Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I have been watching the events in Ferguson the last few nights.  Let me preface this by saying, I know that often in demonstrations there are a few people who want to provoke violence.  I used to be a protester back in the day and it was a known fact that this would happen sometimes.

However, what is happening in Ferguson is totally ridiculous. It is so obvious that the police are out to start something every night. Its like they have a meeting every day and they make a decision what time they are going to line up 1,000 deep across an intersection. This angers the protesters who are peacefully demonstrating.. Eventually the police start lobbing tear gas, smoke canisters and sometimes rubber bullets.

I have watched the reports on TV where police officials say molotov cocktails provoke these nightly tear gas episodes.  No one who is actually at the front line of these things have ever seen molotov  cocktails.  A molotov cocktail is a bottle with gas in it, with a piece of cloth that comes out of the top.  It is lit on fire and then thrown.  I assume it would cause a small explosion or fire.  None of this has been observed by reporters or protesters.

There is a lot of talk  by the police and government officials about how much they want people to be able to protest.  So a couple of nights they have a curfew.  Then tonight they tell everyone they have to be moving all the time or will be subject to arrest.  In other words they are interfering with their right to protest.  Freedom of assembly is part of our constitution.

To say that this has been mishandled by the local police, the governor of the state and other officials is a vast understatement. They have come off as bumbling idiots.

No doubt this officer will be arrested eventually.  He will probably go to trial.  Its the only thing that CAN happen.  If he is never arrested,
 these protests will explode across the country.  The Ferguson thing will seem like peanuts when that happens.



Ivan Ilyich said...

I was there "back in the day" also. Not all assemblies are lawful and constitutionally protected. Here is a link to a tutorial on unlawful assembly:

girlvet said...

The basis of the offense of unlawful assembly is the intent with which the individuals assemble. The members of the assembled group must have in mind a fixed purpose to perform an illegal act. The time when the intent is formed is immaterial, and it does not matter whether the purpose of the group is lawful or unlawful if they intend to carry out that purpose in a way that is likely to precipitate a breach of the peace.

girlvet said...

So considering the above is it unlawful assembly when intent is peaceful, but a few people try to provoke violence?

In other words, can tear gas, stun grenades, smoke bombs, rubber bullets be used against the whole group?

Anonymous said...

During the Republican convention in San Diego a long time ago, protesters were assigned to the protesting pens several blocks from the convention. Those who have the gold rule.

girlvet said...


Why is the press being kept away from the protesters into certain areas? Is that freedom? Or is it that they don't want pictures of what happens?

Wny is there a no fly zone over Ferguson because supposedly a police helicopter was "shot at" the first night? Is it for police safety? Or is it because having an aerial perspective we could really see what is going on?

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Barb said...

I suspect that, like too many other PDs around the country, the Ferguson PD has a lot of military-grade "toys" and also has at least a few people in charge who are itching to use them. In the old days our police were woefully under-equipped to deal with criminals who had Uzis and the like... but now the pendulum has swung way too far in the other direction.

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