Anger boiled over again early Saturday morning when protesters stormed into a convenience store that Michael Brown was accused of robbing. Police and about 200 protesters began clashing late Friday after another tense day in the St. Louis suburb, a day that included authorities identifying the officer who fatally shot Brown on Aug. 9. At the same news conference in which officer Darren Wilson was named, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released documents alleging that Brown stole a $48.99 box of cigars from the convenience store, then strong-armed a man on his way out. Police said they found evidence of the stolen merchandise on Brown's body.
According to a Fox News article Johnson said one tear gas canister was deployed after a group of rioters became unruly. Before midnight, some in what had been a large and rowdy but mostly well-behaved crowd broke into that same small store and began looting it. Some in the crowd began throwing rocks and other objects at police, Johnson said. One officer was hurt but details on the injury were not immediately available. Johnson said police backed off to try and ease the tension. Looting spread to a couple of nearby stores with some of the looters carrying guns. No arrests were made."We had to evaluate the security of the officers there and also the rioters," Johnson said. "We just felt it was better to move back." About a dozen people eventually blocked off the front of the convenience store to help protect it.
Allegations that Brown committed a robbery and the release of surveillance video that shows a man wearing a ball cap, shorts and white T-shirt grabbing a much smaller man who had come from behind the store counter and "forcefully pushed him back" into a display rack. This portrayal of Brown as a thug and a bully angered attorneys for Brown's family and others, including U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay. Earlier Friday night, the Democratic congressman took a bullhorn and told protesters, "They have attempted to taint the investigation. They are trying to influence a jury pool by the stunt they pulled today." Family attorney Daryl Parks said Brown's family was blindsided by the allegations and release of the footage.
An all out effort to raise this event to the highest level of racial injustice is being made as people are coming out of the woodwork to make a statement and claim a moment of fame. For example another family attorney, Benjamin Crump, said police "are choosing to disseminate information that is very strategic to try to help them justify the execution-style" killing. Crump, who also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, the teenager fatally shot by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer who was later acquitted of murder. In reality it boggles the mind to compute the odds of these two families sharing the same attorney.
Brown's family and supporters now have name of the officer responsible for the shooting. Wilson is a six-year police veteran, two in neighboring Jennings and four in Ferguson. He has no previous complaints filed against him and the Ferguson police chief described Wilson as "a gentle, quiet man" who had been "an excellent officer." St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch said it could be weeks before the investigation of the shooting wraps up. The Justice Department confirmed in a statement that FBI agents had conducted several interviews as part of a civil-rights investigation into Brown's death. In the days ahead, the agents planned to canvass the neighborhood where the shooting happened. I suspect Officer Wilson is not overjoyed at the split-second decision he made, the road before him is very ugly. In time the violence and circus will settle down and morph into finger-pointing.
I want to be one of the first to go on record to predict Johnson will soon be on his way to meet with President Obama. This will allow the President to make a forceful statement flanked by Johnson and community leaders as to how tragic this all is and chalk it up to racism pure and simple. Many Americans who have been the target of a swat team raid, myself included, will point to a larger factor and one that the President has been complacent in and even encouraged to develop. The continued militarizing of Americas police forces. This has been going on for years. Police have moved from the mission of "to serve and protect" to waging a war against enemies like terrorism, drugs, alcohol, and crime. Sadly, the American people have been caught in the crossfire. Spinning this event with a message that serves the President does not lessen the role of Obama and the NSA in moving us further down the path to becoming an Orwellian state.
Footnote; The incident where I was involved in a swat team raid took place when a police officer saw one of my workers carrying a sawsaw with a long blade into a building where we were doing a small repair job. Mistaking the tool for a gun the building was soon surrounded. Even after entering the building and finding us working, inspecting the tool, and confirming that I had not taken my surprised tenant hostage the over aggressive officer continued to insist he was right while his fellow officers snickered. What is important is this speaks volumes to the officers state of mind.