It was a night of violence and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. But as a more complete picture emerges of the situation there. It appears that the police have been the instigators of a large portion of the confrontations.
A disturbing video posted to YouTube shows a crowd of protesters, standing peacefully with their hands in the air, being attacked by police. There is simply no word other than “attack” to describe what takes place on this video.
As the video opens, a small crowd of around 50 to 100 people can be seen in the middle of the street, some sitting, some standing. Police vehicles appear to be about half a block away. At no time does anyone in the crowd move toward the police line, or engage in any action that could be considered provocative. After bombarding the crowd with ear piercing noise designed to cause enough pain to force them to disperse, the police begin advancing on the protesters.
Suddenly, the scene erupts with gunfire, and what appear to be tear gas canisters launched towards the protesters. The person recording the video says that the police are firing rubber bullets. There are a few moments of chaos, then a lull. Then gunfire erupts again. The narrator says that the police are firing into people’s houses. Throughout it all, no protesters can be seen with weapons of any kind. Some are yelling at the police to go home, but none appear to be behaving in a manner that calls for them to be attacked with repeated rounds of tear gas and gunfire.
The crowd turns to run from the advancing police, and it appears that the objective of dispersing the protesters has been met, but the police continue to fire. The narrator says that the police are attacking reporters as well as civilians. Finally, calm returns as the video comes to an end. But this nine minute video makes it clear, that in this incident at least, there would have been no violence if it were not for the actions of the police. In the entire length of the video, the only violent actions that can be seen come from the St. Louis County Police.
Media also attacked by police.
In a separate incident, television station KSDK captured the following video of an al Jazeera America camera crew getting tear gassed by police. Reporters are also being attacked by the police in Ferguson, for reasons that are not clear, except for the fact that the media is there to cover the heavy handed response to protests from the over-militarized police force.
Also, the hacker group Anonymous has released the name of the officer it claims is responsible for the shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown, which set off the unrest in Ferguson, as well as the police dispatch recordings following the shooting.