The Madwoman in the Attic

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Far fewer articles describe the other constitutional violations taking place on the streets of Missouri, and those violations are every bit as urgent as the infringements on speech and assembly. We’ve seen very little coverage of the use of tear gas and rubber bullets as constitutional violations. But the due process clause bans the police from using excessive force even when they are within their rights to control a crowd or arrest a suspect. And tear gas is in a category all its own. Not only is unleashing it into a crowd an unconstitutional exercise of excessive force, but its use is banned by international law. That’s one of the reasons Amnesty International sent a team of investigators to Ferguson. Similarly, the use of rubber bullets under the circumstances is also unconstitutional. Some kinds of rubber bullets are more unconstitutional than others, because certain types are more likely to injure and maim.

But excessive use of force is only the beginning. Pulling people out of the crowd and arresting them without probable cause (or for being 2 feet off the sidewalk) violates the Fourth and 14th Amendments, particularly when those arrests are disproportionately of black protesters. The general arrest statistics in Ferguson reveal what looks to be a stunning constitutional problem. According to an annual report last year from the Missouri attorney general’s office, Ferguson police were twice as likely to arrest blacks during traffic stops as they were whites. Emerging reports about racial disparities in Ferguson’s criminal justice system and the ways in which the town uses trivial violations by blacks to bankroll the city (and disenfranchise offenders) all represent constitutional questions. Why don’t we characterize them as such? These are not just violations of the law or bad policy. These are violations of our most basic and fundamental civil liberties.

Of course, probably the biggest potential constitutional violation of all—and eyewitness testimony suggests this as a real possibility—is the alleged use of excessive force by the police in shooting an unarmed 18-year-old at least six times. Under the law, each of those bullets must be separately justified, as necessary, even if one believes the officer’s story that Michael Brown rushed him. To be sure, the news media has covered this, but very few of us talk about the shooting as a potential violation of the Constitution. Remember, the Constitution is the foundational bargain between the people and their government, the framework on which our legal order rests. When we fail to talk about the arrests, searches, racial profiling, and government brutality in constitutional terms, we are failing to capture how profoundly the state has betrayed its promises.

Ferguson’s constitutional crisis: First Amendment violations are only part of the story. (via dendroica)

(via tehnakki)

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odinsblog:

The New Jim Crow
1. Ferguson, Missouri has a population of approximately 21,000 people — roughly 75% of those residents are Black
2. The Ferguson police department has around 530 cops —less than 5 of them are Black
3. Ferguson had *zero* homicides for all of 2014 —until Michael Brown was murdered by Darrin Wilson
4. Things you should know: Five Myths About Black-on-Black Crime
5. Michael Brown was 18yrs old and was about to begin college. Brown had no criminal record, and despite the Ferguson PD’s smear campaign, Mike Brown PAID FOR the cigars —those facts are all important and should be known, but even if Brown was a high school dropout with prior arrests who stole the cigars, 1) it wouldn’t have made his life any less valuable, 2) we have a court system and those are not capital offenses and 3) it doesn’t change the fact that the cop who killed him, Darren Wilson, had no idea about Brown’s personal history when he executed Brown. Wilson saw only a Black teen deemed either “too uppity” or “suspicious” because of his skin color
6. Five examples: The Militarization of the police
7. It’s deeply Institutional: Police view Black Children As Less Innocent

odinsblog:

The New Jim Crow

1. Ferguson, Missouri has a population of approximately 21,000 people — roughly 75% of those residents are Black

2. The Ferguson police department has around 530 cops —less than 5 of them are Black

3. Ferguson had *zero* homicides for all of 2014 —until Michael Brown was murdered by Darrin Wilson

4. Things you should know: Five Myths About Black-on-Black Crime

5. Michael Brown was 18yrs old and was about to begin college. Brown had no criminal record, and despite the Ferguson PD’s smear campaign, Mike Brown PAID FOR the cigars —those facts are all important and should be known, but even if Brown was a high school dropout with prior arrests who stole the cigars, 1) it wouldn’t have made his life any less valuable, 2) we have a court system and those are not capital offenses and 3) it doesn’t change the fact that the cop who killed him, Darren Wilson, had no idea about Brown’s personal history when he executed Brown. Wilson saw only a Black teen deemed either “too uppity” or “suspicious” because of his skin color

6. Five examples: The Militarization of the police

7. It’s deeply Institutional: Police view Black Children As Less Innocent

(via spiderine)

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soulslookingforhome:

thinksquad:

As anger erupted again on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, a human rights team from Amnesty International worked on the ground in the US for the first time ever.

Confrontation flared up after an autopsy found that Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who was fatally shot by an officer on 9 August, had suffered at six bullet wounds including one in the top of his head.

Eye-witnesses report seeing police, with no visible ID badges, hurling tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters and threatening members of the press in another night of demonstrations.

Amnesty International, said it would be observing police and protester activity and gathering testimonies as well as training local activists “on methods of non-violent protest” in an “unprecedented” move by the campaigners.

Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director, Steven W Hawkins said that the “people of Ferguson have the right to protest peacefully the lack of accountability for Michael Brown’s shooting”.

Jasmine Heiss, one of the 13-strong team sent by Amnesty, told Buzzfeed that the limits placed on the organisation’s access to post-curfew areas was indicative of “the overall lack of transparency in this investigation”.

Complex Magazine said that police had opened fire into the crowds without warning three hours before the midnight curfew began, causing some children and members of the media to be hit with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Two black journalists from Complex also said that they had been racially profiled, being refused re-entry into the press area whereas white members of the press had been.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/michael-brown-shooting-amnesty-international-sends-team-within-us-for-first-time-as-national-guard-deployed-9675149.html

it begins

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Men:
If Orange is the New Black is so good with representation, why are all the men horrible?
Women:
They're not all horrible. Bennett's nice. What more do you want?
Men:
But he's clueless and irresponsible! And that's just ONE guy! How can you give me ONE decent male character in a slew of diverse female characters and call THAT representation?
Women:
Women:
Women:
Women:
Women:
Women:
Women:
...must be tough.

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Feed the Students of Ferguson on Fundly

tehnakki:

ineedmasculism:

Sorry for the interruption of satire.  But, this is important.  Help feed kids with food instabilities who are missing out on school meals because of school closings due to the problem in Ferguson.

-stellar

Yes, they finally have a fund up! If you want to help the kids who are being affected by this tragedy. Most lower income families feed their kids through school programs during the year. So the schools being shut down since Monday means kids have been going hungry for 4 days.

Please help.

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transposedsouls:

Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson is marching with protestors in Fergoson, MO.

After being given control of Ferguson from the Missouri Governor, Johnson has ordered all police to remove their masks and cease their violent tactics. He is protecting the citizens’ right to peaceful protest, and is actively engaging in dialogue with protesting residents.

(via tehnakki)

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flawlessxqueen:

This is the young man that was walking with Mike Brown,

(via spiderine)