John Oliver on Ferguson

John Oliver on Ferguson August 19, 2014


1400%. Wow.

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  • I’m not sure the robbery of the store has *nothing* to do with what transpired afterward. However, I don’t know all the facts. Neither does John Oliver.

    • Leslie Strongcheese

      Yes. The narrative started two days before any solid facts It’s the Trayvon marketing plan all over again.

      • Peggy

        Ding! Ding! We have a winner! I sure hope the media and the out of state troublemakers go soon.

        • cmfe

          Yes, by all means, let’s get back to business as usual long as we don’t have to worry about our own children getting gunned down.

          • Bill T

            No worries here as My Kids :

            A.) Don’t punch cops in face

            B.) Aren’t dope fiends

            C.) Don’t rob stores

            YMMV on the order of the above.

            • cmfe

              That’s right Christian of you there, Bill.

          • Peggy

            While I am on the opposite side of the Mississippi, I am concerned about all this spilling over. The out of state trouble makers are providing the need for a militarized response by the cops from all over StL county and the suburbs. (StL County is a “ring” of suburbs around StL City, which is a separate incorporated entity.) The NBP are the instigators who are making it hard for residents, who at the most peacably protest, to get back to every day life, to shop, to run businesses, to get kids to school. All loss of life is tragic. White police killings of young black men are actually pretty rare. Black on black murder is significant. Jackson needs to get back to Chicago. SHarpton back to NYC.

            A rental hall in SOUTH StL County offered support for all StL County police.

    • jroberts548

      The Ferguson PD itself said that the robbery was unrelated to the stop.

      • According to the officer’s story, as related by a friend of his to a news station, he was aware of the robbery. But even if the officer didn’t know about the robbery, Michael Brown did know about it, as he had just committed it. His reaction to the officer stopping him just minutes after committing a crime *could not* be divorced from the robbery – not in *my opinion*. I just think we wait and see – let all the facts get out in the open.

        • jroberts548

          Mike Brown’s mindset doesn’t have any bearing on whether the cop committed murder.

          The Ferguson chief of police said the robbery was unrelated. Some anonymous source claimed to repeat that the robbery was related. Either the Ferguson chief of police is lying to make his own department look worse, or the anonymous source is incorrect.

          • I see what you’re saying. We will see. Either the cop knew or he didn’t know. Let’s see. I don’t know. You don’t know.

            • jroberts548

              Does the Ferguson police department also not know? They should know. If they interviewed Wilson, they would know whether stop was for the robbery or for jaywalking. They said the stop was for jaywalking.

              • At this point, with all the protests, over-reaction, violence and tension, I’m not sure we are getting the full story. Or *can* get the full story. Hopefully outside investigators will be able to, and soon.

                • cmfe

                  I don’t see this as an over reaction. When I was in high school, we all knew that white kids could get away with the drag racing we did (stupid,yes) with a slap on the wrist, but black kids would get arrested. The law comes down disproportionately hard on kids of color. That is why people are upset. The autopsy is completely consistent with the testimonies of three separate eye witnesses who claimed that the young man had his hands up and was surrendering as the police shot him down. Black people fear and distrust the police for good reason.

                  • I was referring to the reaction of the police, governor, etc as an over-reaction. I think the handling of the situation by the powers that be has been atrocious for the most part.

                    I was watching live feeds last night from on-the-ground individuals, and clearly there was gunfire from someone in the protesters’ side. Clearly the situation has gotten out of hand.

                  • Peggy

                    The autospy is also consistent with Wilson’s story that Brown was charging at him. WIlson aimed at arms, but Brown probably put his head down to head butt as he was charging. That is probably why, in my view, Wilson shot him directly on top of the head. Wilson also may have had his vision impaired I posit, given the injury to the eye socket from Brown. Dr Bodon (spelling?) was open to interpretation. Depends on what witnesses say.

                    I think the Ferg chief should have been in front of mics stat as the StL City chief was today, explaining the initial facts on the ground. Explaining WIlson’s injuries as well and promising a full and fair investigation. The ME was tardy with her results as well.

                    • Guest

                      Cops don’t aim for arms and legs, or heads for that matter, they shoot center mass. The idea that an unarmed man would charge someone through a hail of gunfire from several feet away does not make sense. Mike Brown was 6’4″ and the last two shots were at a downward trajectory (5th shot went down from eye, through jaw, and out through collarbone; 6th shot was at top of head), so he would have had to be bent down low which probably means he was falling forward.

                    • Peggy

                      Wilson was likely visually impaired. Grand jury will…actually they will see what Holder wants them to see….

                    • Guest

                      Charles Johnson calls B.S. on the orbital fracture claim. Seriously would not take any info coming from Gateway Pundit at face value.


                    • Peggy

                      There is eye damage according to other sources reporting to Fox News…unless you hate Fox News too…

                      Several days ago I speculated Wilson could have been visually impaired since it was reported that he was beaten on one side of his face.

                    • Guest

                      Well he looks pretty able to walk and look around at the post-shooting scene in this video taken by Piaget Crenshaw which aired on CNN. And he was not attended to by ambulance and drove off in his cruiser.


                      Fox News gets a lot of its info links from Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and Infowars which are all questionable sources of news. If you read the link I gave to Charles Johnson’s site, you’ll learn that Drudge parroted Hoft’s bogus story. This is why its called the Right Wing echo chamber. They all repeat each other’s stories.

                    • Guest

                      Drudge uses those links as sources, and Fox News picks up those links via Drudge mostly as well. Readers need to use more discernment, as Mark mentions often.

                    • Peggy

                      Well, that’s amusing as our host often does not read below headlines and jumps to conclusions in many instances. (pardon me mark, but I have said that before here)

                      As for the video, I can’t see his face to determine extent of injury. Is that him for sure? Severe blows to the head could have impaired him for a duration even if not caused severe long term injuries.

                      This is a pretty murky case. It does not seem to be wanton murder, certainly not racially motivated. No evidence has suggested that latter in particular. Was Wilson justified in killing Brown? That does not seem clear. There was apparently some need of self-defense. I am positing I don’t know that he intentionally killed Brown. Maybe Brown fell forward or was bending over to charge Wilson. Even Bodan was open to interpretations other than that the family and Crump desired of the Brown autopsy.

                • Anna

                  I haven’t yet read a news story about any incident of which I had firsthand knowledge and thought “yep, that’s what happened.” Invariably, the news report is garbled, often beyond recognition. So I completely agree, we don’t have the full story and we never will. I still think the militarization of police is a major problem for the US and should be stopped, but I’m also pretty sure that, whatever happened in Ferguson, I won’t ever know the real story. So we’ll just have to hope for justice to be done for the people actually involved, and for the situation to calm down there while also giving impetus for fixing the very real problems.

              • Just to clarify for both of us (I wasn’t aware of this until I saw it just now), but the chief said the initial stop was for jaywalking. When the officer saw the cigars, he identified them as potential suspects.

              • chad

                As I’ve lurked around these discussions for days I find your portrayal of the events to be dishonest. One of the primary things missing from this whole episode is honesty, and you are not helping. As information continues to seep out, it contradicts most everything your have projected for a week. Even now in this discussion you omit the bit of information that the officer confronted Brown a second time after the call went out about the robbery. He was not responding to a jaywalker. He chided them for jaywalking, drove on ahead a little ways heard the robbery call and that’s when he responded and everything went to hell. Brown was apparently not shot retreating as you have stated in other threads. It appears the officer didn’t have just a minor altercation as you have stated in other threads as it looks like he was punched hard enough to bust his eye socket. Feel free to criticize the police and their disclosure, but please don’t criticize your own dishonest projections any further. It is ridiculous.

                • Mike Blackadder

                  This is why we don’t get to decide people’s innocence/guilt on blogs. This is why we should advocate blind justice. It’s better to reserve judgment until you are satisfied with reliability of the information you are receiving. If we are being honest, then every once in a while we maybe need to change our minds in acceptance of new evidence.

                • jroberts548

                  1. The cops said the stop was unrelated to the robbery. When asked repeatedly during a press conference if the robbery was related to the stop, the Ferguson chief of police said it wasn’t. I have no idea why the Ferguson chief of police would lie about that. It did not occur to me that the Ferguson police chief would lie to make his department look worse.

                  2. I didn’t say anything about how serious the altercation was. All that had been said was that there was one. If it was serious, then the cops should have said so. Why would they say “He bruised his face” when his whole eyesocket was busted? Why would cops lie to make themselves look worse?

                  3. I didn’t assume one way or the other whether he fleeing or whether he was just some distance from the car. When the Ferguson cops released information about the robbery, and didn’t say anything about self-defense, I assumed they were trying to suggest that the shooting was justified as apprehension of a violent fleeing felon. For purposes of whether that was the case, you have to assume he was fleeing (since, if he wasn’t, then there’s no discussion about violent fleeing felon at all).

                  I’ve pretty clear about the basis for what I’ve assumed. I’ve either tried to argue from what wasn’t in dispute (unarmed, some distance away from the car, shot multiple times), or stated that I’m assuming the cops wouldn’t lie to make themselves worse, or withhold information that they knew that would point to justification. I have repeatedly said that I have no idea why a police department wouldn’t say why the shooting was justified, unless they just really love using their riot gear.

                  I’m going to be legitimately shocked if it turns out that Ferguson PD knew that it was self-defense and didn’t say anything about it for 10 days. That is mind-bogglingly stupid. It is possible that I should have assumed that the people in charge of Ferguson PD are literally retarded, rather than racist murderers.

                  Even during the protests, the cops shot someone who pointed a gun at them. That didn’t draw any new protests. No one’s chanting that guy’s name. How stupid would a police department have to be to know that a shooting was justified and not tell anyone? How imbecilic would you have to be release information about a completely irrelevant robbery without also releasing information about justification? Or to wait for the private autopsy to show that Brown was shot twice in the head before releasing information that points to justification?

                  The only thing that would amount to justification is the anonymous claim to reporters by “Wilson’s friend” that Brown charged Wilson, after apparently busting Wilson’s eye socket. If that’s the case, and you’re the police department, and you know or should know that by the end of the day last Saturday, why wouldn’t you say that?

                  If it’s not murder, Ferguson PD is ran by the dumbest human beings in America.

                  ETA: For instance,

                  Within literally less than an hour we knew that the cops had what sounds like a slam-dunk argument for self-defense. Why would the neighboring city wait more than 10 days before saying anything that might count as a justification?

                  • Mike Blackadder

                    Roberts, I don’t that it’s fair for you to blame your attitude on a lack of defense coming from the police. You and I got into this before and whether or not it is your intention you certainly give the impression that you had already decided it was a clear case of murder. Some other folks like myself have only said that we are either skeptical of the narrative or recognize that an investigation is pending and try to reserve judgement till we see the facts and/or facts are verified.

                    • jroberts548

                      For it to be self-defense, and the cops not to have said anything yet would require the cops in Ferguson to be uniquely dumb. It is a clear case of murder, unless the cops are literally the dumbest cops in America.

                    • Mike Blackadder

                      Uniquely dumb or advised not to talk about it while an investigation is pending. I agree that it doesn’t exactly exude confidence in their story, but obviously I wouldn’t go so far as to say it proves guilt of the officer.

                      You know if this cop actually murdered Brown in cold blood, do you think that he has broadcast this around the precinct? If he had, do you not think there may have been a whistle-blower given all of the attention? Is the narrative that every COP in Ferguson is a dedicated racist, to the point that they don’t care about an innocent black man being murdered?

                      So maybe it’s reasonable to acknowledge that if Wilson did murder Brown that the rest of the police force really doesn’t necessarily KNOW whether or not Wilson did it. If I was a Cop in Ferguson, and I thought Wilson’s was a BS story, it might be wise not to say anything much about it. But the fact that I’m silent maybe only proves that I don’t believe him, not that he’s actually guilty.

                      Once again, it seems prudent to atleast allow them to complete an investigation. I will say that I remain unconvinced of the self-defense narrative based on what I have heard. I’m giving you a bit of a hard time, but if I had to guess you are probably right.

                    • jroberts548

                      Earlier today cops in the neighboring city shot and killed a man for attacking them with a knife. They immediately said that they shot him in self-defense, because he was attacking them with a knife.

                      Last Wednesday, at 1 am, a man pointed a gun at the St. Louis county cops in Ferguson. By 2:45 am (or possibly 8:45), they had released that they shot him when he pointed a gun at them.

                      That’s what every police department does. And for good reason. It doesn’t benefit them to let people think it’s murder. There’s no cost to putting their version of the story out there. They could say that the officer said it happened under circumstances that amount to self-defense, but they’re still going to do an investigation. Law enforcement routinely does exactly that (the most recent high profile case I can think of where that happened was the shooting of Ibrahim Todashev, one of the friends of the Boston bombers. The FBI immediately characterized it as self-defense, made a statement about the exact circumstances and then did a full investigation). That wouldn’t hurt the police, and, done in a timely manner, it would have likely kept the situation from escalating.

                      They have every incentive to release the information, no incentive not to, and a considerable disincentive in letting the people of Ferguson think they murdered Brown.

                    • Mike Blackadder

                      Which information are they supposed to release? Other than forensic evidence what exactly are they supposed to reveal other than the stories that everyone has already heard?

                    • jroberts548

                      If the cop’s version of events was that brown broke the cop’s face, and then was charging at him and was close enough to pose an imminent threat, there’s no conceivable excuse for not releasing that by the end of the day last Saturday.

                      Instead, no information supporting justification came out until a week later, and it was in the form of the cop’s anonymous friend telling a reporter that the cop told her that brown was charging at him. The police still haven’t provided any information that amounts to justification.

                      But definitely, once the story is circulating that he was shot with his hands up, it’s unfathomably insane not to release the cop’s version.

                    • Mike Blackadder

                      Inconceivable except that the Ferguson department has proven to be quite incompetent throughout the handling of the protests.

                      Given the silence of the Ferguson department, I would interpret this to mean that they don’t have facts to share or evidence that exonerates Wilson. I think that people need to stop looking at this as the Ferguson police side vs Brown and protester’s side. If I was a cop in Ferguson I’d maybe be more pissed at Wilson than I am at protesters. Why would I feel compelled to offer unsubstantiated assertions from Wilson? Imagine if the cops had done so and then forensic evidence came back contradicting them? There’s no reason to think this approach would reduce violence or subdue allegations of a criminal police department.

                    • jroberts548

                      Fair enough. With each day, the possibility that the killing was justified and the ferguson PD is just ran by morons does seem slightly more plausible.

          • Mike Blackadder

            I would think that Brown’s mindset and his subsequent behavior would bear heavily on whether the cop actually committed murder.

            • jroberts548

              You should think through the implications of that.

              Suppose Brown was hallucinating. Instead of seeing a friendly neighborhood cop, he saw a space alien, and attacked it in order to prevent the alien from eating a nearby child. (Let’s also assume Brown survived the shooting, and could testify to that). Would that defeat Wilson’s self-defense claim? Murder (and self-defense as a defense to murder) is about what the defendant does and the defendant’s mindset. It wouldn’t be fair to punish Wilson for Brown’s mindset. The flipside is that it also wouldn’t be right to exonerate Wilson for Brown’s mindset. Unless Wilson’s psychic, Brown’s state of mind doesn’t affect Wilson’s criminal or civil liability.

              Brown’s actions don’t even matter per se, but only as perceived by the cop. If Brown had a handgun tucked in his rear waistband, and the cop didn’t see it, Brown would still be unarmed for purposes of deciding whether Wilson committed murder or is justified based on self-defense. Conversely, if Brown pointed a watergun with no red tip at Wilson, Brown would be armed for purposes of deciding whether or not Wilson acted in self-defense.

              • Mike Blackadder

                “Brown’s mindset and his subsequent behavior …”
                Agreed that Wilson cannot be deemed guilty or innocent based on his presumptions of Wilson’s mindset. It is only Wilson’s perception and judgement of how he responds to this perception that matters. However, it is relevant if Brown did in fact just commit a crime before being stopped by police, even if it is circumstantial evidence, that would render Wilson’s testimony of Brown’s behavior more believable.

                Now I admit that in a court of law a judge would have to make a determination of whether evidence that Brown stole cigars would be admissible because on the one hand it might be seen as prejudicial, but without this information you’re left explaining Brown’s alleged conduct which is perhaps explained by this fact.

          • Peggy

            If he was acting aggressive with the store mgr/owner (?) just before the encounter w/Wilson, that has a bearing. And it may have been drug-induced conduct that according to Wilson’s story via friend (not corroborated by police report yet) caused Brown to act really crazy and rush at Wilson. I am guessing Brown put his head down as Wilson was shooting the arms and not to kill.

            • jroberts548

              It only has a bearing if the cop knew about it, and it contributed to him having the mindset necessary for self-defense.

              • Peggy

                The cop knew he was acting crazy violent. Some reports of the cop’s injuries include eye socket (?) damage. Was the cop visually impaired as well as aware of how violent Brown was at that moment?

                I have heard conflicting reports as to whether Wilson knew about the robbery. Reports suggest that he did after he backed up. He saw the cigars. We’ll have to see how that bears out.

            • Mike Blackadder

              That just doesn’t sound credible to me. That Brown would rush Wilson through a stream of gunfire because Wilson was maybe accusing him of committing a crime that he had just committed? It sounds like the South Park ‘it’s coming right for us’ explanation for shooting him down. I’m not saying that I know it didn’t happen, just wouldn’t bet on it.

            • Guest

              I agree with Mike Blackadder that this scenario doesn’t sound credible. Aren’t cops trained to shoot center mass? They don’t aim for arms but rather for the center. Michael Brown was 6’4″ so the final two shots would have him bent down rather low which would seem to indicate falling forward. The fifth shot went down through the eye, jaw and exited the collarbone, and final shot was top of head consistent with falling forward.

  • chad

    First impressions are everything, and Ferguson is no different. After the first 12 hours, there was probably little the cops could have done that would have stopped the cascade of mayhem, short of arresting the cop and holding him in jail. It really doesn’t matter what information they did or did not release after that point, at least as it concerns the media, mobs, bloggers, and late night hosts. Ferguson police became the polarizing object to churn the passions and it will just continue until the story dies out and the next major news event blows up. I think I will follow Stu’s lead and exit Mark’s blog for a spell.

  • Joe

    Demilitarizing the police would be a good start.

  • Benjamin2.0

    I can’t see the video, and I don’t care to. I’m aghast that you people are still treating this like anything but a manufactured media circus. Maybe we could stop sacrificing areas around my home to pillaging brigands once you all stop.

    I’ll make my point again. Race baiting is racism. It’s deciding guilt or innocence in a matter due to racial disparity rather than factual matters (y’know, the ones that matter). There isn’t an iota of evidence that Brown was killed due to police racism. Maybe that stuff happens, but it doesn’t appear to have happened here. Even presuming guilt, it’s perfectly understandable why someone who’s suffered a fractured eye socket might kill the guy who inflicted it without ever having to consider race. If you’re against institutional racism (which you are, and the protesters are) this has none of the marks of that. The next time I hear somebody make racial allegations, I’m going to groan out loud and roll my eyes before even hearing the facts. Congratulations. I now have absolutely no respect for your cause.

    1400%? Wow. That’s, like, 14 times some initial value. Numbers are fun!

    • Benjamin2.0

      P.S. One C.S. Lewis says “shame on you.”

      “In other words, you must show that a man
      is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method
      is to assume without discussion that
      he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by
      busily explaining how he became to be so silly. In the course of the last
      fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name
      for it. I call it “Bulverism.” Some day I am going the write the biography of
      its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age
      of five when he heard his mother say to his father – who had been maintaining
      that two sides of a triangle were together greater than the third – “Oh, you
      say that because you are a man.” “At that moment,” E. Bulver assures us,
      “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no
      necessary part of argument. Assume your opponent is wrong, and then explain his
      error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or
      (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national
      dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one
      of the makers of the Twentieth Century.”

    • Adolfo

      Aghast, he says! AGHAST!

  • Guest

    NY Times confirms that Officer Wilson was chasing and shooting at Brown but missed as Brown was fleeing. “As Officer Wilson got out of his car, the men were running away. The officer fired his weapon but did not hit anyone, according to law enforcement officials.”

    So this is a key point that law enforcement officials confirm in the mainstream media. So now the question remains: why would Brown stop and turn around to face a barrage of bullets? That simply doesn’t make sense, and witnesses say in this NY Times article that Brown was not rushing but stumbling toward the officer.