Attorney General Eric Holder pleaded with the Ferguson Chief of Police Thomas Jackson not to release the robbery videos showing the murdered teen in a “strong-arm robbery” (i.e. no weapons) in the face of community tension. However, Jackson doesn’t seem to be able to come to terms with the reality of his officer executing an unarmed man who had fallen to his knees with his hands in the air. And so, the Chief released the video to the press and started to assassinate the character of the murdered Michael Brown as a macabre defense for officer Darren Wilson’s criminal actions.
The Chief is an older man, so he probably didn’t realize that footage of the aftermath would be uploaded onto Youtube and Vine. Following the shooting of Michael Brown, he lied face-down in the street for too long before an officer finally covers him with a small sheet. His body was then scooped up as if the area wasn’t a crime scene and then remorselessly tossed into the back of a black SUV to be taken to the morgue. Jackson’s handling of the aftermath is reminiscent of the last time Ferguson police were in the news and makes this tragedy look like a pattern for the department.
After the video was released, tension increased and more combative attitudes towards the police escalated from protesters. Young black men were looting and destroying as if they were trying to get the cops to engage them in a fight. They were gunning for justice if the governor and the FBI weren’t going to bring an indictment quickly against the offending officer.
And so, tit for tat, the hacker group Anonymous produced the St. Louis 911 tapes from that tragic evening. While those cameras were filming the police meandering around the pools of blood on the street, the police who shot Michael Brown didn’t call in what they had happened. In fact, the only report to come from those officers was a request for backup to disperse a possibly unruly crowd.
No reports of shots. No ambulances were called. And all the witnesses who were filming the incident assumed that the police who had just killed a man would have called it in.
But, they didn’t. St. Louis’ dispatch can be heard requesting information from the Ferguson Police Department after a news station had called to inquire about the shooting. The news knew about the shooting before 911, and Ferguson’s police only had reports of a need for backup to control a crowd of people.
Either Ferguson’s entire department was trying to cover up what had happened or they are too inept at their jobs to be handling guns. I’m not here to judge which one of those they are, but the actions of those officers and their superiors seem to implicate a much larger problem rotting at the core of Ferguson’s police force.
The entire recording is over an hour, so I am just including the pertinent part of the released 911 tapes from St. Louis. You can listen to the full recording here.