Police shootings in Ferguson raise stakes in city’s efforts to clean house

12 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson Resigns.

A day after two police officers were shot in Ferguson, Mo., Attorney General Eric H. The fallout from the Department of Justice’s scathing report on the Ferguson, Missouri police force and judicial system continues to echo through the city as Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson officially announced his resignation today effective immediately, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. “It is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position as chief of police for the city of Ferguson, Missouri,” Jackson said in his resignation letter. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great city and to serve with all of you. Ferguson has parted ways this week with its police chief, city manager and municipal judge, three key figures who were named and criticized in a scathing Justice Department report that found widespread racial bias and predatory behavior in the city’s police department and court system.

When the report was released last week, Holder said it captured “a highly toxic environment, defined by mistrust and resentment.” “Make no mistake, we still have a long way to go to bring about the systemic change that’s needed,” Holder said Thursday. “But I think the early indications have been positive.” Holder was speaking during a news conference at the U.S. Jackson was also criticized for lobbying for 12-hour shifts, holding people in jail for over 72 hours and only using police canines on African-American suspects. However, as the emails of the Ferguson law enforcement officers revealed, there was deep contempt for the people that they were supposed to “protect and serve.” One e-mail, which would be funny if it weren’t so sad, said, President Obama would not be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.” Another e-mail joked that black females should use abortion to control crime. Department of Justice to announce cities that would work with the Justice Department’s National Initiative for Building Community and Trust, which intends to help improve relationships between police officers and the communities they serve.

Since the Justice Department’s investigation uncovered a legal system that was “systematically biased against African-Africans,” as President Barack Obama said in a speech condemning Ferguson Police, the city has seen many of its top ranking officials either step down or be relieved of duty. AUG. 11 — The FBI opens an investigation into Brown’s death, and two men who said they saw the shooting tell reporters that Brown had his hands raised when the officer approached with his weapon and fired repeatedly. Asked whether the gunman played any part in the protest, Belmar said he was ‘‘very confident that whoever did this was there for the wrong reasons.’’ The protest unfolded just hours after Ferguson announced that Police Chief Tom Jackson would resign. The protest was a familiar scene in Ferguson, which saw similar and much larger demonstrations after the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown last summer by city police officer Darren Wilson. This system resulted in arrest warrants for many lower-class Ferguson residents unable to pay their minor offense or city code violations, “many of which are widely considered abusive and may be unlawful,” the Justice Department wrote.

The shift in command comes after images from the protests show many officers equipped with military-style gear, including armored vehicles, body armor and assault rifles. But Thursday morning was the first time an officer at a protest had been shot. ‘‘I saw the officer go down and the other police officers drew their guns while other officers dragged the injured officer away,’’ Pitchford said. ‘‘All of a sudden everybody started running or dropping to the ground.’’ U.S. Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department last November. 2015 may not bring everything that Back to the Future II promised it would: flying cars, self-lacing shoes, we don’t see ’em happening over the next 12 months. (Then again, don’t bet against Nike.) But this year will definitely pack plenty of punch when it comes to cultural happenings. They also release a video purporting to show Brown robbing a convenience store of almost $50 worth of cigars shortly before he was killed, a move that further inflames protesters.

Shaw and Jackson have resigned, and it would be a clean sweep if Mayor Knowles would resign, but that would be an act of honor, which is in short supply among the mindset of the “Ferguson Plantation.” Mad Max will roar back out of the apocalypse while Mad Men rides off into the sunset, rock’s Antichrist Superstar and hip-hop’s Yeezus will rise again.

Mayor James Knowles III announced Wednesday that the city had reached a mutual separation agreement with Jackson that will pay him one year of his nearly $96,000 annual salary and extend his health coverage. McCulloch’s father was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was a child, and he has many relatives who work in law enforcement. Faced with the end of the world as we know it, most of us would be tempted to go the full Mad Max route, fighting leather-clad marauders and tooling around in souped-up muscle cars. The Last Man on Earth drops the ex-SNL cast member into a world where the human race has been ravaged by a viral outbreak; when his character isn’t searching for fellow survivors, he’s indulging in his gleefully destructive, dudebro-ish whims. (Three words: Flamethrower bachelor party.) The brainchild of Forte and The Lego Movie’s Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the Fox show has become an oddball breakout hit — and proves that the man formerly known as MacGruber can even make the apocalypse seem hilarious. Jackson had resisted calls by protesters and some of Missouri’s top elected leaders to step down over his handling of Brown’s shooting and the weeks of protests that followed.

He was widely criticized from the outset for the aggressive police response to protests and his agency’s erratic and infrequent releases of key information. He took nearly a week to publicly identify Wilson as the shooter and then further heightened tension in the community by releasing Wilson’s name at the same time as store security video that police said showed Brown stealing a box of cigars and shoving a clerk a short time before his death. But I do remember that somebody yelled it out and all of us went, “Uh, no.” [Laughs] Originally, we’d fixated on an idea that…well, for a while Val Kilmer was sleeping on my couch. He was looking for a place in Malibu, we’d become friends after MacGruber and he asked, “Can I come stay with you for a couple of days?” That turned into two months. So we were going to do something based loosely on that, and just as Chris was putting on his jacket to leave, he said, “Wait, let’s take one more look at that postapocalyptic thing….” Suddenly, something just clicked.

OCT. 21 — Nixon pledges to create an independent Ferguson Commission to examine race relations, failing schools and other broader social and economic issues in the aftermath of Brown’s death. That’s been one of the best parts of writing the show: I get to think of these stupid little things that’d I’d do if nobody else was around — and then I get to go do them.

NOV. 18 — Nixon names 16 people to the Ferguson Commission, selecting a diverse group that includes the owner of construction-supply company, two pastors, two attorneys, a university professor, a 20-year-old community activist and a police detective. During ensuing protests, at least a dozen buildings and multiple police cars are burned, officers are hit by rocks and batteries and reports of gunfire force some St. I would compare it to MacGruber, in that I’m sure a lot of folks were like “Wait, is it just going to be some guy getting blown up every two minutes?” It’s the same thing with this: “Oh, I’m going to get sick of watching this dude goof around all by himself.” It’s more than that. [Pause] Actually, hardly anybody saw MacGruber, so maybe that’s the wrong thing to compare this to. Justice Department announces that it will not prosecute Wilson in Brown’s death but releases a scathing report that faults the city and its law enforcement for racial bias.

I’m sure Alexander Payne would agree with that statement as well. [Laughs] It was painful, but I learned that when you’ve done something you like, it doesn’t hurt as much if it fails. The report said blacks in Ferguson are disproportionately subject to excessive police force, baseless traffic stops and citations for infractions as petty as walking down the middle of the street.

When Josh Brolin was the host, I did this really stupid, over-the-top sketch called “Fart Face,” in which Bill Hader and I are businessmen, and he keeps calling me Fart Face. The episode supposedly had the biggest audience in years because Tina Fey was doing Sarah Palin, and then Palin herself showed up — and I gave the world “Fart Face.” It was the MacGruber movie of SNL sketches.

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