Exclusive: Ferguson: A View From The Ground


Exclusive: Ferguson: A View From The Ground

The media is under-reporting everything.

I had the opportunity today to speak with an armed private security guard who was contracted to protect local businesses in Ferguson, MO during the recent unrest. Joe (name changed for security purposes) was on hand in Ferguson last year after Michael Brown was shot and again when the grand jury verdict was read. He was also on the ground in Ferguson last night, when protesters honored the anniversary of Michael Brown's death with more violence and criminal behavior.

Look, I get that there are cops who are assholes. But these protesters are taking one bad experience or one bad cop and they're using that experience to judge all police officers – and that's not right. And they're getting involved in the protest, throwing rocks and stuff, because they've realized that this is their chance to basically harass cops without getting caught.

One of the major complaints on social media last night was how quickly, in the face of “peaceful protests,” the police resorted to riot gear. But according to Joe, the whole truth was not reported on that score either.

Everyone is complaining that the police are being militarized, but they're not telling you everything. Last night, police were insulted, and that's going to happen. But people also threw rocks and bottles at them for nearly four hours. It started around 10pm, and it was nearly an hour later that reinforcements came out in the riot gear. They started out just as a peaceful presence and didn't respond until they were provoked.

But what truly concerned me were the comments Joe made about the shooting that took place last night that put a protester and former Michael Brown classmate in critical condition:

We were about two blocks away from the shooting when it happened. We heard the first few rounds discharge, and a friend who had also spent some time overseas looked at me and said, 'That's an AK.' I spent some time overseas myself, and he was right. AK-47 rounds make a very distinctive sound, and that is definitely what we heard last night. After the shooting, a line of about a hundred protesters basically pushed the police back out of their own crime scene. SWAT had to be called in to get the protesters out and for law enforcement to regain control of the crime scene.

Police reported that there were three people involved in the shooting, which wasn't originally directed at police. When police arrived on the scene, two of them fled and one turned and fired on the officers and their vehicles. When they reached the injured suspect, they recovered a stolen 9mm handgun. The logical conclusion is that, if their identification of the AK-47 was correct, the two shooting suspects who managed to escape police custody likely carried it with them when they fled the scene.

As we mentioned yesterday, notably absent from the scene all weekend was Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. The St Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger, has issued a State of Emergency in Ferguson. Jay Nixon still has not made a single statement.

Our leadership is asinine. Any cop who is willing to talk about it will tell you how ridiculous it is. Governor Nixon is the reason that we had 2000 National Guard troops sitting at the airport while the city was burning. A lot of the soldiers were scared, and I get that: some of them were fresh out of boot.

And it is truly a very different situation than anything soldiers are trained for. We were both sworn and trained to fight the enemies of the United Stated, both foreign and domestic, but we don't ever expect the domestic enemy to be found quite so close to home. When the “domestic enemy” is identified as people who could very well be your own neighbors, it's quite a bit more difficult, psychologically speaking.

But they really are enemies. There were fliers circulating all weekend with a schedule of events – fliers like the ones you might find stuck under your windshield wiper – that called for 'acts of civil disobedience' on Monday. Calling for people to disrupt an entire city, to cause that kind of widespread havoc, that's domestic terrorism.


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