Cops and Drones

November 25, 2014

dismalClear sunshine and chilly temperatures this early Tuesday on California’s north coast — beautiful weather for the year.

Not so beautiful anywhere else, though.

Tip-top news story story this morning comes from Ferguson, MO — grand jury returns without an indictment against Darren Wilson, the cop who shot and killed Michael Brown last August. And nature then played its course: “This spun out of control,” the St Louis county police chief said early Tuesday at a brief news conference with mayor Francis Slay.

(Illustration found here).

One of the most-obvious, worst-handled public affairs is a long time. Officials in St. Louis County had nearly three months to play this thing out, and still screwed the pooch. Via Slate (h/t Balloon Juice):

None of this was a surprise.
It’s extremely rare for a police officer to face an indictment for a shooting, much less criminal punishment.
“The FBI reported 410 justifiable homicides by law enforcement in 2012,” noted Talking Points Memo in an August story following the events in Ferguson, “The number of indictments appear to be minimal after a TPM review of available press reports.”
And it’s not just shootings; earlier this year, Georgia police mistakenly raided a home and seriously injured a young child. Prosecutors convened a grand jury, and the grand jury voted against an indictment.
“The drug investigation that led to these events was hurried, sloppy, and unfortunately not in accordance with the best practices and procedures,” wrote the grand jury in its decision.
Still, no one from the police force was held accountable.

And the assholes! The county prosecutor should be indicted — worse case of legal work ever.
Via CNN:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was asked by reporters about the nighttime announcement.
Nixon said the decision was made solely by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch.
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said McCulloch’s decision was “foolish and dangerous.”
“I find this a completely bizarre decision to do this at night,” Toobin said.
“Here’s the thing about that time of night: it’s dark.
“Anyone — anyone! — should have known that the decision in the Brown case would have been controversial.
“Crowd control is always more difficult in the dark.”
CNN legal analyst Paul Callan noted the announcement was supposed to be made at 8 p.m. ET, but was rescheduled for 9 p.m. ET.
“Why would you be moving it another hour? I think the only reason can be that they don’t have their security forces in place,” he said.

Yet they had weeks, days, hours to get their shit together. McCulloch has to be a real turd, as if waiting for the jaws of reality to spread across Ferguson and beyond, and pronounced the grand jury decision in ‘a press conference that many found baffling, unwieldy and inflammatory.’
As if waiting, waiting…

And this shit should come as zero surprise — cops and war and lying.
Overseas, the US should be indicted — yesterday, from the Guardian:

A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times.
Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.
Reprieve, sifting through reports compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, examined cases in which specific people were targeted by drones multiple times.
Their data, shared with the Guardian, raises questions about the accuracy of US intelligence guiding strikes that US officials describe using words like “clinical” and “precise.”

“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them.
“There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after,” said Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson, who spearheaded the group’s study.
Some 24 men specifically targeted in Pakistan resulted in the death of 874 people.
All were reported in the press as “killed” on multiple occasions, meaning that numerous strikes were aimed at each of them.
The vast majority of those strikes were unsuccessful.
An estimated 142 children were killed in the course of pursuing those 24 men, only six of whom died in the course of drone strikes that killed their intended targets.

So like maybe McCulloch, all this drivel is the fault of “the 24-hour news cycle,” not cops/drone operators.
However, bullshit is bullshit: “Social media isn’t the problem,” author Maureen Johnson said. “Shooting children is the problem.”

Now the problem is grieving.

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