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Friday, August 15, 2014

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 9:00 AM

The name of the police officer who shot and killed Ferguson's Michael Brown last weekend was finally released early this morning: Darren Wilson, a Ferguson cop for six years.

Ferguson's police chief also unveiled a previously unseen investigative report contradicting what witnesses and even police have said so far about the shooting. The report alleges Brown and the (uninterviewed) friend who saw him die had matched the description of suspects in a strong-arm robbery (of cigars) at a convenience store—which is why, the chief said, Wilson had stopped the two. So not just because they were walking in the street and not the sidewalk, which is all anyone had ever said before. Ferguson cops even produced video stills showing Brown, who was tall, standing while tall next to a worker at the convenience store—because although there's apparently no video of Brown's death, there's ample video of him shopping.

Ferguson police once charged a man with property damage after they beat him in a jail cell, because some of his blood got on their uniforms. Henry Davis had the same first and last names as a man with an outstanding warrant, and was arrested without explanation after getting off the highway in Ferguson because he missed his exit in a blinding rainstorm. He said the cops knew he was the wrong man but put him into a cell anyway for the night, beating him after he asked for, and was refused, a sleeping mat. Davis was beaten badly enough that he went to the ER—and never was prosecuted amid conflicting testimony from officers that reeked of an attempted coverup.

Protests last night in Ferguson, meanwhile, were magically peaceful—once Missouri Governor Jay Nixon finally decided to end what had been a war against his own citizens. Local cops from Ferguson and St. Louis County were ordered to cede authority to the state highway patrol, led by a Ferguson native who hugged and kissed demonstrators and marched alongside them and put away the combat equipment and even apologized for the people who'd been tear-gassed.

On the subject of combat equipment, the O's Mike Francis asked the Pentagon for a list showing which Oregon counties, over the past five years, might have received surplus tactical equipment. Multnomah County police agencies, he found, were not on that list.

Solidarity-style marches erupted around the nation last night, in some cases bringing out cops, like in New York City. In Portland, hundreds showed up for a "moment of silence" in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and then maybe 150 people gathered up on NE MLK, outside North Precinct, for a couple hours of rallying and marching (catch up on my Twitter feed!) that briefly shut down lanes on Alberta, MLK, and Killingsworth, and some side streets. Notably, police here were ready to crack down, but decided to pretty much keep invisible and wait everyone out instead.

A father of five out for a bike ride on his day off (he was a pressman at his local paper) died this week after police in San Bernardino County decided he looked like a burglary suspect, stopped him, and Tasered him enough times that he eventually stopped breathing. Do I even need to mention that Dante Parker was African American?

The FBI has made a good business out of terrorism sting operations: Agents find troubled Muslim Americans, suggest terror plots, help with those terror plots, and even provide fake bombs for those terror plots. But the agency has just stumbled in a would-be sting out of New York, pulling its terrorism charges just in case a judge agreed with the defendant's entrapment defense—thereby fouling the FBI's perfect record.

Of course not, Russia says. Those couldn't have been Russian troop carriers and support vehicles that two different newspapers clearly saw heading over the Ukraine border, through a gap in a fence, without permission.

Iraq's non-militant Sunnis seem ready to try again at a "unity government" in Baghdad, now that the sectarian rule of the country's Shiite former prime minister has ended. But fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Iraq's Kurdish enclave is still hot enough that Britain's getting ready to hook the Kurds up with more weapons.

The children from Central America who've flooded over the southern border recently, to escape war and crime and violence and poverty, are officially (and hopefully humanely) being moved to the front of the line in immigration court proceedings.

A sheriff's deputy in Virginia mistook his 16-year-old daughter for an intruder. So he shot her. And then? When he was rushing her to the hospital, he crashed his car. She's in stable condition.

Gay men who have sex with other gay men (or even, like in the case of an Iowa teen who's maybe had sex) still can't donate all of their organs and tissues when they die.

Lye powder, used for cleaning, looks a lot like the kind of sugar an inattentive restaurant staffer might mix with iced tea—and then serve to unsuspecting patrons. Like a 67-year-old woman who took a sip of the caustic brew before spitting it out and declaring that she thought she drank acid. She's now in critical condition.

I AM OVERWHELMED BY THE BURDENS OF SHOPPING FOR MY FAMILY IN A MODERN SUPERMARKET.

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