MOSCOW, August 15 (RIA Novosti) -The use of tear gas by the United States to disperse protests in Ferguson, Missouri could be a sign of dictatorship and excessive use of force, the head of the Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov wrote on his Twitter account Friday.
“The United States used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protests in Ferguson. Isn’t it a sign of dictatorship and excessive use of force?” Pushkov wrote.
On August 10, a Ferguson city police officer fatally shot unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown. Police said that shooting followed an assault on the officer, but eyewitnesses claim the 18-year-old was shot repeatedly as he ran away after an officer tried to pull him into a patrol vehicle.
Since the day of the tragedy, numerous protests have been staged in Ferguson. Dozens of citizens were injured as the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
On Thursday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed Missouri highway patrol to lead the police efforts in Ferguson. Ferguson-born African-American Captain Ron Johnson was appointed to head the team.
SWAT TEAM CLAIMS THEY WERE ‘HELPING’ IN TEAR GASSING OF JOURNALISTS
Claim completely contradicted by video footage, statements
byPAUL JOSEPH WATSON | AUGUST 15, 2014
St. Charles County SWAT Team members have bizarrely claimed that they were “helping” Al Jazeera journalists who were tear gassed during unrest in Ferguson, Missouri on Wednesday night.
Video footage of the incident shows reporters fleeing the scene after police throw a tear gas canister just feet from where they are standing. Cops then begin to dismantle lighting rigs before pointing a video camera down to the ground.
However, according to a Fox 2 report, the SWAT team members “helped” the journalists by tear gassing them.
On Wednesday, an Al-Jazeera crew got caught in the tear gas. St. Charles County SWAT Team members located the journalists, put them into their armored car and then disassembled their equipment and loaded it for them.
A spokesperson for the St. Charles County Sheriff’s department says the reporters “thanked their officers.”
“In fact, last night the SWAT Team officers were assisting the media in moving their camera equipment and media personnel to a safer area with their consent so that they could continue to cover the event, ” the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
The narrative put out by the SWAT team is completely contradicted by the journalists involved in the incident, who didn’t appear to be very thankful.
Footage taken by Infowars.com shows the Al-Jazeera journalists angrily complaining about the fact that they are being shot at by the police.
“This is media over here, we’re trying to cover a story, we’re getting shot at with rubber bullets right now,” screams one of the Al-Jazeera journalists in the clip. “Jesus Christ,” she exclaims as police start shooting more rubber bullets.
Infowars.com’s Jakari Jackson and Joe Biggs were also fired at with rubber bullets and tear gas rounds, confirming that police were deliberately targeting media.
“We were very close to where those [tear gas] canisters were shot from. We yelled, as you heard there [on the video]. We were yelling that we were press. But they continued to fire. We retreated about half a block into the neighborhood, until we could get out of that situation,” Al Jazeera’s Ash-har Quaraishitold Business Insider.
His comments were echoed by field producer Marla Cichowski, who stated, “We were clearly set up as press with a full live shot set up. As soon as first bullet hit the car we screamed out loud, “We are press,’ ‘This is media….They shined a huge flood light at us before firing and I can only imagine they could see what they were shooting at.”
Both Jackson and Joe Biggs were also fired at with rubber bullets and tear gas rounds, confirming that police were deliberately targeting media. In a separate incident, police also ordered journalists to turn off their cameras shortly before a subsequent tear gas assault.
The SWAT team’s claims were also directly contradicted by a statement put out by Al Jazeera Kate O’Brian, who called the incident an “egregious assault on freedom of the press.”
Everybody has an opinion regarding the recent events happening in St. Louis, some are outraged, some have been quiet and some have started taking matters into their own hands. Like other athletes, Gilbert Arenas expressed himself via social media on the killing of Mike Brown and he was not happy about the looting or the presence of Civil Rights leader, Rev. Al Sharpton.
Arenas held NO punches. Calling him a “Thot” may have been a bit strong, but Arenas felt it was necessary for his audience to see the extreme he felt Sharpton was going. The killing of Michael Brown has brought out a lot of emotions of not just African Americans but everybody, its a time where civil liberties have been compromised and the promise of this country words are failing. Never should anyone feel in fear of the people who are hired to protect us from evil, never should a race have to question “What do I do to keep my child safe?” This isn’t just a war on a minorities but the war of this country. Race has been an ugly stain of our past and it continues to hunt us; and by “us” I mean everyone. We all suffer.
I hope the parents of Michael Brown find peace in this difficult time and I hope with all these uprisings and emotions don’t fall next month. Equality has to be pursued and you have to be relentless, you have to be tired, you have to want it. We all have to want it.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. -MLK, Jr.
Last night, two reporters, The Washington Post‘s Wesley Lowery and The Huffington Post‘s Ryan Reilly, werearrested and assaulted while working from a McDonald’s in Ferguson. The arrests were arbitrary and abusive, and received substantial attention — only because of their prominent platforms, not, as they both quickly pointed out upon being released, because there was anything unusual about this police behavior.
Reilly, on Facebook, recounted how he was arrested by “a Saint Louis County police officer in full riot gear, who refused to identify himself despite my repeated requests, purposefully banged my head against the window on the way out and sarcastically apologized.” He wrote: ”I’m fine. But if this is the way these officers treat a white reporter working on a laptop who moved a little too slowly for their liking, I can’t imagine how horribly they treat others.”
Many police departments laugh at and harass Americans who exercise their right to free speech. Here’s one example of police laughing at a civil rights lawyer after she was shot in the head with a rubber bullet:
But the militarization of police actually started long before 9/11 … in the 1980s.
Radley Balko testified before the House Subcommittee on Crime in 2007:
Militarization [of police forces is] a troubling trend that’s been on the rise in America’s police departments over the last 25 years.
Since the late 1980s, Mr. Chairman, thanks to acts passed by the U.S. Congress, millions of pieces of surplus military equipment have been given to local police departments across the country.
We’re not talking just about computers and office equipment. Military-grade semi-automatic weapons, armored personnel vehicles, tanks, helicopters, airplanes, and all manner of other equipment designed for use on the battlefield is now being used on American streets, against American citizens.
Academic criminologists credit these transfers with the dramatic rise in paramilitary SWAT teams over the last quarter century.
SWAT teams were originally designed to be used in violent, emergency situations like hostage takings, acts of terrorism, or bank robberies. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, that’s primarily how they were used, and they performed marvelously.
But beginning in the early 1980s, they’ve been increasingly used for routine warrant service in drug cases and other nonviolent crimes. And thanks to the Pentagon transfer programs, there are now a lot more of them.
Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamperpublished an essay arguing that the current epidemic of police brutality is a reflection of the militarization (his word, not mine) of our urban police forces, the result of years of the “war on drugs” and the “war on terror. Stamper was chief of police during the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999, and is not a voice that can be easily dismissed.
Ever since Ronald Reagan in 1981 helped draw up the Military Cooperation With Law Enforcement Act, quickly passed by a very cooperative congress, effectivelycircumventing the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 by codifying military cooperation with law enforcement, the military has been encouraged to give any and all law enforcement agencies unfettered access to all military resources, training and hardware included. The military equipment was designed to be used by American fighting forces in combat with “the enemy,” but since a law was passed in 1994, the Pentagon has been able to donate all surplus war materiel to America’s police departments. The National Journal has compiled a number of statistics showing that in the first three years after the 1994 law came into effect, the “Department of Offense” stocked police departments with 3800 M-16 assault rifles, 2185 M-14’s, 73 grenade launchers, and 112 armored personnel carriers, as well as untold number of bayonets, tanks, helicopters, and even some airplanes.
Regardless who will be in power in the future, the militarization of the police will continue. After all, who wants to appear as being soft on crime? These days, a chief of police’s office is like a doctor’s office, but instead of getting swamped with drug salesmen, they have very congenial visits with the merchants of popular oppression, the salesmen of weapons, various chemical agents, Tasers, body armor, and all kinds of tracking software, surveillance gear, and anything else the department may need for crowd control and to infiltrate dissidents, which are no more than US citizens wanting to restore the republic to its rightful place.
As part of America’s posture of Endless War, Americans have been trained to believe that everything is justified on the “battlefield” (now defined to mean “the whole world”): imprisonment without charges, kidnapping, torture, even assassination of U.S. citizens without trials. It is not hard to predict the results of importing this battlefield mentality onto American soil, aimed at American citizens: “From Warfighter to Crimefighter.” The results have been clear for those who have looked – or those who have been subject to this – for years. The events in Ferguson are, finally, forcing all Americans to watch the outcome of this process.