SERVE & PROTECT?
You can’t check your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook feeds at the moment without seeing something about Ferguson, Missouri. That “something” is bad news, more violence, more police brutality, more arrests, more demonstrations, more shots fired, and more confrontations.
There are many things wrong with what has transpired after the shooting of Michael Brown 11 days ago. Take the local and state police for example (recently spiced up with the National Guard).
The police in Ferguson have many issues, but one of the main one is that they seem unaware that they have three fronts. The streets, the internet and public opinion, and they are all entwined. At the moment they seem to be losing all three.
The internet is massively against them, because that is where people worldwide share their opinion (overwhelmingly negative) about what is happening in the streets of Ferguson.
Of course with the news being the news, there is always an element of distrust, are we being presented an actual portrayal of what is happening? The difference in this situation is the quantity of reporting coming from the heart of the conflict, combined with the immediate outlet these reporters have, more times than not, Twitter.
That combination has shown some reporters being treated in the same way as the private citizens they share the streets well…. and it has not been a PR fairy tale for the police. We’ve seen videos of cops threatening to shoot media people, shoving them on live TV, arresting them and in general harassing them wildly. We’ve also seen footage and countless images of cops in combat armour with the guns ready to fire, even in situation that are relatively peaceful.
And this is maybe the most worrying thing to take away from all of this. It seems like police officers are willing to pull the trigger much faster and for much “smaller” reasons. As if they are more interested in serving and protecting themselves ahead of the people they should actually serve and protect.
The stats back this up. In 2011 German police, country wide, only fired their weapons 85 times. Compared to the USA where that amount of bullets has been used in incidents in Harlem, Los Angeles and Miami.
Did anyone say aggressively trigger happy?