In the News
- Obama meets today on Ferguson
- Rams players protest on Ferguson
- Wilson resigns – no severance package
- What happened in the grand jury room?
- Ferguson: What they’re saying
- Black Friday: Are we over it?
- Can Congress avoid a govt shutdown??
- SCOTUS: When is a threat a true threat?
- Threats: Subjective vs objective
- Qatar frees then detains U.S. couple
- GOP staffer wigs out on Obama girls
- Lords-a-leaping! 12 days = $116,000+
Obama Meets Today on Ferguson
• President Obama is planning a day of meetings at the WH today to respond to the unrest in Ferguson, and racially tinged anger across the country, after a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, who’s white, who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Obama has no planned visit to Ferguson
• Obama this morning meets with members of his Cabinet to discuss federal programs and funding that provide equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. Then he’ll sit down with young local and national civil rights leaders in the Oval Office (NYT, WaPo, Hill, me)
• “As the country has witnessed, disintegration of trust between law enforcement agencies and the people they protect and serve can destabilize communities, undermine the legitimacy of the criminal justice system, create resentment in local communities and make the job of delivering police services less safe and more difficult,” – WH official on Sunday night
• This afternoon, Obama will meet at the WH with elected officials, community and faith leaders, along with law enforcement officials, to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country
Rams Players Protest; Police Group “Disappointed”
• During the first St Louis Rams’ home game since the grand jury’s decision last Monday, five black players stood with their hands raised before trotting onto the field for pregame introduction. It was an apparent show of compassion and solidarity for Ferguson protesters (AP, KSDK, Fox, me)
• “I just thinking there has to be a change,” tight end Jared Cook said after the Rams’ 52-0 rout over the Oakland Raiders Sunday. “There has to be a change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world.”
• Wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together first, with the move obscured by a smoke machine. Cook, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens then came out and stood together with hands raised in the fog. Coach Jeff Fisher said he hadn’t been aware the gesture had been planned by the players
• The St Louis Police Officers Assn said it was “profoundly disappointed” with what it called a “display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.” It called for the players involved to be disciplined and for both the league and the team to issue a “very public apology.”
Wilson Resigns, No Severance Package
• Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson didn’t receive a severance package when he resigned over the weekend, Mayor James Knowles said Sunday. Wilson wrote in his resignation letter that his “continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance I cannot allow.”
• His lawyer, Neil Bruntrager, told AP that Wilson decided to step aside after police Chief Tom Jackson told him about the alleged threats on Saturday. Bruntrager said Wilson and the city were already discussing an exit strategy
• When asked Sunday if there were any changes to Ferguson’s leadership planned, Mayor Knowles said there were not. Many have called on Jackson to resign, but he’s told reporters he doesn’t plan to do so
• On Saturday night, as protesters gathered near the police station, many seemed unsatisfied with the news of Wilson’s resignation. “We want an indictment and we’re still going to stand for that,” said Alicia Street, 29, who lives in nearby Florissant. Protests continued nationwide throughout the weekend, and protesters briefly closed down 1-395 in Washington DC
• In a nationally-televised interview last week, Wilson said he had a clear conscience because “I know I did my job right.” He said Michael Brown had “the most intense aggressive face.” “The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.” (dehumanizing Brown)
• Earlier Sunday, about 100 marchers led by the NAACP set off from the street where Brown was killed on a week-long walk to Missouri’s Capitol, 120 miles away. They invoked the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s 1965 march in Selma AL, the Freedom Rides and other civil rights era pilgrimages for justice
• Scores of people met at a church to sort out what comes next for the protest movement. Possible goals: firing the Ferguson police chief; urging passage of legislation requiring a special prosecutor to be appointed in cases like Brown’s involving the police; consolidation of small police depts; a requirement for annual reports from MO PDs on episodes of deadly force
• Also Sunday, Gov Jay Nixon sent state lawmakers a letter outlining what he called an urgent need to cover the ballooning costs of maintaining hundreds of National Guard troops and state police officers. The governor has called for a special legislative session
• The parents of Brown and the parents of Trayvon Martin, another keen killed in 2012 by a neighborhood watch volunteer, came together Friday night in Florida for a vigil. Martin’s father Tracy told Michael Brown Sr, “God has his hands on the situation, and he’s going to be OK,” according to AP
• Documents released in the Ferguson case (NYT)
What Happened in the Grand Jury Room?
• A review of thousands of pages of testimony from the Darren Wilson case shows that the forensic evidence and some witnesses’ accounts are consistent with Officer Wilson’s explanation of what happened: (NYT, me)
• That he shot Michael Brown because the teen was charging forward in a threatening way and that Brown’s hands were not raised to the sky, but were at his sides. He also testified that Brown had one hand in his waistband. Brown was unarmed
• The testimony around this critical moment show that the prosecutors, and sometimes the jurors, often treated Officer Wilson’s account as the truth, leaving questions about it unasked
• But many witnesses contested all or parts of the account. They said Brown seemed to be trying to give up and was stumbling toward Wilson, perhaps hobbled by his injuries, before the fatal shots were fired. There were nine white jurors and three were black
• The materials reveal that some jurors raised concerns about their personal safety as they drew close to a decision, and that jurors not only listened to, but questioned, the dozens of witnesses (AP)
• While grand juries traditionally act as vehicles to gather evidence for indictments, this one treated the Brown case more as an impartial request, a move the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, has portrayed as an effort to ensure fairness
• McCulloch was under pressure from the Brown family and its supporters to recuse himself because he’s the son of a police officer who was killed, of his family’s deep ties to law enforcements and his past dealings with police shootings. But McCulloch declined to step aside
• Some legal experts say the turn away from the grand jury’s traditional role dulled the jurors’ incentive to gather evidence questioning Wilson’s account and implicitly signaled that this case was different from other criminal inquests
• In addition, “It seemed the cross-examination of witnesses that conflicted with his
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