A lot of great writing and clever memes about Ferguson bubbled up yesterday. One thing that struck me about the press coverage is that I found it exceedingly difficult to get information about New York’s local protests, so overwhelmingly focused on events in Ferguson were the major media outlets. It was not until late morning that a fellow New Yorker (and Loyal Reader™) linked this: Protesters Shut Down New York Bridges Over Ferguson Decision. Zeveloff, J., Business Insider (Nov. 2014). No one I spoke to in the city all day yesterday had any idea that thousands of overwhelmingly peaceful protesters marched from Union Square throughout the city overnight, and shut down traffic on three bridges—the Manhattan, the Tri-Boro and the Brooklyn Bridge. (More at the link; see also here).
Later in the day I came across this: Ferguson protesters rally across US for second day. Gurman, S., Associated Press via The San Francisco Chronicle (Nov. 2014). This is where I learned something amusing:
In New York, police noted protests have been large but mostly peaceful, with just two arrests including that of a man who threw a jar of fake blood that struck Police Commissioner William Bratton and his security detail.
Heh. As I noted on Facebook, I do not approve of violence against anyone, and that includes authoritarian shitweasels like Bill Bratton. But I am a huge fan of deploying fake blood as a means of protest. (You people really should see me in my bloody coat hanger abortion dress.)
Anyway, the heroic fake-blood-flinger, Diego Ibanez, 26, was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer, criminal mischief, obstruction of governmental administration, disorderly conduct, harassment and reckless endangerment. Good for him.
This morning I learned via email from Carl Dix at Stop Mass Incarceration Network that early last evening, Noche Diaz—an anti-stop-and-frisk and anti-mass incarceration activist well known to police for his (non-violent) activism—was singled out for arrest out of a demonstration of thousands. As of 10pm, police were refusing to reveal where they were holding him or his condition; he was supposed to be arraigned downtown at 9AM today, but as of this posting I have not seen any updates. (I have met and previously reported on both Diaz and Dix here).
White people rioting over stupid shit: Let’s put those Ferguson pictures in perspective, shall we? betakateenin via @red3blog, Storify (Nov. 2014). You can see many more pics of white people rioting over stupid shit at the link, but here are a few:
Also making the rounds is this meme showing different white
thugs animals savages people rioting over different stupid shit:
It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did. Casselman, B., Fivethirtyeight.com (Nov. 2014).
Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.
“If the prosecutor wants an indictment and doesn’t get one, something has gone horribly wrong,” said Andrew D. Leipold, a University of Illinois law professor who has written critically about grand juries. “It just doesn’t happen.”
SPOILER ALERT! Police shootings are the exception (see below).
Why It’s Impossible to Indict a Cop: It’s not just Ferguson—here’s how the system protects police. Madar, C., The Nation (Nov. 2014). Informative and infuriating.
12 things white people can do now because Ferguson. Woods, J., Quartz (Nov. 2014). A thoughtful and passionate primer on how to be a white ally, and why it’s fucking important:
We’re 400 years into this racist system and it’s going to take a long, long, long time to dismantle these atrocities. The antiracism movement is a struggle for generations, not simply the hot button issue of the moment. Transformation of a broken system doesn’t happen quickly or easily.
People of color, black people especially, cannot and should not shoulder the burden for dismantling the racist, white supremacist system that devalues and criminalizes black life without the all in support, blood, sweat and tears of white people.
The Gospel of Rudy Giuliani: Why is no one talking about American-on-American crime?
Coates, T.N., The Atlantic (Nov. 2014). A brilliant and scathing indictment of political leaders and media:
Americans perpetrate roughly five 9/11s against other Americans every year…Why are our politicians ignoring this plague of American-on-American crime?…Who will bravely challenge the culture of failure that says that Americans should only be outraged when Muslims kill Americans?
I demand a TSA checkpoint at every shopping mall to shield Americans against Americans. I demand drones to kill Americans before they kill other Americans. I demand that American leaders stop pretending that American morgues and American cemeteries are full of young men because of jihadis.
Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson: One reason for the racial divide over Michael Brown’s death is that white Americans tend to talk mostly to other white people. Jones, R.P., The Atlantic (Aug. 2014, updated Nov. 2014). Perspective: we whites should get some.
In these potentially violent times in Ferguson, I think it’s important to look at the example MLK set. His quiet dignity. His restraint. How he was able to show compassion even under duress. How he got shot in the fucking face anyway. –Xavier Holland via Facebook
There are countless posts I have not seen, and no doubt many more to come in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. I would encourage you to seek them out, and in particular look for the work of black writers. For some context and background, see the links at the end of my post from yesterday; additional resources can be found in the Palace Library under the headings POLICE; DRUG WAR, PRISON & SENTENCING REFORM; RACE; and SURVEILLANCE STATE.