by Paul Craig ROBERTS
There are reports that American police kill 500 or more Americans every year. Few of these murdered Americans posed a threat to police. Police murder Americans for totally implausible reasons. For example, a few days before Michael Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, John Crawford picked up a toy gun from a WalMart shelf in the toy department and was shot and killed on the spot by police goons.
Five hundred is more than one killing by police per day. Yet the reports of the shootings seldom get beyond the local news. Why then has the Ferguson, Missouri, police killing of Michael Brown gone international?
Probably the answer is the large multi-day protests of the black community in Ferguson that led to the state police being sent to Ferguson and now the National Guard. Also, domestic police in full military combat gear with armored personnel carriers and tanks pointing numerous rifles in the faces of unarmed civilians and arresting and threatening journalists make good video copy. The «land of the free» looks like a Gestapo Nazi state. To much of the world, which has grown to hate American bullying, the bullying of Americans by their own police is poetic justice.
For those who have long protested racial profiling and police brutality toward racial minorities, the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson is just another in a history of racists murders.
Myself, former US Representative Dennis Kucinich, and others see Michael Brown’s murder as reflective of the militarization of the police and police training that creates a hostile police attitude toward the public. The police are taught to view the public as threats against whom violence is the safest course for the police officers.
This doesn’t mean that racism is not also involved. Polls show that a majority of white Americans are content with the police justification for the killing. Police apologists are flooding the Internet with arguments against those of the opposite persuasion. Only those who regard the police excuse as unconvincing are accused of jumping to conclusions before the jury’s verdict is in. Those who jump to conclusions favorable to the police are regarded as proper Americans.
What I address in this article is non-evidential considerations that determine a jury’s verdict and the incompetence of Ferguson’s government that caused the riots and looting.
Unless the US Department of Justice makes Michael Brown’s killing a federal case, the black community in Ferguson is powerless to prevent a cover-up.
What usually happens in these cases is that the police concoct a story protective of the police officer(s) and the prosecutor does not bring an indictment. As Obama and his Attorney General, Eric Holder, are partially black (in skin color alone), the black majority community in Ferguson, Missouri, might have hopes from Holder’s visit. However, nothing could be more clear than the fact that Obama and Holder, along with the rest of «black leadership,» have been co-opted by the white power structure. How else would Obama and Holder be in office? Do you think that the white power structure puts in office people who want justice for minorities or for anyone other than the mega-rich?
The 1960s were a time of black leadership, but that leadership was assassinated (Martin Luther King,) or co-opted. Black leaders sold out for prestige appointments and corporate board memberships. Today black leadership is marginalized and exists only at local levels if at all.
If the cop who killed Brown is indicted and he is tried in Ferguson, the jury will contain whites who live in Ferguson. Unless there is a huge change in white sentiment about the killing, no white juror can vote to convict the white cop and continue to live in Ferguson. The hostility of the white community toward white jurors who took the side of a «black hoodlum who stole cigars» against the white police officer would make life for the jurors impossible in Ferguson.
The trouble with purely racial explanations of police using excessive force is that cops don’t limit their excesses to racial minorities. White people suffer them also. Remember the recent case of Cecily McMillan, an Occupy protester who was brutalized by a white good thug with a record of using excessive force. McMillan is a young white woman.
Her breasts were seized from behind, and when she swung around her elbow reflexively and instinctively came up and hit the goon thug. She was arrested for assaulting a police officer and sentenced by a jury to a term in jail. The prosecutor and judge made certain that no evidence could be presented in her defense. Medical evidence of the bruises on her breast and the police officer’s record of police brutality were not allowed as evidence in her show trial, the purpose of which was to intimidate Occupy protesters.
In America white jurors are usually sheep who do whatever the prosecutor wants. As Cecily McMillan, a white woman, could not get justice, it is even less likely that the black family of Michael Brown will. Those who are awaiting a jury’s verdict to decide Michael Brown’s case are awaiting a cover-up and the complicity of the US criminal justice (sic) system in murder.
If there is a federal indictment of the police officer, and the trial is held in a distant jurisdiction, there is a better chance that a jury would consider the facts. But even these precautions would not eliminate the racist element in white jurors’ decisions.
The situation in Ferguson was so badly handled it almost seems like the police state intended to provoke violence so that the American public could become accustomed to military force being applied to unarmed civilian protests.
Ferguson brings to mind the Boston Marathon Bombing. Two brothers of foreign extraction allegedly set off a «pressure cooker bomb» left in a backback that killed and injured race participants or observers. The two brothers were deemed, without any evidence, to be so dangerous that the entirety of Boston and its suburbs were «locked down» while 10,000 heavily armed police and military patrolled the streets in military vehicles conducting door-to-door searches forcing residents from their homes at gun point, while the police ransacked homes where it was totally obvious the brothers were not hiding. Not a single family evicted from their residences at gunpoint said: «Thank God you are here. The bombers are hiding in our home.»
The excessive display of force and warrantless police home intrusions is the reason that aware and thoughtful Americans do not believe one word of the official account of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Thoughtful people wonder why every American does not see the bombing as an orchestrated state act of terror in order to accustom Americans to the lock-down of a city and police intrusion into their homes. Logistically, it is impossible to assemble 10,000 armed troops so quickly. The obvious indication is that the readiness of the troops indicates pre-planning.
In Ferguson all that was needed to prevent mass protests and looting was for the police chief, mayor or governor to immediately announce that there would be a full investigation by a civic committee independent of the police and that the black community should select the members it wished to serve on the investigative committee.
Instead, the name of the cop who killed Michael Brown was withheld for days, a video allegedly of Michael Brown taking cigars from a store was released as a justification for his murder by police. These responses and a variety of other stupid police and government responses convinced the black community, which already knew in its bones, that there would be a coverup.
It is entirely possible that the police chief, mayor, and governor lacked the intelligence and judgment to deal with the occasion. In other words, perhaps they are too stupid to be in public office. The incapacity of the American public to elect qualified representatives is world-renown. But it is also possible that Michael Brown’s killing was another opportunity to accustom Americans to the need for military violence to be deployed against the civilian population in order to protect us from threats.
Occupy Wall Street was white, and these whites were overwhelmed by police violence.
This is why I conclude that more is involved in Ferguson than white racist attitudes toward blacks.
The founding fathers warned against allowing US military forces to be deployed against the American people, and the Posse Comitatus Act prevents the use of military forces against civilians. These restrictions designed to protect liberty have been subverted by the George W. Bush and Obama regimes.
Today Americans have no more protection against state violence than Germans had under National Socialism.
Far from being a «light unto the world», America is descending into cold hard tyranny.
Who will liberate us?