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Did We Get It Wrong On Ferguson Response?


Michael Brown video

When Senator Rand Paul spoke up early and criticized militarized police tactics in Ferguson, Missouri and said in an op-ed penned for Time, “If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot,” we agreed with the Senator and asked “If militarized, hyper-aggressive policing is such a great idea why isn’t it working in Ferguson, Missouri?”

Senator Paul’s op-ed was criticized by many on the Right, including former George W. Bush speechwriter Robert W. Patterson. Patterson suggested that the Senator was giving aid and comfort to the rioters and that the politics of Richard Nixon’s law and order campaign were a winning strategy for Republicans in 2016. We defended Senator Paul and pointed out that in addition to Nixon’s well-documented racism, Nixon was no conservative and that we didn’t think that, long-term, the “law-and-order” campaign worked to the political advantage of conservatives.
 
CHQ readers – at least those who left comments we could post on a family-friendly website – strongly disagreed.
 
The senator is a moron...what else is new? The teen was not shot for jaywalking. He was shot because that is sometimes how trash that rob people and rough up store owners then fight with police end up,” said one reader in response to our agreement with Senator Paul’s op-ed.
 
"What a bunch of one sided comments. You make the police seem wrong for trying to apprehend a man of considerable weight and height, capable of inflicting bodily harm on anyone, and that just asulted (sic) and robbed a store owner... Is this the same situation that you report on? Hell NO!" said another in response to our op-ed that the police were getting it wrong in their “militarized” response to the situation in Ferguson.
 
The volume and strength of reader comments made us go back and review what we said about Ferguson and to ask ourselves if we got it all wrong.
 
In looking at our columns on the killing of Michael Brown and the riots in Ferguson we do think we failed in one important element of the discussion:  We gave too much emphasis to the fact that Michael Brown was unarmed, and we didn’t (and still don’t) have any information about Officer Darren Wilson’s state of mind during his encounter with Michael Brown.
 
In 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the FBI, 48 law enforcement officers died from injuries incurred in the line of duty. About 1 out of 10 police officers was assaulted in the line of duty and of the 52,901 officers who were assaulted, 14,678 (27.7 percent) sustained injuries and 29.7 percent of the officers who were attacked with personal weapons (e.g., hands, fists, or feet) suffered injuries.
 
Those statistics aren’t a secret to police officers, but they aren’t well known to the public or well reported by the media.
 
Back in July, weeks before Michael Brown’s death, John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association told Mc Nelly Torres of Miami’s NBC 6 this about the police shooting of another minority teen:
 
“Maybe the streets are not statistically violent but [people] have become meaner and confrontation with police has become more brazen and bold,” Rivera said. “Police are specifically trained to protect themselves and others and they respond accordingly.”
 
While we spoke-up for an investigation “handled according to the rule of law to dispassionately establish the facts, not politicized by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder” we should have given more emphasis – and respect – to the fact that not all of the information or circumstances of the confrontation between Brown and Wilson are yet in the public record.
 
That was a disservice to Officer Wilson for which we offer our sincere apology.
 
That said, we continue to believe that conservative principles demand that we ask the tough questions about race, the militarization of the police and the other issues we raised in our columns on the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent riots in Ferguson, Missouri.
 
We don’t think we were wrong to ask, as the nighttime riots in Ferguson enter their tenth night, if militarized, hyper-aggressive policing is such a great idea why isn’t it working in Ferguson, Missouri?
 
We don’t think we were wrong to ask, after the same stores in Ferguson were repeatedly looted and citizens’ constitutional rights were not respected or protected as journalists and other innocent citizens were arrested without cause, what the militarized police in Ferguson think their job is and have they produced the kind of ordered liberty envisioned in the Constitution?
 
Were we wrong to point out that at the time Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown first made contact their interaction was about Brown and companion Dorian Johnson walking in the street and that Officer Wilson was unaware that Brown was a suspect in the theft from a nearby convenience store?
 
And finally, were we wrong to ask, as Senator Rand Paul did, if Michael Brown had been a white kid acting in the same way would he be dead?
 
We think those are all important questions to ask, because the Left will most certainly ask them and offer answers founded in terms intended to grow the racial divide in this country, whether we answer them from a conservative perspective, or not.
 
The investigation of Michael Brown’s death should not be a political question; it must be handled according to the rule of law to dispassionately establish the facts, not politicized by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
 
We think part of our job is to challenge our fellow conservatives to confront tough questions about how to govern according to conservative principles. But if conservative principles demand that we ask the tough questions Michael Brown’s death and the riots in Ferguson have raised, then we commit to our readers that we will do so in a way that respects Officer Darren Wilson and the presumption of innocence he deserves. And to the extent that we failed in that regard in any previous commentary we again offer our apology to Officer Wilson.

Click the link to read our op-ed “Would YOU Expect To Get Shot For Jaywalking?” 

Click the link to read Robert W. Patterson’s “LAW AND ORDER: THREE WORDS THAT CAN HELP REPUBLICANS WIN IN NOVEMBER–AND 2016.

Click the link to read our op-ed "The Wrong Response to Ferguson, Missouri."

Please take a moment and register your comments below.

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Nixon's Southern Strategy = Codewords for Ex-Dems

George Rasley has it right to challenge conservatives to walk the talk on individual liberty over police forces militarized in equipment and attitude.

Patterson highlights the old Nixon "Law and Order" campaign code words which originated as a blatant appeal to the old Solid South Democrats. The "best" campaign vehicle used by Nixon/Rockefeller Republicans remains Drug War Prohibition without constitutional amendment. That never was a conservative position. And, considering the 180 from the Party of Lincoln, it certainly runs counter to the prior civil rights efforts of the Republican Party before its sell out to policy that is particularly repressive against blacks and hispanics.

Conservatives that still wish to use Nixon's rural South strategy are choosing Republican political means over principle. It is an albatross that requires stupidity to win the Republcan presidential nomination with Solid South ex-Democrat positions unacceptable to the demographics and vision of the rest of the nation.

Ferguson Missouri...

The problem with what Rand Paul said and you agreed with was that both went off half-cocked with little to no accurate information about the Ferguson crime incident. Stop calling it "a shooting of an unarmed boy". Brown was himself a 'deadly weapon' with the ability to do serious harm to another person.

It is clear that the police officer was first assaulted by a +300 lbs. 6'4" young man who could have easily killed the officer with his bare hands. He did hit him so hard in his face that the police officer's eye socket bones were broken. That alone gave the officer every right legally and morally to protect himself...i.e. "self-defense".

It's to bad that Brown was killed after stealing, threatening and assaulting another much smaller store owner. If the store owner had a firearm he too would have every legal right of self-defense when a person twice his size came at him with hands raised ready to pond in his face...

Again, the problem is no one was patient enough to wait for the facts to come out before they had opinions and that is not justice by any measure.

The motive for riots, stealing and burning other's businesses was what this was all about not the shooting and death of a black MAN who few knew. This is just another black on white crime that our Federal Government has condoned since Obama and Holder entered office six years ago...

Why aren't you reporting how Officer Wilson was severely beaten?

St. Louis is my home town and my friends and family have shared with me information about this incident way in advance of the network news stories.
More than four days ago, local St. Louis news outlets reported that Officer Wilson was severely beaten by Michael Brown resulting in his eye socket being broken and he may be blind in one eye as a result.

This and other facts, including the emergency room report on Officer Wilson's injuries and treatment, are still coming out, so maybe CHQ should stop the blame game toward Officer Wilson until you get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!!

Latest On Officer Wilson Injuries

Officer Darren Wilson did not suffer a broken eye socket as a result of his deadly confrontation with unarmed Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown, according to latest reports.

In recent days, reports had emerged stating that Wilson, 28, was badly beaten and left with serious facial injuries following the fatal shooting in the St Louis suburb, including an eye socket fracture. On Tuesday, The Gateway Pundit reported that the officer had suffered an 'orbital blowout fracture'.

These earlier reports had claimed that the officer was almost knocked unconscious by Brown's blows. But CNN reported on Thursday that although the officer was taken to a hospital with a badly swollen face following the shooting on August 9, x-rays came back negative for any serious injury.

This is not to minimize the seriousness of any assault on a police officer, but Officer Darren Wilson did not suffer a broken eye socket as a result of his deadly confrontation with unarmed Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown, according to latest reports

We are all in the dark...for sure.

Let's just lay off on any of the 'what ifs' and focus on the known (and soon to be established or discarded) 'facts' surounding the purely legal aspects of this incident. Let's wait for the evidence and testimony being placed before the grand jury to be available to us. Speculation at this point is still just more foolishness and detrimental to the specific rights of Wilson and to the truthful justice that will eventually prevail in the community. Cool it!

Definition of "Hyper Militarization"

Here's the real question, what is better, a police officer in a regular uniform with only a service weapon who when policing a mob is put in the position of having to use deadly force to protect himself from said mob or is it better to have an impressive show of force with body armor, automatic weapons, and humvees which, in itself, has a deterrence effect?

I would argue that massive shows of force that shows who's in charge, is better because it is less likely that the cops will feel like they are on the edge of being stampeded and killed by the mob due to their "militarized" presence.

A cop, with little protection (read "non-militarized") is exactly the position in which Officer Wilson found himself when confronting Brown. Had Wilson driven up to Brown in a HumVee in battle gear, would Brown be alive today?

I believe he would.

Let's first work on getting the Dept. of Education and the EPA non-militarized and then worry about the local police forces later.

Our Definition of Hyper-Aggressive Militarized Police

Here's a link to an article that we think details why encouraging the police to adopt military equipment, attitudes and tactics is a mistake. We think the job of the police is to keep the peace and to lawfully arrest people who break the law (or who are alleged to have done so) and that adopting military tactics will inevitably lead to the violations of constitutional principles detailed in the video and text of the article cited below.

Here's the key paragraph in the article:

"I will f***ing kill you — get back!" says the very armed officer, in the direction of a camera capturing the entire surreal situation. Asked for his name, the peacekeeper responds, "Go f**k yourself."

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/08/cop-ferguson-ill-fcking-kil...