About Ferguson

by fmhilton

Although I’m not black, and have never lived in a town/city where minorities are routinely arrested due to being alive, I have been watching the events of Ferguson unfold from the start.

From my view point the fact is that we’ve allowed law enforcement to become so over-archingly powerful that they cannot be brought under control no matter what the circumstances: be it outright murder, corruption, or any other situation that they control. They’re in charge, and don’t you ever forget it. Ferguson (and the grand jury) proved that.

Many police departments have become paramilitary forces in miniature, complete with military weapons, uniforms and attitudes. The same gung-ho attitude permeates many of them.

It’s become very apparent that we, the people who pay for these services, are now their enemy. We’re at their mercy every time we come into contact with them, and the worst part is that they know it and use that fact as a psychological trick to get us to give up basic rights while dealing with them.

They have the guns, and the power to arrest without provocation. Sure, there are laws on the books to stop them from abusing their power, but when did that ever stop them?

In many jurisdictions, they are seemingly unaware of the legality of taking videos or pictures during any encounter by passersby. They don’t seem to be aware of the Constitution, or any kind of law that allows ordinary citizens to live unmolested by their actions. They’ve seized cameras and ordered owners to stop recording-and when they did not comply, the owners were arrested for hindering an arrest.

They do search and seizure in the most haphazard way, arresting people and then making them suffer through tortures of hell in order to prove their justification for arrest. Several times they’ve been caught busting someone who was suspected of drug possession and then forced them into repeated (and unconstitutional) body searches-such were the cases from New Mexico, where that happened. The tests came up negative, but the police demanded that the doctors and hospitals keep them as suspects until they found a willing judge to sign a warrant after the fact.

In other cases, they shoot to kill without provocation, often without even waiting to check to see if the person was unarmed. A 12 year old boy was recently shot while holding a air-gun. Sure, airguns look real, but the cop did not even bother to ask him if he could look at it. Just shot and killed the boy.

I’ll grant that many of them are working under enormous pressure. It is a tough job and they do face danger in many situations-but when they instigate situations, that’s where the line gets crossed.

The sad fact is that too many of them are willing to push the line a little further down-and that’s why Ferguson was so terrible.

Darren Wilson got away with a fatal shooting that was never investigated properly. He was exonerated by a grand jury which heard the majority of the evidence given by the prosecution that actually presented his case favorably, instead of acting for the people. They chose the easiest way out: no indictment. That’s very rare in any case.

Most grand juries are pretty efficient and indictments are usually issued promptly. This one took 3 months, and Wilson himself testified. How blatant is that? I’ve never heard of a defendant going before a grand jury to tell his “side of the story”, and actually, that’s highly erratic:

“Grand jury proceedings are secret. No judge is present; the proceedings are led by a prosecutor;and the defendant has no right to present his case or (in many instances) to be informed of the proceedings at all. While court reporters usually transcribe the proceedings, the records are sealed. The case for such secrecy was unanimously upheld by the Burger Court in Douglas Oil Co. of Cal. v. Petrol Stops Northwest, 441 US 211 (1979). The dissenting opinion was joined by Justices Burger and Stewart but concurred with the Court’s opinion as to the importance and rationale of grand jury secrecy. Writing for the Court, Justice Powell found that “if preindictment proceedings were made public, many prospective witnesses would be hesitant to come forward voluntarily”; “witnesses who appeared before the grand jury would be less likely to testify fully and frankly”; and “there also would be the risk that those about to be indicted would flee, or would try to influence individual grand jurors”. Further, “persons who are accused but exonerated by the grand jury [should] not be held up to public ridicule”.”

That’s what evidence is for. Actually, the results were pretty much preordained by that one fact. He was going to get away with it. The prosecutor made sure of that.

He’ll live out his life without any real consequences for his actions. Sad to say, his victim won’t. Never mind about the Federal investigation-that’s all a dog and pony show, to make it appear proper and open. They’ll close it with just an official report and nothing more.

That’s as close to ‘justice’ black people of Ferguson will ever get.

No wonder they got a bit upset. They found out that the word ‘justice’ just doesn’t apply to them any more.

I don’t blame them for their actions in the aftermath. In their shoes, I’d be a little pissed off too.

In fact, I’d probably have done exactly the same thing. Anger has to go somewhere.