UPDATE, March 12, 10:54 a.m.: In a press conference early Thursday morning, Chief Jon Belmar briefed the media about the conditions of the two wounded officers. Watch below:
Two police officers were shot near a protest outside the Ferguson Police Department on Wednesday night, according to St. Louis police officials. In a press briefing just before 2 a.m. local time Thursday morning, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar confirmed that one officer was wounded in the shoulder, and another officer was shot in the face. Who fired the shots remains unclear. A spokesperson for the St. Louis County Police said the two officers sustained "very serious," but non-life-threatening injuries.
The protests came after Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III announced earlier on Wednesday that Police Chief Thomas Jackson would resign with one year's salary and health insurance.
Jackson resigned a week after the US Department of Justice issued a scathing report about systemic race-based problems within the Ferguson, Missouri, police department and court system. This comes the day after City Manager John Shaw resigned. Both will receive a year's salary as severance ($96,000 for Jackson, $120,000 for Shaw), and a year's worth of health insurance—a fact that was met with outrage both in Ferguson and on social media.
Chief Jackson gets a year of severance pay? Who gets a year of severance when resigning in disgrace? Even CEOs don't manage that? WTF?
Municipal Judge Ronald J. Brockmeyer also resigned in the wake of the DOJ's report, which accused the city administration of using police ticketing and court fines, imposed on the city's largely African American population, as a means to raise money for the city budget. That context set the stage for violent police crackdowns in the city last August as people protested in the wake of Officer Darren Wilson shooting and killing Michael Brown. Wilson wasn't indicted by a local grand jury, and the DOJ announced last week that it wouldn't bring federal civil rights charges against him either. Many in the city want others to resign as well, including Knowles and the city council.
The DOJ's report highlighted the glaringly disproportionate police ticketing of the city's black population, and highlighted several racist emails sent by city and police administration officials. Two officers involved with the emails resigned last week, and the city's top court clerk was fired.
The Department of Justice issued a statement shortly after Jackson's press conference saying that it will continue working for a court-enforceable agreement to reform the city and police department's "unconstitutional practices in a comprehensive manner."
Protesters gathered at the city's police department headquarters Wednesday night after the announcement, with police arresting at least one man and some accusing the police of provoking confrontations.
Police in riot gear on Nov. 29, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri.
The US Department of Justice may have passed on filing federal charges against former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson after he shot and killed Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb last summer, but the department isn't letting the city's police force totally off the hook. According to the New York Times, the DOJ is about to release a report that accuses the Ferguson Police Department—and the city itself—of systemically mistreating the community's African American population with discriminatory traffic stops; disproportionate ticketing, arrests, and court fines; and physical abuse at the hands of police officers.
According to the Times' Matt Apuzzo, the DOJ will recommend a series of changes at the department. If the city doesn't agree, the DOJ could sue to force reforms. The DOJ has court-backed agreements with nearly two dozen police departments around the country (including the island-wide force in Puerto Rico), and is fighting four other departments in court over proposed changes.
If the Times is right, the report will bolster and likely add to information that has been documented in the past by activists, advocates, and at least one state-level agency in Missouri. As Mother Jones reported in September 2014, fines and court fees are Ferguson's second-larges revenue source, and warrants were issued in 2013 at a rate of three per household (25,000 in a city of 21,000 people).
Another Mother Jones report—based off findings from the Missouri Attorney General's office—noted that in 2013 in Ferguson, 86 percent of traffic stops and 92 percent of searches of individuals involved African American. That's in a city that's around 60% black (and one that had, at the time of Brown's death, just three black police officers). Despite the cops' focus on Ferguson's black residents, just one in five black people police searched were found to be carrying contraband. For white people, that number was one in three.
Two students are detained by Puerto Rico Police Department officers at a 2011 protest at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan.
On the evening of August 11, 2007, several members of the Punta Santiago Scooter Club volunteered to serve as escorts for a 15-year-old girl celebrating her quinceañera. The yellow-shirted club members' parked scooters partially blocked traffic on Highway 3, a two-lane road outside the eastern Puerto Rican town of Humacao. Miguel Cáceres Cruz, a 43-year-old member of the club and a father of three, was helping to direct traffic when a police car tried to pass. According to witnesses and police, the cops exchanged rude words with Cáceres, after which three officers got out of the car.
In a shaky hand-held video, Cáceres can be seen backing away from the officers as they quickly approach him. He walks backward onto a sidewalk, where he backs into a wall. One of the officers, Javier Pagán Cruz, lunges toward Cáceres. The two tussle and Cáceres falls to the ground. The video briefly pans away, but when it comes back to the scene, Cáceres is beneath Pagán, holding on to the officer's leg, possibly trying to keep him from pulling his gun out of the holster.
As the two men struggle, shouts from a large crowd of onlookers can be heard. Then a gunshot rings out, startling the person with the camera and the officer standing next to Pagán. Another shot is fired, followed by three more. Cáceres lies face down on the sidewalk, motionless. Pagán, leaning against the wall, fires one more shot, into the back of Cáceres' head.
After barely two weeks on the job, new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued an unexpected order to commanders preparing to brief him: ditch the PowerPoint. The request, which broke with the Pentagon's tradition of slide deck-driven presentations, only applied to a meeting in Kuwait on anti-ISIS efforts. Carter was seeking "thoughtful analysis and discussion, not fixed briefings," a spokesman told Military Times.
We've all sat through PowerPoint presentations that suffocate any chance for deep thought, let alone comprehension. But defense and intelligence agencies are in their own league when it comes to slide-based warfare. In honor of Carter's small step toward less terrible meetings, here are some of the worst military and intel slides to ever see the light of day.
Many slides from the NSA, released by Edward Snowden, deserve to be on this list. Here are a few (via the Washington Post):
Honorable mention: The Pentagon's guide to "Integrated Defense Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Life Cycle Management System." While not exactly a PowerPoint slide, this wall chart, found by Wired, shows just how crazy military graphics can get.
On Sunday, HBO's John Oliver took aim at one of American politics' biggest—and least talked about—problems: judicial elections. As the Last Week Tonight host points out, putting judges in the position of soliciting campaign donations—often from people who may appear in their courtrooms—greatly reduces the appearance of impartiality (at best), and stacks the deck in favor of those with more money (at worst).