August 15, 2014

Irony of Ironies: Ferguson PD Offers Surveillance Pics of Michael Brown as “Smoking Gun"

Talk about backfire, or having one’s eyes closed.

Yes, the Ferguson police today released the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown. Going on the offensive, however, they also released surveillance photos that allege to show Brown stealing cigars from a convenience store prior to his killing. Without releasing any further details of what happened from the convenience store on, here is the picture they’ve crafted for the public eye.

What the Ferguson police don’t understand, however, and haven’t from the beginning with their aggressive tactics, is how pictures are rhetoric and reveal as much (or, far more) about you, your motives and your mindset than anything you were hoping a picture — or specifically in this case, the pictures in the picture — would say.

Because when you step back, this photo impugns the intent of the Ferguson police and just lends more credence to the fear that they, along with that “named officer,” have blood on their hands. For, what we see in this photo is an (or is it, another?) instance of the Ferguson police hunting Michael Brown. Further, and this is what’s so upsetting as the symbolism of behavior gets translated into words ….

The Ferguson police want us to think about Michael Brown’s slaying and actually see four screen grabs from a surveillance camera as the actual smoking gun.

(Not to mention, the woman in the headdress incidentally caught between the spokesperson and the piece of paper culturally present the police as that much more tin-eared too.)

(photo: @keithboykin/Twitter caption: Ferguson police release photos of the alleged robbery they say took place prior to Mike Brown shooting.)

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Michael Shaw
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