White Guys Toting Loaded Assault Weapons Cruise Streets of Ferguson and Somehow It's All Cool With Police

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Photo by Lawrence Bryant

Providing what every racial tinderbox in America needs, a group of camouflage-wearing, bullet-proof-vested, white militiamen carrying loaded M-15 rifles with magazine cartridges strapped across body armour took to patrolling the streets of Ferguson amidst protests marking the one year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown. The so-called Oath Keepers, a collective of former and current military and police who claim to defend the U.S. “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” said they were there to keep the peace and protect right-wing journalists. They also said they'd gotten an okay from local police to storm the streets like latter-day S.S; later, after criticism by uneasy press and protesters, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar deemed to call their presence "unnecessary and inflammatory."

They probably wouldn't have seemed nearly as inflammatory if police hadn't been so busy brutally rounding up the usual suspects, usually for existing while black. Police arrested at least 150 people, almost all for peacefully protesting. They included three journalists they busted for doing journalism; several black men they pepper-sprayed, threatened with batons, wrestled to the ground and roughly slapped in plastic flexicuffs because they were "possibly armed with handguns,” except they weren't; and a small black girl handcuffed behind her back. She told police she was 12; later, she said she was actually 18, but figured her chances of staying alive would be better if she lied to the police. Just imagine her chances if she'd been carrying a loaded M-15 with magazine cartridges strapped across her body armour. At one point during the protests, a massive banner borne by balloons floated over Ferguson. Its message: "Racism (Still) Lives Here. #Fight Back."

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Protestor arrested. Photo by Scott Olson/AFP

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Police arrest girl who clearly poses threat to homeland security







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