As I type, the Ferguson Police Department has apparently released the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown.
It’s not the name that Anonymous published and then doxed.
That name was not even someone in the Ferguson or Saint Louis County PD. Basically, the Anonymous twitter feed posted a random innocent person’s name and exposed them to lunatic vigilantes from the fringes of society. I thought you were interested in “Justice,” Anonymous. Apparently not.
Not to be outdone in stupidity, the Ferguson PD released footage of Michael Brown strong arm robbing a grocery store of some cigars before the shooting.
And here’s Brown after he was shot (WARNING: MAY BE UNSUITABLE):
Here’s the thing, though. It doesn’t matter that it’s the same guy. Strong-arming a store clerk does not create a license for a police officer to shoot an unarmed man. And that’s aside from the fact that the officer had no idea that Brown was a suspect.
The officer stopped an unarmed black man for jaywalking, and then shot him multiple times.
Yet, for some reason, Thomas Jackson, the Ferguson Chief of Police, thinks this information is relevant. It’s not. It doesn’t explain why an officer in his charge shot an unarmed man multiple times, including when the man was running away and when the man was surrendering with his hands up. Jackson has looked completely overmatched in his handling of a public relations disaster that was in a large part his own creation.
Look, Thomas Jackson has a difficult job. I’ve been responsible for 20 staff before, and it’s insanely difficult to get that many people to act professionally. You cannot control another’s actions completely, even if they are in your employ. I don’t blame Jackson for a mistake (assuming it was a mistake, however horrible) that an officer made. I do, however, blame Jackson for closing ranks in order to protect one of his own.
I do blame Jackson for the racial makeup of the Ferguson Police Department, which he has headed for the last four years. He inherited a corrupt department, and should have cleaned house. And yet, only 3 of the 53 officers in Thomas’s charge are black in a town that is 69% black.
I blame Jackson for releasing the information about Brown, as if the information were in any way a mitigating circumstance that explained why an unarmed man was shot by his officer multiple times.
I also blame Jackson for the military tactics on the first night of dealing with protesters that only escalated the situation and created more tension, even if there was looting.
And to underscore exactly how poorly the leadership in the Ferguson Police Department and Saint Louis County Police Department handled the protests, we can look at how the Missouri State Troopers, under the leadership of Captain Ron Johnson, handled things with all the professionalism and decency that we expect, deserve, and admire in an upstanding officer of the law.
Jackson should be fired.