by Ray Downs
Despite calls from Ferguson activists to flood the St. Louis County council meeting Tuesday night, the evening was mostly calm -- a far cry from the previous meeting that was dominated by anger and frustration from activists over the Michael Brown shooting.
Although tempers weren't as flared as they had been, most speakers focused on events in Ferguson and took the opportunity to remind the county council that they believe nothing has been done to improve policing and correct injustices during the ongoing Ferguson protests.
Protester Taylor Payne took the podium to tell the council that she would like to file a complaint about police actions during a raid on protesters, but she has been unable to get the information necessary due to the involved officers not wearing name tags or badges.
"I looked up what I need to file a report, but I don't know the officers' badges or names," she said. "When police that came out of the cars with automatic rifles -- not the ones with rubber bullets, but real ones -- and none of them were wearing badges, and I have no way to identify the police."
Payne pointed out that despite advisories from the Department of Justice to Ferguson police to wear name tags and badges, they are still not doing so.
"I'm not sure how I can trust the police if they're violating orders from the DOJ," she said.
Several other speakers lambasted the council for not standing up, at least symbolically, to police brutality and racial inequality.
"Your silence means you're complicit," said one speaker.
"We get third-class schools and first-class jails," said another speaker.
Only one person got up to speak in support of police actions. Patty Canter, a St. Louis woman who is not at all pleased with protesters' actions, as well as attempts by police to have dialogue with protesters.
At the beginning of her speech, a Ferguson protester toward the back of the room said something that was inaudible, to which Canter yelled: "Shut up!" After a few moments, she regained her composure and continued to criticize protesters and praise police.
Referring to a recent evening that saw protesters take to the middle of the street and Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson come out to speak to them, Canter said that was not right in her opinion.
"Officer 'Hug-a-Thug' Johnson told them he'd like to talk to them -- in the middle of the street at midnight!" she said.
"Maybe he could find a better place and time? Just a thought," she added sarcastically.
And seemingly in response to Payne's complaints about the lack of identification on police uniforms, Canter said that it was for officer safety.
"As far as IDs for the police -- God help them if they have IDs," she exclaimed. "A badge, sure: Take their name so you can threaten them like you did Darren Wilson and his family? I don't want to see one police officer with a name badge on when he's on the streets in that crazy place."
See the video below, via Jason Rosenbaum of St. Louis Public Radio:
Also see Ferguson activist Umar Lee's address to the council, which includes a response to Canter:
Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:
E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.