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Who Watches The Watchmen?

Henry DavisOn September 20th, 2009, early in the morning, a man named Henry Davis was driving down the highway, heading for St. Charles, Missouri, when a heavy downpour started.  He missed his exit and pulled off the highway into a little suburb called Ferguson until visibility improved.

While he waited, a cop pulled up behind him and ran his plates.  There was an outstanding arrest warrant on another Henry Davis, different middle initial and social security number.  But the cop decided he'd found himself a felon.  According to Davis, the cop approached the vehicle, ripped the cell phone out of his hand, slapped the cuffs on him, and hauled him in without a single word.

The booking officer did nothing to straighten this out.  There was no reason to hold Davis, but they did it anyway.  The officer took him to a one-man cell with someone already in it.  Davis, on the floor and it being early morning, asked for a sleeping mat from the pile in the corner.  He was refused.  He pleaded that it was 3AM and the floor was concrete.

The officer fetched three other officers who slammed him against the wall and cuffed him.  And then they brutalized him.

But wait, there's more.  Among the charged leveled at Davis was that, when his blood splattered on their uniforms during their little piñata party, he committed "property damage" and it was added to the rap sheet.  Four counts of it.

Davis filed a lawsuit against the police department and the city.  I wish I could say this has a happy ending, but no.  In 2013, Magistrate judge Nannette A. Baker ruled in favor of the city.  Despite the police in depositions denying the "property damage" claims they had filed (which means they either perjured themselves in the charge sheet or in the deposition) and the police "accidentally" saving the wrong surveillance footage while deleting what was relevant to the case.  And despite a CAT scan that showed Davis had been beaten hard enough to get a concussion.  Davis appealed in March, and it is waiting to be heard later this year by the Eight Circuit Court Of Appeals.  It is presently unknown if any of the officers involved are still with the police force.  That includes one Darren Wilson, who was on the force at the time.

I mention this because this and other things, like the filing system for police complaint reports, show that Ferguson knows exactly how to keep cops who go over the line out of trouble.  It also shows how little respect they have for the people they are sworn to protect.

People are starting to lose interest in Ferguson, either from the standpoint of civil outrage or from a social justice standpoint, thanks to a carefully orchestrated campaign of misinformation and character revelations.  The chief of police worked to get more blacks on the force.  Wilson received commendations.  Then came the security footage of Michael Brown stealing the cigars.  The DOJ told them not to release it, but they did, and that touched off the nearly non-stop rioting that's been all over our news.

I knew people were getting burned out, when a couple of my co-workers at lunch, rolled their eyes at me and said, "There's other things to talk about!"  Turning Michael Brown from an innocent person walking in the middle of the street into a thug who just robbed a store chased off a lot of support from whites who were finally seeing racism is alive and well.  A week and a half after the incident, police are releasing information that Wilson was hit and suffered an orbital fracture, further turning people away from Brown.  Never mind the reports don't mention which orbital socket it was, or why it took a week and a half for this information to come forward.

Even the autopsy is being used against Brown.  One guy I talked with, I mentioned the shots to the head.  He told me, "There were no shots to the head, they were all to the arms and one to the body."  I just ended the discussion right there.

Not only is no one really worried about the racism anymore, but the blatant violation of Constitutional rights is losing interest as well.  Rand Paul just had a press conference where he said he wouldn't cut tax breaks for the rich.  No mention of Ferguson from the so-called Libertarian who fears we are surrendering to a police state.  Hell, his dad, who has been saying the downed Malaysian airliner and the Ebola outbreak are part of a US government conspiracy, who criticized the citizens of Boston for surrendering their rights to the police in the hunt for the Marathon Bomber, hasn't said shit about this.  Then again, both these geniuses have said legislating Equal Rights protections is something they never would have supported, so who knows what they are thinking.

The police are over militarized.  Just the other day, Lt. Ray Albers drew his weapon on protesters and threatened to kill them (he's been suspended, but he still has his job.  Just like Wilson, the chief of police, and the governor of Missouri).

And the national attention that was exposing them is looking away.

Among the news stories yesterday was how Kim Kardashian is coming back from a vacation in Mexico.  The Little League World Series.  The only hard news was the American beheaded by militants in the Mideast.  Other than that, no one giving a shit anymore.

The police have steamrolled over the very rights they are sworn to uphold.

All because the victim wasn't the perfect little angel.  Like petty larceny deserves a death sentence.

We are a culture of savages.  We have a bloodlust that has not gone away, even as the environments that served that bloodlust have.  We no longer live in frontier country, where taking the law into your own hands and might makes right were the marching orders of the day.  But the desire to see that kind of tough justice is still there, to see people not just pay, but suffer.

How does our species continue to survive?

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