This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, October 29, 2014:
On Monday the hacker group Anonymous released the latest in a series of leaks about the grand jury ruling that have had residents in Ferguson, Missouri, on edge since August:
On or about November 10, 2014 the Grand Jury decision will be announced: [police officer] Darren Wilson will NOT be indicted on ANY charges related to the [shooting] of Mike Brown.
All local police chiefs and jail commanders have been notified to begin preparing for major civil unrest. [Missouri] Governor Nixon has been notified of the impending [grand jury] announcement and has ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin preparations for a possible reinstatement of the martial law that was declared at the beginning of the Ferguson protests.
The only other information from Anonymous was that they checked their sources and confirmed that the leaks were accurate:
In our opinion, after careful analysis, the sources are reliable, and the information we are [revealing] is true.
Both sources are government employees with access to both internal government as well as confidential police communications. For reasons of safety we will not be revealing anything further on either our sources or the material leaked to us.
This comes on top of leaks from the New York Times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Huffington Post which, taken together, support the contention that Wilson was defending himself and shot Brown to keep from being severely injured or killed by Brown.
One leak revealed an autopsy report showing that Brown had a close-range bullet wound to his thumb, with blood splatters from Brown on the police cruiser’s front door panel and on Wilson’s uniform. For Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist who reviewed the autopsy report for the Post-Dispatch, the evidence supports Wilson:
[The report] supports the fact that this guy [Brown] is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound … if he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun.
Melinek also concluded that Brown was facing Wilson when the other shots were fired, not running away as claimed initially by onlookers. The Times reported that this is in line with Wilson’s claim that Brown had pinned him to the front seat of his cruiser and Wilson was fighting to keep his sidearm away from Brown when it discharged. The Times noted further that the forensic evidence “speaks to Officer Wilson’s state of mind, his feeling of vulnerability and his sense of heightened alert when he killed Mr. Brown.”
That Ferguson is a tinderbox just waiting for the spark from the grand jury to ignite it was evidenced last Wednesday night when more than 200 protesters gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department building to celebrate the 19th annual National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality. The radical revolutionary organizing group October 22 Coalition explained its purposes for the protest using language that reflects its intention to enrage, inflame, and invite police retaliation:
In Ferguson, Missouri, people continue to rise up in outrage against the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old Black youth who was just days away from starting college. Despite the rapid and ruthless militarization of the town by racist police and the National Guard, people defied curfews, tear gas, rubber bullets, and calls for a return to business-as-usual — and oppression-as-usual — by protesting and rebelling for ten consecutive, sweltering nights in August.
These are the moments where the decades of racist abuse, criminalization and police terror at the hands of this system came crashing against fearless resistance from the very people it seeks to control….
This year … in the face of police brutality, repression, mass incarceration and the criminalization of youth we say, Let the spirit of Ferguson ignite hearts nationwide with an uncompromising passion for justice!
This was no peaceful law-abiding protest. Barricades that had been set up to block access to the Ferguson Police Department’s parking lot were tossed aside and when officers tried to clear the lot, they were attacked with rocks, bottles and, in one case, a steel rod. One of the instigators, “Mike Wazowski,” affiliated with the pro-communist National Lawyers Guild, was among those arrested, providing evidence (if any more be needed) that this was no gathering of innocents.
A number of those protesting were only too happy to render their opinions about the leaks of the grand jury decision. Said Ben Teter, an out-of-towner from O’Fallon, Missouri: “It’s not a surprise that they’ve leaked the information. To me, it seems like they released things on purpose … to downplay Mike Brown and make him seem like a bad guy.” Another outsider from Marshall, Missouri, Bryan Buck, saw a more devious purpose behind the leaks: “I think the information was released to strategically support [police officer] Darren Wilson.”
Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch told the St. Louis Business Journal last week that more leaks can be expected as part of a coordinated plan to prepare Ferguson citizens for the inevitable ruling of innocence by the grand jury: “[It’s a way] to start getting some of the facts out there to kind of let people down slowly.”
The Ferguson Police Department is gearing up for the consequences. The Huffington Post reported that the department has already spent more than $200,000 for 650 tear-gas grenades, smoke-and-gas grenades, smoke canisters, 1,500 “sock rounds” (beanbags) and 6,000 pepper ball rounds which sting the eyes and nose when fired at a protester. The department also purchased 235 new helmets, 25 new batons, and 60 pairs of shin guards, along with 2,000 plastic “flex” handcuffs. And it has earmarked $50,000 to repair damaged police cruisers, but those repairs won’t be completed “until the unrest is over,” according to police records summarizing the expenditures.
While the police are preparing, so are the protesters. Said Rene Jones, who lives close to where the Brown shooting took place:
I think there’ll be a bunch of trouble if something right don’t happen. There’s nothing that’s going to convince people around here that it’s not the system protecting its own if Wilson walks free.
As far as Jones is concerned, the grand jury has already announced its verdict:
The justice system isn’t doing its part. They need to indict Darren Wilson. That’s what’s got everyone enraged. They are ducking and diving. We want justice. Even though he’s a cop he should be treated the same as everybody else.
Jones’ next door neighbor, who called himself Big Woody, was blunt: “It’s going to get real ugly if they don’t indict him.”
The script in Ferguson is playing out just as planned: Protesters invite retaliation, which escalates into confrontation, which moves the needle toward federal intervention, resulting ultimately in the creation of a national police force.
Local police under the control of local citizens is the best defense against police abuses, which is why revolutionaries for decades have attacked local police, trying to turn them into an arm of the federal government.