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thepoliticalfreakshow:

St. Louis sizzled Sunday, with relentless heat and crushing humidity driving nearly everyone indoors. Nearly everyone, that is, but a group of demonstrators who sweated beside a busy road for hours to say one thing: “I am Darren Wilson.”


The gathering began gaining steam in the early afternoon outside Barney’s Sports Pub in south St. Louis — a place many described as a popular police watering hole. At it’s peak, between 50 and 70 people crowded around a table as organizers said they had raised thousands of dollars for Wilson, who killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9. A brief press conference ended with the group reciting in unison, “we are Darren Wilson.”

Participants were not always anxious to talk to the media. An organizer named Mark — who said he was a police officer but declined to give his last name — explained that the point was to let Wilson know people “think he’s a good officer” and “have his back.” Many others at the rally also were reluctant to give last names and in some cases to appear in pictures. Only one man who spoke with BuzzFeed claimed any personal connection with Darren Wilson, but he did not provide his name and said only that he knew Wilson and knew that he was not a racist.

Still, many people were willing to speak about their participation. This is what they had to say:

“We’ll all see this in the end that it was a good shooting. You know, it was a good kill.” — Tina Morrison

"We'll all see this in the end that it was a good shooting. You know, it was a good kill." — Tina Morrison
Jim Dalrymple II

Morrison, who used to live in Ferguson, said Wilson was trying to protect himself because he believed his life was in danger. “And had I been terrified for my life I would have killed him too,” she explained, adding later that “I totally believe what he did was the right thing.”

Despite ongoing conflicting reports about what happened during the shooting, many at the rally shared Morrison’s view that Brown was in some way the aggressor, and that Wilson would ultimately be vindicated.

“He deserves to be innocent until proven guilty.” — Sara Wilson

"He deserves to be innocent until proven guilty." — Sara Wilson
Jim Dalrymple II

The call for due process was a common one at the rally, and Sara Wilson (who is not related to Darren) said almost no one is “seeking justice” for Darren. Sara Wilson added that Darren had been “crucified” before the facts had come out.

“It was derailed with race. Michael Brown could have been white. It didn’t matter, Darren Wilson was doing his job.” — Mary Kourik

"It was derailed with race. Michael Brown could have been white. It didn't matter, Darren Wilson was doing his job." — Mary Kourik
Jim Dalrymple II

Few, if any, at the rally believed race was a major factor in Brown’s killing. Many also believe others — protesters, the media, etc. — had incorrectly pushed race to the forefront. Kourik said that it was sad that Brown died, but that it was also sad Wilson had been treated unfairly. “I am Darren Wilson,” she said. “That could have very well been me the other day. It could have been any of us in that position.”

“It seems kind of one-sided. I mean the other side’s already got him convicted and he hasn’t had a say.” — Louie Puder

"It seems kind of one-sided. I mean the other side's already got him convicted and he hasn't had a say." — Louie Puder
Jim Dalrymple II

Many at the rally, including Puder, were frustrated by the media coverage of Brown’s death and the ensuing fallout. Puder said Brown may have been unarmed, but “he’s six foot four, 300 plus pounds, that’s a pretty lethal weapon there.”

Puder wore a blue shirt with a police-style logo printed on the front. It was common attire Sunday in St. Louis; the shirts were a fundraiser, and in the back of the bar near a pool table organizers Sunday were busy ironing logos on more shirts to meet high demand. Despite the ongoing DIY operation, the shirts still sold out, several attendees said.

“This is who I stand for, the people who stand for me.” — Robin Clearmountain

"This is who I stand for, the people who stand for me." — Robin Clearmountain
Jim Dalrymple II

Clearmountain was among those at the rally who cited the danger of police work as a reason to afford officers respect. Her connection to police goes back a lifetime; according to Clearmountain, 59, her father worked as a police officer who came to St. Louis to desegregate the department. She especially lamented a lack of respect for police among younger generations.

Clearmountain, who is black and Native American, was one of two people at the rally who was not white. The other person, a black man, declined to be interviewed.

“We’re out here to support Darren Wilson because he don’t have a voice.” — Ed Chambers

"We're out here to support Darren Wilson because he don't have a voice." — Ed Chambers
Jim Dalrymple II

Chambers and others at the rally said that Wilson had been driven into hiding by threats and fears for his safety. “He’s in hiding and that’s not right,” Chambers said. “That’s why we’re out here.” Chambers also agreed with others at the rally who said Brown was the aggressor. “There’s evidence showing that it’s more in support of the officer,” he said.

Toward the end of the day, Graham Stewart showed up with a sign with the words “end police brutality” written in large words. He stood across the street from the rally, which he called “upsetting.”

Toward the end of the day, Graham Stewart showed up with a sign with the words "end police brutality" written in large words. He stood across the street from the rally, which he called "upsetting."
Jim Dalrymple II

Stewart fought back tears as he described the rally across the street. “It’s really upsetting to me that this rally is taking place in my neighborhood,” he said. “It’s really upsetting to me that they seem to have the support of many of the people who live here, or who are at least driving by.” Graham went on to argue that those who are upset about Brown’s death want to make sure there’s an impartial investigation but aren’t sure that would happen under the current authorities. He added that he came out to show that not everyone in the neighborhood has a knee-jerk reaction to support police officers simply because they’re police officers.

Source: Jim Dalrymple II for Buzzfeed News

Kudos to Fox2 to having the decency to air Mike Brown’s funeral. 

h/t: Fox2now.com

thepoliticalfreakshow:

In the wake of Michael Brown’s killing, the strong community reaction reflected not only anger Brown’s death but long-standing racial tensions between the community and the police. Professor Clarissa Hayward told the L.A. Times that “The St. Louis metropolitan area has been an extreme example of racial segregation for 100 years.”

The front page of today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch is a powerful illustration of one component of the divide — a largely white police force patrolling a largely black population. The disparity is huge in Ferguson but even worse in other communities throughout the state.

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.34.23 AM

This divide appears to have consequences, at least in Ferguson. The Washington Post reported that there are “questions about [Ferguson’s] officers’ training and racial sensitivity.” According to a report by the state’s Attorney General, cited by the Washington Post, “Ferguson police were twice as likely to arrest African Americans during traffic stops as they were whites.”

Source: Judd Legum for ThinkProgress

h/t: Chico Harlan at Washington Post

h/t: FTVLive.com

h/t: Pamela Engel at Business Insider

h/t: Chris Higgins at Fox2Now.com

h/t: Jim Gallagher at STLToday.com

KMOV reporter Brittany Noble (@BrittanyNoble) on her station’s news truck window being broken:

crooksandliars:

Residents Outraged Following Shooting Of Unarmed St. Louis Black Teenager

An officer involved shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri has hundreds taking to the streets to protest and many more expressing their outrage on Twitter.

Via KMOV:

Multiple police agencies were called to Ferguson, Missouri Saturday afternoon after a fatal officer-involved shooting, sparking outrage among hundreds of residents.

News 4’s Cory Stark, who is on the scene, said he saw a man lying dead on Coppercreek Road. Police confirm there was an officer-involved shooting, near the Canfield Green Apartments. A large section of West Florissant Avenue was closed by police at Canfield Drive.

According to Stark, there are at least 100 police cars and numerous officers armed with M-16’s in the area. Stark also says hundreds of people have gathered at the intersection of West Florissant Avenue and Canfield Drive to protest the incident. A large police force from 15 different departments responded, including riot-control officers.

Multiple witnesses say 18-year-old Mike Brown had no weapon on him, had his hands up in the air, but was shot by authorities multiple times.

"He (the officer) shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air," said Dorian Johnson, a friend Brown’s. "He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots."

read more

A Ferguson Police Department officer’s racially motivated decision to unjustly shoot Michael Brown, an African-American teenager who was unarmed (and was going to start college on Monday), is a very sad tragedy, and is yet more reason why “Stand Your Ground” Laws are bad. This story has many tragic parallels with George Zimmerman’s senseless murder of Trayvon Martin and the NYPD’s heinous actions directed against Eric Garner. 

h/t: Nicholas Pistor at STLToday.com

H/T: Danny Wicentowski at Daily RFT

h/t: Joe Holleman at STLToday.com

thepoliticalfreakshow:

While the state of Missouri celebrates that one of its most recent college football stars, Michael Sam, will remain in The Show Me State with the St. Louis Rams, his high-profile job may be a galvanizing force for securing LGBT rights in Missouri.

Sam, who will report to the team in July for training, may become a symbol for efforts to overturn Missouri’s laws on marriage equality, or address its workplace antidiscrimination protections, and other LGBT rights issues, according to USA Today.

The state’s current nondiscrimination act currently does not include protections for LGBT workers, according to the statewide equality organization, PROMO. The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, or MONA, is up for consideration, and would extend the existing law to prohibit employment, housing, and public accommodation discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill was the subject of a public hearing in March, but has yet to pass.

Dara Strickland, an attorney and the board president of the LGBT Community Center in St. Louis, said a gay person can apply for jobs in the state, but there “there’s no protection for bwing asked, ‘By the way, are you gay?’ and being explicitly told, ‘You know, we don’t hire gay people.’”

As far as marriage equality, the state has had a constitutional ban on the books since 2004. In February, the ACLU and PROMO filed a lawsuit challenging the ban on behalf of eight same-sex couples.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, Missouri also lacks LGBT protections for housing, public accommodations, and has limited protections against bullying for LGBT students. The state does address hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.