by Michael Mozelle
Several weeks removed from the funerals for slain New York Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, Americans should begin reflecting on the controversy around racial tensions and police policy that began in Ferguson, Missouri. I do not intend to imply that those who took part in protests regarding the deaths of unarmed African-Americans are responsible for the acts of one individual. But the man responsible for murdering these two officers made it very clear that he was inspired by these events.
An August 2014 article in the Cavalier Daily, in retrospect, highlights how many people seemed to determine their opinions about what happened in Ferguson before all the facts were truly understood. In the article, various people assert that non-lethal crowd control measures, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, were “extreme” and “used in periods of rioting and peaceful protest.” These types of non-lethal weapons should only be used in extreme circumstances, but the critical reactions of many observers to such tactics display a lack of familiarity with police procedure. When facing a large protest, which could at any minute develop into a violent riot, police only have so many tools available. It should be remembered that these police are responsible for protecting other citizens, property, themselves, and even the protesters from danger.