As Ferguson, MO, braces for anticipated demonstrations, after a grand jury releases its decision in the Michael Brown officer-involved-shooting case, the national news media is mistakenly focusing on the so-called “race issue.” Television wags are pointing fingers at white “activists,” who allegedly have come from Chicago to rile up the black community and trigger another round of violence—if Officer Darren Wilson is exonerated for killing Brown. But the media’s talking heads are missing the real story. There’s a bigger, much scarier gorilla lurking in the greater St. Louis community, and officials in political and law enforcement offices across the country desperately hope no one will notice Godzilla’s presence.
Although consciously ignoring the root causes of potential violence, officialdom and its gunned-up enforcers are preparing for the worst. The Missouri governor has warned that rioting will not be tolerated, and has called in National Guard troops, ostensibly to protect citizens from lawbreakers. That’s wise, because Ferguson and St. Louis-area police officers can’t be trusted to exercise restraint. They exhibited a ham-handed proclivity for stoking violence last August, by rolling in like a dictator’s army—a dumb move that finally awakened naive Americans to the runaway militarization of today’s police forces.
Judging from recent postings to an Internet “message board” that police officers use to exchange information and opinions, St. Louis-area authorities hope to avoid a repeat of August’s shocking images, by emphasizing police officer safety over protection of citizens’ lives and property. Uniformed officers are scornful of officialdom’s feeble preparations, believing they will prove inadequate and ineffective. Cops are convinced widespread violence will erupt, and are literally getting their own families out of town.
From the message board:
“Local police are telling their friends and family that they’ll have to be ready to be on their own for a period of several days, after the Grand Jury finding in the Mike Brown case has been released. Meanwhile, as municipal leaders have been essentially silent on the subject, I know several police officers who are not only asking their wives to stay home from work and their children to skip school, but they are also getting their families out of town, to the homes of relatives or to weekend places, farms, cottages at the lake, etc. This may or may not turn out to have been an over-abundance of caution, but it’s wise to be aware that these measures are being taken privately, as we see little meaningful advance preparation on the part of authorities.
“A great many police officers are disgusted with the lack of advance preparation, and word is beginning to leak past police friends and family. Last night a message thread approved by message board moderators was posted on St. Louis Cop Talk…warning citizens to be prepared to take care of themselves. …”
Why are public officials so convinced that widespread rioting is a virtual certainty, if the grand jury does not indict Officer Wilson? Because they and every cop in the nation know the real reason behind people’s outrage, the dirty little secret that seems to elude an indignant media: Cops no longer have any credibility. Nobody believes their version of deadly incidents or subsequent “investigation” findings.
Citizens of Ferguson are convinced the investigation of Michael Brown’s death was little more than a local coverup to guarantee Darren Wilson will never be held accountable for the teenager’s death. That’s not the fault of randomly picked jurors, though. Grand jurors are average citizens, who are supposed to sift through data, witness accounts and the shooter’s own testimony, then decide whether the officer’s actions were justified or warrant the filing of criminal charges against him. But the source of that information is a cop-controlled and -conducted investigation. And nobody in Ferguson trusts cops to investigate cops anymore.
The citizens of Missouri—and a few million others, throughout the U.S.—have seen this movie before. A lawyer here in Colorado, who has logged thousands of hours in the courtroom, summed up that “movie’s” theme: “Cops lie. And, when they kill someone, they always lie.”
“Evidence” leaked from the Brown-shooting grand jury proceedings over the past few weeks lends credence to that jaundiced view. Without exception, every tidbit leaked to the media has solidified a perception that Michael Brown assaulted Officer Wilson, who then defended himself.
Smart, skeptical reporters would ask, “Who’s leaking this stuff, and why? What’s their objective?” Almost assuredly, the leaks are coming from police officers, who have either appeared before the jurors, or were in the room for another “official” reason. And the leaks are hardly random. They’re specific, and, in some cases, consist of actual documents, such as the St. Louis County autopsy report and Detective Hokamp’s “preliminary investigative details.” Of course, the leaks are dribbled out piecemeal, and contain just barely enough information to subtly give the impression that Wilson was attacked and had no choice but to shoot Brown multiple times.
Experienced police officers and retired sheriff deputies believe the leaks are being carefully vetted, then released to reporters in an organized fashion, by St. Louis-area police union officials. These pros recognize the pattern, and they know how corrupt, self-serving unions operate. Rather than consider the unintended consequences of lies, misinformation and half-truths, union thugs are single-minded: Nothing matters but the exoneration of a brother-in-blue. These goons have merely stolen a page from an asymmetric warfare playbook employed with great success by the North Vietnamese decades ago, updated to take advantage of today’s social media tools. The union’s game plan is to shape public perceptions and make sure their badged brother is found not guilty. “Justice” be damned.
In support of this theory, note the frustration and anger expressed by outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who raged against the grand jury leaks, noting that proper judicial processes were being unlawfully subverted. Hardly a paragon of honoring legalities, Holder nevertheless was miffed that arrogant police union leaders would dare place more value on Officer Wilson’s well-being than on an honest grand jury process.
Union gangsters could care less what Holder thinks. For their own power and self-serving purposes, police unions have bred and nurtured a corrosive, alienating, us-versus-them attitude, and believe beyond doubt that cops’ lives are far more valuable than those of mere “civilians.” Not every police union or association exhibits all of these characteristics, of course. Some strive to take care of their badged flocks, while working in good faith with prosecutors and department leaders to purge rogues—bad, corrupt cops—who sully the reputations of good, professional officers.
Sadly, though, far too many police unions increasingly opt for protecting their own, regardless of the cost to law enforcement’s credibility. And that narrow-minded attitude will destroy cops’ unions and associations. A retired deputy opined that the St. Louis-area police union “is history. It’ll be eliminated, when the dust settles.” His assessment was sparked by Fox News airing images of Officer Darren Wilson in a Ferguson police station only hours after killing Michael Brown. Although the resolution isn’t great, the images clearly show Wilson wasn’t beat up; there were no discernible injuries to his face and head. They definitely undermine claims that Brown assaulted Wilson, before being shot to death.
The same images help to explain why Ferguson citizens have already concluded that the grand jury’s decision will be based on a faulty, suspect investigation orchestrated solely to exonerate Wilson. Yes, the federal Department of Justice and other agencies may be conducting separate investigations, but their findings will be irrelevant, assuming the current grand jury’s decision is released first. Angry citizens will already be demonstrating and protesting, and out-of-town anarchists will be inciting violence, before the feds can release their reports.
And that, friends, is what frightens the White House, federal law enforcement officials and thousands of police chiefs. These public figures expect violence in Ferguson will spread rapidly, and are quietly preparing to deal with it in their own cities. Las Vegas cops, for example, are extremely worried, fully aware that their force has killed more people per capita than New York and Los Angeles. They also know that hundreds of citizens are locked and loaded, fully prepared to settle the score with bullies and killers sporting gold stars and guns.
I sincerely hope and pray such deadly chaos doesn’t manifest and explode across the nation, and that not a single citizen or police officer is harmed, once that Missouri grand jury releases its decision. But, if violence and chaos do break out, venal, malfeasant union leaders and their complicit allies must share the blame. They will have sacrificed peaceful streets and the personal safety of their ultimate employers—the citizens of Ferguson and St. Louis—by lying and covering up the truth to ensure Officer Darren Wilson is handed a get-out-of-jail-free card, whether he deserves it or not.
Once again, aggressive, thoughtless police tactics will have dire, unintended consequences, but local union dolts aren’t smart enough to see that cliff dead ahead.
RESTORE HONOR TIP #4: Federal, state and local political leaders should curb the power of police unions by 1) banning them from endorsing and donating funds to political candidates; 2) aggressively prosecuting any union member, who leaks information from secret grand jury proceedings, and 3) demanding that police academies develop initial and recurrent training programs to educate officers on provisions of the U.S. Constitution, particularly rights enshrined in the Fourth Amendment:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.”
William B. Scott