Thursday, August 14, 2014

Amherst Is No Ferguson

Police in riot gear disperse crowd at the gateway to UMass

Ever since the start of summer I've been anxiously anticipating the release of the Ed Davis study otherwise known as the Blarney Blowout Report -- not that I think taxpayers will get their $160,000 worth.

But now in the wake of the Ferguson, Missouri troubles, I'm hoping it doesn't come out for a while, at least until things settle down in that troubled town.

Other than the image of police clad in riot gear there's no real comparison between what is going on now and what happened in Amherst on March 8.  Although I'm sure clueless critics will try to make that association.

First off,  our police were outnumbered 50-1, as opposed to Ferguson where police seem to outnumber protesters. And at the Blarney Blowout, fueled by copious amounts of alcohol, police came under direct attack from the unruly mob via rocks, bottles and chunks of ice.

The effervescent event was covered by local media in real time and the national media quickly picked up those dispatches.  But no reporters were hassled by police, much less arrested. 

Amherst police do not use rubber bullets, military grade smoke bombs, or tear gas grenades, or patrol in heavily armored vehicles.

And they do not shoot unarmed citizens.


Amherst and UMass police made 58 arrests at the Blarney Blowout


Anonymous said...

In Amherst we choose our cops from the "good cops" pool.

Anonymous said...

There is some similarity.

Ferguson was an incident where a police officer shot a young man who was fighting with the officer and attempting to take his gun. The response was no different than the OJ riots, a black community that lives off the system blaming whites for their 'circumstance' instead of making a difference in their own existence. These people have no respect for authority and would easily shoot a police officer as the young man who was shot was probably going to do.

The Amherst incident was just a bunch of entitled young college kids who have created a yearly event which involves causing trouble and making headlines for no reason except it's a cool thing to do.

The similarities are two groups who have no respect for other humans, who live off someone else's dime and blame anyone in power that stops them from wreaking havoc.

Zach from Amherst said...

Wrong. They are similar. They both show how the Police Militarization in America is causing situations to escalate due to overzealous police officers who need to show off their fancy riot equipment to make sure they continue to receive the increased funding they so desperately covet.

The rioters in Ferguson and the revelers in Amherst both should have behaved better, but the police are escalating situations instead of diffusing them.

New tactics need to be learned.

Some police understand that they should not escalate situations. Like the police in Mecosta County Michigan who expertly handled a crown of over 2,000 college aged men and women.
"Police from seven agencies who responded to a "rave"-style party that attracted thousands Saturday night chose to manage the situation from the perimeter, rather than moving in to hand out potentially hundreds of citations. "
"Despite the hard drug use and underage drinking going on — authorities believe the majority of attendees were under the age of 21 — police did not attempt to break things up or go in to hand out citations. "
"They chose instead to manage the scene by allowing the party to continue for several more hours, with multiple police agencies standing by"
"Another concern was potential injury to responding police and paramedics.

"We had information they were not in a cop-friendly attitude," Purcell said of those gathered.

Police remained on scene until about 7:30 a.m. Sunday"

And guess what happened!?!? All of the partiers dispersed on their own over time.

These police need to come to Amherst and teach out cops how to handle these situations correctly.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, police authorities have stated that the officer's own gun was fired (once) inside his own cruiser in "an assault" and "a struggle for the weapon."

Assuming that is true -- and if it isn't, that will come out -- do you honestly think Eric Holder would ignore it?

Forensic evidence will say one way or the other and police chiefs kinda know that, so I don't think they are lying on this. Remember too that the investigation is being done by a different department (wise move) and that the FBI is at least watching -- I don't think that folks are stupid enough not to do this "by the book."

Let's also presume that the officer didn't intend to fire his weapon -- at point-blank range, I don't think he'd have missed if he'd had control of the weapon and intended to fire it.

So you force yourself into an officer's cruiser and struggle with his weapon to the extent that it fires. Remember that the officer has no place to retreat *to* -- and it appears no backup.

What the f*** do you expect him (or HER) to do? You've just tried to kill the officer, came damn close to doing it, and he (again, we don't know if it's a "she") has no way of knowing that you aren't going to KEEP TRYING to kill him.

I'm going to call him a "perp" because at the very least he assaulted an officer -- regardless of if the officer was justified in shooting him, I kinda think that this is somehow a violation of at least some violation of that state's criminal code.

It also was stated by police that the perp, while "running away", was (a) shot, (b) bled out, and (c) fell to the ground dead within 35 feet of the cruiser. Remember the Holyoke officer who was fatally shot in his own cruiser -- shot through the windshield as he sat in the driver's seat? (It happened a couple days before Christmas back in the 1990's)

Any of your cop buddies happen to know how far away the authorities think the perp was standing when he did this? I'm guessing it was within 35 feet -- I've always heard of handgun target practice being at 50 and 75 feet (25 yards and/or 25 meters) -- and remember that the perp was *shot* at a distance closer than 35 feet.

I want to see the investigation concluded before I make conclusions about this one -- and I'd think you'd want to as well.

Never forget that John Kerry shot NVA in the back, as they were running away and that was NOT a violation of the Geneva Convention (at least according to the person who told me) because "you have no way to know that they aren't going for a weapon with which to kill you."

I'll be critical of cops when I think they are wrong -- and for a bunch of other (unrelated) reasons, I think the officer "f***ed up" which is how he (or again, she -- we don't know) got into this situation. And yes, it is better not to shoot people.

But if an officer honestly believes that his life is in imminent jeopardy and has solid logical reasons for believing that (the way that having your own weapon discharged in a struggle kinda is), I don't have a whole lot of problem with the officer using deadly force in what essentially is self defense.

OK, maybe I would have been able to talk my way out of that mess -- I did a few times when I was working for the housing authority. Maybe the officer shouldn't be a police officer -- for any number of reasons -- and officers I know openly state that the cop has made a mistake if he gets into the situation where he has to fire his weapon, he shouldn't have let the situation get there.

But that doesn't negate the fact that the officer was (reportedly) attacked -- what the hell ever happened to the concept of "self defense" in this country?!?!?

Dr. Ed said...

Three other things:

First, a lot of cops went to Iraq -- and some of them brought a bit of that back with them. Was this PTSD related?

Second, what if someone maliciously fed the officer bad information via a computer in his cruiser? It already appears that someone has hacked into a police computer system -- the audio dispatch file that showed up came from somewhere.

It's not that difficult to take over a remote computer -- anyone remember the time at UMass when the kid was sending porno pictures to girls (somehow thinking they'd be impressed) -- he got arrested for it -- it was in the news at the time.

Third, the same recording seems to indicate that no one knew where the officer was -- they had three reports of an officer-involved shooting, I presume civilian reports, and apparently this other department had called Ferguson TWICE and Ferguson didn't know that their own officer had been involved in a shooting.

Something doesn't seem right there.

Dr. Ed said...

And at the Blarney Blowout, fueled by copious amounts of alcohol, police came under direct attack from the unruly mob via rocks, bottles and chunks of ice.

As opposed to having helicopters shot at? Stores not only looted but burned? Interstate highways closed because of bricks being thrown at motorists?

But no reporters were hassled by police, much less arrested.

It appears that there is more to that as well -- the reporters had been asked to leave by management (as they'd been there all day and it is a restaurant) and they refused -- so the manager called the police.

Amherst police do not use rubber bullets, military grade smoke bombs, or tear gas grenades

Larry, they do. We can argue specifics of the "less lethal force" they employ, and they may not have used them during the Blowout, but they use smoke, they use chemical irritants and they use projectiles.

Anonymous said...

You'll notice that Larry doesn't even try to reason with him.

keithw said...

I don't totally disagree with Zack from Amherst. The para- militarization of local and state police departments nationwide is out of control in my opinion. Not to mention access to military surplus, incentives and access to weapons, vehicles and equipment typically used by soldiers in battle. The other concern is the cross training taking place between police and military, as well as the "deputization" soldiers can be granted in times of martial law to avoid that little "standing army" obstacle. Folks living outside of boston after the marathon event got a taste of what it feels like to live in a "Constitution-Free Zone"--a place we ALL live--where their freedoms and liberties can be taken away in a heartbeat.

Dr. Ed said...

Keithw -- you don't honestly think we still even *have* a Constitution, do you?

A couple years back when I was literally hiding undergrads so they couldn't be carted off to the psych ward, I realized that we really don't have civil rights in this country anymore.

To a flag-waving "God Bless America" person such as myself, what I saw was beyond surreal. The Bill of Rights is Moot -- and you worry about the type of vehicle that the "men with guns" drive?

Anonymous said...

There is a huge difference in Zach's example, the BB and the MO mess. The MI example has 2000 guests..BB had 5000+. We have little information about what happened in MI but I do KNOW that the APD monitored the BB from afar UNTIL there were injuries, fighting and property damage. It was a no-win situation...allow injuries (woman got hit in the head with a bottle, required medical attention, a fact commonly ignored by the BB protesters) and fail to protect property..who would be to blame if somone were trampled to death? Was badly beaten? Got struck with a falling light pole? etc etc..and then all the APD tried to do was move them along..and THEY CHOSE to revolt rather than leave. 5000ish v 20ish...I left when they moved in. I was never arrested. Never sprayed or shot with pepper balls. When I saw what it had morphed into..I was disgusted. MI and MA (specifically UMass)..BIG DIFFERENCE

keithw said...

Also, the fact that the Governor of that state can throw a switch and have state highway patrol come into Ferguson and seize control of the town right out of the hands of local law enforcement is astounding. Despite the racial politics involved and whether or not local cops were able to maintain control--it's shocking the degree of power our elected officials wield.

Larry Kelley said...

Well at least he didn't mobilize the National Guard.

keithw said...

He didn't release the NG, but he did release the shooter cop's name.

Anonymous said...

Towns are political subdivisons of the State, so it's not that surprising.

keithw said...

Towns are part of counties. That's a Sheriff's Jurisdiction, actually.

Anonymous said...

keithw -- remember when Deval Patrick shout down all the roads in the state because it was snowing?

Governors have broad emergency powers and I think that four days of open rioting is a bit more serious than a few snowflakes.

Oh, have people noticed that the individual who was shot (a) was 6' 04" and weighed nearly 300 lbs, and (b) had been involved in a "strongarm robbery" of cigars?

This becomes "resisting arrest" which is a little bit more serious than just assaulting an officer and while this may have been handled poorly, they didn't just decide to go blow away some kid for the hell of it.

Anonymous said...

Both examples are the new trends in policing and that is that cops are no longer allowed to do their jobs without scrutiny. In Amherst case police used recognize methods to control an unruly crowd that was out of hand. The police can't win. Some here said cops should have done more sooner. Had they done more sooner they would have been convinced of attacking a peaceful crowd.

In Ferguson you have the classic whoa is me story. A black man robs a store them minutes later is spotted by a police officer breaking another law. The police officer confronts the man not knowing he had just robbed a store and the man reacts to the police officer like any criminal who just robbed a store does, fighting with the police officer and trying to take his gun. The officer did his job.

Sadly is is really unrelated to the rioting as history shows, minorities (namely blacks in poor areas) will use any excuse to riot and loot (NYC blackout, OJ verdict, etc) and disguise it as some reaction to blacks being victimized (a liberal concept). Once the store that was robbed by the shot man was identified the community then looted it long after the original looting.

There is a huge difference between Amherst and Ferguson. White college educated kids may like to party and fight police once drunk, but they don't use it as an excuse to rob stores and loot the businesses of hard working people who don't live off the system and use every moment they can to take advantage, even at the expense of police doing their job.

Good for the police in both towns. They did their jobs and did them well. Once again we use non existent racial 'barriers' to cover up what is really going on.

keithw said...

Anon 12:49
That's my point. A few snow flakes doesn't compare to a week of rioting and looting, yet our Governor delivers a statewide curfew. Now, the Governor of Texas has been charged with 2 felonies related to abuse of power.

Anonymous said...

Zach, you are clueless

keithw said...

Go figure.