Ferguson, Missouri was home to a fourth night of rioting following the shooting death of an unarmed African American. usatoday.com reports that the police arrested protesters and journalists alike. “Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who had been posting frequent photos and video of the protests and police response, was taken to the Ferguson jail and arrested for unlawful assembly, his wife, Jasenka Benac French, said via Twitter. Journalists in the St. Louis suburb to cover the fray wound up being part of the story when two were detained at a McDonald’s restaurant where members of the media were charging cellphones and writing. Reporters Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of The Huffington Post said on Twitter that police told them to stop recording the chaos, then took them into custody.” The heavy-handed police response has already questions about . . .
police militarization. The cops are using armored vehicles, wearing military-style uniforms with military-style helmets, carrying military-style gear and wielding military-style rifles. Here’s a snapshot of last night’s from USA Today, with mashable.com pics from previous day’s police work.
Throughout the city on Wednesday, dozens of officers set up barricades, blocking most main roads. As the sun set, the loud flash of grenades and the whir of helicopters filled the area. Tear gas was dispersed, so much that the stinging air lingered for hours.
Members of the crowd hurled Molotov cocktails and other objects at police, according to the Associated Press.
Police yelled “Hold the line” and “Stop your vehicle.” As three vehicles approached a QuickTrip store that had burned on Sunday night, officers in bulletproof vests drew and pointed rifles at the cars.
The sound of apparent gunshots was heard nearby and police officers began to back away from protesters who approached them with their hands raised.
So the question is, does this militarized police response help matters in Ferguson or hurt them? And will it halt or accelerate the march of police militarization across the U.S.? The fact that the police are mostly white (Ferguson PD has three black officers in a force of 52) and that the community is mostly black (67.4 percent African American) will no doubt inflame this debate. But is it too late?