For the first time since 2008, voters in Nebraska will vote on a statewide ballot initiative. And luckily, it’s one to raise the minimum wage.
A measure to raise the minimum wage to $9 over two years qualified for Nebraska’s ballot with about 90,000 signatures–9,000 more than needed. For comparison, that’s about 11 percent of Nebraska’a 2012 voting population.
When it comes to smaller states seeing huge responses to chance to raise the minimum wage, Nebraska isn’t alone. South Dakotans turned in 26,000 signatures to get the chance to raise their minimum wage to $8.50. And at the same time Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan go head-to-head in a tight contest for U.S. Senate, Alaskans will vote in November on a measure raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation.
If you need proof that raising the minimum wage is an issue that crosses party lines, look at these three states.
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Congress left for August recess with no action on wages. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell lead a knee-jerk filibuster against a bill raising the minimum wage to $10.10, and Speaker Boehner refuses to bring it before the House for a vote.
If Congress continues to be unresponsive to the key economic issue facing working families today, expect more cities and states to take it upon themselves to act. And expect candidates in 2014–mostly Republican, but some Democrats as well–to be in an awkward position while they stick with their default opposition to raising the minimum wage.
While it certainly seems that far-right extremists are waging an all-out war on working families and their rights, workers aren’t just defending themselves; they are fighting to expand their rights and achieving some significant gains. Here are 12 recent victories we should celebrate while continuing to push for even more wins.
2. Tennessee Auto Workers to Create New Local Union at VW Plant: Auto workers at Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., announced the formation of UAW Local 42, a new local that will give workers an increased voice in the operation of the German carmaker’s U.S. facility. UAW organizers continue to gain momentum, as the union has the support of nearly half of the plant’s 1,500 workers, which would make the union the facility’s exclusive collective bargaining agent.
3. California Casino Workers Organize: Workers at the new Graton Resort & Casino voted to join UNITE HERE Local 2850 of Oakland, providing job security for 600 gambling, maintenance, and food and beverage workers.
9. Fast-Food Workers Win in New NLRB Ruling: The National Labor Relations Board ruled that McDonald’s could be held jointly responsible with its franchisees for labor violations and wage disputes. The NLRB ruling makes it easier for workers to organize individual McDonald’s locations, and could result in better pay and conditions for workers.
Sgt. Major Dan Page sees things in black and white. Them and us. Good and evil. There are no grays, there is no nuance. He is good. You are evil unless you believe, like he does, that all men being created equal does not mean affirmative action is good, or that black men fall into the realm of all men.
The parents of a toddler who was severely injured when a SWAT team’s grenade exploded in his face may be on the hook for all of his medical expenses.
Georgia will not pick up the tab for the more than $500,000 worth of medical treatment Bounkham Phonesavanh received after he was injured during a botched drug raid in May.
"It leaves me heartbroken to know that they really don’t have any compassion or remorse for what they’ve done to my family," Phonesavanh’s mom, Alecia, told The Huffington Post. "
I read all these articles about how bad they feel and how traumatized they are, but I don’t see it. I don’t see it in their words or their actions at all.”
A SWAT officer threw a flash grenade that landed in the toddler’s crib, badly burning him. The blast left holes in Phonesavanh’s face and tore away at his chest, exposing his ribs.
He was put into a medically induced coma for days and, at one point, had only a 50 percent chance of survival, his family said.
Authorities said that they previously purchased drugs from the house and that there was no evidence to indicate a child would be present.
The suspect, wanted on federal drug charges, was not there. The American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the assertion that there was no sign a child could be present, saying that there were toys in the front lawn.
Phonesavanh said there were no drugs found in the house and that it was “not a drug house.” Now, the county says it’s not legally allowed to pay the child’s medical bills.
"The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses," the county said in a statement sent to the station. "
After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so.
On August 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by a police officer named Darren Wilson in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Eyewitnesses to the shooting report that Brown was killed while attempting to surrender, but police say that Brown assaulted the officer before the shooting.
The incident provoked immediate anger and frustration in the community and around the country. The killing of Eric Garner, also an unarmed black man, by New York City police last month revived a public conversation about the history of police violence against black men, and the killing of Brown has inflamed it.
Protests began in the neighborhood immediately after Brown was shot, and continued throughout the weekend. On Sunday night, Ferguson erupted into civil unrest, with reports of looting, arson, and gunshots. Although the protests in the days that followed were largely nonviolent, an escalating and militarized police presence in the streets of Ferguson did nothing to ease the tension or soothe a concerned community, and local law enforcement’s use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and dogs further eroded the trust between residents and police. On Thursday, the tide seemed to turn after Gov. Jay Nixon put the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge of security in Ferguson. But the next day, Ferguson police revealed details from the day of the shooting, and that night tensions escalated at protests.
Here’s what’s known, what’s being disputed, and what happens next.
— He graduated from Normandy High School in St. Louis in the spring of 2014. He was scheduled to start classes at Vatterott College, a Missouri trade college, on Monday, August 11.
— On the day of his death, Brown was visiting his grandmother, Desuirea Harris, who lives in Ferguson, a working-class suburb of St. Louis.
What we know about the shooting
— Brown was shot multiple times and killed by a Ferguson police officer in the early afternoon of Saturday, August 9, outside an apartment complex. Autopsies have concluded that Brown was shot at least six times.
— At least one shot was fired from the police car. Brown was killed while he was standing about 35 feet away from the car.
— The name of the police officer, Darren Wilson, was announced in a Friday, August 15, press conference by Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters on Sunday morning that Wilson had been a police officer for six years, and that Belmar was not aware of any problems the officer had during that time.
What’s in dispute about the shooting
What happened before Brown was shot
— Multiple eyewitness accounts say that Brown was killed while attempting to surrender.
— Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown at the time, says that the two of them were walking in the middle of the street when a police car approached, and the officer told them to get on the sidewalk.
— Eyewitness Piaget Crenshaw says that Johnson, Brown and the officer got into a verbal confrontation, and the officer attempted to put Brown in the police car. When Brown began to flee, with his hands in the air, she says, the officer got out of the car and started shooting at Brown. (Crenshaw has photos of the shooting, which have been turned over to the police.)
— Another eyewitness told the press that the officer was in his car when he started shooting at the boys. (At least one shot was fired from the police car.)
— Johnson says that he and Brown started running when they heard the first shot. He told local news station KMOV that Wilson “shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air. He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”
— Meanwhile, St. Louis County police, who have been called in to investigate Brown’s death, say that Brown assaulted Wilson before he was killed. St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar told reporters on August 10 that Brown shoved the officer back into the police car, “physically assaulted” him, and attempted to grab the officer’s gun. According to Belmar, the officer only began firing at Brown after the assault.
— According to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson during a briefing on August 12, the officer who shot Johnson was injured during the encounter. One side of Wilson’s face was swollen, Jackson said.
How many times Brown was shot
— On Sunday, Belmar told reporters that Brown was shot “more than just a couple [times], but I don’t think it was many more than that.”
— Johnson’s eyewitness account indicates that four shots were fired. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, says she was told that Brown was shot eight times.
What we know about the first weekend’s protests
Saturday, August 9
— A crowd gathered at the scene soon after Brown was shot, and their protest extended through much of Saturday afternoon. A subsequent protest at the Ferguson Police Department headquarters happened Saturday evening. The number of demonstrators varied: a CNN report says that there were up to 1,000 protesters at the peak of the demonstrations, while other reports say there were about 200.
— Brown’s body was left at the scene for several hours after the shooting. Police said that they needed the time to conduct “due diligence,” saying that the crowd made it difficult for them to process evidence properly. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson later told reporters that he was “uncomfortable” with the amount of time the body had been in the street.
— On Sunday, August 10, nonviolent protests continued, but with a heavy police presence.
— One CNN video report, flagged by Colorlines, shows a police officer saying to protesters, “Bring it, you fucking animals! Bring it!” (at the 00:15 mark):
What’s in dispute about the first weekend’s protests
— Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters that Saturday’s protest at the crime scene “probably bordered on riot conditions.” Police say that the shots that were heard in the area during the protest were “warning shots” fired by protesters, and that protesters were heard shouting, “Kill the police.” According to the police, the purpose of the 60 reinforcements from other police departments was to protect public safety in a dangerous atmosphere.
— However, other accounts from Saturday’s protest don’t indicate that anyone shouted “kill the police,” and several eyewitnesses say that the police misheard or misinterpreted what protesters were shouting: “Killer cops have got to go” and “No justice, no peace.”
— There’s no confirmation as to the context of the gunshots fired during Saturday’s protest.
— Reports also differed about the tone of Sunday’s protests prior to the rioting. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said that protesters were “taunting” the police officers, but did not quote any protesters engaging in taunts.
What we know about the unrest on Sunday, August 10
— As protests continued on Sunday night, others in Ferguson began to engage in looting and violence. St. Louis alderman Antonio French has said on Twitter that looting began at a local QuikTrip convenience store. The store was later set on fire:
— A staff photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that when the looting began, there were no police at or around the QuikTrip. As looting continued, police helicopters moved into the area. A SWAT team moved in and used tear gas to disperse the looters.
— As of Thursday morning, the total amount of damage caused Sunday night hadn’t been calculated. The Ferguson Police Department told Los Angeles station KTLA that at least 20 police cars were damaged. Police did not tell the Washington Post how many people were arrested, but reports indicate “dozens” of arrests:
— Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters on Wednesday that 32 people were arrested during the looting on Sunday.
— On Monday, August 11, a group of Ferguson residents got together to clean up the QuikTrip.
Continued protests — and police dispersals — on Monday, August 11
— After Sunday night’s unrest, a protest and rally scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday morning was canceled, and the mayor of Ferguson said that anyone who attempted to show up to the rally would be arrested.
— Regardless, people still turned up at police headquarters to protest. Police officers were there with riot gear.
— After about two hours, the police succeeded in getting the crowd to disperse and started making arrests.
— On Monday night, protests continued. Groups gathered in the street, raising their hands in surrender and chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” It’s become the unofficial motto of the Ferguson protests.
— Police also attempted to disperse these protests, moving down W. Florissant, the main street in the neighborhood. This time, they used tear gas and explosives to clear crowds and fired rubber bullets. One report indicates that police cocked their rifles at protesters. Police told protesters to “go home,” but several residents protested that they were trapped in cul-de-sacs while the main road was closed off. Police also threatened press with arrest if they didn’t leave the scene.
— One family was standing in their backyard, which borders W. Florissant, while holding their hands up in protest. Police fired a tear gas canister at them, into the backyard:
— One resident was challenged by police when he put his hands up after stepping out of his car.
— The evening ended with a standoff between police and about two dozen residents who were trying to get home. Wesley Lowery, a Washington Post reporter, was at the scene:
The final standoff came just before 11 p.m. Officers backed up their formation almost all the way to the housing complex where Brown was shot.
As they regrouped, the two dozen residents who remained outside approached with hands in the air.
"Can we go home? Do we need our hands up? Are you going to shoot us?"
The police, weapons at the ready, responded by telling them to stop asking questions and “just go home.”
Moments later, the cops pressed forward and cleared the street for good. As they passed, some remaining protesters threw rocks, and residents shouted from their windows: “This is our home. Leave us alone.”
— In all, police made several arrests on Monday. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters on Wednesday that around eight people had been arrested for unlawful assembly over the course of the last several days of protests.
— Police said no injuries were reported, and on Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that “nobody got hurt” in the response to protests. However, pictures circulated on social media of protesters with bruises and injuries from rubber and wooden bullets, and of one resident being loaded into an ambulance.
Continued tensions on Tuesday, August 12
— On Tuesday, August 12, the FAA issued a no-fly zone over Ferguson through Monday, August 18. The purpose of the no-fly zone, the agency said, is “to provide a safe haven for law enforcement activities” — to clear the airspace for police helicopters. On Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters that he did not know anything about the no-fly zone and had not requested it.
— On Tuesday evening, there was a brief standoff between protesters and police at the QuikTrip that had been looted on Sunday. Protesters became upset when police arrived in armored vehicles.
— Protesters amassed in downtown Ferguson again on Tuesday night. Police were again there in force, blocking streets to downtown, and reporters were again told they would be arrested if they didn’t leave. On Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that he didn’t know reporters had been threatened, and said, “No, I want free access.”
Arrests and police aggression on Wednesday, August 13
— On Wednesday, August 13, the Ferguson Police Department released its first official statement since the shooting. The statement read, in part:
We only ask that any groups wishing to assemble in prayer or in protest do so only during daylight hours in an organized and respectful manner. We further ask all those wishing to demonstrate or assemble disperse well before the evening hours to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of the community.
This statement didn’t set an official curfew, which would have justified arresting residents who were out after a certain hour. Instead, the police appeared to be hoping to set an unofficial, voluntary curfew.
Asked about the statement on Wednesday, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that there was no curfew, and that protesters who remained out after dark would not be arrested “as long as they’re peaceful and not blocking the roads.”
— The situation was then calm until around 8:30 p.m. Central Time, when cops began attempting to push protesters back another 25 feet. Protesters threw bottles and rocks; police and reporters say that one protester threw a Molotov cocktail, and police also say one officer was hit with a brick and broke his ankle. In response, police almost immediately started firing tear gas at the crowd. After telling them that this was no longer a peaceful protest and ordering them to leave the area, police used sound cannons to disperse the crowd and fired tear gas canisters into the area — including into neighborhood backyards.
— One news crew had tear gas fired at them while they were setting up for a shoot:
— Earlier in the evening, two reporters, Ryan J. Reilly of the Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, were arrested in a McDonald’s after a SWAT team ordered residents to clear it out. Watch the arrest play out in this video:
— In the first reported instance of violence by residents against someone other than a police officer, a man walking his dog was beaten up by a group of teens.
— Late in the evening, protesters lined up outside the Ferguson Police Station.
"Reframing" the chain of command on Thursday, August 14
— On Thursday, August 14, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told voters he would be “reframing” the chain of command among police in Ferguson. The office of Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri confirmed that the St. Louis County Police Department, which had been in charge during Wednesday night’s protests, would be removed from Ferguson. The chief of the St. Louis city police department also announced that his department would not be participating in Ferguson on Thursday night.
— On Thursday afternoon, Governor Nixon formally announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol, headed by Captain Ron Johnson, would take over police response to protesters in Ferguson. However, he said, the St. Louis County Police Department would remain in charge of the criminal investigation into Brown’s death.
— Protesters gathered again Thursday by the police station and along West Florissant. However, protesters did not block the road. Police were absent from afternoon protests.
— In other parts of the country, people rallied in support of Ferguson’s protesters and against police brutality.
On Friday, August 15, police reveal details from the day of the shooting, and tensions escalate after dark
— On Friday, August 15, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson announced the name of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown: Darren Wilson, who has been on the force for six years.
— In the same press conference, Jackson said that Michael Brown was the primary suspect in a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store that took place immediately before he was killed. He distributed packets to reporters that included security camera stills from the convenience store. CBS News later released video footage of the alleged robbery.
— Officials noted a negative mood change in Ferguson after the release of the information. Many protesters view it as an attempt to wrongly attack Michael Brown’s character and justify the shooting.
— Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who’s in charge of security in Ferguson, said he was not notified of the information prior to the news release. He added that he will have a “serious conversation” about better communications between police departments.
— In a second press conference later on Friday, Police Chief Jackson stated that “the initial contact with Brown was not related to the robbery,” and clarified that Officer Wilson was not aware of the robbery at the time when he stopped Brown. Rather, Wilson stopped Brown because the teen was “walking in the middle of the street.” Jackson later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Wilson saw cigars in Brown’s hand and realized Brown could be the robber.
— When asked why he released information about the robbery, if it had nothing to do with Wilson’s shooting of Brown, Jackson said he had done so “because you asked for it,” an apparent reference to the sunshine-law requests that had sought information about Brown’s death.
— Although tensions wereelevated by the Ferguson Police’s news releases earlier in the day, the night’s early marches continued peacefully. Hundreds of people reportedly turned out, despite the rain.
— Late in the night, protests heated up again. Heavily armed police returned to Ferguson, asking crowds to disperse, stop blocking roads, and go home. Police reportedly lobbed tear gas grenades.
— It’s not clear why or how the situation escalated so quickly. Reports indicate the protests intensified after heavily armed police returned and fired tear gas in response to protesters throwing rocks and other objects.
— Later on, St. Louis alderman Antonio French provided a firsthand account of what happened throughout the night. Based on French’s description, only a minority of protesters engaged in looting, and a majority of protesters tried to stop them. Police didn’t intervene because they realized it could make the situation even more violent, since the protests are rooted in distrust toward law enforcement.
On Saturday, August 16, the governor sets a curfew in Ferguson
— Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, who’s in charge of security in Ferguson, said he didn’t order the deployment of tear gas last night, but he did ask for the deployment of armored trucks to assist injured officers.
— Some residents hosted a cookout near the location of the Michael Brown shooting.
— At the press conference, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced an order declaring a state of emergency and curfew in Ferguson. The curfew will run from midnight to 5 a.m. “This is not to silence the people of Ferguson or this region or others,” Nixon said, “but to contain those who would endanger others.”
— Johnson suggested security will resist a heavy-handed response while enforcing the curfew. “We won’t enforce it with trucks, we won’t enforce it with tear gas, we will communicate,” he said.
— Nixon noted that the FBI’s civil rights investigation into the Michael Brown shooting is “being beefed up” with investigators now on the ground in Ferguson.
— As the curfew approached, tensions remained high. Community leaders and the rain convinced most protesters to leave before midnight, but about 150 protesters remained after midnight. Some protesters built a barricade between police and the crowds to buy time, but tensions remained high.
— Police, after giving several warnings, fired smoke and tear gas at the protesters to enforce the curfew. Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Johnson said tear gas was used in response to reports of gunmen.
— Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Johnson said there were some gunshots fired throughout the night, but not by police. One gunshot hit a man who, according to the latest reports, was in critical condition.
— As for other violence, police said they were not aware of any looting.
— It was very difficult for journalists to report the evening’s events, because they were confined to a small media zone during curfew hours that was out of sight of a majority of the action. Police threatened to arrest reporters who tried to leave the media zone.
On Sunday, August 17, chaos returns to Ferguson
— US Attorney General Eric Holder, under the request of Michael Brown’s family, ordered another autopsy of Brown’s body. “Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner,” spokesperson Brian Fallon said. “This independent examination will take place as soon as possible. Even after it is complete, Justice Department officials still plan to take the state-performed autopsy into account in the course of their investigation.”
— Later in the day, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson gave a speech in which he apologized to Michael Brown’s family and pledged solidarity with Ferguson. “We all ought to be thanking the Browns for Michael, because Michael’s gonna make it better for our sons, so they can be better black men,” he said.
— The night’s protests began with what some reporters called a party atmosphere.
— Police reported three injuries, none of which affected officers, and seven or eight arrests throughout the night.
— Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Johnson said security officials are planning additional steps to contain the violence in the future, but he would not elaborate what the steps will look like.
On Monday, August 18, the National Guard goes to Ferguson
— Early in the morning of August 18, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the state’s National Guard to Ferguson in response to the previous night’s violence. The National Guard troops were intended to protect police, who had claimed they were in danger from protesters — in the hopes that more protection might prevent police from panicking. “Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk,” Nixon said in a statement.
— That afternoon, Nixon announced that the midnight curfew Ferguson residents had been under during the weekend would be lifted. However, law enforcement officials said that protesters would no longer be allowed to stand on or by West Florissant — only walking protesters, not “stationary protests,” would be tolerated. Later reports said that protesters would be confined to an "authorized protest area" at one intersection,and West Florissant would be closed to traffic.
— Around 2:30 p.m. CDT, cops had already started arresting protesters outside the Ferguson McDonald’s. The McDonald’s closed before 5 p.m. CDT.
— The situation was largely peaceful throughout most of Monday night, with community leaders helping to keep the crowd calm. But that didn’t prevent police officers from activating sound cannons and aiming rifles at protesters and journalists. It was so peaceful, in fact, that CNN’s Jake Tapper sounded off on how ridiculous the police reaction looked in front of an overwhelmingly peaceful crowd. Later in the evening, however, Captain Ron Johnson appeared on CNN to defend the police’s actions.
— Around 11 p.m. Ferguson time, the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery reported bangs near the QuikTrip convenience store that’s become ground zero for the protests. Police rushed to the scene and deployed tear gas. Lowery also reported a fire in front of the store as armored trucks moved in.
— Some protesters reportedly started a fire in the street to block police, and prepared "homemade bombs"in case of a confrontation with police.
— Around 11:45 p.m. Ferguson time, police ordered protesters to disperse. People who didn’t cooperate were arrested. Shortly after, journalists were also asked to move to a designated area at the police’s command center. One journalist from VICE had his media credential ripped off by a police officer, who said, “This doesn’t mean shit.”
Reporter Ryan Devereaux of First Look was shot with rubber bullets and bean bags by police, and spent Monday night in jail. (He was released Tuesday morning.)
Captain Ron Johnson defended the police by saying that journalists were staying too close to protesters for police to tell them apart, and asked journalists not to "glamorize the acts of criminals.”
— As the night went on, the confrontation moved to the residential area of Canfield, where Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. What happened in Canfield is disputed — and is the basis for a deeper dispute among journalists and local leaders about whether the police response on Monday was a step forward for Ferguson, or the worst aggression yet.
Police, along with local leaders like Antonio French and local journalists, say that local “Canfield kids” were “fighters,” not protesters — that they were attacking police and egged on by outsiders from Chicago and other areas.
Journalists who were in the residential area, including Elon James, however, were part of a crowd of eight people who were fired on repeatedly with tear gas. James says that the group was teargassed simply for turning a corner onto the street.
— In all, 78 people were arrested in Ferguson on Monday night, 18 of whom were from outside Missouri. Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said that some of those arrested were from as far away as New York and California. Police confiscated two guns and one Molotov cocktail. Two people were shot, and four officers were reportedly injured by rocks thrown by protesters.
Relative quiet on Tuesday, August 19
— On the evening of August 19, the mood seemed more like a demonstration than a protest — especially as protesters were focusing on county prosecutor Bob McCulloch and calling for him to be removed from Michael Brown’s case. Police retained the “organized protest area” policy, but weren’t as strict in forcing protesters to keep moving, and showed more patience in dealing with protesters for most of the evening — it was the first night without the use of tear gas since the day Michael Brown was killed. More importantly, community leaders were active in leading protests, and helped urge protesters to leave the area after midnight Central time.
— Later in the evening, when a protester threw a water bottle at police, officers called in the armored trucks.
Water bottle thrown. Chaos ensues. Not many protesters (more media than them). The few protesters left are just adamant and angry. #Ferguson
— The protests on August 20 were the second night in a row that police didn’t deploy any tear gas, perhaps the biggest sign yet that tensions are easing — at least for now — in the small town.
— In response, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to begin pulling out of Ferguson.
Some of the context for community anger
— There’s a history of police violence against young black men, and the shooting takes place at a time when this perennial topic was already being widely discussed. New Yorker Eric Garner, an unarmed black man,was killed in July after police put him in a chokehold by police. The incident, which was caught on video, caused an outcry against the New York Police Department — especially after Garner’s death was officially ruled a homicide. Mayor Bill de Blasio eventually agreed to a review of the department’s training procedures.
— The frustration and anger in Ferguson likely goes beyond the killing of Brown. Ferguson is like many cities in America: police disproportionately stop and arrest black residents. While 67 percent of Ferguson is black, 86 percent of all traffic stops and 92 percent of all arrests are of black residents, according to state report on racial profiling obtained by Buzzfeed. But black residents of Ferguson who are stopped by police are less likely to be carrying contraband than white residents are.
—The city’s government is predominately white as well: there is one black person on the Ferguson city council and one Latino on the school board. Just three out of the city’s 53 commissioned police officers are black.
— There’s also a lot of anger around how the media portrays young men who are killed. Over the weekend, the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, which was trending on Twitter on Sunday night, captured the divide between how young black men see themselves and how the media sees them.
What we know about the investigation into Brown’s shooting
— The St. Louis County Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation to see if Darren Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown. Their findings will be used by St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who is responsible for filing charges against Wilson. On August 20, a grand jury convened to decide whether to charge Wilson in Brown’s death.
— Protesters and local leaders have expressed serious concerns about whether county prosecutor McCulloch will be willing to prosecute Wilson effectively. In the past, McCulloch has failed to press charges in some similar cases, and has broken trial rules in others. There’s a rising call for McCulloch to recuse himself from the case, or for Governor Jay Nixon to remove McCulloch from the case. Nixon has said he won’t remove McCulloch, but allowed McCulloch to recuse himself. McCulloch, in response, dared Nixon to “make a decision.”
— St. Louis County Police Chief Belmar has spoken favorably of the Ferguson police, telling reporters on August 10, “I would not think anybody would [ask for an investigation] if they had anything to hide.” Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson is a former St. Louis County police officer, which also raises concerns about the investigation’s objectivity. Jackson told reporters on August 13th that he had asked the St. Louis County police to keep him “out of the loop.”
— The Ferguson Police Department received a grant this year to purchase several dashboard cameras for police vehicles and two to three body cameras for officers, the Ferguson police chief told reporters Wednesday, but doesn’t have the money to install them yet — so no known video of the shooting exists.
— Eyewitness Dorian Johnson, Brown’s friend who was also stopped by the officer, testified to police on August 13, after several days during which he said he was not contacted to testify.
— Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, has been put on paid administrative leave while the investigation is conducted. Wilson was not identified until six days after the shooting. Police originally planned to release his name on the morning of August 12, but changed their minds out of concern for his safety.
— Brown’s body was released to his family on August 13, and the family arranged for an independent autopsy. Results of that autopsy were reported by the New York Times on August 17. The independent autopsy showed at least six shots in the head and right arm, including one shot on the top of the head — indicating that Brown’s head was down when at least one shot was fired.
— Attorney General Eric Holder announced on August 17 that the federal government would be conducting its own autopsy on Brown’s body for its investigation.
— Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters on Wednesday, August 13, that the 911 tapes from witnesses to Brown’s shooting would be released to the public but did not say when that would happen.
Efforts to rebuild race and community relations in Ferguson
— On Wednesday, August 13, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told reporters that the police department has been working with the community relations division of the Department of Justice to improve race and community relations. “That’s a top priority,” he said.
— On Thursday, August 14, the Department of Justice is coordinating a meeting between Chief Jackson and community leaders, including the head of the local NAACP.
The dangerous myths being put out by this washed-up rocker are far more dangerous than they may first seem. In his article for World Net DailyNugent posits nearly every racist, ignorant, unfounded thought that has echoed from the conservative media. While the radical right likes to point out the rampant violence within the impoverished areas that are predominantly lived in by…
We can’t let people just come into our community, whether they are law enforcement or not, and just gun our people down and there is no accountability.”
Black men with automatic riflesslung casually over one shoulder walking around the movie theaters. Black women in restaurants with their guns on the table between them. What in hell is going on? Have black people, finally tired of being on the…
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said Thursday he would love to see Mitt Romney run again for president and teased the GOP’s former nominee at one point that the “third time’s the charm.”
Appearing with Ryan at a public event for the first time since their ticket lost two years ago, Romney offered his own good-humored praise by saying that Ryan “wouldn’t be a bad president” himself.
Ryan, R-Wis., has said he will wait until after the midterm elections to decide whether to pursue his own presidential campaign in 2016. Romney has repeatedly denied any plans for another campaign for president. He failed to win the nomination in 2008 and then lost the election to President Barack Obama in 2012.
Romney interviewed Ryan about his new book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea,” on the brink of the fall election season. Republicans are driving for the six-seat gain required to grab the Senate majority. Success would put the GOP in control of Congress and dramatically shape the final two years of Obama’s term.
They took turns criticizing Obama’s record on domestic issues, including the economy, health care and immigration, with Ryan warning that Obama will “poison the well” on immigration compromise if he takes any unilateral action. Romney said Obama sent a message to Russia when he did not act in Syria and that there has been “an explosion of very bad things in the world” since then.
Fox’s so-called “doctor” Keith Ablow has been on a roll lately. When he’s not hurling insults at the First Lady, his favorite target has usually been her husband, but this Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder had his turn being attacked by Ablow for his visit this week to Ferguson, MO in the wake of the protests there and the shooting of unarmed teen, Michael Brown.
TPM quoted some of Ablow’s remarks in an article they posted this Thursday, but they missed some of the most insulting garbage he was spewing just prior to the portion of the segment they highlighted.
ABLOW: Let’s think about what just happened. The top law enforcement official in the nation just said I stand with the people, not the law enforcement people. He just went there and said I understand you can’t trust the police. What is he talking about?
This is the height of absurdity and contempt for our culture and our society. This is fanning the flames of racial unrest. It’s unforgivable. I’ve never heard of anything like it. Eric Holder, absolutely, he’s the top law enforcement official. He just went to a community and said I stand with you guys against the police. How is he fit for office? He’s not fit for office.
American Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly credited doctors, God and an experimental drug for his recovery today. But experts say it’s unclear whether the drug, known as ZMapp, helped or hindered his recovery.
Brantly and fellow American aid worker Nancy Writebol contracted the virus while working in Liberia with the missionary groups Samaritan’s Purse and SIM. They received ZMapp — a cocktail of three antibodies that attack the virus — and were evacuated from the growing outbreak zone to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, where they were isolated for at least two weeks.
"Today is a miraculous day," Brantly said today as he was released from the hospital. "Through the care of the Samaritan’s Purse and SIM missionary team in Liberia, the use of an experimental drug, and the expertise and resources of the health care team at Emory University Hospital, God saved my life — a direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers."
Writebol was released Tuesday, hospital officials said.