at least some cases, people were not read their rights.
The police continue to withhold basic information about Mike Brown’s death.
Police attacked media crews and confiscated cell phones from people who exercised their first amendment right to video what the police were doing.
Twitter was ablaze with questions. One of those question was where are the Libertarians? The so called freedom fighters who defended Cliven Bundy from the “tyranny” of paying the money he owed were no where to be found as police in Ferguson showed America what tyranny looks like. Where were those Tea Party “patriots” who appointed themselves guardians of the U.S. Constitution?
While officials in Ferguson were arresting journalists for doing their jobs, dragging a politician from his car for trying to escape the toxic affects of teargas, Ted Cruz was defending the police from the safety of his facebook page.
Police officers risk their lives every day to keep us safe, and any time a young man loses his life in a confrontation with law enforcement, it is tragic.
This is Cruz trying to shift attention from the militarized police using excessive force, the arrests without reports or informing people of their rights. He was trying to divert our attention from the rubber bullets shot at people who were there to bring calm according to Antonio French who was actually there.
Cruz was hoping to distract from the fact that people were being tear gassed on their own property simply because they were exercising their right to protest peacefully when it was dark outside. He was hoping we wouldn’t notice that reporters were arrested for doing their job, that Al Jazeera was tear gassed for the same reason. He was hoping we wouldn’t care about the many people whose names we don’t know, but whose rights were just as violated.
Steve King denied the role of racial profiling in the longer term tensions in Ferguson by suggesting there ain’t no racial profiling because the majority of the community are of the same continental origin.
“This idea of no racial profiling,” King said, “I’ve seen the video. It looks to me like you don’t need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single, you know, of a single origin, I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that.”
He missed the part about the militarized and for all practical purposes, exclusively white, police force teargassing and shooting rubber bullets at black protesters. Ooops, maybe that’s a bit too much detail for Mr. King. Or maybe looking at the facts in Ferguson is just a tad inconvenient if you’re pandering to people who believe that the constitution is the personal property of white, right wing faux Christians.
Of course, what do you expect from someone who describes immigrants as “drug runners” with calves the size of cantaloupes or is surprised because Dreamers are “very good at English.”
The reality is this is one of those moments when we see the sharp contrasts between “conservative” and “liberal” politiicans. While Cruz and King were diverting attention from violations of people’s civil and constitutional rights of an entire community, right wing media was playing up the actions of a few to distort the reality of the many engaged in peaceful protest. It’s straight out of the conservative rule book on law and order. The police can do no wrong period.
Compare that President Barack Obama’s recognition of all the facts. He rightfully condemned the infrequent, but none the less occurring, acts of looting and violence. But, he also condemned the excessive force and violations of rights under the constitution – something that didn’t matter to the right wing politicians and media.
Finally, today, Missouri’s governor announced that the state’s highway patrol would take over security matters and from what I’ve seen in the accounts by people on the scene, this step in itself is having a positive impact.
This proves that the way police conduct themselves matters.