ferguson

Police say Rams Apologized; Rams say No Way, Man

By JT Haines, December 2, 2014

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Five players from the St. Louis Rams NFL football team entered the field on Sunday with “hands up” in a show of solidarity with Ferguson demonstrators. What a remarkable gesture in the context of an NFL that is not exactly known for its departure from pre-approved narratives (e.g., chevy, pink ribbons, and patriotism).

True to script, though, police brass took the gesture personally (which suggests something about the mindset of police brass). Evidently St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar sent an email to staff last night suggesting that Rams Executive VP of Operations Kevin Demoff had apologized on behalf of the team, stating that Demoff “clearly regretted that any members of the Rams organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers carry out each and every day.” (AP)

Demoff’s response? No, we didn’t. “Our players’ goal was to show support for positive change in our community. I do believe that supporting our players’ First Amendment rights and supporting local law enforcement are not mutually exclusive.” (AP)

A nuanced and positive response from an NFL exec, you say? Great!**

What these players did here was really brave, and their positive community-oriented message reflects well on a league that could frankly use it. Demoff and the Rams are absolutely correct to support them, and we should too.

About his participation, Tight End Jared Cook said “We help build up the people around this community daily with our visiting schools and talking to kids, so coming out and showing that we’re unified with the rest of them, it was key to us.” (AP)

Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you to Stedman Bailey (12), Tavon Austin (11), Jared Cook, (89) Chris Givens (13) and Kenny Britt (81).

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** Rams’ Coach Fischer’s response was perhaps more standard: “I firmly believe it’s important that I keep sports and politics separate. I’m a head coach. I’m not a politician, an activist or an expert on societal issues.” Of course, Coach, chevy, pink ribbons, and patriotism are also massively and inevitably political, but that’s a subject for another day.

Ferguson Reactions Revealing

JT Haines, November 25, 2014

It feels like there’s little I can say here that would be of much use today, and to the extent there are useful things to say they are being said better elsewhere. (Here’s a good option, among many.) For what it’s worth, I will say this: Nevermind the legal ins and outs of this case, they are secondary. Nevermind the focus on “riots”, they are secondary. The impacts of racism and structural racism are too real, and that’s what this is about. Do your best to find someone or something to quietly and simply say yes to today, and then quietly and simply support them or it.

With that, I did happen across a number of comments on facebook this morning (a Duluth friend of mine bravely waded into the fray) regarding Duluth’s Fox 21 News report about solidarity rallies taking place in Minnesota in response to the Ferguson Grand Jury non-indictment. With some hesitation, I’m publishing the comments below (all names redacted), in full, without comment or correction. Warning, the comments are highly revealing and profoundly concerning on just about every level. And I get it, who needs (or wants) another pile of social media garbage to wade through. That said, I personally did find it somewhat useful to read, if only as a reminder. If you’re not in a place for it, I recommend skipping today and hoping the sample size is small and non-representative. I’ll leave it at that for now.

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Fox News 21 Duluth MN: “Ferguson rallies are planned in Minnesota in wake of the grand jury’s decision.” [Report]

Please tell me it’s rallies supporting the verdict and Officer Wilson. Minnesota don’t embarrass us.

Go home- seriously. No time for idiots here.

The evidence proves that M.Brown was attacking a police officer. IN THE PROCESS OF DEFENDING HIMSELF a man was tragically killed . The fact that some people used this as an excuse to loot and burn is not a racial issue it is a mentality issue that those people use to justify there actions.It seems to me race is being used as a convenience. Hummanity better wakeup.

our guy’s aren’t fighting over seas for this crap to go on here. show some respect for our system. the cop did his job. the law did there’s and now you all act like you lose your minds.

There are days I feel bad for what our men and women put on the line for us, and what is left when they come home.

Actually, I would hope that every soldier, sailor, airman, and marine is willing to fight “for this crap to go on here.” The right to assemble and protest is one of the core freedoms that we must hold on to. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

And this is going to accomplish, what? I’m pretty sure people have their opinions formed and waving a sign in MN isn’t going to matter. I think some opinions will change when the grand jury testimony is made public and the numerous corroborated witnesses testimony backing up Officer Wilsons account are revealed.

They’re already calling the photos released of officer wilson at the hospital staged and faked, calling for the originals. This isn’t ending anytime soon unfortunately.

Hopefully it will accomplish the goal of making it widely known that the law-abiding public demands body cameras on police officers — to protect the rights of citizens and the rights of officers. I am proud of Duluth PD for already adopting this policy, but the voices of a reasonable solution need to be heard nationwide.

Good. It’s people a little closer that I can go slap the stupid out of.

You have got to be kidding me.

Soak em in water. They’ll go home quick.

If they don’t freeze solid first

It’s the result of liberalism. Brought up to blame “whitey” for own failing. The family was enabled to be dismantled through welfare state….like Muslims they have been brought up to hate….this is their excuse

What?

I second that “what?”

 all protesters need to go home and stop acting like immature children!! GROW UP!!!!!!

Well, you do know that it is always effective in overturning decisions to smash windows and loot businesses. Oh, wait…

Why do people think this is ok ? Thug punks that steal know the risks !! He gambled with his life and lost !

Get over it. It didn’t happen here nor to your family

Are you familiar with Martin Niemöller?

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

That’s was meant for Hitler. Not some fat kid in St Louis.

just proves that idiots are everywhere ………..

this is going to accomplish what exactly???

sure there won’t be a rally up here … People are busy working and I doubt anyone would want to put up with that idiocy. I don’t get exactly what they are trying to accomplish ????? What do they want for a result? I think maybe they are just bored since the occupy thing kind of fizzled……

Really? It has nothing to do with them… go home and be thankful for what you have.

Ferg1

What a bunch of idiots!

Stupidity. Riots in this manner deserved to be shot. Eye for an eye. Keep showing our kids crimes pay! Waste of humanity right here. Officer was in full rights to do what he did. Can’t be a race thing. And the kid can’t be a great individual he was stealing and chafing an officer. U rob u get shot! Period. Riots won’t change nothing

 “U rob u get shot”? Really? I believe you misunderstand the role of police officers. They are not judge, jury, and executioner. Petty theft does not merit the death penalty.

Nope but the kids actions did merit officers response.!

Why can’t people understand a simple thing as not breaking the laws & being responsible for their own actions, good or bad?

So disgusting!

Dumb idea! It was the right verdict!

Everyone that riots for that thug brown are idiots he should never robbed the store!! Do the crime do the time!! He got what he deserved now he’s in Hell playing with his flames …

Pardon my language, but how the hell do you justify condemning Mike Brown to Hell? What gives you the right or authority to make judgement on the state of a person’s soul?

Don’t come to my town ! Babbitt Minnesota !

Violence solves nothing.

Thug saggin looting a neighborhood near you !!

Ferg2

Can you protest stupidity? Cuz anyone that’s out there is protesting for a thug getting shot.

I’m ashamed of my home state. The fact that the protestors are sayng this is about the fact that ‘all life is precious’ but yet there were several black on black murders in the past 2 weeks and no one is protesting for them. Soooo let’s shoot people and loot Wal-Mart and toys r us and set dozens of buildings on fire in our own neighborhood.

I’m confused today. I thought mob rule was a bad thing. I would think the black community would be especially eager to never see it again considering their history with mobs, even in Duluth. But maybe I’m wrong. Sure looks like it this morning.

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Hang in there, friends.

— JT —

On Mayor Hodges’ Pointergate Statement

by JT Haines, November 14, 2014

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has been thrust in to the cops/community conversation with the, fairly incredible, #pointergate fiasco. Fortunately for us, she’s answering the call.

The first-year Mayor issued a statement yesterday on her website at http://mayorhodges.com/. Bottom line, it is excellent, and I highly recommend giving it a read. Pretty solid stuff from a major-city mayor, particularly in comparison to some of the, shall we say, less authentic stuff we’ve seen elsewhere in recent history.

The statement does stop a bit short of departing from the “good apple/bad apple” narrative for more systems analysis — which I think would be an appropriate next step in the conversation. Fortunately, others (most notably mnnoc.org) are doing a nice job adding context.

And given that the head of the federation of her MPLS Police Department is saying appalling things like “Is she on the side of the cops or the gangs?” (oh, good grief), I think we give an overall thumbs up here, and say — Thank you, Mayor, for your leadership on behalf of the community.