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Springfield News-Leader Editorial: Lots of Blame to Go Around, Too Few Answers in Ferguson

By Editorial Board
Springfield News-Leader

On Aug. 9, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson at 12:01 p.m. in Ferguson. A vigil on Aug. 10 turned violent.

The situation deteriorated from there.

Riots and arrests. Tear gas and rubber bullets. Real bullets, riot gear and military-grade displays of force. Injuries to both protesters and police. Looting and needless destruction of property. For four straight nights, the clashes escalated, the national media descended, and still, no clear information was put forth about the death of a young, unarmed black man. After a day of relative calm gave hope that the situation was beginning to defuse, tempers flared again Friday.

As unrest continues, the blame game is already underway. At this point, it would be easy to join in on the finger-pointing based on half-truths.

It would be easy join the chorus of voices calling out our elected leaders, Gov. Nixon, U.S. Sens. McCaskill and Blunt and President Obama, for waiting so long to intervene.

It would be easy to place blame on the protesters for turning violent and rioting, citing the need for peaceful assembly.

It would be easy to hoist the burden of responsibility onto local authorities in Ferguson for their poor handling of the situation, inciting protesters to riot rather than bringing calm.

It would be easy to join in blaming the media for stirring up the situation by giving attention to it.

It would be easy to, as some are now doing, blame the young man himself for allegedly participating in a theft prior to his altercation with the police.

But there is nothing easy about the situation in Ferguson. A solution for the community will take doing the hard work.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Department Orders Independent Autopsy of Michael Brown As Violence Escalates

Michael Brown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government has ordered an independent autopsy of Michael Brown as violence continues to erupt in Ferguson, the Washington Post reports.

The request Sunday comes as the Justice Department pledges to take a play an intensified role in the investigation of the fatal police shooting of the unarmed black teenager.

The Justice Department is ordering the autopsy because of “the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case,” DOJ spokesman Brian Fallon said.

An autopsy paid for by Brown’s family showed that the teen was shot at least six times, and none of the shots appeared to be at close range. Brown was shot twice in the head, according to the autopsy.

Missouri Governor Sends in National Guard to Ferguson After Violence Breaks out During Protests

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As violence erupted in Ferguson during protests overnight, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon deployed the National Guard in hopes of avoiding more looting and shootings, the USA Today reports.

The order comes after another clash between police and protesters.

Police reported dodging bullets and Molotov cocktails Sunday night and early Monday morning. No serious injuries were reported.

Nixon said the idea behind the National Guard is to “help restore peace and order and to protect the citizens of Ferguson.”

“Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk,” a statement from Nixon’s office said.

“These violent acts are a disservice to the family of Michael Brown and his memory, and to the people of this community who yearn for justice to be served, and to feel safe in their own homes.”

Defense Lawyers Say Lead FBI agent Lavished Defendants with Tens of Thousands of Dollars

California State Sen. Leland Yee

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A key FBI agent who helped nab a state senator and 19 others lavished his targets with tens of thousands of dollars, lawyers for one of the defendants argued last week.

The Associated Press reports that the agent was removed from the case over financial improprieties.

One of the defendant’s lawyers called the behavior “outrageous.”

The case involves state Sen. Leland Yee, who is accused of organized crime and political corruption in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

According to the defense, the undercover agent was involved in a case “related to the financing and financial record-keeping” by the agent in the Chinatown sting.

Further details weren’t available.

Weekend Series on Crime History: A Preview of a Documentary on the Rise of the Cleveland Mob

httpv://youtu.be/iwwbUES2Rgc

Government Watchdog: FBI Spies on Wrong Americans Because of Routine Typography Errors

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has unintentionally spied on Americans who were not the targets of investigations because of routine, avoidable mistakes, the National Journal reports.

The Justice Department’s inspector general discovered that the FBI sometimes collected data on the wrong people because of typographical errors.

“We found that the FBI’s corrective measures have not completely eliminated potential intelligence violations resulting from typographical errors in the identification of a telephone number, email address, or social security number in an NSL,” the report reads. “These typographical errors cause the FBI to request and, in some instances receive, the information of someone other than the intended target of the NSL.”

Despite those problems, the inspector general concluded that the FBI is doing a better job handling national security letters.

Accused Stock Fraudsters Make FBI History by Making First Recorded Post-Arrest Statements

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Matthew Bell and Craig Josephburg have made FBI history.

The accused fraudsters were the first suspects to have their confessions electronically recorded under a new Justice Department policy, the New York Daily News reports.

The pair is accused of a massive pump-and-dump stock scheme.

The new policy is intended to get a more accurate look at confessions. Previously, confessions were written down and open to scrutiny.

Justice Department Increases Involvement in Investigation of Shooting in Ferguson

Michael Brown

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A day after zealous police clashed with protesters and fired tear gas at demonstrators and the media, the Justice Department announced it’s increasing its involvement in the review of an officer who shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., Time reports.

The efforts include sending advisers to meet with local law enforcement, government leaders and local faith leaders.

The Justice Department also is sending its head of the criminal section of the department’s civil rights division.

Holder suggested in a letter that local police may be escalating tensions.

“The law enforcement response to these demonstrations must seek to reduce tensions, not heighten them,” Holder said.

Michael Brown was killed Saturday by a police officer who witnesses say shot the young man while he was not posing a threat.