Wednesday Reads: Two White Americas*

To Ofc. Darren Wilson, this teenager was a "demon," a "giant Negro" with superhuman strength.

To Ofc. Darren Wilson, this teenager was a “demon,” a “giant Negro” with superhuman strength.

 Good Morning!!

I’m very much at a disadvantage today, because I’ve been driving across country for the past two days and I barely heard any news.

I did get to my hotel on Monday night in time to watch Bob McCulloch present his outrageous defense of the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Thanks to Sky Dancing, I was able to read part of Wilson’s shockingly racist story of his encounter with Brown and I saw parts of some of Wilson’s TV appearances.

I have to assume at this point that–to put it kindly–a large proportion of white people who live in Missouri are in thrall to ancient myths about black people. As more educated people around the country look closely at what McCulloch and Wilson had to say, these two men are going to be surprised to learn that many Americans have moved into the 21st century and can recognize racist tropes when they hear and see them.

I drove 11 hours yesterday, and I wasn’t able to get a single NPR station until I got to Ohio. The parts of Pennsylvania that I drove through were so desolate that all I could get on the radio was right wing talk shows, religious stations, christian rock stations, and oldies stations. I finally heard a little bit of actual news as I approached Toldedo, Ohio. I got to my mother’s house at 9:00 last night.

Fortunately I was able to watch Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Brien, so I learned a bit more about what’s actually happening. I stayed up late watching the live coverage on MSNBC, but I was so exhausted that I don’t recall many details.

So, as I said, I’m really at a disadvantage, and I can’t write a really knowledgeable post yet.


A big question in my mind after I watched McCulloch’s strange presentation on Monday night has been about which witnesses testified before the St. Louis grand jury. The prosecutor only mentioned one witness–a person who claimed that after being shot several times, Michael Brown turned and ran “full charge” toward Wilson before being fatally shot in the top of his head.

What about the several witnesses who saw the altercation between Brown and Wilson close up, including Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, who was right there watching what took place inside the police SUV? What about the two women who watched the events from two different close vantage points and whose independently-told stories were strikingly similar? McCulloch chose to discount them in favor of a man (?) who said he watched from 100 yards away? Why were his inconsistent deemed credible while he found descriptions from close by with minor inconsistencies so deeply flawed as to be ignored? Was this person white? Is that why McCulloch found his shifting stories credible?

That obviously makes no sense. No one runs head facing down–how would he see where he was going? It seems clear to me that if Brown did in fact turn, it was because he had been shot multiple times and was either trying to surrender or was falling forward after being wounded. He couldn’t possibly have been a threat to Wilson at that point–thirty-five feet away and shot multiple times.

Lawrence O’Donnell did an excellent job of breaking this down last night, so if you didn’t see it, please try to watch it on-line today. I’m going to do my best to read the grand jury testimony, but I’ll probably have to do it at night, so it may take me awhile to catch up on all that has happened.


Dakinikat alerted me to a post at Vox that discusses the stunning racial stereotypes in Darren Wilson’s testimony, and in yesterday’s thread she also linked to an excellent post by a black writer, Chaucey de Vega on the same subject.

From Lauren Williams at Vox, The terrifying racial stereotypes laced through Darren Wilson’s testimony.

The Ferguson story is entirely about race

It’s imprecise to call race the subtext of this story or an underlying complication. Itdefines it. Race has woven its way through every aspect of the drama, from the shooting of a black teen by a white officer, to the glaring racial disparities in the St. Louis suburb at the center of the incident, to the protesters’ demands that the criminal justice system recognize that “black lives matter.”

Although the demonstrators have been explicit, this theme of racism doesn’t have to be spelled out to be understood clearly and painfully. Reading Wilson’s characterization of Brown in transcripts from his interview with detectives and his grand jury testimony is like taking a master class in the gross racial fear-mongering that has pervaded our country for centuries.


Darren Wilson’s Michael Brown

Throughout his testimony and post-shooting interview with detectives, Wilson emphasized the size disparity between him and Brown. He tells detectives, “never at any point did I have control of him. I mean … he manipulated me, while I was in the vehicle, completely.”

Wilson, who testified that he is 6’4 and around 210 lbs, told the grand jury that when he tried to grab Brown, “the only way to describe it is that I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.” At one point, he said Brown looked like a “demon.” He also expressed concern that Brown could have possibly killed him with a punch to the face.

In the last moments before Wilson fired the fatal shot, he said, Brown made “a grunting, like aggravated sound” and charged toward him, through Wilson’s gunfire. He didn’t even slow down, Wilson said, after one of the bullets apparently hit him.

“I’ve never seen anybody look that, for lack of a better word, crazy,” he told detectives. “I’ve never seen that. I mean, it was very aggravated, … aggressive, hostile… You could tell he was looking through you. There was nothing he was seeing.”

Brown’s eyes were probably glazed over because he had been shot at least 5 times and was close to death. But to Wilson, he was a monster/demon who needed to be killed.

The two men were each very tall, although Brown weighed about 80 more pounds than Wilson. Brown was a teenage boy and Wilson was a trained (supposedly) police officer. Yet Wilson feared Brown and felt like a five-year-old in his presence. Wilson believed Brown was a “demon” who could kill with one blow from his fist and could run through bullets without being felled. Why on earth was Wilson allowed to be a policeman? Are there other Ferguson and St. Louis police officers who hold these bizarre beliefs about black people?


Williams goes on to cite articles from The New York Times that conveyed this stereotype of the giant, superhuman black man (she cites blogger Undercover Black Man as her source)

Here’s a sample of how this played out in the Times:

The September 24, 1900, edition included a double whammy: back-to-back stories about criminally insane negroes of “gigantic build,” headlined “Giant Negro Attacks Police” and “Big Negro Spreads Terror.”

In 1897, the paper exclaimed, “Giant negro disables 4 policemen in fight.” He was eventually felled by a baton blow to the head.

A 1922 story, “Seize giant negro, hide him for safety,” told of a typically huge black man who was terrorizing motorists in Atlantic City (the last straw before his capture was apparently an assault on an 18-year-old white woman).

A “ghost-haunted darkey” went nuts at sea in 1916, according to a story titled “Armed giant negro giant goes mad on liner.” He was rather tall, the reporter makes sure to note.

How many of our fellow Americans still believe this bizarre myths and how many of them are patrolling American streets as police officers?


Here’s Chauncy de Vega, Shorter Darren Wilson Testimony: Michael Brown was a ‘Giant Beast Negro’ That Had to Be Killed.

If you have not yet read Darren Wilson’s testimony to the Ferguson grand jury which decided that he would suffer no ill consequences for his decision to kill Michael Brown, please do so.

Wilson’s description of the events on the day that he decided to shoot and kill an unarmed person cannot be adequately relayed to you by a second party.

The absurd, unfathomable, and fantastical story which Wilson spun out of the whole cloth in order to justify killing an unarmed black teenager combines the deepest and ugliest white supremacist stereotypes and fantasies about black folks’ humanitysuch as the “negro fiend”, “black beast”, and “giant negro”, with white racist paranoiac thinking, and dialogue from blaxploitation movies.

Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony purports to be an accurate description of his encounter with Michael Brown. In reality, it is closer to an amateurish summer stock theater production of the movie Birth of the Nation as performed by the KKK and/or Neo-Nazis.

What century are these people living in? Suddenly I’m beginning to understand where the seemingly insane people in the Tea Party and the voters who elect candidates like Ted Cruz of Texas and Steve King of Iowa are coming from.

Ezra Klein also had an important post at Vox yesterday, Officer Darren Wilson’s story is unbelievable. Literally.

We’ve finally heard from Officer Darren Wilson.

Wilson had been publicly silent since the events of August 9, when he shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. And, even as the grand jury announced its decision not to indict him, he remained silent. He had his attorneys release a statement on his behalf.

 But on Monday night, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch released the evidence given to the grand jury, including the interview police did with Wilson in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. And so we got to read, for the first time, Wilson’s full, immediate account of his altercation with Brown.

And it is unbelievable.

I mean that in the literal sense of the term: “difficult or impossible to believe.” But I want to be clear here. I’m not saying Wilson is lying. I’m not saying his testimony is false. I am saying that the events, as he describes them, are simply bizarre. His story is difficult to believe.

Please read the rest at the link.


The Ferguson story is revealing that there are indeed two white Americas*: one in which people have been educated about bigotry and racism and have learned to recognize racist stereotypes and do our best to counter them, and one in which people have apparently been raised to believe delusional racist tropes and, as a consequence, have developed irrational fears of people who have darker skin than they do.

Do the people in the second group of Americans hold similar beliefs about Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans as well? I think we know how they feel about Muslims. Can anything be done to educate these people and/or to prevent them from passing along these irrational and ugly beliefs to their children? Some Americans still need to be taught that every human life is has value.

Ferguson demonstrates that these are vitally important questions that we need to address as a nation.

Here are a few more recent stories on the Ferguson situation.

Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker, How Not to Use a Grand Jury.

Jamelle Bouie at Slate, Rudy Giuiani Doesn’t Understand Crime as Well as He Thinks.

Dana Millbank at the WaPo, Bob McCulloch, the Face of Injustice.

German News site Deutsche Welle, Mother of Michael Brown calls Wilson account ‘insult’.

Jacob Siegel at The Daily Beast, The Three Biggest Unanswered Questions About Ferguson.

CNN, Protesters flood streets across U.S. as Ferguson dismay spreads coast to coast.

CBS St. Louis, Michael Brown’s Mother: ‘My Son Doesn’t Have a History of Violence’.

David A. Love at The Progessive, Ferguson decision again unearths America’s racial problems.

I look forward to reading more about what Sky Dancers think about all this. As always, please post links on any topic in the comment thread. Enjoy your Wednesday and have a happy Thanksgiving day tomorrow.

*NOTE: This post has been updated to change the title and a reference in the text from “Two Americas” to “Two White Americas.”

55 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Two White Americas*”

  1. Fannie says:

    Glad you made it to your Mother’s home. I love the photo of Michael Brown and the little child. You are so right, because children are learning exactly what they are seeing and hearing from the adults.

    Not only did I encounter a Mormon in my neighborhood, but I encountered a Mississippian, who claimed it was the Muslim President’s fault that Ferguson is burning. I was so pissed, but she is exactly the one who is promoting Bush’s crusade, between God and Muslims. She said “these people”…….meaning they are a band of black muslims, and they must be extracted in this religious war. She is the one whose children will promote fear and hate of the black demons for generations to come. It really does hurt, and I see other people don’t want to talk about it, and show what they really believe or feel, they fear other people’s opinion of them.

    On a good note, Mississippi and Arkansas lifted their ban on marriages.

    Oh……….Ruth Ginsburg is having stints put in her heart. Hope all goes well for our beloved Ruthie.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m just sick over the blatant racism we are seeing, and it seems that many in the corporate media (I’m talking about you George Stephanopoulos) aren’t willing or able to point it out.

      • janicen says:

        Me too. It’s shocking. In your post you ask, “How many of our fellow Americans…”, I’ll tell you how many. I just got off the phone with my brother, a retired lawyer and rabid Obama supporter during the Dem Primary against Hillary, who thinks Wilson did nothing wrong because he has never has had a problem with a police officer. He thinks that black people have to be controlled because “they are animals”. I had to cut the convo short or I would have started screaming. There are white racists in every walk of life, in every corner, under every rock.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I know there are probably tons of typos and errors in this post because I’m so exhausted. I’ll try to go over it again soon. In the meantime, JJ and Dak should feel free to fix my mistakes.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Looks like you got out of MA just in time to avoid the snow! It is coming down fast and is now sticking to the roads which means I must leave earlier than expected for my destination as well.

      There is no excuse for this officer of the law to kill this kid. A “trained” officer, even if he felt threatened, could always aim lower to avoid killing another human being. Especially an unarmed teen. Wilson’s testimony makes no sense.

      But more troubling is that he feels nothing. No sorrow, no remorse, no doubts. Just aim and shoot.

      It also appears that the DA’s office may have entered that Grand Jury room with one thought in mind: clear Wilson of any culpability which should make the public at large very wary of law enforcement when the deck appears stacked in favor of one side.

      One thing is perfectly clear: McCulloch should have stepped aside immediately and let an independent DA put forth the evidence.

      Too late now, the damage has been done. Law enforcement needs to take a closer look at itself beginning with “Stand Your Ground”.

      This stuff is becoming too commonplace.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    NY Daily News:

    After reviewing minutes of the Missouri grand jury investigation into Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, veteran defense lawyer Ronald Kuby claims the jury was “steered” into declining to indict him.

    Read about it at the link.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    I know I’m probably a victim of stereotypes too, but does anyone else think Darren Wilson resembles that guy who played the banjo in Deliverance?

  5. NW Luna says:

    Glad you got to your Mom’s place safely, BB.

    I’m not sure I can stand to read much more about Wilson getting away with his cowardly slaughter. There’s so much that is indeed unbelievable.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks. I feel the same way about Wilson, but I feel it’s my civic duty to read the testimony. You’ve already read much more than I have; I’ve been following your comments.

  6. joanelle says:

    Whatever happened to tasers? Why are all these cops using guns on these teens who’ve been killed lately? I expected the DA to steer the grand jury to indict him so he could let a trial jury handle it.
    This is appalling.

    • bostonboomer says:

      McCulloch assigned two assistant prosecutors to present the case, and they clearly took Wilson’s side. That’s what I expected. I had no idea St. Louis was so racist until this happened.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        The Prosecutors who presented the case before the Grand Jury were actually Defense Attorneys for Darren Wilson. It’s an unforgivable miscarriage of justice. There needs to be a house cleaning in the Ferguson PD, the City Council and the DA’s office and then Missouri Governor Nixon needs to admit that he failed the citizens of Missouri and appoint a Special Prosecutor to Indict Wilson. There is no double jeopardy in effect with a Grand Jury no true bill so there’s no reason to believe that Wilson is in the clear. Then journalist, both print and talking heads need to do some good old fashion investigative journalism in an effort to hold the Criminal Justice systems feet to fire in this case. I haven’t given up hope that Darren Wilson will be brought to justice, but we cannot be silent if we expect that to happen.

        • bostonboomer says:

          The only way any of that will happen is if the Justice Department brings civil rights charges against Wilson. The DOJ is already investigating the Ferguson PD. It’s already quite clear that Brown’s civil rights were violated. The police did not even investigate the shooting, and Darren Wilson was permitted to drive back to the police station by himself, wash the blood off his hands, and bag the gun himself.

          There is some good journalism going on. You should watch the interview of Dorian Johnson by Chris Hayes that JJ just posted. As I wrote in my post, Lawrence O’Donnell did a great job last night.

          • bostonboomer says:

            Others doing good jobs of covering the Ferguson story:

            Wesley Lowery of the WaPo
            Yamichi Alcindor of USA Today
            Matt Pearce of the LA Times
            Jon Swaine of The Guardian US
            Ryan J. Reilly of HuffPo
            There are others, but those are just off the top of my head.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            I watched that interview of Johnson by Chris Hayes, it was a very good interview, but it was on MSNBC which means that most folks who get their news via TV aren’t going to see that interview. I watched the Stephanopolous interview of Darren Wilson and it amounted to not much more than patty-cake. It looks as if a few in the print media are questioning Wilson’s version and the Grand Jury process, but not nearly enough. We need the big 3, CBS, ABC, CBS to do their job and investigate this story instead of parroting the Prosecutor/Wilson Defense Team.

          • bostonboomer says:

            The big three will follow other mainstream journalists. Dana Millbank, for example. I linnked ot another column by him in my post this morning.

            Bob McCulloch’s pathetic prosecution of Darren Wilson

            Frankly, George Stephanopoulos is hopeless. He never asked a tough question in his life. I don’t even consider him a journalist.

      • dakinikat says:

        Welcome to the Missouri Compromise without Missouri ever having to face Reconstruction, etc.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Boston Protests Ferguson Decision: ‘Jesus Would Be Out Here With Us’

    About 1,400 people in Boston rallied in Dudley Square, marched through the streets, and blocked traffic in a sprawling, peaceful protest against the decision not to indict a Ferguson policeman for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

    “I have a 19-year old son out there who could easily be knocking on the wrong door and find himself in any of these situations,” Nikki Kirsch, a master’s student at Boston University School of Theology who decided to attend the protest, said. “I feel like Jesus the radical, Jesus the social rebel would be out here with us.”

    The night began with a series of speakers in Dudley Square, who called for protests against police violence and for justice. Over the course of the evening, the demonstrators marched toward the Massachusetts Avenue Connector, up Massachusetts Avenue, and then down Boylston Street.

    The Boston Police Department continuously referred to the “peaceful demonstrations” on its Twitter feed over the course of the evening. 51 people were arrested, according to Massachusetts State Police, and a state trooper was injured when a protestor [sic] bit him on the wrist.

  8. NW Luna says:

    In Seattle, a ‘community … in pain’ protests Ferguson decision in peace

    Fortified by high-school walkouts, thousands marched through Seattle on Tuesday in a second day of protests against a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. …. Chanting “hands up, don’t shoot,” marchers walked under a police escort, pausing in intersections for bullhorn-amplified speeches as they wound their way through Capitol Hill and into downtown Seattle, ending at the U.S. District Courthouse at Seventh Avenue and Stewart Street.

    Organizers, including representatives of the Seattle King County NAACP and United Black Christian Clergy, said the march was to demand a federal criminal indictment of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. While the march was peaceful, the rhetoric was fiery, as demonstrators carried signs declaring “Jail Killer Cops” and “America Hates Black People.” Speakers decried what they said is deeply entrenched discrimination in law enforcement and government.

    K.L. Shannon, one of the NAACP march organizers, said, “This march is about outrage and just people are hurting right now.” Shannon said news of Brown’s death reminded her of her own 10-year-old and 16-year-old sons. “That could have been my baby,” she said. “Black boys’ lives do not matter in this country.”

    The protesters were joined for a time by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

    • NW Luna says:

      Seattle is not ideal by any means — we have a big problem with the city police using excessive force, as found by the Dept of Justice. Just that the Seattle cops don’t target it all on blacks.

    • janicen says:

      We’ve had peaceful protests here in Richmond, VA too. Richmond, VA, the capital of the Confederacy, and the police were there and were interviewed. The police officer who was interviewed said that they were there to make sure everyone was safe and that their primary purpose was to safeguard the protesters’ right to peacefully exercise their freedom of speech. This, from the capital of the Confederacy. Even Richmond is more progressive than Missouri.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Your Democratic governor is a lot better than Jay Nixon too.

        • janicen says:

          Yes, he is. But I have to say, even when we had a lunatic Rethug Gov, the police who were at protests and marches that I attended were very nice and really seemed to focus on making sure everyone was safe. At one of the pro-choice protests at the Health Dept, the pro-life jerks were coming over to our side of the street and harassing us and the police were sending them back to their side. When my daughter and I first pulled up and saw all of the police we were nervous because we thought they were there to intimidate us but we were surprised to learn they were actually there to protect us.

  9. NW Luna says:

    Last night Ralph posted on this Congressional move to further fatten the corporations. I was glad this morning to read that Obama’s using his bully pulpit to block it.

    White House veto threat shelves possible tax plan

    A White House veto threat appears to have put on ice a congressional effort to permanently renew a handful of tax breaks for businesses and individuals. Officials say that the plan, brewing behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, favored corporations over the working class. ….

    “The president has consistently stated his opposition to giving hundreds of billions of dollars of tax cuts primarily geared toward corporations while leaving middle-class families and those struggling to get into the middle class behind,” said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

    The possible agreement, Democratic aides said, was being negotiated between House Republicans and top Senate Democrats like outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose state of Nevada benefits from the state and local sales tax deduction. Senate Democrats were seeking the best deal they could while retaining leverage, but the emerging outline infuriated the White House and liberal Democrats because it was so favorable to businesses.

    “This deal would give a massive handout to big corporations and expect working families to pick up the tab. Congress should be helping these families, not rewarding corporate lobbyists and their wealthy clients,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

  10. NW Luna says:

    Time for some happier news:

    Cinder, bear burned in wildfires, in Idaho to hibernate

    Now a strapping 97 pounds and walking comfortably on all fours, Cinder made a 450-mile trip north on Sunday, and is one step closer to heading home to the Methow [Valley].

    The black bear that was severely burned in the Carlton Complex Fires has recovered. Now, officials want her to spend the winter in hibernation at the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation Center near Boise before they bring her back to the Methow Valley to release her next spring.

    Less than four months ago, Cinder arrived at the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care facility with third-degree burns on her paws, weighing just 39 pounds. For more than two months, Cinder was given antibiotics and painkillers while the facility’s veterinarian changed bandages on her paws every other day and monitored her health. The bandages came off last month, and her paws are now healed.

    On Sunday, Wildlife Care’s directors Tom and Cheryl Millham took her on an eight-hour drive to Idaho, where Sally Maughan, founder of the facility in Idaho, had her new home all ready for her.

  11. BB, I can’t believe you had the energy to do this post!

    I am trying to find out more about this law from Missouri House of Representatives

    1825, a law was passed declaring Blacks to be incompetent as witnesses in legal cases involving Whites

    But it is taking me longer than expected.

    As far as this goes:

    What century are these people living in? Suddenly I’m beginning to understand where the seemingly insane people in the Tea Party and the voters who elect candidates like Ted Cruz of Texas and Steve King of Iowa are coming from.

    The Ferguson story is revealing that there are indeed two Americas: one in which people have been educated about bigotry and racism and have learned to recognize racist stereotypes and do our best to counter them, and one in which people have apparently been raised to believe delusional racist tropes and, as a consequence, have developed irrational fears of people who have darker skin than they do.

    Do the people in the second group of Americans hold similar beliefs about Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans as well? I think we know how they feel about Muslims. Can anything be done to educate these people and/or to prevent them from passing along these irrational and ugly beliefs to their children? Some Americans still need to be taught that every human life is has value.

    Welcome to my world…my Banjoville world. And I have said before that the racist attitude is what drives the people to vote for the assholes in the GOP and tea party. I think this is why there are so many “slips” of the tongue which get “walked back” . I mean, why bother…it is out there already…the folks who matter the the asshole politician who said it are the ones who “heard” it…Same goes for that shit they say about women, because most of the racist dickheads are misogynist as well.
    (but that is ot)

    There is an interesting archive here Full text of "Slavery in Missouri, 1804-1865"

    Dissertation written in 1914 but it has citations to news items from the 1800’s. Some of you may like to look through it.

    • In 1850 a white
      man named McChntock and a slave woman were hanged by a Clay
      County mob for murdering a white woman. Being a slave, her
      testimony could not be accepted against her white confederate, and
      so both wer e lynch d ( Hj st0 ry of Clay and Platte Counties [St.
      Lou,s 1885], pp. 158-159)

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t know how you can hold yourself back from throttling people if they are like the St. Louis racists. I can’t believe how little has changed in past 50 years. Whatever changes have happened, they seem to be mostly cosmetic, and the SCOTUS is successfully rolling back many of the decisions from the Warren Court. Will they overturn the Civil Rights act too?

    • ANonOMouse says:

      JJ…..I’m just slightly north and west of you and your banjoville is exactly like my bumfuckerville. Confederate flags still wave here, not far from the birthplace of the KKK. The biggest difference between 2014 and 1954 is that the racists have learned to hide their hood and pointey hat.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Burning Ferguson

    “One street has boutiques. Another has dollar stores. Guess which one the police protected?”

    • bostonboomer says:

      On November 24, hours before the grand jury decision in the case of Darren Wilson was announced, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon reassured St. Louis that all would be well. “Together, we are all focused on making sure the necessary resources are at hand to protect lives, protect property and protect free speech,” he declared.

      By the end of the night, all three promises were broken. Arsonists destroyed buildings on the small commercial strip in Ferguson where protests had taken place since August. The body of 20-year-old DeAndre Joshua, a friend of Michael Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, was found the next day. Demonstrators practicing their right to free speech found their safe houses raided by police firing tear gas, including an incident where police burst into a coffeehouse that had long been a protester sanctuary….

      Ferguson officials had a choice on Monday night—who to protect, how, and where. They evidently made the same decision that Ferguson officials have made for years: Protect the white residents and forget the black residents.

      • NW Luna says:

        How the hell can they act like that? They keep making it worse. Some arm of justice needs to slam down on them fast. I suppose the governor won’t do anything.

        • bostonboomer says:

          It’s exactly like JJ said the other day. It’s like the movie Mississippi Burning, when the police stood by and let things happen. This was planned. Otherwise, why didn’t Gov. Nixon have the National Guard out on Monday night to protect all the businesses, not just those owned by whites?

      • bostonboomer says:

        More from the Burning Ferguson story:

        St. Louis’s response to economic erosion—often precipitated by black migration and accompanying white flight—is to view certain neighborhoods as eyesores and the people who live in them as a burden, instead of viewing their suffering as a crisis. When areas are gentrified, the needs of long-suffering residents tend to be ignored in favor of wealthier, whiter proprietors. Prior to the Brown killing, one of St. Louis’s biggest controversies this summer was the planned construction of a Dollar General in a revitalized neighborhood. White elites in the area viewed it as an imposition. Poor black families declared it a need. These phenomena—white flight, decaying poor neighborhoods, struggles over gentrification—are not unique to St. Louis, but understanding their history has made it especially tragic to watch the black neighborhoods of Ferguson be victimized all over again in recent weeks, losing in many cases, what businesses they did have.

        When St. Louis burns, it does not rebuild. All around the region are ruins of what was: rotting homes, shattered windows, empty factories, broken communities. West Florissant’s destruction is not London in 2011 or Seattle in 1999: it is the destruction, possibly permanent, of the resources of the vulnerable. Whether one condemns or condones arson and looting in a time of understandable rage is irrelevant to the pragmatic consequences. St. Louis does not bounce back. St. Louis runs from itself, calls its poorest people problems, and leaves them behind. West Florissant is the latest chapter in a long story.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Unorthodox police procedures emerge in grand jury documents

    When Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson left the scene of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, the officer returned to the police station unescorted, washed blood off his hands and placed his recently fired pistol into an evidence bag himself.

    Such seemingly un­or­tho­dox forensic practices emerged from the voluminous testimony released in the aftermath of a grand jury decision Monday night not to indict Wilson.

    The transcript showed that local officers who interviewed Wilson immediately after the shooting did not tape the conversations and sometimes conducted them with other police personnel present. An investigator with the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office testified that he opted not to take measurements at the crime scene.

    “I got there, it was self-explanatory what happened,” said the investigator, whose name was not released, in his grand jury testimony. “Somebody shot somebody. There was no question as to any distances or anything of that nature at the time I was there.”

    The investigator, described as a 25-year veteran, did not take his own photographs at the scene of the shooting because his camera battery was dead, he said. Instead, he relied on photographs shot by the St. Louis County Police Department.

    If the Justice Dept doesn’t find that Michael Brown’s civil rights were violated, it will be a travesty. The Ferguson and St. Louis PD’s might as well be back in the 1960s with Bull Connor.

  14. Sara says:

    It appears that we are still fighting the Civil War. What say you?

  15. I found the video interview with Hayes from last night:

    Michael Brown Friend Who Witnessed Shooting Rebuts Wilson’s Version of Events | Mediaite

    Watch it…it is something to see.

    Other video clips I saw at Mediaite:

    This Maddow from last night: Maddow Not Buying Darren Wilson’s Description of Michael Brown as Super-Human ‘Demon’ | Mediaite

    Like you were talking about up top BB…


    Missouri Lt. Gov.: Nixon Bowed to Pressure from Obama and Holder to Not Send National Guard | Mediaite

    White House Denies Preventing National Guard Presence in Ferguson | Mediaite

    Tamir Rice Video Shows Cleveland Police Killing 12-Year-Old | Mediaite

    The video shows that despite initial police claims that the young boy was repeatedly told to put his hands up, Officer Timothy Loehmann shot him “one-and-a-half to two seconds” after confronting him at a park.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Dorian Wilson comes across as a sincere, decent young man. I think his story is very credible.

      As for those cops in Cleveland, it looked like they pulled up in their car and shot the kid without giving him a chance. You could tell he was a kid the way he was acting in the video. These cops seem to think anyone with dark skin is inherently dangerous.

    • I saw there was a protest held last night in Norway too. 😉

      Hey BB, Look at this: Justice Scalia Explains What Was Wrong With The Ferguson Grand Jury | ThinkProgress

      Justice Antonin Scalia, in the 1992 Supreme Court case of United States v. Williams, explained what the role of a grand jury has been for hundreds of years.

      It is the grand jury’s function not ‘to enquire … upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation [the charge] is made’ by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.

      This passage was first highlighted by attorney Ian Samuel, a former clerk to Justice Scalia.

      In contrast, McCulloch allowed Wilson to testify for hours before the grand jury and presented them with every scrap of exculpatory evidence available. In his press conference, McCulloch said that the grand jury did not indict because eyewitness testimony that established Wilson was acting in self-defense was contradicted by other exculpatory evidence. What McCulloch didn’t say is that he was under no obligation to present such evidence to the grand jury. The only reason one would present such evidence is to reduce the chances that the grand jury would indict Darren Wilson.

      Compare Justice Scalia’s description of the role of the grand jury to what the prosecutors told the Ferguson grand jury before they started their deliberations:
      And you must find probable cause to believe that Darren Wilson did not act in lawful self-defense and you must find probable cause to believe that Darren Wilson did not use lawful force in making an arrest. If you find those things, which is kind of like finding a negative, you cannot return an indictment on anything or true bill unless you find both of those things. Because both are complete defenses to any offense and they both have been raised in his, in the evidence.

      As Justice Scalia explained the evidence to support these “complete defenses,” including Wilson’s testimony, was only included by McCulloch by ignoring how grand juries historically work.

      There were several eyewitness accounts that strongly suggested Wilson did not act in self-defense. McCulloch could have, and his critics say should have, presented that evidence to the grand jury and likely returned an indictment in days, not months. It’s a low bar, which is why virtually all grand juries return indictments.

      • NW Luna says:

        Oh yeah. Wilson didn’t have a reasonable claim to be acting in self-defense. He was repeatedly aggressive with deadly force.

  16. NW Luna says:

    Face it: Thanksgiving is depressing this year, and you don’t have to give thanks

    We can be there for each other, and we can comfort each other, but let’s not demand gratefulness from one another in a time of sorrow.

  17. bostonboomer says:

  18. Boo Radly says:

    Thank you for this great compilation of links and good to hear you made it safely to your mother’s. So many of us recognized this was a horrid train wreck from the very beginning. I stay glued to the news these days because I need to see and have closed captioning. How could these Ferguson lawmakers be so blinded to their racists actions and not know how abhorrent their behavior is? So many deaths – so much destruction and lives turned into nightmares. Yesterday it was reported that Michael’s dad/grandfather’s church was burnt down – a good distance from any other fires. Now we know another AA young man was murdered and the body burnt in a car in Ferguson. Most of the lying can be clearly designated as a bold face lie. It’s not just the citizens of the US learning how dishonest but now international. The officials of Ferguson have the depth of a two year old(except even chlldren that young have a sense of guilt/right and wrong). Lying is so accepted and no one held accountable. What great harm (another one of my under-statements) the youth of today are subjected to. Will we ever see ‘rule of law’ again in this country? The only good thing I have heard is that Obama promising to veto another disgraceful bill the Rethugs conjured up. Well, there is the fact vast numbers are standing up, protesting peacefully – that is something I hold dear and hang hope for a better future.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks Boo Radley. It is very depressing. I look back over my life and I have to accept that for the issues I have cared most about–civil rights and women’s rights, there have really only been surface changes. The attitudes behind the unfair treatment of women and minorities are still alive and well.