Nel's New Day

August 5, 2017

DDT: Week Twenty-Eight – New Sheriff in Town, Lawsuits

Catchup on State Department policies: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to not spend Congress-allocated $79.8 million for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation. All he needed to do was issue a memo of request for $60 million at the Pentagon and another $19.8 at the State Department. The money is lost if Tillerson doesn’t meet the September 30 deadline. Tillerson aide R.C. Hammond said that funding programs to oppose Russian media influence might anger Vladimir Putin.

A note on the proposed “merit-based” immigration bill: Amy Goodman points out that the requirements would have eliminated Friedrich Drumpf, grandfather of the man inaugurated as president in January; great-grandparents of senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, proponent of the bill at the press conference; great-grandfather of Dictator Donald Trump’s (DTT) counsel and spokesperson Kellyanne Conway.

The most surprising action taken in Congress before they went home at the end of the week was to block Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) from making any recess appointments. There is no recess although Congress is gone for a month. In the past Republicans blocked President Obama from making appointments through this tactic, but DDT is supposedly their own president. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) locked in nine “pro-forma” sessions each lasting about minute. Every senator had to agree to accomplish this move. They did—just before they left town a week before they promised.

DDT has decided to attack congressional Republicans after they took other actions against him such as limiting his ability to change sanctions against foreign countries—especially Russia—and introducing a bill that would also limit his ability to fire the special investigator. DDT’s tweets:

“Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us [healthcare]!”

On the first day of John Kelly as Chief in Staff and the last day of Anthony Scaramucci as Communications Director, the media reported that DDT dictated the memo stating that his son, Jr., had discussed only adoption in the son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer on June 9, 2016. The meeting was really about the DDT campaign obtaining “incriminating” information about Hillary Clinton. DDT had claimed that he knew nothing about the meeting, but he knew enough to dictate the nuanced, misleading memo that had to be revised several times as further information was revealed. Then DDT’s legal mouthpiece, Jay Sekulow, claimed that the president wasn’t involved in the memo. Summary: DDT’s team tries to collude with Russia; the president dictates a memo to lie to the public; and DDT’s lawyer tries to lie about DDT’s memo. Two days after Sekulow denied the participation on the part of DDT, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, press secretary, announced that DDT had “weighed in, offered suggestions, like any father would do.”

The Harvard Law School may have been prescient about Scaramucci’s firing. The new alumni directory has reported him as deceased. His lost job may force Scaramucci to pay capital gains if he makes $77 million from selling his company. If he had kept his job, he could have claimed that he was forced to divest any assets from a conflict of interest. The New York Post has also updated its cover.

DDT may have hired Scaramucci, but Kelly fired him, repeating the belief that DDT doesn’t fire anyone, not even on his former television program, The Apprentice.  Kelly is the first military man to occupy his position since Richard Nixon of Watergate fame hired Alexander Haig. Kelly had clarified that he is in charge and that everyone in the staff clears policy proposals, personnel recommendations, and advice from outsiders through him. The question is whether that includes those family meetings in the evening with DDT’s children and son-in-law.

Kelly also managed to fire another of Michael Flynn’s hires, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, who had stayed because of support from white supremacist Steve Bannon and DDT’s son-in-law Jared Kushner despite protests from National Security Defense Adviser H.R. McMaster. Cohen-Watnick, the third Iran hawk to go recently, had leaked classified information to House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), who then supposedly leaked the information back to the White House in a plot to falsely show that President Obama had eavesdropped on DDT.

Kelly’s background is supposedly discipline, and people on the left are saying that he’s a “great guy.” Yet he comes with his own baggage, most recently as “enabler-in-chief” in supporting the Muslim ban and deportation of innocent people after DDT had bragged about getting rid of the “bad hombres.” His history includes supervising Guantanamo prison during its times of torture. He may also go after the press because he has called leaks “close to treason.” Kelly also has a problem with understanding the Constitution: he has repeated the myth to Coast Guard cadets that the presidential oath of office was thrown together moments before George Washington was sworn in. He should read the U.S. Constitution—specifically Article II, Clause 8—that cites the oath.

The federal government is being inundated with lawsuits because of DDT’s cabinet secretaries and other officials. This week the D.C. circuit court ruled that EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt can’t delay Obama-era rules on fracking. The decision against Pruitt reaffirms a previous one from July. Other lawsuits against the EPA:

  • Eleven states: delaying rules to prevent dangerous chemical spills.
  • The NRDC: not enforcing punishments on Clean Water Act violators.
  • Health and agriculture groups: postponement of a pesticide decision that poisoned farmworkers.
  • Maryland: allowing Pennsylvania’s coal pollution to cross its border.
  • Judicial Watch: spreading propaganda on its social media accounts.
  • Youth: DDT’s inaction on climate change that places health and financial burdens on future generations.

Seven states and a dozen health and labor groups have also filed an administrative court challenge against the EPA after its refusal to ban the use of chlorpyrifos, a poisonous pesticide, on crops.

As of a week ago, the Brennan Center for Justice reported at least 17 legal actions against DDT’s new commission to suppress voting by collecting and assessing state voting lists. Although two lawsuits have failed in court, new ones use DDT’s own words and tweets in claims that he created the commission to back up his false theory that voter fraud is a massive problem. This case in Florida has caused the commission’s chair, VP Mike Pence, to tell states that they should wait to send him information until the case’s resolution.

San Diego may take DDT to court after DHS plans to bypass 37 environmental and other laws to build 15 miles of his “wall.” Legally, the agency can do this, but it plans to dodge environmental assessments of endangered species, migratory bird conservation, and the Clean Air Act. DDT has been allotted $1.6 billion which he hopes will pay for 74 of the 2,000 miles. DHS is paying $20 million for funding prototypes.

Chicago plans to sue DDT’s DOJ for withholding public safety grant money from so-called “sanctuary cities” with the claim that the federal government cannot legally take this action. AG Jeff Sessions had claimed that cities must claim that they are not sanctuary cities to get funds from the federal Byrne JAG grants. Sessions’ newly added mandates are to allow ICE access to detention facilities and provide ICE 48 hours’ notice before releasing “an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities.” He isolated four cities for punishment: Albuquerque, Baltimore, San Bernardino, and Stockton (CA).

DDT is also involved in a lawsuit by Paid Fox News commentator Rod Wheeler, who is suing Fox, reporter Malia Zimmerman, and DDT supporter Ed Butowsky for fabrications regarding its “political agenda for the Trump administration.” Wheeler alleges that Fox briefed DDT in advance about the false “news” report that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich provided documents to WikiLeaks. Fox tried to use the “fake news” to distract from DDT campaign’s collusion with Russia. Fox & Friends and Hannity pushed the story for weeks, and DDT pushed it to be released immediately because he was being scrutinized for firing former FBI director James Comey.

The biggest news about DDT and Russia this week is a D.C. grand jury as well asking the White House for documents connected to Michael Flynn and considering senior FBI officials as possible witnesses. Special investigator is using this grand jury as well as one in Virginia. In a case about obstruction of justice, the White House may be a crime scene. The D.C. grand jury has already sent subpoenas connected to the meeting at Trump Tower with Don Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and others concerning damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

How low has the person inaugurated has U.S. president sunk? Available on Amazon is toilet paper with DDT’s tweets for $11.99. A roll with DDT’s face is cheaper–$5.99.

DDT isn’t the only world leader in trouble. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is a suspect in fraud investigations, and his former chief of staff plans to testify against him. Accusations are favors in return for positive newspaper coverage and accepting bribes from Arnon Milchan in exchange for lobbying for a visa for the billionaire. There may be a contest to see whether DDT or Netanyahu does down first.

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December 4, 2014

Conservatives Blame Police Killings on Big Government

Some conservatives have joined progressives in decrying the lack of an indictment for a police officer who killed a 43-year-old Staten Island man with a chokehold. Last July, Daniel Pantaleo joined other police officers in taking down Eric Garner while he was standing on the street. Within minutes Garner was dead, as a video of the tragedy shows. After the grand jury released its decision not to indict Pantaleo, people across the country filled streets in protest.

Conservatives objection, however, comes from their belief that big government is responsible for Garner’s death. Without high cigarette taxes in New York, Garner would not have died, according to Lawrence McQuillan in the Washington Times:

“[E]very vote for higher taxes gives police increased authority to exert more force on citizens in more situations. Higher excise taxes inevitably lead to more violent clashes between police and smugglers…. Eliminating punitive cigarette taxes would shrink the underground market and help redirect police resources to combating real crimes of force and violence, rather than empowering police to employ violence in the name of tax collection.”

Those who question such taxes fail to understand the benefits of a law that gives people a better quality of life through reducing smoking. Libertarians argue that these taxes are an undemocratic intrusion into private lives. Yet McQuillan’s logic requires the elimination of all taxes because they use police resources “to employ violence in the name of tax collection.” He fails to understand that no taxes means no government services—including police.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), potential presidential candidate, followed the same distorted line of reasoning last night when he appeared on Chris Matthews MSNBC program, Hard Ball. After expressing initial dismay about the video of Garner crying out “I can’t breathe” multiple times, Rand concluded:

“I think it’s also important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes. So they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive. But then some politician also had to direct the police to say, ‘Hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.’ And for someone to die over breaking that law, there really is no excuse for it. But I do blame the politicians.”

Rand ignored the fact that Garner died because a police officer violated NYPD rules by putting Garner in a chokehold and holding his head against the ground.

It’s not the first time that Rand has exonerated police action by blaming “politicians” and “the war on drugs.” In a Time op-ed piece published after the grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson (MO), Rand wrote:

“Escaping the poverty trap will require all of us to relearn that not only are we our brother’s keeper, we are our own keeper. While a hand-up can be part of the plan, if the plan doesn’t include the self-discovery of education, work, and the self-esteem that comes with work, the cycle of poverty will continue.”

According to Rand, Brown was responsible for his own death because he failed to participate in “self-discovery.” Nowhere did Rand mention that Brown was only one month away from attending a vocational education school after having graduated from high school—those pieces of “education” and “work.”

Rand also got his information wrong. According to his op-ed, “In Ferguson, the precipitating crime was not drugs, but theft.” Much of the information released before the grand jury proved that Wilson didn’t know that Brown had participated in an alleged crime. Brown’s crime was jaywalking.

According to conservatives, the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner had nothing to do with racism: it was only because of the liberals’ insistence on the “nanny state.” Without taxes and handouts, the poor would disappear, and the police would have no need to kill those who they are employed to protect.

Yet conservatives ignore the problem of police across the United States who evidence racial prejudice in their community. Five officers in Montgomery County (OH) are being investigated but are still being paid, three of them remaining on the job, for such text messages as “I hate n*ggers. That is all” and “What do apples and black people have in common? They both hang from trees.”

Brown and Garner aren’t the only black men recently killed by white officers. John Crawford is dead after he shopped in Walmart and picked up a toy gun; Darrien Hunt was killed with multiple shots in his back for carrying a toy sword; and 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed in Cleveland because he openly carried a toy gun—legal in Ohio.

According to footage, Rice was shot within two seconds of the police officer’s pulling up in his car. The killer, Timothy Loehmann, had been judged unfit for police work two years ago by his then-employer, Independence (OH), that cited his “dismal” handgun performance. An investigation into Cleveland’s police division for the past 18 months revealed that officers “carelessly fire their weapons, placing themselves, subjects, and bystanders at unwarranted risk of serious injury or death.” Two examples were police shooting an unarmed hit-and-run suspect in the neck and firing 24 rounds in a residential neighborhood, hitting 14 parked cars and another six hits of houses. A police chase two years ago used at least 62 vehicles and 137 bullets to kill two unarmed black suspects, each sustaining over 20 gunshot wounds.

Last spring, a police officer, 47-year-old Frank Phillips, was photographed choking a drunken student at an end-of-the-year party at the University of Tennessee. Two other police officers handcuffed the man. Within hours of the photo being published in the UK Daily Mail, Phillips was fired, and the officers handcuffing him were placed on leave. The choked man is white and still alive.

Ethan Couch is still alive after he killed four people and injured two others in a drunken joy ride. He is now safe in an upscale rehab facility and facing another nine years of rehabilitation and probation. Kevin Miner, who kicked an officer and broke his hand when found hiding in a stranger’s basement, was arrested with no one shot or otherwise hurt. Cliven Bundy is considered a hero after he organized an army in Nevada that threatened government officials with high-powered weapons. All these men are white. White people are inconvenienced; black people are killed. Much more information is available at hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite where white people are recording their easy escapes from police action after committing crimes.

Satirist Andy Borowitz has a solution for the grand jury lack of indictment: supply them with eyes. Dorrinson is a mythical senator used in several of Borowitz’s columns. In this one he said:

“Body cameras are an important part of the solution. But I strongly believe that if you take video evidence and add eyes, the combination would be unstoppable.” [In response to the request for working brains:] “Yes, in a perfect world, all grand juries would have brains. But progress is an incremental thing. Let’s start with eyes and eventually work our way up to brains.”

Even former RNC chair Michael Steele understands the problem in the United States when white police officers can kill black people with impunity although evidence shows that the police are in the wrong. He said that “a black man’s life is not worth a ham sandwich” to grand juries and the prosecutors who are hired to fight for an indictment.

Those who are convinced that there was no racial motivation in no indictment in the Garner case should imagine the response from Fox and other far-right sources if the police officer had been black and the victim a wealthy white man.

December 3, 2014

White Entitlement Filmed in New York – No Indictment in Eric Garner’s Killing

Filed under: racism — trp2011 @ 8:47 PM
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Eric Garner was killed on July 19, 2014, in Staten Island (NY), just 23 days before Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson (MO). A video taken by a witness shows Garner in an illegal chokehold, repeating eleven times, “I can’t breathe.” The medical examiner ruled his death a “homicide by “chokehold” through compression of the neck and chest. Today, nine days after a grand jury refused to indict Brown’s killer, another grand jury failed to indict Garner’s killer, New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo, despite the evidence that Garner’s death broke both the law and came from a procedure banned by the city police department. Without an indictment, Pantaleo will most likely not face a public trial unless he is charged by federal or other authorities.

NYPD guidelines banned chokeholds in 1993, but many people have lodged complaints against the police department since then for continuing to use them. Over 1,000 complaints about NYPD’s use of chokeholds were registered between 2009 and 2013. Pantaleo has been sued twice for harassing people during arrests over the past two years; a 2012 case was settled for $30,000 when Pantaleo and other officers were accused of strip-searching two men.

The police approached the 43-year-old Garner after he helped break up a fight on a busy Staten Island street. He said, “I did nothing. I’m just here minding my own business, officer. … Please, just leave me alone!” Wearing cargo shorts and a baseball hat, Pantaleo, 29, came up behind him and put him in a chokehold. Garner never resisted arrest and wasn’t even told that he was being arrested. Three other police officers handcuffed him. Garner was unconscious within seconds and dead within minutes. The EMT’s called to the scene did not administer oxygen or try to resuscitate Garner.

garner from backGarner’s offense was the possibility that he was selling untaxed “loose” cigarettes. Police crackdowns on this offense have overwhelmingly been against blacks and Latinos. Unlike the case of Michael Brown, the grand jury was able to see a video from Ramsey Orta, eliminating conflicting eyewitness accounts. Orta was arrested, and Patrick Lynch, head of the biggest NYC police union, accused Orta of “demonizing good police work.” A grand jury did manage one indictment in the case—Ramsey Orta. According to police claims, the man who filmed police officers killing put an unloaded .25 caliber handgun into the waistband of 17-year-old Alba Lekaj. No fingerprints were found on the gun, and prosecutors are waiting for DNA tests on the weapon.

Gretchen Carlson, Fox News anchor, expressed deep concern about the outcome of the grand jury. She hoped that protests against the decision would not affect the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony. Fox legal commentator Arthur Aidala claimed that Garner was not really choked, that the police used a “seat belt maneuver” to take him to the ground.

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Another “expert” spoke out about the case. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) knows that the police did not kill Garner. He said that Garner died because he was so “obese” that he had asthma and a heart condition. The chokehold had nothing to do with his death, according to King. He also said that Garner could not have repeated “I can’t breathe,” because “if you can’t breathe, you can’t talk.”

Other members of New York’s congressional delegation, including Reps. Hakeem Jeffries and Charlie Rangel, did ask for the Department of Justice to investigate Garner’s killing. New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand also called for an investigation. Late this afternoon, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the DoJ would start a federal civil rights investigation regarding Garner’s death.

The grand jury surrounding Garner’s killing has appalling parallels to the one covering Michael Brown’s death. Just as Wilson described how he killed Brown, Pantaleo talked about killing Garner because DA Daniel Donovan brought Pantaleo in front of the grand jury to testify with no cross-examination. In most grand juries, prosecutors present only select evidence to establish “probable cause” for an indictment; the potential defendant is by definition the prosecutor’s legal adversary.

Jason Leventhal, former Staten Island assistant district attorney said:

“It’s very challenging for a local prosecutor, who oftentimes wins elections with the support of local police officers, and works very closely with local police officers each and every day, to bring a case against a cop. The internal pressures that a local prosecutor receives from their brothers in law enforcement – these are their partners working together everyday, so it creates a very challenging environment for a prosecutor to seek and indictment, let alone a conviction, of a police officer.”

Pantaleo spoke in front of the grand jury for two hours on November 21. Stuart London, Pantaleo’s attorney said, “He was gratified to tell his story, he was relieved.” DA Robert McCulloch gave Darren Wilson four hours to tell his personal story to the Missouri grand jury with no cross-examination.

In both cases, neither evidence nor testimony was subject to cross-examination or hostile scrutiny.  Typically prosecutors get an indictment from grand juries if they wish. Marjorie Cohn, a criminal defense attorney and professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, wrote, “[When] the prosecutor handled the Wilson case in a radically different manner, this signaled to the grand jurors that they were not expected to indict. And they did not.” The same thing happened with the Garner grand jury. By presenting a large quantity of information to the grand jury, both DAs felt free to say that it wasn’t their fault because they put all the evidence in front of the grand jury.

Since Darren Wilson was not indicted for killing Michael Brown in Ferguson (MO), President Obama promised $75 million to purchase 50,000 body cameras for police officers. At this time, only 70,000 of the more than 630,000 police officers in the nation wear body cameras. The lack of indictment for Pantaleo demonstrates that the problem may be grand juries and district attorneys, not the lack of cameras. Clearly, he used an illegal chokehold to kill Garner, but there was no indictment against him. Over 20 years ago, the same thing happened with handheld video footage of the savage beating of Rodney King: police abuse and brutality on camera may not lead to convicting abusive cops.

December 2, 2014

Ferguson: White Entitlement Defeats Justice, Part II

People all over the United States are still protesting the grand jury’s lack of indictment against Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown almost four months ago. St. Louis DA Robert McCulloch firmly believed that Wilson is innocent and manipulated the evidence to present that case. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) will not appoint a new prosecutor, but, according to state law, Maura McShane, presiding judge of the 21st Circuit, can appoint a special prosecutor. There is a precedent for this action:  in State v. Copeland (1996), a Missouri court replaced the prosecutor because the judge “sensed that [the prosecutor’s] sympathies for [the defendant] may have prevented him from being an effective advocate for the state.”

There are many reasons that there should be an indictment to send Brown’s killing to a trial.

After the shooting, Wilson removed evidence by washing the blood of his body before there was any investigation. His actions allowed the spread of rumors about the extent of his injuries. Wilson’s gun was not tested for fingerprints, allowing Wilson to claim that Brown had grabbed the gun. In fact, Wilson didn’t immediately turn over his weapon to investigators. He left it in his holsters, took it back to the station, and put it in an evidence bag himself. The shooter was the last person with chain-of-custody control of the murder weapon.

The first officer who interviewed Wilson took no notes; he gave testimony over a month later from memory. The interview came after Wilson was taken to the hospital. “I didn’t take notes because at that point in time I had multiple things going through my head besides what Darren was telling me,” the officer stated. Wilson changed his story between the first interview and later testimony. Originally, he said he didn’t know that Brown may have been a suspect in a theft from the local liquor store. In the original interview, he said he didn’t know that Brown gave to Dorian Johnson but later reported that he saw the cigarillos, leading him to believe that Brown was the thief.

McCulloch demonstrated a possible conflict of interest. As president of The Backstoppers, Inc., he was involved in fundraising for Wilson with a T-shirt drive featuring a picture of Missouri with the statement “I SUPPORT OFFICER D. WILSON” to raise money for the Darren Wilson Defense Fund.

The lack of indictment, although not surprising, was highly unlikely. Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich,” a statement backed up by data. Of the 162,000 federal cases prosecuted in 2010, grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them. Wilson’s case was in state, not federal, court, but a lack of indictment is extremely rare in those courts as well. “If the prosecutor wants an indictment and doesn’t get one, something has gone horribly wrong,” said Andrew D. Leipold, a University of Illinois law professor who has written critically about grand juries. “It just doesn’t happen.”

The exception to these statistics is police shootings. A recent Houston Chronicle investigation found that “police have been nearly immune from criminal charges in shootings” in Houston and other large cities in recent years. In Harris County (TX) grand juries haven’t indicted a Houston police officer since 2004; in Dallas, grand juries returned on indictment out of 81 reviewed shootings between 2008 and 2012.

McCulloch set up the grand jury for no indictment when he presented “all evidence.” The usual procedure is to present only evidence necessary to establish probable cause. McCulloch also allowed Wilson to testify for hours in defense of his actions. The DA admitted his team acted in Wilson’s defense when he said that prosecutors “challenged” and “confronted” witnesses to discredit their accounts.

At the very least, Wilson should have been indicted for negligence, based on documentation. McCulloch, however, had given no instructions to the jury. He just presented the case like any defense attorney would, adding a tremendous amount of non-related material.

Not considered by the grand jury was whether Wilson could have avoided killing Brown.  The “de-escalation” training in other parts of the country has reduced the unnecessary use of force and improved safety for both officers and civilians. De-escalation means that multiple officers respond because of just one person, calmly introducing oneself, listening, and using body-worn cameras that helps both officers and civilians to behave better. Instead of waiting for backup, Wilson got out of his car and pursued the Brown after stopping him for jaywalking. As a police officer, Wilson had a nightstick, mace, gun, and self-defense training. The question is why he would leave his car without backup and chase a man who terrified him.

The social media is not the only source of discontent in the way that McCulloch handled the case. The National Bar Association has released a statement pointing out the flaws in how the AG handled the case. It is pushing for the Department of Justice to continue its own investigation.

Past events have shown police that they can harass and bully people—especially blacks—with no retribution. The lack of indictment in the Ferguson case reassures police that they can continue to do so while the false information distributed to the public makes people comfortable with this, and future, killings.

Ben Carson, the first person to become a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, blames the women’s liberation movement for Brown’s killing. According to Carson, women are incapable of teaching their children to respect authority. The result is a high number of black youth killed by police or incarcerated. He believes that Michael Brown could still be alive if we women had not fought for our rights. Warning: Caron is a neurosurgeon. Anyone seeing him professionally should be warned to get a second opinion. There certainly should be a second opinion on the grand jury that failed to indict Darren Wilson.

Places such as Ferguson and St. Louis County have the opportunity to change their strategies after the killing of Michael Brown, and an 11-year-old explained how this can be done. Eleven days after Brown was killed while protesters faced tear gas and arrests, Marquis Govan spoke to the St. Louis County Council. He said:

“The people of Ferguson, I believe, don’t need tear gas thrown at them. I believe they need jobs. I believe the people of Ferguson, they don’t need to be hit with batons. What they need is people to be investing in their businesses. You’re paying attention to the looting and things like that, when the real issues aren’t being solved. There’s a reason why those people are out there.”

Marquis was in foster care before his great-grandmother took custody of him when he was two years old. She took him with her when she went to vote, and he said he began to think about politics when he was five. Marquis is one of those people who can make a difference—if he lives long enough.

marquisOn the same day that Marquis spoke to the council, Eugene Robinson wrote, “Anyone who thinks race is not a factor in these fatal encounters should have to cite examples of unarmed young white men being killed by trigger-happy police or self-appointed vigilantes.”

People want to think that we live in a “post-racial society” because those who attempted to quiet the Ferguson protests- the Missouri highway patrol commander, the U.S. attorney general, and the president—are black.  Yet millions of blacks are blocked from achieving this high level through failed schools, lack of high-paying blue-collar jobs, and racial bias in arrests and imprisonment. Brown had managed to graduate from high school with no police record and head to technical college. A police officer stopped him for jaywalking and then ran after him and killed him. That’s what happens to many young black men in the United States. Brown is dead, and Wilson was not punished. How can anyone be surprised that the end result is rage?

As Gary Younge wrote, “In Ferguson the violence of the state created the violence of the street.”

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