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August 18 2014

'Cabin in the Woods' Jesse Williams on Ferguson: 'We are not treated like human beings'. Watch the 'Cabin in the Woods' actor articulate the tragedy of Ferguson, Missouri.

Brilliant! Very well said!
Mr Williams is being way too dramatic (IMHO). I guess it's part of being an actor. We still don't know what happened exactly. If the guy really did steal some store then hit a policeman then tried to take his gun, well... On the other hand, it could be that the police officer is a total racist that decided to just kill a black man for walking on the street. I don't know and i'm hoping that the trial will clarify all this.

Anyway, I also wish that all these brilliant, outspoken members of the Black community would show some strong outrage at all the violence and the looting that is happening in Ferguson. Because it is really not normal that dozens of people are using this tragedy to get a free brand new TV set or something.
The robbery is unrelated to the shooting--the cop wasn't aware of it when it happened. We know that Brown was unarmed when he was shot. We know he was shot 6 times, which is many more than necessary to take down an unarmed human. And it's pretty likely that he was a good 25 feet from the officer, which again renders unnecessary the use of deadly force on an unarmed man. Add in the long, indisputable history of racial tensions between law enforcement and minorities in America, and especially in St. Louis (woo, hometown :/) and I would say this statement seems far from dramatic.

The reason we're not seeing massive condemnation of the looting and rioting is that most everyone with a brain/heart agrees that criminal actions like that are wrong. There's no convincing that needs to be done. But there's a large segment of the population that apparently thinks fatally shooting an unarmed black person is okay if he maybe robbed a store earlier. (not you specifically, obillow, but it's the tone of many in the debate, to be sure) And that's without getting into issues of police militarization and so on, which has done much more damage in the past week than the looters have.

I'm glad the clip is gaining traction and, hopefully, creating even more discussion and exposure over what's happening in Ferguson.
Violence and hate should never excusable. We know more than enough to recognize a cover-up. Ask any cop, that's admission of guilt. The officer knew that he was wrong, and yet...
Another reason to love Jessie Williams. Politically on point.
I like the title that was given to this piece. To me it evokes a connection to Joss' speech for the Harvard Humanists.

[ edited by Tausif on 2014-08-19 07:05 ]
Mr Williams is a brilliant guy. I've seen him speak on similar topics and he's always so eloquent and so on point. What happened is absolutely disgusting and proof we have a long, long way to go.
@sumogrip: the robbery may be unrelated to the shooting but it might explain Brown's state of mind and why he would be nervous/act violently when meeting police officers. Again i think people should wait till the end of the investigation and the trial before making such strong statements.

As for your second paragraph, i guess we don't hang around the same kind of people because i've never heard anyone say that it's okay to shoot black men for no reason. Instead, i hear lots of people justifying violence and glorifying the looters and how it's "so cool" that they're defying law enforcement.

As for police militarization, well that's because of our gun laws. Our police has to keep up with the criminals.

Anyway the point of my first post was to say that it's great to have peaceful demonstrations but when every night they turn into rioting and looting and shooting the police maybe (just maybe) the members of the Black community should be doing more calming and condemning violence instead of just adding fuel to the fire by saying thing like "We are not treated like human beings".
"i've never heard anyone say that it's okay to shoot black men for no reason"

Then you're not paying enough attention. I neither hang around with nor tolerate wannabe KKKlanners in my presence, and I can't count the number of "Animals get what they deserve" comments I've heard. And if you take a look at the difference in police response between the (peaceful) protestors of the victim's community as well as newspeople covering it versus the (also peaceful) protestors supporting the cop; I think Mr. Williams' point is pretty well validated. The rioters and looters are only a small segment of the "Black community"; it would be nice if the people of ANY community could get as much benefit of the doubt as trigger-happy cops get.
Right, because there's absolutely no history of blacks being assaulted by police, and no reason Michael should have felt nervous in a famously racist/segregated town. No reason at all.

I've heard no one justifying violence and glorifying the looters. NO ONE. Perhaps you should broaden your social circles?

Police militarization is a result of the Patriot Act, where the military sold off surplus equipment to the police to aid in the War on Terror. Now that military equipment is being used against us. Our police forces far outstrip "the criminals" (unless our criminals have started using tanks, in which case I retract my statement).

Amnesty International has been called into the town, it's the first time they have ever deployed on U.S. soil.

Looting is bad. Suppressing freedom of the press is worse, and that is trumped by the shooting of an unarmed man.
People don't need to expressly say "it's okay to shoot black men for no reason" because to certain people, there is a reason and they can't divorce that prejudice from reality.

To certain people (most often, white people), being a black man is enough to be a suspicious person. When President Obama said after Trayvon Martin's shooting that he knew what it was like to be followed in a store just because he was black, he was right. This happens to black men all the time. The same people who can't understand or empathize with that experience will say, "obviously you were doing something to raise suspicion" and they will not give white men the same scrutiny.

And the only reason why they can't bring themselves to give white men the same scrutiny is race.

Also, obillow, have you see Antonio French's tweets? He's an alderman in Ferguson and he's been tweeting from the protests, and most of his message has been about peaceful demonstrations and people refuting the violence. The people who are looting, burning down things, etc. do not represent the entire population that is protesting, the majority of whom are peaceful.

Watch the live feeds that are out there ("I am Mike Brown" being the best one). You'll see people chanting and walking together, but not inciting violence.

[ edited by the ninja report on 2014-08-19 15:36 ]
We know that Brown was unarmed when he was shot. We know he was shot 6 times, which is many more than necessary to take down an unarmed human. And it's pretty likely that he was a good 25 feet from the officer, which again renders unnecessary the use of deadly force on an unarmed man.

Just to correct a couple of inaccuracies... Shooting a person 6 times is not always more than necessary to take them down. Most police officers carry 9mm pistols which don't have the stopping power of larger calibers such as .45 ACP. It is not uncommon to have to fire a lot of rounds to stop a large man, especially if he's on drugs. There have been cases of people having to empty an entire magazine to stop an attacker.

I am not saying that Brown was on drugs or attacking (although several witnesses have corroborated the police offier's statement that he was being rushed). But Brown was a very large man, and if he was running towards the officer it isn't unthinkable that it could take six shots to bring him down.

A 25 foot distance is no protection at all if you're being rushed by an attacker. A running person can cover 25 feet in about two seconds. Two seconds doesn't give you any time at all.

This killing is a tragedy for all concerned: for the young man, for his family, for the officer who, from what I have read was a good officer, and his family as well.

I wish that people with political agendas would stop using tragedies such as this to fan the flames of rage, which is what the media on both sides is doing. They take human beings in a tragedy and use them as propaganda tools.

Using people as things. That's Granny Weatherwax's definition of sin, and mine, too. Many people are rushing to judgement before the evidence has even been gathered, much less evaluated. Let the evidence come out in trial and pray that justice is done.

[ edited by Amrita on 2014-08-19 16:09 ]

[ edited by Amrita on 2014-08-19 16:09 ]
Cops who continue to use deadly force against unarmed individuals and protesters never have a political agenda or "fan the flames of rage," ever...

And there is no history of racist actions on the part of police anywhere in the US. Every single the young, unarmed black man being shot or beaten to death by white cops deserved it.

Except we know none of that is true. We've all grown up knowing the biggest, most racist sociopaths who beat us all up in school, ended up becoming cops, or were the kids of cops.

I'm a white woman in my 50's. Last year, a cop gave me a ticket for an expired auto registration (I forgot to renew it) a block from my house in a nice suburb. When I got the ticket, I cursed under my breath. The cop reached for his gun, and threatened to arrest me for using profanity. If that kind of thing happens to a white woman for a routine traffic ticket, what chance does a young black man have with a racist, over-militarized cop?

Oh, and yay Joss, and yay, Jesse Williams, because we're still on Whedonesque! 😎

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2014-08-19 19:46 ]
This from Jesse nailed it:

"Thatís what gets frustrating for people ó because you donít know five black folks, five black men in particular, that have not been harassed and felt threatened by police officers. You canít throw a rock and find five of them.†Weíre not making this up.Ē

I don't see the protest against abuse of power by police as most folks rushing in to exploit a situation as part of a "political agenda" - but rather as a human and chronic issue - i.e., immediately (and once again) having to call for no bullying by the powerful of the less powerful.

But then, I never got how anyone could call protecting our earth and its resources a "special interest" - unless the need to breathe and drink water is only felt by some of us. #YMMV

Point of interest - Joss retweeted this from a person named Brian/Black_Elvis a few days ago. It says: "Thanks for the advice, officer. I'll try to be less black next time."
I don't think it's a political agenda for people to call for non-lethal methods. No one is saying officers can't protect themselves IF the situation calls for it, but police departments have redefined "situation" as something more extreme than it should be. Most people are not criminals or looking for a fight. React like they are, though, and you could see why they'd be upset. Magnify that by an entire town and city and state and race and you see how African Americans reached a tipping point and Ferguson was the location.
What pisses me off is how cops and groupies are all like "Everybody hates cops, it's open season on cops, WA-A-A-AH!!!!"

Well, here's a tip: If you go out of your way to give people a reason to hate you, don't act surprised when you get your wish; and, considering how many more "civilians" are killed by cops than the other way around, that "open season" bullshit doesn't wash, and never did. I've long suspected that, if we ever got the real story, a fair percentage of those "good cops" that have been killed during a "routine stop" may have simply made the mistake of starting something with someone who was a little quicker on the trigger and just as willing to go there.
I think it also has to do with a mindset that many police officers don't realize. They're the ones with weapons. I don't carry a gun and never intend to. But when I'm stopped by a police officer I would like to think he gave me the same benefit of a doubt as I do for him, which is to say that I don't believe police officers have it in for me or are looking to find something suspicious. But police officers don't se to realize that because they carry weapons they create a mindset where regular people are automatically intimidated and may feel bullied. We've seen this with officers who are threatening and yelling at journalists who aren't doing anything wrong. They're exercising their right to free speech without intervention from government. Police, by threatening and taking away their equipment, hinder the ability for people to do their job which is not, in general, impeding the police from protecting the public. They are the public as well and police officers should remember this before they tell the press to comply or be harmed.
I would consider this too tangentially Whedon-related to justify its spot here. I don't come to Whedonesque for current events debates; there are a thousand other places I can find that on the Internet. I come here to celebrate a generally unified perspective with a diverse set of people who also appreciate Joss' works. This... does nothing but divide people.
A main cast member in a Joss project making a public statement isn't tangential, & the headline says what the post is about, so it's really easy to avoid the debate by not clicking on it. Police brutality, negligence, & overreach have all impacted my family, & I'm glad that they're getting some attention. We all rally behind Joss and Equality Now here, but in other circles the cause of equality for women could be called "divisive".
If you'd like to comment on whether you think a thread should appear here, please email us rather than discuss it openly in the thread.

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