I’ve always been supportive of the Police. They have a tough job, which I thoroughly understand given that I served in the Army as an MP. Normally policemen and women have my unwavering respect. But not now, not in Ferguson Missouri. There, they’ve become a jack-booted gang of thugs.
It’s not every day that a police officer tells you he’s going to bust your head open.
The most exasperating thing about almost being arrested near Ferguson, Mo., for doing my job as a journalist – reporting on tensions among citizens and law enforcement here – was my complete inability to fight back against what was an obvious abuse of police authority.
The incident began on Thursday night when Jung Park, America Tonight’s director of photography, anchor Joie Chen and I hopped in a taxi to interview Umar Lee, a cab driver and columnist who knows the racial history of north St. Louis County, which has become the focus of worldwide media attention.
As we drove near Ferguson’s border with the neighboring town of Kinloch, JP was recording Lee, while I was recording Joie. When the interview was over, we got out of the cab to record a shot of it driving by.
Two Kinloch officers in a patrol car stopped and asked what we were doing. I identified JP and myself as a cameraman and producer working for Al Jazeera America for the show America Tonight. The officer who was driving told us to leave the area. When we asked why, he only said that it wasn’t safe to be there and we had to leave. Puzzled, we got in the cab and did as requested. A little further down the road, we saw a sign that JP wanted to shoot for our story, so we stopped and again got out.
Then the journalist relates-
Officer 1 [Holding my arm]: Don’t resist. I’ll bust your ass. I’ll bust your head right here.
Me: [To JP] Are you filming this?
Officer 1: Film it! I don’t give a sh*t. Because you’ll go, and I’ll sure confiscate your film for evidence.
JP: No, what I’m saying is …
Officer 1: I’m asking you to leave!
Officer 2: Go now, or you get locked up!
Officer 1: That’s it.
The officer eventually dropped my arm, and we got in the cab and left. I was mostly bemused by the encounter. Why would an officer so blatantly threaten a journalist for doing his job while cameras were rolling?
Read the whole and then ask yourself who these Cops think they are and, if they previously deserved the benefit of the doubt in this whole sorry episode, do this and similar events like it shed light on the mentality of the police there in Missouri and could the same mentality have been operative in the officer who killed Mr Brown.
If this is how cops act there, small wonder the entire community is fed up.