In the second incident of its kind, demonstrators ostensibly angry about the Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict former police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown have targeted black police officers for abuse. It is a nasty form of racial profiling–one seen as legitimate by the demonstrators, since they believe that they are aiming at some kind of racial redemption by dividing police officers by race.
In the latest example, demonstrators in San Francisco taunted a black officer Friday night, as revealed by newly-released video. The officer walked impassively alongside the protestors as they screamed “sellout!” and urged him to desert the police department. Earlier in the week, Ferguson demonstrators had targeted a black police officer guarding the Los Angeles Police Department–and he out-debated them on their own terms.
What is striking about the Ferguson protests–and what distinguishes them from the civil rights movement, to which organizers and supporters are constantly drawing spurious connections–is the total lack of a message of unity. Instead, there are tactics of division and outrage, almost calculated to alienate potential supporters from across racial or political lines, with violence and abuse the first resort of demonstrators, not the last.
It has taken months for the demonstrators to come up with a set of demands, which were presented to the White House on Monday. Most are neither reasonable nor achievable. A few, such as alternatives to incarceration, are happening already. None of them call upon communities themselves to address problems.
This is not a “dialogue” on race. It is mob action by those with no interest in solving the problems they cite.