Last night, TV showed what could happen when the Ferguson Police Department confronted Black People who felt frustrated and underrepresented, both in key Town Posts and in the Police Department. The Police used assault rifles, armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, water cannons, etc. My prior Blog Post is linked as follows: https://thetruthoncommonsense.com/2014/08/14/an-apparent-lack-of-authority-in-ferguson-mo/. It wasn’t pretty last night, and it was confrontational and definitely not necessary.
Besides arresting a Town Alderman, and two journalists with Press Credentials inside a McDonald’s, the Police were shown on camera firing tear gas at peaceful people standing on their front lawns and intimidating media cameramen. There clearly was no reason for any of that. Tonight, happily the situation had changed for the better.
Today, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon placed the Missouri State Police in charge of patrolling Ferguson. Apparently, he might have been responding to a “suggestion”, either by President Barack Obama or U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Either way, it seems to have worked-out for the better–much better.
Gone was the combat gear, replaced by State Policemen, with only their standard service revolvers, in their holsters, mingling with the people, and showing respect and compassion. They acknowledged the people’s frustration and some of the Police Officers even joined in the people’s march. Then, the Crowd just milled around. Calmly.
Basically, the State Police just allowed the people to vent their feelings and, afterward, there were many more people than the night before, but they were peaceful. The mood seemed to be somewhat like a sense of relief, as if a great weight had been removed.
Residents seemed to feel empowered to walk the streets of their own town, without being gassed or challenged.
Over the last several decades, many local police departments have taken-on somewhat of a military approach–in attitude, dress and weaponry. For some Police Chiefs, the new gadgetry can be like a Child having a new toy: “Hey Kids, be the first on your block to have a new XYZ APC!” As we saw last night, that strategy can be totally counterintuitive.
Tonight however, the situation was defused by the State Police merely treating people as we would all want to be treated ourselves. Given the new Law Enforcement attitude, the People responded in kind. Just like the song, “A spoonful of sugar”, respect and professionalism can work wonders. Let’s hope it keeps.