Focus on Ferguson: Elections and Other News, the Good, Bad, and Ugly

I’d like to start with Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report and his take on the no-fly zone over Ferguson that was granted by the FAA at the request of the police. His reaction? ‘Does it really even matter?’ (the transcript)

Read more of the original story: ‘AP Exclusive: Ferguson no-fly zone aimed at media

District Attorney Bob McCulloch ran for re-election unopposed, but there were about 9000 write-in votes in opposition; sweet.

Paul Wieland, a Republican from Imperial, has defeated Jeff Roorda, a Democrat from Barnhart, in the race for 22nd District State Senate race. Jeff Roorda (D) served for seventeen years as a cop in Arnold, MO, until he was fired in 2001 for making false statements, but not long afterward, became Chief PoPo in another town in Jefferson County. He was elected to the MO State House in 2013, and ran this cycle for an empty Senate seat. He was the director of the St.Police Officers Assn., and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for ‘the defense’ of Michael Brown killer cop Darren Wilson.

On January 16, 2014, Roorda sponsored a bill that, if passed, will allow the government to close any records and documents pertaining to police shootings if they contain the name of any officer who did the shooting, unless the officer who did the shooting had been charged with a crime as a result of the shooting. To say he was not a fan of dashboard and lapel cams for cops would be putting it mildly. A pig’s pig, some might say.

Ozarkfirst.com reports that of the four amendments that Missourians vote on, two were quite interesting. Amendment 3, to end teacher tenure by tying promotion, demotion, firing and pay to standards-based test results was defeated 76% to 24%. Good on them!

The horrid news (at least on the face of it) is that Amendment 6 was defeated 70% to 30%. Ballot title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the election day in general elections, but only if the legislature and the governor appropriate and disburse funds to pay for the increased costs of such voting?

State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of election authorities with the total costs being unknown.”

No weekends; only business days. But the AP reported:

‘Constitutional Amendment 6 had been referred to Tuesday’s ballot by the Republican-led Legislature but had been criticized by some Democrats as too restrictive to be called true early voting.

Unlike absentee voting in Missouri, voters would not have needed an excuse to vote early under the amendment. A separate citizen initiative to create a six-week early voting period failed to get enough signatures to qualify for Tuesday’s ballot.’

The Rules for absentee voting are rather strict. Why not mail-in voting, as in CO? Motor-voter registration? Imagine how hard it is for so many to get to the polls on election day; not allowing for easy alternatives is an abrogation of several clauses of the Voting Rights Act, and there should be a class action suit brought. It’s hard to believe that the amendment failed because it was too restrictive.

But to the vote in Ferguson:

Jeremy Kohler ‏@jeremykohler 17h17 hours ago St Louis, MOUnder state law 115.409, news media are allowed access to polling places. But apparently not in #Ferguson tonight. http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C100-199/1150000409.HTM …

Voter turnout in Ferguson was about 50% of the 1400 registered voters. After hearing the news that Democrat Steve Stenger, large McCulloch supporter, won the race for St. Louis County executive, protestors went to his election night party to say hello. Five were arrested, no news on what, if any, charges will ensue.

‘Don’t Shoot Coalition announces plans for when grand jury decision is announced about Darren Wilson’

Perhaps the FPD has other plans…

Dr. Cornel Fresh‏: Don’t be confused about this. The people are asking for “SAFE“-HOUSES to be established to protect US from the POLICE.

Other relevant news & Tweets:

http://bit.ly/1xc7gIb #Ferguson McCulloch says grand jury still hearing evidence in Michael Brown… He says work could come mid- to late-November

Michael Brown’s parents are heading to Geneva to speak before the UN on Nov. 12 and 13: http://bizj.us/163mzj

Via Jason Leopold and his sarcastic title: “My latest: Ferguson Police Emails Reveal ‘Life is Very Rough’ for Officers’, in which he reveals how much he paid for a records search that revealed…next to nothing. Rosemary Woods comes to mind… https://news.vice.com/article/ferguson-police-emails-reveal-life-is-very-rough-for-officers …

You may remember the (cough) X-file story about the bullet that doctors removed from Mya Aaten-White’s head in August, and that it had vanished, and police had claimed she was shot in by drive-by assailants. Now, via RawStory: ‘Ferguson protester: No one can find the bullet police say they didn’t fire into my head’

‘A month after the incident, police finally released a report.

However, when the blog submitted a sunshine request about any ballistics reports or evidence related to the case, the police department replied, “This is an active investigation by law enforcement. No investigative records, such as ballistic records, are subject to disclosure in accordance with Section 610.100 R.S.Mo. The investigative records will be closed records until such time as dictated by Section 610.100 et seq.”

Million Mask March Protests Being Held Worldwide’ (background)

Anonymous Million Mask March On Twitter (481 locations)

And last, but by now means least, I would like to offer props to Austin police officer Jermaine Hopkins, who really put his ethical values on the line recently.

From PINAC (photography is not a crime): ‘Antonio Buehler Found Not Guilty After Austin Cop Breaks Blue Code of Silence, Testifying on his Behalf’

‘Deliberations in the trial of Peaceful Streets Project founder Antonio Buehler lasted five hours before a Texas jury returned with a not guilty verdict Wednesday after an Austin police officer surprisingly testified on Buehler’s behalf – most likely losing his job in the process.

Buehler was on trial for an incident that occurred on New Years Eve of 2012 where he witnessed Austin officers abusing the passenger of a vehicle during a routine DWI stop. The stop was being conducted by the now-infamous officers Patrick Oborski and Robert Snider when Buehler began taking pictures, sparking a verbal confrontation.

Buehler probed the officers with questions as he took pictures of the male officers holding the female passengers in a torture hold, known as the Strappado where her arms were cuffed behind her back and pulled upwards. Buehler can be heard in the video asking officers, “What are you doing?” Buehler described the hold as ‘being meant for causing extreme pain.” [snip]

There were a few surprises throughout this trial (perhaps well thought out by Buehler and his legal team). If any one is ever relentless about the notion that there really aren’t any good cops, it’s Buehler. But during this trial, Buehler surprised the prosecution with a star witness, Austin police officer Jermaine Hopkins, who was told by APD brass that if he testified, he would lose his job by October 30th, which is today.

Hopkins testified anyway, telling jurors that Buehler had broken no law and that his fellow officers had violated his Constitutional rights by arresting him.’

Since then Buehler has co-founded the group Peaceful Streets Project, whose members record police and post the videos online, and train others to do the same. He has been arrested several more times while videotaping officers and has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Austin Police Department. Buehler is an an Iraq War veteran and graduate of West Point and Stanford University with no prior arrests.

‘It isn’t the rebels
who cause the troubles of the world,
it’s the troubles
that cause the rebels.’

   ~ Carl Oglesby, SDS

In darkness is always the seed of light; oppression always contains the Chimes of Freedom:

(cross-posted at My. FDL.com)

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