Riots in Missouri - What's Going On with the Law?by Attorney Carlos Gamino on 08/19/14
Ferguson, Missouri is geographically far from Milwaukee, but is what happened there really that far from reality here? Attorney Carlos A. Gamiño chimes in with his $0.02 on the shooting, the riots and police responses.
Hundreds of people took to the streets to protest amid riots, tear gas and barking police dogs after the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. As the situation unfolded, the international community became aware of a growing American sentiment: “We can only take so much.”
Because police seemed to be using brute force against rioters, protestors, and even journalists. All that did was create a cycle; more violence, more arrests, and yet more violence.
What Are Ferguson Police Doing?
Police in Ferguson are responding with the equipment they have – and some people claim that giving police armored vehicles, assault rifles and other military-grade equipment is a mistake.
With dozens of police vehicles destroyed, peaceful protesters being arrested and the root cause – an unarmed teen being shot in the back by a police officer – we all have a lot to think about. What should be more powerful: the police or the First Amendment?
How the First Amendment Applies
Citizens of this country have the right to peaceably assemble, and nobody can infringe on the freedom of the press. This principle is more than 200 years old (the First Amendment was adopted in 1791), so what’s more important in our society?
“There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights… Police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who were just trying to do their jobs,” said President Obama, who chimed in after the violence swelled again on August 14.
What’s your take on the whole situation? Is it more important that our police are well-armed and equipped to handle riots like those that happened in Ferguson, or have law enforcement professionals overstepped their bounds and shredded the Constitution?