Sgt. Patrick Hayes writes:
We saw this coming. After the liberal media calmed down their race baiting, after the lies and false statements were exposed, all that was left were the facts. Officer Darren Wilson was in fear for his life after a felonious attack by Michael Brown. Unless they were pressured politically, the Grand Jury would return a No True Bill verdict. Those of us in law enforcement knew what would happen next . . .
There is a big difference between lawful assembly and protest and the lawless violence that engulfed Ferguson last night, into the morning and continuing today. The first is a constitutionally protected activity. The second is a criminal act. Last night, well into today, the town of Ferguson was in flames. Stores were looted. So-called protestors threw Molotov cocktails at the police. Shots were fired.
The destruction of Ferguson, Missouri had nothing to do with Michael Brown or Officer Wilson. It was simply a group of lawless thugs doing what they do best: stealing and destroying others’ property. The grand jury decision was nothing more than an excuse.The “protestors” were the same people who predate on their communities when they aren’t in flames.
This time, the police response was measured and proper. The cops learned how to deal with angry crowds from their terrible response last time. They used their armored vehicles as cover and blockade pieces. They used them to deny access to businesses and civic facilities to the rioters. The police responded in careful steps when they were attacked.
But this was not a protest. It was a criminal insurrection. Hundreds, if not thousands of looters massed. Like sharks circling wounded prey, they waited outside liquor and grocery stores, a beauty salon, a self-storage facility, Walgreens, Walmart, Taco Bell – anywhere and everywhere there were things to steal. As many as 100 cars descended on Toys R Us. When the first window broke, they attacked.
Hard-core criminals elements hid within the groups. Men with gas cans walked down city streets, setting business ablaze to make it “safer” for chaos to reign. Men with “assault rifles” fired shots at police; a University City officer was shot and wounded. The police were overwhelmed. Entire parts of the city became no-go areas. Quite rightly, firefighters were confined to base.
Ferguson is now a smoldering ruin. Although order has been more-or-less restored, this morning the police are still escorting media trucks into the affected areas, unsure of whether or not emboldened bad guys will fire on uniformed officers and camera-toting journalists. As of 8:30 a.m. central, firefighters are still not responding due to the danger of gunfire.
Eventually, calm will descend. Even as the press reports on the aftermath of “violent protests,” shop owners and law-abiding residents will discover what a plague of two-legged locusts can do to a city’s heart and soul. And yet, some good will come of this . . .
Even before last night, Ferguson changed all of us in law enforcement. I now wear a body camera. It records facts to counter any false claims. More and more departments are issuing such cameras and updating their vehicle cameras. We have all talked about the response in Ferguson and how we can do it better. We’ve also talked about reconnecting with our citizens, especially in larger cities.
Just as we in law enforcement must learn to take greater responsibility for our actions and inactions, the people who looted and torched Ferguson should be held accountable for their crimes. The police didn’t rob from local businesses and set Ferguson ablaze. Officer Darren Wilson didn’t rob from local businesses and set Ferguson ablaze. The people who did have no place in civilized society.
In the end, the cops in Ferguson will have to deal with the criminals who destroyed their town. The citizens there need to take a hard look at themselves, their children and their community. And work with the police to rid themselves of those whose selfishness and love of mayhem burned their town to the ground.