Posted by Gene Howington
Huff Po reports:
Two police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department just after midnight Thursday, police and eyewitnesses said. The shootings came during protests following the Ferguson police chief’s resignation on Wednesday afternoon.
In a press conference outside the hospital where the officers were being treated on Thursday morning, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that a 32-year-old officer from suburban Webster Groves was shot in the face and a 41-year-old officer from St. Louis County was shot in the shoulder, according to the Associated Press. Belmar said the injuries were “very serious” but that both officers were conscious, and that he assumed they were targeted because they were police officers. Police had no one in custody in connection with the shooting.
The Guardian reports:
Sergeant Brian Schellman, a spokesman for St Louis County police, told the Guardian that both officers were being treated in hospital. “No update yet on condition,” said Schellman. The St Louis Post-Dispatch reported police sources saying both were expected to survive.
Belmar said the shots appeared to have been aimed at the police as they were fired “parallel with the ground” and did not appear to have ricocheted. “I would have to make an assumption that these shots were directed exactly at my police officers,” he said.
Several protesters at the scene said the shots appeared to have been fired from a hill behind a dwindling group of demonstrators who were celebrating the resignation of Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson and were gathered across from the police department on the other side of South Florissant Road.
Tony Rice, a Ferguson resident and protester, said: “The shots came from up Tiffin Avenue” – an upwards-sloping street directly opposite the police department. DeRay Mckesson, a prominent leader of the Ferguson protest movement, agreed that the shots were fired from “the alley or street” behind where protesters stood.
“I’m 100% sure on that,” Rice told the Guardian. “Clearly no one shot a gun close to me.”
Yet, when asked to confirm that the shooter or shooters had not been among the protest, Belmar said: “I don’t know who did the shooting, to be honest with you right now. But somehow they were embedded in that group of folks.” The police chief said he had no details on descriptions of suspects or on the weapon or weapons used.
Not wishing to sound too much like Cassandra, when previously discussing the matter of the breakdown of the social fabric it has been noted that civil strife would eventually start to manifest in acts of violence against government employees. This tale will likely take one of two paths: 1) the government will remain non-responsive to citizens and the acts of aggression will continue (and probably escalate) or 2) the government will realize that serving the wants of the few over the needs of the many is a path to disaster and start to remedy the situation.
Is this a sign of the breakdown of the social fabric?
If so, what are some first steps required to remedy the disconnect between government and citizen?
Is this an isolated episode? Or a harbinger of things to come?
What do you think?