Somewhat curious that, for the fourth year in a row, Ferguson Missouri was named a Playful City USA Community because of their commitment to families by building play areas throughout their city. This community was honored for their determination to create parks and recreation areas for children and their families to enjoy. Yet, in this ‘All American’ town, full of hard working families, a Playful City USA has police officers in combat gear shooting tear gas into their community. What could have gone wrong?
On August 9, 2014 a member of the police force in Ferguson made a lethal mistake. The police officer committed an error in judgment, then police officials declared war on the citizens of Ferguson to cover it up. A sincere, open, heart felt apology from the police force; admitting this was unacceptable behavior and an immediate investigation would follow, may have changed the community response to this tragedy.
The police officer that shot and murdered an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown was immediately sequestered away for his safety. The victim was hit six times; including twice in the head. The police officer has never admitted to any lapse in judgment, Instead, the police department has defended the actions of the officer, stating he had been injured in the exchange and required medical attention. The officer did not suffer life threatening injury.
Is it a lack of training that would result in this approach to handling an unarmed suspect? What can be done to enlighten these officials on the error of their procedures? The shooting has touched off violent protests in Ferguson Missouri, as anger, grief and frustration erupts in the community over what appears to be excessive force and police brutality. Follow the timeline of horrific events on democratic hub as the explosive protests continue in Ferguson MO :
Concerns are growing over police brutality in Denver and throughout the nation. On August 14, 2014, there was a citizens march against police brutality in Denver and other cities in the United States are doing the same; joining their voices to decry this pattern of excessive force by police against people of color.
Over 1 million dollars of tax payer money was paid out in 2011 to settle cases of police brutality in Denver.Yet, police brutality continues with another case in Denver, settled in July 2014 for an unprecedented amount of tax payers dollars going to appease the victims of police brutality. The Denver Post article below has details.
The police are perceived as the enemy by minorities and minorities are perceived as the enemy by police. That perception creates virulent sparks and legal battles everyday. When the two groups meet in conflict, police brutality and excessive force are often the case.
What are the statistics on police brutality against whites?
It is a race relations nightmare where aggression is based on color. Once in a uniform, the officer is one of them. Police brutality is doled out by black police officers against black citizens with enthusiasm equal to the white officers. Obama commented that he had to be careful not to a judge the situation in Ferguson without all the facts. Are there any facts that would mitigate shooting an unarmed teenager twice in the head when he is holding up his hands in surrender?
Respect for authority becomes disdain for abuse of power and the subsequent eruption of hate filled emotions can cut deep, turning communities into battlegrounds and leaving more scars on the face of America. Ferguson is in the news now, but alternet.org news says every 28 hours there is another victim.
A playful USA community can be turned into a battleground when police are not trained on how to handle sensitive situations and the community does not trust the authorities. Police brutality should never be accepted as the normal way of handling certain people.
Police work is a dangerous job with a huge responsibility to protect the citizens of this country not terrorize them. Could this growing adversarial approach, that minorities and police in America are taking towards each other, ignite a nationwide civil war? America knows how to handle war. Congress should consider economic sanctions against the police.