What’s most disturbing about what’s going down in Ferguson, Missouri with hundreds of people protesting the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown at the hands of police isn’t the public outcry, rioting and looting.
It’s the heavily militarized police response.
While it is true that looting and rioting needs to be stopped to ensure public safety, the militarized police force now mobilized on the streets of St. Louis looks like something straight out of a dystopic future movie set after the world has gone to complete Hell.
What is that, a movie set?
The officers are dressed more like soldiers than any cops my mother’s generation can remember. They are carrying AR-15s, driving around in Pentagon-donated mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles straight off the battlefields in Afghanistan, firing at protesters with rubber bullets and tear gas.
But it isn’t just protesters they are firing at. Reporters are also being targeted.
This video below shows a tear gas canister being lobbed at an Al Jazeera news crew who is clearly filming on the sidewalk:
While St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department, who operates the SWAT team there, said it wasn’t them and they weren’t sure who it was that fired the gas, Lt. David Tiefenbrunn did say he’s sure that whichever department deployed it, they likely weren’t aware the media was there.
Via The Wrap:
“I’m sure that when they did deploy that, they were unaware that there were media there,” he said, adding that bright lights hindered visibility in an already confusing situation.
So the cops saw the lights and equipment, but they weren’t aware there were lights and equipment?
These people are easily identifiable as a news crew. Most random protesters don’t come to a protest armed with thousands of dollars worth of camera and lighting equipment.
And if the equipment wasn’t the first clue, KSDK is reporting that the Al Jazeera crew repeatedly shouted “We are press!” over and over as they attempted to film next to their clearly marked news van.
Cops still fired on them anyway.
Two reporters were also reportedly roughed up and arrested during the SWAT evacuation of a local McDonald’s. Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of The Huffington Post both Tweeted about their arrests:
Video of my arrest: http://t.co/baiYPQGfc7/s/ZHkX
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014
SWAT just invade McDonald’s where I’m working/recharging. Asked for ID when I took photo. pic.twitter.com/FOIsMnBwHy — Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 13, 2014
Apparently they were told they were “trespassing”.
A KSDK photojournalist also reported that, while trying to film a protester being arrested in West Florissant, police shined lights at him and shot beanbags in his direction, then approached the crew with guns drawn:
One of the photojournalists walked to the intersection of Highmont and West Florissant where he documented what appeared to be an altercation between police and an individual they were detaining along West Florissant. About 15 seconds into his video recording, bright lights can be seen shining at his position. Approximately 30 seconds later, as he continues to record video the sound of an air rifle firing can be heard followed by a “thud.”
From there, the KSDK crew says police approached them with “guns drawn.” Matthews says she and one photojournalist were in the SUV with their hands up and the third member of their crew got down on his knees in front of the SUV and raised his hand – telling police he was with the press.
The SUV described here is a KSDK live news SUV with clear markings indicating that these people are press. They were already reportedly outside of the police-established perimeter to begin with.
Infowars’ is also reporting that Joe Biggs was hit in the kidneys with rubber bullets on scene yesterday, and separated from his team.
Chalk all this up to things getting crazy over there, but aren’t police still expected to exercise a modicum of discernment?
We’ve completely militarized our police forces, and now we can see how they will respond in a tense situation.
In the meantime, Obama even stepped away from his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard to make a statement on Ferguson (some Hallmark card line about how we’re all part of one American family or whatever contrived nonsense they loaded his teleprompter with).
Missouri’s Governor Jay Nixon is set to remove St. Louis County PD from the situation altogether, and Georgia Rep. John Lewis called on President Obama to declare martial law in Ferguson. Rep. Amash from Michigan has likened Ferguson imagery to a war zone.
From the news coming out of the area, it would appear martial law has already begun.
Just as I reported three days ago, this story will be the next big thing to takeover the news cycle and the collective consciousness of America, the next weapon of mass distraction to keep people from focusing too long on any one of the larger crises the military-industrial complex is busy perpetrating all over the globe right now.
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