Between withheld information, unnecessary use of force, and aggression toward journalists, it should be clear by now that police in Ferguson colossally mishandled the aftermath of Michael Brown's death. A new Mother Jones report, however, paints an even bleaker picture than we've already seen.
After Brown was shot on August 9, mourners including Brown's mother created an impromptu memorial on the spot where his body fell and was left for hours. Then, according to several sources told Mother Jones's Mark Follman, a police officer let his dog piss on it:
The incident was related to me separately by three state and local officials who worked with the community in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. One confirmed that he interviewed an eyewitness, a young woman, and pressed her on what exactly she saw. "She said that the officer just let the dog pee on it," that official told me. "She was very distraught about it." The identity of the officer who handled the dog and the agency he was with remain unclear.
Not long after that, police blocked off the area and proceeded to drive a car over candles and rose petals that had been placed there.
By then, police had prohibited all vehicles from entering Canfield Drive except for their own. Soon the candles and flowers had been smashed, after police drove over them.
"That made people in the crowd mad," [Missouri state Rep. Sharon] Pace said, "and it made me mad." Some residents began walking in front of police vehicles at the end of the block to prevent them from driving in.
St. Louis alderman Antonio French, who was later arrested during a protest and released without charges, documented the scene at the time.
Tommie Pierson, a Missouri state representative, told Follman a state police officer nearly maced him when he stood with a group of peaceful protesters August 19:
There was a strong police presence but the atmosphere remained peaceful, Pace told me, and their goal was to mediate between their constituents and law enforcement. Police officers approached and ordered the crowd to keep moving. A female Missouri Highway Patrol officer confronted Pierson, reaching for her mace.
"Are you getting ready to mace me?" Pierson asked in disbelief. The officer backed off after Pace explained to another cop who they were.
"It's bad when you don't have any respect for anybody," Pierson told me last week. "Even now that's still going on: 'You do what I tell you, or I'll mace you, I'll shoot you, no questions asked.'"
If one has any doubt about whether stories like Pierson's are true, one only need look at the video evidence.
[Image via AP]