Okay, first of all – I don’t think it’s ever wrong to practice your right to peaceably assemble or protest. There are plenty of half-informed, go-team armchair experts on both sides of the equation speaking as if they, themselves, were eye witnesses. I am admitting that, while I am sad for the tragedy and I hope positive change can come from it, I’m not confident enough in any version of the events to be so cavalier in its defense. Admitting you simply “don’t know” is a far under-utilized position… and often, the only truly honest one.
Now, admitting you don’t know what happened doesn’t mean you can’t weigh in or attempt to affect positive change. I DO think police are becoming more and more militarized, and I can point to a few reasons why I think this is the case. There are good cops. I know good cops. I, myself, have dealt with good cops. I’ve also dealt with bad cops, and I’ve seen plenty of video evidence of bad cops overstepping their bounds, up to and including dealing death sentences for resisting arrest. I don’t think this is okay. IF that is what happened here, then justice wasn’t served, but I can’t say for certain whether it was or not, and neither can anyone else in this thread. There are definitely holes in the justice system, and in the laws themselves, and peacefully protesting and assembling is a great way to draw attention to these cases, but it can definitely go so far as to become counter-productive.
Now, regardless of what happened, it was a tragedy. A young man died, and his family have lost a loved one. On the other side of the coin, another young man and his family must now live in fear and under the constant duress of horrible death and rape threats. That’s not okay either. Just like there are good and bad cops, there are good and bad protesters. My friend Denali, on location at the Oakland protest, said that most of the protests were peaceful, save for a few people breaking store fronts. In Ferguson, I saw video of looters, vandals, violence, burning cars, and even burning businesses. These people are simply opportunistic criminals taking advantage of a chaotic situation to further destroy the community they claim to want to save. These actions solve nothing, and only further the divide between people.
There were two autopsies performed (possibly a third?) – an initial, private one ordered by the family, and a second, official one, carried out by the coroner. These reports contradict one another, showing that even autopsies and coroners’ reports are fallible and biased, probably toward whoever is footing the bill. This should come as no surprise. There’s a sad fact to acknowledge, which is that we may never truly know what happened, and that not all mysteries can be solved, and not all injustices can be rectified. But I do know this – you aren’t going to heal a tragedy with more violence and crime.
These things call for us to unite in a common effort to prevent anything like this from happening again. To have CALM and RESPECTFUL discourse, while honestly admitting that our own perspectives are not only limited, but biased. Calling each other names, or pointing out irrelevancies like age, race, etc, are NOT respectful discourse. We can disagree on facts and opinions without resorting to personal attacks and allowing the issue to further divide people.
I do think chest cameras are a good idea for all police – not only for the protection of the public, but for the protection of the police as well. It’s the natural evolution of the dash cam. They should be made impossible to turn off or tamper with, and should be worn by every officer while on duty. We have the technology, and the technology is cheap. Perhaps that is one of the many positive changes that can come out of this tragedy.