ACLU-MN director on Michael Brown: "Ferguson is maybe the canary in the coal mine"

Michael Brown (left) was shot dead by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson (right).
The officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri is symptomatic of nationwide problems regarding the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they're supposed to serve and protect, Chuck Samuelson, executive director of the ACLU-MN, tells us.

"A lot of the ACLU's concern is that Ferguson is maybe the canary in the coal mine," he says. "There are a number of other communities where relationships between primarily white police departments and minority communities have been strained for years."

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Samuelson says he was particularly struck by the opening paragraph of this USA Today piece, which reads:
Nearly two times a week in the United States, a white police officer killed a black person during a seven-year period ending in 2012, according to the most recent accounts of justifiable homicide reported to the FBI.
"I have no idea whether it's is true or not," Samuelson says. "But it's an incredibly sobering stat. The ACLU is deeply concerned nationwide with the current police practices and training... they are very, very aggressive, police are heavily armed and more than willing to use force."

The circumstances surrounding Brown's shooting remain shrouded in mystery, and a grand jury tasked with deciding whether or not to indict the officer who shot him, Darren Wilson, is currently hearing evidence.

Though there are questions about whether the St. Louis County attorney, Robert McCulloch, is an appropriate person to be presenting evidence to the grand jury -- his father was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty -- Samuelson says the problem is more about the game, not the player.

"Frankly, whenever one community investigates themselves, what happens is that frequently decisions don't carry a lot of credibility outside those communities," he says. "I think the law enforcement community is certainly not immune to that."

"The ACLU has asked for years that there be a civilian review board that reviews these issues," Samuelson continues. "It certainly hasn't happened here or there."

For what it's worth, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau took to Twitter yesterday to express confidence that the unrest in Ferguson wouldn't occur in her city: But some would argue recent events demonstrate that Minneapolis is subject to some of the same tensions Samuelson and the ACLU are concerned about.

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.

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Kaelynn Dusosky
Kaelynn Dusosky

Not that we will ever really know what happened, it was brought up today that he officer wasn't brutally beaten. However, let's just focus on the fact that Michael Brown lost his life, and the police officer probably has regrets and will always wonder "what if". Nobody wins in this situation.


A very important question is, how will the murder of Michael Brown galvanize citizens? Furthermore what are the implications of realizing the very real fact that within our society a free unarmed citizen can be stopped, gunned down and murdered in the streets of America by an officer of the “Law”. Will this criminal act of violence be a call to citizens throughout the nation that our government and the system of laws we are under no longer and possibly have never served our true interest? Citizens may begin to ask, how did such a environment come into existence. Revolution may be required.


midwestexplorer81 topcommenter

Michael Brown was in an aggressive mood the day he was shot by police as evidenced in the video of him robbing a store shortly before his confrontation with police and also audio recording of a witness saying he charged at the police officer. This isn't a race issue, this is an issue of one dumb kid vs one panicked police officer who should have reached for a taser or club instead of his gun. Micheal Brown was no angel and the officer was not necessarily a racist. 

To prove that the Ferguson PD is racist from the top down we would need to know how many black people applied to work for the police department and what their qualifications were in comparison to whites. Until somebody does that study all discussion is pure bull shit.

Shayne O'Neil
Shayne O'Neil

With the reports coming in, this thug shouldn't be the poster child for police practices.

digitalprotocol topcommenter

judging by the comments from all the gun toting freaks in the other thread, id say people are pushing hard for a race war

more fun to come with the collapse 

no moar stupid jobs!


@midwestexplorer81 If he had robbed the store, then a couple things would have happened.  Dorian Johnson who provided many interviews in the following couple days would have been in the county lockup and unable to appear on television.  2.  THE STORE WOULD HAVE REPORTED IT!  this cannot be stressed enough.  3. In the video, the person who initiated the pushing and shoving was THE CLERK.  shoving someone who attacks you away is self defense not assault.  4.  THE FUCKING POLICE CHIEF HIMSELF SAID THAT THE "ROBBERY" HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ENCOUNTER!  What fucking part of "this had nothing to do with a robbery" is so fucking hard to wrap your tiny little bigoted mind around?  But wait, black thug/animal/gangbanger/insert euphamism, don't have the right to self defense.  The ONLY people you seem to hear say "there is no racism or police brutality" are well off white people.  Also as an aside, as a resident of STL City, there is a reason you couldn't pay me to live in STL County and I'm white.  That entire county is a cesspool of racism, corruption, and general shady doings.  Also simply checking employment records does nothing to prove a lack of racism.  Their actions when policing their town prove more than enough of a pattern.  I'm sick and tired of people who have no fucking clue about STL spouting off about how this has nothing to do with race, or the officer's safety trumps all.  This has been an absolute shitshow from Saturday 8/9 at noon.  It's still ongoing and the County and Ferguson PDs are going to be paying dearly.  My prediction is 9 figures. 


since the officer didn't complete an incident report on a POLICE SHOOTING WITH A FATALITY we will never know

mingtran topcommenter

@digitalprotocol The ant-gunnutters are PREPARING the race war. The gun nuts are preparing FOR a race war. Pretty easy.

MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@mingtran What a lunatic.  Are you gong to keep pretending you aren't some creepy racist ming? 

mingtran topcommenter

@MicheleBachmann Show me you fucktard projector. My history isn't set to private like the rest of you pussies. The party you gush over is the KKK disguised in blackface. That makes you racist. 

mingtran topcommenter

@digitalprotocol Not at all. Anti-gunnutters are the ones whose prescription for everything is more social welfare. Social welfare is the biggest determining factor in social class systems. "Classism" is often confused with "racism". It's all about opportunity. That group hates people having opportunity.

MNjoe topcommenter

@mingtran @MicheleBachmann Ming, you're a lying, mentally ill, racist, misogynist, homophobic POS - so now you think everyone else is. Since you learned a new word this week - projecting - you should learn that that's exactly what you're doing. Please tell me which party is all up in arms over the fact that there is a black man in the White House and which party put him there.  P.S. No one wants to read your history, Ming. It's long and boring and filled with BS. 

mingtran topcommenter

@digitalprotocol Of course their are. But only if dipshits like you stop fighting for their own limitations.

mingtran topcommenter

@digitalprotocol I just told you: stop fighting for your own limitations like a dipshit. Restore personhood to all and watch what magic happens.

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