Battle of Ferguson II: How protest turned to riot and what you aren’t being told

November 26, 2014   |   Justin King

"Taking selfies" in Ferguson

“Taking selfies” in Ferguson

Justin King
November 26, 2014

(TheAntiMedia) When debunking an accepted narrative of events, it’s important to recap what the state media is claiming happened. According to media reports, this is how the Battle of Ferguson II transpired:

News of indictment reaches protesters gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department.
Protesters begin rioting, smashing windows, and burning buildings.
Law Enforcement moves in and quells rioters with tear gas and bean bag rounds. Some news outlets even refused to call it tear gas, and instead called them “smoke canisters.”
An officer is shot.
The unrest moves outward from the police station.
After grabbing all of the consumer goods they can carry, rioters go home.
Later that night, a group of rioters came back to admire their handiwork and take “selfies” in front of burning buildings.

Almost all of the things listed above happened. The problem is that the events didn’t happen in that order. On a side note, the group that was said to be taking selfies weren’t rioters admiring their handiwork. They were a group of protesters that agreed to go back to the area and walk me through the events of the day. Most of the group had no idea I was with the media, so I didn’t bring my camera and only had my cell phone to take photos with. I was trying to blend in and get the truth behind what occurred that day from the people that were on the frontlines. In other words, I was engaged in journalism, instead of just reading the script handed to me by law enforcement.

So what really happened?

The events below were corroborated by five unrelated protesters. Any deviation from the consensus of the main narrative is noted in italics.

News of decision reaches the crowd gathered at the Ferguson Police Department. The crowd begins chanting and marching away from the department. During the brief march there was no rioting. One of the five noted he witnessed “pretty bullsh-t vandalism stuff.” When asked to explain, he said he saw someone throw an open bottle of water at a cop in riot gear. Someone else mentioned some Christmas lights were pulled down. An outside source chimed in that a single rock was thrown at the Fire Department building as soon as the verdict was announced.

“I think it surprised him when the window broke. Not even sure he meant to hit the window.”

Cops stop the march, greeting protesters with an army of riot gear clad officers and armored vehicles. They order the crowd to disperse. Stopping the march is a direct violation of the law. Before the verdict was ever announced, Tony Rothert of the American Civil Liberties Union said:

“Missouri law enforcement may only ask those assembled on the street or sidewalk to disperse if there are six or more people gathered for an unlawful purpose or if a riot is taking place.”

There was no unlawful purpose and a riot was not taking place. Missouri law enforcement was aware of the law; they simply chose to ignore it.

With their rights being violated by the police department, protesters began shaking a cop car. If the car had not been placed in the way of protesters engaged in an activity protected by the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the state of Missouri, it would not have been shook. This can’t be made clear enough: the officers ordering the crowd to disperse were in violation of the law.

Police repeat orders to disperse, and rocks and water bottles begin being thrown at the officers who are using force to infringe on the civil rights of the citizens. One of the protesters said he witnessed rocks being thrown as soon as the police stopped the march.

Cops begin firing gas canisters into the crowd. If Ferguson was the actual warzone the cops want it to be, the gas they used would constitute a war crime. It is banned by the Geneva Convention. Bean bag rounds fired from shotguns followed the tear gas. One protester, who asked to be referred to as “Yellow Laces,” seemed particularly upset because the police seemed to be targeting a group of people carrying someone. The person being carried had suffered a heart attack. Another protester remarked:

“I don’t know if they were trying to hit them on purpose, but they damned sure hit them more than once.”

At least one protester begins throwing tear gas canisters back towards the cops. “Vlow,” who showed me the burns he received while throwing the canister back at officers received nods from everyone around him when he said:

“[The police] started it. They refused to let us protest.”

The protesters version of events is backed up by aerial footage. In this clip from ABC, police are already firing tear gas at protesters. As the camera pans around the area, look for signs of a riot. There are no burning buildings.

Though some may doubt the network airing the second clip, the first few seconds of the footage shows a relatively peaceful protest that grows angry as the march is stopped by law enforcement up the road. It also shows a window being broken and protesters expressing their disapproval. The tear gas comes down on what is obviously not a riot. There are no burning buildings. After the initial blast from law enforcement, suddenly broken glass is everywhere. One of the people in the video mentions the sound of gunfire. Given that nobody was shot during the riot, the rounds he heard were either the police firing bean bag rounds or shots fired into the air.

Rioting begins. Rioters moving away from the police begin smashing windows as they travel down the street. Looting begins. Some took advantage of the chaos and began stealing from stores. Molotov cocktails begin flying and establishments start being burned to the ground.

A cop is shot. Of course, this had nothing to do with the protest or the riots. In fact, it was five miles away, in another jurisdiction. The officer responded to an incident that allegedly involved a son shooting his mother. Even though there is no evidence tying this incident to the riots, USA Today still reports

“In a burglary that may have been timed to take advantage of law-enforcement focus elsewhere”

A reader’s propaganda alarm should be sounding anytime they read the word “may” in state-run news reporting. The suspect may have also fled on a unicorn that shot lightning out of its eyes. He may be an alien. He may be hiding out with the Ku Klux Klan in a meth lab. Alternatively, an incident in which a son killed his own mother may have been a domestic situation and have absolutely nothing to do with protests and riots occurring in another jurisdiction

Officers then reportedly fell back to the police station to secure it. They stopped engaging rioters. Suddenly, the riots began to die down. Hours later, looting begins again of stores that had their windows smashed. This was unrelated to the protest. This is also where the majority of the footage you’re seeing on TV came from. I watched them film some of it.

While the merry band of misfits and I were wandering around in the aftermath of the riots taking “selfies,” I had the opportunity to watch the officers. They had one of two expressions etched on their faces. A small percentage was angry and looking for a reason to confront us, shining flashlights in our eyes and glaring as menacingly as possible. These are the cops that cause these incidents in the first place. The majority of officers simply looked ashamed. Either they realized their plan to disperse the protesters with force had backfired and that their actions had unintentionally led to the destruction all around us, or they had just begun to face the fact that they had opened fire on an unarmed crowd of protesters. Either way, the shame was deserved. The only thing that provided a ray of hope is that the emotion seemed genuine.

To the protesters and rioters, I would like to say that violence should always be the last resort. In this case, I think it was. When the government’s enforcement class refuses to allow Constitutionally-protected activities and continually tramples the rights of citizens, eventually the citizens will fight back. It’s a historical fact. In the Battle of Ferguson II, there was no widespread violence. There was >

To the looters (not that any of them will read this): You had the world watching. You possessed a chance to make a statement about the police state and the fact that unarmed people are getting gunned down almost daily. With the eyes of the world upon you, you stole hair products. This was a moment that could have helped turn the corner, and given the fact that you are obviously prone to stupid mistakes, the next person shot could easily be you. You damaged the credibility of a movement that is fighting for you and in the process made it easier for the government and their lackeys in the media to paint this as just another example of why the poor and disenfranchised deserve to be where they are. The momentum and machinery for change was there, and now someone else will have to die to build that momentum again. You killed the next Mike Brown, not the cops.

In case you are wondering if the media is blatantly lying to you. You’ve seen the videos above; now compare that to a summary of events by Fox News.

“Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon sternly vowed that a repeat of the chaos in Ferguson — in which protesters looted stores, vandalized >

There it is. Your eyes must deceive you. There must have been cars and buildings on fire in the videos. You just couldn’t see it. Maybe you should watch it again. Looting must have been going on before the “police response.” The media wouldn’t lie to you, would they?

From this point forward, the blame for any violence, destruction, or death lands squarely on a government failing to allow people the basic rights guaranteed to them under the Constitution and a media that accepts a government press release as fact.

Updates:

The night of 11/25, police again fired tear gas, not “smoke grenades” into a crowd. There was no riot to blame it on.

Two FBI agents were shot near Ferguson, this is also being played up by the media. They were serving arrest warrants completely unrelated to protests or riots. The shooting didn’t occur in Ferguson, and has nothing to do with Ferguson.

Author’s note: While the American reader is accustomed to stories matching in every detail (from hearing officers’ accounts), that is the most certain sign that testimony is rehearsed and a lie. Stories of an event like this should be different. People saw different things from different angles. There is only one thing that everyone agrees on: the riot started AFTER the police opened fire, not before.


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Author: Justin King

Justin King joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in July of 2014. His topics of interest include activism, human rights, international relations, and military affairs. Born in Japan, he currently resides in the United States.

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