There was a bit of rain as we gathered for the Michael Brown rally. It cleared up by the time rally started . Whites were about two-thirds of the gathering, with blacks and Latinos making up the remainder. The shooting of Michael Brown on August 9 was covered on Twitter the first two days, but the major media outlets weren't covering it at all. By the 12th, John Cole reported that the killing was just plain old, flat-up murder. At first, the Ferguson, MO Police Department tried releasing a partial video of Brown in a convenience store, allegedly stealing cigars. Turns out, he paid for those cigars, but left some others on the counter as he didn't have enough to pay for all of what he wanted.
Then, the Ferguson Police tried to assert, through an anonymous source, that the Officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, suffered a broken eye socket. This turned out to be false as well. Evidence is that Wilson was bit roughed up, but that he suffered no substantial injuries. It took the police until the 22nd to release a highly uninformative incident report. For awhile, it wasn't clear that Wilson was even in town and available to be questioned. .
A speaker from The BLOC Party spoke at the rally. He emphasized civic engagement and voting as the answers to current problems.
Of very great concern to the country at large was the fact that, although there was a bit of rioting and looting going on, the great majority of protesters were peaceful, but protesters were met with an enormous overkill of massive amounts of police, armed and armored in such a way that Iraq War veterans claimed that they, in an actual war zone, were nowhere near as well-equipped as these guys were. Fortunately, Congresspeople have taken note of this and are taking steps to prevent police from having so much equipment.
I was very, very distressed, as a resident of a Philadelphia suburb, to learn that this occurred in central Philaelphia. A black person lay at the bottom of the Love sign, pretending to be dead (There was another person holding up a sign right next to him), with yellow crime scene tape around him.
Tourists continued to take photos in front of the Love sign as the silent protest went on behind them. People “mocked and scorned” the scene, said Wallace. “One of the most hurtful things [was when] a group of friends wanted to take a picture, and one guy said, ‘I don’t want to be a part of this,’ and their friend said ‘What’s the big deal? He’s already dead.’ The people who were assisting me said one girl stepped over the body to get closer to the statue to take a picture, and the wind blew at that moment and wrapped the caution tape around her foot. [She had] no reverence for, no acknowledgement of, what’s right in front of her.”
There were, however, some good and heartening things that occurred in connection with the murder and the subsequent community protests. People did their best to help out. Teachers contrbuted their time, citizens contributed food, people both inside and outside Ferguson contributed money, citizens even contributed to the legal defense fund for justice for Michael Brown.
Singer leads us all in a good tune.
How does the Michael Brown killing and aftermath make the US look on the world stage? Uh, not good. Egypt, which has been criticzed for human rights violations, has turned the tables by criticizing the US for same, while urging restraint in Missouri. Many other countries around the world, Russia, China and Iran, have piled on, claiming that the US has nothing to brag about when it comes to how citizens are treated.