Ferguson, MO, where a police officer killed an unarmed 18 year old black man under questionable circumstances, is the prime example of what NOT to do in a crisis situation. We’ve written about Ferguson on numerous occasions and we still don’t know with any certainty what really happened and it’s beginning to look like it will be a while before anything that looks like real facts are available.
What we do have, though, is a whole pile of circumstantial evidence, and that pile is getting bigger by the day. As we noted yesterday, at least one more person has been shot by Ferguson police, at least this one reportedly had a gun, and given the lack of screeching from the likes of Rev. Al Sharpton, that one was likely a good shoot. Our problem with what’s going on with the cops in Ferguson is this.
Let that picture sink in before you read this…
Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“ ‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”)
Now then, take a deep breath, let it out slowly and…
Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”?
THAT is a very good question. We’ve got a whole bunch more to say about the police response in Ferguson, but we’re saving most of it for later posts. Your crotchety old Curmudgeon is pissed off about the police response, no matter how the initial action shakes out. The cops in Ferguson, without regard to the actual jurisdiction they’re from, are out of control. Think about that as you read some of Sir Robert Peel’s “Nine Principles of Policing” below. Peel is the guy who founded the London Police and is regarded as the great grandfather of policing.
- To prevent crime and disorder, as an alternative to their repression by military force and severity of legal punishment.
- To recognise always that the power of the police to fulfil their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect.
- To recognise always that to secure and maintain the respect and approval of the public means also the securing of the willing co-operation of the public in the task of securing observance of laws.
- To recognise always that the extent to which the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force and compulsion for achieving police objectives.
Does that sound like anything that has/is happening in Ferguson? Or any other US city for that matter.
The power of police to fulfill their functiions … [depends]on their ability to secure and maintain public respect. Followed by: the co-operation of the public can be secured diminishes proportionately the necessity of the use of physical force.
Oh my. We’re sure that there is the potential for blood in the streets in Ferguson. If that happens, the guys who thought Marine Corps cammo, automatic weapons, and armored vehicles should be prosecuted for murder.
Again, the cops are totally out of control.
Sign up to get alerts from Joe!