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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: Michael Brown

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December 3, 2014 at 6:20 AM

Are Seattle’s Ferguson protesters hurting their cause?

Protests simmering through downtown Seattle for more than a week are increasingly aggravating. Like many places around the country, local demonstrators are upset with the recent grand jury decision against indicting a Ferguson, Mo., police officer for shooting an unarmed teenager. In Seattle, protesters have snarled traffic and disrupted holiday celebrations. They’ve been the source of attacks…

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Comments | Topics: Ferguson, john t. williams, Michael Brown

December 1, 2014 at 12:03 PM

America must re-define when police should use deadly force

In our eye-for-an-eye culture, the threat of deadly force is all the justification police need to return it.

A bullet fragment rests on pavement after authorities shot and killed a man who they say opened fire on the Mexican Consulate, police headquarters and other downtown buildings early Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in Austin, Texas.  (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Laura Skelding)

A bullet fragment rest on pavement after authorities shot and killed a man who they say opened fire on the Mexican Consulate, police headquarters and other downtown buildings Friday, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/ Laura Skelding)

That threat seems the pretext for Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson gunning down 18-year-old Michael Brown during an August altercation over walking in the middle of the street.

In his interview with ABC last week, Wilson – who has since resigned from the force – described Brown as a “very, very large, very powerful man.” Though the two men were about the same height, Brown’s reported 300-pound bulk dwarfed Wilson’s 210-pound frame.

When Wilson directed Brown to the sidewalk, he said Brown responded violently, landing a heavy blow to his face.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to survive another hit like that,” Wilson said.

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Comments | Topics: Ferguson, Michael Brown, tamir rice

August 15, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Lessons from Ferguson: Citizens have right to capture photos, videos of militarized police

Numerous journalism associations came forward on Thursday to condemn the unnecessary arrest and subsequent release of two reporters covering the aftermath of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Mo.

Read The Washington Post’s roundup of statements or see the tweet below from the American Society of Newspaper Editors:

Reporters Wesley Lowerey of The Washington Post and Ryan J. Reilly of The Huffington Post were simply doing their jobs. So far, it appears police entered the McDonald’s they were working in and escalated the situation for no good reason. Those uniformed officers should be identified, punished and trained on how to treat fellow citizens with respect, whether they are civilians or members of the press.

They only have themselves to blame for the widespread attention to their actions.

Reporters are in Ferguson to cover a story. When they become part of the narrative, journalists everywhere pay attention. Coverage blows up to a whole new level. Unfortunately, it took the mistreatment of these two journalists for Missouri officials to “get it” and send in State Patrol officers to seize law enforcement authority.

What’s more striking to many of us is the series of images and video coming out of Missouri, including the photo below captured by The Washington Post. Are we looking at scenes from a war zone or Middle America? Hard to tell the difference these past few days.

The unrest reminds me of a 2011 rap song by Seattle’s Blue Scholars called “Oskar Barnack ∞ Oscar Grant,”

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Comments | Topics: Ferguson, Michael Brown, Mo.