Police hunt for suspects after officers shot in Missouri city
How to fix Ferguson.
Two police officers shot amid protests in Ferguson — the Missouri city that has become a symbol of tensions between police and black Americans — have been released from hospital. The officers were shot early yesterday in front of the Ferguson police department during a protest following the resignation of the city’s police chief in the wake of damning US justice department report. Tensions have been high in Ferguson since August and escalated in November after a grand jury declined to prosecute officer Darren Wilson over the shooting to death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.
Six municipal officials, including the city manager and the police chief, had resigned, and a federal report had described a profit-driven court system and widespread racial bias in the police department, including systematic traffic stops of black motorists. President Barack Obama relayed his prayers to the officers and denounced violence against police as unacceptable. “Path to justice is one all of us must travel together,” he wrote, signing the tweet with his initials to indicate that he personally composed it.
USA TODAY posed that question to past and present public officials, law enforcers and protest leaders around the country. “The state has to step in, not necessarily the county. Louis suburb have yet to soothe the tensions that flared last summer when a white police officer gunned down a black teenager on a hot August afternoon. It’s not easy to find the person with the right skill set. … Whoever takes it might do it for the ego, but it won’t be for the money.” “Third, I’d form an advisory committee on community relations, with people of all colors. John Gaskin, a St Louis community activist, said the shooting was carried out by outside agitators intent on hijacking attention from peaceful, reform-minded protesters. But Jackson was permitted to step down with one year of health insurance and severance pay, angering protesters who wondered why he hadn’t been fired.
And the mayor has to sit there throughout every meeting. “We saw the importance of patience, not overdoing it” in responding to the Occupy protesters. “We could have shut it down the day it started, but we got a court order and waited. … We left them there for months, until they started to block traffic. Adding to their outrage: a statement by Mayor James Knowles calling Jackson an “honorable man.” Many protesters fault Jackson for the heavy-handed response to initial protests last summer and for releasing surveillance video showing Brown stealing a box of cigarillos from a convenience store shortly before he was killed. When we did go in, we didn’t pull out the helmets and sticks and tactical weapons, until there was a real call for it.” He says policing advice from afar is no substitute for what he calls “decisions on the ground, minute by minute, with care and precision. The video was seen as an attempt to smear Brown’s character, a suggestion that he somehow deserved what he got. “Time and again, politicians said they were in negotiation with Jackson to resign. Time and again, I told them if he resigns with benefits and his head held high, it could even make things worse,” said Justin Hansford, a Saint Louis University law professor and protester.
Another police department — county or state — should take over while city and community leaders rebuild the department. “Fixing a police department is not rocket science, but it requires fresh leadership and a commitment to reform,” he says. “The more Ferguson denies and obfuscates, the more you continue a climate for protests.” Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, and former New Orleans mayor, speaks to reporters with Al Sharpton, left, in December in New York. (Photo: Mark Lennihan, AP) ”We all have to take a deep breath,” Ramsey says. “The frustration is not just about policing in Ferguson. If we don’t recognize that, we will lose an opportunity to make things better.” “There are always neighborhoods where there are good, solid relationships.
The group was not protesting, they said; still, the police turned up — summoned, they were told by police, by supporters of Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown. “Even though, yes, there are some strides happening, Ferguson has still shown itself to be a racist police department to the point where if white Darren Wilson supporters say we’re creating a disturbance, the police come running,” said Johnetta Elzie, one of the protesters. Protesters are hoping for a different outcome if Brown’s family files a civil suit. “What we’re talking about now is changing systems and tickets and all that. We can see from Ferguson how fragile that reality is.” Commend the kind of policing you want to encourage – give citations for things such as leading a Boy Scout troop or attending a community forum, not just for a heroic rescue or a courageous arrest. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson stands outside the Sheraton Hotel site, a 14-floor eyesore being torn down after years of standing vacant, on Aug. 6, 2014, in Gary, Ind. (Photo: Alyssa L Schukar for USA TODAY) “When I hired my police commissioner, I wanted someone who valued community partnerships,” she says. “I’d interviewed 30 community leaders.
They all said, ‘We want the police to look at us as partners.’ We want a stronger relationship.” The commissioner, Anthony Batts, held a series of open community forums around the city where residents could air grievances. The mayor says the top complaint was police misconduct. “Everyone in Ferguson has to face the face they’re in a relationship with,” she says. “That’s the analogy. They have to figure out what kind of a one they want to have.” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake addresses the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing at the Newseum in Washington in January. (Photo: Cliff Owen, AP) A San Francisco transit officer killed her son, Oscar Grant, on a train platform in 2009. And protesters lit into the officers on duty, a police representative said, yelling in apparent reference to Justice Department revelations of racist e-mails exchanged among cops and other local officials. “They shouted a number of things,” St.
One solution: Have all officers, wearing civilian clothes, perform community service in the neighborhoods they patrol – fundraisers, social events, whatever helps them get to know the people they’re supposed to protect. They appeared to arrest protesters without provocation, a practice called “snatch-and-grab.” At one point, a row of police used shields to push protesters out of the street and onto a sidewalk.
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