cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Ferguson, MO is in the news in a big way. Actually, it is the Ferguson Police Department that is in the news in a big way. The Department’s Chief made a public announcement this morning providing the name of the officer which it had been withholding since the shooting death of a black person a few days ago. The man was killed by an arresting officer. This community is predominantly black and the Police Department is predominantly white. That the officer’s name had been withheld only added fuel to an already raging fire of public distrust. The Department had explained that threats had been received and that it was protecting the officer involved by not releasing the officer’s name.
The Chief was apparently bothered by the press and all the microphones and cameras aimed at him, or he was simply unable to handle press conferences, since he stumbled his way through a relatively simple and straightforward announcement that he read from a sheet of paper.
That awkward delivery was compounded by the additional admonition to the assembled reporters that no questions would be taken since there would be a follow-up press conference later in the day where questions would be answered. Some might think that handing out the press release and taking and responding to questions at the same time might’ve been the more expedient and appropriate way to have handled the morning’s appearance.
Of course, this attracts the people who have made their living by appearing at and making statements about such occurrences with the implied innuendo that they will get to the bottom and find the ‘real’ truth. All this then was further hyped when the local Police Department was removed from the case and substituted with other state law enforcement that would handle the case from today forward.
This might well prove to have been the “perfect storm” of improper police handling of a serious situation. Only time will tell if the officer who fired the killing shots was in the right, legally, to have done so, or if that officer was over-reacting when the shots were fired. We have yet, at this writing, to know if the subsequent press conference will be held, but it had better be if Ferguson is to avoid a riot that will be nasty and lengthy. Even then, public opinion may still be negative and there may still be further problems.
One thing seems apparent, however; the Police Chief should get some advice on how to handle press conferences if he doesn’t simply get fired as the perfect scape-goat if one of those is necessary.