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This is long. Please read if you want to learn some things about Ferguson like I did.

There is so much misconception about "militarization of police", of what actions were taken by LE in Ferguson, and what agencies did what and why. Of course this was all started by misconceptions, lying witnesses (not the first time he made a false police report), and people wanting justice but not waiting for the justice process to work. The false account of Dorian Johnson describing Michael Brown surrendering and getting gunned down like an animal touched off the waiting powder keg. It was assisted by the "witnesses" saying Officer Wilson was seated in his car, reached out the window and grabbed the 300lb Brown by his neck and tried to pull him into the window. This goes against all police training and would put an officer at extreme risk to be injured or killed. The chances of Ofc Wilson wanting to pull a 300lb suspect into the window with him is slim to none. These same witnesses contradicted themselves on TV interviews.

I just started the fall semester of classes at my local university. In my course Managing Police Organizations we had an assignment the first day of class writing a 15 page research paper on the Ferguson incident. I discovered some things getting the research done which I'll share here since there are rumors, misconceptions, and misunderstandings being discussed here.

I'll preface with this: I am not politically correct, I say black and white vs. African-American and Caucasian. I kindly :) refer to people doing stupid things, such as rioting, as idiots. I 100% support people's right to legally protest. Once laws are broken it is no longer a legal protest. Once rioting takes place it is no longer a legal protest. The legal protesters in Ferguson, though misguided and uneducated in the matters of the shooting incident itself, had other issues in the community that fed their frustrations. Some of these were the economy of the area, unemployment, the racial make-up of the city government and police force, and the appearance of biased policing (even though 2/3 of the city is black and stands to reason why more stops and arrests were made of black people, but that's for another research paper and forum). I have no problem with them legally protesting whatever they want, but the rioters and anyone breaking the laws forcing police actions were idiots.

First, the initial protests were just that...protests. There were police present at these and at first they didn't have to do anything because it was a peaceful protest. Then the idiots came out and began throwing rocks, bricks, bottles, and Molotov cocktails. I don't care what country they are from or what color their skin is, they are idiots. This caused the police to don the "riot" gear....helmets, shields, less lethal weaponry (chemical agents, shotguns with bean bag/rubber rounds). Again, this was reactive to what the rioters, not protesters, were now doing. No armored vehicles were being used at this point.

The idiots became more idiotic and shots were fired at the police who were trying to protect themselves, the citizens, and property. If I lived around there I would want them helping protect my house or business from these idiots and I wouldn't expect them to do it without the proper equipment.

Now officers were seen with heavier vests, not knowing if they are getting shot at with weapons that could penetrate their soft body armor, and to be wearing more protection from rounds in general. Just because officers wear bullet resistant vests under their regular uniforms does not mean they can't be killed or seriously injured from getting shot in the vest. Blunt force trauma is a monster. We put on heavy vests in situations where shots are fired, active shooter calls, etc. If we know rounds are being fired we increase our armor level to prevent injury if hit. I've had to stop before arriving on scene to calls and get the heavy vest out of the trunk on many occasions. At this point in Ferguson it was the same concept.

After shots were fired and other firearms were seen in the crowd, the armored vehicles (AV) were brought in, again reacting to what the idiots were doing. The vehicles were to protect the officers, protect the other citizens out there that got caught up in the chaos of the idiots, and to be used in case a rescue was needed, whether it be officer, bystander, protester, or idiot rioter. The picture plastered on probably every news site, blog, and social media sites of the officer standing in the AV pointing a "machine gun" at the crowd was a big instigator of the negative feelings of the police presence and use of equipment. What these news sites failed to tell everyone is that police were getting fired on during this time and the officer in the AV had a better vantage point to see from his elevated position and was watching for the people firing the guns. I have no problem with the officer on the AV looking for some idiot that is shooting a gun at police. That endangers the officers and any other citizen around there. Oh, and he didn't have a machine gun...it was an AR15 with a scope.

Since it was mentioned in the thread http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/law-enforcement-military-homeland-security-discussion/197747-police-using-military-gear-riots-could-forced-repay-millions-grants.html
I'll address the situation of the officer pointing his "machine gun", as it was referred to in some media places, at the crowd and cursing at the obvious antagonists when they asked for his name. He is an idiot too. He was also NOT from Ferguson. He was a Lt. with the St. Ann police department. He cursed at the people they were trying to get out of the street so traffic could drive through. The video of him pointing the rifle, threatening to kill someone, and answering the request for his name with profanity was spread like wildfire on TV, social media, blogs, and websites. In the words of Paul Harvey, here is the rest of the story: when he was pointing his rifle one of the idiots back behind the antagonizers had a pistol, determined to be a BB gun. Obviously the Lt. reacted to seeing this weapon since officers getting shot at had been occurring. The people on the video asking for his name, antagonizing him ("raised gun, raised gun, etc) were not the ones with the gun but were in front of the person with the bb gun and probably never knew about it. The people heard in the video were from antagonist, anti-police groups doing there thing, and he took the bait hook, line, and sinker. His verbal tirade and profanity was unprofessional and unnecessary. Also, he should have known it was all being recorded....what was he thinking? Maybe he doesn't have much experience dealing with idiots. I don't know, but if he can't handle the situation better than that, then his resignation was not only expected, but needed (if not fired).

As for the overall management of the protest and riot response, the Ferguson chief didn't over-react to the protests. He sent officers out and they made a few arrests when some folks did something illegal. When the looting and rioting kicked in full force the Governor took over and the state police were responsible for coordination and handling the riots. They didn't protect property or make enough arrests in my opinion. The Captain of the state police was more interested in being politically correct and appear nice to the peaceful group leaders instead of putting his foot down on the people that were assaulting officers, each other, and destroying people's businesses and livelihoods, none of which should be acceptable.

The Ferguson Chief screwed up by not handling the information flow properly which led to more speculation about wrongdoing, coverup, etc. He could have used the city website, social media, and the press conferences to share information about the shooting, explain the investigation process, why certain things took place at the scene after the shooting, and the grand jury process.
 
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