Dream Defenders Release National Demands for Their #Handsup Don’t Shoot Movement

Dream Defenders Release National Demands for Their #Handsup Don't Shoot Movement

Dream Defenders, the youth group most famous for occupying Florida Governor Rick Scott’s office to protest Stand Your Ground laws, has started what it describes as a movement to fight police brutality after the killing of Michael Brown. According to a new video, the group is encouraging young people to gather at the offices of their local U.S. attorneys to demand the end to police violence against unarmed civilians. In the name of Israel Hernandez-Llach, a Colombia-born artist killed by a police officer’s stun gun, Dream Defenders staged such an action at the U.S. attorney’s office in downtown Miami on August 18. In the video the group encourages activists to make local demands. And among six national demands, Dream Defenders are pushing for front-facing cameras for officers who work in departments with a history of racist policing, and the demilitarization of police.

For more, watch the video.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Ferguson Highlights ‘Real Racial Problem’ in U.S.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Ferguson Highlights 'Real Racial Problem' in U.S.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she of discerning jabot fashion sense and devastating Supreme Court dissents, spoke on the ongoing tensions in Ferguson, Missouri.

Ginsburg’s perspective? Ferguson, and stop-and-frisk policies like those in New York, are indicative of “real racial problems” in the U.S. which recent Supreme Court decisions “have done little to help,” Marcia Coyle wrote for the National Law Journal.

Ginsburg told the National Law Journal:

The court’s more recent rulings restricting affirmative action and voting rights, she added, have not “helped” the country deal with its racial problems. The Voting Rights Act, in particular, has been the most important law “in terms of making people count in a democracy,” Ginsburg said. She repeated her disagreement with the 5-4 majority’sdecision last year in Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder that struck down a key section of the law, which had been renewed by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress in 2006.

Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., who wrote that decision, concluded that 50 years after the act was first passed, “things have changed dramatically” in America.

The 81-year-old Ginsburg, appointed to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, contrasted the pace of public acceptance of black Americans with that of gays and lesbians, focusing on differences in familiarity.

“Once [gay] people began to say who they were, you found that it was your next-door neighbor or it could be your child, and we found people we admired,” she said. “That understanding still doesn’t exist with race; you still have separation of neighborhoods, where the races are not mixed. It’s the familiarity with people who are gay that still doesn’t exist for race and will remain that way for a long time as long as where we live remains divided.”

Tweeps Demand GoFundMe Remove Darren Wilson Support Page

Tweeps Demand GoFundMe Remove Darren Wilson Support Page

In just five days, more than 5,000 people have donated more than $200,000 to GoFundMe’s Support Officer Darren Wilson page. Wilson is the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson nearly two weeks ago. 

Someone with the username “Stand Up” started the fundraiser on Sunday and says “proceeds will be sent directly to Darren Wilson and his family for any financial needs they may have including legal fees.” The effort has been wildly successful, and the campaign keeps hiking up its goal—it’s up to $250,000 now.

As a crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe collects five percent of each donation—meaning that at the time of publication, GoFundMe stands to profit $10,924.10, and that number is expected to rise.

Aside from the moral issue attached to profiting off of Michael Brown’s death, critics are pointing out that fundraising supporters have made blatantly racist comments on the site—both are potentially violations of GoFundMe’s own terms, which prohibit “items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime.” Wilson’s not been charged with a crime, but if he is, it’s unclear whether raising funds for his legal fees is allowed on the platform. And Wilson supporters on the site have made overtly racist comments, which Twitter users have made clear in their call for GoFundMe to remove the campaign immediately—threatening a boycott if the fundraiser isn’t pulled down.

One supporter refers to Wilson as an “animal control officer,” who killed a “criminal thug”:

Wilson supporters weigh in on a “failed experiment in diversity” and a lot more:

At least one Wilson supporter impersonates Michael Brown:

One supporter calls himself Jim Crow:

In response, GoFundMe has removed all comments—but not the fundraiser itself:

The Wilson support campaign is set to wrap up in four days.

Hamas Executes Informants, Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Wrong and Jell-O Sales Down

Hamas Executes Informants, Ice Bucket Challenge Goes Wrong and Jell-O Sales Down

Here’s what I’m reading up on today:

  • Two firefighters are hospitalized—one in critical condition—after an ice bucket challenge goes wrong
TAGS: Morning Rush

John Legend Wears ‘Don’t Shoot’ T-Shirt At Hollywood Bowl

John Legend Wears 'Don't Shoot' T-Shirt At Hollywood Bowl

In concert at the Hollywood Bowl Wednesday, John Legend wore a t-shirt that read “Don’t Shoot,” a slogan that has been used by protesters in Ferguson for the past week and a half, following the killing of Michael Brown. Legend paid tribute to Marvin Gaye and sang “What’s Going On,” a song that came out during the Vietnam war era—which still seems very fitting, given current events.

Some fans tweeted about it, making the connection to Ferguson:

Following Ferguson: Why White People Struggle to Understand

Following Ferguson: Why White People Struggle to Understand

Ferguson experienced its first night of relative calm since Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown nearly two weeks ago. That doesn’t mean the town’s been offered meaningful answers or lasting resolution.

Racial isolation has contributed to white people’s inability to understand what Ferguson’s black residents dealt with on a daily basis that made the town a veritable powder keg, writes Robert P. Jones over at The Atlantic. White people simply don’t experience police harassment and racial profiling like blacks in the U.S. do, but that distance is exacerbated by social and residential segregation. But, white people, there is a place for you in this moment. Kate Harding’s list of action items for Dame Magazine published last week was written with you in mind, and white people have been among those who’ve protested Michael Brown’s death. 

Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias turns the media obsession with “black-on-black” crime on its head, and cheekily explores “white-on-white” crime for Vox. And what do you know? It’s “out of control.” 

Social media has been instrumental in myth-busting and truth-telling at a time when mainstream media’s overly concerned about so-called “rioters,” Elon James White told Al Jazeera America. “You have no idea. When you can’t walk in your own community and can’t feel comfortable and safe in your own space, and the people paid to protect you are actually the ones you’re afraid of?” 

Seventh and eighth graders in St. Louis are back in school, and grappling with the events in their community, reports Dave Jamieson for Huffington Post. Their young minds are paying attention, even as so many of the facts don’t add up. Writes Tykese:

I feel like the things that are happening in Ferguson are unfair. I thought after Trayvon Martin the killing will stop but it comes back again. What did Mike Brown do for the police officer to kill him?

If he was a caucasian male will he still shoot?

And Matt Pearce, reporting for The Los Angeles Times, provides a glimpse of the local McDonald’s on West Florrisant, source of proven tear gas salve (mini bottles of milk), the site of reporters’ arrests, and a pitstop for snack breaks and gulps of air-conditioning. 

Pearce reports:

Ifama Kellin, another worker, took off after her shift one recent night to join the protests, still wearing her uniform.

Kellin was wearing a “Justice for Michael Brown — Hands up!” button pinned to her shirt one recent evening as she stood outside the store’s smashed windows, smoking a cigarette in the August heat.

“It’s my people,” she explained, holding up a picture on her phone of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, standing in the McDonald’s.

She told how recently a man had come up to the counter to order and yelled, “Hands up!’”

She was stunned at first. Then the man said, “You’re supposed to say, ‘Don’t shoot!’ “

Kellin said her manager stood there and looked at him.

“So I said, ‘Don’t shoot!’”

What are you reading today? We’d love to know, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for the Friday edition of Following Ferguson.

Organizers Say St. Louis Police Harassing Church’s School Used As A ‘Safe Haven’

Organizers Say St. Louis Police Harassing Church's School Used As A 'Safe Haven'

St. Louis County police officers visited and entered the school adjacent to the city’s Greater St Marks Family Church with a building inspector that protesters have been using as a “safe haven” Wednesday. Although the building inspector let the police in, police seemed to be unwelcome by the clergy and organizers using the space. The building has been offering medical help for people during the protests, holding de-escalation and street medic sessions, and housing medical supplies like first aid kits and Maalox that help people affected by tear gas. 

Police officers claim there were reports that people were sleeping in the building; organizers say this isn’t true and no one stayed overnight. One organizer told Elon James the officers “closed the building and informed the pastor that if anyone was on the premises tonight, there would be arrests.”

According to organizers, it’s the third time police officers have shown up at the safe haven and say that the police announced that they would be coming back. Organizer Aaron Burnett told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “they’ve been intimidating us for the last few days.” 

The night before, on Tuesday, multiple organizers and journalists on the ground said that police showed up to the school while organizers were having an organizing meeting and pointed semi-automatic weapons at people inside. Elon James took to Instagram to explain:

The prepared materials James is referring to are cartons of milk on the table behind him (which helps with soothe the effects of tear gas). He also tweeted about what was happening:

(h/t CNN and Elon James/TWiBNation)

CHP Officer Who Beat Marlene Pinnock May Face Criminal Charges

CHP Officer Who Beat Marlene Pinnock May Face Criminal Charges

California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Andrew, caught on video by a passing motorist straddling and repeatedly punching Marlene Pinnock on a Los Angeles freeway, may face criminal charges, Los Angeles’s ABC7 reported.

CHP sent its investigation on the incident to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, which now will decide whether to file charges against Andrew, ABC reported. CHP is also conducting its own internal investigation into the incident.

Last month, Pinnock and her attorneys filed a lawsuit alleging that her civil rights were violated. 

Nearly 80% of Ferguson Protestors Taken to St. Louis Jail are Missourians

Nearly 80% of Ferguson Protestors Taken to St. Louis Jail are Missourians

The Washington Post reports that out of the 155 people arrested and taken to St. Louis County jail in connection to the demonstrations against the killing of Michael Brown, 123 are from Missouri—and out of those, nearly all are from the St. Louis area. Just last week, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson blamed protests on what he called “outside agitators.” The numbers obtained by the Washington Post paint a very different picture.

Not included in Washington Posts’s data are the numbers of people who were booked into municipal jails, so it’s possible these percentages will change. And we don’t know who, exactly, was arrested. For example, it appears that at least 12 out-of-town journalists may have been booked into St. Louis County jail; if that’s the case, the percentage of activists arrested from states other than Missouri drops down to just 13 percent.  

Eric Holder Recounts Being Harassed by Police

Eric Holder Recounts Being Harassed by Police

The top federal official in charge of investigating the death of Michael Brown and upholding this nation’s civil rights knows what it’s like to be harassed by the cops. And he told young people and community gathered at St. Louis Community College so on Tuesday.

“I understand that mistrust. I am the attorney general of the United States. But I am also a black man,” Eric Holder said, Politico reported. The head of the nation’s Department of Justice spoke about being stopped, not just as a young person, but also as an adult working as a federal prosecutor. 

Politico’s Lucy McCalmont reported:

Holder recounted to the group of 50 how he was stopped in New Jersey twice, accused of speeding as officers searched his car.

“I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me,” he said.

Holder also recalled how he and his cousin were stopped in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C., while heading to a movie, and his cousin started “mouthing off.”

“I’m like, ‘This is not where we want to go. Keep quiet.’ I’m angry and upset. We negotiate the whole thing and we walk to our movie,” the attorney general said. “At the time that he stopped me, I was a federal prosecutor. I wasn’t a kid. I was a federal prosecutor. I worked at the United States Department of Justice. So I’ve confronted this myself.”

His honesty, and willingness to explicitly tackle racial injustice in his role as the attorney general are a refreshing counterpoint to his boss’s stance.

For more on what Holder is up against, read Kai Wright’s breakdown of what Holder is facing in Ferguson.

Eyewitness Video of Kajieme Powell Shooting Contradicts Police Story

Eyewitness Video of Kajieme Powell Shooting Contradicts Police Story

On Tuesday, August 19, 25-year-old Kajieme Powell was shot and killed by two St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers, just miles away from where Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson on August 9. A disturbing video of the shooting, taken by an eyewitness, that was released yesterday contradicts the initial statement given by the St. Louis Police Chief after the shooting.

As Andres Jauregui of the Huffington Post reports reports, the initial statement was as follows: 

In a statement delivered before a crowd near the scene of the shooting, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said that both officers opened fire on Powell after the suspect came within three or four feet of police while holding the knife in an “overhand grip.”

The video shows Powell is much further away then three feet and the object, believed to be a knife, that seems to be in his hand is by his side—not “in an ‘overhand grip.’”

But that’s not all. In his statement, Dotson claimed that, “when [the police officers] initially got out of the car, they did not have their weapons drawn. When the suspect displayed his knife, they drew their weapons.” In the video, both police officers have their guns drawn and aimed at Powell as they’re getting out of the car—before Powell seems to display any weapon.

Furthermore, the officers continued to fire after Powell was on the ground, with at least four additional shots. They seemed to have shot him about a dozen times in total. The video shows Powell pacing back and forth before the police show up, but he does not physically hurt anyone. Storeowners called the police on Powell after he allegedly stole snacks from the store.

Afterwards the shooting, witnesses are heard reacting on the video: “Oh my god. They just killed this man. He didn’t have a gun on him. Now they’re cuffing him. He’s already dead.” Another says, “Over two fucking sodas, man. They could’ve tased that man.”

According to New York Magazine, neighbors have described Powell, who’s heard on the video yelling “shoot me now” multiple times, as mentally ill. He. A 2012 investigation uncovered that approximately fifty percent of people killed by police have mental health issues. The Portland Press Herald states

“In many cases, mentally ill people shot by police have threatened, injured or even killed others. Sometimes, they have threatened suicide or expressed a desire to be shot by the police. Frequently, the use of deadly force seems excessive, if not utterly unnecessary.”

Crisis training in how to deal with the mentally ill is lacking in police departments across the country; according to the 2012 investigation, “virtually all of the officers who pulled the trigger lacked training that might have prevented a tragedy.”

Ramarley Graham’s Parents Drop Off Petition, Rally For Federal Investigation

Ramarley Graham's Parents Drop Off Petition, Rally For Federal Investigation

Constance Malcolm and Frank Graham, parents of Ramarley Graham, led a rally to the office of US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, on Wednesday to demand a federal investigation into the killing of their son.

In 2012, NYPD officer Richard Haste killed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham in his bathroom after breaking down the door to his apartment. The case went to a grand jury and Haste was indicted on manslaughter charges only to have the charges thrown out by Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett on a technicality. When another grand jury convened, they failed to indict Haste. In 2013, the Justice Department said the case was under review but Ramarley Graham’s parents have not gotten any updates since then.

During the rally on Wednesday, Frank Graham spoke to the crowd, saying, “my son has been dead almost two-and-a-half years … and I’m still waiting for our day in court.”

The petition delivered to Bharara states

Dear Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara,

On April 12, 2014, Ramarley Graham would have been celebrating his 21st birthday, but two years earlier he was gunned down in his own home by plainclothes NYPD Officer Richard Haste.

As is so often the case involving Black victims of deadly police violence, Ramarley’s killer has not been brought to justice by the Bronx County District Attorney’s office. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has a duty to protect our community against racial profiling and the violence that it creates, especially when local or state prosecutors fail to do so.

This case has been under review by the DOJ and the United States Attorney’s Office since last summer. It’s time for federal officials to take action. By holding Officer Haste accountable for his deadly actions, you can send a strong message to law enforcement across the country that your office will protect our community against racial profiling and senseless police violence.

We demand that you conduct a full and thorough investigation and bring federal charges against Officer Haste.

(h/t Huffington Post)

NYPD Accused of Coverup in Death of Japanese Student

NYPD Accused of Coverup in Death of Japanese Student

Meanwhile, back in New York City…yet another questionable death at the hands of NYPD. Ryo Oyamada, a 24-year-old from Japan who was studying in the U.S., was struck and killed by a speeding patrol car in February 2013. At the time, NYPD said the police cruiser was rushing to respond to a 911 call and had its sirens flashing. Now, more than a year later, evidence emerges that contradicts that account and strongly suggests a coverup to avoid holding the officer accountable in Oyamada’s death, Gothamist reports.

Witnesses at the time of the death told Gothamist and other local media that the officer, Darren Ilardi, didn’t turn on his flashing lights until after hitting Oyamada. After the accident, which took place in the early morning hours near a public housing complex in Queens, witnesses gathered around and responded angrily. They were quickly dispersed and never interviewed for the police report, according to Gothamist. Now, Oyamada’s family lawyer has obtained through Freedom of Information requests a video of the accident recorded by the public housing complex’s security cameras. The video is an edited compilation of footage from two cameras. Gothamist reports:

At the 1:35 mark, the headlights of an NYPD cruiser allegedly driven by Officer Ilardi appear in the upper left-hand corner of Camera 1. It speeds out of the right side of the frame at 1:42, after crossing the intersection of 40th Avenue and 10th Street. (This next block is where Oyamada was killed.) Pausing the video at several points appears to show that the cruiser’s flashing lights were not on, which is consistent with witness statements to the media and contrary to informal NYPD statements, as well as the police report.

At the 1:45 mark, Camera 1 appears to show the first indication that the NYPD cruiser’s flashing lights are on, judging by the reflection of lights on a street sign. This sudden reflection of lights would correspond to witness statements that Officer Ilardi only turned on his flashing lights after colliding with Oyamada.

The Oyamada family’s lawyer told Gothamist he believes the tape has been edited to remove the moment of the accident; the version that is in NYPD’s possession has not been made public. Further, the family charges in its recently filed lawsuit that records reveal Officer Ilardi was not even assigned to the 911 call to which NYPD claims he was responding. 

The case raises still more questions about a culture of lawlessness among police in New York City. In July, Eric Garner, an unarmed black man in Staten Island, was killed when police put him in a chokehold while detaining him for selling untaxed cigarettes. And earlier this month, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara released a 79-page report documenting a “culture of violence” among corrections officers who have abused teenage inmates at the city’s jail on Rikers Island. The report found that more than 4 in 10 male teens in the jail had been subjected to use of force by guards as of October 2012, and that there was a “powerful code of silence” among the jail’s staff that prevented officials from being held accountable for abuse. 

Relative Calm in Ferguson, Twinkie Factory to Close and Selfie Queen

Relative Calm in Ferguson, Twinkie Factory to Close and Selfie Queen

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • One of the four remaining Twinkie factories is closing.  
  • Two of three U.S. citizens who were infected with Ebola and miraculously treated will be released soon.
TAGS: Morning Rush

Following Ferguson: Asian Americans Can Choose ‘Invisibility, Complicity, or Resistance’

Following Ferguson: Asian Americans Can Choose 'Invisibility, Complicity, or Resistance'

I’ve got multiracial coalition on the mind today and so, clearly, do others. As Deepa Iyer wrote for The Nation, non-black people of color have a stake in the search for justice for Michael Brown. 

But, efforts to move non-black people of color by reminding them of their own horrid experiences with the cops only have so much power. As Soya Jung, a Korean-American activist, writes for Race Files,

I do not move through the world in the crosshairs of a policing system that has its roots in slave patrols, or in a nation that has used me as an “object of fear” to justify state repression and public disinvestment from the infrastructure on which my community relies. I am not public enemy number one in the ongoing U.S. domestic war over power and resources that has systematically denied black humanity.

Communities of color have unique experiences that should not be equated with one another. People of color in the U.S. all live amidst white supremacy, but not everyone lives as targets of anti-blackness. Jung argues that Asian Americans have three options: “invisibility, complicity, or resistance.”

Far from being an academic issue for race nerds to debate, Asian-American business owners in Ferguson are immersed in the conversation in a very real way, and have called for “unity,” reports The Daily Beast’s Tim Mak. Mak’s story was slapped with an inflammatory headline though, which described the looting of stores as “Ferguson’s Other Race Problem.” 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA executive director Stewart Kwoh took issue with that characterization, and released a statement saying so:

In the coming weeks, we will likely hear stories from Ferguson about ongoing protests by African American community members and allies, similar to the days following the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles. At that time, the media pitted communities of color against one another. We cannot allow this to happen again. This is about dangerous, harmful law enforcement practices and the need to end racially-motivated police practices that target communities of color. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community stands in solidarity with the African American community in this fight.

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein spoke with U.S. mayors of cities where police have killed young men of color in high-profile case. Two said that looking back, heavy police repression in response to community outrage was a mistake which only further incited the community. Besides Ferguson’s aggressively militarized police response, what else was going on in the area before Michael Brown’s shooting set off his aggrieved, outraged community?

As Jamelle Bouie reports for Slate, a whole lot:

Everyone—or at least, every black person—can recall an incident. Everyone can attest to friends and relatives who have been harassed, assaulted, or worse by the police.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing cases was last year’s shooting of Cary Ball Jr., a 25-year-old black student at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park. The official police report is that Ball crashed his car after a high-speed chase, ran away, and aimed his weapon at officers after they confronted him. Witnesses say Ball had thrown his gun to the ground and was walking toward police—hands up—when he was shot and killed with 25 rounds. A federal investigation cleared the officers. Likewise, that February, surveillance video from a casino showed St. Louis police slamming a black man’s head into the bumper of a vehicle, after a dispute over gambling and trespassing. And in March of this year, a videoshowed St. Louis police officers beating a mentally disabled man in his home, after the family called police for help.

What are you reading today on Ferguson? Please share, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow. 

Cop In Ferguson Who Yelled “I Will F—king Kill You” Removed from Duty

Cop In Ferguson Who Yelled

A police officer that threatened to kill unarmed protesters in Ferguson Tuesday night has been removed from duty after ACLU of Missouri sent a letter to Colonel Ronald Replogle, who serves as superintendent for Missouri’s State Highway Patrol.

The officer was caught on livestream yelling “I will fucking kill you” to protesters in Ferguson. When asked to identify himself, the officer refused and said “go fuck yourself,” instead. 

ACLU of Missouri’s letter stated:

[T]his officer’s conduct—from pointing a weapon, to threatening to kill, to responding with profanity to a request for identity—was from start to finish wholly unacceptable. Such behavior serves to heighten, not reduce, tension.

ACLU-Missouri tweeted that the officer has been removed from duty Wednesday: 

New Policies Will Limit Los Angeles School Police Arrest Powers

New Policies Will Limit Los Angeles School Police Arrest Powers

Los Angeles Unified School District is attempting to shift the tide on school push out with updated school policies announced Tuesday and effective immediately. 

Los Angeles Unified School Police will no longer arrest or cite students for offenses like alcohol or pot possession, AP reported. Instead, students will be referred to administrators and counselors. The move is an effort to keep students in school and away from the juvenile justice system.

“We want students to be with us, not pushed out and sent to jail,” Los Angeles Superintendent John Deasy told AP. “We have been disproportionately incarcerating, disproportionately citing, and disproportionately suspending youth of color, and it’s wrong.”

In recent years, the school-to-prison pipeline has become a national conversation, and LAUSD has picked up on the conversation. Last year, LAUSD became the first district in the nation to stop suspending students for “defiance,” a catchall offense referring to disrespectful behavior, which was disproportionately applied to African American students.

Listen: B.o.B.’s ‘New Black’ Responds to Ferguson

Listen: B.o.B.'s 'New Black' Responds to Ferguson

Rapper B.o.B. has released a new track responding to the killing of Michael Brown’s in Ferguson: 

St. Louis Prosecutor Says Grand Jury Decision Could Take Until October

St. Louis Prosecutor Says Grand Jury Decision Could Take Until October

A grand jury will begin hearing evidence today on whether to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. According to St. Louis Post Dispatch, county Bob McCullough said the decision could take up to two months and that the “target is mid-October.” The grand jury will meet every Wednesday and will serve a three to four month term. The Washington Post outlined information on how the grand jury will proceed: 

The county prosecutor will present evidence from the investigation of the shooting to the jury, which will determine whether Wilson should be indicted on any criminal charges, including homicide. 

The county prosecutor has not said whether he will call witnesses. But legal experts say that it is likely and that the jury may eventually hear from Wilson. He may be considered a powerful witness — juries have a track record of wanting to believe police.

While authorities are hoping to restore order, some commentators are not convinced the grand jury process will soothe the anger in Ferguson—even if it results in Darren Wilson getting indicted. As Jamelle Bouie of Slate explains, police brutality in the St. Louis area extends much further than what happened to Michael Brown:

The anecdotes of brutality and excessive force out of St. Louis and St. Louis County are rampant and often startling. In 2009, for example, a man was wrongly arrested, beaten by police, and subsequently charged for bleeding on their uniforms. This abuse is so ubiquitous that the shooting of Michael Brown might seem like static against a backdrop of awfulness. But even for the area, Brown’s death was brutal. Which is why—in an otherwise quiet town in an otherwise quiet area—we’re dealing with an explosive fire that shows no signs of ending.

Another Night in Ferguson: Arrests, Pepper Spray and Gun Aimed Right to the Chest

Another Night in Ferguson: Arrests, Pepper Spray and Gun Aimed Right to the Chest

Although there was no tear gas deployed Tuesday night in Ferguson, tensions remained high as police advanced on protesters gathering near the local McDonalds. At least 47 people were arrested, mostly for failure to disperse; police also used pepper spray on a handful of protesters. Multiple journalists reported that police surrounded protesters that were gathering at McDonalds and started arrests after a water bottle was thrown.

Activist Rosa Clemente wrote a harrowing account of Tuesday night’s events on the streets of Ferguson as the police pointed guns and threatened to shoot her and a group of protesters after police attempted to disperse the crowd. Clemente’s group included Talib Kweli, Jessica Care Moore, Phil Agnew of the Dream Defenders, Malik Rhassan of Occupy My Hood, and more. The police surrounded the group with guns drawn, ordered everyone to lie down and told the group that if they “did no stop moving [they] would be shot,” Clemente writes. At one point, a young man in the group named Devin was having trouble breathing:

“The young brother lying on my feet as I was holding him was not able to control his breathing he said “I’m choking” the cop told him to stop or he would shoot him. I told him “try not to move, just lay still I got you.” The gun was at his chest. I looked at the cop and said “please, he is not doing anything. I tried to record but the cop had his finger on the trigger. I could feel Talib’s hand on my back and Jessica behind me. We laid there until one Black officer said “Let them go, we got who we wanted.” In all my life I have never been so terrified. The young brother Devin said thank you I think you saved my life.”

Clemente ended the account by adding, “this is a war zone, a military occupation and our children are the cannon fodder.”

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