Ferguson fact of the day

by on August 14, 2014 at 9:44 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

Violent crime rate in 2012

Ferguson 217.3

U.S. Average 214.0

The link, with further data, is here.  Property crime in Ferguson has been much higher than the national average, in one year (2004) violent crime in Ferguson was lower than the national average.  An index for all crimes in Ferguson has fallen by about 25% since 2000.

The pointer there is from @Bitspitter.

Abe Froman August 14, 2014 at 9:52 am

This feels like Radley Balko’s big moment. He’s been more right than many of us realized…

Alexei Sadeski August 15, 2014 at 6:48 am

Only those who oppose the will of the people have anything to fear, comrade.

Abe Froman August 14, 2014 at 9:53 am

“big moment” means, of course, that we’re suddenly all realizing he’s been extremely prescient. Not that this is a good thing… Obviously the militarization of US police forces is a much greater problem than we had realized.

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 9:54 am

Well, I doubt that the presence of heavily armed police has contributed to any additional violent crime – well, at least officially confirmed violent crimes – http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-ferguson-washington-post-reporter-wesley-lowery-gives-account-of-his-arrest/2014/08/13/0fe25c0e-2359-11e4-86ca-6f03cbd15c1a_story.html

And even more intriguing is the difference in police response in Missouri, and to this incident in Texas – ‘here is new information about Douglas Leguin, the man police say tried to ambush officers and firefighters Monday by luring them to a North Dallas neighborhood and firing at them with an assault rifle.

An American flag flies upside-down at Leguin’s home in Corinth. That can be variously interpreted as a distress signal… or a political protest.

“Detectives from the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the Dallas Police Department are looking at Mr. Leguin for his anti-government views,” said police spokesman Maj. Jeff Cotner.

So far they have not found any definitive affiliation with any group or anti-government movement.

Neighbors said the Douglas Leguin they know is friendly; he waves at them and seems like an ordinary guy. But Dallas police say he opened fire on first responders and even had explosive devices.

As Dallas firefighters responded to a lawn on fire on North 40 Place in North Dallas, a man identified as Leguin, 60, took aim with an assault weapon.

“Clear fire up in the yard, but he waved us on by and shot about 10-15 rounds as drove by,” firefighters reported by radio as they arrived

And as the first Dallas police officers arrived, they, too, were in the crosshairs; a squad car suffered two bullet holes.

Police said Leguin was ranting against the U.S. government as he took aim at the first responders.

“So far, all we are getting is, he is tired of the U.S… he is tired of the government, and he wants to make his own.”‘

http://www.wfaa.com/news/crime/dallas-police-ambush-suspect-may-have-anti-government-leanings-270994211.html

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 9:55 am

Damn – ‘There is….’

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 11:43 am

You mean, “Damn, I meant ‘rifle’, not ‘assault rifle.”

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 11:47 am

Nope – ‘here is’ sounds quite colloquial for a Virginian, while ‘There is….’ is actually a technically accurate citation from the linked article.

Jeff August 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

What does this have to do with your personal vendetta against GMU and Mercatus?

Widmerpool August 14, 2014 at 10:31 am

Patience. PA will draw the connection sooner or later.

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 10:50 am

None whatsoever.

Much like my comments about e-mail, Germany, and Daimler have nothing to do with GMU.

Some people do seem to have a very narrow focus in how they view text, though.

Rick Hull August 14, 2014 at 10:56 am

Congratulations on contributing to the discussion without a prior_agenda.

Andrew' August 15, 2014 at 8:39 am

” PA will draw the connection sooner or later.”

No he won’t. He never has. He never will. He can’t.

The truth is, he is mad at academia probably for doing what academia does and probably has been far less screwed by it than me or many other people here.

Craig August 14, 2014 at 10:45 am

Douglas Leguin, an armed lunatic who actually fired rounds at police, was of course taken alive.

This is a very important pattern to pay attention to: when, and against whom, the police use deadly force. A cell phone or a wallet is regularly enough to get a person of color shot down by the police.

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Regularly?

Please identify ten such incidents.

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

‘Please identify ten such incidents.’

Well, in Missouri, there is this –

‘Then they walked away. Moments later, the police reemerged, telling us that we had to leave. I pulled my phone out and began recording video.

An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, “Stop recording.”

I said, “Officer, do I not have the right to record you?”

He backed off but told me to hurry up. So I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand.

As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information.

One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.

“Go another way,” he said.

As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”
Police used tear gas and smoke bombs to repel crowds who threw Molotov cocktails during another violent night in the wake of the shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. (AP)

Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.’ (Washintgon Post link noted above.)

Of course, that was only the opinion of a journalist fairly confident that national attention and some of the best legal services available in the U.S. would be available.

Willitts August 15, 2014 at 11:37 am

I asked him to identify ten incidents of a person of color being shot down because of a wallet or cell phone.

I’ll give you one: Amadou Diallo.

Nine to go.

And I was being charitable with ten. Ten such incidents in our history can hardly be described as “regular.”

Last night, a woman in California was just shot threatening to shoot police with a cordless drill. It happens. This does not indicate regular police abuse in general much less against a particular ethnic group.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm

A cell phone or a wallet is regularly enough to get a person of color shot down by the police.

Again, justifiable homicides are unusual (about 260 per year on average in this country, or one a year in an ordinary sized metropolis like Louisville or Omaha). Not all the perpetrators are cops, not all those shot are black. (What you mean by ‘a cell phone or a wallet is enough’ only you can clarify).

Somehow, this was treated as a local crime story:

http://rochester.twcnews.com/content/news/490926/jury-finds-roderick-scott-not-guilty/

Willitts August 15, 2014 at 11:38 am

Glad that someone does their homework. Thanks.

HL August 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

zzzzzz

The Other Jim August 14, 2014 at 12:03 pm

>So far they have not found any definitive affiliation with any group or anti-government movement.

Gotta love that “so far” and “definitive.” What they have found is jack shit, but the media insists that you suspect that such findings are forthcoming, or possibly that good leads are already being tracked down but are not (yet!!!) conclusive.

In other news, so far no one has found any definitive proof that prior_approval is an opium distributor for the Taliban.

msgkings August 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I wish he was, he’d be far less of a bore.

dave smith August 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

I wish those crime statistics came with reported standard deviations.

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 12:29 pm

They are quite high. For example, the charts show the number of murders ranging between 1 and 6. Six could be six separate incidents, ie wave of violence, or one mass murder. The town’s population is also very small. Still, crime heat maps are very effective at allocating police resources.

Ed August 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

Someone made the point that the median age of the black population is 28 in Ferguson compared to the median age of 46 for the White population. Which makes intuitive sense since Ferguson is a white flight town.

If you consider that 30% of town is white the violent crime stats for town are probably masks the degree of black criminality in the town to outside observers looking at top line stats. However cops on the ground would be under no such illusions.

Todd August 14, 2014 at 10:02 am

….in their armored personnel carriers.

Millian August 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

LOL. Clutching at straws to insist that the black people MUST be criminal subhumans, they MUST be!

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 10:17 am

The town appears to have been a collecting pool for ordinary working class households so does not have the sort of disorder you’d see in slums. However, intermediate felonies are a great deal more common there than you’d ordinarily see in a suburban township. If you can find an inner city neighborhood with disorders of like frequency to the average of the whole, Ferguson is about like that. Not ideal, but you can put up with it.

The town was about 50% black ca. 1998 and is now around 67% black, so the demographic shift has occurred quite rapidly, but there has not been much of a secular trend in crime rates of any type in the last 15 years.

Ed August 14, 2014 at 10:36 am

The high school the young man graduated from is rated the most violent in the area and 2nd most in the state behind a school in Kansas City.

http://m.stltoday.com/news/local/education/normandy-high-the-most-dangerous-school-in-the-area/article_49a1b882-cd74-5cc4-8096-fcb1405d8380.html?mobile_touch=true

It’s not a stretch to believe Blacks in this town are committing and are capable of committing a disproportionate amount of crime.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 10:44 am

No doubt disproportionate, but the town as a whole is not that bad and not getting worse.

One problem you have in St. Louis as you do just about anywhere is fragmented law enforcement. You have a town police department with about 70 employees. They have to call in help ad hoc and I suspect that’s why the response to these disorders has seemed so ineffectual. A metropolitan police department with a good institutional culture could be quite beneficial.

As for the schools, it’s the social ideology of the apparat informed by civil practice lawyers which prevents addressing the problem, along with the public insistence on making use of public agency as a vehicle for delivery of schooling rather than voucher-financed philanthropy. You need to break the apparat and the bar on the wheel.

affenkopf August 14, 2014 at 3:06 pm

So is the police in this town.

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 11:49 am

A violent crime rate ten times higher than non-Hispanic whites is not “clutching” at anything. The horrendous statistics speak for themselves.

Do you realize blacks commit a MAJORITY of homicides in this country? Do you realize that most of their victims are black?

Cracking down on black crime is coming to the aid of blacks. This, of course, is not an opinion about whether or not this cop involved shooting is justified. That is a matter for investigators and a jury.

The Other Jim August 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Let me guess, Millian: you only break out your straws when complaining that putting people in prison for committing crimes is… unfair to blacks?

libert August 14, 2014 at 10:18 am

I’m sorry but I don’t follow your logic. It seems to be:

1) Ferguson is disproportionately black
2) Ferguson’s crime rate is about average
3) Therefore, black people in Ferguson have relatively high degrees of criminality.

If anything, don’t the premises imply the opposite conclusion? That is, Ferguson is disproportionately black but does not have a disproportionately high crime rate. This suggests that “black” is not strongly associated with “crime”.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

No, black is associated with crime. It’s just that not every subset of the black population is notably troublesome.

Ferguson has ordinary levels of disorder. They are higher than you would expect in a suburban township outside the South. More like a passable and predominantly working class inner city neighborhood.

Jan August 14, 2014 at 11:39 am

Your last sentence is wrong and your second to last sentence may be incorrect as well.

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 11:51 am

You have an annoying habit of declaring statements “wrong” without additional information. You also have an annoying habit of being wrong about other people being wrong.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 2:16 pm

The following are descriptive statistics on Ferguson, Mo., Rochester, N.Y. (the state’s most crime-ridden municipality), and five old industrial suburbs in Upstate New York (i.e. the cheap seats).

(Incidents per 100,000 population of Rape, Robbery, Assault, Auto Theft, and Burglary, median over 2000-12).

Ferguson, Mo [33, 211, 212, 922, 1168]
Rochester, NY. [47, 438, 520, 1087, 1262]
Johnson City, NY [47, 78, 318, 69, 679]
Tonawanda, NY [19, 32, 151, 99, 277]
Lackawanna, NY [35, 98, 412, 169, 683]
East Rochester, NY [16, 37, 120, 77, 135]
Solvay, NY [0, 51, 131, 137, 559]
Watervliet, N.Y. [11, 106, 208, 152, 487]

Jan August 14, 2014 at 5:58 pm

What do little Upstate NY towns have to do with passable inner city neighborhoods?

I’d think most would agree with me in thinking inner city neighborhoods are, you know, part of big cities. Come on.

Jan August 14, 2014 at 6:04 pm

And if you want to argue those are what people think of as cities (Rochester, I’ll give ya), please show us the specific working class neighborhood comparisons you reference. Otherwise, you’re just arguing that Ferguson is similar in crime to other towns like it, which…no surprise there and I agree with you.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Those are not ‘little Upstate towns’. Those are old industrial suburbs of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, and Albany. They are analogues to Ferguson.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Otherwise, you’re just arguing that Ferguson is similar in crime to other towns like it, which…no surprise there and I agree with you.

I get it, you’re innumerate. The frequency of burglary in Ferguson exceeds that of these Upstate suburbs by factors ranging from 1.8x to 8x. Auto theft it exceeds by factors ranging from 3.5x to 13x. Robbery by 2x to 6.5x. With assault and rape, it’s in the mid-range of the others.

With regard to burglary and auto theft, the frequency in Ferguson is about 10% lower than that of Rochester. Central Rochester has a population of about 100,000 and comprehends a complex of slums which are just about the state’s most viperous, sporting homicide rates that exceed those of any community district in New York City, including Ocean Hill / Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Jan August 15, 2014 at 6:31 am

Ok, did we compare Ferguson to any working class inner city neighborhoods here (which was your original point)? You’re talking about suburbs of middling Upstate cities.

Beliavsky August 14, 2014 at 10:18 am

What is the murder rate in Ferguson? The murder rate is harder to fudge than the rates for other crimes, which may not be reported.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 10:23 am

A median of 4.7 per 100,000 over the last dozen years or so, with no secular trend. A bit below average.

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm

Hard to fudge but also of little value. Homicide rates are notoriously volatile. The violent and property crime rates are more useful.

When you get to large cities, homicide rates become more stable, but they too can be affected by a mass homicide event.

dstraws August 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm

This is not hard. If there are too few people there won’t be a lot of murders. Thus the murder rate will be volatile due to the effect of 1 more murder when there are normally 3. Its not volatile when there are a million people and a hundred murders a year. Then it takes more than 10 murders to create the volatility.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

That’s the median over 12 years.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

It’s a reasonable inference that perpetrators are predominantly black given the demographics of the town; 80% would be a conservative guess. The thing is, there has not been much of a secular trend in crime rates as the town’s population has grown increasingly black. My guess would be that whites are moving away because differences in manners between the two subpopulations generates a certain amount of mundane friction that the whites in town would just as soon not deal with. Applied mathematicians and urban geographers have studied the question in the past both with observations and simulations and you can get fairly intense racial clumping on the landscape with only modest preferences re who you would prefer to have as a neighbor. It does not require much inter-group hostility at all.

Phil August 14, 2014 at 11:13 am

Man got shot and killed for walking in the street, but this makes intuitive sense no doubt.

The Other Jim August 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Yeah, I’m thinking you left some things out.

j r August 14, 2014 at 11:49 am

The way you people torture statistics ought to be a crime.

msgkings August 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

A lot of the ‘you people’ you are addressing don’t think torture is a crime.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

If you take the median over the last dozen years or so, the homicide rate in Ferguson is about 5% below the national mean and the index crime rate is about 60% above the national mean. However, the index crime rate is driven to a great extent by the subset of larcenies they use to construct the index, and that rate in Ferguson is unremarkable. The frequency of the intermediate felonies like rape, robbery, burglary, and auto theft are characteristic of a generic central city neighborhood (not a slum neighborhood) and are roughly 3x what you’d expect in a suburban township outside the South.

charlie August 14, 2014 at 10:28 am

If you look at the map, Ferguson has a couple of bad neighbors. Jennings and Berkley.

PD Shaw August 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

It’s likely that in another metro, Ferguson is part of the central city. The City of St. Louis seceded from the County of St. Louis in 1877, effectively freezing the city borders when the population was 310,000 city and 27,000 rural.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 10:38 am

Depends. It’s not a front-line suburb. It’s one rank removed. In New York, central city borders were frozen in 1924, so your core cities garner more of the metropolitan settlement (45% in NYC, about 30% in Rochester and Buffalo, about 40% in Syracuse, 35% in Albany (with 3 cores). In St. Louis, you have about 15% in the core, similar to Boston and Washington.

PD Shaw August 14, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Cannot be certain, but Chicago had some of its largest annexations in the 1880s and 1890s, and its generally the working class communities that get swallowed-up. Don’t know how easy MO law makes annexation though. A lot of diagnosis of St. Louis’ problems stem from the premature freezing of its borders, one of which you mention earlier: the creation of a lot of small communities without resources to provide community services.

Brenton August 14, 2014 at 11:09 am

If you take the median. It’s a small suburb with a small sample size for a crime such as homicide. A less disingenuous figure would be to take the homicide average of the last dozen years or so, which was almost twice the national average.

B August 14, 2014 at 10:22 am

Leimert Park, a historically black neighborhood in Los Angeles, also has a high property crime rate. I was thinking of moving there last year and was stunned. While violent crime is roughly similar to surrounding neighborhoods, the ones with a majority of blacks seemed to have a significantly higher property crime rate.

http://maps.latimes.com/neighborhoods/neighborhood/leimert-park/crime/

Is this a national trend?

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 10:30 am

No. The association between race and crime has always been less intense re property crimes than re violent crimes, particularly when you control for income and social stratum.

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 11:03 am

Almost as if Art Deco has taken this German Sprichwort to heart – ‘Gelegenheit macht Diebe’ (‘opportunity makes thieves’)

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 11:56 am

Crime is strongly associated with opportunities for crime. It is well established that population density, as a proxy for opportunity, and good weather are statistically significant in nearly every analysis of crime rates.

He specifically said “association” twice. Why are you implying that he implied causation?

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Well, that is the idea behind the German proverb … and let us be honest, Art Deco has little to do with Germany.

Ed August 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

An interesting aside the threat of burglary figured prominently in why Zimmerman approached Trayvon. Zimmerman’s development had increasingly become more diverse and burglary incidents rose as well. The vast majority of the known burglary suspects were Black. In one report a Black resident said it was “Black boys robbing the place.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/25/us-usa-florida-shooting-zimmerman-idUSBRE83O18H20120425

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 2:26 pm

An interesting aside the threat of burglary figured prominently in why Zimmerman approached Trayvon.

There is no witness account that states Zimmerman ‘approached’ Martin. Zimmerman was loitering about on a walkway perpendicular to and connecting two streets and between them a walkway which runs the length of the alleyway behind the townhouses fronting on each of these streets. It’s quite clear from his phone call to the dispatcher that Martin ran off down that alleyway while Zimmerman was still in his truck and Zimmerman did not know where he was and never caught sight of him again during the course of his telephone conversation with the dispatcher.

charlie August 14, 2014 at 10:26 am

Ferguson is a failure of civil service protection.

In a better world, they could have fired all the white cops, replaced them with black ones. Voila! Problem solved.

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 10:53 am

Nope – they needed to get rid of the bad cops (and the idea of militarization, but that is broader issue), and only use good ones for policing the community.

MikeDC August 14, 2014 at 11:27 am

As with everything else, the real problem is how to get the service you’d like out of employees who aren’t as good as you’d like. At the margin, the replacement cop is unlikely to be any better because the supply of cops follows the same rules as the supply of everything else.

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Not really. Replacement is a phenomenon of dynamic supply and demand. A new cop might be far better trained and more ethical than an existing cop, especially if training and recruiting have improved.

Replacing an officer only means that the marginal police officer has changed, but that officer might be better than the previous one.

Also, “better” exists along many dimensions and in accordance with a poorly behaved social preference ordering. It’s not clear at all what replacement will yield.

MikeDC August 14, 2014 at 1:20 pm

LOL, c’mon. “a phenomenon of dynamic supply and demand”?

A new cop might be worse trained and less ethical than an existing cop too. ‘Worse’ “exists along many dimensions and in accordance with a poorly behaved social preference ordering”.

So yes, it is clear what replacement will yield… the marginal cop. Maybe a little better, maybe a little worse. Fundamentally the same.

Trying to argue the marginal cop is going to be that much different is a losing (and downright uneconomic) argument.

The much better and more economically sound argument is that a policy of certain replacement and other high penalties (e.g. stripping away civil and criminal immunity) for egregious misbehavior creates an incentive for all cops to modify their behavior.

People are people, and you won’t find fundamentally better ones readily available. But you can create better systems that compel better behavior out of the imperfect ones we’ve got.

Mike G August 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm

If you fired and replaced all the cops, replacements might be same.

If you identified the low 10% of cops (“bad cops” per comment), and replaced with average cops (a mix of good, okay, bad)….average replacement would beat bad incumbent, no?

Willitts August 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

@MikeDC

Yeah, dynamic supply and demand.

You were making a naive statement based on comparative statics. Yes, of course the replacment cop will be worse under those extreme assumptions.

Join the rest of us in reality. The cop who shot this kid isnt necessarily a bad or the worst cop. The cop who replaces him might be better or worse even when imposing stringent assumptions about supply and demand in each period.

Your argument basically rules out organizational change/improvement which is demonstrably false. Changes in leadership are frequently effective at changing team performance with no other changes in the team.

Contrary to the straw man you built in your reply, I was not arguing that police forces will necessarily improve over time. I was refuting your specious argument that the marginal cop wouldnt make matters better.

MikeDC August 17, 2014 at 3:07 pm

@ Willitts,
Go re-read my posts as many times as you need to in order to understand that I wasn’t saying what you think I was saying. Then re-read your posts and understand that you weren’t saying what you thought you were saying.

Boonton August 14, 2014 at 9:26 pm

The problem isn’t bad cops at the bottom but bad leadership at the top. The force should be disbanded and those cops not guilty of crimes should be reassigned to other police forces.

Art Deco August 15, 2014 at 11:08 am

Would you know the name of the police chief without looking it up?

Flocccina August 25, 2014 at 9:09 pm

+1
Only gov. would be so lax regarding efficacy to have 94% white cops in a city with a population that is over 60% black. If anything because blacks are more likely to be interact with the police the police should be more black that the population. And yes for the sake of efficacy you might need to have layoffs. If the laid off cops are good they should be able to find work elsewhere.

gunther August 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm

How is a week of widespread looting tabulated in the crime stats? Will every incident have a separate police report? Do people even bother reporting it to police when there are dozens of cops standing there while it occurs?

It would be interesting to see the effect of recent events on the Ferguson crime index for 2014.

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 12:25 pm

In reference to how several law abiding members of the American media were treated, let me change just a couple of words – ‘How is a week of widespread police power abuse tabulated in the crime stats?’

The answer, actually, is pretty much ‘as swept as deeply as possible under the rug as officially possible.’

Willitts August 14, 2014 at 12:36 pm

In a civil disturbance, “law abiding” means doing what the police tell you to do.

That’s not to say I condone any particular unlawful acts by police.

Chris H August 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Unless the police are telling you to do thing they have no authority to do. Such as telling you to stop filming them when you are out of the way of their work.

Willitts August 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm

I agree with you in general, but I don’t have sufficient facts to agree with you on your specific grievance. I suspect you don’t have sufficient facts either.

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 2:13 pm

‘In a civil disturbance, “law abiding” means doing what the police tell you to do.’

Let me quote again, for emphasis – ‘One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.

“Go another way,” he said.

As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”

Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.’

Willitts August 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm

First, this is one person’s account of what happened.

Second, you presume this one account is truthful.

Third, every one of these quotes, taken as true, can be interpreted differently than the way they have been framed. For example, if the reporters were in danger, in the opinion of the police, then it is wholly appropriate to order them to stop filming and to get out of the area.

Unlike you, I am not drawing conclusions here. I’m perfectly willing to accept the premise that cops were abusive of both persons and rights. I take the allegations above seriously and think they ought to be investigated. You’ve already made up your mind…from Germany.

I have put 11 cops behind bars. What does your scorecard look like, cupcake?

undone August 14, 2014 at 1:31 pm

@prior_approval, with regards to “…widespread police power abuse…” : Maybe there has been some overstepping of authority by police, maybe extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.

I don’t think anyone can rationalize the looting, vandalism, and arson as being anything other than criminal activity. But, go ahead and give it your best shot, convince me otherwise.

prior_approval August 14, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Well, here is an eye witness account of how the police have veen protecting the public –

‘For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald’s a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown’s shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby. But inside there’s WiFi and outlets, so it’s common for reporters to gather there.

That was the case Wednesday. My phone was just about to die, so as I charged it, I used the time to respond to people on Twitter and do a little bit of a Q&A since I wasn’t out there covering the protests.

As I sat there, many armed officers came in — some who were dressed as normal officers, others who were dressed with more gear.

Initially, both Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and I were asked for identification. I was wearing my lanyard, but Ryan asked why he had to show his ID. They didn’t press the point, but one added that if we called 911, no one would answer.

Then they walked away. Moments later, the police reemerged, telling us that we had to leave. I pulled my phone out and began recording video.

An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, “Stop recording.”

I said, “Officer, do I not have the right to record you?”

He backed off but told me to hurry up. So I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand.

As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information.

One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.

“Go another way,” he said.

As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”’

Of course, some people might argue that either reporter was a potential looter – which means they are small l libertarians, I guess.

Art Deco August 14, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Or maybe that he’d been told to leave toute-de-suite and was dawdling.

ladderff August 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The police accurately regard the media as their enemy. Stop acting like we’re all supposed to atop breathing when they get a chance to treat them as such, and take it.

undone August 14, 2014 at 6:23 pm

@prior_approval, I believe you misunderstood my question.

Brandon August 14, 2014 at 9:12 pm

There hasn’t been a week of widespread looting but don’t let facts get in the way of some good ol’ fashioned racism that seems to have found a welcoming home here at the MR comments section

Willitts August 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Just a mass liberation of enslaved basketball shoes.

Massimo August 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Traditionally, low/moderate crime stats will prompt the left to argue that aggressive policing is out of proportion to the dangers of crime, while the right will argue that the low crime rate is a direct result of the same aggressive policing. I’m somewhat disappointed that the OP doesn’t address this in any way.

Ed August 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Well the cops will probably stand down tonight. So the media will be proven wrong or vindicated.

morrissey August 15, 2014 at 12:26 am

It was just a black guy

Axa August 15, 2014 at 8:14 am

There may be a problem with crime rate statistics. It’s the number of crimes(murder, rape, robbery) per 100K people. The unknown is who’s responsible for those crimes, at least it’s not shown in the data. The link black-higher crime rate is established by looking at the crime rate (crime/100K) and then looking at demographics (% blacks/total pop.). Thus in average, blacks commit more crime than whites. This is a characteristic of the population, not of individuals.

Fine, there’s a higher crime rate (crime/100K), but why? 1) More crimes per criminal (crimes/criminal), 2) higher criminal population (black criminals/total black population), 3) there’s no such thing as law-abiding blacks. all of them are convicted at least for one crime in their lives, that causes the higher crime rate.

If the cause is #1, black criminals are simply more productive than white criminals. However, law abiding-blacks are just as peaceful as law-abiding whites. I couldn’t find this statistic, perhaps privacy issues.

If the cause is #2, it only means that there the fraction of black criminals in black population is higher compared to white population. Incarceration rate is a proxy for this. This statistic only means that the probability of encountering a criminal in a set of hundred blacks is higher than in a hundred whites. Anyway, law-abiding blacks are just as peaceful as whites.

The cause is not #3, black incarceration rate is higher but not 100%. Thus, there must be law-abiding blacks out there as peaceful as law-abiding whites.

The issue is that crime rates as discussed by the media and blog readers criminalize law-abiding blacks. If the police wants to justify how they (re)act, the should prove that law-abiding blacks are more violent and dangerous than law-abiding whites. Until someone proves that, I’ll just assume police officers are the most dangerous of ignorants, the ones who believe they know something and act according to their beliefs.

The Anti-Gnostic August 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm

All you need to know about Ferguson is that it’s 70% black and all but a few of its police are white. In other words, the tipping point for whites in the private sector was reached long ago, so they’ve been moving away. The public sector whites are hanging on, trying to keep seniority and boost their pensions. But eventually, they’ll leave too. In the interim, there’ll be misunderstandings and the occasional tragedy given the wildly disparate views between blacks and whites on what’s appropriate public behavior. In a few more years, Ferguson will be monoculturally black and the police won’t bother initiating confrontations over things like loitering, crass behavior, etc.

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