A summary of major developments in Ferguson, Missouri from Tuesday through Thursday afternoon (August 12-13, 2014), as the community continues to peacefully resist occupation by militarized police presence.
New York Times home page prominently featured an examination of the U.S. media trend of automatically showing unflattering images of Black Americans when killed by the police. Black social media users were speculating whether their “respectable” photos would be used if they were gunned down or more casual photos from parties and the like, which could be misconstrued. (Everyone has a dichotomy of available photos like that, of course, but the media tends not to use the unflattering photos of White victims, or often even assailants.)
Screenshot from U.S. Edition of NYTimes.com home page at 1:15 PM ET on August 12, 2014
Beyond the racialization of it, I think it’s super creepy in general that the U.S. news media feels comfortable taking and using people’s Facebook profile pictures without permission for use in news reports.
We also saw British news media start to emerge as an important source of accurate reporting on the ground in Ferguson, particularly on the subject of what weapons were being used on unarmed civilians. The Guardian reported on Monday’s police crackdown with evidence photos in an article headlined: “Missouri police fired wooden bullets at crowd during protest over teen’s death”
Local news reporters and news bloggers from St. Louis and Ferguson, of course, also remained critical sources of news. A blogger for the Riverfront Times reported on a development from Monday night: Police in Ferguson Fire Tear Gas on Protesters Standing in Their Own Backyard
Photojournalists continued to capture countless examples of militarized police overreach in downtown Ferguson, which have rapidly gone viral. TIME posted this AP photo (which I’m using here due to its newsworthiness, despite the copyright).
Riot police walk toward a man with his hands raised in Ferguson, Mo. (Jeff Roberson—AP)
On Tuesday night a second person was shot and critically injured by police in Ferguson. Police claimed he had been brandishing a handgun threateningly, but they also began making extremely fanciful claims about the circumstances surrounding the original shooting of Michael Brown (which was seen by multiple eyewitnesses), so it was not an easy claim to buy on face-value.
Wednesday and overnight to early Thursday morning
The Atlantic’s CityLab blog reported that the militarized and violent police presence was not only going against the FBI manual for defusing such situations but was also a very one-sided “clash” that could obviously not be deemed a “riot.”
Media outlets have used the word “riot” dozens of times, even hundreds of times, to describe the crisis in Ferguson. Yet despite last night’s violence, three days after the death of the unarmed 18-year-old resident, Ferguson does not yet resemble the notable riots from the 1960s to the present day. Rather, it is starting to look like an occupation.
On Wednesday night, the police response escalated yet again. It was already clear that they weren’t thinking logically or strategically, but then they arrested and assaulted a Washington Post reporter and the Huffington Post’s reporter for The Department of Justice beat, this is some next-level self-immolation. The two detained reporters were only released when a Los Angeles Times reporter called the local police chief to ask why they had been arrested, and he was surprised to learn of the information. The immortal quotation was “Oh God.”