The regularized police occupation of Ferguson, Missouri

The man who was with Michael Brown the day he was murdered is Dorian Johnson. His testimony to the Grand Jury is posted on scribd.com, and you can read it (and download it) here.

Just from reading the testimony, I think any fair-minded person would say that Johnson is a truthful and open witness. He was so treated by the prosecutors. He was something of a role model to the younger men in the community who came up to him and asked about how he was able to transition out of poverty and violence to be able to hold a job and have an apartment of his own. (Consider that fact, reader. Having a job and apartment are considered difficult feats requiring guidance to young men in certain parts of this country!) He had lived in the neighborhood about eight months and had a girlfriend and daughter.

The encounter with Darren Wilson as explained by Johnson was harrowing. Wilson came with a chip on his shoulder (to put it mildly). He cursed at them from his car. And when they thought he was gone, he sped up behind their backs nearly hitting them, and then in fact hostilely opened the door of his car and actually hit them. He grabbed Brown by the collar through his window. All this, without any claim by Wilson that either man committed a crime or any request by him that they submit to him for any reason.

Johnson says he was in “shock” from the beginning because he realized that Wilson (and Brown) needed to “calm down” but he was unable to open his mouth because the incident kept escalating.

You can read the testimony yourself, to judge if the the prosecutor-led grand jury was justified in concluding that there was no probable cause to believe that Wilson had committed a crime. (You don’t need a spoiler alert for the answer to that.)

What I bring this document up for is something that was a bit of an aside, and treated completely casually by the prosecutor who wanted to know if Johnson or Brown knew of Wilson beforehand. Johnson’s answer revealed that the residents of the apartment complex Johnson lived in treated the police as an occupying force and they were constantly advising each other of the whereabouts of officers in the neighborhood. Something like I imagine how the Dutch told each other about the whereabouts of German soldiers or SS during the occupation.

Here’s what Johnson said (pp. 60-61):

[Q]           While you are in the apartment complex, I mean, I’m quite sure sometimes you hear through the grapevine well, yeah, this guy got stopped or whatever or the police is like that, did you hear any conversations to that effect from any residents [sic] and complex?

A              Yes, ma’am, all the time. Every day I hear different stories about people’s different encounters with Ferguson Police. Be very mindful of the police around. Whenever you’re coming outside the door, people are always giving you a warning, they are up the street now, they are down the street or something in that manner basically keeping you aware of Ferguson Police.

If there were any further proof needed that there are two Americas, and one is as much occupied as Gaza, this is it. Matter-of-fact statement of the realities of dealing with authoritarians in uniforms. Where is the Tea Party when the very offenses listed in the Declaration of Independence, that document they constantly celebrate, are taking place every day?

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  1. It is authoritarianism. Regarding Tea Party hypocrisy, many simply don’t believe in equality whether they admit so in public or not. I’ve seen plenty of examples of right-wingers regretting Jefferson’s proclamation: “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”

  2. Reblogged this on A communist at large and commented:
    Reblogged from “Hidden Cause, Visible Effects” with gratitude. I strongly endorse the recommendation to read the transcript of the testimony of Dorian Johnson on the link below. Since we have been denied the right to see the cop tried in a public trial, this is as close as we’ll ever get to being able to judge for ourselves whether there was ‘probble cause’.

  3. There is definite hypocrisy taking place when any group of people can call themselves “patriots,” yet don’t see anything wrong with police stomping on the freedoms that every person in this country should have. Black people don’t even have the freedom to walk through their own neighborhoods in peace.

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