This Thanksgiving, Ferguson Makes Football Seem Small

National Guard stand in front of the Ferguson Police Department Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Missouri's governor ordered hundreds more state militia into Ferguson on Tuesday, after a night of protests and rioting over a grand jury's decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the U.S.

National Guard stand in front of the Ferguson Police Department Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Missouri’s governor ordered hundreds more state militia into Ferguson on Tuesday, after a night of protests and rioting over a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the U.S.

On Monday night, three days before a colossal NFL game between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, a major news story began playing out making the game seem pretty small.

The situation in Ferguson involves all of us. We can’t hide from it and it can’t be swept behind a wall of conversation about a football game.

What I do on 97.5 FM The Fanatic is sports talk, but it’s really life talk — conversation among people of different races, creed and colors. And when an issue like this explodes in front of us, it is our duty to talk on it. Conversation fosters understanding; it’s the only thing that can foster understanding because it’s the only way we can hear and attempt to understand another’s viewpoint. So to the people who tweet me with nonsense like “I thought this was a sports station; let’s talk sports,” I have the following message: Open your mind, grow and progress, if just for the sake of your children and future generations who should live in a society that’s not always at odds.

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Ferguson, Under Cover of Darkness

Mike Brown’s mom while hearing the decision.

A video posted by Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) on

There was a video posted on social media the night that St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch stepped in front of a worldwide audience to deliver the news that Officer Darren Wilson would avoid trial. The video featured the diminutive Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, stepping down from her perch outside the police station, amid a crowd of protesters, anguished and fed up.

For 109 days, McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr, the father of the teenager who was shot and killed by Wilson, waited for answers. They, like the rest of us, found out about McCulloch’s announcement by watching CNN.

It’s a curious thing, to make these types of announcements at night. It’s always curious to do anything in the dark of night that could just as easily be done in the day, especially when things are as tense as they have been in Ferguson. For weeks, the National Guard has been present among the people in Ferguson without any (public) disclosure of whether an indictment would fall; it took four days for the National Guard to arrive in the drowned city of New Orleans after Katrina.

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WATCH: Philadelphia Reacts to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

@FergusonPHL protest at 9 p.m., just before the findings were announced. Photo by Victor Fiorillo

@FergusonPHL protest at 9 p.m., just before the findings were announced. Photo by Victor Fiorillo

UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown last summer will not face charges in the case, a grand jury has determined. Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor made the announcement in a speech broadcast nationwide on Monday night.

“They are the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence,” McCulloch said, defending the grand jury’s work even as it became clear that the decision would trigger protests around the nation, including in Philadelphia. The protests in Philadelphia reportedly remained peaceful through the night.

The New York Times posted a full set of grand jury transcripts, forensic reports, and other documents.

Philly Mag’s Victor Fiorillo was at City Hall when the announcement was made:

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Grand Jury Makes Ferguson Decision

AP reports: “A St. Louis County grand jury has finally reached a decision on whether to charge Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown Jr., several media outlets reported Monday. The panel’s ruling is expected to be revealed during a press conference at the courthouse in Clayton later today.”

This will be a big deal in Philadelphia. Activists have already announced plans to demonstrate here on both the day of the announcement — today, apparently — and the day after. Philly Police have been planning for the protests and meeting with organizers.

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Philly Police, Activists Prepare for Ferguson Reaction

Matt Rourke/AP

Matt Rourke/AP

Over the summer, the nation’s attention focused on Ferguson, Missouri, for several weeks as protesters clashed with cops in the aftermath of the shooting of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, by a police officer. Now officials in Missouri are bracing for the results of a grand jury — whether the officer will be indicted for the shooting — and police departments nationwide are preparing for possible protests in their own cities.

Philadelphia is no exception.
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Have We Entered the Era of Crowdsourced Hate-Funding?

crowdsourced-hate-funding-940x540

Lynching rose to prominence in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most notably in the Deep South during the dawn of Reconstruction. Lynching was extra-judicial, vigilante action used to intimidate African Americans — and sometimes sympathetic whites — to enforce racist Jim Crow law. Individuals who participated in lynch mobs were seldom convicted in a court of law, even if properly identified, meaning perpetrators were safe, generally anonymous, and rarely held accountable for their actions.

Perhaps more disgustingly, lynching was a public spectacle, often treated as a family-friendly community event. It was not uncommon for children to be brought to the sight of lynchings, as a victim’s body hung lifelessly from a tree. So agreeable were whites to the racial violence of lynching, many took photos gathered around the victim, united as one for the cause of a dead black man.

While lynching has occurred less frequently since the Civil Rights Movement, its legacy remains present in the modern era; the noose remains symbolic, and makes regular appearances at many universities. The mob mentality persists as well, now in the form of the digital campaign, where individual donors unite as one.

In the wake of the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, and allegations of first-degree rape and sexual battery of eight black women, lucrative crowdsourcing fundraisers were established for George Zimmerman, officer Darren Wilson and officer Daniel Holtzclaw, respectively.

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Michael Nutter’s Beautiful, Empty Words About Ferguson

Nutter

OK, we’ve probably beat up on the Philadelphia Police Department enough for one summer. We’ve suffered through a new scandal, retreaded an old scandal, questioned the connection between this department and the tragic events of Ferguson, Mo., and seen the rise of a new movement to increase the department’s accountability to the public.

Most of this was necessary.

But before we we leave the summer — hopefully for a future filled with mutual respect between police and citizens, the highest ethical standards for each, and the end of “no snitch” culture — let’s consider one last thing: The words of Mayor Michael Nutter.

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“Wannabe” Anarchists Taunt Police in West Philly

A pack of what some are calling “trust fund anarchists” crashed a peaceful Ferguson rally in Clark Park Saturday evening, then tried (and failed) to goad the police into an overreaction by lobbing paint-filled balloons at a cop car, according to local news reports.

According to the West Philly Local, two of the protesters were arrested; a 20-year-old female and West Philadelphia resident, and a 25-year-old man from New York. From the Local:

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