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Gillam reports: "A St. Louis-area police officer was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday for pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a peaceful demonstrator as tensions flared during protests over the Aug. 9 police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown."

Ferguson, Missouri August 20, 2014. (photo: Adrees Latif/Reuters)
Ferguson, Missouri August 20, 2014. (photo: Adrees Latif/Reuters)


ALSO SEE: Ferguson: Calm Follows Holder Visit

ALSO SEE: More Journalist Arrests in Ferguson
Add to First Amendment Media Debate

Ferguson Cop Threatens Journalists: "I Will Fucki*g Kill You, Get Back!"

By Carey Gillam, Reuters

21 August 14

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AFia3Uo0TQ

St. Louis-area police officer was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday for pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a peaceful demonstrator as tensions flared during protests over the Aug. 9 police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.

The incident just before midnight on Tuesday punctuated the 11th straight night of racially charged demonstrations in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, since Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, was slain by a white police officer.

No one was hurt in the gun-pointing confrontation, but the incident underscored what many have criticized as heavy-handed and unprofessional police tactics that have helped stoke continuing civil unrest.

According to an official account from the St. Louis County Police Department, an unnamed policeman from the neighboring community of St. Ann leveled his weapon at a Ferguson protester "after a verbal exchange," and that a superior county officer, a sergeant, quickly intervened.

The sergeant "immediately took action, forcing the officer to lower the weapon and escorting him away from the area," a statement from the county department said.

In video footage of the episode widely circulated on social media, the white officer in question, wide-eyed and agitated, is seen pointing his rifle at numerous demonstrators and members of the media.

At one point, he is heard yelling, "I will fucking kill you, get back, get back," before the sergeant calmly steps in to defuse the situation, orders him to lower the weapon and leads him away from cameras.

"The unified command strongly feel these actions are inappropriate, and not indicative of the officers who have worked daily to keep the peace," the police statement said.

It said the officer in question had been relieved of duty and suspended indefinitely but gave no further details of any investigation or discipline he might face.

In an unrelated videotaped confrontation from earlier in the day in St. Louis that also went viral, police shot and killed a 23-year-old black man who they said brandished a knife at officers and yelled at them to "shoot me now, kill me."

The two officers, who were placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, opened fire after the man refused repeated orders to drop his weapon, police said.

The incident occurred a few miles from the scene of the protests in Ferguson near a convenience store where the man had snatched some drinks and snacks before police were called.

Footage of that incident, in which the man is seen moving toward police with his arms downward after exhorting them to shoot, led some observers to question why officers resorted to deadly force rather than use a Taser stun gun to subdue him.

"There are other ways to stop people if you feel you are in danger than shooting them," said Linda Gladson, 63, a white resident of St. Louis who has spent 20 years as an urban planner in the city.

"We need to stop using lethal force as a first option," she said, standing outside the St. Louis County Justice Center on Wednesday holding a homemade sign that read: "Taser Then Talk!!!"

The fatal shooting sparked concerns about a possible escalation of public anger in the aftermath of the Brown slaying, but as of late on Wednesday had yet to measurably add to the overall level of prevailing tension in the area.

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+86 # jmac9 2014-08-21 13:21
Hello Police State America.

Surprise, surprise,

The fraudulent Bush-Cheney invasion of Iraq, the fraud of Afghanistan, trillions wasted on the military -
Pentagon giving out military grade equipment to police.
Military indoctrination of the police that - the public is a menace - mentality.
The fraud of the stupid 'war on drugs' to justify destruction of your civil rights, and the increase of SWAT team invasions -
The complete avoidance of looking at the unemployment, economic disaster foisted upon the public...

Voila - Police State America

presidentmac.org says all police departments must have independent citizen oversight. With the citizen group having the power to investigate, prosecute, and jail convicted police officers.
 
 
+79 # Emmanuel Goldstein 2014-08-21 17:49
Don't forget the 2 million of our people behind bars -- highest in the world. And 80,000 of those are in longterm solitary confinement, now recognized as a form of torture.

The USA is now most definitely a police state -- a police state that tortures. If you're not ashamed, there's something wrong with you.
 
 
+43 # kasta626 2014-08-21 18:24
Quoting Emmanuel Goldstein:
Don't forget the 2 million of our people behind bars -- highest in the world. And 80,000 of those are in longterm solitary confinement, now recognized as a form of torture.

The USA is now most definitely a police state -- a police state that tortures. If you're not ashamed, there's something wrong with you.

Now ask yourself this question, how many of the two million are innocent? Since the People's Court's have been ruled by attorneys on the bench that sell their decisions for s bribe. If you are innocent, we will make sure you'll be found guilty with "evidence" that will be manipulated to frame you.
 
 
-40 # tpm713 2014-08-21 18:43
I thought the economy is booming under Barack Obama?
 
 
+38 # Nominae 2014-08-21 19:12
Quoting tpm713:
I thought the economy is booming under Barack Obama?


Hey, the economy is going gangbusters for our National Privatized and Corporatized Prison industry - usually *guaranteed* BY CONTRACT as high as 98% bed occupancy.

That contractual guarantee, of course, leaves our courts the responsibility to *fill* that contractual obligation by any means possible. And they DO so.
 
 
+5 # fdawei 2014-08-22 05:25
Out of line, schmuck!
 
 
+7 # fdawei 2014-08-22 05:27
Quoting fdawei:
Out of line, schmuck!


This comment was directed to tpm713.
 
 
+41 # fredboy 2014-08-21 17:14
As a journalist I once went to interview members of a local iron workers union picketing a construction site in Virginia Beach. As I approached them, a Virginia Beach police canine officer set off his huge German Shepherd, holding it by tight leash about a foot from my face as it snarled and lunged at me.

I had earlier learned in martial arts how to grasp and kill an attacking dog, and my immediate instinct was to do so. But then what would I do with the attached police officer? His hands were tightly clasped the leash, so lethal access to him was wide open and would have been swift (his throat and other key impact points were 'wide open' and his handgun was unattended and in easy reach).

Later that day I told the police chief about the incident, and he apologized and shook his head. And promised to 'discipline' the rogue cop.

I don't know what gets into these guys and women. Is it power? Vengeance (against all of us)? Bullying? Or some deeper, darker state of mind.

What I do know is the Virginia Beach officer put his dog and himself in direct and certain danger that day. I kept my cool, but some people who saw the incident said I would have been justified to react in self defense. Little did they know how swiftly I could have done so.
 
 
+47 # cicciuzzu 2014-08-21 17:34
Not to condone the officer's behavior but to comment on his possible state of mind, if you issue an automatic high powered rifle you forcibly increase the bearer's sense of danger. Issue less destructive weapons and you lower the sense of danger. The militarization of police is obviously a bad idea except to those who await insurrection or worse and have no way of preventing this.
 
 
+44 # RevOleson 2014-08-21 18:27
You can't give a kid a birthday toy and then tell him he can't play with it...
 
 
+22 # Nominae 2014-08-21 19:19
Quoting cicciuzzu:
The militarization of police is obviously a bad idea except to those who await insurrection or worse and have no way of preventing this.


..... yeah, or to those manufacturing and profiting from those same weapons, and the training required to use them (the training sadly being much less common than the weapons themselves).

Your entire comment is SPOT ON ! Thank you for such a comprehensive perspective.
 
 
+23 # oprichniki 2014-08-21 17:46
Why do goons have guns?
 
 
+40 # AUCHMANNOCH 2014-08-21 18:11
I continue to shake my head and mutter "only in America." What troubles me though is that Australian society tends to reflect American society about twenty years later and right now we have in power a right wing government that is demonstrating most of the incipient behaviour of a Tea Party. Please Tony Abbot don't bring America to Australia. We don't need our kids loaded up with an education debt they can never repay, we don't meed the poor, sick and old screwed by our government. We don't need the unemployed victimised as social security bludgers.
 
 
+8 # Nominae 2014-08-21 19:22
Quoting AUCHMANNOCH:
I continue to shake my head and mutter "only in America." What troubles me though is that Australian society tends to reflect American society about twenty years later and right now we have in power a right wing government that is demonstrating most of the incipient behaviour of a Tea Party. Please Tony Abbot don't bring America to Australia. We don't need our kids loaded up with an education debt they can never repay, we don't meed the poor, sick and old screwed by our government. We don't need the unemployed victimised as social security bludgers.


Patterning one's culture or institutions
after the U.S. has ever *been* a game of Three Card Monte.
 
 
+9 # Kootenay Coyote 2014-08-21 20:00
Sounds like Canada under PM Harper - but then, he gets on fine with Abbot...
 
 
+7 # ishmael 2014-08-21 18:30
Thank goodness the higher authority led the cop away, preventing a potentially quite violent episode.

This was a horrible anomaly.

The "shoot first, ask questions later" attitude is only at the lowest levels of police authority in that particular town. It does not represent a broad trend, thankfully.
 
 
+38 # Nominae 2014-08-21 19:40
Quoting ishmael:
Thank goodness the higher authority led the cop away, preventing a potentially quite violent episode.

This was a horrible anomaly.

The "shoot first, ask questions later" attitude is only at the lowest levels of police authority in that particular town. It does not represent a broad trend, thankfully.


Really ?

I have three nephews and one niece "on the job" (Police Forces) from Colorado (one is a SWAT Team Leader) to LAPD (Canine handler for the Bomb Squad) and others.

I hate to break anyone's bubble, but the "shoot first, ask questions later" comes in most cases *FROM* the highest levels when the "troops" are *NOT* in front of cameras, and it inundates and saturates police depts. from huge cities to sleepy little hamlets, all thanks to the recent DHS mania *for* militarizing the police of the nation.

This is the full-on face of Fascism, not a "one off" aberration of *any* kind.

You will note that the offending officer's Sergeant (hardly a "higher power" being only 2-3 steps up the ladder from a boot recruit) did succeed in getting the "over enthusiastic" cop out of camera range.

There is no mention of any actual disciplinary action, (and there will not likely be any, except perhaps to assign this fool to some detail that will keep him off camera).

Beyond that, I will not be staying up awaiting "breaking news" to see this cop being busted for doing *exactly* what he was trained to do (only with less "mouth").
 
 
+16 # Nominae 2014-08-21 19:53
Quoting ishmael:
.... It does not represent a broad trend, thankfully.


This is the full-on face of Fascism, not a "one off" aberration of *any* kind.

An "indefinite suspension" is Cop Shop PR lingo designed to calm the public. Lets face it: "Indefinite" can mean overnight while the officer rests up, it can mean from his Friday night til the following Monday.... the fact is that it can mean *anything* the Cop PR Flack *wants* it to mean.

There is also no mention, as others have noted, of: "with or without pay", but even if there were, there is likewise no way for the general public to verify that claim.

"On the books" pay may indeed be suspended while other "financial considerations" may not be suspended, or may even be increased depending upon the locale of the P.D.
 
 
+20 # chinaski 2014-08-21 19:34
"I will fucking kill you"(???)
Exact what or who is this cop defending when it comes down to blowing off the head of a peaceful demonstrator?
Who is he working for? He is not working for me. He is not working for himself. The cops are not card-carrying members of the institution they're serving. They, along with the rest of us, will never be invited in.
At the point of killing for the sake of maintaining someone else's vision of 'order' and 'control' he is a slave. The uniform notwithstanding , he is a lamb in wolves' clothing.
 
 
-9 # ishmael 2014-08-21 20:56
He is anomalous. They got him out of there. No, not just for show or coverup.
 
 
+11 # lewagner 2014-08-21 19:41
He was suspended indefinitely ... with pay?
 
 
+13 # jcdav 2014-08-21 19:44
!. IF the weapon in question was mil grade it would be AUTOMATIC, not semi-automatic (civilians can own semi-auto)..poi nt being that full auto will spray a difficult to control 20 to 30 rounds, the first few hitting the target, the rest would hit whatever is in the vicinity of the target (read bystanders). Another good reason NOT to have full auto in a crowd (unless of course you WANT to dust the whole crowd).
 
 
-12 # catfather 2014-08-21 20:14
Your headline for this story disturbs me. It is inaccurate and, therefore, inflammatory. It reads "Ferguson Cop Threatens Journalists.... " But those two hard statements clearly are contradicted by the story itself: "According to an official account from the St. Louis County Police Department, an unnamed policeman from the neighboring community of St. Ann leveled his weapon at a Ferguson protester..." The policeman who threatened is ID'd as from "the neighboring community of St. Ann" who (initially, at least) aimed "at a Ferguson protester." Only later in the story does the reporter note a video of the scene shows the policeman pointing his gun at protesters and members of the media. In my earlier life, On a personal note, I was a print journalist years back. If an editor raped my story with such an inacurate and inflammatory headline on such an important sidebar to a hugely important story, we would have it out in the main editor's office. I know, because it happened once; I never had to submit my work to that editor again.
 
 
+2 # jsluka 2014-08-22 17:14
Did you watch the video clip? Apparently not.
 
 
-3 # kalpal 2014-08-23 10:15
The officer is entirely justified threatening a protestor since they may be shot and killed if they unduly anger any officer. BTW he made the same threat at the man shooting the video and several others.
 
 
+19 # jussayin 2014-08-21 20:29
One has to be concerned about police departments hiring ex-military who served in the illegal invasions. They're taught to follow legal orders without question, then, once in country they're fed messages such as "the gloves are off" and many civilians are tortured and killed. Soldiers who are bothered by their conscience are given drugs to sleep and drugs to lower inhibitions.

Basic training involves techniques to dehumanize the 'enemy' and lapses in ethics and morals are often overlooked. Some learn that crossing the line has no consequences. War crimes go unpunished even at the highest levels. Read Fear Up Harsh or Nick Turse's Kill Anything That Moves to get a feel for these realities.

According to The Military Times 80K jobs will be cut from just the army from 2014-2018. Hire Heros USA reports that 20% of returning vets seek jobs in law enforcement.

The VA admits that many vets avoid seeking help because they don't want the PTSD label. This article states " It's no secret that PTSD is becoming more diagnosed in police officers."

Economic insecurity causes frustration. Seeing the ultra rich skate with ill-gotten gains compounds it. Add to that our culture of violence, exceptionalism and scapegoating and you have a recipe for disaster.

And we have a faction in congress that would rather cause pain, misery and poverty than cooperate to tackle problems.
 
 
+5 # wrknight 2014-08-22 08:09
Quoting jussayin:
One has to be concerned about police departments hiring ex-military who served in the illegal invasions. They're taught to follow legal orders without question,...
One very minor edit here: They are taught to follow orders without question. Legality is irrelevant.
 
 
+1 # jussayin 2014-08-21 20:33
This link was dropped from my previous post.

This article states...

http://www.policemag.com/channel/careers-training/articles/2014/01/military-vets-joining-law-enforcement.aspx
 
 
+5 # writerstuartk 2014-08-22 09:16
So, I was at my relative's wedding - even before the Bush-Cheney-Oba ma police state - and two guests, off-duty police officers, started cracking wise about the misdeeds of the groom. Then, without the topic really being broached, they started going on about African-America ns ("N...the and N...that"), and they didn't like my disinterested stare, so one said "You know what I would do right now if a N...were wising off to me?" Then he grabbed me pretty hard by the belt and pushed me two feet. Now, that was in their drunken, cigar-chomping off-duty state. What are they like on the job? What you are all talking about is indicative of larger issues, namely that America is slowly losing power to China (and India, Russia, Brazil, etc.). Instead of one hegemon, it seems to be shaping up into a multipolar world...and the U.S. is not going to take that lying down. As the one area where we are not losing is the military, we may be getting into (and starting) more conflicts. As to the domestic "front," we will find more policing of our daily lives. Minor infractions will bring citations - as they do in Singapore. So, don't spit in the street.
 

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