According to some news outlets, we are now in a ‘Post-Ferguson Era.’ The Eric Garner case in New York has pushed Ferguson from the national headlines.
Like you, I haven’t a clue what ‘Post-Ferguson Era’ means. Regardless, Ferguson continues to be highlighted in Missouri’s news—Nixon is still running from it, Attorney General Chris Koster was successful is keeping out of the limelight and is using Ferguson for his advantage for 2016. Democrat legislators from St Louis are proposing new bills that would cripple law enforcement if/when they encounter violent thugs, and the Kansas City ‘Red’ Star has a surprisingly balanced editorial!
The millennium has come! The KC Star has an editorial contrary to the liberal party line!
Let’s get back to the headlines.
Democrat Governor Jay Nixon, during a visit to the Missouri bootheel was asked about his orders for the National Guard. Nixon responded:
“Our plan was to have, and we did have, over 700 guardsmen out that night, guarding locations all throughout the region. We wanted to have the local police — St. Louis County and St. Louis City — and others, to patrol on the front lines who had been engaging directly with many of those folks throughout the summer. We thought that was better than bringing in the National Guard in full military garb straight onto those streets. Obviously Monday night, we were somewhat surprised by the … riots, not helped by the number of folks trying to whip that up at various times. As the night went on, we did bring in additional guardsmen into the police department there to back up the folks who were there, and ended up getting out their response teams in the area.”
“Really, the choice that night was whether we’re going to lose lives or lose property. When you have that many hundreds of people shooting guns and running throughout the area and looting, I think it was important to preserve life, and I think all of the unified commanders, as well as the guard’s folks, did a great job of that. We didn’t have a single shot fired by a single law enforcement officer, and we had hundreds of shots fired out. We didn’t have a single shot fired by a national guardsman, and we had none of them significantly injured. So while it was a difficult thing to watch, and challenging, in many ways, I think that when we look back at this, having those law enforcement officers out first, having the guard there behind them, was in fact the best way to do it.” — Southeast Missourian.
While Nixon was on his road-trip, Chris Koster was establishing his position for a future run for Governor. Koster is hoping to gain some kudos over Missouri’s ‘Deadly Force’ statute that Koster claims is contrary a federal court decision.
By M. Alex Johnson
Missouri’s attorney general called Tuesday night for a change in state law to make it tougher for law enforcement officers to justify the use of deadly force, a week and a half after a grand jury declined to indict former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
NBC News reported last week that one of the factors that would have complicated any prosecution of Wilson was a Missouri statute that gives peace officers greater leeway in using deadly force than is allowed in many other states. In a statement to MSNBC’s “The Last Word,” Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said Wednesday night that state lawmakers should bring the statute into line with an important Supreme Court ruling.
“Among the problems that Ferguson has brought to light is the need to update Missouri’s use of deadly force statute,” Koster said. “This statute is inconsistent with the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Tennessee v. Garner. Consequently, it is important this statute is amended by the Missouri legislature to incorporate the Garner decision and to avoid confusion within the criminal justice system.”
The 1985 Garner decision is one of two Supreme Court rulings — the other is from 1989 — addressing when a law enforcement officer can justifiably use deadly force.
The 1985 decision says it’s justifiable only if the officer has probable cause to believe a fleeing suspect is a violent felon and poses a significant threat to the officer or the public — requiring the existence of a threat before an officer can use deadly force. The 1989 decision — Graham v. Connor — found that an officer’s justification for use of deadly force must be assessed in the context of a “reasonable” officer’s state of mind under the specific circumstances — one of which can, but doesn’t necessarily have to be, a threat to the officer or the public.
In an interview last week with NBC News, Roger Goldman, Callis Family Professor of Law emeritus at St. Louis University Law School, said that under the current statute, “if I’m representing the police officer, I’m arguing that Missouri law allows an officer to use deadly force to stop a fleeing felon even if he is not a danger to the public or fellow officers.”
I am not a lawyer so I’ll leave a review of Koster’s comments to those who are. However, I’d like to point out a flaw in Professor Roger Goldman’s logic—Michael Brown was NOT a fleeing felon. He was an aggressive thug who initiated the attack on Darren Wilson and was attacking Wilson when he was shot. If Brown had run, he probably would still be alive today. Assuming, of course, that he wasn’t shot by some storekeeper who had a weapon and was determined not to be a victim of thuggery.
Some residual protesters are walking to Jeff City to make their demands known to a legislature that is not in session and to a Governor who is out of town. According to some reports, the protesters have met some contrary opinions along the way.
More than halfway through their journey to the Capital City, marchers on a 120-mile journey from Ferguson were met with opposition Wednesday as they journeyed through Mid-Missouri.
Andrew McFadden Ketchum came from Denver to join the marchers on a whim and said it has become an “amazing experience.”
“There’s a lot of love here,” he said. “I was surprised at what I saw in Rosebud. It was so quiet when we went in and then bang, the noise started.”
Ketchum posted a video to YouTube, which shows the group walking through the small Gasconade County town. Residents are seen standing along the highway quietly until the group approaches the center of town where some members of the crowd begin yelling.
Someone can be heard shouting, “No peace, no welfare checks!”
“All this for a thug and a thief,” shouts another resident in an apparent reference to Michael Brown.
Although the legislature is out of session, December is when bills are pre-filed for the upcoming session. Two St Louis legislators want to constrain police when encountering suspects on the street.
12/03/2014 4:11 PM
Missouri lawmakers have responded to the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson with a host of bills on matters such as police use of deadly force and overuse of traffic tickets by some cities.
The spate of legislation filed in advance of the 2015 session’s Jan. 7 start could lead to thoughtful discussions. But it is important that the General Assembly vet the bills carefully.
Two Democratic senators from the St. Louis area, Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Jamilah Nasheed, have filed legislation aimed at limiting the circumstances under which a police officer can use deadly force. Nasheed’s bill would require officers to use other options first, such as a taser, and issue a warning before firing a shot. It also would cause officers to be suspended without pay pending an investigation if they fired at a suspect more than 20 feet away.
Lawmakers and the public need to hear from police about these proposals. Good police departments heed to standards and best practices developed and constantly re-evaluated by law enforcement professionals. State legislators should tap that expertise before setting their own rules.
The same goes for bills that call for the appointment of a special prosecutor in all officer-involved shootings. Lawmakers need to hear from prosecutors about the wisdom of that idea.
Maria Chappelle-Nadal and Jamilah Nasheed are Missouri’s leading gun control advocates. They have opposed every bill in the legislature that supports gun owners and bills that enhance Missourian’s 2nd Amendment rights. Perhaps the photo below from the Riverfront Times blog is indicative of the separation between them and the rest of Missouri.
The photo above is the supposed original version according to the Riverfront Times. When it was shared on the internet, it was trimmed to exclude to two outer figures leaving only the center sign and protester. The Riverfront Times now claims that the verbiage of the sign was altered from “leaves home” to “robs a store.” I’ve examined the photo closely and the digital information with it and I can see no evidence that it has been altered. But I make no claims to be an expert on digital photos. Regardless of the validity, there is a truth in the message as it appears above—a truth that is being ignored because it doesn’t support an protester’s and the St Louis liberal agenda.
Perhaps the Riverfront Times and the protesters are upset that the photo reveals a truth behind the lootings and burnings in Ferguson. It would seem the two legislators from St Louis prefer the logic of the photos above as a basis for law than a law that protects businesses from thugs and thieves.