“Get the fuck on the sidewalk” the police officer demanded of Michael Brown. Seconds later, having already been shot, Brown stopped running some 30 feet from where the cruiser was parked. As he turned and faced the policeman, with his hands up, the officer bore down on the unarmed teen and shot him at least twice more, killing him.
Ferguson, Missouri, has been a town racked with anger and protests ever since. It’s been overrun as well with hyper-militarized and indignant police who have been quick to deploy tear gas, rubber bullets and anti-riot tactics to clear the streets of the local vermin:
The tension in a St. Louis suburb following the shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager by a police officer was thrown into stark relief Sunday night in a video captured by CNN of a police officer yelling a derogatory phrase at protesters.
“Bring it, all you fucking animals! Bring it!” the officer said in the exchange.
There are many disturbing facts to come to grips with in the aftermath, beyond the armed cop being white and the unarmed victim black. Though the town is black (67% – 30%), the police force is white (94% – 6%). When the cops stop somebody, 86% of the time it’s a black person. When they search someone, 93% of the time they’re black. When they arrest someone, 93% of the time they’re black, again.
Colonial India was never this badly divided. There’s clearly something wrong with law enforcement in the outlying communities of St. Louis. I’d say if the Congressional Black Caucus didn’t raise the possibility of racist police practices in Ferguson they wouldn’t be minimally doing their jobs.
Now we are seeing reports, some of your colleagues in Washington, the Congressional Black Caucus, writing directly to the Attorney General…apparently concerned about racial profiling in Ferguson, Missouri. Does this help within the investigation…?
A Newsmax reporter asked this of congressman and recurring auditory hallucination Steve King. The paleo-conservative seized upon the opportunity to dismiss the outrageous idea that racism now exists, or has ever existed, in America. King came up with what I can only call a demonstration of right-wing Klingon flabbergast:
“This idea of no [trying to stop] racial profiling. I’ve seen the video. It looks to me like you don’t need to bother with that particular factor because they all appear to be of a single origin. I should say, a continental origin might be the way to phrase that.”
The CBC requested an investigation of police practices in force before the shooting, concerned that profiling could have contributed to Brown’s death. The 18 year-old was inexplicably stopped by police for walking in the street on a Saturday afternoon. But King ignores those worries to address the real ‘problem,’ which is now of course the damned protestors.
And here’s his galactic trump card: “I see from the video the rioters all appear to have come from the same continent. So tell me, where’s the bias?” Anyone? Bueller? “How can the police show any favoritism without a white person being there?” Alright then, I get it now. No one is being singled out. All of the troublemakers are African-American, and they’re all being beaten equally. No one thought a human being could be this big an imbecile but, boy, no one was really wrong.
It is reassuring for some to see the Iowa race wizard undaunted by civilization. King carries on as archetype from the past. I’m not nostalgic for white supremacy so I’m stuck with the realization that people this odious still live among us, in snake-infested shacks, or abandoned tree hollows, or jailhouses this side of the county line. A few of them are politicians.
“I just reject race-based politics, identity politics. I think we’re all God’s children. We all should be held to the same standards and the same level of behavior.”
It’s hard to believe.