“What about just having them carry nightsticks and the authority to arrest?”
Just hours before the attack on Ferguson Police resulting in two officers suffering “serious injuries,” MSNBC host Ed Schultz suggested a new policy for the FPD: disarm them.
SCHULTZ: What about disarming the police? What about just having them carry nightsticks and the authority to arrest?
Schultz said the right-wing might think he’s crazy for it, and it would take guts to implement, but defended his idea by saying that some places don’t arm police and manage to maintain law and order:
SCHULTZ: I mean, it would take a brave person to do something like that, but if you really want — there really are places on the face of this earth that there are police officers that don’t carry firearms…
I know the right wing’s gonna think I’m crazy for thinking, but if you really want change, you have to institutionally show it to the people that you want to do this. That would be part of a big social engineering project if Ferguson’s going to turn around. That’s how I see it.
Two police officers were shot during a protest outside the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday morning, one officer reportedly shot in the face while the other was shot in the shoulder. According to witnesses, three shots were fired from a hill behind protestors. One officer was hit below the right eye, the bullet lodging near behind his ear. Despite both having sustained “serious injuries,” the two officers are expected to survive.
This pretty much says it all, as Michael Brown, Jr’s mother commented on her FB page about the cop shooting.
McSpadden has subsequently taken her page down, but here is the page sent to my team from persons monitoring the situation closely.
Holder: Ferguson shooter ‘disgusting,’ ‘punk’
While police still do not have a suspect in the shooting of two cops early Thursday morning in Ferguson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says a handgun was most likely the weapon used. VPC
FERGUSON, Mo. — Missouri highway patrol and St. Louis County police were moving to take over security at any renewed protests Thursday night following the wounding of two officers hit by gunfire outside police headquarters in this city torn by racial unrest.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sharply condemned the shootings of police Wednesday night as a “disgusting and cowardly attack.”
“What happened last night was a pure ambush,” Holder said. “This was not someone trying to bring healing to Ferguson. This was a damn punk, a punk, who was trying to sow discord.”
Mayor John Knowles was notified that the highway patrol and county would take over the security duties from the Ferguson police department “until further notice,” the county police department said in a statement.
Sgt, Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the St. Louis County police, said investigators interviewed several people regarding the shooting but made no arrests.
Just after 8 p.m., clergy gathered blocks from the Ferguson Police Department for a candlelight vigil. They prayed for the safety of the demonstrators and for the health of the two wounded police officers.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was in St. Louis County to be briefed by local officials. He said the highway patrol and county police will be sending additional officers in anticipation of more protests Thursday night.
“I ask Missourians to join me in calling for calm in the wake of the cowardly and reprehensible ambush of two police officers who were acting to protect the public,” Nixon said. “I also thank all the brave law enforcement officers who selflessly risk their lives each day to keep communities safe.”
Police searched a home in Ferguson Thursday morning, following the shooting of two officers. According to neighbors, three people were taken away in handcuffs. A car was also towed from the home. VPC
Routine police service remains in the hands of the embattled Ferguson police department, whose chief resigned in the wake of scathing criticism of the force by the Justice Department for racially biased policing.
St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar had called for a “measured response” to the shooting of the two officers around midnight Wednesday, but reserved the right to beef up security as warranted.
The two officers “took a very hard hit” and were seriously injured, but will not sustain long-term injuries, he said. They were released from the hospital Thursday morning.
“We were lucky by God’s grace that we didn’t lose two officers last night,” Belmar told reporters. “We could have buried two police officers over this. … It’s a miracle we haven’t had any instances similar to this in the summer and fall.”
Police recovered shell casings at the scene and fanned out across the city looking for the shooter.
A St. Louis County SWAT team stormed a home about four blocks from the police station Thursday morning, clambering on top off the roof, KSDK-TV reported.
Neighbors said three people were taken from the home in handcuffs. Police said they were taken in for questioning, but there were no immediate arrests.
The shootings occurred as demonstrators were winding up a protest following the resignation of the city’s police chief in the wake of a scathing Justice Department report alleging bias in the police department and court.
“This is really an ambush,” he said. “You can’t see it coming. You don’t understand that it’s going to happen and you’re basically defenseless from the fact that it is happening to you at the time. ”
Belmar said one of the officers, a 32-year-old, seven-year veteran from nearby Webster Groves, was shot below his right eye. The bullet lodged near his right ear, he said.
The second officer, a 41-year-old with 14 years on the St. Louis County force, was hit in the shoulder by a bullet that came out his back.
At the time of the shooting, Belmar said, the number of demonstrators had dwindled from around 150 to about 75 and the number of police at the scene had dropped to about 40.
He said the two wounded officers were standing in a line of 20 to 25 other officers when three or four shots were fired from about 125 feet away.
Two police officers are hospitalized after being shot outside the Ferguson Police Department. One officer was hit in the face, the other in the shoulder. Protesters gathered there after the police chief announced his resignation on Wednesday. VPC
“I feel very confident that whoever did this was there for the wrong reason, not the right reason, and came there for whatever nefarious reason it was,” Belmar said in a news conference. “But I do feel like there was an unfortunate association with that gathering.”
Jeff Roorda, who heads the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said the shooting sent a chill through the law enforcement community.
He called on state and county officials to restrict protests to daytime hours.
“This is a very volatile situation,” Roorda said. “You have outside agitators racing to be here. This isn’t safe for police, community or peaceful protesters.”
Roorda said he’s spoken to the police officer who was shot in the shoulder and that he was doing remarkably well considering the circumstances.
Police officers at the scene last night said were jolted by the timing of the incident. The protests were breaking up and only a few dozen demonstrators were left when the shots were fired.
“There’s been a recurring phenomenon throughout the protests where you see the flash-points, the bad things coming ,” he said. “But last night, as it was described to me by many of the cops that were here here, it wasn’t that way. The crowd was just mulling around. A lot of the protesters were starting to disperse. No one saw it coming.”
The shootings came hours after Ferguson officials announced that Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who will step down March 19.
Jackson, 57, became the third top city official to leave following the release of the Justice Department report. Judge Ronald Brockmeyer and City Manager John Shaw resigned earlier this week.
Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff is serving as acting chief until the city completes a nationwide search for a new police chief, the city said in a news release. Jackson will receive a severance payment of approximately $100,000 and health insurance for one year.
Belmar said he has called for a “measured response” to the shootings, but reserved the right to call upon the highway patrol for additional help if necessary.
He said police are planning to assess their security plans outside the Ferguson Police Department and talk to protesters and community leaders about how to move forward.
When asked about security in the area moving forward, Belmar said it is very difficult to sustain this kind of situation without injuries to the public or police officers.
“I think we need to re-evaluate that, and that’s one of the things I’ve been doing since my phone rang at midnight tonight,” said Belmar. “We’re going to be looking for different ways to approach this. Obviously my first priority is to the community, but that’s followed very very closely to my police officers and making sure that they’re able to do what they’re supposed to do out there in a safe manner.”
President Obama condemned the shootings on Thursday, saying in a tweet that “violence against police is unacceptable.” “Our prayers are with the officers in MO,” he wrote. “Path to justice is one all of us must travel together.”
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said doesn’t believe the shooting will set back any gains made in the city.
“I don’t consider this incident a setback toward healing,” he said. “I don’t believe it’s going to affect any healing process that is going on in the community. I think the community at large is fully supportive of these police officers and probably wishes the very best for them.”
Knowles and the Ferguson City Council released a statement thanking law enforcement agencies that have helped the city in the past seven months and reaching out the community.
“While we respect the right to peacefully protest, we cannot continue to move forward under threats of violence and destruction to our community,” the statement said. “We ask our residents and clergy in this area to partner with us as we make our way through this process.”
The shootings came as a shock to the crowds gathered outside the police department. DeRay McKesson, 29, one of the most visible protesters in Ferguson, was sitting in his car and about to tweet that the crowd was thinning out when he heard about four gunshots to his right.
“It was like pow, pow, pow, pow — like four consistent shots,” he said. “I was looking straight up at the police department and I see an officer fall and I see officers surround him.”
McKesson said protesters, who had been gathered at the police department since 8 p.m. Wednesday, hit the ground as soon as the shots rang out and scattered trying to get to safety amid the chaos.
“Every single gun any officer had was drawn and they were all behind something,” he said, adding that officers ran and ducked behind cars and the department building.
St. Louis County Alderman posted a Vine showing people crawling on the ground after police reacted to the gunshots.
Heather De Mian, 44, of St. Charles, Mo., was live streaming the scene outside of the police department when the shots rang out.
“Those gunshots went right past my head,” said De Mian, who is in a wheelchair and tried to duck down. “I tried to go down low so my head wasn’t sticking out.”
She said soon after the shots a swarm of St. Louis County Police crime scene cars showed up and later, a group of officers marched up the hill on a side street in the direction of where the sound of gunshots had come from.
Meanwhile, De Mian is adamant that the shooters were not with demonstrators.
“The shots came from a block away from the protests,” she said. “It’s incredibly dangerous to try to link the protesters to this without evidence. It could be someone trying to frame the protesters or someone who was aiming at the protesters and was a bad shot. Whoever shot put everyone’s life in danger.”
An Aug. 9 shooting of unarmed African-American teen Michael Brown by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson set off weeks of unrest and violence in the St. Louis suburb.
Brown’s family issued a statement Thursday condemning the police shootings. “We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement,” the statement said. They also denounced the actions of “stand-alone agitators” who might try to derail the a peaceful movement addressed at police brutalit
Wilson was not charged in Brown’s killing and the Justice Department found no reason to bring civil rights charges against him.
Contributing: William M. Welch in Los Angeles; Jimmy Bernhard, KSDK-TV, St. Louis; Associated Press
Two St. Louis County Police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said one officer was shot in the shoulder and one was shot in the face. Both officers were conscious.
2 Timothy 3:1-4 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.”