• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 12 comments on Eyewitness to the Turmoil in Ferguson

  1. Way to go, Dean Lightsey! Your presence in and perspective on Ferguson are invaluable, and thanks for representing Boston University so powerfully!

  2. According to the police chief in Ferguson, Officer Wilson did not know that Michael Brown had been videotaped allegedly stealing cigars/cigarillos from a liquor store. Conflating the two events implies cause/effect where none exists.

  3. So tell me, how is an alleged racist comment against Obama and his family an atrocity? The press, the Justice department, have plenty of time for Black victimization, but when the White community is attacked, such as in the case of Marine Ralph Weems, who was beat nearly to death by a group of 20 black men in retaliation for Ferguson, there is silence.
    About the only thing I agree with, is that the police forces should not be using advanced weaponry and armor on civilians.

    1. Oh, so racism is ok? To make racist comments toward the President of the United States is ok? But when Kanye stated that Bush doesn’t like black people, everyone was in an uproar, and it was true. You should truly be ashamed of yourself. This isn’t about victimization, it’s about justice. What if it was your racist self who was shot at the hands of a black cop, after you had put your hands up, what would you or your racist people have to say about it? You go to or work at a diverse school, where there are people of all colors. You are a racist and it is obvious by your statement, so why not go somewhere where there are only ingnorant people like you. YOU ARE TRULY WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS WORLD. GET OVER IT, BECAUSE BLACK PEOPLE AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE, WE HAVE JUST AS MUCH RIGHT TO BE IN THIS COUNTRY SAFE AND SECURE JUST AS YOUR RACIST SELF DOES!!!!

  4. There are many things that trouble me about this whole situation.

    1. Immediately after the incident, people starting blaming the police officer and saying that he murdered Brown when there were very few details released about the incident. They were just going off of what a couple “witnesses” said (one who was Brown’s friend) and lots of speculation and rumors. At first, I had a friend say that he heard the officer show Brown while Brown in the head and basically assassinated him while he was laying on the ground. This theory has already been completely proved wrong by the autopsy.

    2. Every media outlet feels that it is necessary to use “white” as a descriptor for the officer and “unarmed black” as a descriptor for Brown. Why not “suspect” for Brown and “Previous Cop of the Year” for the officer? Obviously I’m not saying that media outlets should actually do this but I’m saying those are both true as well. The media just keeps pointing out race to make this a huge race issue. Also note that unarmed individuals can still easily be a threat to someone’s life. Even bullets can’t stop some people who are high on drugs or just pure adrenaline.

    3. Everyone is saying that the police are “militarized” and using advanced weapons and tanks and assault rifles and all these other scary things. The police are using nothing close to whatever is used overseas. Yes some of the equipment is retired military equipment but that includes things like armored vehicles for protection against projectiles and body armor for protection against bullets. Some articles have noted that the police get “grenade launchers” from the military to make it sound scary when in fact these tools are simply used to launch tear gas into unruly crowds to make them disperse and protect property and life. Yes the police all wear black uniforms or camouflage but they are not our there with machine guns firing upon citizens or tossing grenades at people. This is nothing close to a war zone. The police are simply trying to keep the streets cleared to prevent real riots from breaking out.
    You should try looking at it from a police officer’s point of view. It’s their job to stand then on the street and protect innocent people and businesses. If you’re getting rocks and bottles thrown at you and even malatov cocktails and being shot at, wouldn’t you want body armor and shields and armored vehicles too? They also want to go home to their families.
    I will not stand here and defend every single officer there because I’m sure there were some cases where people over reacted or made poor decisions, but we can’t stereotype the police either and say that they are all bad or all racist or all murderers.

    Summary: How about we wait for the full investigation to be completed before we determine whether or not the officer was right in shooting Brown. Also, let’s stop making this about race. It’s about whether a police officer was legally justified in defending himself against a potential attacker or not. If this was a black police officer and a white male then we wouldn’t have heard a thing about it. Stop making this a race issue.

    Just my 0.02

    1. You call yourself BU Staff, you should be ashamed of yourself. These were witnesses that were there, was your friend who told you that there? No! Seems as if you should stop listening to your friend. Unarmed people with their HANDS UP, are no threat to anyone. Who are you trying to convince? You say we can’t sterotype the police, but it’s ok for blacks to be sterotyped on a daily basis? You are just as ignorant as Peter and I really don’t know why I took the time to respond to such stupidness. You are an undercover racist.

      1. Tired, Were you their at the shooting? Even someone who showed up days later doesn’t have the information necessary to process all the evidence. We are still waiting on a toxicology report.

        Anyway, yours is an immature response full of name calling.
        Most of the people in Ferguson are probably just plain good folks. Unfortunately, a few, and some outsiders inflamed a situation, encouraged even more be the Press and public figures, who would believe this is 1964 and not 2014. When they start shooting, looting and throwing petrol bombs there is a justifiable response necessary for the protection of the aforementioned good folks.

        As BU Staff has already said this wouldn’t be news if it was turned around. An unarmed Salt Lake City man was recently shot by an officer, but and you probably haven’t heard about it.

      2. I am not ashamed to call myself BU staff first of all…

        And how come we listen to the “witness'” stories but not the story of the officer and the police department? They have claimed that Brown tried to steal the officer’s gun, brutally assaulted him, then started walking away and turned around and charged at the officer again. Why do you dismiss his story and not Brown’s friend’s story? Seems like you are a little biased… As Peter pointed out, you weren’t there so how do you know what actually happened?

        1. A typical response from a typical right wing extremist.
          The 4 black witness’s are credible, not because they’re black, but because they witnessed the events unfold first hand. Along with the other 2 white witness’s who witnessed the events unfold.
          Brown did NOT attempt to steal his gun, nor did he assault the racist pig.
          Where is the evidence to prove this??? and why hasn’t his fellow white right winged extremists released these images???.

  5. Thank you for your presence and interest; I grew up in the area and always remember how difficult life was for minorities. I travel back there to see my 92 year old aunt and I am always wary of my surroundings as it relates to the police. The weapons used against the public is shameful. We are all Americans.

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