Tag Archives: Ferguson Police

Search for Suspects Continues in Ferguson Shooting that Wounded 2 Police Officers

Ferguson, Mo. – The search for suspects continues on Friday, in the shooting that wounded two police officers at a protest outside the Ferguson Police Department just after midnight on Thursday.

Reuters reported that while “investigators scoured streets near the scene of the shooting for clues” and several people were brought in for questioning after a SWAT team raided a Ferguson home, they were all later released and there have been no arrests.

On Thursday night, residents gathered to hold a candlelight vigil where they grieved for the wounded officers and prayed for the community of Ferguson as it moves forward.

The Associated Press reported that while the vigil was followed by about 200 protesters gathering outside of the police department, “the scene was a marked contrast to the previous night, when fights broke out before the shootings.”

President Obama addressed the shooting on Thursday night during an appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. He called the discrimination in Ferguson “oppressive and objectionable” and “worthy of protest,” but said that there was “no excuse for criminal acts.”

Whoever fired those shots should not detract from the issue — they are criminals, they need to be arrested,” Obama said. “And then what we need to do is make sure that like-minded, good-spirited people on both sides — law enforcement, who have a terrifically tough job, and people who understandably don’t want to be stopped and harassed just because of their race — that they are able to work together to come up with some good answers.”

Obama has yet to visit the St. Louis suburb since protests initially broke out following the death of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot by white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9, 2014.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that the shooting on Thursday came at a time when many in Ferguson “had expected a peaceful night,” given the fact that Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson had announced his resignation on Wednesday night following the release of a scathing report from the Department of Justice that revealed racial bias and discrimination against the black community in Ferguson.

During a press conference on Thursday morning, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that both officers, one who was shot in the shoulder and the other in the face, were lucky to be alive. Belmar called the shooting “an ambush” and said that the muzzle flashes from the suspect’s gun came from about 125 yards away, indicating that the suspect was embedded in the crowd of protestors.

In contrast, activist Rev. Osagyefo Sekou from the Fellowship of Reconciliation, who is on the ground in Ferguson, told Ben Swann that the gunshots came from “an area where the protestors were not gathered.”

Those shots did not come from the protestors, contrary to what Chief Belmar said. The shots were not coming from someone who was embedded with us,” Sekou said. “As a community, we’ve been grieving for over 200 days, and we grieve with the families of the police officers.

Michael Brown’s Parents Will File Lawsuit Against City of Ferguson, Darren Wilson

On Wednesday, the Department of Justice announced that it will not charge Darren Wilson, a white police officer from Ferguson, Missouri, with any civil rights violations in the shooting that killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager on August 9, 2014.

Brown’s parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., have confirmed that they will pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against both Wilson and the city of Ferguson.

Anthony Gray, one of the attorneys representing the Brown family, spoke at a press conference on Thursday, and maintained the fact that the Brown family has felt from the very beginning that “Officer Darren Wilson did not have to shoot and kill Mike Brown, Jr. in broad daylight in the manner that he did, that he had other options available to him.”

“We are officially in the process of formulating a civil case that we anticipate will be filed very shortly on behalf of the family,” Gray said. “In our case, we plan to show and outline pretty much the same evidence; however, you will get a more clearer, a more accurate of what took place that day.”

Darryl Parks, another attorney representing the Brown family, said that the family is not surprised by DOJ’s findings, and that they were only choosing to file a lawsuit now, because they did not want to get in the way of the DOJ’s ongoing investigation before, and they are now “entering a different phase of this action.”

As previously reported, the DOJ’s decision not to charge Wilson with any civil rights violations in the shooting that killed Brown, comes at the same time as a report from the department, which revealed that the Ferguson police department exercised discrimination against the black community by using excessive force, issuing minor citations and making unnecessary traffic stops.

Federal law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that upon investigation, they found that 88 percent of the time use of excessive force was documented by Ferguson police, it was being used against a black individual, and that out of the city’s 53 police officers, only three were black.

Darren Wilson Resigns from Ferguson Police, Will Not Receive Severance Pay

Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown during a confrontation on August 9, announced that he was resigning from the police force in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday.

Wilson’s resignation letter stated that he was leaving the force, due to the fact that he had been told his employment would put both the residents and the police officers of Ferguson at risk:

I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.”

Last week, the Grand Jury announced that they would not indict Wilson for Brown’s murder, sparking outrage in the city of Ferguson, which went beyond the protests that were held following Brown’s death in August.

According to NBC News, although Wilson resigned because of “credible threats” to both the department and its officers, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson “didn’t press Wilson to resign.

Yahoo News reported that prior to the threats, the city of Ferguson was “already discussing an exit strategy,” and had acknowledged that Wilson “staying on as an officer there would be impossible.

Following Wilson’s resignation, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced that Wilson will not receive any further pay or benefits, and that he has “severed ties” with the city.

According to ABC News, although Wilson was “cleared of criminal charges by the Grand Jury,” the Justice Department is “conducting a civil rights investigation into the shooting as well as a separate probe of police department practices.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Wilson’s wife, Barbara Spradling, a 12-year-veteran of the Ferguson police force who he married on October 24, has been asked by the department to also resign, but “she has so far declined to do so.

Russia and North Korea Accuse the U.S. of Human Rights Violations in Ferguson

An outbreak of protests were reignited on Monday, after the Grand Jury announced its decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Those protests, which in some cases led to rioting and looting, were met by a militarized police force in the city of Ferguson.

The United States’ response to the protests has drawn criticism from countries like Russia and North Korea, which have been previously criticized by the U.S. for human rights violations.

The Guardian reported that both officials in Moscow and pro-Kremlin bloggers are comparing the recent events in Ferguson to “the Maidan protests in Kiev which began a year ago and ended in February with the overthrow of the Ukrainian president,” and claiming that there is a “double standard in Washington supporting the protesters in Kiev but clamping down on them at home.”

A statement from the human rights commissioner for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Konstantin Dolgov, criticized the United States for using “military methods against peaceful civilians,” which are only “likely to further inflame the situation.

Such a massive explosion of public indignation and the disproportionate reaction of law enforcement bodies confirm again that this is no isolated incident but a systemic flaw in American democracy, which has failed to overcome a deep racial split, discrimination and inequality.

Dolgov went on to say that the United States should focus more on the problems it has in its own country, before criticizing other countries:

The recent events in Ferguson are the latest and most worrying sign yet to American authorities that it is finally time for them to focus on the serious internal problems they have with human rights, using the recommendations of international human rights organizations, rather than using their efforts on pointless and fruitless lectures and propagandistic moralizing with regards to other countries.

A spokesman for the North Korea Foreign Ministry also released a statement criticizing the United States for its inconsistent human rights standards:

This is clear proof of the real picture of the U.S. as a tundra of human rights, where extreme racial discrimination acts are openly practiced,” said the spokesman. “The great irony is that the U.S. tries to measure other countries with its wrong human rights standard, though it is a typical human rights abuser.

Yahoo News reported that North Korea’s criticism came just a week after the United Nations “adopted a landmark resolution urging the Security Council to refer North Korea’s leaders to the International Criminal Court for possible indictment on crimes against humanity.”

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, released a statement urging the United States to practice “restraint,” and to find a “determined effort to root out institutionalized discrimination.”

It is clear that, at least among some sectors of the population, there is a deep and festering lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice and law enforcement systems,” said Zeid. “I urge the U.S. authorities to conduct in-depth examinations into how race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels.”

Ben Swann: The Problem of Policing for Profit in Out-of-Touch Municipalities

On Monday, Investigative Journalist Ben Swann joined Jerry Doyle on the Jerry Doyle Show to discuss the current events in Ferguson, Missouri, as the country prepared to hear the verdict of whether or not Officer Darren Wilson would be indicted for shooting and killing Michael Brown.

They began by discussing the Grand Jury, and the fact that this case was different than most. Swann explained that in this case, the prosecuting attorney was not only presenting the evidence that might have led to Wilson being indicted, but he was also presenting the defense.

He’s actually arguing both sides,” said Swann. “He’s arguing defense for the officer, and he’s questioning whether or not there is evidence. That would never happen with you or I, and I think that’s part of the problem with this particular situation.”

Swann said that in this case, the most appropriate thing to do would have been for “the St. Louis County prosecutor to recuse himself, and bring in a separate prosecutor,” which did not happen.

When visiting Ferguson two weeks ago, Swann found that the people were not able to identify with the police officers in their community, due to the fact that the majority of the officers do not live in Ferguson.

While most of the media is focused on the results of the Grand Jury’s verdict, Swann pointed out that they are not talking about the issues that have led up to this point.

There is a single incident, yes, but that single incident does not stand alone,” said Swann. “It’s woven into the fabric of all of the issues surrounding this.”

Swann explained that as people are watching coverage of the events in communities like Ferguson, Missouri, they will see the media highlight the events as those where it is “black vs. white,” when in reality, it is an issue of a “municipality that does not respect its people.”

Police officers are not trained to see people as their employers,” said Swann. “They are trained to see citizens as a way of deriving revenue.”

Swann said that one major issue plaguing Ferguson was not the way people were reacting, as much as it was the police’s response to the people’s reaction.

What blew Ferguson up the last time was not the protests, it was how police responded to the protests,” said Swann, who went on to explain that while there were “legitimate criminal acts” occurring that required a response from police, the police weren’t using tanks, tear gas, and rubber bullets to combat the rioters and looters, they were using them against the protestors.

Another issue Swann found evident, not only in this case, but also in communities across the country, was the issue of “policing for profit.”

“Ferguson is an especially egregious community when it comes to officers who write citations,” said Swann, who explained policing for profit as a “form of fining people with tickets for as many infractions as possible.”

As a result, the city of Ferguson profited $3.2 million from traffic fines in the year 2013.

Due to the growing epidemic of policing for profit, Swann said that the community of Ferguson does not feel like the police force is there “to serve or to protect,” as much are they are there “to derive revenue from people.”

It’s not a black vs. white issue. It’s a citizen vs. municipality issue.”


Ferguson Woman Shot After Protest, Police Have Yet to Investigate

Following the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson, on Saturday, August 9, the city of Ferguson, Missouri has been filled with chaos. Public demonstrations protesting Brown’s death have been ongoing, and the local law enforcement in Ferguson has responded with military-level equipment.

While many protesters have obtained injuries from tear gas, Ferguson resident Mya Aaten-White was shot in the head when she was walking to her car after a protest, on Wednesday, August 13.

The St. Louis Dispatch reported that at “about 12:20 a.m. Wednesday, a woman was shot in the head in the 1300 block of Highmont Drive.”

I made it a block and a half then I heard gunshots,” Aaten-White told News 4 in St. Louis. “I put my hands to my head and realized I had been shot in the forehead.”

Aaten-White received aid from other local residents, who picked her up and carried her to a “neighbor’s house of a young man who had just moved into a new home with his fiancé and their children.”

We had to call 911 three times before we got a response vehicle there,” said Aaten-White, who went on to say that when they finally did arrived, “Officers came with guns drawn.”

Aaten-White said the officers questioned the homeowners about how long they had lived in the house, and if it was under their name. When they questioned Aaten-White about what had happened, she responded, “I was shot, obviously.”

Aaten-Whie was taken to the Hospital, and she posted a picture of her ambulance ride on her Instagram account:


Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 3.26.01 PM

Doctors performed surgery to remove the bullet from Aaten-White’s forehead. She was told that the bullet was confiscated as evidence.

However, regarding any contact between Aaten-White and Police while she was at the Hospital, Aaten-White told News 4, “No officer ever showed up to speak with me… neither from Ferguson police or St. Louis County,

Despite the fact that no formal investigation had been conducted, the St. Louis Dispatch reported that the incident appeared to be a “drive-by shooting.

Aaten-White graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 2012. Following the shooting, they took to Twitter to express their condolences:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 9.42.52 AM

When Aaten-White’s alma mater learned that no formal investigation had been conducted, they hired a lawyer, in an attempt to convince police to take Aaten-White’s case seriously.

Rand Paul Calls Hillary Clinton A “War Hawk” During Discussion of Foreign Policy And Police Power

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was interviewed by NBC’s  “Meet the Press” last week while the program covered his humanitarian mission in Guatemala performing eye surgeries on citizens in need. Paul spoke about other issues as well, including police activity in Ferguson, MO and the 2016 presidential election. Paul expressed concern that former Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton may frustrate the American public by pushing the United States into more wars if elected.

Paul said that he felt many Americans are growing tired of military interventions as he illustrated a scenario of a Paul-vs-Clinton presidential election:

“I think the American public is coming more and more to where I am, and that those people like Hillary Clinton who- she fought her own war, ‘Hillary’s War’, you know people are gonna find that. And I think that’s what scares the Democrats the most- is that in a general election, were I to run, there’s going to be a lot of independents and even some Democrats who say ‘You know what, we are tired of war. We’re worried that Hillary Clinton will get us involved in another Middle Eastern war, because she’s so gung-ho.'”

The segment cut to Paul continuing “If you want to see a transformational election in our country, let the Democrats put forward a war hawk like Hillary Clinton, and you’ll see a transformation like you’ve never seen.”

Paul has been a voice of criticism regarding military intervention, particularly in Syria, while Clinton has been a proponent of taking more military action. The two potential candidates clearly have differing views of the United States concerning their role in foreign policy.

Before criticizing Clinton, Paul, while stating that he would provide no judgement of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, once again condemned the militarization of police in the United States:

“When I see things like that and I see, like, a war zone, and I see bazookas and tanks and all of this stuff in American city- it offends me because many of these people, some are rioting, and they need to be arrested,” he said. “If you’re committing a crime, arrest people. But if you’re standing up and you want to voice dissent, you know it is really what America is about is being able to dissent.”

Paul pointed out that “Homeland Security gave $8 million dollars to Fargo to fight terrorism in Fargo, North Dakota. And I say if the terrorists get to Fargo we might as well give up. I say that as a joke, but I mean it’s like what are you doing spending 8 million dollars in Fargo? What are we doing sending a tank- there’s an armored personnel carrier in Keene, New Hampshire.”

In the midst of riots and protests, Michael Brown named as robbery suspect

The events preceding the shooting death of Michael Brown have been unclear since they occurred, but new security footage from a convenience store in Ferguson, Mo., allegedly shows Brown and his accomplice Dorian Johnson, stealing a box of cigars valued at just under $50.

A police report released by the Ferguson Police Department details the events leading up to the shooting, beginning with a call around noon to a police officer concerning a robbery in progress at a Ferguson Quiktrip convenience store.  The report goes on saying how the investigating officer obtained a brief description of the two suspects and the direction they had run off in.

Upon not being able to locate the suspect, the investigating officer returned to the Quiktrip and observed security footage showing two suspects, reportedly Brown and Johnson, enter the store, and grab a box of Swisher Sweet cigars before a confrontation with the store staff begins.  As Brown and Johnson attempted to leave the store, an employee tried to block their exit and Brown grabs the employee before pushing him into a nearby rack.  Johnson exits without further incident, but Brown stands over the employee and, as the report claims, “intimidates” the employee, before leaving.

It was after this incident Brown and Johnson were located by Officer Darren Wilson, who was not the investigating officer, outside of an apartment complex, and Brown was fatally shot after a struggle with Wilson.

In the days after the death of Brown, Johnson has been in multiple interviews stating Brown was unnarmed at the time of the shooting, but he failed to mention his and Brown’s previous involvement in what could be robbery and assault.

Brown’s family have reacted strongly to the new accusations of their son being involved in a robbery before his death, and Ferguson residents have called the new evidence a “cover up.”

Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for the Brown family, said, according to the BBC, “The devious way the police chief has chosen to disseminate piecemeal information in a manner intended to assassinate the character of their son, following such a brutal assassination of his person in broad daylight.”

Details of the shooting are still cryptic as the police are saying, according to FOX News, Brown and Johnson assaulted Officer Wilson before the shooting, while Johnson claims he and Brown were running from Wilson as he fired shots at them.

Anonymous Releases Alleged Police Dispatch Audio Of Ferguson Shooting

The hacktivist group Anonymous has released what they claim to be audio files of St. Louis dispatch from August 9th, 2014, the day Michael Brown was shot by Ferguson police. The audio is nearly two hours long, but throughout the clip there are bits of information from the dispatcher regarding the shooting. The first mention of Ferguson is at about 9:30 into the video:

9:30- “Ferguson is asking for assistance with crowd control”

11:16- “We just got another call stating it was an officer-involved shooting at Canfield on Copper Creek”

11:28-  “Be advised, this information came from the news”

11:54- “We’re just getting information from the news and we just called Ferguson back again and they don’t know anything about it”

43:54- “Attention all cars- be advised that in reference to the call 2947 Canfield Drive. We are switching over to the riot channel at this time”

A spokesperson for Anonymous said “the public needs to understand that there were faults in the response to Mike Brown’s shooting. For example, crowd control was requested but there was no mention of a shooting. The dispatcher was notified from a caller and Ferguson PD said they had no idea what was going on. This is all in the tapes.”

This video alleges audio coming from the St. Louis County dispatch; audio files from the Ferguson dispatch have yet to be released. Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson said on Wednesday that the 911 audio tapes are still being processed, and he apologized for the delay.

KKK to raise money for Ferguson police officer

The Ku Klux Klan has said they would like to raise money for the police officer responsible for the shooting and subsequent death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

We are setting up a reward/fund for the police officer who shot this thug,” said the South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in an email, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.  “He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place.”

An Arizona chapter of the Klan has also weighed in on the situation in Ferguson saying, in a blog post according to the Raw Story, “We know that Michael Brown was nothing more than a punk. The media and others are painting him out to be a ‘good son’ and ‘great kid.’ The blacks of Missouri are showing their love of him by rioting, attacking and shooting people. Nothing new.”

The name of the officer responsible for the death of Michael Brown, and the recipient of the KKK fundraising effort,  has yet to be released by the St. Louis County Police Department, but the hacktivist group Anonymous promised earlier in the week  to make the identity of the officer known.

Attempting to follow through with their promise, Anonymous posted two separate Twitter posts in relation to the identity of the shooter, both of which have, at this time, been removed from the social media website and the account suspended.

The first post, according to Death and Taxes, read;

BREAKING NEWS: The name of the officer who shot #MikeBrown – NAME: OFFICER WILLMAN, BRYAN P. , Respondent – #Ferguson#Anonymous

— TheAnonMessage (@TheAnonMessage) August 14, 2014

The police department responded to this message by saying Bryan Willman did not work for them.  The second post supposedly shows a photo of Willman along with more evidence, but this could not be confirmed since the photo was also taken down.

The Anonymous Twitter account has been recreated and can be found here.


Raw Video: Ferguson Police Gas News Crew

Ferguson, MO – Ferguson police fired tear gas near AL JAZEERA AMERICA TV news crew’s vehicles Wednesday night.   The news crew was forced to flee the scene, leaving their equipment behind.

Police ignored the screams of

“We’re the press!”

Moments later, an armored vehicle packed with police officers pulled up and started taking down the video equipment until they noticed another news crew was across the street filming their actions.

A man behind the camera can be heard saying “I’ll get behind something, I don’t want [bleeped].”

Then police ordered them to leave the area.

Earlier that evening, photojournalist Elizabeth Matthews was reporting on the school closing when riot police flushed the protesters in their direction. Another photojournalist then walked over to film the police who had a suspect on the ground. That is when the police officers turned on the photojournalist. The police shined bright lights in their direction then opened fire with a bean bag gun. The bean bag hit the camera equipment.